John Nisbet the younger “had a grave courage and staidness when he came to the place of execution; he prayed, and sang Psalm 16:5, to the close, with a great deal of affection and joy.”

“In 1683, Major White was fully empowered to fine and imprison all those who refused to acknowledge the Episcopal rule, or were supposed to sympathise with the Covenanters. It was in this year the Council granted him Justiciary power upon his apprehending John Nisbet the younger, as he was styled, to distinguish him from John Nisbet of Hardhill to prosecute him on the spot on the charge of being at Bothwell Bridge. He was accordingly tried at Kilmarnock, and sentenced to be hanged at the Cross. The spot where the gallows stood at the south comer is still marked by a circle of small white stones, and the initials of his name, J. N. Wodrow says “he had a grave courage and staidness when he came to the place of execution ; he prayed, and sang Psalm 16:5, to the close, with a great deal of affection and joy.”

Psalm 16:5 from the 1650 Scottish Psalter:

God is of mine inheritance and cup the portion;
The lot that fallen is to me thou dost maintain alone.

Nisbet belonged to the parish of Loudon. His execution was the only one which took place at Kilmarnock. His remains were buried in the Low Church burying-ground; an upright stone marks his grave, on which is carved a pistol, cross swords, and flags, and on a sculptured scroll the words,

Solemn League and Covenant, God and our Country, and underneath is inscribed :

who was Taken by-
Major Balfour’s Party &
Suffered at Kilmarnock
4th April 1683 for adhering
To the Word of GOD and our
Covenants. Rev. xii. & 1 1
Renewed by Public
A.D. 1823.

On the other side:

Come, Reader, see, here pleasant NISBET lies :
Whose Blood doth pierce the high and lofty Skies.
Kilmarnock did his latter Hour perceive ;
And Christ his Soul to Heaven did receive.
Yet bloody Torrans did his Body raise
And bury’d it into another place :
Saying, Shall Rebels ly in Grave with me?
We’ll bury him where Evil-doers be.

Near the grave of Nisbet is a martyr-stone of remembrance to John Ross and John Shields, who suffered at Edinburgh, and had their heads set up at Kilmarnock.

From Inscriptions on the Tombstones and Monuments Erected in Memory of the Covenanters [microform] with historical introd. and notes (1881), p 134-135 found here


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