Rev John Heriot


1863-church-at-kirkyardRev. John Heriot  was the 6th minister of Blantyre Parish Church in the kirkyard at Kirkton, which he worked at for 27 years from 1609 until 1636.

John Heriot, the eldest son of William Heriot Baxter, burgess of Glasgow, graduated A.M. at Glasgow University in 1603, born around 1575. He was married to a certain Margaret Findlay and they had three sons, James, Archilbald and Thomas.

Heriot was reputed to having contributed towards the cost of the building of the Library in his Alma Mater. He was appointed minister of Blantyre in 1609, then just a scattering of villages with around 300 or 400 people. Rev Heriot would have preached at the very first church in the kirkyard at Kirkton which is noted as having been a beautiful building on par with Bothwell’s Church. (Pictured is the 2nd more modest church at Kirkton 1793 – 1863)

Consequently Heriot had to accept Episcopy during the whole of his ministery and tradition has it that he was one of the last of the “Episcopalian minister”. Ecclesiastical records, however, show that 3 if not 4 of his successors were “Curates” and when we consider this we need not be surprised to learn that not one local parishioner is named in the “Cloud of Witnesses” – a roll of those who died in those terrible days following the defeat of Covenantors at Bothwell Brig.

The Rev. John Heriot was a member of the famous Glasgow Assembly of 1638 and also the Assembly of 1639 both of which dealt with the issue of bishops in the Kirk.

Heriot was the last Episopalian minister at High Blantyre, as it is known that that his successors were Curates.

Rev. John Heriot was a member of the Glasgow Assemblies of 1638 and 1639, both of which attempted to resolve the problem of Bishops within the Kirk. Owing to failing health in his later years, he had assistants to aid him in his work.

Rev. Heriot died on 7th December 1665 (although the “faste Ecclesiac Sctticanae” states that his death occured in 1662). Some people report he was 84 – but I note the inscription on his gravestone which states he was aged 90. “Here lies a pastor ten years and fourscore, Who taught his flock 55 years and more, During his tiome to his immortal praise, So blamelessly behaved himself always, In holy order, doctrine sweet and soun’. As did become his reverend gospel goun. His soul in heaven, his body in the clay. Wait a reunion at the latter day”.

John had succeeded long serving minister Rev. John Sangster and was succeeded by Rev. Hew Mitchell in 1636.

From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c)2016

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