John Guthrie Smith.

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

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there in 1678.— (Wodrow's Church Hist., vol. i. page 305, Note). Helen Edmonstone must have
been rather an elderly lady when she married him, and as he was an old man by 1676 the
conduct of the British Government was cruelly harsh and vindictive to the venerable exiles.
Jean, William Edmonstone's second daughter, married Sir Robert Adair of Ballymena, Co.
Antrim. He belonged to the ancient family of Adair of Kinhilt, in the parish of Portpatrick
in Wigtownshire — {Lands and their Owners in Galloway, vol. i. page 91) — who had settled in
Ireland and were neighbours of the Edmonstones. Sir Robert died in 1655, leaving a son,
William, the direct ancestor of Sir Robert Alexander Shafto Adair, Bart., who was raised to
the peerage loth April, 1873, as Baron Waveimy.— {Duntreath Book, Burke's Peerage, etc.)

1 Duntreath Writs. - House of Haviilton, p. 302.

^ The Nivens or Nevins of Monkredding or Monkridden were an old Ayrshire family long
settled near Kilwinning, their property having been formerly part of the old lands of the Abbacyt
Thomas Niven and Helen Edmonstone had two sons at least— Thomas and William— and by the
latter, who succeeded his brother in 1693, the estate was alienated.— (.-?j/rj-/z/;r Families, vol. iii.
p. 253, etc.) When Helen Edmonstone married Thomas Niven her "tocher" was secured on
Dungoyach. Under date 13th October, 1683, the following appears in the printed Retours —
" Thomas Nevane de Monkridding haeres Thomas Nevane de Monkredding patris in annuo
redditu 160 1. de terris de Dumguyock infra parochiam de Strablain redimabili pro 4000 m.

'' In the Duntreath Book Sir Archibald remarks — " It would seem, moreover, that he had the
credit of being gifted with second sight, for in Law's Memorials it is stated after an enumeration
of signs, ' Sic lyk in February, 1677, did the Dumb Laird of Duntreath at Paisley make signs
of some great troubles and fightings to be in this land in a few months.' In the same curious
work is the following notice of him — ' The Laird of Duntreath, born deaf and dumb, a man
devotedly set, on a tyme two of his neighbours falling out at two miles distance from him,
when he was present at Duntreath, the one striking the other with a whinger in the arm,



when his father died, and his uncles, James Edmonstone of Broadisland in Ireland,
and subsequently John Edmonstone of Broich, were the tutors and guardians of
himself and his brother Archibald during their minority. He grew up to be a
handsome man and was very intelligent and cheerful, and by means of signs
and gestures he was able to communicate his ideas and receive those of others
with great quickness. He Uved principally at Duntreath, and his memory is
still preserved there in the name of the " Dumb Laird's Tower," given to the
tower which he used to occupy. He died about the end of the century.

Archibald Edmonstone, who from his brother's infirmity was really ninth of
Duntreath, though much interested in Scottish affairs was still more occupied
with those of Ireland. He married Anna Helena, daughter of Colonel
Walter Scott of Harwood, and widow of his cousin, William Adair of
Kinhilt. By her he had four sons, three of whom died young, the sur-
vivor being Archibald, the second of that name, and five daughters, of whom
Elizabeth, the eldest, married James Montgomery of Rosemount and had issue ;
and the youngest, Anna Helena, was the wife of her cousin, Alexander Dalway,
as already mentioned, the other three daughters died young.

This laird was a strong Presbyterian, and, as mentioned elsewhere, got
into serious trouble in 1677 for permitting a conventicle to take place at
Duntreath. During the rebellion in Ireland in 1688 he warmly espoused
the Protestant cause, and raising a regiment, which he commanded himself,
did good service in the North of Ireland. His career, however, though
gallant was but a short one, for in April, 1689, he died from the effects of
exposure to cold and rain while bravely defending a position near Coleraine.
By his express desire his body was conveyed to Strathblane, and, as already
mentioned, buried in the same grave within the church there as his royal
ancestrix the Princess Mary of Scotland.

Archibald Edmonstone, tenth of Duntreath, was still a child when his father
died, and it was not until the beginning of next century that he engaged in
public affairs. Like his father, his residence was principally in Ireland, and he
sat for many years for Carrickfergus in the Irish Parliament. He made some
additions to his property in Scotland by purchases in Dumbartonshire, and
Duntreath Castle having by this time been allowed to fall into ruins, he was

he at the same instant of time made a sign of it. So at Paisley, he being there in the year
1676, in December, in the time of the frost, there was one of his acquaintance went forth
to a water at a good distance from him upon the ice, and had fallen in, and he at the same
time gave warning of it by a sign.' 'Of the Dumb Laird of Duntreath, a local tradition has
been preserved that on one Sunday when the family were going to the kirk, and it was inti-
mated to him that he could not accompany, he went into the stable and began eating hay
as if to show that if not fit to attend public worship he ought to live among the cattle. A
seal ring and a few other memorials of this remarkable person are preserved.' " — The Family
of Edmonstone, pp. 49, 86, 87.



living at Auchentorlie in that county, then called Silverbanks, when his eldest
son, Archibald, was born on the icth October, 1717.

He was twice married, firstly to Anne, daughter of Henry, third Lord
Cardross, by whom he had one daughter, Catherine, who was the wife of
Arthur Kennedy of Cultra, Co. Down ; she had a daughter who married
Richard Church and died childless. Sir Archibald married secondly, in 17 16,
Anne, daughter of John Campbell of Mamore, second son of Archibald ninth
Earl of Argyll. By this lady he had three sons, (i) Archibald, his successor;
(2) Campbell, who married Marianne Anderson, and had issue four sons and
eight daughters, who all either died unmarried or marrying have left no descen-
dants; and (3) Charles, who died leaving no issue. The daughters were (i)
Anna Helena Scott, wife of Philip Fletcher, by whom she had one sen who
died unmarried; and (2) Mary, who married the Rev. Mr. Hodgkinson and
has many descendants. Archibald Edmonstone of Duntreath died in 1768.

Sir Archibald Edmonstone, eleventh of Duntreath and first Baronet, gave up
Ireland and with it his Whig principles. He settled in Scotland and repre-
sented Dumbartonshire in Parliament for many years in the Tory interest. He
was also for a short time member for the Ayr Burghs. In 1783, Redhall and
the other property in Ireland having been sold, he purchased the estate of
Kilsyth in Stirlingshire, and thenceforth Colzium became the principal residence
of the family till Duntreath was restored by the late Baronet.

In 1753 he married Susanna Mary, daughter of
Roger Harene, a French gentleman of ancient lineage,
and had by her five sons, (i) Archibald, an officer
in the army, who died young in 1780; (2) William
Archibald, who died childless in 1803 ; (3) Charles,
his successor ; (4) George, Vicar of Pollerne ; and
(5) Neil Benjamin; and three daughters, (i) Susanna
Margaret ; (2) Anne Mary ; and (3) Sarah. Sir
Archibald married secondly, Hester, daughter of Sir
John Heathcote, Bart. She had no children and pre-
deceased her husband. On the 3rd May, 1774, Mr.
Edmonstone had been created a Baronet, and after a
long life spent in the public service and in the improvement of his estates, ^ he
died at his house in Argyle Street, London, in July, 1807, aged 89 years.

^ Dr. Patrick Graham, minister of Aberfoyle, in his Report on Stirlingshire (Edinburgh,
181 2), praises Sir Archibald for his public spirit and the improvements he made on his
estates. He also commends Sir Charles, his son and successor, for his new farm-houses, for
his farms enlarged in a judicious style, and for the good example he was setting in the ex-
tensive plantations he made on the Duntreath estates in 1807, 8, 9.

It was Sir Archibald who built the " Galloway Dyke " (a kind of wall so called from
being first introduced in that county) which separates the hill pasture from the arable lands
of Duntreath.


From the original in the possession
of ttie present Baronet.



Sir Charles Edmonstone, twelfth of Duntreath and second Baronet, was born
at Greenwich, 9th October, 1764. After a distinguished career at Eton and
Oxford he was called to the Bar, and in 1806 was elected Member for Dum-
bartonshire. In the following year, however, he was ousted by Henry Glassford
of Dougalston. At the General Election in 1812 he was returned for Stirling-
shire and continued to hold the seat till his death at Brighton, ist April, 1821.
Sir Charles was twice married — first to Emma, daughter of Richard Wilbraham
Bootle of Rode Hall, Cheshire, by whom he had a son, Archibald, his successor,
and a daughter, Mary Emma. He married secondly, in 1804, Louisa, daughter
of the second Lord Hotham, by whom he had four sons, (i) WiUiam, the
present Baronet; (2) Charles Henry, a major in the army, died 1847; (3)
George, a member of the Bengal Civil Service; and (4) Frederick Neil, an
officer in the army, died 1865; and two daughters, (i) Louisa Henrietta and
(2) Amelia Frances.

Sir Archibald Edmonstone, thirteenth of Duntreath, and third Baronet, was
born in 1795, and, like his father, was educated at Eton and Oxford. When the
representation of Stirlingshire became vacant by his father's death he stood for
the county, but was unsuccessful, and he did not again attempt to enter Parlia-
ment. Sir Archibald was possessed of literary tastes and much culture of mind.
He was the author of "A Journey to the Oases of Upper Egypt," "The
Progress of Religion : a Poem," and other works in poetry and prose. He took
a great interest in the parish of Strathblane, and it was by him that the old
Castle of Duntreath was rescued from further ruin and made again a residence
of the family. The parishioners will long remember with gratitude that it is to
him they owe the improved state of the parish church. The alterations, com-
pleted shortly before his death and planned and carried out solely by him, have
made it the beautiful and seemly place of worship it now is.

Sir Archibald married in 1830 his cousin Emma,
third daughter of Randle Wilbraham of Rode Hall,
and had three daughters, who all died a few days
after their birth. Sir Archibald died 13th March,

Sir William Edmonstone, fourteenth of Duntreath,
and fourth Baronet, succeeded his brother. ' He was
born 29th January, 1810, and very early in life
entered the Royal Navy. When a midshipman on
board the " Sybelle " frigate, during an attack on


FOURTH BARONET OF DUNTREATH. piratcs ncar Candia, he was dangerously wounded

From Ou-orislualin his possession, j^ ^j^^ ^^^^^ j^^j^^ ^^^^ ^^ j^j^ j^^.^^. j^^^_ ^^ ^^^^

constantly on active service, and on his return from the West Coast of Africa,


where he served as commodore, he was made a Companion of the Bath and
Naval Aide-de-Camp to the Queen. He was afterwards Superintendent of
Keyham, Devonport, and of Woolwich Dockyards. In 1869 he became Rear-
Admiral, and he is now an Admiral on the retired list.

In 1874, at the request of the Conservatives of Stirlingshire, he stood for the
county against Sir William Bruce, and was elected member of Parliament. At
the General Election of 1880 he was again the Conservative candidate, but
was unsuccessful. His supporters in the county, to whom his defeat was a
matter of extreme regret, anxious to show their appreciation of his consistent
and straightforward conduct while in Parliament and during his election con-
tests, presented him in 1881 with a service of plate.

Sir William married in 1841 Mary, eldest daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel
Parsons, C.M.G., by whom he has had two sons— Archibald William, born and
died in 1865 ; Archibald, born 30th May, 1867 ; and nine daughters.^
Soon after Sir William succeeded he ceased to reside at Colzium, and made
Duntreath his home, and now, after many years of silence and solitude, the old
Castle is again the cheerful and happy meeting-place of children and children's

^ See Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, etc., etc.



The Kirklands of Strathblane extend to a ten pound land of old extent, and
include the mailings (or farms) of Kirklands, of which the modern farms of
Muirhouse^ and Hillhead are parts, Braidgate, Vicarland, Hole poffle, Macbrew,
and Mill of Ballagan, mill lands, multures, and sequels.^ The Kirklands also
contained of old the lands of Easter and Wester Ballagan, both forty shilling
lands, and the Hill of Dunglass.^

The earhest mention we find of these Kirklands is when King Robert I.
confirmed to the Master, Brethren, and Sisters of the Hospital of Polmadie all
the privileges and exemptions from service they possessed in the time of King
Alexander, his predecessor, both as regarded themselves and the land of Strath-
blane — "terra de Strathblathy " — a pertinent of the Church of Strathblane, and
held by them along with it. The date of this charter is 28th May, 13 16.^
The next notice of the Kirklands is when Malcolm Earl of Lennox in 1333
granted to the Brethren and Sisters of Polmadie certain immunities, both as
regarded their house and the lands annexed to it.^ And the final notice of
them in connection with the old Hospital is on the 7th January, 1424,*^ when
Duncan Earl of Lennox and William Bishop of Glasgow made an arrangement
by which the Earl gave up to the Bishop all the rights he had to the Hospital
and its annexed Church of Strathblane. The Hospital and the Church, as
explained elsewhere, w^ere shortly afterwards made into a new prebend for the
Cathedral of Glasgow.'^ ' ■

1 What is now the farm of Muirhouse was formerly unenclosed, and called the Muir of Kirk-
lands. It was first enclosed about 1757.— (Right of Way Case at Craigbarnet. )

2 Craigbarnet Writs. ^ See Ballagan.

* Keg. Epis. Glas., p. 225. ^ Reg. Epis. Glas., p. 248.

^A'eg. Epis. Glas., p. 359. ''Reg. Epis. Glas., vol. i. p. ci.



It is possible/ however, that in this transaction the "terra de Strathblathy "
— the Kirklands, in fact — which Polmadie certainly held in 13 16 and 1333, was
not made over to the Bishop, and that it was merely the Church of Strath-
blane, including of course the tithes, which went to the new prebendary of
Glasgow, All that is known for certain to have been given, was the "terras
ecclesiasticas et elimosinarias de Polmade quibus annexa est ecclesia parochialis
de Strablahane." There may have remained with the Earl of Lennox — possibly
as part of his bargain with the Bishop — the Temporality or Kirklands of
Strathblane, and perhaps part of Polmadie too, for when the Earl's daughter,
the Duchess-Countess Isabella of Lennox, about 1453 founded her Collegiate
Church or Provostry of Dumbarton, she endowed it not only with the " Kirk-
lands of Strathblane," but also with " Polmadie," or part of it. The Kirklands
were the most valuable lands the provostry held. The Countess gave it at
the same time the churches of Bonhill, Fintry, and Strathblane, but how she
got Strathblane from the Cathedral of Glasgow, whether with or without the
Kirklands, nowhere appears.

On the 24th October, 15 18, there was a tack granted of the Kirklands of
Strathblane by Mr. James Stewart, Provost of the Collegiate Kirk of Dum-
barton, with consent of the Earl of Lennox, patron of the provostry, to William
Stirling of Glorat,^ and on the 28th February, 15 19, the same William had a
charter of them from the Earl of Lennox and the " Provost of the Colledgiate
Kirk of Dumbarton." ^ So far the Kirklands were undivided, but shortly after
this date one half of Ballagan was separated from them, for on the 5th June,
1522, William Stirling of Glorat granted a charter to his brother-german,
Walter Stirling, and Euphame Birsbane, his spouse, of the west half of the lands
of Ballagan and the Hill of Dunglass, extending to a forty shilling land of old
extent, to be held of William " for six merks Scots and four bolls four pecks
farm bear yearly." Walter and Euphame were infeft of the same date.* After
the death of William Stirling of Glorat, a precept was directed by Robert,
Bishop of Orkney and Provost of the Collegiate Church of the Blessed Virgin
Mary of Dumbarton, to Walter Stirling of Ballagan, John Sympill, Andrew
Cuninghame of " Blairquhiss," for infefting George Stirling as heir to his father,
William Stirling of Glorat, in all and haill "terras meas ecclesiasticas de Strae-

^ " Possible," for in none of the records of the foundation of this prebend is it expressly said
that the Kirklands went with the church of Strathblane, but, on the other hand, it rather looks
as if they had, for when provision was being made for the vicar of Strathblane, it was arranged
that the new prebendary was to pay him fourteen merks and assign him one merkland of land
near the church. This merkland, now called the "Vicarland," is part of Kirklands, and appar-
ently always was.

2 Old " Inventory of Rights " at Glorat. ^ Old " Inventory of Rights " at Glorat.

■^ Charter and Sasine in Ballagan Charter Chest.


blane," extending to a ten pound land of old extent, signed at Dumbarton 12th
August, 1537, before these witnesses James Derrumpill, John Flemyne, etc.
Instrument of Sasine followed, dated 22nd August, same year.^

The following interesting deed from the Charter Chest at Glorat shows the
exact connection of the Kirklands of Strathblane and George Stirling of Glorat
with the Collegiate Church of Dumbarton in 1544: —

" Be it kend till all men be thir present letteris, ws, Robart, be the mercie
of God, Elect Bischep of Kaitness, and Provest of our Lade Colleg of Dum-
berten, wit consent and awys of ane nobill and mychte lord, Mathow Erll of
Leuenax Lord Dernle, patroune of the said Colleg; That forsamekill as ane
honorabill man, George Striuelyng of Glorat, hes in few and heretaig to hyme
and his aris, all and haill the ten pound land of Strablane, wyth the myll of
the samin ; payand to ws and our said Colleg certen annuell zerlie for the saidis
landis and myll of the samin, as at mair lencht is specifyit and contenit in the
said Georgis chartur and euidentes maid thairupon ; Herefor we for certen
cawsis moving us, and for the gud seruyce to ws done and to be done be the
said Georg, with consent and awis of our said patroune, frelie gevis and grantis
the said zerlie annuell to the said Georg in feall, for all the dayis of the saidis
Georg liftyme; and be the tenor hereof, exonoris, quitclames, and dischargis
the said zerlie annuell of the said ten pound land of Strablane, wyth the profehet
of the said myll, frelie to the said Georg, to be occupyit wsit and manurit be the
said Georg at his awin dispositioune but ony reuocatioune or agane calling
quhatsumeuir, and oblissis ws nevir to cum in the contrar of this present dona-
tioune ; In vitnes of the quhilk thing to this present donatioune, subscriuit wyth
our hand, our proper seill is to hungin, togedder with the seill and subscriptioune
of our said patroune, in taking of his consent, at Dumbertene, the nyntene day
of Apprill, the zer of God, ane thowsand five hundryth and fourte four zeris,
befor thir vitnes, Villiam Erll of Glenkarne, Dauid Murray, Andro Murray,
Androw Cwnighame, and James Lyndissay, wyth vtheris diuers.



Another transaction some years later further illustrates the history of these
lands. John Stirling of Glorat, the laird of Kirklands, on the 14th December,
1613, resigned them into the hands of his superiors for new infeftment, and fol-
lowing thereupon there is a charter by Walter Stewart, Provost of the College
Kirk of Dumbarton, with consent of Ludovick Duke of Lennox, to the said
John Stirling and Annabell Graham his wife in joint fee, and the heirs male

' Ciaigl:)arnet Wriis.



procreated or to be procreated between them, whom failing, to the nearest heirs
male and assigneys of the said John Stirling, of the Kirklands of Strathblane
with the miln, multures, and pertinents lying as said is, and which charter con-
tained a novodamus changing the holding from ward to feu, the Kirklands
to be held for ^^27 8s. 4d. Scots and the miln and multures for ;^3 6s. 8d.,
with £,2 IIS. 8d. of augmentation, extending in whole to ^^iZ ^s. 8d., dated
1 8th July, 1614.^ The next event in the history of the Kirklands was the
disjunction of the remainder of Ballagan from them. The deeds effecting this
are in the Ballagan Charter Chest, and narrate how on the nth and 19th
March, 1657, Sir Mungo Stirling of Glorat, Knight, set in feu farm to John
Stirling, fiar of Ballagan, and Jean Stirling his spouse, the lands of Easter
Ballagan. This transaction completed the severance of Ballagan, both Wester
and Easter, with the Hill of Dunglass, from the Kirklands of Strathblane, the
superiority and mill and multures alone remaining; and an old rental shows
that '• Balaggans few dutie" was 06:13:04. The Stirlings of Glorat continued
to hold the Kirklands till 1681, when their relatives, the Stirlings of Law,
bought them, and the Law family held them till 1760. They then sold them
to James Stirling of Craigbarnet, and in the Craigbarnet family they remained
till 1883, when the entail being broken, Muirhouse was sold by Major Graham
Stirling to Robert Ker of Dougalston and Broadgate to Andrew Jameson of
Leddriegreen. Besides Easter and Wester Ballagan and the Hill of Dunglass,
long disjoined, as already shown, ten acres or thereby of the poffle called Blue
Risk, formerly part of the Kirklands,^ were sold in 1760 by John Stirling of
Law to John Graham of Edenkill,^ and that pofifle of land called Blandsherrie,
also part of the Kirklands,'* was sold in 1762 by James Stirling of Craigbarnet
to John Graham, portion er of Mugdock, and now forms part of the estate of
Easterton of Mugdock.^ A small addition, however, was made to the Craig-
barnet family's lands in Strathblane, by the purchase in 1846 by Alexander
Gartshore Stirling, from James Shearer of the Middleton of Mugdock, of that
piece or portion of ground called Gaily or Gallowmoss lying between the public
road to Glasgow and Loch Ardinning, and of another piece of land, 26 acres
Scots or thereby, bounded on the north by Leddriegreen estate, on the east by
the road to Glasgow, and on the west by the old Mugdock road. These lands
are now incorporated with Muirhouse.

^ Craigbarnet Writs. ^ Craigbarnet Writs.

^ See Leddriegreen. * Easterton of Mugdock Writs.

^ See Easterton of Mugdock.



The Kirklands of Strathblane have belonged successively to the Stirlings of
Glorat, the Stirlings of Law and Edenbarnet, and the Stirlings of Craigbarnet,
and we now turn to the history of these families in connection with this estate.
Glorat was in possession of the Kirklands by 1518, and Craigbarnet not till
1759, but nevertheless Craigbarnet is entitled to precedence as the head, though
now in the female line only, of this branch of the Stirlings, whose old, and till
quite modern times, undisputed claim to the representation of ancient " Cawder "
has never been disproved.

In 1434 " Cragbernarde " in the parish of Campsie belonged to the heir of
Gilbert de Strivelyne.^ This Gilbert is believed to have been a son of WiUiam
of Cadder,2 the head of the House of Stirling, and if this is so, on the failure
of the main line on the death of John Stirling of Bankier, the only son of the
ill-used Janet Stirling,^ heiress of Cadder, and James Stirling of Keir, which
took place about the end of the sixteenth century, the family of Craigbarnet
became chief of the race. Sir Charles Elphingstone Fleming Stirling, Baronet
of Glorat, cadet of Craigbarnet, is thus now the representative of Cadder in the
male line, and in the female line Major Charles Campbell Graham Stirling of
Craigbarnet is its head.* Gilbert Stirling of Craigbarnet ^ was succeeded in turn

Online LibraryJohn Guthrie SmithThe parish of Strathblane and its inhabitants from early times : a chapter in Lennox history → online text (page 16 of 45)