Tuesday, November 17, 2009

James Hamilton, William Veitch, John Welsh, Alexander Peden, Robert Blair and William Adair

Covenanter Encyclopedia.jpg Just back from two very busy and enjoyable days in south west Scotland. After playing at Carryduff Presbyterian Church hall on Saturday evening (with the mighty Risin Stour and the Clan Davidson Highland Dancers) I headed for the last ferry, arrived in Stranraer about 1.30am, and drove through the night to the Station Hotel in Dumfries, getting there about 3.10am. The next morning I spoke at the annual Covenanter Memorial Service at St Michael's Kirk. I was invited by Jack Dodds, who spoke about their former minister William Veitch (a Covenanter who survived the carnage of Rullion Green in 1666), and I spoke about the general Ulster links and also about Rev James Hamilton of Ballywalter, who was minister of St Michaels from 1638 - 1648. I shared in a simple communion beside Veitch's grave, and then enjoyed lunch with Jack and his wife Avril. Also met some folk originally from Newtownards and Millisle who are members of the congregation, and another man who lives in Dumfries but is across in Northern Ireland regularly with his work. Drove up into Ayrshire past Irongray (where Ulster-born John Welsh was the minister), then to Alexander Peden's grave at Cumnock, before meeting up with Dane and Hazel Love at their home outside Auchinleck. Dane's hot-off-the-presses Covenanter Encyclopedia is excellent - get a copy! On Monday morning I spent time in the Carnegie Library in Ayr, and managed to locate the surviving tower of former Bangor minister Robert Blair's church in Ayr - and also a memorial to William Adair at the Auld Kirk (Adair was one of the four ministers who brought the Solemn League and Covenant to Ulster in 1644). An exahusting few days, but very worthwhile in pinning down yet more Ulster-Scots history, and in making connections with good people on the other side of the Sheugh.