Covenanter's Museum

A small museum remotely located in a cottage on Lochgoin Farm, close to the northeastern boundary of East Ayrshire, the Covenanter's Museum explains the fight for religious freedom in Scotland in the 17th century and, in particular, the resistance to the changes imposed on the Church of Scotland by King Charles I (1600-49) who wished to align it with the Church of England with him as its head. These changes brought about the Signing of the National Covenant in 1638 and gained a degree of compromise. However, when King Charles II (1630-85) forged ahead with reforms following the Restoration, discontent turned to armed resistance, particularly in SW Scotland where many church ministers had been dismissed for refusing to accept the new arrangements. Having been expelled from their churches, many took part in outdoor religious services or Coventicles. During these 'killing times', government soldiers hunted down and killed those who resisted. While some of these religious martyrs lie in kirkyards across the region, others were buried where they fell, often on remote moorlands, now marked by monuments.

This museum celebrates martyrs from Fenwick and the surrounding area. It examines the lives of notable Covenanters such as William Guthrie (1620-65) and Alexander Peden (1626-86). The museum also contains artefacts from the Covenanter victory at the Battle of Drumclog in 1679, as well as the notebooks of John Howie of Lochgoin (1735-93), the author of the Scots Worthies, a collected biography of important characters of the time. Howie is commemorated by the Lochgoin Monument, a sizeable obelisk in a field nearby, which was erected 1896. Lochgoin Farm was long associated with the Howie family, who were Covenanter sympathisers. Several Coventicles were held here and troops regularly raided.

The property was given to the Lochgoin & Fenwick Covenanters Trust by the landowner Lord Rowallan.

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