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The Burns Encyclopedia
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Williamson, The Reverend David (c. 1630 — 1706)

A Covenanting minister denounced as a rebel on 6th July 1674 for hold conventicles, and intercommuned on 6th August the following year. After a final indulgence granted to the Church in 1687, he returned to Edinburgh where a meeting-house was erected for him in the village then known as Water of Leith. However, he was arrested again the following February, his name having been discovered in papers belonging to the Covenanting leaded Renwick, though released in a fortnight, the date of the reference being found to be within the period covered by his indemnity. Some time afterwards, he was arrested for refusing to pray for the Prince of Wales, but again released. He was restored to his Lothian parish by the General Assembly of 1690, the first to meet after what Burns called 'the glorious Revolution,' and was one of the Commissioners sent to London to congratulate William of Orange on his accession to the throne. He became Moderator to the General Assembly in March 1702, but died the following August.

His matrimonial adventures were no less robust than his professional career. He was married seven times and had at least nine children.

The manner of his wooing of his second wife, Jean, daughter of the Kerrs of Cherrytrees, was celebrated in a song 'Dainty Davy'. The event occurred about 1690, and in Burns's words in his Notes on Scots Song, Williamson 'begat the daughter of Lady Cherytrees with child, while a party of dragoons was searching her house to apprehend him for being an adherent of the Solemn League and Covenant. The pious woman had put a lady's night-cap on him... and passed him to the soldiery as... her daughter's bed fellow.'

Burns's reference to the fiddle in 'The Jolly Beggars' 'shoring' (or offering) 'Dainty Davie' is thus a reference to Williamson's sexual member, the prowess of which is also commemorated in numerous lampoons to be found in Maidment's A Packet of Pestilent Pasquils (1688)

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Complete Burns Songs

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