Rev Sir John Blackadder's Grave

North Berwick Churchyard

North Berwick

East Lothian

NGR - N*


Blackadder's gravestone is located in the old churchyard. It is a tablestone. It was repaired in July 1821, at the expense of several gentlemen in the neighbourhood. The inscription is:


Here lies the body of Mr John Blackadder, minister of the gospel at Troqueer, in Galloway, who died on the Bass, after five years' imprisonment, Anno Dom. 1685, and of his age sixty three years.


Blest John, for Jesus' sake, in Patmos bound,
His prison Bethel, Patmos Pisgah found,
So the bless'd John, on yonder rock confined,-
His body suffer'd, but no chains could bind
His heaven-aspiring soul; while day by day,
As from Mount Pisgah's top, he did survey
The promised land, and view'd the crown by faith,
Laid up for those who faithful are till death.
Grace formed him in the Christian Hero's mould -
Meek in his own concerns in's Master's bold;
Passions to Reason chained, Prudence did lead -
Zeal warmed his breast, and Reason cool'd his head.
Five years on the lone rock, yet sweet abode,
He Enoch-like enjoyed, and walk'd with God;
Till, by long living on this heavenly food,
His soul by love grew up too great, too good
To be confined to jail, or flesh and blood.
Death broke his fetters off, then swift he fled
From sin and sorrow, and by angels led,
Enter'd the mansions of eternal joy; -
Blest soul, thy warfare's done, praise, love, enjoy.
His dust here rests, till Jesus come again, -
Even so, blest Jesus, come come, Lord Amen.


The stone was restored in 2009 using funds provided by the SCMA.

Rev Sir John Blackadder


Rev John Blackadder was the lineal descendant and representative of the ancient family of Tulliallan, from whom he inherited the title of knight baronet, however he didn't use it. He was appointed minister of Troqueer, near Dumfries, in 1652, where he served until November 1662, when, by the Act of Council, he was outed for his conscientious adherence to Presbyterian principles. He continued to preach in the fields, and his conventicles were extremely popular.

On 25 January 1666, letters of Council were directed against him and other ministers for presuming to preach, pray, baptise, and performing other acts. He escaped to Holland, where he placed his eldest son at Leyden, to study for a physician. He later returned to Scotland, where he was apprehended on 5 April 1681, when in bed at his own home in Edinburgh He was taken before the Council and sentenced to be imprisoned on the Bass Rock. The cell in which he was held is still pointed out, with its three small iron-barred windows to the west. Being now quite aged, and with a poor constitution, his health became seriously impaired. After four years' imprisonment, a petition was presented for his removal, but this was refused. A second application succeeded, but before it could be carried into effect, he died. He was 63 years old.

Blackadder's body was brought to the mainland at North Berwick, where he was buried in the kirkyard.