Rev Robert Blair's Gravestone

Aberdour Churchyard



NGR - NT 193854


Rev Robert Blair's gravestone is affixed to the wall of the old church at Aberdour. The inscription reads:

MORS SAN        Skull     UA  VITÆ








OBIIT AUG:  27  1666  ÆTATIS  72

Rev Robert Blair's Grave


Rev Robert Blair was a noted Covenating minister. He was born in Irvine (Ayrshire), and was educated at the University of Glasgow. Shortly after his graduation he was appointed as Professor of Philosophy in the same institution. He resigned when he could not support his Principal and James Law, Archbishop of Glasgow (1560 - 1632), over their enthusiasm for the Episcopal form  of church government. In 1623 he became a minister at Bangor in Northern Ireland, but left when he disagreed with the Bishop of Down over the issue of Episcopal hierarchy. He returned to Scotland in 1638, at first to a parish in Ayr and then to St Andrews in 1639. An enthusiastic supporter of the National Covenant, he assisted in the prosecution of the Royalist leaders captured at the Battle of Philiphaugh (1645). This included Sir Robert Spottiswoode (1596 - 1646), who paid for the 'sins' of his fathe - Archbishop John Spottiswoode (1565 - 1639), architect of Scottish Episcopacy. In 1646, Blair served as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. He went as a Commissioner to see Charles I  at Newcastle to try persuade the king from his Episcopal views. His conciliatory tone was favoured by Charles, who appointed Blair as King's Chaplain in Scotland.In 1648, Blair was sent to negotiate with Oliver Cromwell. Despite his dislike of Cromwell and distrust of his extreme Puritan views, this act, together with his desire to try to work within Cromwell's new order, condemned Blair to imprisonment when Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660. Blair became an outspoken critic of Archbishop Sharp, who had removed him from his post in St Andrews and indeed had prohibited Blair from coming within twenty miles of the town. Thus he lived out the remainder of his life at Couston Castle, Fife. Rev Robert Blair died on 27 August 1666 aged 72.