John Guthrie Smith.

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

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From a Cast in Mr. Laiiigs

^ Sir Archibald was led into the error through following (ieorge Crawford, who about the
year 17 13 drew up an account of the Edmonstone family. Sir Archibald, however, by no
means always follows him, for he had grave doubts of Crawford's honesty. In writing about this
account of the family Sir Archibald says — " His manuscript is compiled with considerable
research, but is defective in some important points, with rather too prominent a disposition to
magnify the race whose history he was employed to trace out;" and again, "Crawford, who,
like most of the older genealogists, seemed more desirous of flattering the vanity of his em-
ployers than of investigating the truth " — a fault unfortunately not altogether confined to the
older genealogists.

^ The genealogy of these Stewarts is stated very clearly by Mr. George Burnett, Lyon King-
of-Arms, in the appendix to his valuable preface to vol. iv. of the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland,
pp. clxxviii. ix. x. xi. and Notes, and also in The Red Book of I\fenteith Revie^ued. Sir Walter
Stewart's sons were — Andrew, afterwards Lord Avondale ; Arthur and Walter, who all three had
letters of legitimation under the Great Seal, 1479 ; and apparently Allan and Murdoch. In
the charter of Duntreath by Isabella, Duchess-Countess of Lennox, to Sir William Edmonstone
and Matilda Stewart his wife, the substitutes are Andrew, Allan, and Murdoch Stewart, and
this circumstance alone goes far to prove that they were the brothers of Matilda Stewart, wife
of Sir William Edmonstone.



Charter was in favour of the younger Sir William in fee and heritage for ever,
whereas Sir William, the father, and his wife, the princess, and the longest liver
of them, had it in liferent only.
The advantage to Sir William
Edmonstone of having Matilda
Stewart for his wife came out
strongly in another transaction
which took place on the final
partition of the Earldom of Len-
nox, some twelve or thirteen
years after the death, about 1460,
of the Duchess-Countess Isabella.
The great earldom was then di-
vided into three parts. Lord
Darnley, afterwards the first of
a new line of Earls of Lennox,
obtained a half as grandson of
Elizabeth, daughter of Earl Dun-
can, and sister of the Countess;
and Agnes Monteith or Haldane,
and Ehzabeth Monteith or Napier,
grand-daughters of Margaret, an-
other daughter of the Earl's, di-
vided tne otner naii between seal of isadella duchess of albany and countess of

them. Duntreath would have From the ori^inalin the possesshn'of sir WUUam Ednumstoric

been in Lord Darnley's half, of Duntreath, Baronet.

but Lord Avondale, Matilda Edmonstone's brother, and King James IIL's
favourite and Chancellor, so managed matters that while the partition of the
Lennox v/as amicably arranged among the several claimants, he got the liferent
of the whole of it for himself,^ and also induced the Kinii to make it a con-

^ 111 an interesting old Protocol llook of tlie Burgh of Stirling, 1470-1596, recently discoverecl,
there is the following entry: — "Anno Domini M°cccc°i.xxv", January 26. Before honourable
men, James Crychtoun of Rovain and Alexander Speir of Pettincrefe, deputes in the office
of great chamberlainry of a noble and potent lord, James Earl of Buchan, Lord of Ochterhous,
Warden of the West Marches towards England and great Chamberlain of the Kingdom of
Scotland, sitting in judgment in the chamberlain eyre held by the said deputes at Struielin
in the tolbooth thereof, personally compeared a noble matron, Agnes Menteith, spouse of
an honourable man, John Haldane of Rusky, and presented two letters of obligation sealed
with the seals of the said Agnes and John made by them to a noble and potent Eord, Andrew
Lord Avondale, Chancellor of Scotland, anent the gift and grant to be made by them to
him of the quarter and fourth part of the Earldom of Levenax, and lands thereof with the
pertinents, for the whole lifetime of the said Andrew. Which letters being read in a loud
and intelligible voice in the presence of the audience, the said Agnes Menteith, outwith the


dition with Lord Darnley before he got infeftment of his part of the Earldom
that he was to guarantee, or as the letter from the King, dated 21st June,
1473, says, make " sikkir " "to our cousyng Wilzam of Edmonstone of Uun-
treth " " the landis of Duntrethe, Dungoyake, the Quilt, Ballovyne, Blargare,
Enbulg, the Glyn, and Carcarone."^ The family charter chest shows that not
only was this done, but that Elizabeth Napier, another of the heirs of the
Lennox, also made a declaration that she would make no claim on the
Edmonstones' lands.^ The Earl of Lennox, too, renounced his superiority,^ and
by another instrument the Barony of Duntreath was removed from the juris-
diction of the Earl of Lennox's courts.^ Thus Sir William was very securely
and comfortably seated in his Strathblane lands. ^

Sir William and his lady had a family of six sons, and one daughter, who is
said to have married Lawrence, first Lord Oliphant. Of his sons, Archibald, the
eldest, succeeded ; James, the second, married first Elizabeth, heiress of

presence of her husband, touching the holy gospels gave her bodily oath that she was not
coacted or compelled to grant the said letters, but had done so freely and spontaneously and
for the weal of her and her heirs and engaged never to revoke or contravene the same under
the pain of perjury, etc. — On which Malcolm M 'Clery of Garten, as procurator for the said
Andrew Lord Avondale, craved instruments with appension of the seals of the said Agnes
and office of chamberlainry procured at her request. Witnesses, Alexander Cunyngaham of
Polmas, Andrew Galbrath of Culcaich, Alexander Cunyngaham of Berkky, John Muir, bailie
of the burgh of Struielin, and others."

^ Montrose charter chest, printed in The Lennox, vol. ii. p. 94.

2 . . . , "A declaration made in the Court House of the shire of Stirling ....
by a noble matron, Elizabeth Monteilh (or Napier), one of the heirs of the deceast Duncan
Earl of Lennox, pursuer of a brief for serving herself to a fourth part of all the lands in the
Earldom of Lennox .... whereby she alleged, confessed, and asserted that she would not
by or in consequence of the said brief claim in anyway the above lands belonging to the said
William." -(Duntreath Writs.)— 27th October, 1473.

'^Renunciation and grant (Edinburgh, 2nd August, 1473), by John "Earl of Leuenax " to
William Edmonstone of Duntreath of the superiority of Duntreath, etc., allowing him, the said
William, to hold the said lands immediately off the King, and for that purpose confirming a charter
by King James IL to the said William, "in respect of the great kindness, labour, and expense of
the said William in recovering the Earl's part of the Earldom of Levenax." — (Duntreath Writs.)

^ Duntreath Writs.

^ In these transactions it may be noticed that John Stewart of Darnley, created Lord Darnley
about 1460, grandson of Sir John Stewart of Darnley and Lady Elizabeth Lennox, daughter of
Duncan Earl of Lennox, is styled at one time Lord Darnley and at another Earl of Lennox. Both
are right. For while in a precept from Chancery, dated at Edinburgh, 2\th July, I473> for
infefting him in his half of the Earldom, he is styled John Lord "Dernle " — (Deed printed in 1 he
Lennox, vol. ii. p. 97), in the Duntreath Deed, quoted in a previous note, and dated 2nd Angnsl,
1473, he is styled John "Earl of Leuenax"; the fact being that between these dates- — viz., on
the 27/// jliily, 1473 — he had been infefted in his half of the Earldom, at Balloch the principal
messuage thereof, and this infeftment carried with it the title of Earl of Lennox. It must be added,
however, that Darnley did not long enjoy his title of Earl of Lennox, for in about two years he had
sunk again to plain Lord Darnley, a title he long held, his infeftment having been obtained by
irregular means. Mr. Mark Napier, in " The Lennox, by William Eraser," a model of plain-
speaking, explains this matter fully.



Alexander Cunningham of Polmaise/ and secondly Helen, daughter of John
Murray of Touchadam, and was a man of some importance in the county of
Stirling.^ Of the other sons nothing of particular interest is known. Sir William
Edmonstone of Duntreath died in i486, and was succeeded by his eldest son.
Sir Archibald Edmonstone, third of Duntreath — or perhaps more strictly
speaking, only second, for the first Sir William never held it in fee, as already
shown — was duly put in possession of the lands and Barony of Duntreath by
deeds dated 20th April and ist June, 1487, the latter deed also making him
coroner of the " Wester ward of Stirlingshire," an office he apparently inherited
from his father.^ He was employed about Court,* and married Janet Shaw,^
daughter of Sir James Shaw of Sauchie, who held high office under James HI.,
and sister of George Shaw, Abbot of Paisley and Lord High Treasurer of Scot-
land, a favourite of James IV., and one of the best Abbots of the great Cluniac
Monastery.^ This marriage was a very successful one, for while it helped to
secure Court offices, emoluments, and lands '' for the father, it was also the
means of securing good marriages for his daughters, through the kindly offices
of their uncle, the Abbot.^ Sir Archibald's sons were William, his successor,

^ "Jac. Edmonstouii de Polmays," witness to a charter, 5th April, 1494. — {Rig- ^^ag- Sig. 6,
Jac. IV. 1494.)

^ Duntreath Book, p. 33, and Reg. Mag. Sig. 7, Jac. IV. I49>.

^ Duntreath Writs.

* Along with his father. Sir William Edmonstone, and his father-in-law, Sir James Shaw of
Sauchie, he was present at an interesting ceremony at Stirling on the 23rd P'ebruaiy, 1479-80, when
the keeping of the King's Castle there was delivered to Duncan Forrester, then Provost of Stirling.
—{Charters, etc., relating to Stirling, pp. 206-207.) He was with James IV. at ."-tiriing 6th Sept.,
1501, when the Collegiate Church was founded there. — {History Chapel Royal of Scotland, p. 17.)

^ Duntreath Writs.

•" The Abbey of Paisley, by J. Cameron Lees, D.D., pp. 137-145.

^ Kex concessit familiari armigero suo Archibaldo Edmonstoun de Duntreath .... terras
de Arbeich Lome et Dery vie Perth. — {Reg. Mag. Sig. 7, Jac. IV. 1495.)

^ In the account of the Edmonstones in Nisbet's ticraldry, vol. ii. p. 166, the writer says George,
Abbot of Paisley, " was an opulent prelate and Lord Treasurer of Scotland under King James IV.,
who took care to provide matches for his nieces, and got them married into many of the greatest
families in the kingdom." Sir Archibald had seven daughters. Janet married William first Earl
of Montrose. Christian married John Lord Ross of Halkhead. Elizabeth married John, eldest son
of Hugh first Lord Eglinton. This John was killed during his father's lifetime in the " Cleanse-the-
causeway " Riot in Edinburgh in 1520. His son Hugh succeeded his grandfather as second Earl.
A/argaret married George Buchanan of Buchanan. Barbara married Sir James Muschet of Burn-
bank, Perthshire. Helen either died young or the good Abbot's slock of husbands was exhausted,
for her marriage is not recorded ; and Catherine, whose marriage is not given in the Duntreath
Book. In this, however, Sir Archibald does not do justice to the excellent uncle, for Catherine had
a husband too, viz., David Murray, son of Sir William Murray of Tullebardine. {Reg. Mag. Sig.
21, Jac. IV. 1508-9.) The five marriages given in the Duntreath Book are all well authenticated,
with the exception of Barbara's to Sir James Muschet, which is given on the authority of George
Crawford, and Sir Archibald seems to have doubts about it. 1 he contract between Hugh Lord
of Montgomery and Sir Archibald Edmonstone, when the marriage was " arranged " between John
of Montgomery and Elizabeth Edmonstone, is a curious illustration of the customs of the time in
matters matrimonial. It bears that "John of Muntgumbre, son and apparent heir to the said Lord


and James/ who was ancestor of several families of Edmonstones in Menteith,
all now extinct, and also of the Edmonstones of Broich.^ He had also a natural
son, James "of Ballown." ^ Sir Archibald Edmonstone died in 1502.^

Sir William Edmonstone, fourth of Duntreath, soon after he succeeded, was
appointed Captain of Doune Castle, and Steward of Menteith.

The Castle of Doune was the principal residence of the old Earls of Menteith.
It is built on the river Teith, and the oldest part of it is of great antiquity.
The present grand ruins are the remains of the castle built by Robert Stewart,
Earl of Menteith and first Duke of Albany and Regent of Scotland. After his
death his son Murdoch, second Duke of Albany, the husband of Lady Isabella,
daughter of Duncan, the last of the old Earls of I>ennox, often lived there ;
and in 1425, when he and his sons and his venerable father-in-law were
executed, it was from the old Castle of Doune that he passed to the block on
the rock of Stirling. The Earldom of Menteith was at this time forfeited to
the Crown. Soon afterwards, however, a new Earl of Menteith was created
in the person of Malise Graham, whom the King had lately despoiled of his
Earldom of Strathern, and a considerable part of the lands of the old Earldom
were annexed to the new. The large share of it, which the King retained,
became the Stewartry of Menteith, and included the fine old Castle of Doune,
which thenceforward was a Royal residence. The office of the Keeper of the
Castle of Doune and Steward and Chamberlain of Menteith was an important
and honourable one. VVhen the Princess Margaret of England was married
to King James IV. in 1503 the Stewartry was settled upon her,^ and Sir
William Edmonstone, who was one of the witnesses to the sasine putting her
in possession,*^ soon afterwards received the appointment. "^

Sir William Edmonstone fell at the Field of Flodden, 9th September, 1513,^
along with his neighbour at Mugdock and brother-in-law, the Earl of Montrose,
and another of his brothers-in-law. Lord Ross of Halkhead.

of Mimgumbre, shall marry Besse Edmonstwn, daughter to vSir Archibald Edmonstwn of Dunthret,
and failing either John or Be.sse by decease or dissent, the said Lord byndis his second sone, and
falzeand of the second, the therd, and falzeand of the therd, the ferd ; and inlikvviz falzeand of the
said Besse, Kateren, and falzeand of Kateren, Margaret, and falzeand of Margaret, Ellen." The
Earl of Argyll, the Earl of Lennox, " My Lord of Pasley " (Abbot George Shaw), and Lord Ross
of Halkhead were named to see the contract carried out, failure to do so involving a penajty of two
thousand merks. — (Eglinton Writs.)

^Witness to a charter I2th June, 1503, confirming the sale of the lands of Ardbethlorn and
Dereye by his brother William of Duntreath. — [Rtg. il/ag. Sig. 15, Jac. IV. 1503.)

2 Dunt}-L'at/i Book, p. 34, ^ Duntreath Writs. * Duntirath Book, p. 35.

^Reg. Mag. Sig. 15, Jac. IV. 1503.

® Rymer's Foedera, as quoted in Duntreath Book, p. 35.

7 The Duntreath Book, p. 35, gives ample evidence for this.

® "Ad fidem Regis in campo bellico nuper in Northumbria," — Duntreath Writs.


Sir William had married before 17th May, 1497, Sibylla, daughter of Sir
William Baillie of Lamington.^ His second wife was Elizabeth Leslie, daughter
of George first Earl of Rothes and relict of William third Earl of Errol.
She was dead before 15 lo,^ for in that year he had a third wife, Katherine
Forest.^ She, too, survived only a short time, and the Knight of Duntreath
married fourthly Sibylla, daughter of Sir John Carmichael of that ilk> This
seems to have been in 15 13, and but a short time before the battle of Flodden.
where Sir William was slain. By his four wives Sir William had four sons and
four daughters — (i) WiUiam, his successor; (2) Archibald of Rednock; (3)
Robert of Cambusbeg in Menteith; (4) James of Wester Row in Menteith.^
The daughters were — (i) Marion or Mariote, married Sir John Campbell of
Glenorchy;'' (2) Mary, married Robert Hamilton of Inchmachan ; (3) Margaret,
married Stewart of Craighall ; (4) Elizabeth, married John Logan of Balvie.'^
He had also a natural son, James, from whom the Edmonstones of Newton
descended,^ and who had letters of legitimation from King James V. in 1539.^

It is not known who were the mothers of all the different children, but
William and Archibald were certainly the sons of Sibylla Baillie, for they were
of age at their father's death or soon after, which they could not have been
had they been the sons of any of the other wives, and through her the family
of Duntreath trace their descent from the great Sir William Wallace, " the
Guardian of Scotland." ^^

1 Duntreath Writs and Reg. Mag. Sig. 9, Jac. IV. 1497.

2 Duntreath Writs.

"^ Reg. Mag. Sig. 23, Jac. IV. 1510-11,

^Duntreath Book, Nisbet, vol. ii. p. 167; Reg. Mag. Sig. 26, Jac. IV. 1513.

® James Edmonstone held some post at the Court of James V. — Reg, Mag. Sig. 28,
Jac. V. 1540.

« Reg. Mag. Sig. 26, Jac. V. 1539.

^ In the Dimtreath Book the sons are amply vouched for, but Sir Archibald does not give
his authorities for the daughters. In Douglas' Peerage, however, vol. i. p. 235, and Reg. Mag.
Sig. 26, Jac. V. 1539, evidence will be found for Marion's marriage, and the evidence for the
others is to be found in Duntreath Writs.

^Duntreath Book, p. 36, and Reg. Mag. Sig. 26, Jac. V. 1538-39.

^ Reg Mag. Sig. 26, Jac. V. 1539.

1" The old and favourite legend, which we owe to Blind Harry, of the marriage of Sir
William Wallace and the fair Marion Bradfute of Lamington, and of the daughter who was
born to them, and from whom the Baillies of Lamington sprang, though a Iseautiful story,
must, we fear, be relegated to the limbo of exploded myths. It is no myth, however, but a
fact, that Sir William Baillie of Hoprig married a daughter of the great Sir William Wallace,
though it cannot be proved who wtis her mother. — (George Vere Irving in Upper Ward oj
Lanarkshire, vol. i. p. 230.) Sir William Baillie of Hoprig and the Guardian of Scotland's
daughter had a son, William, who married Isabel, daughter of Sir William Seton. She brought
with her as her tocher the Barony of Lamington. The three succeeding possessors of Lamington
were Sir Williams ; and Sibylla Baillie, who married Sir William Edmonstone of Duntreath,
was a daughter of the third. The Stirlings of Craigbarnet and the Grahams of Ballagan, both


Sir William Edmonstone, fifth of Duntreath, succeeded to the Barony and
lands as heir of his father, and he and his brother Archibald soon afterwards
were appointed jointly to their father's office of Keeper of Doune Castle, and
Steward and Chamberlain of Menteith. About 1525 Sir William Edmonstone,
who by this time was sole Keeper, fell under the displeasure of Queen Margaret,
the widow of King James IV. and liferentrix of the Stewartry, for holding the
Castle against her wishes and not accounting for the rents ; and three years later,
in 1528, the office was taken from him, and Sir James Stewart of Beath, a brother
of Henry Stewart, the Queen's third and newly-married husband, afterwards Lord
Methven, was appointed in his stead.

The reason Sir William gave for retaining the Stewartry against the wishes of
the Queen, was that he had an order to do so signed by the young King.
This, however, the Council disallowed,^ and Sir William, with apparent good
grace, gave up his office, but continued to live " at his dwelling-place within
Mentethe, of Cammes Wallace," till he was forcibly expelled therefrom by his
successor, James Stewart, by order of the Queen and her husband. Various
legal proceedings followed, but the dispute between Edmonstone and Stewart
was settled by a deed of agreement in November, 1531,^ by which the former
gave up " all rycht, clame, titill of rycht, properte, and possessioun and kindnes
quhilk he or thae lies, had or may haif in and to the Stewartrie of Menteyth,
Captane-schip of the Castell of the sara, and thir lands vnderwrittin pertening
thairto ; that is to say the Castell of Dovne in Menteytht, etc., etc., etc.," and
in consideration of his so doing the latter agreed to " resigne in our Souerane
lordis the Kingis handis thir landis vnderwrittin ; that is to say, all and
haile the five pundis worth of land of the Bray of Cambus, the five lib
worth of land of the Mylton of Cambus, with the mylne of the samin,
the tane half of the landis of Brokland Ester .... four merkis wortht
of land callit Ballemorist, fourty shillingis wortht of land of Calzeboquhalze
the xls wortht of land of the Ward of Gudy extending in the haile to xx"
pundis wortht of land of aid extent .... Hand within the Stewartre of Menteitht
.... in favouris of the said William Edmestoun of Duntretht, his airs and
assignayis, and sail optene and get to the said William ane signatour apoun the
donatioun and gift of the foirnamyt landis to be gevin to him, his airs and
assignayis heretablie in few ferme, with the consent of our Souerane' lady the

Strathblane families, and both through John Stirling of Glorat, who married Annabella Edmon-
stone, grand-daughter of Sibylla Baillie, and the children of the author through their ancestrix
Catherine Dennistoun of Colgrain, great-grand-daughter of Sibylla Bai'.lie, have the blood of
the Wallace in their veins through this marriage.

^ Acta Dom. Concilii, llth July, 1527.

" Printed in the Red Book of Menteith, p. 394, from the charter chest of the Earl of
Moray at Donibristle.


Queenis Grace, life rentar of the saidis landis in the best forme the said
WilHam can dewise." It was also agreed that if " the said William or ony
otheris that he may latt invadis the said James Stewart in his persoun, his kyn,
freindis, and seruandis, and molestis thaim in broukin the forsaid Stewartre and
Captanere .... then in that caise the said William faythfullie bindis and
oblissis him to resigne and ourgeve the saidis landis agane in the handis of our
said Souerane lord in favour of the said James Stewart for his heretable infeft-
ment to be had thairontill, the fault beand notourlie knawin be the law."
Everything being thus satisfactorily arranged Sir James Stewart took possession
of the office of Keeper of the Castle of Doune and Steward of Menteith, and
Sir William Edmonstone of Duntreath did the same by his twenty pound lands
in Menteith, and thus matters went quietly on till King James V. died 14th
December, 1542. His widow, Mary of Guise, then came into possession of the
Stewartry of Menteith as part of her dowry, and forthwith Sir William Edmon-
stone was again made Steward.^

Sir James Stewart, like Sir William Edmonstone fifteen years before, was most
probably unwilling to give up the Stewartry and its emoluments, and certainly
did not hurry himself in handing it over to his successor; the Edmonstones,
therefore, apparently lost patience, and Sir William himself, with Archibald and
James his brothers and their retainers, set upon Sir James and his followers at
a spot between Doune and Dunblane on Whitsunday, 1543, and after a smart
encounter defeated them, slaying Stewart himself and several others. No doubt
this was a most high-handed and improper proceeding, and quite indefensible,
for, if Sir James would not go out quietly, the law could have compelled
him, and it appears also that Sir James had certain proprietary rights in the

Sir William Edmonstone was most amply punished for his hasty conduct;
for, besides having to go into exile or seclusion for a season, the Lords of
Session found that by the slaying of Sir James he had broken the agreement
of November, 1531; and the twenty pound lands in Menteith thus passed
away from the Edmonstones and reverted to the heirs of the slaughtered
Sir James.

The slaughter of Sir James Stewart, however, was soon forgotten or forgiven,
and a remission for his part in it granted to Sir William under the Great Seal
in 1547.

In 1565 we find him sitting in the Privy Council.^ Two years later he was

^ There is among; the Duntreath Writs a document signed by Mary of Lorraine, Queen
Dowager of Scotland, dated Edinburgli, 25th April, 1549, granting Sir William Edmonstone
a discharge for the rents of the Stewartry for the years 1542, 43, 44, and 45.

- /iV;,'. P. C. of Scot., vol. i. p. 341.