The Alexander Peden Memorial

Alexander Peden, Prophet of the Covenanters, lived here, 1682-5.

Alexander Peden was one of the key figures in the story of the Covenanters in Ireland in the late 1600s. He took refuge from persecution by the Scottish authorities with the Steel Family at Mistyburn, in the Glenwherry area near Ballymena. He is one of many Covenanters who fled to this area to seek refuge at that time. In 1972, a memorial was unveiled on the site where he lived.

Access details

The monument is located off the Douglas Road, on the townland of Mistyburn.


Grid Reference


Alexander Peden

Ayrshire-born Alexander Peden refused to accept the King's authority over the Church. For this, he was wanted by the government and on several occasions fled to Ireland for refuge. He was eventually arrested in Scotland, imprisoned and later sentenced to exile in Virginia. He escaped exile when the ship's captain refused to assist with the exile of a man on account of his beliefs.  Following this he continued to visit Ireland occasionally.

In 1686, when Peden died in Scotland (of natural causes), government troops exhumed his body with the intention of hanging it on the gallows. Lady Dumfries intervened to prevent this and instead his body was reburied on the gallows hill. He was held in such high regard that locals started to bury their dead there also and it became a graveyard. From the early 1700s many books were published about him. This included an edition of Some remarkable passages of the life and death of Alexander Peden published in Belfast in 1755. 

The memorial

In 1969, a conventicle (open-air meeting) was held at Mistyburn to commemorate Peden's ministry in the area. Nearly 1000 people attended. This success led to the erection of the memorial to Peden on the site where he had lived in refuge. Until 1995 an annual conventicle was held at this site. Today conventicles are held here every five years.