James Renwick (Covenanter)

James Renwick (Covenanter)

James Renwick (Covenanter)

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James Renwick (15 February 1662 – 17 February 1688) was a Scottish minister, the last of the Covenanter martyrs.


Born in Moniaive, Dumfriesshire, in 1662, the young James was seen to have an affinity for the church from a very early age. Alexander Shields (and later John Howie) wrote:
"By the time he was two years of age, he was observed to be aiming at prayer, even in the cradle and about it...."
Renwick's father Andrew (or in some sources, Alexander) was a weaver by trade. His mother, Elizabeth Corson, had born several children prior to James' birth, but all had died in infancy or early childhood.

In 1675, Andrew Renwick died; James went on to the University of Edinburgh, where he studied religion, in particular the Presbyterian religion of his forefathers. In 1681, he saw several Covenanters martyred in Edinburgh, including Donald Cargill. At this point Renwick fell in with the United Society, a subversive religious group; with their help he went abroad to study at Holland, Rotterdam, Groningen, and Leeuwarden. While in the Netherlands Renwick was ordained, although it was under somewhat odd circumstances as he refused to subscribe to the Dutch catechism. Upon his return to Scotland in 1683 he gave his first sermon, at Darmead, Cambusnethan, choosing passages from the book of Isaiah.

Renwick spent the next five years travelling around Scotland, giving sermons and fomenting anti-English sentiment. By July of 1684 he was being actively pursued by the...
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