PRESERVING THE PAST . . . . FOR THE FUTURE
PEDEN THE PROPHET - Alexander Peden has been the subject of much literature over the years, written by authors whose specialist subject would have been the Scottish Covenanters Therefore there is no wish here to add to the volumes already written.
But visitors to Sorn from across the world often wish to see the "hole in the ground" in the Cleugh Glen which has always within living memory and long before, been known locally as Peden's Cave. This difficult to find location is easy enough when one has already been there, but to a stranger, it is usually a struggle to find and perhaps a struggle also to reach. The narrow ledge leading to the mouth of the cave can be a little treacherous to the not so sure footed.
There have already been two parties of welcome visitors to ayrshirehistory.com in 2009 seeking assistance to find the "cave". There was one in 2008, and in previous years a number of others. Many are Peden descendents. James Peden or Paden from Carolina. A Dutch family in 2008, Koos and Marijke in 2009, and James and James Peden from Kentucky also in 2009. There have never been any published photos of the entry to the cave on ayrshirehistory.com, so because of the popularity of the subject, the following images are now at last given.
The Peden and Covenanters trail in the immediate area is worthy of investigation. There is the stone as you enter the Kirkyard at Auchinleck old cemetery, The large stone at Cumnock old cemetery, as well as the other martyrs stones. The Baird Institute in Cumnock reopened in 2009 after refurbishment, which includes a substantial Covenanters display. There is a Peden's cave on the Lugar, not far from Wallace's.
In Mauchline they have the Martyr's Monument, which is again placed in front of the primary school, as well as stones in the entry way walls. These were removed in recent times due to serious alterations to Mauchline Primary School. The old "Mauchlin" flag still hangs in Mauchline Parish Church. Further down the River Ayr from Mauchline is Failford, where according to tradition Peden once preached across the river at a secluded spot.
At Sorn the Covenanters flag hangs proudly in Sorn Castle, where there is also an old drum and halbert reputed to have been at the battle of Drumclog. These were presented to Sorn Curling Club by Farquhar-Gray of Gilmilnscroft in 1798, and are now kept at Sorn Castle for safe keeping. Sorn Castle is open to the public during the summer months. Towards the northern part of Sorn Parish sits Auchencloigh, Peden's birthplace. George Wood's stone is against the back wall of the church in Sorn.
The Muirkirk area has also a number of monuments and sites to visit. There is a little booklet here on line about the Muirkirk Martyrs.
A Dutch family carefully make their way back from the cave entrance.