Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Simpson, Robert

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SIMPSON, ROBERT (1795–1867), divine and author, was born in Edinburgh in 1795, but was sent in early childhood to reside with his grandfather in the parish of Stobo, Peeblesshire, where he attended the parish school. He afterwards attended the arts classes in the university of Edinburgh with a view to the ministry of the church of Scotland. Having changed his views on the subject of church establishments, he joined the secession church and proceeded to the Theological Hall at Selkirk, then under the charge of Dr. George Lawson (1749–1820) [q. v.] After completing his course and receiving license, he was called to Sanquhar. He was ordained there on 16 May 1820, and continued to minister in the same place for forty-seven years. He was a successful preacher, but is mainly known as author of many interesting volumes bearing on the covenanting struggle in Scotland and on the character and sufferings of the persecuted covenanters. His books, which have passed through several editions, describe attractively the chief events of a stirring and influential period of Scottish history. He received the degree of D.D. from Princetown University, United States, in 1853. He died at Sanquhar on 8 July 1867.

His publications were: 1. ‘Life of James Renwick, the last of the Scottish Martyrs,’ Edinburgh, 1843. 2. ‘Traditions of the Covenanters; or Gleanings among the Mountains,’ 3 vols. 1843, 1846, and 1888. 3. ‘The Times of Claverhouse; or Sketches of the Persecution,’ Edinburgh, 1844, 12mo. 4. ‘The Banner of the Covenant; or Lives of the Martyrs,’ 1847. 5. ‘Memorials of Pious Persons lately deceased.’ 6. ‘The History of Sanquhar,’ Edinburgh, 1853, 2 edits.; Glasgow, 1865. 7. ‘A Voice from the Desert; or the Church of the Wilderness,’ 1856. 8. ‘Martyrland; or the Perils of the Persecution,’ Glasgow, 1861. 9. ‘The Cottars of the Glen; or Glimpses of the Rural Life of the Scottish Peasantry a Hundred Years ago,’ Glasgow, 1866.

[United Presbyterian Magazine, August 1867; Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church; Irving's Dict. of Scotsmen; Brit. Mus. Cat.; personal knowledge.]

T. B. J.