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The Anecdotage of Glasgow
Rev. Robert Woodrow, Historian, and Minister of Eastwood

ROBERT WODROW was born at Glasgow in the year 1079. His father, the Rev. James Wodrow, became soon after Professor of Divinity in the University. In 1091, Robert was entered as a student at this seat of learning of his native city, and after a short period, in consequence of the extraordinary aptitude he displayed for historical and bibliographical researches, he was appointed to the office of librarian to the University. While in this situation, which he held for four years, he studied with the greatest earnestness the ecclesiastical and literary history of his native land.

At the termination of his academical career he resided for some time with his kinsman, Sir John Maxwell of Pollok, then one of the Lords of Session. While living at Pollok a vacancy occurred at Eastwood, and Mr. Wodrow was appointed, by the patronage of Sir John Maxwell, to the ministry of the parish.

Wodrow was a most eloquent preacher, and besides taking a prominent part in the public business of the Church, he composed a History of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland, which was published in three folio volumes, in 1721 and 1722: also several other works of a religious and literary nature. He seems likewise to have devoted a considerable portion of his leisure time to the study of antiquities and natural history. George Crawford, a contemporary and friend of Wodrow’s, in his History of Renfrewshire, mentions a collection of fossil shells which he had made, and characterises him as "a gentleman well seen in the natural history of the country."

The excellence of the History was quickly acknowledged, and George I. gave an order to the Scottish Exchequer for the Payment of an honorarium of one hundred guineas to the author, as a testimony of his Majesty’s favourable opinion of its merits; while the esteem in which his memory is held by the literary antiquaries of Scotland may be inferred from the fact, that a society under his name was established at Edinburgh for the publication of old works of an ecclesiastical nature, many of which have been issued, including some of Wodrew’s previously in MS.

The churchyard of Eastwood contains an elegant monumental structure erected to his memory. It bears the following inscription:-

Erected to the memory of the Rev. Robert Wodrow, minister of Eastwood, the faithful historian of the sufferings of the Church of Scotland from the year 1660 to 1688. He died on the 21st March, 1734, in the 55th year of his age, and the 31st of his ministry.

"‘He being dead yet speaketh.’"

Notes on the Ecclesiastical Antiquities of the Parish by the Rev. George Campbell, Minister of the Parish (1902) (pdf)

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