MEMBERS of Cumnock Covenanters Association have embarked on another restoration project.

They have transformed the grave of John Brown of Priesthill, who is buried near Muirkirk, by tidying the area and painting the memorial stone marking the site.

Priesthill, not to be confused with the housing scheme on the South Side of Glasgow, is just north of Muirkirk near the road between the village and Strathaven.

Colin Stove of the Cumnock Covenanters Association (CCA), said: “The grave marks an important part of local and Scottish history. John Brown was a close friend of Rev Alexander Peden.

“Rev Peden conducted the wedding ceremony of John Brown, who was known as The Christian Carrier for his way of spreading the word of God, and a Miss Weir in the 1680s.

John Brown lived in a farm-steading at Priesthill, where he is buried on a remote stretch of woodland to the east of the steading.

His involvement with the Covenanters was non-attendance at church, preferring to take to the moors with other like-minded people for prayer.

This was enough to make him a marked man under the terms of the Royal Proclamation of May, 1684, and his name appeared on a list of wanted men.

He evaded the authorities by taking to the countryside, but was captured at home on May 1, 1685 — while performing family worship.

Colonel Graham of Claverhouse shot him through the head, having ordered his troops to do so — they had refused and he feared a mutiny.

A stone at his grave reads: “Here lies the body of John Brown, Martyr, who was murdered in this place by Graham of Claverhouse, for his testimony to the Covenant and work of Reformation, and because he durst not own the authority of the then tyrant destroying the same: who died the first day of May, 1685, and of his age 38.”

The Cumnock group are dedicated to promote covenanting history in the area as well as helping preserve local monuments

Mr Stove said: “The CCA meet on the second Thursday of every month, at 7pm at The Barhill Centre, Cumnock. All are welcome.”