John Brown, Faithful under Tyrrany
John Brown (1627-1685) also known as the Christian Carrier was a Scottish Protestant Christian Covenanter and martyr from Priesthill, a few miles from Muirkirk in Ayrshire. He was killed by Graham of Claverhouse outside his cottage home in 1685 in the presence of his wife, Isabel, and two children. His crime was considered to be in aiding the cause of the Covenanters and refusing to acknowledge the supremacy of the King of England over the churches of Scotland.
A society of Covenanters had held its meetings in Brown’s home. Several families came across the broad moor on Sabbath morning, and remained till evening. Sometimes they traveled both ways at night, for fear of the Dragoons. The day was spent in prayer, reading the Bible, singing Psalms, and conversing on doctrines of redemption. This society continued to meet, till broken up by the death of its men, many of whom were summarily executed as Brown was.
His epitaph contains an acrostic poem:
Here lies the body of JOHN BROWN martyr who was murdered in this place by GRAHAM of Claverhouse for his testimony to the Covenanted work of Reformation Because he durst not own the authority of the then Tyrant destroying the Same, who died the first day of May A D 1685 and of his age 58.
In deaths cold bed the dusty part here lies
Of one who did the earth as dust despise
Here in this place from earth he took departure
Now he has got the garland of the martyr Butchered by Claverse and his bloody band
Raging most ravenously over all the land
Only for owning Christ’s supremacy
Wickedly wronged by encroaching Tyrrany
Nothing how near soever he to good
Esteemed, nor dear any truth his blood.