John Guthrie Smith.

The parish of Strathblane and its inhabitants from early times : a chapter in Lennox history online

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3 1833 00676 6809






Digitized by the Internet Archive

in 2010 with funding from

Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center




^ Chapter of Jennox pstorg.



F. S.A.Scot.


9^/ 3&0I9 ^tiblishcrs to the ^nibcrsitg.




This Book was originally intended for the people of Strathblane alone. It
is thus mainly local, and there are many things recorded in it which can
interest only a Strathblane man. It has grown to its present size very much
through the abounding kindness of my friends in the parish. Every heritor
has opened his charter chest to me, and every old inhabitant has ransacked
his or her memory at my call. Ample local materials, documentary and oral,
have thus been given to me, and it would be very ungrateful if I did not here
record my hearty thanks to my fellow-parishioners.

I have to thank, too, my friends outside of the parish who have
given me aid. They are too many to enumerate here, but I am particularly
indebted to Mr. Thomas Dickson, LL.D., of H.M. Register House, Edinburgh,
for much valuable advice and help; to Mr. Robert Renwick, Depute Town
Clerk of Glasgow, for his ready and skilful aid in deciphering old documents;
and to Mr. David Murray, M.A., of Glasgow, for many friendly acts. Mrs.
Robert MacLehose has given me much help in going over my proof sheets,
and to her also I tender my thanks.

Appendix I. is the work of my daughters, who have taken much pains with
it, and have been very successful in reading off half, or often nearly wholly,
effaced inscriptions. They have made this part of the book, I venture to
say, as perfect as possible. I hope that this record of Strathblane Churchyard
may be imitated in other parishes, for there is no doubt that much valuable family
history is slowly decaying away among the weeds and mosses of many a
neglected churchyard.


Sir Charles E. F. Stirling of Glorat has kindly lent me three woodcuts,
and Mr. Barns-Graham of Craigallian, one, and the late Mr. Graeme R. Mercer
of Gorthy the block from which the arms of Graham of Gorthy are engraved.
The pictures were painted in black and white by Mr. Frederick Alsop of
Milngavie, with the exception of that of the Blanefield Works, which is from
a photograph by Mr. John Coubrough, All have been platinotyped by Mr.
William Mansfield of St. Mary Cray, Kent. Mr. J. M. Corner of Edinburgh
has engraved in wood the seals, etc., and has made good work, as he always

The heraldic device on page xii and on the cover was designed by my
friend, Mr. Harry A, Mitchell, and executed by Mr. David Cunninghame of
Glasgow. It contains the shields of the old Strath blane families of Stirling of
Craigbarnet and Kirklands ; Buchanan of Buchanan and Ballewan ; Douglas
of Mains and Arlehaven ; Graham of Montrose and Mugdock ; Edmon-
stone of Duntreath ; and Cunninghame of Drumquhassle, Blairquhosh, and
Easter Mugdock ; surmounted by that of the ancient Earl of Lennox, the over-
lord of the district.


Mugdock Castle,
Strathblane, \oth December, 1886.



Situation and Extent of Strathblane — Name of the Parish — Cymric History — King
Arthur — Battle of Arddunion or Ardennan — Battle of Maesydawc or Mugdock —
The Earldom of Lennox, - - - - - page i


The Barony and Lands of Mugdock — Its Manor Place— The Grahams of Mugdock
and Montrose — The Campbells in Mugdock — The Restoration of Mugdock to
the Grahams — Other Families in Mugdock — The Feuing Out of the Barony of
Mugdock— Auchengillan — The Provans— The Aitkens — Carbeth Guthrie — The
Smiths and other Owners — Garvel — Craigallian — The Colquhouns — The Brysons
— The Barns-Grahams of Lymekilns — Craigend — The Smiths — The Buchanans —
The Three Touns of Easter Mugdock — Mugdock Families — Leddriegreen — The
Craigs — The Craigs of Colbeg — The Robisons and Jamesons — The Woodend of
Mugdock — The Weirs, - - - n


The Barony and Lands of Duntreath — Duntreath Proper — Arlehaven — The Douglases
of Mains — The Lyles — Dungoiach — Blairgar — Ballewan Edmonstone — Cult
Edmonstone — The Foyers — Blairquhosh — The Cunninghames of Drumquhassle
— The Buchanans of Carbeth — The Duncans — Spittal of Ballewan — The
Edmonstones of Broich and Spittal — Corriedale— Carbeth— Dunmullin— The
Edmonstones of Duntreath, 72


The Kirklands of Strathblane — The Stirlings of Craigbarnet and Kirklands — The
Stirlings of Glorat and Kirklands — The Stirlings of Law and Kirklands —
Ballagan — The Stirlings of Ballagan — The Grahams of Ballagan, - - 126



Ballewan — The Buchanans of Ballewan — The Lennoxes of Ballewan — The Craigs of
Ballewan — The Grahams of Ballewan, P<^ge 157


The Early Ecclesiastical History of Strathblane — The Hospital of Polmadie — The
Prebend of Strathblane in the Cathedral of Glasgow — The Collegiate Church
of Dumbarton— The Provosts of the Collegiate Church of Dumbarton — The
Vicars of Strathblane, 166


The Ecclesiastical History of Strathblane after the Reformation — The Protestant
Ministers of Strathblane, ..-..._-. j^g


The Churches of Strathblane — The Earliest Known — The Second — The Third and its
Building — The Services and Congregation of Strathblane Church — Memorial
Windows and Mural Tablets in the Church — The Churchyard, - - 229


The School of Strathblane— The Schoolmasters — Incidents in School Life in Strath-
blane, - . 239


The Industries of Strathblane — Meal Mills — Weaving — Waulk Mills — Bleach-
fields — Inkle Factory — Block Printing — Blanefield — Flock Mill — Distilleries —
Smuggling, - - - - . - .. 246


Old and New Strathblane— Old and New Houses — Old and New Roads — Other
Changes in the Parish — Black Mail — Progress of the Parish in the Pi'esent
Century, - 250


Appendix I.

Strathblane Churchyard in 1886 — A Complete List of the Tombstones and Inscriptions
thereon, - - - - - - page 269

Appendix II.
Barony of Mugdock — The Reddendo in the Mugdock Feus, - - - - 304

Appendix III.

Barony of Duntreath — Charter by Isabella, Duchess of Albany and Countess of Lennox,
of the Lands of Duntreath and others to William of Edmonstone and Matilda
Stewart, his Spouse, 15th February, 1445 — The Sheep Farm of Letter — The
Burial Place of the Princess Mary in the Church of Strathblane —The Stirling-
shire Election of 182 1, - 306

Appendix IV.

The Kirklands of Strathblane — Rental of the Kirklands before 1681 — Rental of the
Kirklands, 1726 — Ane Inventar of the Plenishing within Craigbarnet, 1667 —
Deed of Gift by my Lord Governor Albany of Lands, Annuals, etc., to William
Stirling of Glorat, 4th March, 1516-17 — Gift of a Beidmanship in the Collegiate
Church of Dumbarton by George Stirling of Glorat to Robert Makcadam, 26th
May, 1539 — Notarial Instrument following thereon— Gift of Two Beidmanships
in the Collegiate Church of Dumbarton by John Stirling of Glorat to William
Stirling, his natural Son, nth P'ebruary, 1627, - - - 315

Appendix V.
BaUewan — The Boundaries of the Lands of Quylt or Cult in 1570, - - 322

Appendix VI.

The Early Ecclesiastical History of Strathblane— Deed of Gift by the Bailies and
others of the Burgh of Dumbarton, of the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary
to the Lady Isabella, Duchess of Albany and Countess of Lennox, nth May,
1453 — Ladyton, in the Parish of Bonhill— Revenues of the Provostry of Dumbarton
—The Installation of Master James Stewart, Provost of the Collegiate Church of
Dumbarton— Protest by Master Robert Maxwell, Provost of the Collegiate
Church of Dumbarton, against the Dilapidations of his Predecessor, - 324

Appendix VII.

Protestant Ministers of Strathblane — The Session Records of Strathblane — *' The New
Psalmes" of 1650— The Election of Parish Minister in 1886, - - 329


Appendix VIII.
Localities and Teinds of Stvathblane, - - - - . . - page 340

Appendix IX.
Valuation Rolls of Strathblane— 1691— 1831— 1885, - - - 345

Appendix X.
Strathblane— Place Names, and Surnames, 348

Appendix XI.
Strathblane Institutions, 1886, - - - - - 353

Appendix XII.

Miscellanea — Population of the Parish — Strathblane Meteorology — Inundations —
Earthquake— Heights above the Sea of Places in Strathblane— Farm Products
and Cattle in Strathblane in 1796, 1841, 1886— Parochial Events while this Work
is passing through the Press, . - 357


I. Names of Persons, 3^5

II. Names of Places, - - - - 39°

III. Miscellanea, 392



I. Mugdock Castle— The Old South- West Tower, - - - - Frontispiece.

II. Mugdock Castle, as restored, to face 2,$

III. Carbeth Guthrie, from the South, 41

IV. Craigallian, from the South- West, - - - - 47

V, Craigend Castle, - - - 52

VI. Leddriegreen, - - - - - - - - - - - -. 65

VII. Duntreath Castle, - - - - - - 72

VIII. The Meikle Tree of Blairquhosh, - - - - ,- 92

IX. A View in the Kirklands, - - - - - 137

X. Ballagan, - I49

XI. Ballewan, I57

XII. The Manse of Strathblane, "224

XIII. The Church of Strathblane, - . - : 229

XIV. Blanefield Printwork, from the West, 248

XV. The Last of the Old Clachan of Carbeth, 253



1. Seal of Malcolm, Earl of Lennox, 1292, p(i£^ 11

2. Seal of Sir Patrick Graham, 1292, 13

3. Seal of William, 2nd Earl of Montrose, 1 541, 15

4. Ruins of North Tower of Mugdock, 17

5. The Archery Medal of Mungo Graham of Gorthy, 1687, . . - - 24

6. Stone found among the ruins of Old Mugdock, 27

7. The Window over the Door at Mugdock, 34

8. Seal of William Smith of Carbeth Guthrie, 45

9. Armorial Bearings of Barns-Graham of Craigallian, 51

10. Seal of John Smith of Craigend, 53

11. Seal of Archibald Smith of Jordanhill, 56

12. Armorial Bearings of Buchanan of Craigend and Dunburgh, - - - jg

13. Seal of Nicholas Douglas of Mains, 1392, 76

14. Armorial Bearings of Douglas of Mains, as now in use, .... 75

15. Armorial Bearings of Buchanan of Carbeth, - 91

16. Seal of Sir William Edmonstone, 2nd of Duntreath, 1470, - . - - 106

17. Seal of Isabella, Duchess of Albany, Countess of Lennox, 1445, - - 107

18. Mural Tablet at Duntreath, with the Armorial Bearings of Sir James

Edmonstone, c. 1600, - - - - - - - - - - 115

19. Seal of Sir Archibald Edmonstone, nth of Duntreath, - . . . 123

20. Seal of Sir William Edmonstone, 14th of Duntreath, - - - - 124

21. Seal of George Stirling, younger of Craigbarnet, 1502, - - - - 132

22. The Armorial Bearings of Stirling of Craigbarnet, as registered in the Lyon

Office, - - - - - - - 129

23. The Livery Button of John Stirling, 12th of Craigbarnet,- - - - 140

24. The Armorial Bearings of the Stirhngs of Glorat, - - - 147

25. Seal of Weaker Stirling of Ballagan, 1535, 151

26. Rev. John Cochran's Tombstone, 210

27. Tombstone of — M'Farlan, Spouse of Master David Elphinstone, - - 212

28. Mural Tablet on S.E, corner of the New House at Mugdock, - - - 255

29. Tombstone, with a Shield, Buchanan and Graham impaled, - - - 290

30. Tombstone, with a Shield, Macfarlan and Cunninghame impaled, - - 294


Old Strathblane, 256

Strathblane in 1886, 256

Plan of Strathblane Churchyard, including new Burying Ground, - - - 268




The Parish of Strathblane is part of the old Earldom of Lennox, and though
now in Stirlingshire, was originally, along with Buchanan or Inchcalleoch, Drymen,
Balfron, Fintry, Killearn, and Campsie, in Dumbartonshire.

At an early date, however, these seven parishes were transferred to Stirlingshire,
and remained part of it till 1503, when by Act of Parliament it was enacted that they
" be of the Sherrifdome of Dumbartan." ^

This arrangement in favour of Dumbartonshire did not last long, for in 1509 a
second Act of Parliament restored the seven Lennox parishes to Stirlingshire.

But though in Stirlingshire, Strathblane and the other six parishes continued to
have a certain connection with Dumbartonshire, and when troops were raised and
money required for warlike operations the men of " the Sevin Kirkis of Striuilingshyre
that is within Lennox " were always treated like their Dumbartonshire neighbours,
and not like the other Stirlingshire parishes. Thus in 1569, when the Castle of Dum-
barton was held against the King by " Johnne Lord Flemyng and his complices,
rebellis," the landed men inhabitants of the Sheriffdoms of Renfrew, Dumbarton,
and the " Sevin Parrochynnis of the Lennox that is within Strivelingschyre " were
summoned to assist at the siege. -

In the same year, when there was a gathering of troops for certain operations in
the south country, the " fensabill personnis " within the Sheriffdom of Stirling, " the
Sevin Kirkis within the Lennox except," were summoned.^

On the loth June, 1573, a force under the Earl of Argyle, consisting of the
men of the Nether Ward of Clydesdale, of Dumbartonshire, " the Sevin Kirkis of
Strivelingschyre quhilkis ar in the Levenax," and of other districts in the West of
Scotland, were convened to compel Lord Semple to restore to Lord Claud Hamilton

^ Act Par. Jac. iv. 1503. - Reg. Priv. Council, vol. ii. p. 12,

' Reg. Priv. Council, vol. ii. p. 19.



his Commendatory of Paisley/ and other instances of this Dumbartonshire con-
nection could be shown.

In 1639 an attempt was made to have the seven parishes restored to Dum-
bartonshire, and after sundry preliminaries " An Act in favour of Dumbartanschyir "
was prepared and read in Parhament, 13th November, 1641.2 This Act narrated
that " the Sherifdom of Dumbartane hes beine ancient and of ane Lairg extent
Consisting of Fowrteine paroche Kirkis QU of lait that Sevine Kirkis thereof viz
Inchcalleoch (now callit Buchanan) Dryman, Balfrone Fintrie Killerne Straithblane
and Campsy ar withdrawine therefra and the Inhabitantis of the saidis Parochines
urgit and compellit to answer in the Sherefe Courtes and in the Justice Aires of
Sterviling," .... that "the Sex parochines Querof Dumbartaneschyr now
Consistis (Being for the maist part vassellis and Tennentis to the Duke of Lenox
and uther nobilmen) ar not abill to send out Commissioneris to Parliament, con-
ventiounes and upon publict meitingis Thair being onlie nyne frie halders ^ and
vassellis to the Kingis Majestie tharin and all of thame (except one) of small and
meine estatis Quherby they ar forced to elect Sherefes that ar not vassellis to the
Kingis Majestie," and it ends by declaring "that in all tyme comeing the said
Sevine parochines of Inchecalleoche or Buchanane, Drymen Balfrone Fintrie
Killerne Strablaine and Campsie and all fra tharin west ar and sail be of
the Sherefdom of Dumbartane baith in Sheriff Cowrtes, Justice Aires and all
other dewtees."

This Act, however, never became law, as the Earl of Mar, who was Sheriff of
Stirlingshire, used his influence so effectually that the King declined to sanction it,
and Strathblane and the other six Lennox parishes remained without further
question in Stirlingshire.

The Parish of Strathblane is bounded on the north and west by the Parish of
Killearn, on the south by East or New Kilpatrick and Baldernock, and on the east
by Campsie. Its length from east to west is about 5 miles, its breadth from north
to south about 4 miles, and its area is 9,217 imperial acres.

Strathblane is composed of a strath on both sides of the Blane ^^'ater, broadening
as the stream rolls on, with the green Lennox or Strathblane Hills on the north and
the higher lands of the parish on the south. These lands to the south form a plateau
of about two miles wide, which rises abruptly from the valley on the one side and
sinks with an almost equal declivity into the lower-lying lands of East Kilpatrick on
the other. The Manse, which stands near the village of Edenkill, on the south side
of the Blane, is 241 feet above the sea. The " Earl's Seat," the highest point on the

^ Reg. Priv. Council, vol. ii. p. 241. ^ Act Par. Car. I. 1641. .

' Probably Semple of Fulwood, Bontine of Ardoch, Campbell of Ardentinny, Macfarlane of
Arrochar, Colquhoun of Balvie. Campbell of Carrick, Douglas of Mains, Colquhoun of Luss,
Houstoun of that ilk. The lairds of Ardentinny and Carrick for lands in Rosneath, the laird of
Houstoun for lands in Kilpatrick.


north-east side of the parish, rises to the height of 1,895 f*^^t, and the " Gallow
Knowe" of Mugdock/ which is the highest ground on the south side, is 585 feet
above the sea.

The Blane, a tributary of the Endrick, is the principal stream of the parish. It
rises in the north-east corner of it, flows nearly due south till it reaches Ballagan,
whence it runs in a north-westerly direction till it enters the Parish of Killearn,
receiving in its course the waters of many Httle burns which empty themselves into
it from either side. The AUander, the next in importance, a tributary of the Kelvin,
rises in the Kilpatrick Hills and forms for about three miles the boundary of the
parish on the south-west, and into it flow all the streams which do not empty them-
selves into the Blane.

Strathblane abounds in lochs, nearly 150 acres of its surface being covered with
water. Loch Ardennan or Ardinning is the largest, and following in order are
Craigallian, Mugdock, Dumbroch, Carbeth, and Craigmaddie lochs. There are also
artificial lakes of small size within the policies of Craigend Castle and Carbeth
Guthrie, and the Deil's Craig dam and two others of smaller size help to feed
Milndavie Mill.

The other natural features of Strathblane are those usually seen where trap rock
abounds, and are here very interesting and beautiful. The Strathblane Hills, includ-
ing Dumgoyne and Dumfoyne, on the north of the strath, while they aff'ord the
finest pasturage, as is always the case in this geological formation, are broken here
and there by bold precipices and rocky terraces and well-wooded glens. At the
eastern end of the valley stands in solitary grandeur Dunglass, a basaltic rock some
400 feet high, and on the hillside opposite is the fine waterfall— the Spout of
Ballagan— on either side of which are the " Ballagan beds," dear to geologists from
the interesting strata they display. About two miles from this point down the Blane
the wooded hiUs of Dungoiach and Park Hill— or Court Hill, as it is sometimes
called— rise abruptly from the plain, and the south side of the strath has also its
rocky cliffs and wooded terraces and fine basaltic columns, particularly at the Pillar
Craig on the Craigallian estate.

The soil in the valley is alluvial and rich, that on the plateau to the south
is peaty and less fertile.

The name of the parish— Strathblane — means, of course, the valley of Blane, or
Blane Valley, but opinions differ as to what " Blane " means.

The earliest known spellings of the name of the parish are Strathblachan, Strath-
blathane, Strathblahane, or Strablayan, Strathblane being comparatively modern.

When the Rev. Mr.Gibb (he was not yet D.D.) wrote his account of Strathblane
in 1796 for Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, he explained that

1 The old name of the high ground just behind Craigend Cnstle. and where the gallows of the
Barony of Mugdock stood.


" Blane is a contraction of two Gaelic words signifying Warm RiverP The Rev.
Dr. Hamilton in the New Statistical Account, and no doubt copying from his prede-
cessor, gives the same derivation, and adds, " The strath of the Warm River is
peculiarly descriptive of the valley, which is sheltered in almost every direction from
the violence of the winds," and writers of gazetteers and other works translate
the word in the same way, faithfully and unthinkingly copying as their manner is.

It is true that Blaith-Blaithe signifies in Gaelic warm, and A-An in the same
language is water, but as the Blane is neither warmer nor colder than any other
stream, and as the reverend doctor is rather romancing, and making his description
of the place suit the supposed etymology, when he says Strathblane is " sheltered in
almost every direction from the violence of the winds," this translation is senseless,
and no doubt is incorrect.

St. Blane or St. Blaan was a most respectable old Scottish saint educated by St.
Cathan or St. Cattan, his uncle, and he certainly appears in such names as Kilblain
and perhaps Dunblane. There is a well in the strath called " Blane's Well," and
there is also a place in the neighbourhood called " Garcattoun," and this might be
named after his uncle St. Cattan. He was a saint, too, known in the Lennox, and
had a chapel on the lands of Colgrain.^ If it could be shown that he was ever called
Blachan or Blathan, then there would be no doubt that Strathblane means " The
valley of St. Blane," but unfortunately this cannot be shown. -

St. Blaithmaic was a saint of Royal Irish lineage, living in the eighth century.
By removing the maic, which is simply a term of affection, we arrive at his real
name, St. Blaith, which might have passed into Blaithan or Blathan, and thence into
Blane. Blaith is derived from Blath, a flower, and the Latin name of the saint is
accordingly Florus or Florigenius. Life, in St. Blaithmaic's days, seems to have
been very secure in Ireland, and so the saint, who had a great desire for martyrdom,
came over to Scotland and attained his wishes here. It is possible, though very
improbable, that Strathblane is named after this worthy man.

Blatha = Flora was the name of several sainted virgins in Irish martyrology, and
as Irish saints were indefatigable in their efforts to convert Scotland, one of these
holy sisters may have visited Strathblane, and a grateful populace may have com-
memorated the event by naming the place " The valley of St Blatha." \\\ that
need be said of this etymology is that it is a little more unlikely than the last.

Blaidh-Blaidhean is the same as Bloigh or Blaigh-Blaighean, the rt% , or ^'•// being
silent in both, thus we have something like some of the old spellings of Strathblane,
as well as the present sound.

Blaidh, which is the same as the Cymric Blaen, means, among other things, a

^ Irving's Dumbartonshire, p. 441.

2 Mr. Walcott in The Ancient Church i>/ Scot/and, p. 196, implies that Strathblane was dedicated
to .St. IJlane, l)ut this is a mere guess.


point or extremity. The valley of Strathblane is supposed by many geologists to
have been the end — towards the east^of Loch Lomond, or of an arm of the sea
running up in this direction after the water ceased to flow through the valley from
the Atlantic to the German Ocean ; and there is a place called Quinloch = Kinloch
near Duntreath in the parish where there is no loch now. Kinloch means the
upper end of a loch. Strathblaidhean or Strathblaighean = Strathblahane or Strath-
blathan, may thus be the strath at the extremity, /.(?., the strath at the end of the
loch or sea.

This etymology, though not thoroughly satisfactory, is perhaps better than the
old one of " The valley of the Warm River." We pass, however, from the subject,
painfully aware that a difficult and interesting question has not been conclusively

In the early dawn of history, Strathblane formed part of the province of a
people called by the Romans the Damnonii or Damnii. They were a Cymric
branch of the great Celtic race who originally came from the East. Their country
was called Y Gogledd or the North, and afterwards Cumbria or Strathclyde. Strath-
blane lies in the part of it called by the natives of Roman times Reged or Mureiff,
the latter a Cymric word cognate with the Latin muriis, a wall, and denoting the
district which lay immediately to the north of the great wall of Antoninus, traces of

Online LibraryJohn Guthrie SmithThe parish of Strathblane and its inhabitants from early times : a chapter in Lennox history → online text (page 1 of 45)