JOHN ROW, ( secundus)
Minister of Culross.

He was  born Perth,
his baptism is recorded as having taken place 6th Jan. 1568-9, third son
of John R., the Reformer, min. of Perth; educated by his father, he was so
precocious that he knew Hebrew at the age of seven, and read daily after
dinner or supper portions of the Old Testament in the original. On the
death of his father in 1580, his brother William and he received friar’s
pensions from the King’s Hospital at Perth. At fifteen he became
schoolmaster of Kennoway and tutor to his cousins, sons of Beaton of
Balfour, whomhe accompanied to Edinburgh Univ. in 1586, where he graduated
M.A. 1st Aug. 1590. Shortly afterwards he was elected schoolmaster of
Aberdour, and was tutor to William, Earl of Morton. He continued his
studies in divinity, and towards the end of 1592 he was ord. to this
charge. He was one of the forty-five mins. who signed a Protest to
Parliament, 1st July 1606, against Episcopacy, and in the same year, at
Linlithgow, he met with the mins. who were to be put on their trial for
holding the Assembly at Aberdeen in disobedience to the King’s command. In
1616 he declined a presentation to Aberdour, and later, a call to Culross.
In 1619, and again on 29th Dec. 1621, he was summoned before the Court of
High Commission for nonconformity and opposition to Prelacy. He was
prevented by illness from obeying the former summons, but was represented
by a son and a nephew. Sir George Bruce of Carnock also intervened on his
behalf and sent a letter by one of his servants, Richard Christie, to the
Archbishop. The Archbishop deposed two mins. but dealt more leniently with
Row, who was simply “confined to his own congregation.” Richard Christie
claimed as much credit for the light sentence as Row’s other friends
“After sundry arguments, Christie came on with one weightie argument,”
saying, “thir coals in your mines are very evil, and my master (Bruce)
hath very many good coals: send up a vessel every year to Culross,and I
shall see her laden with good coals.” After Row had been restricted to his
small parish he organised the Communion services which gave Carnock a
celebrity among the parishes of Scotland. This it retained for upwards of
two hundred years. At a Communion in 1635 it is said there were no fewer
than seventeen tables. Row was a member of the Glasgow Assembly of 1638,
when he was app. one of a committee of mins. “come to years” to enquire
from personal knowledge of the handwriting of clerks and their own
recollection of events into the authenticity of certain Assembly Records
which had been missing for sometime, the result being that their
genuineness was established. By the same Assembly he was named one of a
committee for considering such constitutions and laws ” as might prevent
corruptions in the future, like those which had troubled the Kirk in the
past.” He died 26th June 1646, after a few days’ illness, and was buried
at the east end of Carnock Church, where a monumental stone was erected to
his memory. This monument is surmounted bya Scottish thistle, immediately
over which are the Hebrew words for “The Last House,”’ and the following
Latin inscription:
” Hic Jacet M. Jo. Row, Pastor hujus ecclesise fidelissimus: vixit
acerrimus veritatis et foederis Scoticani assertor: hierarchias pseudo-episcopalis
et omanorum rituum cordicitus osor: in frequenti symmistarum apostasia
cubi instar constantissimus.”

 In ” Memorials of the
Family of Row”[in MS.] there is to be found this other epitaph:

‘”Though bald with age, and
prest with weight,
In crooked times this man went straight
His pen kept hid things on record
For which the Prelats him abhorr’d
And his Carnock, his little quarter
For Canterbury he would not barter.”

He marr. 4th Jan. 1595
Grizel (died 30th Jan. 1659), described as “a verie comelie and beautifull
young woman,” daugh. of David Fergusson, min. of Dunfermline,  and
had issue David, a min. in Ireland, “who was obliged to return to Scotland
after a residence of twenty-five years, fifteen of which he had spent in
the ministry, with a wife and five children without means of support,
because of persecution and oppression from Papists who burned, slew, and
did all the hurt they could to those that fled not”; John, Principal of
King’s College, Aberdeen (g.v.); Robert, min. of Abercorn; William, min.
of Ceres Katherine (marr. (1) cont. 1st Sept. 1627, Robert Alison,
merchant burgess, Dunfermline: f2) John Messone, burgess of Culross);
Elizabeth (marr. cont. 4th April 1623, William Gibbon, indweller in
Banhaird); Margaret (marr. David Robertson, of Murton-Elginch, and was
great-great grandmother of Principal Robertson, the historian).