This is a direct chart of my line from Thomas HEWETSON, the Covenanter of Laight, Parish of Tynron. We have a wealth of information on siblings and spouses (including their parents) and suchlike. If anyone thinks they may have a connection to this family or are just interested, please e-mail us at tuathadedaan@clear.net.nz

Also any information that might be out there about the family, I would appreciate hearing about it. Particularly I would like to hear from any descendants of the DALZIEL family. There was one family living in Dunedin, but we have lost contact with them. Would like to resume the contact after all these years. There is a JONES family connection in Dunedin.


  1. Thomas HEWETSON (The Covenanter) of Laight, Parish of Tynron first known tenant of Auchenbenzie in Penpont, a farmer  married Grizel HAINING. Thomas born 1622 died 1682 and left Grizel a young widow with seven children - two boys and five girls. The daughters' married names included Hunter, Kerr, Graham and Stitt.

  2. James HEWETSON son of Thomas and Grizel was born 1673 at Laight. He moved to Arkland and had a half share in a farm there with Thomas HAINING. James married firstly Margaret Menzies of Closeburn in 1693, secondly Janet GILCHRIST. James and Janet  had two sons.

  3. Their son James HEWETSON born 1707 died 1778  farmed at Arkland, later Auchenbenzie. He married Isabel HARKNESS and had four daughters and four sons.

  4. Their eldest son was George HEWETSON of Grennan formerly of Lockerbie. He was a wealthy yeoman farmer. Born 1740 died 1839. Married Janet LORIMER  (born 1747 died 1837) and had seven children, two girls and five boys.

  5. Their son James HEWETSON of Corsefield born 1787 died 1869  had a natural son James HEWETSON Jnr  with  Catherine STEVENSON, Domestic Servant (died before 1861).

  6. James and Catherine's son James HEWETSON (born 1835 died 1879) of Corsefield, later Grennan married firstly Mary KERR (born 1836 died 1859). James and Mary had a daughter Janet born 15 August 1858 at Penpont. Married secondly Mary FORSYTH (born 1843 died 1915 aged 72). After James' death, Mary Forsyth married Robert DALZIEL and they had a son Robert or James.
James and Mary (Forsyth) had four boys and a girl. James of Druidhall, born 1863 died 1945, John born 1864 died 1894 Auckland, New Zealand. Thomas HEWETSON (born 1866 died 1921 at Havelock North, New Zealand was my paternal grandfather, George born 1868 died 1931 died Glasgow, Scotland and Mary born 1872 died 1875. Thomas arrived in New Zealand on the "Doric" 1885.On the boat were his brother John HEWETSON and several DALZIEL's possibly cousins. Their Christian names were Alice, Andrew, Henry, Mary, Samuel and Isaac. Thomas married Ellen (Margaret) DUGGAN of Kilcummin in Co. Kerry (See Duggan family).


Their children:

Mary 1891-1973, unmarried. 

James 1893-1958 married Muriel SMITH (no children) 

ROBERT ANDREW 1895-1979 married Freda WILLIAMS 

Thomas (Harry) 1897-1925 married Lily GIBSON, children Merle born 27 October 1925, who has lived in England for many years. Valerie born January 1924 died 4 March 1928. Val and Harry are buried together in the Hastings Cemetery. (Thanks to Merle for additional information). 

George 1901-1950 married Maureen HANCOCK. Their children were a  daughter Sharon and two children from Maureen's  first marriage - Leita and Allen. Leita died in 2002. Leita had three daughters, one is living in England, the other two in Napier. 

Jessie 1904-1962 married Raymond COE (no children).

Children of Robert (Bob) and  Freda Emily WILLIAMS

John Ronald born 1933
Peter Robert born 1935 - died 1961
Kevin Thomas born 1937
MARGARET MARY born 1947 (adopted by Bob and Freda at two weeks of age) (See Herlihy Family)

A full and detailed family tree is here.

John and Thomas, sons of Walter HEWETSON (1795-1862) and Margaret (nee MILROY) were born in the family farmhouse “Kirkhouse” near Kirbean in Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland. Walter, their father was a farmer and son of John HEWETSON farmer of Glengar in Dumfriesshire (1751-1854) and Mary HISLOP. Walter died when his children were very young and his widow who was considerably younger than his 67 years, remarried in 1867 to an officer of the Indian Army Corps, leaving the youngsters in the care of her new parents-in-law, Thomas Smith, Schoolmaster of Dumfries Town and his wife Mary Smith, . The children were excellently educated at academies, forming a lasting friendship with Sir James Barrie and before emigrating to Australia, acted in plays with him.

John emigrated first, in 1879 and his brother Thomas six months later. They purchased land in the Euroa/Molka area of north east Victoria. John married Agnes Campbell, a dressmaker of Toolamba, Victoria and had a daughter, Margaret, 1886.

Thomas, married Alice Footit. In early 1887, The brothers with John’s parents-in-law moved to the Glenn Innes area of New South Wales. John bought land near Glen Innes and Thomas at Sandy Flat nearby.

In 1890 Thomas became Town Clerk for Tentefield and John was Shire Engineer forTentefield. By 1897 they were involved with sawmilling, expanding into joinery.

We are in touch with descendants and have details down to present day families.




Name given to the signatories and followers of the Solemn League and Covenant, especially in 1638-48. The Scottish Presbyterians co-operated with the English Puritans in putting down episcopacy, ie they believed that a Christian church did not need Bishops.

They were crushed by Cromwell in the Civil War, but Charles I, needing Scottish support, signed the Covenant in 1650, but after he came to power in 1661, denounced it as unlawful. Thousands of Scottish people stood firmly by their principles. They were persecuted and many were imprisoned, some eventually took the Oath of Allegiance but many who didn’t were transported to work on plantations in America. The struggle ended after the Revolution of 1688 which guaranteed freedom of worship for Presbyterians and other sects.


There was a worthy man of the name of Howatson, who, on account of his well-known attachment to covenanting principles, was obliged to keep himself in perpetual concealment among the more remote and unfrequented glens and mountains. His house was occasionally searched by the dragoons, sometimes by day, and at other times by night, for the purpose of surprising him at some unwary hour in the bosom of his family. It happened, on one occasion, that Howatson ventured to spend a night under his own roof at a time when he did not expect a surprisal from his enemies; for it was generally when the snow lay deep on the ground, or when the solitudes were visited with a severe storm, that the good men who dwelt in the dens and caves of the wilderness durst enter their homes without risk. Under the cloud of night, he stole into his lonely hut without being seen by a human eye. He received, as was to be expected, the cordial greeting of his household. A meal was instantly prepared, his affectionate wife changed his dripping clothes and his shivering frame was warmed and enlivened by a huge fire of peat, the towering flame of which ascended far up the chimney. It was a happy occasion and the glad family continued to converse on matter of deep and thoughtful interest till a late hour. At length all retired to rest and it was not long before the husband and the father, worn out with hunger and fatigue and watchfulness, sank into a profound sleep. But while this pious household were slumbering in fancied security from the intrusion of their enemies, those very enemies were at the door. They had set out in quest of their victim, having by some means been informed of his hiding place and not finding him there as they anticipated, they hoped to capture him in his own house. Accordingly, having reached the solitary dwelling at the dead of night, they stationed six of their number before the door, while four others, having softly lifted the latch, entered the house - the door, by an unaccountable oversight, having been left unlocked. At this juncture the wife of Howatson awoke, and, to her amazement, saw four men standing before the fire attempting to light a candle. Rightly judging who the intruders were, she, without uttering a word, grasped he husband firmly by the arm. He instantly started up and saw the men observing that their backs were towards him, he slipped gently from his bed on the clay floor, and stole softly to the door. It was guarded by the dragoons. He hesitated for a moment and then darted like an arrow through the midst of them. The waving of his snow-white shirt, like a sheet of lightning, terrified the horses and threw the party into confusion, and, though they fired several times, he escaped unscathed. He fled with the utmost speed to the house of a friend, where he obtained a lodging for the remainder of the night. The next day his clothing was conveyed to him by his wife, who could not but observe the hand of a special providence stretched out for the protection of her husband.

On another occasion, however, the same individual was not quite so fortunate, though he eventually escaped with his life. He enemies, being constantly in search of him, at length got hold of him and the Laird of Drumlanrig, the leader of the persecuting party in that district, brought him to his castle and confined him in a dungeon called the pit of Drumlanrig. This prison house was covered above with strong boards secured with massive bards of iron, so that escape was rendered impossible. In this place Howatson was incarcerated, not knowing the fate that might be awaiting him, whether he should be hanged aloft on the gallows-tree before the castle gate, or shot by the dragoons on the lawn or, worst of all, be left to perish with hunger in the pit.

There lived in the neighbourhood a half-witted man of the name of Hastie, a person of very great bodily strength, and who frequently performed feats that were incredible. To this person the wife of Howatson offered a sum of money to attempt the rescue of her husband. His bodily prowess and his partial insanity amply qualified him for the undertaking, for by the one he could accomplish the work and by the other he would be screened from punishment, if caught in the attempt. Hastie agreed to the proposal and, under the cloud of night, succeeded in removing the covering of the pit and in effecting the release of the prisoner.

This good man lived some time at Locherben and his piety and nonconformity exposed him to the notice of his enemies. Like the most of those who were friendly to the same cause, he was obliged to consult his safety by withdrawing from his own house, and hiding himself in the dens and caves of the earth. Near his little cottage there was a rocky place in the hill above, to which he frequently betook himself for concealment. Here he found a refuge when the enemy was searching all round for their prey; and he succeeded in keeping himself out of the way of the destroyer till the danger was overpast. It was no trivial advantage to his family that his place of concealment was so near them, for on account of its continguity to his house, he could easily visit them by stealth, and could both give and receive that assistance which was needed. A hiding place so favourable was not always the good fortune of many of those who were placed in similar circumstances. They had often to remain in the heart of the dreariest solitudes, with none to comfort them and none to tell how it fared with those who were left behind. Howatson’s family, when he durst not venture to his house, could occasionally meet him in the cave, and bring him a supply of food and other necessaries.

On one occasion, when Howatson, on account of the strict search made for him, was obliged to confine himself to his cave, his wife was delivered of a child. A party of the dragoons arrived at the house in quest of her husband, and finding the poor woman in this situation, behaved in the most insolent and brutal manner. They searched every corner of the dwelling, but without success. They then proceeded to the bed on which the woman was lying and stabbed with their swords all around her, beneath the bed-clothes, if perchance they might find her husband. The annoyance which this gave the honest woman was peculiarly distressing to a person in her condition. They threatened her in the most violent manner, if she did not instantly reveal her husband’s hiding place. The good woman, whose mind was kept in comparative composure, and who was fortified with more than ordinary strength to maintain her ground, and to outbrave her persecutors, answered with firmness and determination, that she would not comply with their request, nor on any account betray her husband. The rude and unmannerly assailants were abashed at her fortitude, and, though they vaunted and threatened all manner of mischief, they were not permitted to inflict any injury on her person. She upbraided them for their mean and unmannerly conduct in thus assaulting a helpless and unprotected female, and expressed her confidence in the protection of that God whom she and her husband served, and who had promised not to abandon in the day of their distress those who trusted in Him.

e purpose of regaling themselves with liquor. They began to drink deeply and Howatson determined to watch for an opportunity of escape. In a short time the intoxicating beverage began to operate, and soon rendered them oblivious, both of themselves and of their prisoner Howatson, who now saw his advantage, stole quietly from the apartment without being observed and speedily made his escape. When the soldiers awoke from their stupefaction, their captive was gone. Satan caught him in his snare and while they were held in it, this honest witness for the truth obtained his freedom. This father was ready to sacrifice his life for the sake of his child and now the Master whom he served rewarded him by giving him his own in return. He was restored agaDuring the uproar, a little boy, who was standing near his mother, began to cry bitterly. He was terrified at the appearance of the dragoons, their pistols, their broadswords and their loud and angry voices filled him with terror. He clung to the bed on which his mother lay - his little heart was ready to burst and his screams filled the apartment. The behaviour of the child arrested the attention of the soldiers, and one of them seizing him by his tiny arm, dragged him from the house, in spite of the entreaties and expostulations of his mother. They carried him to the brow of the hill, not far from his father’s hiding place, who was at that moment concealed in the cave. Their object was to extort from the boy information regarding his father’s retreat, and they expected to find him more communicative on this subject than his mother. In order the better to succeed in their design, they resolved to operate on his fears and accordingly they tied him to a tree and plainly informed him that they would either stab him with their swords, or shoot him dead on the spot. The timid child, fearing lest the soldiers would fulfil their threatening, screamed louder than before and his shrill and agonising cries reached the inmost recesses of the cavern in which his father lay. The well-known voice of the boy, in the utmost stress, roused Howatson, who, looking forth from his concealment, beheld in consternation, his beloved child tied fast to a tree and the dragoons standing before him, as if about to put him to instant death. Not a moment was to be lost; he issued from the cave and sprang between the soldiers and his little son, prepared to save the life of the dear boy at the expense of his own. The stratagem planned by the soldiers being thus successful, Howatson was instantly seized and his child dismissed. The party proceeded with him to Drumlanrig. The road along which they marched passed a place called Closeburn Mill, where a small house of entertainment was kept, and here the troopers halted, for thin to his family, who in the day of their tribulation trusted in the Lord and he did not forsake them. Howatson, at length, wearied out by the ceaseless persecution, retired, with a fellow-sufferer of the name of Harkness, to Ireland, where he lived in concealment till the Revolution, when he returned to his native land, and died in peace.

In the same locality, in the neighbourhood of Locherben, is the cave of Garrick Fell, which is not the least interesting among the curious hiding places to which the worthies resorted. Garrick Fell is a hill in the parish of Closeburn in Nithsdale, and lies to the east of the more ancient parish of Durisdeer, famous for its Roman antiquities and more famous still as the scene of Christian martydom. The cave was Garrick Fell was known to only a very few and so complete is its seclusion, that even now the shepherds who daily traverse the locality in which it is situated, cannot discover its entrance. It is likely, however, that the rocks and loose stones have of late fallen down and closed the aperture, as a worthy man, who died a few years ago, was well acquainted with it in his younger days.

The following tradition relates to a worthy woman in the same county. The farm of Laight is situated in the beautiful valley of the Scar, in the parish of Tynron. In the times of the persecution it was occupied by Thomas Hewatson, in whose household was the fear of the Lord, His wife, in common with himself, firmly attached to the cause of the covenants. The house of Laight, which stands on a rising ground on the west bank of the pleasant steam which winds its way through the valley, was frequently visited by rude troopers who were commissioned to seize the obnoxious inmates, so that Thomas Hewatson was obliged to escape to some hiding place in the moor, or in the thickets of the glens, leaving behind him his wife and children, who were at all times exposed to the rapacious visitations of the ruffian soldiery. His wife, to whom the following anecdotes refer, was a woman whose rare worth and firm religious principles gained for her a name too celebrated for her to remain unnoticed by the Prelatic Superintendents of the locality in which she resided. One day, when both Thomas and his wife were incidentally absent, the dragoons happened to visit the place in quest of them. The troopers gathered the children around them and questioned them very particularly respecting their father and their mother, but they could elicit nothing satisfactory. The men, however, were determined not to pass over the matter in this way, and they proceeded to bring the children to compliance. They led them out to the field and plainly informed them that they would instantly shoot them if they did not give the requisite information. They forthwith blindfolded them, preparatory to the dreadful act, the children remained inflexible and through the dragoons did not shoot as they threatened, yet the terror into which the children were thrown, resulted in a severe fever, which brought them to the very brink of the grave.

Mrs Hewatson, after the flight of her husband, found it necessary to escape also. One day she observed a party of soldiers coming in the direction of Laight, and she was well aware that she was the person of whom they were in quest. She hastily left the house, descended the bank which led to the Scar and having crossed the stream, plunged into the heart of the dense woods and thickets which afforded a good concealment to fugitives. In her flight she reached a little cottage which stood at the upper extremity of a pleasant green lawn at the foot of a steep height, not far from the house of Auchenbenzie. In this hut she sought refuge from her pursuers and received a cordial welcome. Agitated and out of breath, she placed herself on a seat, and having scattered her long flowing hair over her face and shoulders, she seized a little child, placed it on her knee and was chanting a plaintive lullaby over the infant when the soldiers entered. They inquired of the master of the cottage, whose name was Black, if he saw the woman of whom they were in pursuit. He replied that he did and that he had no doubt if she was continuing her course with the same speed as when he first observed her that by this time she would be a considerable distance from the place. On hearing this the trooper, who had not time to lose, set off in full race after the poor woman, as if they had routed and were pursuing the forces of a whole kingdom. They missed their object, however and having to encounter in their progress what was literally a forest of tall bushy broom and thickets of entangling underwood, they were forced to retrace their steps and to retreat to their garrison without accomplishing there errand. This worthy woman was thus shielded by Providence, and was spared to be the mother of a numerous progeny.


COVENANT: In Scottish history, pact by opponents of episcopacy, known as Covenanters. (The Columbia-Viking Desk Encyclopaedia)


In Scottish history, groups of people bound by oath to defend Presbyterianism. Covenant of 1581 sought to combat Catholicism. Covenant of 1638 opposed innovations of Archbishop Laud, especially use of English Book of Common Prayer. They resisted the armies of King Charles I in Bishops’ Wars (1639-40) and supported Parliament in Puritan Revolution only after acceptance (1643) of Solemn League and Covenant pledging Presbyterian State Church in England and Ireland. Their power broken by Cromwell’s conquest of Scotland in 1650. After restoration, Covenanters were alternatively coerced and persuaded to accept episcopacy but stubbornly resisted. Troubles ended with Glorious Revolution (1688). (The Columbia-Viking Desk Encyclopaedia).


A protestation signed all over Scotland in 1638, in which the subscribers swore to defend the Protestant religion and to resist all contrary errors and corruptions. A Covenanter was a subscriber or adherent of the Covenant. (Oxford Companion to English Literature).


A treaty between the English and Scottish nations concluded in 1643, stipulating the preservation of the reformed Church in Scotland, the reformation of religion in England, the extirpation of popery and episcopacy and peace between the kingdoms. (Oxford Companion to English Literature).


(FROM A TALK BY Thomas Morrison to a meeting of the Literary Society 1932)

In 1776 William Hewetson, Schoolmaster was Session Clerk, his first reference being a fire which destroyed part of the Church.

The principal agriculture was oats and barley, and much of the land was unused because of want of drainage.· Of the farmers the farthest back that can be traced was Thomas Hewetson of Auchenbenzie who became occupier about 1640 and died 1682. He married Isabel Harkness of Mitchelslake and two of their sons became established in Glengar and Grennan farms. These two were brothers to the Session Clerk, William Hewetson. 

The Dalziel’s have been tenants of Druid hall for over 200 years. James Dalziel the first tenant married Margaret Hewetson of Auchenbenzie. Other farmers were Lorrimer, Wilson, Milligan, Hyslop, Laurie.