John  Livingston M.A.

John Livingston M.A. (1603 - 1672)

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Rev John Livingston M.A.
Born in Kilsyth, Stirlingshire, Scotlandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married in West Church, Edinburgh, Scotlandmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Rotterdam, Hollandmap
Livingston-49 created 13 Sep 2010 | Last modified | Last edit: 19 Sep 2017
18:47: Nathan Kennedy edited the Biography for John Livingston M.A.. [Thank Nathan for this]
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Also referred to as Master John Livingston Rev John was a descendant of the fifth Lord Livingston. Rev John, an energetic preacher of the Reformed Church in Scotland, was banished for his non-conformity and he took refuge in Rotterdam, Holland where he died in 1672. He first emigrated to Ireland to anser a call to preach in Killinchy. Afterwards, he tried twice in vain to emigrate to America. From the book "Robert Livingston, 1654-1728, and the Politics of Colonial New York" Ref to Robert: "In 1663 his father, a Presbyterian minister, was exiled to Holland, where Robert learned Dutch customs."

click here for Livingstons of Callendar records: [1]


My father was –62 and –170 Mr. William Livingstone, first minister at Monybroch (The same as Kilayth), where he entered in the year 1600, and thereafter was transported, about the year 1615, to be minister at Lanark, where he died in the year 1641, being sixty-five years old. His father was -64 and –175 Mr Alexander Livingstone, also at Monybroch, who was a near relation to the house of Calender. His father was killed at Pinkiefield, anno 1547, being a son of the Lord Livingstone, which house thereafter was dignified to be Earl of Linlithgow. My father was all his days straight and zealous in the work of reformation against Episcopacy and ceremonies, and was once deposed; and wanted not seals of his ministry, both at Monybroch and also at Lanark. My mother was Agnes Livingstone, daughter of Alexander Livingstone, portioner of Falkirk, come of the house of Dunipace. She was a rare pattern of godliness and virtue. She died in the year 1617, being about thirty-two years of age. She left three sons and four daughters. I was born in Monybroch, in Stirlingshire, the 21st of June 1603.

hopes of my proficiency) that I should stay one other year; and thus another boy and I stayed another year. We for the most part read by ourselves in a little chamber above the school, the mster furnishing us books, where we went through the most part of the choice Latin writers, both poets and others; and that year was to me the largemost profitable year I had at the schools. MORE OF FAMILY HISTORY FROM THIS ACCOUNT: -170 Rev. William Livingston, M.A., born 1576 in Kilsyth Scotland or Monyabroch; died 1641 in Lanark Scotland. He was the son of 64. Rev. Alexander Livingston, M.A. and 65. Barbara Livingston.

He married –171 Agnes Livingston 6 Jan 1600/01 in Falkirk Parish Church, Stirlingshire Scotland. 33. Agnes Livingston, born abt 1600; died 7 Jan 1631/32. She was the daughter of 66. –64 Alexander Livingston and –148 Marion Bryson.

Children of Rev. Livingston and Agnes Livingston are:

i. Reverend John Livingston, born 21 June 1603 in Moneyabrook, Sterlingshire Scotland; died Aug 1672 in Rotterdam Holland;

married Janet Fleming 23 Jun 1635 in West Kirk, Edinburgh Scotland.

ii. Samuel Livingston, died Aft. 1637.
iii. Barbara Livingston
iv. Lillias Livingston
v. Anna Livingston, married Reverend Thomas Vassie 5 May 1627; born in of Torphichen.
vi. Margaret Livingston, died Nov 1632; married Matthew Young 4 Jan 1631/32; schoolmaster in Lanark Scotland.
vii. William Livingston, born in Stirlingshire Scotland; died 12 Apr 1670 of Burren Ireland; married Lindsey –55 Mary Lindsay Abt. 1640 in Lanark Scotland; born Abt. 1600; of Burren Ireland.

Reverend John Livingston and Janet Fleming His account of marriage to Fleming [[2]] 16. Reverend John Livingston [Bio], born 21 Jun 1603 in Moneyabrook Scotland; died Aug 1672 in Rotterdam Holland. He was the son of 32. Rev. William Livingston, M.A. and 33. Agnes Livingston.

He married 17. Janet Fleming 23 Jun 1635 in West Kirk Scotland. 17. Janet Fleming, born 16 Nov 1613; died 13 Feb 1693/94 in Rotterdam Holland. She was the daughter of 34. Bartholomew Fleming and 35. Marion Hamilton.

{Reverend} John Livingston, M.A. who at the very outset of his career became involved in a bitter dispute with the Bishop of Glasgow, and from then onward was constantly being censured for insubordination, and was more than once suspended from his holy office. Yet, in spite of all this, "Worthy, famous Mr. John Livingston," as he is affectionately called by contemporary chroniclers, carried more weight with the Scottish people than any churchman of his time.

Married: June 13, 1635 at Edinburgh to Janet Fleming who was born in 1613, died Rotterdam, Feb. 1690/1 and was a daughter of Bartholomew Fleming by Marian Hamilton.


Note: After graduating, he went to stay with his father at Lanark where he continued to study. Often he would preach in his father`s church and sometimes he would be asked to do likewise in other parishes. Quothquan, near the village of Thankerton, was another. It was while preaching there that he discarded written sermons forever. As he explained, "....more assistance in the enlarging of those points and more motion in my own heart, than I ever had found before, and after that I never wrote all at length, but only in notes."
In 1625 he was licensed to preach but because of his strongly held Presbyterian views, the Archbishop of St Andrews refused him a parish and indeed ordered him to desist from preaching altogether.
He tried in vain to attract calls from several parishes but each time was thwarted by the Bishops or the General Assembly on the pretext that they were better served by others. In 1626 he was asked by Lord Torphichen to visit him at his house in Calder. The aged minister of Torphichen Church had persuaded the noble lord, patron of the church, to invite Livingston to minister in his place.
Livingston preached there for a month and during that time the old minister died. Livingston was asked to take over the ministry in his place, but the Archbishop of St Andrews, John Spottieswood refused to sanction it on the basis of his continuing non-conformity.
This would seem to be expected from Spottieswood considering his reputation as a staunch Episcopalian and his more than enthusiastic support for measures designed to curb the spread of Presbyterianism.
Despite his continued failure to achieve a permanent parish of his own, Livingston consoled himself with having made the acquaintance of numerous ministers and professors in his travels. These were advantages he had gained, he maintained. One such person was James Hamilton, Viscount Clandeboye. In August, 1630 he invited Livingston to come to Ireland where the parish of Killinchy awaited him.
Although the civil war in Ireland had ended in the earlier part of King Henry Vll`s reign, the suppression of the Irish rebels was not completed until Elizabeth l had ascended the throne. All this time the lands of the province had been lying at waste. The English were in possession of a few towns and parcels of land, while the Irish stayed within the woods and other safe hiding places.
With the coming of the reign of James l there began the process of encouraging English and Scottish settlers, or planters to the province. Many of these moved from the south west of Ireland to the province of Ulster. The long rested land soon yielded to their labours and bore plentiful harvests.
The majority of these persons had opted for the move, being driven by poverty. Others were attracted by the adventure, and others who had lived `scandalous lives`. It was asserted that the scum of both England and Scotland were among the prime movers.
No care had been taken to plant any religion. Even some of the preachers at the time were of dubious quality. The land was ripe for such as Livingston to spread the gospel.
On reaching Ireland, armed with references from Clandeboye and the Earl of Wigton, he met with the Bishop of Ratho, Andrew Knox.. He explained his failure at not having been ordained. Knox said he had no scruples and that he would arrange for him to receive the `imposition of hands.` He would present him with the Book of Ordination and he could mark anything for deletion that he found disagreeable. On examining later, he had found others before him had so marked the ones he found unacceptable.
He was overjoyed at the events for, as he put it, "....the Lord was pleased to carry that business far beyond anything that I had thought or almost ever desyred".
Livingston`s first encounter with his new parishioners was when he officiated at a funeral . From the book, `Killinchy: or The Days of Livingston,` by William McComb, it was recorded;
"The mourners were soon seen winding their way up the hillside, and approaching with solemn steps and slow. At a little distance from the churchyard the procession was met by a tall thin looking man, well wrapped up in a rough cloak, whose sober walk, and sedate aspect attracted universal attention, and seemed to excite a feeling of agreeable surprise, it was John Livingston."
He had been asked by Hamilton to orate at the funeral. His exhorations to the assembled mourners led them all to consider their mortality, and stirred them up to timely preparation for `lying down in the dust`.
During the following winter he somewhat despaired of doing his people good. Although they were tractable, they were very ignorant. However in a short time some of them began to understand their condition.
The parish had no organised `official court`, Decision was tolerable. He appointed elders from various heads of families to oversee the keeping of it, and deacons were chosen to gather and distribute collections.
Each week he met with them and before them were called all who had transgressed. Some were heard in private while others were prevailed to confess their sins before the congregation. Those who failed to turn up suffered the ignominy of having their names, scandals, and inpenitency read out before the congregation.
In the summer of 1631, he and his friend Robert Blair, minister of Bangor visited Scotland where he preached at several parishes including Shotts. Archbishop Law of Glasgow got to hear of this He passed the news of Livingston`s unauthorised preachings in Scotland back to Robert Eclun, Bishop of Down. Only by the intervention of Dr James Usher, Primate of Armagh was he saved from deposement.
Within the space of six months another threat of deposement arose. He was accused with other ministers of stirring up the people to `extasies and enthusiasms.` One Edward Bryce, an aged parson had some of his congregation `fall upon a high breathing and panting, as those doe who have run long` during his sermons.
Livingston thought this was not brought about by the sermon, but rather the people were as likely to react in the same fashion regardless of what was sermonised. In fact, he doubted if they were Christians at all.
Despite their pleas, he and Blair were deposed and remained so until May, 1634. Three months before this date he and some others decided to attempt a new life in the Americas seeing there was no end in sight of the prelates` tyranny.
Livingston and a Mr William Wallace were delegated to sail to New England and there "...try the condition of the country and to agree for ane place to settle in". They boarded the vessel at Weymouth in England and got as far as Plymouth where the ship was forced to seek anchorage due to storms. Here Mr Wallace fell ill. He was advised by doctors not to continue. Livingston, in turn, was informed by his friends in Ireland to abort the journey because of this.
He returned to Ireland and remained there for a further 18 months after the deposement was lifted. During this time he returned to Scotland where he got married in Edinburgh on 23 June 1635 to Janet Fleming.
"In June 1635 the Lord was graciously pleased to bless me with a wife, who, how well accomplished every way, and how faithfull an yoke-fellow, desire to leave to the memory of others."
Janet Fleming was the eldest daughter of Bartholomew Fleming, an Edinburgh merchant, and her mother was Marion Hamilton. Although brought up in Edinburgjh, Janet moved to Malone in Ireland in 1633 when her mother remarried on the death of Bartholomew. Her new husband was a John Stevenson.
Livingston had seen Janet several times in Scotland, and although he was to explain he had been attracted to her, he could never bring himself to approach her. It was only after she had gone to stay in Ireland that he plucked up the courage to approach her.
"It is like I might have been longer in that darkness, except the Lord had presented me an occasion of our conferring together: for, in November, 1634 when I was going to the Friday meeting at Antrim, I foregathered with her and some others going thither, and propounded to them, by the way, to confer upon a text whereon I was to preach the day after at Antrim.
"I immediately found her conference so just and spiritual, that I took that for some answer to my prayer to have my mind cleared. I could only blame myself for not taking the opportunity of so speaking with her before."
Four days later he informed her of his feelings towards her and asked her to consider hers. Two weeks later, when alone with her in her mother`s house, he sought her answer. Janet was as yet undecided.
"I went to prayer and desired her to pray, which at last she did: and in that time I got abundant clearness that it was the Lord`s mind that I should marry her, and then propounded the matter more fully to her mother."
The wedding took place in St Cuthbert`s Church, Edinburgh on 23 June, 1635. Among those in attendance were the Earl of Wigton and his son Lord Fleming.
The ceremony was not received favourably by Archbishop Spottieswood, Chancellor of Scotland, as some days before it he had issued orders for the apprehension of the groom. The seizure did notmaterialise for the couple remained free before returning to Ireland a few months later.
Livingston resumed his preaching in Ireland, albeit in a furtive manner, for some months after an aborted sailing to New England. However, he was warned that he was to be apprehended and taken to Dublin. Both he and his friend fled to Scotland in February 1637. He was given shelter and protection in Irvine. Blair remained there while Livingston went on to Lanark to stay with his father for awhile.
He returned to Irvine the following month where he was joined by his wife and baby son., John. A shortwhile later they all continued on to Lanark. There they would stay before he took up his first parish in Scotland, Stranraer. Janet was later to return to Malone, Ireland to visit her mother who was dying. She was accompanied by Samuel Livingston, her brother-in-law.
All the while at this time, Archbisop Laud was determined to have his liturgy foisted on the populace. On 23 July, 1637 he decreed that the new Service Book be invoked. This resulted in a huge cry of protest from the people, none more so than in St Giles Church, Edinburgh.
At the end of May, 1638 he was given the choice of two parishes in Scotland, Stranraer and Straiton in Carrick. He opted for the former in as much it was nearer the port of Portpatrick and so nearer Ireland where his people could travel to meet him more easily. He moved there in July of that year. He was joined there by his family and would remain there for ten years until the harvest of 1648.
By November, 1638 the King, Charles l, was at first pleased to yield to some of the demands of the Covenant and allowed the convening of the first free General Assembly in Glasgow, referring all ecclesiastic matters to it, and civil matters would be dealt with by Parliament.
The following year, 1639 the King branded the Covenanter rebels and set about to crush them by raising an army of under 12,000 men, horse and foot soldiers, and marching with them to set up camp at York.
When news of this development reached Scotland, 30,000 horse and foot soldiers under the leadership of Sir Alexander Leslie advanced soutwards and came to rest at Berwick. Both sides parleyed and reached an amicable agreement with no fighting taking place. The earlier decision to allow ecclesiastic matters to be dealt with by the church and civil matters by Parliament was written into a treaty of disengagement. It was also a condition that both armies be disbanded.
On returning to London the King met with the wrath of the Bishops.and was forced to have the articles of the above treaty burned by the hands of the hangman. Immediately the King was promised the support of the clergy if he would break with the treaty and to set about raising another army to invade Scotland and subdue the rebels. This he agreed to do.
By August, 1640 Charles had entrenched an army near Newburn on the south side of the River Tyne. He had already fortified Edinburgh Castle with a company of English soldiers under General Ruthven.
The Covenanters had been expecting this new venture, and had consequently raised an army in anticipation. This force made its way over the border determined to prevent any incursion onto Scottish soil by the King`s force. John Livingston was appointed to accompany the Earl of Cassilis`s regiment as its chaplain.
Following a skirmish between the opposing armies, the Scots took Newcastle.
For the third time the King granted a free General Assembly for Scotland. This time the King ratified it by a letter and a personal visit.
It was during the King`s presence in Scotland that the Irish rebelled in October 1641. Many religious people had already fled from the north of Ireland when the ministers were deposed. Others later left in 1639 when the `black oath` was forced upon them, this being the abjurance of the National Covenant. Even among those that took the oath there was no escape from the wrath of the rebels, many being murdered.
In 1642, an army from Scotland landed in Ireland with the intent to subdue the rebellion. This army was under the command of General-Major Munro.
Ironically, members of the liberation army were compared by some of those they were helping as no better than the rebels themselves. Some of the refugees that landed in Scotland swore they thought the oppression and insolencies of the Scots army was worse than the rebels.
Many of the refugees that landed in south west Scotland were in such destitute condition that collections were made for them throughout Scotland. Livingston noted; `" hardly observed one person sufficiently sensible of the Lord`s hand in it, or of deserving on their part, so far had the stroak seised on spirits as weel as on bodies".
Livingston was sent over to Ireland in April, 1642 to administer to the army, his tenure to last for 12 months. In that time he observed the changes that had taken place in the people. "Many of those who had been civill before, were become many wayes exceeding loose; yes, sundry who, as was conceived, had true grace, were declyned much in their tenderness; so as it would seem the sword opens any gaps".
He accompanied the army to Newry and tells of having met a party of rebels on the way. Emerging from the woods, the rebels were immediately killed with Livingston commenting upon their physical condition. "They were so fat one might have his his fingers in the lirks of their breasts".
Livingston returned to Scotland after his term of service but was later back over again in 1648 when he was asked to attempt to dissuade the Scots troops there from joining with the army of `Engagement` but this proved to be fruitless.
By undertaking this `engagement`, the more moderate Covenanters under the command of Hamilton, the Earl of Lanark promised to restore the now deposed. King Charles l on condition that he would re-affirm presbyterianism in Scotland and to give it a trial in England for three years.
Charles had originally been captured by the Scots at Newark in May 1646, but had been handed over to the English Parliament in January 1647. He had escaped temporarily and sought refuge on the Isle of Wight. It was while there that the Army of Engagement took up his cause. In the eyes of the extreme Covenanters, Livingston included, this represented a betrayal of the Solemn League and Covenant.
The defeat of the `Engagers` by Cromwell`s new model army at Preston on 17th/19th August 1648 was greeted with delight by some at home and when he arrived in Edinburgh on 4th October, insurance against any resurgence of `engagement sympathisers` was provided.
Charles was executed on 30th January 1649. His violent end was greeted with abhorrence by many in Scotland and Cromwell`s cause was not enhanced by it.
In the summer of 1648, at the age of 45, he was called to take up the ministry of the parish of Ancrum in the Scottish borders. This new posting appealed to him as he felt that the people to whome he was to minister were generally, " landwart and simple".
Later in the autumn of that year, he moved with his family and servants from Stranraer. The journey involved a trek of over 100 miles on terrible roads with "ane numerous family, six children, one of them sucking the breast, four or five servants". Their safe arrival was attributed to the Lord.
He was not to be too long in adminstering the affairs of his new church before he was called again to the forefront.
The Scottish Parliament and Church representatives had met with the future King Charles ll at The Hague in Holland in 1649. Whilst Cromwell had the overall control in England, the Scots felt they could possibly negotiate with the future King as to him assuming the throne north of the border.
This meeting failed to agree terms for his return. However a fresh approach was arranged for the following year. Six people were nominated by Parliament and five were chosen by the Church, Livingston being one of the latter. Only the government representatives were allowed to vote on the issues. Livingston was a reluctant nominee for he felt that ministers should not be involved in such matters He also felt that the majority of the delegation would accept the King on his terms.
At the first meeting in Breda, Holland, Livingston was chosen to deliver a speech on behalf of the Church. This required vetting by the other delegates beforehand. It was returned to Livingston severely edited. They had thought it was too harsh in its contents. He told them he thought their decision to alter his speech`s contents unfair, but he was ordered not to show his own mind but theirs. It was with severe reluctance that he delivered it.
The negotiations overran their scheduled thirty days limit by a further ten days. In the end Charles was invited to assume the throne in Scotland after assurances that he would acknowledge the Presbyterian system of worship in Scotland. Livingston was not one of those who were in sympathy with it. He always felt the man could not be trusted.
Once he felt established in Scotland, Charles eyed the lost kingdom of England. He felt he had to avenge his father`s lost crown and indeed his own. He later led an army into England but was forced back to Dunbar where he was defeated. Livingston had been asked to accompany it but had declined.
Cromwell later invaded Scotland and for some time he had soldiers billeted with the Livingstons. John Livingston asserted that all the time they were within his house, he never ate or communicated with them. Cromwell invited him to Edinburgh to speak with him but he declined the opportunity.
In 1654 he was called to London along with others to meet with Cromwell. This visit gave him the opportunity of asking the Protector to remove the heavy fines that he had placed on several people in Scotland. Cromwell agreed but his Council, reaping a share of these, thought otherwise.
He returned home by himself after receiving no satisfaction to his overtures.
In 1657, his fifteenth child Elizabeth was born. She would live for ten years.
Trial and Banishment
In the summer of 1660, two years after the death of Cromwell, Charles assumed the throne of England, and Livingston foresaw there would be an overturning of all that had been achieved. This proved correct.
The first Scottish Parliament to sit after the Restoration was quick to prove its loyalty to the King by placing in his hands the supreme power in all matters civil and ecclesiastical.
The Act of Rescissory, by which all precedings for reformation between 1638 and 1650 were declared rebellious and treasonable, was an anthema to the now despised Covenanters.
A proclamation was announced that all ministers who had come in since 1649 who had not kept the Holy Day of 29th May ( date of Charles`s crowning at Scone) must acknowledge prelacy or get out. Livingston, like many of his kind, was in despair at this directive and soon spoke out against it.
His outspokeness was soon to bring its expected repercussions. On 20 November, 1662 he received letters informing him that on the 18th the Privvy Council had ordered sixteen ministers to be brought before it in Edinburgh. He was on the list.
Although he had not received the citation, he went to Edinburgh but kept himself closeted until he could determine what the Council had in mind for him. If it was banishment, as in the case of two the previous year, then he would appear.
On the other hand, as he put it, "....if I had found they were on such ane design as against Mr Guthrie, that my life were in hazard, , I was minded to lurk and not appear, seeing I was not cited nor apprehended".
He was to appear on 11th December having received the summons. The main reason for coming before the Council was to take the Oath of Allegiance.wherein the King was to be acknowledged supreme governor over all persons, both civil and ecclesiastical.
As Livingston thought, this was contrived in so general , ambiguous, and comprehensive terms that it might import receding from the covenant for reformation, and the bringing in of Bishops.
He would later assert that the oath was one of supremacy rather than allegiance.
Asked if he required time to make up his mind on taking it, he refused believing that this would give the impression that he was unsure of himself, and also it might have left himself open to temptation.
Before giving his answer he testified as follows, " My Lord, I doe believe indeed, and confess that Jesus Christ is the only Head of His Church, and that He only hath power to appoint a government and discipline for removing offences in His own house, which is not dependant upon civill powers".
This assertion of Christ`s supreme headship was not intelligible to the politicians before whom he stood. The Lord Advocate said it amounted to a claim for a `power to the Presbyteric co-ordinate with that of the King`.
The Council then committed Livingston to banishment. Within forty eight hours he was to depart from Edinburgh and take himself to north of the Tay and then within a further two months `depart out of all the King`s dominions`.
An appeal to go home to his family before his departure was denied. On 9th April, 1663, he boarded the ship of `old John Allan` in Leith and within eight days arrived in Rotterdam. He was not alone on his journey to exile for he recorded he had the company of many friends in similar plight.
Scottish Church of Rotterdam
The exile of Livingston and his likes was to rid the Establishment of a thorn in its side. This would be the price of their non-conformity, but the resultant deportation would be a freedom to espouse their religious views without fear of contradiction.
The knowledge that they were to be denied the opportunity of influencing events at home, as well as leaving many dear relatives and friends behind, had to be endured.
In Livingston`s case, he had the opportunity of pronouncing his stoutly held beliefs, and being prepared for the worse, the banishment would allow him to pursue his writings and studies. His wife, Janet and their two youngest children, Robert and Elizabeth would join him in exile within a few months. But what awaited him there?
Early in the 17th Century many Scots traders and merchants settled in Rotterdam and conducted their businesses from there. As well as their business expertise, they brought with them their deep rooted attachment to religious ordinances that manifested itself into a desire for some form of public worship.
Until 1640 this was frequently met with the services of chaplains in the army or ministers from other towns.
The state government was sympathetic to this desire, and on 19th July, 1642 agreed to appoint a minister with an annual salary of 550 guilders. The city officials agreed to furnish a place of worship, and in a show of magnanimity, granted a further annual stipend of 1,200 guilders.
The first minister appointed was Mr Alexander Petrie from Rhynd in Perthshire.
The church became soon established and by the time of Livingston`s arrival had a thriving population of ministers and lay people alike.
With the presence of so many likeminded ministers of religion about him, Livingston was not short of intellectual and spiritual stimulation. The arrival of his wife and two children in December 1663 made his banishment tolerable. Their five surviving children remained behind in Scotland. These, among others, would often visit him in Holland, and they would fetch and carry his correspondence back and forth.
He kept in constant touch with his former parishioners in Ancrum by letter. In fact his letters were his sermons to them `in abstentia`.
For some time his health had begun to give cause for concern.
".......whether constant sitting at my studies, or ane time upon bussiness walking long too and again through the town, without rendering urine, so at last my urine was bloody, or any other former infirmity, or age creeping on, may have been the occasion, I cannot determine: but since the year 1667, and therafter, I have such ane constant pain in my bladder, especially when I walk, that I have been forced to take ane house nearer the church.
"Yet neither I, nor such doctors as I consult with, can be certain whether it be ane stone, or only ane carnosity in my bladder. Also my hand shakes, so that sometimes I can hardly write with it, it shakes so. Otherwise I bless the Lord, I find hitherto no other great defect of body or minde".
On 7th October he wrote his last letter to Ancrum. The final words to them were,
"I fear ye shall hardly read my hand, and yet it hath taken near by as many days to write as there are pages; but it was not fitting to make use of any other`s hand",
He signed it, `Your loving and lawful Pastor, John Livingston , Rotterdam, 7th December 1671.`
He continued to read and study right up to the end.
As he lay near death, he exclaimed, "If my heart was lifted up, it was in the preaching of Jesus Christ. I die in the faith that the truth of God, which he hath helped the Church of Scotland to own, shall be owned by him as truths so long as sun and moon endure".
Just before his expiry, his wife beseeched him to take leave of his friends.
"I dare not," said he, with an affectionate tenderness: "but it is likely our parting will be but for a short time".
The Reverend John Livingston of Ancrum died in Rotterdam, the place of his exile, on the 9th August 1672.
`Where`er he met a stranger, there he left a friend`
A sentiment that well have been coined for John Livingston.
On her husband`s death, Janet returned to Scotland accompanied by her youngest son, Robert. Now in his late teens, Robert was soon to take himself to America where he prospered and was to found the dynasty of the Livingstons of Livingston Manor in New York State. This family were to play a great part in the American fight for independance a century later.
During her husband`s enforced absence from Scotland, the Church came under increasing pressure from the State with worship being held clandestinely. These conventicles, as they were called, were forever being hounded and those responsible for them, if caught, were severely dealt with. Imprisonment, banishment, and occasionally death were dealt out to them.
Janet Livingston would carry on her husband`s fight. A meeting of the Privy Council was to be held in Edinburgh on 4th June, 1674 at which a letter from the King was to be read out. This letter was instructing the councillors to increase their effort in apprehending the field preachers and the ring leaders of the conventicles.
Along with fourteen likeminded ladies, she drew up a petition asking for the granting of liberty to the threatened ministers throughout the land. This was to be presented to the Lord Chancellor, Lord Rothes.
On the day in question, the ladies gathered in Parliament Close and awaited the arrival of Rothes.
Soon the coach pulled up and alighted from it came The Lord Chancellor closely followed by Archbishop Sharp. The latter was described `as flyed as a fox........clave close to the Chancellor`s back`.
As the ladies approached led by Janet, the Chancellor doffed his hat and listened as the petition was read out by her. At its completion, he dismiised the appeal by jest and insiinuations.then made his entrance.
Mrs Livingston suffered six months of chastisement and was in fact banished for a period. It was claimed that `her husband`s heart could trust in her`, and to quote Robert mcWard, "..a mother indeed in Israel".
John Livingston was at rest in Holland, but his wife continued his struggle.
Following the death of John Livingston in 1672, both Janet, his wife, and his son Robert returned to Scotland. Elizabeth, his youngest daughter had already pre-deceased him.
Janet Livingstone was to take up his fight by campaigning and fighting for the rights of ministers who were hounded for their covenanting views at a later date.
Robert was now eighteen years old and, within a few months of his arrival back, he set sail for New England, a venture his father had twice attempted and failed to accomplish on each occasion. Robert`s mission was to carve out for himself a career in business rather than the ministry.
The time of his arrival was opportune; his command of the Dutch language attained by nine years in Holland was just what was required by the new British administration in the process of replacing that of the Dutch in New York.
For the next 175 years, John`s progeny would hold great sway in both state and national governments as well as prominent positions in the army and commerce of the emerging nation, America.


Children of Janet Fleming and John Livingston are:

  • John Livingston, b. 30 June 1636, Milton, IRELAND, d. 08 January 1639, Stranraer, SCOTLAND.
  • William Livingston, b. 07 January 1638, Lanarch, SCOTLAND, d. 12 June 1700, Edinburgh, SCOTLAND.
  • Bartholomew Livingston, b. 03 September 1639, Stranraer, SCOTLAND, d. 24 September 1641, Stranraer, SCOTLAND.
  • Agnes Livingston, b. 20 September 1640, Stranraer, SCOTLAND, d. 17 October 1641, Stranraer, SCOTLAND.
  • Marion Livingston, b. 10 October 1642, Stranraer, SCOTLAND, d. July 1667, Hawick, SCOTLAMD.
  • Janet Livingston, b. 28 September 1643, Stranraer, SCOTLAND, d. August 1696, Hawick, SCOTLAMD.
  • John (2nd) Livingston, b. 20 August 1644, Stranraer, SCOTLAND, d. October 1645, Stranraer, SCOTLAND.
  • Agnes(2nd) Livingston, b. 18 October 1645, Stranraer, SCOTLAND.
  • James Livingston, b. 22 September 1646, Stranraer, SCOTLAND, d. 04 June 1700, Edinburgh, SCOTLAND.
  • Joanna Livingston, b. September 1647, Stranraer, SCOTLAND, d. October 1648, Ancrum, Teviotdale, SCOTLAND.
  • Barbara Livingston, b. 21 June 1649, Ancrum, Teviotdale, SCOTLAND, d. Bef. 1690, Edinburgh, SCOTLAND.
  • John (3rd) Livingston, b. 24 June 1652, Ancrum, Teviotdale, SCOTLAND, d. 12 October 1652, Ancrum, Teviotdale, SCOTLAND.
  • Andrew Livingston, b. August 1653, Ancrum, Teviotdale, SCOTLAND, d. 07 February 1655, Ancrum, Teviotdale, SCOTLAND.
  • +Robert Livingston, b. 13 December 1654, Ancrum, Teviotdale, SCOTLAND, d. 01 October 1728, Livingston Manor, New York, USA.
  • Elizabeth Livingston, b. 07 January 1657, Ancrum, Teviotdale, SCOTLAND, d.31 October 1666, Rotterdam, HOLLAND.

children who died young

  • John (Jun 30 1636 - Jan 1639)
  • Agnes (Sep 20 1640 - Sep 1641)
  • John (Aug 20 1644 - Oct 1645) 2nd child named John
  • Joanna (Sep 1647 - Oct 1648)
  • John (Jun 24 1652 - Oct 1652) 3rd child named John
  • Andrew (Aug 1653 - Feb 7 1655)
  • Elizabeth (Jan 7 1657 - Oct 31 1666)


From the book "Robert Livingston, 1654-1728" "Robert Livingston family history


Date: 21 JUN 1603
Place: Monyabroch, Kilsyth, Stirling


Date: 14 AUG 1672
Place: Rotterdam, Holland


Date: 1625
Place: Glasgow
Note: He was "an eminent member of the Church of Scotland."


Type: Excomm
Date: 1630
Place: Killinchie for non-conformity
Type: Banished
Date: APR 1663
Place: from Scotland for refusing to take the oath of allegeance.


Date: 1663
Place: Rotterdam, , Netherlands


Occupation: Rector


Note: #N2298


Source: #S295
Page: John Livingston
Event: Smart Matching


  • Source S295
Record ID Number: MH:S295
Author: Leslie bishop
Title: bishop Web Site
Text: family tree
Family site: bishop Web Site
Family tree: 7625662-1
Media: 396983-1
Type: Smart Matching

This person was created through the import of fitzmaster032511.ged on 27 March 2011.

This person was created through the import of Holmes.ged on 20 May 2011.


Note N2298John Livingston, rector of Ancrum = Janet Fleming (Boyd - p379)

a smiling portrait (dead link)

Edwin Brockholst Livingston. The Livingstons of Livingston Manor: Being the History of that Branch of the Scottish House of Callendar which Settled in the English Province of New York During the Reign of Charles the Second; and Also Including an Account of Robert Livingston of Albany, "The Nephew," a Settler in the Same Province and His Principal Descendants. Knickerbocker Press; 1910. p. 539.

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