Patrick Warner (1641 – 1724) Musselburgh-born minister, ordained at Irvine Old Parish Church.
Rev. Patrick Warner was born 26 February 1641 in Musselburgh, the last of 6 known children born to parents Johne Vernor, and Marione Gray. He was the minister of Irvine Old Parish Church from 1688 – 1708 and latterly lived in Dovecote Hall, Stevenston.
His siblings were: Johnne (1627); Thomas (1631); Williame (1634); Allexander (1636) and Margaret (1638). His brother Thomas who became Minister of Balmaclellan in Galloway retained the spelling of Vernor. Their father Johne Vernor was Bailie of Musselburgh, prior to moving to Irvine where he became a burgess and bought both a tenement and the adjacent Braid Meadow from John Mure in 1656.
Patrick Vernor was educated at St. Andrews University and Glasgow University, graduating as MA in 1661 at which time his name was recorded in the Latin form as ‘Patricius Vernerus’. He was licensed as a preacher after 1666, then went to England where he was ordained by Dissenting ministers in London, who recommended him to the East India Company. Rev. Patrick Warner served as Minister of Fort St. George, India from 1669 until 1677. A letter dated 31 January 1676 which he wrote to the Directors of the East India Company regarding the low state of morals at the Fort and the recent opening of a Catholic Church may throw some light on why he gave up his position.
Upon his return to Scotland he began preaching at several conventicles alongside John Welsh, son-in-law of John Knox. Following the Battle of Bothwell Bridge on 22 June 1679, where over 1,000 Covenanters were taken prisoner, Patrick took refuge in Holland. He returned to Scotland and again preached to the Covenanters.
In December 1681 Patrick married Mary Guthrie, daughter of Rev. William Guthrie of Fenwick with whom he had six children, three boys and three girls, of which only two survived to adulthood; William his heir and his daughter Margaret. She married first Rev. Ebenezer Veitch in February 1706 who sadly died later that same year. She then married Rev. Robert Wodrow in November 1708 with whom she had sixteen children, three of whom when into Ministry. Her son James Wodrow became Minister of Stevenston High Kirk.
Due to his strong unbending beliefs, Patrick was arrested in February 1682 and imprisoned in Edinburgh on 07 June but was released after promising to leave Scotland. He went first to Tweedmouth and then Newcastle where he was again arrested and imprisoned for eight weeks for not taking the Oath of Allegiance. Upon his release he returned to Holland where he met with “Prince William of Orange” who assured him he would establish a Presbyterian Church in Scotland.
Following King James II’s ‘Declaration of Indulgence’ on 04 April 1687, Patrick Warner returned to Scotland where he was ordained as minister of Irvine Old Parish Church on 24 March 1688. In 1691 he purchased the lands of Scott’s Loch (previously known as Trindlemoss Loch) from Walter Scott of Clonbeith, part of the Braid Meadow and two other parcels of land surrounding Scott’s Loch. Utilising drainage methods he had learned in Holland he turned the waterlogged fields into the richest pasturage in Irvine. The drainage system he built fed into a large drain which emptied into the River Irvine. It became known as the Minister’s Cast.
In 1692 Rev. Patrick Warner bought the lands of Hallbarns in Kilmaurs from Sir Robert Barclay of Peirceton. In the late 1690’s he sunk £100 into the ill-fated Darien Scheme and in 1698 he was appointed by Irvine Presbytery as their commissioner to attend the meeting of Parliament held for the purpose of carrying out the recommendations of the General Assembly against Popery and witchcraft.
He retired as Minister of Irvine in February 1708 and moved to Stevenston having bought Dovecothall and the lands of Ardeer from Robert Cunninghame of Auchenharvie. Rev. Patrick Warner died 19 April 1724 at Dovecothall, Stevenston.
Dovecothall mansion stood on the high ground above the later Ardeer House, built circa 1790’s, in the area now occupied by Hillcrest Drive.
He was succeeded by his son William. His grandson Patrick (1712-1793) formed the Stevenson Coal Company with Robert Reid Cunninghame of Auchenharvie in 1774.