Hawick is a large town in the Borders county of Roxburghshire. Rev John Scott was minister of the Parish Church until 1662. The present parish Church is located at NT 502143.

Rev John Scott

Minister of Hawick


The Rev John Scott was a notable Covenanter. He was called as minister to the town on 8 February 1657 and was admitted on 29 July 1657. He was a young lad at the time, and in 1658 he was married to Marion, daughter of the nearby minister, another Covenanter, Rev John Livingstone of Ancrum. She was only sixteen at he time. Unfortunately, she was to die just three years into their marriage, in July 1661, within Hawick manse. She was buried in Hawick kirkyard. In 1662, Scott was one of many ministers who refused to accept the king’s authority over him, and was thus outed from his charge. He had to leave his home and glebe, and give up his ministry in the town. However, he refused to give up ministering to his parishioners, and although he was banished from the town, he continued to preach in the open air, often in places like Earlside.

Rev Scott was active in the Pentland Rising, and it is recorded in the diary of Colonel James Wallace of Auchans, leader of the Covenanter force at the time, that both he and Major Gilgour were present. They offered to gather support from their homelands around Teviotdale and Hawick, but unfortunately for the Covenanters, there was insufficient time for this to take place. Scott and Gilgour appear to have left the Covenanters on the march to Edinburgh at Bathgate for this purpose, and did not return back in time.

Scott’s name was known to the authorities, yet he continued to preach in the open. When he felt that the dragoons were closing in on him he managed to escape to the north of England, preaching in Cumberland and Northumberland, ‘reclaiming sinners and instructing many who scarcely ever had the Gospel preached among them before.’

On 28 August 1678 Scott chaired a meeting of Indulged and other ministers who were against the more pronounced views of Rev Richard Cameron and others. In December 1681 he met the Earl of Argyle, soon after he had escaped from prison in Edinburgh Castle, disguised as a page. Scott took part in his escape to London, advising the earl to ride non-stop to the Border estate of Torwoodlee. He also told him a password which he should use, to ensure he was received as a fellow Covenanter.

Rev John Scott is thought to have survived until the Glorious Revolution, but for some reason he did not return to the church from which he was expelled. Perhaps he was too infirm to take on the ministry.