Open main menu


LAW, ROBERT (d. 1690?), covenanting preacher, was the son of Thomas Law, minister of Inchinnan in Renfrewshire, by Jean, daughter of Sir Robert Hamilton of Silvertonhill, and the grandson of James Law [q.v.], archbishop of Glasgow from 1615 to 1632. He studied at the university of Glasgow, graduating M.A. there in 1646. The parish of New or Easter Kilpatrick, Dumbartonshire, called him to be their minister in 1652; but as his trials were unsatisfactory the presbytery refused to induct him. On appeal to the synod, a committee of that court was appointed to try him anew, and he was admitted by them without the consent of the presbytery (Baillie, Letters, iii. 186, 294). Law inherited the lands of Balernok and others from his father in 1657, together with his library, valued at 366l. 13s. 4d. Scots. He took the side of the protesters, and, declining to conform to episcopacy at the Restoration, was deprived of his benefice by the act of parliament of 11 June 1662. On the charge of preaching at conventicles he was arrested in his bed on 9 July 1674, and after suffering imprisonment in Glasgow for eight days was removed to the Tolbooth at Edinburgh. He admitted having preached in the vacant church of Kilsyth on the invitation of the people, and was placed under caution of five thousand marks to appear before the council when required (Wodrow, History, ed. Burns, ii. 270). Law accepted the indulgence of 1679, and on the petition of some heritors was permitted to return to his parish, though it would appear that another minister retained possession of the benefice (New Statistical Account of Dumbartonshire, 'Parish of New Kilpatrick'). He was married, and had at least one son, John, who became a regent in the university of Glasgow. He must have died before 1690, as on 28 Feb. of that year his son was served his heir in Balernok. He was buried in Glasgow High churchyard (Monteith, Collection of Epitaphs, Scotland, p. 293).

Law was author of 'Memorialls, or the Memorable Things that fell out within this Island of Brittain from 1638 to 1684,' a work which was edited in 1818 by Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe, who, in his extensive annotations, shows an entire want of sympathy with his author. Burns, the editor of Wodrow, states that the work was published by Sharpe to discredit Wodrow and the presbyterians, and the statement is fully borne out by the recently published correspondence of Sharpe.

[Law's Memorialls; Scott's Fasti Ecclesiæ Scoticanæ, iii. 219, 363, 364; Abbreviatio Inquisitionum, Lanark, Nos. 265, 268, 386; Kirkpatrick Sharpe's Correspondence.]

H. P.