Archibald Stewart's Gravestone

Lesmahagow Churchyard

Lesmahagow

Lanarkshire

NGR - NS 814399

 

A red granite memorial commemorates Archibald Stewart. The lengthy inscription reads:

IN MEMORIUM

ARCHIBALD  STEWART   OF   UNDERBANK,

WHO SUFFERED MARTYRDOM WITH  FOUR OTHERS AT THE CROSS

OF GLASGOW, 19TH MARCH, 1684, IN THE 19TH YEAR OF HIS AGE

AND BURIED NEAR CATHEDRAL.         

       NOBLY “DID THEY THEIR OWN PART”

    EXTRACTED FROM HIS LAST LETTERS TO HIS FRIENDS:

THIS IS THE  SWEETEST  AND  JOYFULLEST DAY THAT   EVER  I  HAD

IN MY LIFE;   I  AM MORE WILLING TO DIE FOR MY LORD CHRIST AND

HIS TRUTH THAN EVER I WAS TO LIVE.  I BLESS THE LORD WHO HAS

CALLED ME,  CHOSEN ME AND REDEEMED ME THROUGH  HIS  BLOOD

AND  THE  RICHES  OF  HIS  FREE  GRACE  AND  FOR  ACCEPTING MY

TESTIMONY.  I AM CALLED TO WITNESS THIS DAY FOR HIM. IF EVERY

DROP OF MY BLOOD AND EVERY  HAIR  OF  MY  HEAD  WERE  A  LIFE,

I  WOULD WILLINGLY LAY THEM DOWN FOR MY LOVELY LORD  JESUS

CHRIST;   LET NONE DOUBT THIS,  THESE ARE THE TRUE WORDS OF A

DYING MARTYR AND I SEAL THEM WITH MY BLOOD. STUDY TO KNOW

THE  PRECIOUSNESS  OF   JESUS;   MISS   NOT   THE   KINGDOM   FOR

FEAR OF  SUFFERING;   HE   HAS   COVERED   ALL   MY  CROSS  WITH

LOVE AND  BORNE  BOTH  IT  AND  ME.  IF  YE  ONLY KNEW WHAT OF

HIS   LOVE   I   HAVE   GOTTEN   SINCE   I   WAS   HONOURED    WITH

IMPRISONMENT  FOR  HIS  TRUTH,   YE  WOULD  NOT  BE  AFRAID  OF

SUFFERING.   OH,  I  CANNOT  EXPRESS  HIS  MATCHLESS  LOVE  FOR

  1. IT IS  LITTLE  I  CAN   SPEAK  FOR   HIM,  BUT   BE   PERSUADED

THIS  IS   THE   WAY  TO  OBTAIN  THE  CROWN  OF  GLORY.    SPEND

MUCH  TIME  IN  PRIVATE  PRAYER  AND  STUDY  DENIEDNESS.   KEEP

UP YOUR FELLOWSHIP MEETINGS WHICH YOU AND  I  HAD TOGETHER,

THOUGH  EVER  SO  FEW  BE  TO  ATTEND THEM.  I  THINK  THEY  ARE

THE   LIFE   OF   RELIGION.    MY   SOUL   HAS    BEEN    MANY   TIMES

REFRESHED   THROUGH   THEM,   IF   NO   ONE   WILL   HELP  YOU  DO

YOUR  OWN  PART.   OH,  PRAY,  PRAY THAT THE LORD WILL HASTEN

HIS  RETURN  TO  HIS  COVENANTED  LAND, AND  SEE THE GLORIOUS

DAYS  OF  THE  CHURCH  OF  SCOTLAND,  WHEN  THIS   STORM  HAS

PASSED  AND  GONE.   NOW,  I  WISH WITH ALL MY HEART AND SOUL

THAT  THESE  WHO  HAVE  WRONGED  ME, MAY  HAVE  REPENTANCE

AND THAT IT STAND WELL WITH  THE  LORD’S  GLORY  TO  FORGIVE

                             THEM, AS I DESIRE ALSO TO BE FORGIVEN.

                     NOW FAREWELL ALL SOCIETIES OF THE LORD’S PEOPLE.

MOTHER  AND  SISTER,   FAREWELL;   READING,  SINGING,  PRAYING,

CONVERSING, MEDITATING, HOLY AND SWEET SCRIPTURE FAREWELL.

WELCOME,  HEAVEN,  WELCOME,  HOLY ANGELS AND SPIRIT OF JUST

MEN  MADE  PERFECT.   WELCOME  ETERNITY  AND  SALVATION  FOR

EVERMORE.   WELCOME, FATHER, SON AND HOLY GHOST.   INTO THY

                             HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT.  AMEN

                            

     TOLBOOTH.  MARCH 15TH 1684.             ARCHIBALD STEWART.

“HIS   CHRISTIAN   MAGNANIMITY  AND  DELIGHT,   AT  HIS  DEATH,

               WERE OBSERVED BY MANY”

                    VIDE NAPHTALI.

 

He is also commemorated on a memorial at Glasgow Cathedral, along with other martyrs.

 

Archibald Stewart in Underbank

 

Archibald Stewart (or Stuart) lived at Underbank, which was located near to Crossford, in Clydesdale. According to Wodrow, he 'was a country man in the parish of Lesmahago'. He was captured at Lanark (at a spot known as Steel's Cross) whilst he and John Steel were travelling near the town. Steel was injured and left for dead, but subsequently escaped. Stewart was taken to Glasgow where he was tried on 17 March 1684 by a special commission comprising Lieutenut-Colonel Windram preses, Sir William Fleming, Sir James Turner, Lieutenant-Colonel Buchan, John Somerwel of Spittle Sheriff Depute of Lanark, and WIiliam Stirling before designed; and John Jones, writer in Glasgow was procurator fiscal. Their indictment was that they had been at Bothwell Bridge, and other insurrections. 

He was executed at Glasgow Cross on 19 March 1684. Wodrow writes, 'The Christian magnanimity and delight under which Archibald Stuart, a youth scarce nineteen years, died, was observed by many. Amongstt other moving ex­pressions at his execution, he had this. "I die not by constraint, but willingly, and this I can say, I am more willing to die for my lovely Lord Christ, and his work and truths, than ever I was to live".'

Underbank was a property of the Duke of Hamilton, in 1695 the tenant being John Stuart and his wife, Elisabeth Sherifflaw. During the time of the Covenanters, John Stewart in Underbank was listed as a fugitive.