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merry associations are often recalled in connection with it.
So much for the past. At present high expectations
are being fostered that a new era is at hand for the
ancient village with the advent of the railway. The old
order must change, it is felt ; and few will regret to have
it .so. The locality is one which is much appreciated by
summer visitors, and even with the present difficulties to
encounter, is taxed to find accommodation for those who
come. With travelling facilities on a level with modern
comforts, and with a new water-supply now in process of
construction, there is little doubt that building will increase,
population multiply, and trades expand, and perhaps the
whole face of the valley as well as of the village undergo
a complete transformation in the coming generations. We
feel confident that the knowledge of its early history will
not detract from, but rather enhance, the modern amenities
of the old place, for although it has given no great name
to the world, and written no bold letters on the page of
history, it is yet intimately associated with the interests
and fortunes of some of Scotland's most memorable families.
" History is made up of what is little as well as of what is
great, of what is common as well as of what is strange, of
what is counted mean as well as of what is counted
noble." * One has sometimes beheld a tiny stream wind
* Flint's Philosophy of History, p. 8.


a not uninteresting course through a broad plain, whose
noble beauty and varied expanse almost prevented the
eye from seeing the silvery band of soft meandering
water ; so the dim annalistic course of our little village
has flowed onwards through the wide vista of national
history, unobtrusive and chequered, yet now and then
throwing up its bits of clear light, and here and there
casting back some broken reflection of the images of men
who were moulding in the impassioned spheres of human
life and sorrow the stern character of their time and

2 C


THE BARONIES — Continued.

The name "Carfrae" — Ancient Boundaries of Carfrae Lands — The
Sinclairs of Herdmanston — Serfdom at Carfrae — Division of
Lands — The Homes — The Maitlands — The Haigs of Bemersyde
and Hazeldean — The Tweeddales and Carfrae — Tenants — Robert
Hogarth — The Wights — Headshaw — Herniecleuch — Hazeldean —
Friarsknowes — Fairnielees — Hillhouse — Kelphope — Tollishill.

Carfrae is in some respects the most notable place in
Upper Lauderdale. It has always preserved in its name
and situation a certain distinction both with respect to
its strategic importance as a stronghold in ancient times,
and its territorial connection with the proudest names in
Scottish history. All other landed properties in Channel-
kirk parish have, with the passing of the centuries, slowly
declined from the gilded levels of aristocratic possession
to the less lustrous, if more practical, regions of the com-
moner ; but Carfrae, undoubtedly notable when the
Brythonic Ottadini entrenched themselves on its woody
heights, before Roman, Saxon, or Dane had visited the
sources of the Leader, has never, since the era of record,
brooked a humbler name on its charters than those which
belong to the nation's oldest families and are impressed
on many a page of its political annals


When its position is considered as commanding the
only two reasonable passes from Upper Lauderdale into
Lothian by way of Glengelt and Kelphope glens, and its
height on the promontory of land at their junction, it is
not surprising to find its history, long before it is chronicled
in records, to have been a warlike one, or to discover this
belligerent character as clearly written in its camp or camps,
as it is deeply stamped upon its name. Two ancient camps
stand boldly out almost within arrow-flight of each other,
on steep heights that must have rendered them formidable
places of defence in those far-away days of barbarous
conflict ; and whatever date may be assigned to their con-
struction, there can be no doubt as to their hostile purpose,
and the name still further bears witness that Carfrae was
originally a place of " derring doe," and doubtless the scene
of many a bloody encounter.

The earliest form of the name is Carfra. It is Celtic.
Carfrae is probably Caer and some name which cannot
be identified, but also, probably, Brythonic (Welsh) rather
than Goidelic (Gaelic). The earliest known inhabitants of
our district were Otadini, a Celtic people of the Brythonic *
or Welsh branch, speaking the Welsh dialect in contradis-
tinction to the Gaelic ; and caer, in Welsh, means fort^
or, according to Camden, " a fortified place or city." As
Carfrae is perhaps the only place in Lauderdale which by
its name is distinguished as a Brythonic stronghold, so
we may likewise, perhaps on that ground, assume that it is
also the oldest. For similar ancient "camps," "forts," or
strongholds scattered throughout the dale denominated
" Chester," are not by that name considered as pointing
to a Roman, but a Saxon origin, and therefore several
* CelHc Britain^ p. 221,



centuries later than the earHest mention of the Brythons
in the Leader district, who were the inhabitants conquered
by both. " ' Cester ' was thoroughly established among the
Saxons in England at a very early period," says Dr
Christison, and he is of opinion that they, and not the
Romans, introduced it into Scotland.*

Carfrae comes first before us historically in a charter
granted {cir. 1196) by William de Moreville, Lord of
Lauderdale, to Henry de Saint Clair, of the lands of Carfra.
The boundaries given are now of course very dim on
account of the place-names which define them, being all but
obliterated. We give the Latin description as follows : —

" Sicut Langilde se jungit ad Mosburne et illinc descendit
usque ad Ledre et ex superiori parte sicut Mosburn ascendit
usque ad Venneshende et de Venneshende usque ad Sumu-
indnight illinc per descendum usque ad viam de Glengelt
et illinc usque Ledre." This may be Englished — " From
where Langilde (now Langat) joins itself to Mosburn (now
Kelphope Water), and thence descends to the Leader.
And on the upper part, from where Mosburn ascends to
Venneshende, and from Venneshende to Sumuindnight,
thence by descent to the road from Glengelt, and so to the
Leader." The starting-point of the description is the place
nearest Carfrae which had a distinct locality and character.
" Langild " turns up in several old charters. The ruins of
it still stand, or recently were standing, not many years
ago, and the mimulus from its garden yet grow luxuriantly
by the stream which swept them out on its way to join
the Kelphope Water (Mosburn). From Langat the
boundary follows Mosburn (Kelphope Water) clear down to
the Leader, that is, to Carfraemill, or to the Leader's banks.
* Early Fortifications^ pp. 105-6.



>7 405

Instead of continuing round by\

IT . , AGlengelt, the opposite
course is now pursued, in actual laK ^

that the boundaries are declared by T\ ,c

4- J- 4. T 4. ■4.U w cu -a- u W Morville himself

standing at Langat with his bherin, Henr^ . .

and their retinues, and pointing first one ■\i.
and then to the right. All marches in those ^
perambulated personally. Consequently, after sh^
march from Langat to the Leader on his left ha: ^
begins again at where he is standing, and describes \'
" higher part " (superiori parte). From Langat the mara
follows Mosburn as it goes up (ascendit) to Venneshende. -
Venneshende may have been a place near Friarsknowes, \
or more probably towards Lammer Law, for in a later
confirmation of this charter by Roland, Lord Galloway,
the march is described as proceeding "from the head of
Langat to the boundaries of Lothian, towards Lamber-
lawe " (de capite de Langild usque ad divisas de Laodonia
versus Lamberlawe). Venneshende, therefore, may have
been a place much further " towards Lamberlawe " than
Friarsknowes. Thence the march of Carfrae lands pro-
ceeds to another unknown place called, strangely enough,
Sumuindnight. It is distinguished from the other places
mentioned by the absence of " ascending " or "descending"
joined to it, phrases which suit exactly the nature of the
ground in the other cases. We therefore surmise it must
have lain to the west of the Lammer Law in the direction
of Huntershall, or the Den, across a comparatively level
expanse of hilly moorland. From this place, the march
now " descends " to the road from Glengelt, or Glengelt
Road, and so following Glengelt Road down to the Leader
or Headshaw Burn.

The outline, although somewhat vague, is yet clear enough


y y




to define the lands of Carfrae, which to-day do not differ
far in essentials from the description given in De Morville's
charter. This was t/D be expected on account of these lands
having so seldom -changed owners during 700 years. Head-
shaw was thus included in Carfrae boundaries, and all the
land on the v-east of Headshaw water. Glengelt estate never
seems to^'have crossed that stream at any time within the

C ''

view ov 'history, though it gave its name for long to the hills
extprfiding from Carfraemill to Lammer Law.

Carfrae estate as thus bounded was given about and
before the year 1196, "to be held from me (William de
Moreville) and my heirs, by him (Henry de Saintclair), and
j_ his heirs, in fee and heritage, in land and water, in meadows

r" and pastures, and wood and plain, and without the forest,

/ freely and quietly, for the service of one knight."

" I concede likewise to him, as in his fee, his mill (Carfrae
Mill) held without multure.

" I concede to him that no one shall use his land or
pasture or his wood unless he permit, yet at the same time
that we shall mutually use the common pasture-land of our

This charter was afterwards confirmed by Rolland, Earl of
Galloway, who married the granter's sister Ellen, and got
Lauderdale lands with her, to Allan de Saintclair of Carfrae,
who was married to Mathilda of Windesour ; and in 1434 " ane
instrument " of it is taken by John Saintclair of Hermiston.

Herdmanston came into the hands of Henry de Sinclair
in 1 162 by charter from Richard de Morville, Lord of Lauder-
dale. The Morevilles had acquired vast possessions in
Lothian, Lauderdale, and Cunninghame, and Sir Henry,
Sheriff to Richard, seems to have been a favourite. The
Sinclairs of Herdmanston, and later of Carfrae, " are thus


entitled to be considered as the first family in point of
antiquity in the county of Haddington."

The fortunes of Carfrae were henceforth bound up in
those of the honourable family of Herdmanston, and its lands
do not seem to have been separated in any way until,
perhaps, the close of the fifteenth century.

From the fact that John de Sauncler received liberty to
build chapels at Hirdmanston and Carfrae, and to have
private chaplains at each for behoof of his own people, we
surmise that Carfrae must have long been a residence of the
Sinclairs. That Sinclair of Carfrae was also the Sheriff of
the High Constable of Scotland would give the place both
social and political pre-eminence over the other residences of
Upper Lauderdale. But it would be difficult to say at what
particular time this John de Sauncler lived, and consequently
the time when Carfrae was at its best. There is a John de
Sinclair of Herdmanston in the Arbroath charters, of date
1 248, who succeeded to Allan de Sinclair in the estates, and
who may be identical with the above, but there is a John of
Herdmanston, also of date 1296, who does homage to
Edward I., and yet another of 1542 who witnesses in the
Roslyn charters. We are inclined to accept 1248 as the
period when Carfrae rose to highest importance as a
residence, although this seems to have been sustained to a
much later time when it received the status of a barony.

As far back as the years 1162-66, there is a charter which
gives a pathetic insight into the conditions of peasant life
then prevalent in Lauderdale.* Richard de Moreville sold
to Sir Henry St Clair, Edmund, the son of Bonda, and
Gillemichel, his brother, their sons and daughters, and all
their progeny, for the sum of three merks (40s.), and it
* Dipiomata Scotia^ P- 75-


is also stipulated that if St Clair ever parts with them
willingly, they are to return to the overlordship of De

Perhaps this serfdom was not actually so debasing in
practice as it seems to us now, viewing it from our nineteenth
century heights of freedom and rights of contract. The
advantages of defence were then likely to be more valued
than freedom to wander anywhere and work to any master.
By being thirled to the land, the lord of the barony stood
pledged to defend his nativi with all his power ; and the
picture of the strongly-defended castle surrounded with its
wooden huts and occupying bondmen, bound to common
interests and mutual protection, has a certain air of com-
munal association which is neither harsh nor tyrannical.
Guizot declares, regarding the feudalism which prevailed
from the tenth to the thirteenth century : " It is impossible to
mistake the great and salutary influence exerted by it upon
the development of sentiments, characters, and ideas. We
cannot look into the history of this period without meeting
with a crowd of noble sentiments, great actions, fine displays
of humanity, born evidently in the bosom of feudal manners."*

From the above names, Edmund (Saxon), and Gillemichel
(Gaelic), we might be led to infer that intermixture of the
races had begun. We are told that Simeon of Durham, who
died in 1 1 30, narrates that the Scotch made inroads upon
the English and made slaves of them, " so that even to this
day, I do not say no little village, but even no cottage, can
be found without one of them, f The ancient race, native to
the land, was also enslaved by the Saxons, and thus the

* Guizot's History of Civilisation^ vol. i., p. 81. Bogue's European

f Celtic Scotland, vol. i., p. 422.

CARFllAE 40d

intermingling of Saxon and Gaelic names among Carfrae
bondmen becomes clear to us.

Sir William Sinclair of Herdmanston was distinguished
for great gallantry on the field of Bannockburn. He then
conducted himself so bravely as to earn the high admiration
of King Robert the Bruce. The King presented him with a
sword with the words engraved on it : " La Roi me donne,
St Clair me poste" — "The King gives me, St Clair carries
me." He fell fighting the Moors in Spain, while accompany-
ing the good Lord James, Earl of Douglas, who bore the
heart of his royal master to the Holy Land.

About the year 1380 Sir William de Abernethy be-
queaths the Mill of Ulkeston (Oxton) to the Abbey of
Dryburgh, and among other witnesses to this charter we
have the name of " Adam, Milneknave of Carfrae." * The
mill-knave was under-miller, and as we have seen the Mill
of Carfrae about the year 1196, the first sight of one of its
millers nearly two hundred years afterwards is not without
interest. We conclude that Milneknave is not a surname,
though surnames are given to some of the other witnesses,
because he is styled " de Carfrae," and such territorial
designation could not have been given to any one except
a Sinclair.

A change seems to have taken place about the middle of
the fifteenth century, which had the effect of narrowing the
lands hitherto denominated " of Carfrae." Sir Patrick Home
of Polwart, second son of David Home, younger of Wedder-
burn, had an elder brother George, who was retoured heir of
his grandfather in that barony the 12th of May 1469. These
two brothers, George of Wedderburn and Sir Patrick of
Polwart, married two sisters, Marion and Margaret respec-
* Dryburgh Register, No. 312.


tively, who were daughters of Sir John Sinclair of Herd-
manston and Carfrae, and who Hkewise were the co-heiresses
of their father's estates in at least Polwart and Kimmerg-
hame. When Sir John died, apparently in 1468, strife broke
out between (his son) William Sinclair and the two sisters,
wives of Wedderburn and Polwart, and the case in 1471
went to law. * They accused him of wrongous withholding
of certain charters and evidents of the lands of Hirdman-
ston, Carfra, and Pencaitland, Templefield, Polwarth, and
Kymmerghame, and a reversion of Hateschaw (Headshaw),
and Medil (Midlie), and of withholding of certain goods of
heirship pertaining to them. Being a case of fee and
heritage, it was referred to the Lords of Parliament.

In 1494 we ascertain from another lawsuit, which
concerns Headshaw more particularly, that Headshaw was
in the superiority of the above George Home of Wedder-
burn, husband of Marion Sinclair of Herdmanston, and
Headshaw being within Carfrae territory, had evidently
gone to him as his wife's share in the estate, f

At Stirling, 27th June 1545, Queen Mary confirms to
John Sinclair of Hirdmanstoun and Margaret Sinclair his
wife, the home lands of Hirdmanstoun, two parts of the
Mains of Pencaitland called Coddikis, etc., etc., and two
parts of the lands and steading of Carfray and Mill in
Lauderdale, and by annexation within the barony of
Hirdmanstoun. I The other parts of Carfrae are evidently
at this time separated from the Sinclair interest, and pre-
sumably these were Headshaw and others which were in
the hands of the Homes.

* Acta Dominoruin Auditorum.
t Acta Dotninorum Concilii.
X Great Seal.


In 1567 the above John Sinclair seems to be dead, and
Sir Wm. Sinclair enters upon possession, but Margaret
Sinclair, who was joined in the feu with her husband, retains
the two parts of Carfrae and Mill as above. *

Carfrae in 1569 comes under the influence of a name
which was destined to rise high in the political offices of
the nation. In that year, at the city of St Andrews, on the
1 6th of May, the young King James confirms the charter of
Sir William Sinclair of Hirdmestoun, in which, for a sum of
money paid, he sold to Mary Maitland, daughter of Sir
Richard Maitland of Lethington (now Lennoxlove), the
annual income of 1 10 marks {£7$, 6s. 8d.) from his barony
of Hirdmestoun, viz., from the lands of Hirdmestoun, the
home lands, the mains and mills of the same, the lands of
Wester Pencaitland with woods and mill, as well as from
the lands of Carfray with mill, in the bailiary of Lauderdale,
but within the sheriffdom and constabulary of Edinburgh by
annexation, holding from the King by the said Mary and her
legitimate heirs, whom failing, by the said Richard and his
heirs, -f*

The Maitland family have slowly crept into the place and
power in Lauderdale which were anciently held by the De
Morvilles, and in thus, in a sense, returning to them, even
though as bond, Carfrae was, as it were, coming back to
the original status which it enjoyed before the Sinclairs of
Herdmanstoun possessed it. This also appears to be the
first time that any Maitland obtained a landed interest in
Channelkirk parish.

The above Sir Richard Maitland, father of Mary, is well
known for his honourable connection with poetic literature.
He is the " Auld Lettingtoun," " the old Larde of Lething-
* Exchequer Rolls. t Great Seal.


toun " of Knox's History. * He was a worthy descendant
of the "Auld Maitland" of the thirteenth century, who
defended his castle so doughtily, and who was as devout as
he was brave. Robert Maitland, descended from the " grey-
haired knight," appears to have acquired the lands of
Lethington about the close of the fourteenth century from
the Giffords of that Ilk. From Robert, in successive genera-
tion, there were William, and from William, John, and from
John another William who was the father of the poet. Sir
Richard, "the old larde," born in 1496.

Sir Richard was married about 1530 to Mary Cranston,
daughter of Sir Thomas Cranston of Crosby, a younger
branch of the Cranston House, and had seven sons and
four daughters. Mary, who obtains from Sir William
Sinclair the annual return of no merks from his estate,
as above, was Sir Richard's third daughter, and was married
to Alexander Lauder of Hatton.

At Hirdmanston, on the 20th March 1580, Sir William
Sinclair grants to Lady Sybil Cockburn, his wife, in liferent,
his lands of Carfrae, with manor, mansion, homelands, mill,
and Rigside, with privilege of Carfra Common. This is
confirmed on 17th February 1593, with some other favours.
Carfrae, with mill and all pertinents, is again, on the death,
evidently, of Sir William, conveyed in 1629 to Sir John
Sinclair of Hirdmanston, and Elizabeth Sinclair, his future
wife (who was daughter of John Sinclair of Stevinstoun,
merchant and bailie in Edinburgh), in conjunct fee, and to
their heirs legitimate. In 1590 Murray of Blackbarony was
security in 50CXD merks that the Laird of Philiphaugh would
not harm Sir William Sinclair of Hirdmanston. In 1641, on

* Vol. ii., p. 403 ; vol. i., p. 97. See also Ballad of "Auld Maitland,"
and Scott's Marmion, notes.


15th November, the King confirms and de novo gives to
Sir John Sinclair (among others) Carfrae lands, with manor
place, mill, holdings, etc., in Lauderdale, in the barony of

Returning for a little to the year 1632, we learn from the
Decreet of the High Commission of that date that Sir John
Sinclair of Herdmanston held, in this parish, Carfrae and
Midlie, Fairnlees, Hillhouse, Hirniecleuch, and Carfrae Mill,
and mill lands.* One place, Hizildans, originally in Carfrae
lands, and from which the minister at that time drew stipend,
is not mentioned as being Sir John's. The reason is that
Hizildans was then in the possession of the Haigs of Bemer-
syde. Thus the Homes had cut Headshaw out of the estate
on the west, and the Haigs had sliced off Hizildans on the
east. In 1617, on 17th December, James Haig of Bemersyde
is retoured heir of Robert Haig, his father, in the lands of
Hissildans, in the barony of Hermestoune, lordship of
Carfra.+ Sir Henry Sinclair of Carfra had a daughter, Ada,
who married (about 1200) Peter de Haig of Bemersyde, the
second of that name. It is curious to find this early interest
in Carfrae still clinging to the Haigs of the seventeenth
century, four hundred years later. Hissildans was then
"of I OS. taxt value, auld extent; and 40s. new extent."
This James Haig, heir of Hissildans in 1617, is notable in his
way. Fierce and headstrong during his reign in Bemersyde,
he gave ample proof that a man may maintain his rights
without help from any laws except what reside within his
own stout heart and arm. He ran away with the Laird of
Stodrig's daughter to begin with, for which he just escaped
his father's dagger. He did not, however, escape the old
man's curse, "which followed him to his grave." Indeed,
* Decreet of Locality^ p. 239. f Retours.


the advent of James on the historic scene was, to all appear-
ance, the beginning of the declension of the house of
Bemersyde. Contracts and agreements had no reverence
for James when they thwarted his wishes, and having braved
all public respect, and deranged the peace of his father's
house, to quarrel also with his neighbours was almost
inevitable. Haliburton, the Laird of Mertoun, and he, had
their properties joining in the vicinity of Bemersyde Loch,
and the watery marshes, instead of imparting a cooling
atmosphere to the two boundaries, became, ultimately, a
veritable calorific geyser, which spouted such intolerable
hot waters over both the houses of Bemersyde and Mertoun
as literally to stew them alive. We shall leave it to Anthony
Haig to tell the story. The little touches of old Adam are
peculiar to the days. He was the grandson of James Haig
of Hissildans. After describing the disputed boundaries,
and showing us that they are yet " visiabbly merched with
ston," he says : — " It will not be amise to show you what
one pased betwixt my guidser and the Laird of Marton
then liveing. Marton wold faine have stolne a prevelidge
beyound those march stons, and for that end caused on of
his men com upe and cast some diffits beyound the march.
My grandfather, hearing thereof, cam to the fellow, brock his
head, toke from him his spade ; at which Marton was greatly
offended, and on day going to Coldenknowes with on
Thomas Helliburton with him, he bravadingly crost the
rigges befor the Laird of Bemersyde's door, which he seeing,
told him he would be in his comon (would be so obliged to

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