This article is taken from a book on Covenanter gravestones and tells the story of his imprisonment and death on the Bass Rock.

Rev. John Blackadder, Covenanting Minister of Troqueer.

During the reign of Prelatic domination, the Bass had for its inmates almost exclusively men of piety and prayer, whom a wise Government, instead of condemning, should have protected and honoured. One of the most distinguished prisoners was the Rev. John Blackadder, lineal descendant and representative of the ancient family of Tulliallan, from whom he inherited the title of knight baronet, which he never assumed. He was appointed minister of Traquair [Troqueer], in the Presbytery of Dumfries, in 1652, where he laboured till November, 1662, when, by the Act of Council at Glasgow, he was compelled to abandon his charge for his conscientious adherence to Presbyterian principles. He continued to preach, and great multitudes flocked to hear him.

On 25th January, 1666, letters of Council were directed against him and other ministers for presuming to preach, pray, baptize, and perform other acts of ministerial function. He went to Holland, where he placed his eldest son at Leyden, to study for a physician. Some time after his return to Scotland, he was apprehended on 5th April, 1681, when in bed in his own house at Edinburgh, taken before the Council, and sentenced to be imprisoned in the Bass. The cell in which he was confined is still pointed out, with its three small iron-barred windows to the west. Being now advanced in years, with a constitution enfeebled by fatigue and labour, his health became seriously impaired. After four years' incarceration, a petition was presented for his removal, which was refused. A second application was more successful, but before it could be carried into effect, death came to him as a messenger of peace. He had thus completed his threescore years and three.

His remains were carried from the Bass and buried in the churchyard of North Berwick, where a large table stone marks the place of interment. The stone was repaired and re-lettered in July, 1821, at the expense of several gentlemen in the neighbourhood. The inscription is as follows:

Here lies the body of Mr John Blackadder, minister of the gospel at Troqueer, in Galloway, who died on the Bass, after five years' imprisonment, Anno Dom. 1685, and of his age sixty three years.

Blest John, for Jesus' sake, in Patmos bound,
His prison Bethel, Patmos Pisgah found,
So the bless'd John, on yonder rock confined,-
His body suffer'd, but no chains could bind
His heaven-aspiring soul; while day by day,
As from Mount Pisgah's top, he did survey
The promised land, and view'd the crown by faith,
Laid up for those who faithful are till death.
Grace formed him in the Christian Hero's mould -
Meek in his own concerns in's Master's bold;
Passions to Reason chained, Prudence did lead -
Zeal warmed his breast, and Reason cool'd his head.
Five years on the lone rock, yet sweet abode,
He Enoch-like enjoyed, and walk'd with God;
Till, by long living on this heavenly food,
His soul by love grew up too great, too good
To be confined to jail, or flesh and blood.
Death broke his fetters off, then swift he fled
From sin and sorrow, and by angels led,
Enter'd the mansions of eternal joy; -
Blest soul, thy warfare's done, praise, love, enjoy.
His dust here rests, till Jesus come again, -
Even so, blest Jesus, come come, Lord Amen.

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