John Guthrie Smith.

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

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" Duntreath Writs.



The earliest mention of Cult in connection with the Edmonstones is in the
Duchess-Countess of Lennox' Charter of 1445, when she granted to William
Edmonstone among other lands " half of Cultis." In the Charter of King James
II., seven years afterwards, these lands are described as " the Quilt lying to the
south side of the Burn of Blane." The rest of Cult, that lying to the north side
of Blane, was in different hands, and there is a precept, dated 13th February,
1495, by Mathew Stewart, Earl of Lennox, for infefting John Stirling, younger
of Craigbarnet, in the " two pound ten shilling land of old extent of Cult." ^
This part of Cult was afterwards known, successively, as Cult Stirling or Cult
Craigbarnet and Cult Craig. It is true that part of Cult Edmonstone is now on
the north side of the Blane, but this is the result of an arrangement made in
1793 and recorded in a contract of excambion between John Foyer, then pro-
prietor of Cult Edmonstone, and Milliken Craig, then proprietor of Ballewan
and Cult Craig.^

Cult Edmonstone was for fully one hundred years in the possession of the
Foyers, having been sold to them in 17 16, redeemed by Sir Charles Edmon-
stone in 1820, again sold, and finally bought back from them by Sir Archibald
Edmonstone in 1825 ; a part of Cult had also been for a time in the possession
of the Lyles before the Foyers held it.


The Foyers were a very old race in Strathblane, and were originally settled
as tenants on the lands of Cult Edmonstone. In 1682 one of the family was
schoolmaster at Duntreath, and one of the few Covenanters in Strathblane. In
17 16 Cult Edmonstone was bought by James Foyer, then tenant, from Archibald
Edmonstone, tenth laird of Duntreath. The next laird of Cult was also a James
Foyer. He was a very leading man in Strathblane, and a great friend of James
Stirling of Craigbarnet, " Old Burrie," ^ who used often to be supplied with food
by him when in hiding near the Cult after "the '45." There used to be a
number of stories floating about Strathblane of the doings of the Highlanders of
Prince Charles' army and the exactions they made on the inhabitants, and also,
truth to say, of the easy way they were scared. Thus, when James Foyer was
riding one day towards Duntreath he met a party of them on their way to the
old casde to demand food or to plunder. On some pretext he persuaded them
to delay a litde, while he went on to advise the two old ladies who were the

1 Ballewan Writs. 2 Duntreath Writs.

^ See The Stirlings of Craigbarnet.


sole inhabitants of the place, to temporize with the Highlanders and buy them
off. But Strathblane ladies in those days could hold their own with the loons.
"They had no food for such as them," they said, but they had their old
cannon on the wall, and managing to load this and let it off, the report sent
the marauders flying. This laird of Cult had two sons — John, of whom after-
wards, and David; and a daughter, Marion, who married in 1773 James Ferrie,
younger of Balgrochan,i in Campsie, and whose grandson, James Ferrie, is the
present laird. David Foyer, the younger of the sons, was well known in the
Lennox. He was originally a large wood merchant on Loch Lomond, and
afterwards he leased the extensive grazing f;irm of Blairvockie. He was also
proprietor of two farms, both called Bogside, one in Fintry and the other in
Baldernock. He died unmarried, and was succeeded in his property by John,
his nephew in Quinloch.

John Foyer, the elder of the two sons, succeeded to Cult. His wife was
Bethia, daughter of Archibald Edmonstone of Spittal. He had a large family,
of whom the eldest, James, succeeded his father, and was obliged to sell Cult
when the calico printing business at Blanetield, of which he was a partner,
failed in 1825. It was at this time carried on under the firm of Aitken,
M'Indoe & Foyer. Sir Archibald Edmonstone of Duntreath was the purchaser
of Cult.

The second son of John Foyer of Cult and Bethia Edmonstone was Archibald
Edmonstone, born 1783. He removed from Strathblane to the farm of Allan-
head in Campsie, afterwards united with Knowehead. The third son, John,
was a farmer at Quinloch in Strathblane, and the youngest was David of Letter
Farm, Killearn. There were four daughters — Bethia, who was the wife of
James Shearer of the Middleton of Mugdock, and had issue, John Shearer, now
in Milngavie, and others; Marion, who married Robert Wilson of Balgrochan,
and had a son who died young; Janet, who married Gregory Pender, bleacher
in Strathblane, and had issue; and Margaret, who died unmarried.

James Foyer, the last of Cult, married Ann Macalpine, and had four sons —
John, who was drowned at sea; Walter, who died childless in Canada; and
James and David, who went abroad. The only daughter, Bethia, died young.
Thus ended the long connection of the Foyers with Strathblane.

Archibald Edmonstone Foyer, as we have already said, farmed Knowehead
in Campsie, and was a noted breeder of blackfiiced sheep, the origin of his
flock being very probably the fine breed which the Edmonstones had at Spittal

1 1671, November 21 — Renunciation by Ro])ert Graham in Temple of Ballmoir to James
Fairie of two parcels of land and two aikers of land called the " guildit aikirs " in Ballmoir.
— Stiiiinzshire Sasines.


in Strathblane.^ He married Isabella Muir, daughter of William Muir of the
Clachan of Campsie, and eldest sister of Robert S. Muir of Glenmill, a worthy
citizen of Glasgow. They had two sons, John, who died young ; David, late
tenant of Knowehead : and two daughters, Mary, who died young ; and Bethia
Edmonstone, who married Charles M'Donald, merchant, Glasgow, who died in
1869, leaving two sons, John and Archibald Edmonstone M 'Donald, and three
daughters. Mrs. M'Donald, his widow, now lives in Woodside Crescent,
Glasgow. Archibald Edmonstone Foyer died in 1835.

David Foyer succeeded to the lease of Knowehead when his brother John
died in 1844. He was much respected, and under his good management the
Knowehead breed of blackfaced sheep became noted for excellence all over
Scotland. He had four sons and four daughters by his wife, Christina Paterson
Muir, who died in 1878. He died in 1880. His two elder sons, Archibald
Edmonstone and David, were till lately, as their father and grandfather were,
farmers at Knowehead, and the famous breed of sheep was still there. To the
regret of the whole neighbourhood, however, the Foyers left the old place at
Whitsunday, 1886, and this old race of Strath blane lairds and Campsie farmers
has passed away from the place that had known them so long and so well.


The earliest mention of Blairquhosh is when Malcolm Earl of Lennox
granted to Gillemore, son of Malise, called " Bane," " illam terram in Strablane
que vocatur Blarechos." '^ This was probably between 1272 and 1282. About
a century afterwards Duncan, the last of the old Earls of Lennox, granted a
Charter, dated at " Ynchemurin," loth May, 1398, of that land in " Strablahane "
which is called Blarechos, "to our beloved and faithful Malise Carrach, and
the lawful heirs male of his body, whom failing, his natural daughter Forveleth,
and the lawful heirs of her body, whom failing, his natural daughter Muriel, and
the lawful heirs of her body." ^

In the next century, on the iSth November, 14S8, Sir Archibald Edmon-
stone of Duntreath obtained the lands of Blairquhosh on the resignation oi

1 This is perhaps a Strathblane view of the origin of this famous breed. The Campsie
people say that David Dun, who preceded the Foyers in Knowehead, and who was a great
improver of blackfaced sheep, formed this fine flock, and when the Foyers succeeded him
they took over his sheep.

2 Chartiilary of Lennox, p, 47. ^ Chai'tulary of Lennox, p. 73,



David Gilchristson alias Dow of Blairquhosh, for security of jQ^t} But it was
only a portion of Blairquhosh, for under date 17th February, 1493, there is an
Instrument by Walter Nory, notary, narrating a division of the lands of Blair-
quhosh between Archibald Edmonstone of Duntreath, John Dormond of
Drumgy (John Drummond of Drymen), and Patrick Spetal, portioners thereof^
Sir Archibald Edmonstone had got his portion probably by the non-repayment
of the ^46 he had lent; Patrick Spetal may have been some relation or des-
cendant of Adam Spittal, who was in possession of Blairquhosh before 1394,^ in
which year he sold it to his cousin Walter, laird of Buchanan ; but how John
Dormond came by his part of it does not appear.

Blairquhosh, then, was divided into three parts, in a formal and legal manner,
in 1493, and the deed narrates " That the said Archibald Edmonstone and his
heirs for ever shall have that east third part near the lands of Duntreath, begin-
ning from the burn of Croftfelan, descending to the Water of Blane by the ridge
where the oak grows, together with the pasturage of six soumes of bestial on
the other two thirds of the said lands." This easter third part afterwards came
to be called " Blairquhosh Edmonstone," and it has continued part of Duntreath
estate down to the present day, and the same oak-tree which was growing on
the "march" in 1493 is still growing on, in green and vigorous old age, in 1886.
It is on the farm-steading of Blairquhosh Cunninghame, presently occupied by Mr.
Robert Buchanan, who is well known and popular all over the country under
the name of " Red Rob," if he will pardon us for the liberty in saying so.

There seem to be no deeds or writs of any kind extant to show how the
Cunninghames got the other two thirds (the Buchanan and the Drummond
thirds) of Blairquhosh, which have ever since borne the name of " Blairquhosh
Cunninghame." But get them they did before 1535, though whether by pur-
chase or marriage does not appear, for in that year there is a Charter by Andrew
Cunninghame '''■ of Blairwhoish" with consent of Walter Stirling of Ballagan,
his curator, in favour of Walter Buchanan of Spittal, of the lands of Blairvocky.'*
In an Instrument of Sasine, dated 22nd August, 1537, Andrew Cunynghame
of Blayrquhoise appears as baihe for the purpose of infefting George Stirling
as heir to his father, William StirHng of Glorat, in the Kirklands of Strath-
blane.^ William Cunninghame of Blairquhosh and Janet Campbell, his spouse,

^ Duntreath Writs. ^ Duntreath Writs.

"^ Family of Buchanan^ p. 136. There is in the possession of Mr. Buchanan HamiUon of Leny
an elaborate Buchanan pedigree, entitled " Ane genologie of the laird of boquhannanis hous
quhairn is discryvit the haill brainchis and honourabill housis that is allyet thair with, &c., &c."
Among " the ofspring of sonnis " appears "the laird of blairhoshe." This pedigree was " writtin
and set furth be WilHam Colquhoun in the yeir of God 1602."

* Family of Biic/w nan, p. 50. ^ Craigbarnet Writs,


had a son, Nicol/ who was in possession of Blairquhois, 30th December,
1584,2 and on the 20th June, 1605, William Cunyngham of Blairhoys was bailie
for Robert Stirling when William Edmonstone of Duntreath had Sasine of Letter.^

The Cunninghames of Blairquhosh, whose lands passed away from them
before the middle of the seventeenth century, were cadets of Drumquhassle, in
Urymen parish. The Barony of Drumquhassle consisted of the "25 pound
lands of Drumquhassle, Bowquhinning, Blairfad, Laddinrew, Craigievairne, Kil-
lairnane, Easter Mugdock Michell, BlairquJwyis, Middillenbog." ^

Blairquhosh Cunninghame, in 1638, was the property of Lord Napier and
-afterwards of the Buchanans of Carbeth,^ and with them it remained till 1857,
when Sir Archibald Edmonstone bought it from John Buchanan of Carbeth. It
comprises the farms of Blairquhosh Cunninghame, Burnfoot, and Drummiekiech,^
and after being held by Sir Archibald and Sir William Edmonstone in fee
simple till 1880, it was included in the entailed estate of Duntreath by process
of excambion for two farms on the Kilsyth estate."

Blairquhosh Edmonstone which includes Roseyards, and Blairquhosh Cun-
ninghame, are therefore now reunited after being divided for fully 400 years,
and form an important part of the Duntreath estate in Strathblane.



The Cunninghames of Drumquhassle in Drymen, and Mugdock Mitchell and
Blairquhosh in Strathblane, appear very often in the history of the parish, and
accounts of two of them in particular, John Cunninghame of Drumquhassle, who
was unjustly executed in 1584, and his son Cuthbert, the Provost of the
Collegiate Church of Dumbarton, will be found farther on in this book. They
are cadets of the family of Kilmaurs or Glencairn, the chief of the name, Sir
Andrew Cunninghame, first of Polmaise, being a younger son of Sir Robert
Cunninghame of Kilmaurs, who lived about the beginning of the fourteenth
century. A younger son of this Sir Andrew of Polmaise was the first Cunning-
hame of Drumquhassle. The Cunninghames of Blairquhosh were cadets of

I. The first connection of this family with Strathblane was when Alexander

^ Duntreath Writs. Janet Campbell is styled relict of Patrick Livingstone.

^ Reg. P. C. of Scot., vol. iii. p. 715.

^ Duntreath Writs. * Printed Retours.

® 26th December, 1718, Margaret Kincaid was infeft as spouse of William Buchanan of
Carbeth, in the lands of Blairquhosh (Reg, Sas.).

^ .See Duncans in Drummiekiech. ^ Duntreath Writs.


Cunninghame, son and successor to Andrew Cunninghame of Drumquhassle,
married, before 1502, Margaret Park, one of the co-heiresses of WiUiam Park
of Park, Renfrewshire. He had as part of her portion three fourtlis of Mugdock
Mitchell in Strathblane. The Cunninghames were in possession of Blairquhosh
before 1535.

II. The eldest son of Alexander Cunninghame of Drumquhassle was Andrew
Cunninghame, who married Mary, daughter of Robert Lord Erskine, and had
John, who succeeded him.

HI, John Cunninghame of Drumquhassle married Isobel Cunninghame,
daughter and one of the co-heiresses of James Cunninghame of Polmaise.^ On
the 27th May, 1556, Margaret Cunninghame, and Katherine Cunninghame,
spouse to Duncan Name, sold their parts of Polmaise to "Johannes Cunynghame
de Drumquhessill et Isobelle Cunynghame" his spouse, their sister.

This laird of Drumquhassle had a large family — (i) John, his successor;

(2) William, afterwards of Polmaise, whose representative, if any, is unknown ;

(3) Robert, afterwards of Trienbeg, now Drumbeg, of whom afterwards; (4)
Cuthbert, Provost of the Collegiate Church of Dumbarton; (5) Edward; (6)
Matthew: (i) Janet, who married Malcolm Douglas of Mains; (2) Egidia, who
married Robert Semple of Fulhvood ; and (3) Mary, wife of Peter Napier of
Kilmahew. Mary, the third daughter, is included on Nisbet's authority alone;
the rest of the family is amply vouched for in the Registers of the Privy
Council, Privy Seal, and the Great Seal, in Acts of Parliament and in Buchanan,
Mains and Bandalloch Writs. This laird of Drumquhassle and Mugdock
Mitchell was executed in Edinburgh in 1584.

IV. John Cunninghame of Drumquhassle and Mugdock Mitchell duly suc-
ceeded his father, and was soon afterwards put in possession of his property.
He is named in the roll of " Landislordis " called " The General Band " and
appended to an Act of Parliament of 1587. His wife was Margaret Elphinstoun.
The life of Cuthbert Cunninghame, his brother, the Provost of the Collegiate
Church of Dambarton,^ shows that Drumquhassle was a troublesome, masterful
man. He was dead before 28th March, 1605, for on that day there is a bond
of caution for James Cunninghame of Glengarnock not to harm John Cunning-
hame of Drumquhassle and Margaret Elphinstoun his mother. John Cunninghame
and Margaret Elphinstoun had another son, James, of whom afterwards.

V. John Cunninghame of Drumquhassle and Mugdock Mitchell succeeded

^ Reg. Mag. Sig. 14 Mar(ie) 31st May, 1556. — 15 Mar. 31st January, 1557. — 18 Mar. i6th
February, 1 560.

In Nisbet's Heraldry, vol. ii. p. 298, the lady of Drumquhassle is called Ja)ict. In the
Register of the Great Seal her name is given as Isobel.

^ See account of the Provostry of Dumbarton.


his father in 1605, and soon afterwards began selling off his property. In 1619
he sold Mugdock Mitchell to John Earl of Montrose,^ and in 1628 he sold
Killermont in New Kilpatrick to John Stark.^ He died without issue before
1635, and was succeeded by his brother James.

VI. James Cunninghame of Drumquhassle was the last of the family con-
nected with Strathblane; for Blairquhosh, which was part of his barony, passed
from the Cunninghames to Lord Napier on an apprising of the estate of Drum-
quhassle in 1638.^ This laird died before 1661, for in that year his son James
was served heir to him. He succeeded, however, to little more than an
ancient name, for the remains of the Drumquhassle estates had by this time been
sold or were soon afterwards. If this James Cunninghame has any descendants
extant they are no doubt the representatives of the old house of Drumquhassle.
The author, however, is not aware that any such exist, and the representation
of Cunninghame of Drumquhassle, Polmaise, and Blairquhosh is in all probability
to be found in the family who are descended from Robert Cuninghame of
Trienbeg, son of John Cunninghame of Drumquhassle (No. III.), as mentioned

I. Robert Cuninghame of Trienbeg, or Drumbeg, as it is now called, was a
son — -it is believed the third — of John Cunninghame of Drumquhassle (No.
III. above). Among the Bandalloch ^ writs was the feu charter of Trienbeg,
dated June, 1616, granted by the laird of Gleneagles to this Robert Cuning-
hame.^ By Elspet or Elizabeth, eldest daughter of William Buchanan of Ross
and Portnellan,*5 he had two sons — John, who was served heir to his father in
1630 and died without issue; and William, who succeeded his brother.

II. William Cuninghame of Drumbeg was served heir to his brother in 1644.
He married Alice, second daughter of John Buchanan, last of Arnpryor,'' a
descendant of the well-known " King of Kippen," and had a son, John.

III. John Cuninghame of Drumbeg, who was a Writer to the Signet,
succeeded his father, and was also m possession of Bandalloch or Ballindalloch

1 Writs at Buchanan Castle.

^ Old Country Houses of the Old Glasgow Gentry, p. 155.

^ Writs at Buchanan Castle.

* This place, which is near Balfron, was originally called Badendalloch or ]5andalloch. It
is now known as Ballindalloch.

° This charter is engrossed in the chartulary of the Montrose family, who are now, by
purchase from the Ilaldanes of Gleneagles, superior of Drumbeg. " Trenebeg " appears from
a bond of caution to have been in December, 1584, in possession of "Patrick Danielstoun "
{Reg. P. C. of Scot. vol. iii. p. 714). Local tradition asserts that John Napier, the celebrated
inventor of logarithms, was born at Drumbeg in 1550.

^ Nisbet, vol. ii. Appendix, p. 298, and The Family of Buchanan, p. 76.

^ Family of Buchanan, p. 61.


before 1689.^ The Drumquhassle estates had become much burdened with
debt and were beginning to melt away in the early part of the seventeenth
century, and Cuthbert Cunninghame, ex-Provost of the Collegiate Church
of Dumbarton, whose history is given farther on, and brother of Robert
Cuninghame first of Drumbeg, had been infeft in Bandalloch in 1614. This
infeftment was probably in security of some wadsett or bond due to him
by his brother or nephew of Drumquhassle, and in 1648 an apprising of
Bandalloch was led by Cuthbert's grandson, Captain John Cunninghame. It is
probable that it was at this time, or shortly afterwards, that Bandalloch passed
to the Cuninghames of Drumbeg from the laird of Drumquhassle or a son or
cadet of the family. John Cuninghame's wife was Jean, daughter of WiUiam
Weir of Blackwood, in the county of Lanark, and by her he had two sons-
William, of whom afterwards; and John, W.S., who acquired the estate of
Balbugy, married, and had issue.

IV. William Cuninghame of Drumbeg and Ballindalloch married Martha,
daughter of Sir George Suttie, who by his marriage to the heiress had come
into possession of Balgone, and who was created a baronet in 1702. William
Cuninghame and Martha Suttie had a son, George.

V. George Cuninghame of Drumbeg and Bandalloch married Esther, daughter
of Alexander Jolly of the High Court of the Admiralty, Edinburgh. In 1763
he sold the old family place of Drumbeg to John Gow,- a member of a
family who had long held lands in the neighbourhood, and Avhose descendant,
James Gow, is now the proprietor. The children of George Cuninghame of
Bandalloch were — William, his successor; John, who became a major-general in
the army, and died childless at 29 Moray Place, Edinburgh, about 1848; and
Martha, wife of Professor Andrew Coventry. She was the mother of Andrew
Coventry, advocate, who died childless in 1877, and of Esther Coventry, wife
of David Maitland Makgill Crichton of Rankeillour.^

^ Balinodaloch or Ballindalloch, held by the late Duncan of Luss, was granted to Andrew
de Cunninghame by Malcolm Earl of Wigton about the middle of the fourteenth century
{Cart, de Levcnax, p. 67), and in one or other of the branches of the Cunninghame family
it remained till it was sold in 1786. It was at one time the residence of Alexander, fifth
Earl of Glencairn.

^ The disposition, which is in the possession of the present laird of Drumbeg, narrates that
George Cuninghame of Bandalloch, with the special advice and consent of Esther Jolly, his
spouse, and in consideration of 12,700 merks Scots paid to him by John Gow, portioner of
Drumquhassle, sold to him the town and lands of Drumbeg alias Trienbeg or Triumbeg.
Signed at Bandalloch, 5th August, 1763.

George Cuninghame.
Esther Jollie.

' The family of Esther Coventry and David Maitland Makgill Crichton are (l) David,
Lieutenant-Colonel Grenadier Guards, who married Lady Margaret Bouverie, daughter of the
Earl of Radnor, and has issue ; (2) Andrew, married Katherine Charlotte, daughter of Sir
Edward Hulse, Bart., and has issue; and three daughters.


VI. William Cuninghame of Bandalloch was a colonel in the army. He
sold Bandalloch or Ballindalloch in 1786 to Robert Dunmore of Ballikirirain,
merchant in Glasgow/ from whom it afterwards passed to Samuel Cooper, also
a merchant there, in whose family it still remains. Thus was brought to a
close the connection of this old branch of the Cuninghames with Western
Stirlingshire. After the sale of Ballindalloch Colonel Cuninghame bought the
estate of Ballanorris, in the Isle of Man. By his wife, Christian, daughter of
John Taubman of The Nunnery, Isle of Man, he had a son and successor,

VII. Robert Cuninghame of Ballanorris married Margaret, daughter of
Patrick M'Dougall of Gallanach, Argyllshire, and had three sons and two
daughters — (i) William John Cuninghame succeeded to Ballanorris on his
father's death in 1832; he was lieutenant and adjutant 42nd Royal Highlanders,
and died childless in 1850; (2) Patrick Taubman Cuninghame succeeded his
brother in Ballanorris but died childless in 1872; (3) Robert Campbell Cuning-
hame, captain in the 42nd Royal Highlanders, served with his regiment
during the Crimean war. He died at Malta 6th September, 1855, childless; (4)
Margaret Christian Joanna Cuninghame succeeded her brother Patrick in Balla-
norris and died unmarried in Edinburgh 14th April, 1885 ; (5) Mary Jane Campbell
Cuninghame married James Stewart Robertson of Edradynate, W.S., D.L., and
J.P. for the County of Perth, and F.S.A. Scot.,^ and had issue — James, of whom
afterwards; Meta Cuninghame and Dorothea (twins), Mary, Helen, and Florence.
Mrs. Stewart Robertson of Edradynate died 20th April, 1866.

VIII. William John Cuninghame, as we have shown, succeeded his father in
1832. His brother, Patrick Taubman Cuninghame, succeeded him on his death
in 1850, and when Patrick Taubman Cuninghame died in 1872 Miss Margaret

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