David Steel's Gravestone

Lesmagow Kirkyard



NGR - NS 814398


David Steel's gravestone is located in the old churchyard in the centre of Lesmahagow. This graveyard is usually locked, so access can be difficult.

The inscription reads as follows:



the Body of DAVID STEEL Martyr

who was Murdered by Crichton for his

Testimony to the Covenants and Work

of Reformation and because he durst

not own the Authority of the

Tyrant destroying the same. He was

shot at SKELLYHILL the 20th of Decr

1686 in the 33d year of his age


Be thou faithful unto Death and

I will give the a Crown of Life


David, a shepherd first and then

Advanced to be the king of men,

Had of his graces in this quarter

This heir, a wanderer, now a martyr,

Who for his contancy and zeal,

Still to the back did prove true steel.


A play, True Steel, was written by Robert S. McLeish, based on the story of Steel's martyrdom. This has been performed a number of times, including at Strathaven in 2016, as part of the SCMA's 5oth Anniversary.


David Steel's Gravestone


David Steel was the shepherd at Skellyhill farm, which lies to the south-west of Lesmahagow. He was approached by the dragoons near to his house on 20 December 1686 and shot. He was 33 years of age. His corpse was brought to Lesmahagow and buried. A memorial at Skellyhill also commemorates him.