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John Willison The Covenanter

The earliest member of the Willison Family of whom we have knowledge is John Willison, a Covenanter who lived in Glengeith, near Elvanfoot, 3 miles south of Crawford, Scotland.
 
The Covenanters were opposed to the interference by the Stuart Kings in the affairs of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland.
 
The Stuarts believed that the spiritual head of the Scottish Church was the king. |The Covenanters believed there was only one 'Head of the Kirk' and that was Jesus Christ.
 
Many Scots signed the National Covenant in 1638, and from then until 1688, persecutions and punishments of all kinds; fines, torture,executions, murder and transportation were used in an attempt by the Authorities to quell this rebellion.
 
 
In 1670 field meetings of the Covanters were made treasonable and preaching at such events became a capital offence.
 
In 1688, just before the revolution in which King James VII was disposed, James Renwick, the last Covenanting Martyr, who had baptised John The Covanter's grandson, Auchen the Droll, was hanged for his beliefs in the City of Edinburgh.
John Willison was a keen supporter of the Covenanters.
 
He gave asylum to those being sought by Government troops and was constantly harried for his actions and beliefs.
 
However, he managed to live to see the revolution and witnessed greater toleration of his religious beliefs and practices in his later years.
 
More information about John can be found in the book 'Traditions of the Covenanters' by Robert Simpson and his gravestone is featured on the website, where you can find out much more information about John the Covenanter and his fellow martyrs and about the work of the Memorial Association in general.
 
 
 
 
 

Mention of John is also made at Elvanfoot Church and Crawford Church where there are memorial windows in his name.
 
The window in Elvanfoot bears the inscription " In memoriam, John Willison, on whose farm this church is built; a staunch Covenanter grievously persecuted in 1663. In his steading was hidden a Shunammite chamber for shelter and escape. Erected by his descendants, the grandchildren of John Willison, Parishholm, Douglas, who died in 1884.
 
At Crawford Church, Lanarkshire which was built in 1875, The inscription reads;
 
Erected by John Willison, Tenant of ParishHolm, Douglas in memory of his venerated ancestor John Willison, Tenant of Glengeith in the times of the persecutions 1683 - 1688 when he - a staunch Covenanter- provided shelter to many of his suffering brethern, concealing them in a place built for the purpose off his cowshed called 'The Shunammite's Chamber'. He escaped his persecutors and died in his bed some years later and was buried in this churchyard, where the spot cannot now be found. Hence this memorial of him in this sacred house. 
(This church is now listed and has been converted into a family home.)