Semester in Scotland Blog Post – Reformation History Tour

Hola.  Hallo.  Bonjour.   How’s it going?  Hope all you guys out there in cyberland are doing great.  We here in Scotland have been getting along fabulously!

We’ve been here for about a month and a half, it’s crazy how time flies.  This week, after studying Scottish Covenanter and Reformation history with the brilliant Professor Jimmy Fisher, we embarked on a journey through time.  The amazing Helen Fisher navigated us through the twists and turns, while Prof. Jimmy was our guide.

Jimmy Fisher - our Tour Guide

Jimmy Fisher – our Tour Guide

Monday we began our eye-opening journey in the beautiful St. Andrews.  At the castle, we climbed through an old tunnel half dug by the Covenanters who held the castle captive and the other half dug by professional French miners.  The tunnel is still standing, despite being constructed in 1547.  After some more exploration through the history of St. Andrews, we traveled to Magus Muir.  Magus Muir is the site of the execution of Archbishop Sharp.  Not far from the memorial for Sharp, is a grave in a field marking the site where five random Covenanters were killed as a repayment for the death of the archbishop (even though they did not commit any crime).

Going into the mine.

Going into the mine.

 

In the mine.

In the mine.

Memorial to the Covenanters at Magus Muir.

Memorial to the Covenanters at Magus Muir.

Tuesday, we traveled by train to Edinburgh, and Jimmy guided us through many sites in record time.  If I had to narrow down my favorites from Edinburgh to two, they would probably be the National Covenant and the site where the Covenant was signed.   In 1638, the National Covenant was signed in Greyfriars Cemetery.  Some of those who signed the Covenant did so in their own blood.  We were able to see the grave that the Covenant was signed on, and then we were able to see that actual Covenant.  It was amazing to see a document that held so much weight for the church and for the country as a whole…and we got to see where it was signed.

Painting of the signing of the National Covenant.

Painting of the signing of the National Covenant.

Greyfriars Kirkyard where the National Covenant was signed.

Greyfriars Kirkyard where the National Covenant was signed.

The National Covenant

The National Covenant

Wednesday, we traveled around to some new sites.  The two that stuck out the most for me were the Talla Linn and the Devil’s Beef Tub.  At Devil’s Beef Tub, two Covenanters had been staying at a red farmhouse in the valley, when the dragoons arrived.  They ran and attempted to go to a part of the hills where the horses could not follow them.  Unfortunately, John Hunter lost his life, but the second Covenanter got away.  We were able to see the spot where John lost his life and the farmhouse (it’s still standing).  At the Talla Linn, on the 11th of October 1682, 4,000 people met for a conventicle, and God’s provision is displayed in their meeting.  The dragoons were close by, but the Covenanters remained safe and uninterrupted during their worship.

The Devil's Beef Tub, and the John Hunter farmhouse.

The Devil’s Beef Tub, and the John Hunter farmhouse.

Talla Linn

Talla Linn

Thursday, we traveled to some of the battle sites and graves of Covenanter martyrs.  We saw Bothwell Bridge, Drumclog, Ayrsmoss, and Muirkirk.  Perhaps the most moving and memorable part of the day was not a great Covenant victory site (such as Drumclog) or a site where many Covenanters lost their lives (like Ayrsmoss or Bothwell Bridge), but a quiet, peaceful, often forgotten grave of a young martyr.  On the property of a farm in Muirkirk, a short walk from the farmhouse is a quiet stream where 18-year-old farm hand William Adam would meet his fiancé for lunch and Bible study each day.  One day as he waited for her to arrive, the dragoons came by and saw him reading his Bible, without a word spoken they killed the young Adam.  His fiancé found him dead and buried him in their picnic spot.  After Prof. Jimmy told us this story, a silence fell.  Debbie mentioned that the peaceful spot reminded her of Psalm 23.  We got out our Psalters and sang Psalm 23 at the grave of young William Adam.  When was the last time a Psalm was sung in that spot?  Jimmy estimated that perhaps the last time would have been when Adam’s young fiancé was burying her love or when the two had last met for lunch.  Regardless of when a Psalm was last sung in that spot, the simple faith displayed by this young martyr is a reminder to all of how we should live our lives.

Grave of William Adam.

Grave of William Adam.

Singing at Covenanter sites.

Singing at Covenanter sites.

As Jimmy told us about the Covenanters, “They simply wanted to live their lives with Christ at the forefront.  They lost their lives because they would not let the king come first.”  These men and women who lost their lives would not want to be remembered with any sort of a high regard.  They would want us to remember to listen to God and not compromise our faith to conform to the ways of the world.

“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:6-7

-Jennie Smith

10672173_286911964849944_4258667082602594785_n

Comments are closed.