Inchbelly Martyrs' Gravestone


Milton of Campsie


NGR - NS 672759


The monument to the Inchbelly Martyrs is located at the side of the A 803, hust short of half a mile south of the junction with the A 891, between Kirkintilloch and Kilsyth. The road is fairly busy, and there is no easy spot for parking. 

The present stone was erected in 1865, when a sermon was preached by Rev Dr Blakely, of Kirkintilloch, on behalf of the fund for its renewal.

The inscription reads:

'Twas Martyr's Blood Bought Scotland's Liberty.

Erected February, 1865. In room of the old tombstone, by the people of Kirkintilloch and Neighbourhood. Original Inscription. In this field lies the corps of John Wharry, and James Smith, who suffered in Glasgow, 13 June 1683, for their adherence to the Word of God and Scotland's Covenanted Work of Reformation.

Inchbelly Bridge. 107

And they overcame them by the blood of the lamb, And by the word of their testimony; and they Loved not their lives unto the death.—Rev. xii. 11.

Halt courteous passenger, and look on

Our bodies dead, & lying under this stone.

Altho' we did commit no deed, nor fact

That was against the Bridegroom's contract,

Yet we to Glasgow were as prisoners brought,

And against us false witness they sought.

Their sentence cruel and unjust they past,

And then our corps on scaffold they did cast.

There we our lives and right hands also lost.

From Glasgow we were brought unto this place

In chains of iron hung up for certain space,

Then taken down interred here we ly—

From 'neath this stone our blood to heaven doth cry.

Had foreign foes, Turks, or Mahometans,

Had Scythians, Tartars, Arabian Caravans,

Had cruel Spaniards, the Popes blood seed,

Commenced the same, less strange had been the deed,

But Protestants, profest our Covenants to,

Our countrymen this bloody deed could do.

Yet notwithstanding of their hellish rage

The noble Wharry stepping on the stage


With courage bold and with a heart not faint,

Exclaims, This blood now seals our covenant-

Ending, They who would follow Christ should take

Their cross upon their back, the world forsake.



Inchbelly Martyrs' Memorial


John Wharry was the younger brother of the Laird of Scorryholm, a small property on the Logan Water, about three miles to the south-west of Lesmahagow. He and James Smith, his companion in martyrdom, were discovered sitting in a lonely part of a wood at Inchbelly Bridge, by a party of soldiers in search of some country people who had rescued a prisoner they were taking to Edinburgh. In the scuffle some on both sides were wounded and one soldier killed; but the countrymen having accomplished their object, dispersed. The soldiers rallied, and being enraged at their defeat, searched the places around in the hope of recovering their victim. In this way they came upon Wharry and Smith not far from where they were attacked. They had no arms, but only a walking-stick in their possession. On the assumption that they belonged to the party who had rescued the prisoner, they were seized and taken to Glasgow.

On their trial no witnesses could be found to prove that they were among those who had assailed the soldiers, but it was sufficient evidence they were found near the spot In the absence of all proof, they were condemned to have their right hands cut off, then to be executed, and their dead bodies afterwards to be carried to Inchbelly Bridge, and there suspended in chains. They were ultimately buried on the spot where they were taken.

The monument does not mark the original grave site. The old Ordnance Survey map below shows that the original grave was located a hundred yards or so into the field.