Wednesday, April 20, 2011

'Yin Brave Change' - Rev John Weir in Mingary Castle

A project I'm footerin' at at the minute has led me to get hold of a copy of the diary of Rev John Weir of Dalserf, who had spent much time in Ulster in the 1640s, and which he kept during his later imprisonment in Mingary Castle. He and a number of other Ulster-Scots ministers had been taken hostage at sea whilst travelling from Donaghadee back to Scotland in July 1644, and eventually ended up being held as prisoners in remote Mingary Castle. Weir fell ill, and died after 15 weeks of incarceration, aged just 34. A fellow prisoner, Rev James Hamilton of Ballywalter, found Weir's prison diary and continued keeping it until his own release. Just a few days before Weir died, Hamilton wrote that Weir had said 'it will be ane (yin) brave change for to goe from Mingary to Heaven'.

Weir's diary also includes an account of a shipwreck of a Dutch vessel near Mingary, the wreck of which was found in 2001. An episode of a tv programme called 'Wreck Detectives' told the story of the ship - see article here.

• Pics of Mingary Castle are on Google Images here. It must indeed have been 'yin brave change'.

• The diary records that Weir was buried at 'Kilcowankirk', but I can find no trace of that placename online. It could be a derivation of 'Kirkcowan', a small village in Dumfries & Galloway.