John Guthrie Smith.

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

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a member of the General Assembly of the Reformed Church of Scotland, and
he signed on the 21st July, along with another Strathblane laird, John Cunning-
hame of Easter Mugdock and Drumquhassell, and others, the famous Articles
against Popery.^

A few years after this date the good old knight " redd his marches," ^ which
may in this instance be freely translated, " set his house in order," and died
before 3rd May, 1578, for on that day his son James signed the bond "of the
freindis of the hous of Erskin," and styled himself " of Duntreath." ^

Sir William had been twice married. His first wife was Agnes, third daugh-
ter of Mathew, second of the Stewart Earls of Lennox,^ and by her he had a son,
Archibald, who " in respectu inhabilitatis " — probably being of unsound mind —
was passed over in the succession.^ He married, secondly, before 1545,
Margaret, daughter of Sir James Campbell of Lawers,^ and by her he had
James, his successor ; Marjory, whose first husband was Sir John Maxwell of
Pollok, and her second Mungo Graham of Orchill; Sibilla, married John
Stewart of Barscube, in the parish of Erskine, Renfrewshire ; Annabella, married
John Stirling of Glorat and Kirklands of Strathblane ; Marion, married David
Sempill of Nobleston ; Elizabeth, married John Stirling ; Janet, married Luke
Stirling of Baldorane."

^ Book of the Universal Kirk of Scotland, p. 69.

- Decreet arbitral 23rd August, 1575, for redding of marches between Sir William Edmonstone
of Duntreath and John Levenax of Barnshogel. — (Duntreath Writs.)

3 Reg. P. C. of Scot., vol. ii. p. 691.

'' The Lennox, vol. i. p. 338, and Duntreath Book, p. 38, amply vouch this marriage.

^ Duntreath Writs.

^Charter of the lands of Cambus Wallace as dower. — (Duntreath Writs.)

^ Of these marriages, those of Marjory are dulj' vouched for in the Duntreath Book and
elsewhere, and Annahella's to John Stirling of Glorat is also well authenticated. Sibilla^s
to John Stewart of Barscube and Rlarions to David Sempill of Nobleston are mentioned
in Duntreath Writs (Nisbet, vol. ii. p. 168), although Sir Archibald in the Dnnti-eath
Book does not say so. Elizabeth'' s husband is said in the Duntreath Book to have been
John Stirling of Ballagan, brother to Stirling of Glorat. There is some mistake here, no
doubt, for Glorat and Ballagan were by this time cousins, not brothers. In Nisbet's
Heraldry, vol. ii. p. 16S, it is said that Elizabeth was married to John Stirling, son and
heir-apparent to Walter Stirling of Ballagan. This is possible ; but this John Stirling must
have died before his father, as he never succeeded. Janet was no doubt the wife of a
Luke Stirling, possibly "of Baird," as Sir Archibald has it in the Duntreath Book, but
certainly "of Baldorran " also, for in the Register of the Prii>y Coitncil of Scotland, vol. iv.
p. 260, the following is recorded 15th March, 1587-8: — "King's letters raised by Jonnett
Edmestoun, relict of Luke Stirling of Baldarrane, ' with the ten faderless bairns ' of the
same, represent that upon the i6th of July, 1586, the said Luke having been 'maist
cruellie and unmercifullie slane ' by Thomas Kincaid and Johnne Jak upon forethought
felony, the coniplainers executed letters against them ' for thair comperance befoir the justice
and his deputis to undirly the law for the same slauchter .... nevertheless ' the
pcrsones foirsaidis hes, be wrang informatioun and inoportune sute of sum indiscrete
and shameles personis, nathing respecting his Majesteis honnour, purchest ane respett for
the said slauchter.' .... Parties having been called, Johnne Stirling, son of Jonnett,



Sir James Edmonstone, sixth of Duntreath, was much employed in the piibhc
service, principally in legal positions.
Thus in 1578 he had a grant of a

deputation from the Earl of Argyll, %\
Justice-General of Scotland, for holding Si
Justiciary Courts at the fortalice of
Duntreath.^ The indictment against the
Earl of Gowrie for his part in the
Raid of Ruthven was found relevant
by a court consisting of " Mr. James
Graham sitting as Justice, and assisted
by Sir John Gordon of Lochinvar, Alex-
ander, Master of Livingstone, Alexander
Bruce of Airth, and James Edmonstone
of Duntreath." Sir James, however,
had himself to stand his trial on a
memorable occasion, and as his brother
Strathblane lairds, Malcolm Douglas of
Harlehaven, and John Cunninghame of
Easter Mugdock, were involved in the
same affair, an historian of Strathblane,
though he would rather pass over the
matter in silence, cannot in fairness do so.

Malcolm Douglas of Mains and Harlehaven was son of Mathew Douglas,
and grandson of Alexander Douglas of Mains, who married the Lady Margaret,
eldest daughter of Mathew Earl of Lennox. He married in 1562 Janet,
daughter of John Cunninghame of Drumquhassle,^ and was, according to
Melville,^ "a 'gentleman of notable gifts of body and mynd." He held the
important office of Captain of Blackness Castle. His father-in-law, John
Cunninghame of Drumquhassle and Easter Mugdock, was also a man of


rSfing the Arms of Sir James Edmonstone,
sixth 0/ Duntreath.

appears as procurator for the complainers, and James Kinkaid, brother of Thomas Kinkaid,
also appears and produces for the defenders the said respite granted to them for seven
years after the date thereof, which is May last. Tiie Lords, however, decide, on the
grounds pleaded by the plaintiffs, that the respite is null, and order the Justice and
Justice-Clerk to 'minister justice' upon the said Thomas and John for the slaughter of Luke."
In 1591, in the case of the Earl of Errol, etc., against John Heron and others, this case
is quoted as a precedent thus: — "For these reasons the said respite ought to be decerned
null according to the ^lovable fractique'' already adopted in the lyke cais at the instance
of the relict and ten faderles bairnis of umquhile Luck Stirling of Baldorane againis Thomas
Kincaid and Johanne Jak, his servand." — {Reg. P. C. of Scot., vol. iv. p. 682.)

1 Duntreath Writs. - Mains Writs.

"^ Diary, p. 198, Woodrow Club Edition.


standing. He was Captain of Dumbarton Castle, and " Bailie, Chalmerlane,
Ressaver, and Intromittour with the maillis, fermes, etc., of the Earledome of
Lennox and Lordschip of Dernlie." ^

Both father and son-in-law, after 1578, fell into disfavour with the Court,
probably through belonging to the party of Morton, which was in opposition
to the Duke of Lennox and the King's favourite, James Stewart, afterwards
Earl of Arran, On the 17th January, 1580-81, Malcolm Douglas was one of
the Earl of Morton's friends who were forbidden by the Council " to repair to
His Hienes' presence and Court, or to the burgh of Edinburgh, or to ony uther
place quhair they sail understand His Majestic to be for the tyme quhill the
said triall (Morton's) be done." ^ In 1581 the Captaincy of Blackness Castle
was taken from him and handed over to Lord Robert Stewart, who soon after-
wards complained to the Council that Mains "hes maist wranguslie and con-
tempnandlie spiulyeit and away tuke furth of the samin the great irne yett of
the dungeoun of the said castell with the hingand lok and slotis of the same

and als the haill graith and fumesing of the mylne of the said

castell with the branders, rackis and spetis pertening thereto." ^ The Council
ordered him to deliver up the missing articles under pain of being treated as a
rebel, but as he did not do so, at a subsequent meeting he was denounced, and
finally, on the 3rd January, 1583-84, he was charged to remain within Dumbar-
tonshire till relieved, under pain of treason.*

John Cunninghame's fall began in July, 1578, when he was summoned to
Stirling to give in his accounts for the Earldom of Lennox to the King and
Council. He declined to do so personally, alleging " that he was then vesiit
with seiknes and forder that he durst not compeir personalie for feir of his
lyfife becaus he wes in that opinioun and suspitioun that the principal keiparis
of the castell of Strivling wer his unfreindis." For this failure to appear he was
denounced and put to the horn.^ On the 27th July, 1580, he was deprived of
the Captaincy of Dumbarton Castle,*^ and in 1583 he was "in ward in the castell
of Sanct Andros," from which he was only relieved on condition of repairing
immediately to his own house of " Cragyverne," in Drymen parish, to remain
there until freed, and of appearing before the Council when required upon a
fifteen days' notice.''

In 1584, after the execution of the Earl of Gowrie, the chief of the Ruthven
Raid, and the flight to England of his associates, Angus, Mar, and others, after-

1 Reg. P. C. of Scot., vol. iii. p. 5. ^ Reg. P. C. of Scot., vol. iii. p. 348.

'^ Reg. P. C. of Scot., vol. iii. p. 364. "^ R^g- P- C. of Scot., vol. iii. p. 624.

^ Reg. P. C. of Scot., vol. iii. p. 5. ^ Reg. P. C. of Scot., vol. iii. p. 295.

''Reg. P. C. of Scot., vol. iii. p. 601.


wards known as the " Banished Lords," Arran, who was now complete master
of the kingdom, determined to make a signal example of some of their
friends. On the information of Robert Hamilton of Inchmauchan, who
pretended he had discovered a plot against the King, Sir James Edmonstone
of Duntreath, John Cunninghame of Easter Mugdock and Drumquhassle,
and Malcolm Douglas of Harlehame and Mains, were apprehended in their
own houses, brought prisoners to Edinburgh and tried for their lives.
Douglas' relationship and friendship to Morton, Arran's late rival, and Cun-
ninghame's connection with him and also with the Raid of Ruthven, and no
doubt also with the " Banished Lords," marked them out as fitting victims ;
but why was Sir James Edmonstone arrested? He was a relative of the all-
powerful Arran. He had been but lately one of the judges at the trial of the
Earl of Gowrie, and he was a friend of the King's dear friend and relative,
Lennox — lately dead — and had, in fact, been knighted the day he was made Duke.
The answer furnishes the ugly part of the story, for it is but too evident that
Archbishop Spottiswoode wrote the truth when he said,i " To make out the ac-
cusation it was devised that Sir James Edmonstone of Duntreath, who had lived
in great familiarity with them (Douglas and Cunninghame), should be charged
with the said crime, and upon his confession, to be pardoned, which, by the
policy of the accuser, to his own perpetual discredit, he was menaced to yield

The accusation, which bore falsity on its very face, was that Hamilton of
Inchmauchan, Edmonstone's relative, Edmonstone himself, Douglas, and Cunning-
hame were to intercept the King when hunting, convey him to some stronghold
within the " Illis of Lochlowmunt in the Leuuenax " and there detain him till
the " Banished Lords " could come and take possession of his Royal person.
It was narrated how the conspirators met " att the Kirk of Strablane and the
Kirk of Killerne, and at the hous and place of Mains " to arrange for their
treasonable attempt. Edmonstone, when put on trial, made no defence, con-
fessed all, and threw himself upon the King's mercy ; Douglas and Cunninghame
indignantly denied the whole story, but were found guilty and hanged the same
day at the Cross of Edinburgh. 2 Melville says of the former, " His death was
als mikle lamented in England as ever I hard Scotsman " ; ^ and Calderwood
ends his account of the affair by saying, " Great lamentatioun was made for

^ Hist. Chtcrch of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 322.

^ Their sentence was, " That the saidis Johnne Cunninghame of Drnmquhassill and Malcolm
Dowglas of Manis suld be tane to ane skaffauld besyde the Mercat Croce of Edinburgh, and
thair be hangit quhill thai wer deid, and quarterit and drawin." — Pitcairn's Criminal Trials,
vol. i. part ii. p. 139.

^ Diary, p. 198.


them speciullie for Maynes, sonne in law to Drumquhassill. Drumquhassill
dranke a bitter cuppe of his owne brewing, for he was an earnest deeler for
the bringing home oi Monsieur D'Aubigney." ^

All that can be said in exculpation of Sir James Edmonstone for his share
in this miserable transaction, is that if he had not agreed to act as he did, no
doubt Arran would have taken his life. Indeed, when he made a clean breast
of it the same year, 7th November, 1585, after the fall of Arran, "he declairit
upoun his conscience, and as he wald ansuer to God upoun the Salvatioun
and Condempnatioun of his saull " that his sole reason for accusing the
" Banished Lords " or " ony utheris," " wes onlie for the saulftie of his lyff." ^

When Sir James Edmonstone confessed and threw himself upon the King's
mercy, he was put in ward in Edinburgh Castle, but was soon afterwards
pardoned (all as doubtless arranged),^ and his estates restored to him. The
lands belonging to Malcolm Douglas both in Strathblane and Kilpatrick were
of course forfeited, but by some process were made over to his brother-in-law,
Cuthbert Cunninghame, Provost of the Collegiate Church of Dumbarton, and
thus preserved to the family.* John Cunninghame's lands were restored to his
son by Act of Parliament in 1585. Thus ended this unfortunate affair, and even
at this distant day it is not difficult to picture the excitement and consternation
into which Strathblane must have been thrown when it was known that two of
the leading heritors had been hanged at the Cross of Edinburgh and a third
imprisoned in the Castle.^

Sir James Edmonstone after his pardon ^ and release returned to his public
duties, and his name often appears in the records of the day.*"

^ Calderwood's History of the Kirk of Scotland, vol. iv. p. 34S.

^ Reg. P. C. of Scot., vol. iv. p. 32. ^ Reg. P. C. of Scot., vol. iii. p. 744.

^ Mains Writs.

5 Sir James was by no means a credit to the family. He greatly injured the estate by
mortgages, " wraikit his house and leveing," and there is a very ugly story of his having
come to Duntreath when Mrs. Edmonstone, his daughter-in-law, was there alone, and after
" being verie hairtlie and kyndlie ressaved " by her, carrying off a large sum of money belong-
ing to her husband, his son William. — (AV^. P. C. of Scot., vol. vii. p. 281.) The celebrated
Sir George Mackenzie somewhere says that it is a sign of " an ancient and considerable
kindred " to have had a criminal or two in the family. Sir James certainly did his best to
vindicate the antiquity and consequence of the Edmonstones.

^ His neighbours in Strathblane, Killearn, and Kilpatrick, however, were not apparently
disposed to pardon him so easily, for on 4th July, 1590, there is recorded a caution by
William Grahame of PannoUis for Johnne Earl of Montrois in ;i^ 1,000, and for James Grahame
in Culmannan, Thomas Craig there, William Buchannane in Lether, and Johnne Buchannane
in Auchinneden in 200 merks each that they will not harm Sir James Edmonstone of Duntreath ;
and on the loih of the same month there is another caution by David Dundas of Preistinche
and others that Claude, Commendator of Paisley, Claude Ilammiltoun of Cochno, William
Stirling of Law and others will not harm Sir James Edmonstone of Duntreath. — Reg. P. C.
of Scot., vol. iv. pp. 504, 507.

'' Sir James Edmonstone was one of the jury at the trial, 28th February, 1615, of John
Ogilvie, alias Watson, who was charged with saying mass at Glasgow, and who was fmmd
guilty and hanged. — Pitcairn's Criminal Trials, vol. iv. pp. 332, 352.


It was towards the close of the life of this laird of Duntreath that the faniily
formed the resolution of leaving Scotland and settling themselves among those
colonists in the north-west of Ireland whom King James was encouraging to
take up the lands laid waste and desolate after the suppression of the great
rebellion of Hugh O'Neil, Earl of Tyrone. This took place just when Queen
Elizabeth was dying, and King James on his accession thus found vast estates
at his disposal. After various transactions, some perhaps not very creditable to
the "British Solomon," His Majesty brought out in 1608 his plan for the
" Plantation of Ulster," and the Edmonstones were one of the many Scottish
families who took part in it. It is unnecessary to inquire why this important
step was taken, but one reason very probably was that the family found their
means insufficient to maintain themselves in the position they had hitherto
had in Scotland, where, from their high connections, they had constantly held
offices of profit and distinction, and which now, from the changed circumstances
of the country, were not within their reach. The estate of Broadisland in the
county of Antrim was accordingly obtained in 1609 on the usual terms of the
•' Plantation " in name of Sir James' eldest son, William, who then settled
in Ireland, Duntreath himself remaining in Scotland.

No doubt, to raise money to invest in this Irish estate. Sir James Edmon-
stone entered into a contract of wadsett, 17 th February, 1614, with his son-in-
law, Sir William Graham of Braco, and his wife, Mary Edmonstone, by which
Duntreath and the other lands were made over to them. On the 14th October
of the same year Sir William Graham and his lady transferred the whole to Sir
William Livingstone of Kilsyth, one of the Senators of the College of Justice,
by a contract of wadsett and sale, all the Strathblane lands being redeemable
at a certain sum of money, but other lands not in the parish being irredeem-
able.i In 16 18, four years after these transactions, Sir James died.

Sir James F.dmonstone's first wife was Helen, daughter of Sir James Stirling
of Keir.2 By her he had William, his successor, Mary, Marjory, and Helen.
Sir James' second wife, to whom he was married in 1585, was Margaret,
daughter of Sir John Colquhoun of Luss, by whom he had a son, Robert, who
died unmarried, and four daughters, Elizabeth, Margaret, Agnes, and Jean.^

^ Duntreath Writs. "^ Kcir Book, p. 40.

^ Sir James Edmonstone's eldest daughter, Mary, married first John Cunninghame of Cun-
ninghamhead in Ayrshire, and had a son, afterwards Sir William Cunninghame, the first
baronet of the family, and two daughters, Barbara, who married James Fullarton of Fullarton,
and Jean, who married her cousin James Edmonstone and had issue. — [Ayrshire Families, vol. i.
p. 305, and Duntreath Book.) The family of Cunninghamhead is extinct in the male line, the
representation of it and the Fullartons of Fullarton being now combined in the senior descen-
dant of Barbara Fullarton. Mary Edmonstone's second husband was Sir William Graham of
Braco, second son of John third Earl of Montrose, by whom she had a family. Sir James
Edmonstone's second daughter, Marjory, married Sir Claud Hamilton of Cochna in Dumbarton-


William Edmonstone, seventh of Duntreath, was, like his father and grand-
father, strongly anti- Papist and strongly Presbyterian, and when the Acts
against Jesuits and seminary priests were renewed in 1589, he was one of the
Commissioners appointed for seeing them carried out in the Lennox.^ Before
his father's death, as already shown, he settled in Ireland, where he built his
mansion of Redhall, established a Presbyterian Church in his parish of Broad-
island and placed in it a Scottish minister, and seems to have thoroughly
adopted Ireland as his home.

His wife was Isobel, daughter of John Haldane of Gleneagles,^ and by her
he had five sons and two daughters — i, Archibald, his successor; 2, James, who
married his cousin, Jean Cunningham ; ^ 3, John, who married another cousin,
Ehzabeth, the heiress of Broich;* 4, Robert; 5, Andrew. The two last died
unmarried. His daughters were Helen and Jean.^ William Edmonstone died
about 1629.

shire, and had issue. Sir Claud Hamilton sold Cochna in 1617 to the Earl of Abercorn, and,
like his brother-in-law, William Edmonstone, settled in Ireland. It may be remarked in
passing that the Hamiltons of Barnes, another old Dumbartonshire family, subsequently bought
Cochna and built a new house upon it, where resides at the present day Miss Grace Hamilton,
the excellent and venerable representative of Barnes. After the departure of Sir Claud to Ire-
land the representation of ancient "Cochnach" devolved upon the Hamiltons of Auchentoshan,
now represented by William Cross Buchanan. — {Old Country Houses of the Old Glasgoiu
Gently, 2nd ed. p. 53.) Helen, Sir James' third daughter, married John Lennox of Branshogle,
in the Lennox, a neighbour laird. The Branshogle family were subsequently merged in that
of Buchanan of Boquhan. Elizabeth, Sir James' fourth daughter, married James Edmonstone
of Broich, and had an only daughter, Elizabeth, who married her cousin, John Edmonstone,
third son of William Edmonstone of Duntreath. Sir James' three remaining daughters,
Margaret, Agnes, and Jean, died unmarried. — {Dimtreath Book, p. 46.)

'^ Reg. P. C. of Scot., vol. iv. p. 465.

^ Duntreath Book, p. 47, and Nisbet, vol. ii. p. 168.

3 See previous Note. * See previous Note.

* Helen, William Edmonstone's eldest daughter, married John Dallway or Dolway of Bellie-
hill, a neighbour Irishman of property. He was nephew and heir of a John " Dallwaye," an
early settler in Ireland who had obtained from King James VI. a large grant of lands, and
who died about 1618. John Dolway and Helen Edmonstone's grandson was Alexander
Dalway, M.P. for Carrickfergus, who married his cousin, Anna Helena Edmonstone from
whom is descended the present Mr. Dalway of ' ' Bellahill " (as the place is now more
elegantly named). — (Burke's Landed Gentry, etc.) Helen Edmonstone's second husband
was Colonel James Wallace of Auchans, the representative of the old Ayrshire family of
Auchans and Dundonald. — (Ayrshi/e Families, vol. iii. p. 79.) Like a number of the Ayrshire,
Renfrewshire, and Lanarkshire country gentlemen. Colonel Wallace was deeply imbued with
Covenanting principles, and on the rising of the peasantry in 1666 he was chosen tlieir com-
mander. At the battle on the Pentland Hill, where defeat was of course inevitable, he
showed considerable skill in the disposition of his forces. After this unfortunate affair he took
refuge in Ireland, where, no doubt sympathizing with the cause for which he was suffering,
Helen Edmonstone, by this time a widow, cast in her lot with his and became his wifi?. He
could not, however, remain in Ireland, but retired to Holland, after sundry wanderings through
Europe. In 1676 the Government of England insisted on the States General removing him
from their territory. They did this very unwillingly, furnishing him with a letter to the "Em-
peror of the Romans and all Kings, Republics, Princes, Dukes, States, and Magistrates,"
requesting them to receive him in a friendly manner, and assist him with their counsel, help,


Archibald Edmonstone, eighth of Duntreath, was much more of a Scotsman
than his father, and lost no time after his succession in taking steps to regain
full possession of Duntreath. By the 29th May, 1630, he had arranged with
William Livingstone of Kilsyth for the redemption of all the Duntreath lands
in Strathblane, and the lands of Letter in Killearn. After several other trans-
actions the whole matter was completed by a charter from King Charles I.,
dated 28th July, 1632, upon the resignation of William Livingstone, erecting in
favour of Archibald Edmonstone, the parts of the Barony of Duntreath which
were redeemed, and the lands of Letter, into a free Barony for ever, as in
the charter of King James IL, 1452, to be held in free blench farm.^

This laird was but a short time in possession of Duntreath, for he died
in 1637, but during it he interested himself much in the exciting affairs of
the time, in Church and State, and was Member of Parliament for the County
of Stirling in 1633. Like his father and grandfather, he was a zealous sup-
porter of Presbytery, and his wife, Jean Hamilton of Halcraig, in Lanarkshire,
came of a family who suffered much in the same cause. ^ By her he had two
sons, William and Archibald, and two daughters — Helen,^ who married Thomas
Niven of Monkredding, and Jean, who died unmarried.

William Edmonstone, ninth of Duntreath, "The Dumb Laird," was never
actually in possession of the estate, as, from the circumstance of being born
deaf and dumb, he was precluded from the succession.* He was but young

and aid. He was allowed, however, to return to Rotterdam after a short time, and he died

Online LibraryJohn Guthrie SmithThe parish of Strathblane and its inhabitants from early times : a chapter in Lennox history → online text (page 15 of 45)