Hardy Bertram M'Call.

The history and antiquities of the parish of Mid-Calder, with some account of the religious house of Torphichen, founded upon record; online

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Online LibraryHardy Bertram M'CallThe history and antiquities of the parish of Mid-Calder, with some account of the religious house of Torphichen, founded upon record; → online text (page 14 of 26)
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in favour of Mr Wilkie is dated at Burntisland 5th November 1750, and
the marches of the property are thus described — all and whole the lands
of Howatston bounded between the water of Almond on the north, the
water of Killing and the lands of Nether Alderston on the south, the
lands of Grange and Grangeside on the west, and the joining together
of the two waters on the east parts, lying within the barony of Alderstoun,
parish of Mid-Calder and shire of Edinburgh, with liberty of casting
peats and pasturing on the moss of Brastoun.

The houses of Grange and Hewistoun are marked on Blaeu's atlas,
published in 1662.


The estate of Colzium, situated in the southern or upper portion of
the parish, extends to some 2,700 acres, and now embraces the lands of
Easter and Wester Colzium and those of Wester Cairns. The house
occupies a commanding position, and is a substantial structure, the walls
presenting the appearance of considerable antiquity, but we are without
precise information in regard to the period of its erection. It is situated
upon the lands of Easter Colzium, at a height of fully 1000 feet above sea-
level. In the year 1609, the lands of Easter Colzium, with tower and
fortalice, are mentioned in the records. It is impossible, however, that the
present house should be of that age, nor can it in any sense be described
as a tower or fortress; we must therefore suppose that it occupies the
position of an older and fortified erection. The house of Colyam is like-
wise marked in Blaeu's map of the district in 1662, but this also must refer
to an earlier structure. The present mansion is an example of the X plan,
and IS of moderate dimensions. Besides the high wing in the centre there
are two low wings at the back, the roofs of which are just visible in our
illustration above the courtyard wall ; the front elevation faces the south,
and presents no feature calling for special remark. The steading of
Wester Colzium is now in ruins.

A picturesque and secluded nook on the confines of the estate,

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near to the Crosswood burn, is traditionally pointed out as one of the
rendezvous of the Covenanters in Charles Il.'stime, and a projecting piece
of rock there named Wolf-field Craig is still sometimes called "The
Pulpit" The history of the lands has a chequered aspect exhibiting a

Fig. 20, — View of Colzium House from N.

series of changes in proprietorship, there being no single family which
even for two complete generations could claim to be "of Colzium." We
commence our account with

Martyne Ker of Eister Colzame who was charged to attend wappin-
schaw displays, armed and on horseback, in 1586. On 20 May 1595, he
was decerned to pay xxxviij s. which was owing by him to the late
William Reid the tyme of his deceis, to Jonet Reid as sister and narrest
off kin to the creditor. His name occurs also in connection with a cattle
raid committed by the followers of Sir Walter Scott of Branxholm on
25th June 1598, when they reft from Sir James Sandilands and his tenents
twenty-four oxen. Archibald Eliot of Mirrieneis, at the command of the
laird of Branxholm, re-delivered seven of the said oxen to Mertein Ker
and Williame Welshe. On 7th June 1595, Martin Ker had a disposi-
tion of the lands of Easter Colzium from James Sandilands of Calder,
with consent of his curators ; and his daughter Agnes married David
Wilson in Bonnyngton. The marriage contract is dated 24th October

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1609, in implement of which the said David and Agnes were infeft in
the lands of Easter Colzeam, with houses, tower and fortalice, in the
barony of Calder. This was renunciated by David Wilson in favour of
Martyne Ker, his father-in-law, 5th March 1632, at which time the latter
is designated Mairteine Ker in Cammalty. And by Martyne the lands
were again renounced in favour of John, Lord Torphichen at Calder, ist
June 1634. Some twenty years later, Walter, Lord Torphichen, grants
a charter of the steading, roume and lands of Easter Colzeam to William
Listoun, second lawful son to Patrick Listoun in Over Newlistoun, but
with declaration anent that part of the lands of Colzeam called Breadbent,
pertaining to the lands of Colzeam in commonty.

William Listoun of Easter Colzium was twice married ; firstly to
Helen Vernour, eldest daughter of Gawin Vemour in Dedridge, to whom he
gave seisin of the half of his roum and lands of Easter Colzeam in contem-
plation of the marriage to be solemnised between them, loth June 1658.
Patrick Listoun, his father, and William Listoun, in Muirend, his uncle,
are witnesses. His name occurs again at 14th November 1665, when he
granted an annual rent of £^0 out of his lands of Easter Colzeame to John
Aikman, elder, in Woodhouse, and John, his son, in liferent and fee ; and
this charge was redeemed by Jean Cameron, second spouse of William
Listoun of Easter Colziam, in favour of herself, and of Archibald Listoun,
her only son, 12th August 1692. Mr John Cameron, minister at
Kincardine, is a witness to the transaction. William Listoun took part
on the covenanting side at the battle on Pentland Hills in 1666, in con-
sequence of which he was proclaimed a rebel, and excepted by name out
of the King*s pardon and indemnity, ist October 1667. As he could not
be apprehended, he was sentenced to death in absence, but succeeded in
evading his persecutors until after the revolution in 1690, when his
forfeiture was rescinded. He was for several years thereafter an elder of
Mid-Calder church, and was a very regular attendant in the Session until
his death, which occurred in August 1698.

John Listoun, the elder son of the foregoing, and the child of his
first wife, Helen Vernour, was seized of the lands on a precept of Clare
Constat to him as lawful and nearest heir of his said father by James,
Lord Torphichen, dated at the castle of Calder, loth March 1701. An

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annual rent effeiring to the principal sum of 1000 merks chargeable on
the lands was held by Archibald Listoun, his half-brother, but was re-
nounced by him in favour of John Listoun of Easter Colzium, 29th
August 171 1. This laird married Janet Lawson of the family of Law-
son of Cairnmuir, and had two sons, James, maltman in Strathaven, and
William. He died previous to 4th February 1737, when James Listoun,
the elder son, was retoured heir-general, and his widow was at that time
married again to Matthew Brown. On 28th November 1723 John
Listoun, designed " in Three Stones," disponed his lands of Coalzium with
the teinds thereof in favour of Alexander Aikman of Nether Howden, who
held the property for rather more than ten years. By him the lands of
Easter Colzium, with the two commonties of Broadbent and Birkinhill, were
again conveyed to John Lawson of Cairnmuir, conform to a minute of
agreement thereanent 22nd June 1734.

Walter Mitchell of Listonshiells is the next proprietor mentioned.
He was the eldest son of Mr John Mitchell of Alderston, an extensive
landowner in the parish, and he died previous to 21st March 1740, when
there is a precept from Chancery in favour of William Mitchell, chirurgeon-
apothecary and convener of the Trades of Edinburgh, as heir of his brother
Walter, of the lands of Listonschiels, Easter Colzium and Bents. By
William Mitchell the lands were disponed on 31st August 1743 to

George Dick, writer in Mid-Calder, thereafter of Greenbank, to whom
they were confirmed by Crown charter of date 12th February 1748. Very
shortly thereafter Mr Dick conveyed these and other lands in the parish
to his elder son. Captain George Dick of the Marines, from whom they came
into the possession of

Alexander Hepburn, merchant in Edinburgh. This laird obtained
a charter of resignation under the Great Seal of the lands of Easter Col-
zeum, with manor place, in the parish of Mid-Calder, in favour of himself
and Margaret Geddes his wife, in conjunct fee 23rd February 1763 ; and
two years later he again conveyed the estate to Alexander Geddes, son
of Robert Geddes, merchant, Maryland, by disposition dated 20th March

Alexander Geddes of Colzium married Jean Bull, relict of Hugh
M'Donald, Ensign E. I. Co., to whom he gave seisin of the lands in 1784,

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and by whom he had a son, Alexander, a lieutenant in the 31st
Regiment of Foot. He died in the year 1801, and the lands were again
sold to

Alexander Grant, W.S., who obtained a charter of the same under
the Great Seal, dated Sth July 1804. This proprietor was a son of Patrick
Grant of Nevie, and after serving his apprenticeship to Mr Isaac Grant,
W.S., of Nether Alderston, he was admitted a writer to the Signet on
28th June 1787. He died 4th July 1808, and there is a disposition of
Easter Colzium with the Commonties of Braidbent and Birkinhill belong-
ing thereto by Peter Grant, in the shipping service of the East India
Company, with consent of the trustees of the late Alexander Grant, W.S.,
in favour of Mr Michael Linning of Cumberhead, Clerk to the Signet, dated
2 1st December 18 10. Of

Michael Linning, W.S., of Colzium, we have already had occa-
sion to speak (page 1 14) ; he subsequently became possessed of the
lands of East Cairns and Baadpark, and died on 17th February 1838, after
which his landed property in this parish was conveyed by his trustees to
Robert Downie of Appin.

The lands of Easter Colzium were next acquired by the Edinburgh
Water Company, an undertaking formed for the construction and main-
tenance of the Harperrig compensation reservoir, and in whose favour
there is a conveyance of this property by the Trustees of Robert Downie
of Appin, and by John Learmonth of Dean, dated 4th November 1844.
In October 1849, the room and lands of Easter Colzium with the teinds
thereof and the two commonties of Braidbent and Birkenhill are again
disponed and assigned by the above named Company to James Hunter of
the Haugh, NewHston, whose seisin took place on 27th November in that
year ; and the neighbouring farms of Wester Colzium and Wester Cairns
were subsequently acquired by Mr Hunter and have since been attached
to this estate. This laird was succeeded by his son William Bertram
Hunter, who, on 7th November 1884, disponed the united property of
Colzium, with manor place, &c., in the parish of Mid-Calder, to the late
George Watson, then residing at Park House, Grange, Edinburgh. Mr
Watson was in turn succeeded, in the year 1888, by his nephew, John
Anderson of Colzium, the present proprietor.

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The lands of Wester Colzium and Wester Cairns were anciently held by
the Tennents of Cairns, and the history of their proprietors previous to the
year 17CX) is the same as that of Easter Cairns. The laird of Wester
Colzian was charged to appear and give evidence before the Privy Council
in regard to a conventicle held on the Cairn hills in July 1684 ; and in a
list of persons whom General Dalzell is recommended to arrest in connec-
tion with the affair — "convening a sufficient number of His Majesty's
forces " to that effect — appears the name of David Syres, servant to John
Hamilton, tenant in Wester Collon. At the same time, Andrew Ker,
servant to David Ker, tenant in Wester Cairne, having seen several persons
in arms pass to the said conventicle, yet neglected to give " tymeous infor-
matioun " with a view to their arrest, is ordered to be apprehended and
brought in to the Tolbuith of Edinburgh.

Jonet Alexander died on the 12th April 1584 ; she was first the wife
of George Tennent in West Colzeane, and afterwards of John
Gibsoun in Wester Cairnes, and she nominates her son, George
Tennent, as executor and intromitter. George Tennent in Wester Cairnis
died 7th May 1608, leaving one half of his effects to Bessie Patersone, his
relict spouse, and the other half to sundry persons. James Tennent, elder
of Greenburne, is executor, and John Lowry in Dyk, and Peter Aikman in
Mortoun are overseers. Bessie Aikman, spouse of David Ker in West
Cairnes, died in November 1665, mentioning in her will David, John,
James, Samuel, Andrew, Jean, and Helen Kers, her children.

On 29th July 1708 the lands of Wester Colzium and Wester Cairns
were confirmed by Lord Torphichen to Mr John Mitchell of Alderstoun,
for whom they were disjoined from the barony of Calder and annexed to
that of Alderstoun by Crown charter dated 9th February 1709. He died
in July 1730, and these lands were conveyed by his trustees to George
Dick, writer in Mid-Calder, who paid for West Colzium and West Cairns
the sum of ;£'i 1,960 Scots, including annual rent from Candlemas 1734 to
Whitsunday 1736. The same gentleman, as we have already seen, after-
wards acquired Easter Colzium, so that the three lands, although they were
destined to be again divided, wer6 at this period associated in one estate as
at present. In 1755, Captain George Dick of Greenbank gave an annuity
of £40 sterling out of the lands of West Colzium and West Cairns to

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Rosamond Pearson, his affianced wife ; and the same lands were confirmed
under the Great Seal to William Dick of Greenbank, 2nd June 1791
William Dick died in the following year, and the property was, on isth
November 1793, conveyed by his trustees to Captain John Inglis of
Auchindinny. This proprietor was a naval commander, and attained to
the rank of vice-admiral. He was succeeded by his son, John Inglis
of Auchindinny, advocate, who was seized on 31st August 181 3. This
Mr Inglis again conveyed the lands, on ist December 181 8, to the Rev.
Hugh Laird, D.D., minister of Portmoak, who at the same time acquired
the neighbouring property of Easter Cairns and Baadpark. The latter he
sold in 1827 to Mr Michael Linning, W.S., of Easter Colzium, but he
continued proprietor of West Colzium and West Cairns until his death,
which occurred on 28th August 1849, in his eighty-sixth year. In West
Cairns and West Colzium he was ultimately succeeded by his second son,
Hugh Laird, a writer in Kinross, and procurator-fiscal for that county, by
whom the lands were again conveyed to James Hunter of East Colzium,
to which estate they have since been attached.


A few roods south of the village, and between the roadway and
Calder wood, formerly stood the house of Greenbank, which was erected
by Superintendent Spottiswood, the first Reformed minister of Calder, and
was the birthplace, in 1565, of his son and successor in the charge, who
subsequently became Archbishop of St Andrews. The property was
acquired by Lord Torphichen at the close of last century, and the house,
which had become very dilapidated, has since been demolished ; it con-
tained a portrait of the Superintendent. After the promotion of the
younger Mr Spottiswood to the Archbishopric of Glasgow, in 1603,
Greenbank House continued for about forty years the parsonage of the
parish clergy, and when they removed to the old manse at Sandilands, the
superiority of this property still belonged to the church. When no
longer the residence of the minister, Greenbank became for a period of
about one hundred and fifty years, the abode of the village lawyer. It
was first held by the family of Johnstone, the members of which were

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successively writers and notaries in Mid-Calder, Jhone Jhonstoun, notary
publict, acting as an elder of the parish in 1607. Johne Johnestoun,
macer, is designated constable of the parrochine of Calder in an order to
him to provide certain horses for the use of His Majesty's chariot passing
through this district on the occasion of his progress through Scotland, in
the year 16 17.

There are entries in the Presbytery and other records alluding to
the erection of the manse of Calder in 1645, and it seems that the
property of Greenbank was at this time disponed by Mr Kennedy, the
minister, to Samuel Johnstone, notary in Calder. The latter had a seat
in the parish church in 1653, and his name occurs in connection with
various legal transactions in the district about the same period — e.g,y he
acts in relation to the testament of John Anderson in Skevo, recorded
22nd July 1661. He had several children, viz., Walter, baptized 28
April 1653 ; Jeane, b. 1645 \ Katrine, b. 1658 ; and Anna, b. 1668.
Walter Johnstone, notary, and Bethea Fergusone, his spouse, were
next seized of the lands upon a charter by Mr Norman M*Kenzie,
rector of Calder, dated 22nd August 1676, on which occasion the
property is described as all and whole that mansion-house in Calder,
built by the late Mr John Spotswood, grandfather of the late Sir John
Spotswood of Dairsie, Knight, and by the late John, Archbishop of St
. Andrews, his father, with a piece of bank, etc., and two acres of arable
land, in the barony of Calder Comitis. Walter Johnstone filled the office
of Session-clerk to the Presbyterian congregation, both at their temporary
meeting-place during the occupation of the parish church by the Episcopal
Incumbents, and also at the church. He died in 1690 or 1691, and on
13th June 1704, Jean, Anne, Margaret, and Bethia Johnstones, his
daughters, had a precept of Clare Constat from Mr John Lookup, minister
at the church of Calder, as heirs of their said father. These four daughters
were all married : Jean, the eldest, to William Wardrop, writer in Mid-
Calder; Anne, to Robert Anderson, merchant in Duns; Margaret, to
Mr John Sandilands, minister at Dolphington ; and Bethia, to Thomas
Sandilands, writer in Mid-Calder, who died in August 17 16. By these
co-heiresses the property was conveyed to William Elphinston, after whose
death it was disponed by John Dewar, merchant, and late bailie of


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Edinburgh, to George Dick, writer in Mid-Calder, 8th December 1744
The disposition describes the lands, and embraces the houses lately built
thereon by the deceased Captain Elphinston, with barns, stables, piece of
brae, and craig adjacent, with two arable acres towards the south and
west of the old mansion-house ; also the seat in Mid-Calder church
pertaining to the said lands.

George Dick of Greenbank, who thus became proprietor, was only
son of John Dick, merchant in Mid-Calder, and Elizabeth Jamisone, his
wife. His name occurs very frequently in the records in connection with
the exercise of his profession between the years 1723 and 1750. He
became possessed of many other lands in the parish, including various
subjects in the village, the lands of Easter Colzium (on disposition by
William Mitchell, chirurgeon, of date 31st August 1743), West Cairns.
West Colzium, and others, which were confirmed to him by a charter
under the Great Seal, 12th February 1748, in which it is narrated that
the property of Greenbank is held of the rector of Calder, and his successors
in office. George Dick married in the month of April 1713, Margaret,
daughter of the deceased John Sandilands of Braidshaw, with whom he
had two sons, namely, George, born 25 May 1715 ; and William, born 2nd
February 1726. He was succeeded by the elder son, Captain George Dick,
of General Cornwalls* regiment of Marines, who in 175 1 acquired also the
lands of Easter Murieston from Matthew Paterson of Murieston, a merchant
in Linlithgow. This proprietor married (contract dated 6th March 1754),
Rosamond Pearson, fourth daughter of Rodger Pearson, in the county of
Northumberland, and widow of David Clifton, accountant of Excise, Edin-
burgh ; but he died apparently without issue, about 30 Nov. 1778. Captain
Dick was in turn succeeded in these various lands by his brother, William
Dick of Greenbank, officer of Excise at Dumbarton, who had a precept of
Clare Constat as heir of his said brother from James, Lord Torphichen, on
8th May 1782, and was retoured heir-general of the late George Dick,
writer in Mid-Calder, his father, on 7th August in the same year. William
died in 1792, leaving a son, George, officer of Excise at Elie; and the
estates were alienated in the following year, Greenbank to Lord Torphichen,
Easter Murieston to Henry Janiieson, banker in Edinburgh, and West
Colzium and West Cairns to Captain John Inglis, R.N., of Auchindinny.

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A portion at least of these lands formed part in ancient times of the
patrimony of the Knights Templars, and of their successors the Knights
of St John. At the period of the Reformation, Thomas Cant obtained
the property from the baron of Calder. His son, also Thomas Cant of
Herperrig, was laird in 1586, and at ist May 1590, when Thos. Ramage
was decerned to pay and deliver to Thomas Cant of Harperrig, four
hoggis and ane zew at xxiiij d. ye piece overheid quhilk war tint to ye
said Thomas Cant in ye said Thomas Ramage's default This laird was
succeeded by his nephew, John Cant, in 1602, who had seisin on a
precept of Clare Constat by James Sandilands of Calder, as heir of
the deceast Thomas Cant of Herperig, his grandfather. On i6th
March in the last-mentioned year, John Cant gives seisin of the
temple lands of Herperig called Templehill to Robert Hamilton of
Bathgate, on which occasion they are described as being bounded by
the Water of Lethensem on the north, by the Meredene burn on the
east, and on the west by the Tempildyck, which extends from the
south to the foresaid Water of Lethensem. Three years later, Hamilton
of Bathgate resigned the lands in favour of Mr Laurence Scot, writer,
to whom they were confirmed by James, lord of Torphichin, with consent
of James Tennent of Lynhous, and Mr Robert Williamesoune of Murreis-
toun, 30th May 1605, when it is mentioned that the lands were occupied
by the late Hugo Dowglas, Robert Lawder, Wm. Deware of that Ilk,
James Guidled, and Wm. Haswall. Mr Laurence is designed "of
Bavillaw," and was an extensive proprietor of lands in neighbouring
parishes; his name occurs frequently in records relating to Calder
church between 1633 and 1653, and one of his daughters, Agnes Scot,
married Mr Patrick Kinloch of Alderston in 1622. Mr Lawrence Scot of
Bavillaw died in November 1669, mention being made in his will of
Katherine Binning, his relict spouse, Mr Lawrence, his eldest son,
William, Katherine, Barbara, Agnes, Cristian, and Janet, his younger
children ; Mr James Binning, advocate, is cautioner. Mr Lawrence Scot,
the elder son, was served heir of his father of the lands of Harperrig,

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in the barony of Calder, and of the temple lands of the same, called
Tempillhill, in the regality of Torphichen, 13th May 1670. He died
previous to 9th October 1679, when there is a charter under the Great
Seal to William Scot of Bavillaw erecting many lands in neighbouring
parishes into the free barony of Bavillaw. William died in the month
of March 1690, and was succeeded by Charles Scot of Bavillaw, his

We next find the lands of Harperrig in the possession of Robert
Thomson, Sheriff-Clerk depute for the county of Edinburgh, He had
two sons, who each in turn became proprietors of Harperrig, as well as
Auchinoon and other lands in the locality. The elder son was Dr Robert
Thomson, a physician in Edinburgh, who granted an annuity of £1000
Scots out of the estate to Mistress Mary Dickson, his wife, daughter of
Sir Robert Dickson of Innerask, baronet, conform to their marriage
contract, which is dated 29th April 17 17. Dr Thomson died within a
few months, and his widow married secondly to Adam Durham of
Luffness. He was succeeded in these lands by his brother, Alexander
Thomson, a merchant and burgess of Edinburgh, who obtained a charter
under the Great Seal of that part of the barony of Calder called Harper-
rig, and the temple lands of the same or Templehill in the reality of
Torphichen, also certain parts of the lands and barony of Kirknewton,
dated at Edinburgh, 13th February 1721. This laird died before 175 1,
when Matthew Thomson of Harperrig grants an annual rent furth of the
lands to Dr George Young, physician in Edinburgh, and Thomas Young,
surgeon there, his son.

The property now belongs to the Earl of Morton ; it has long been
tenanted — for a period of 200 years, it is said — by members of the family
of Gray. The name is an old one in the parish, the Grays being first
settled at the Bridgend of Calder. Mr John Gray and Eupham Mosman
his spouse, had a charter of lands and houses at ye end of the brig of

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Online LibraryHardy Bertram M'CallThe history and antiquities of the parish of Mid-Calder, with some account of the religious house of Torphichen, founded upon record; → online text (page 14 of 26)