John Guthrie Smith.

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

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by his son John,*^ who died about 1497, and his grandson, another John Stirling.

^ Blxchequer Rolls of Scotland, vol. iv. p. 590.

2 The Stirlings of Craigbernard and Glorat — Introduction — ^Joseph Bain.

3 Old Country Houses of the Old Glasgow Gentry, p. 30.

* Mr. Fraser, in his Keir Book, claims for Stirling of Keir the representation of Cadder, and
Mr. Riddell in his Comments on Keir does the same for Stirling of Drumpellier ; but in spite
of the ingenuity and special pleading of these learned gentlemen, the case remains very much
as it did before they touched the subject. Till one or other of these houses— Keir or Drum-
pellier — can proz'e that they represent Cadder, it is reasonable to believe, as was always done
till the Drumpellier case was put forward, that Glorat is the head of the house. Mr. Joseph
Bain, in a recent privately printed book. The Stirlings of Craigbernard and Glorat, prepared
for Sir Charles E. F. Stirling of Glorat, while not claiming to have settled the question, states
the case for Glorat in a calm and courteous style which contrasts favourably with the heat and
fury of many genealogists, ancient and modern.

* The Craigbernard and Glorat descent from Cadder is supposed by Mr. Joseph Bain to have
been as follows — Gilbert de Strivelyn, the first laird of Cragbernard or Craigbarnet, was a
younger son of William de Strivelyn, Lord of Cadder in 1408, and acquired Craigbernard
through marrying the heiress of Alicia de Y.x\S\.— [Stirlings of Craigbernard and Glorat.) Alicia
de Erth was the great-granddaughter of Bernard de Erthe, 1271-1300, and Elena, daughter and
co-heiress of Finlay de Camsi. This Finlay was a son of Malcolm, brother of Maldoven, third
Earl of Lennox. His three daughters were co-heiresses, and the third of Campsie, which fell to
Elena, wife of Bernard de Erth, was named by her Craigbernard. "Alicia de Erth Domina de
Cragbernard," "a noble and venerable woman," and spouse of " Gilbertus de Buchanane," granted
a charter at " Mwcdoc," 13th February, 1400, of the lands of Ballebrochyr and Lechade to William
de Graham, lord of Kyncardine.— (Montrose Writs.) It is not known when her son-in-law, Gilbert
Stirling, succeeded, but we know he was dead, leaving a son in minority, before 1434.

" In an Instrument of Sasine, dated 9th November, 1468, Johannes Strevelin de Craigber-
nard is mentioned. — (Lennox Case, p. 15.)


He it was who acquired, during his father's hfetime, the lands of Cult in the
parish of Strathblane, from Mathew Stewart Earl of Lennox, 13th February,
1495,^ 3.nd Easter Ballewan was acquired either by him or his son George,^ and
from that day till 1883 a part of the parish of Strathblane was always possessed
by the Stirlings of Craigbamet or one of their cadets — Glorat, Ballagan, Law
and Edenbarnet.

This first Strathblane Stirling was, like all the family, a man of action.
He was a favourite of King James HL, and employed about his person,
and in 1497 he was appointed Keeper of Dumbarton Castle. He was equally
in favour with King James IV., who paid a visit to Craigbarnet in 1507
while on one of his circuits holding Courts of Justice, and it is recorded that
his Majesty relieved the cares of State by playing at cards there, and that he
lost twenty-four shillings in so doing.^ There is a place at Craigbarnet called
Courthill, which may possibly commemorate this visit.*

On the 27th May, 1508, Sir John Stirling (Johannes Striueling de Cragbernard
Miles) added to his lands of Craigbarnet, Cult, and Easter Ballewan, those of
Glorat in Campsie.^ Glorat, like the Strathblane lands, was by charter from
Mathew Earl of Lennox. Cult, which he had acquired previously, was half of
the original Cult or Quilt, that lying to the north side of the Blane, the other
half, lying to the south of the Blane, belonged at that time to Duntreath, and
still does so. Sir John Stirling's half was called Cult Craigbarnet or Cult
Stirling.^ In this year Sir John granted an annual rent of 12 merks and 10
shillings from his lands of Cragbernard and Glorat, to a chaplain, perpetually to
serve God in the Parish Church of Campsie, and in his chapel erected and
founded in honour of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary within his place and manor
of Craigbernard. The chaplain's duties were to pray for the prosperity of the
Most Serene Prince James IV., and after his decease for the safety of his soul
and those of his ancestors and successors, and for the souls of Mathew Earl of
Levenax, his ancestors and successors, and of the late Andrew Stewart, Lord
Avondale, Chancellor of Scotland ; Colin Earl of Argyll ; George Abernethy,
Provost of the Collegiate Church of Dumbarton ; and Alexander Stewart of
Avondale; and for the safety of Sir John's own soul and that of his wile,
Margaret Abernethy, and those of their fathers and mothers, and their own

^ Ballewan Writs.

^ Glorat Writs, printed in iitirlings of Keir, p. 316.
"^ Accounts of Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, 9th February, 1 507.

■* The site of the house King James visited is not exactly known, but it is thought to have
been adjacent to the present mansion.

'Glorat Writs, printed in Stirlings of Keir, p. 285.
^ Ballewan Writs and Duntreath Writs.


offspring, and of all those to whom he was a debtor in this world, and whom
he had anyways injured. He was to do this three times a week in Campsie
Church and four times in the chapel of Craigbarnet. If he did not perform
these services regularly, or if he kept continuously a concubine or attendant, he
was to vacate the chaplaincy and service.^

Margaret Abernethy, the good knight's wife, was a daughter of James, third
Lord Abernethy of Saltoun, and by her he had several
sons and at least one daughter, who married John Lennox
of Balcorrach,^ ancestor of the Hon, Mrs. Hanbury Len-
nox. The sons were — George, his heir \ William, first of
Glorat and of the Kirklands of Strathblane; Walter, first
of Ballagan ; and Robert, who is styled in one of the
Glorat Writs " brother-german to the said William " (of
Glorat).^ Sir John Stirling died about 1510,^ and was
SEAL OF GEORGE STIRLING, succccded in hls Campsie estates and also in his Strath-
1502. |_j^^j^g lands of Cult Craigbarnet and Easter Ballewan by
his eldest son.

George Stirling, fourth of Craigbarnet and second of the Strathblane lands,
was married before ist May, 1502,^ to Elizabeth Park, and by her he had John,
who succeeded ; James, " sumtyme in Bangour " ; ^ David,'' Duncan, William, and
Walter,^ and a daughter, Margaret,^ Elizabeth Park was a Strathblane lady, or
partly so — one of the co-heiresses of William Park of Park, who had possessed
Mugdock Mitchell in Strathblane. George Stirling received with her one fourth
of Mugdock Mitchell ^° and half of the lands of Spango and Flattertoun in
Renfrewshire ^^ — the other three fourths ^^ of Mugdock Mitchell and the half of

^ Glorat Writs. A translation of the deed in The Stij-lings of Craigbeniard and Glorat, p.
80, and in the original in Stirlittgs of Keir, p. 286.

^Lennox Case, p. 16. ^ Sti7'lings of Craigbernard and Glo7-at, p. Z^.

* Ballewan Writs. ^Glorat Writs, printed in the Stirlings of Keir, p. 275.

"Craigbarnet Writs. '^ Stii-liiigs of Keir, p. 129, and Stirlings of Craigbernard, p. 9.

^Pitcairn's Crim. Trials, vol. i., part i. p. 458.

® Crawford in his Shire of Renfrnv, p. 96, says Margaret Stirling was the wife of Andrew,
Master of Semple.

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

^1 Crawford in his S/ii?'e of Renfrew, p. 128, says — "James Crawfurd of Sydehill obtained
the lands of Flattertoun and Spangow in 1489, in exchange of the lands of Kilwinat in Stirling-
shire, by excambion with George Stirling of Craigbarnet, of which lands he became possest in
riglit of Elizabeth, his wife, daughter and one of the co-heiresses of William Park of that Ilk."
George Stirling must thus have been married before 1489. See also Crawford, p. 1 14.

^-The fourth of Mugdock Mitchell which belonged to Elizabeth Park and George Stirling,
her spouse, was resigned by them and included in the charter by King James IV., dated 28th
March, 1503, in which he confirmed two charters by Mathew, Earl of Lennox, dated i8th
March, 1502, by which John Stirling resigned his lands of Craigbarnet and others into the
Earl's hands, and had a re-grant of them. The liferent of Mugdock Mitchell was, however.



Spango and Flattertoun going to Alexander Cunninghame, son of Andrew
Cunninghame of Drumquhassle, who married Margaret Park, her sister.^
George Stirhng died before April, 1520.

John Stirling, who succeeded his father, was fifth of Craigbarnet and third
of the Strathblane lands. He had, along with his wife, Eupham Logan, sasine of
the lands of Quilt and Mugdok Michell, 15th April, 1520,2 and on the i8th
of the same month, precept of clare constat for infefting him in his Craig-
barnet lands and " Ester Ballevin." ^ He had at least one son, John, his
successor, but whether by his first wife, Eupham Logan, or by Marion Foster,
who is supposed to have been a second wife,^ does not appear, John Stirling
of Craigbarnet was apparently a turbulent character. Certainly during the
course of his life he had several quarrels with his neighbours, for the records of
the Court of Justiciary show that about 1531 he and his relative of Glorat were
at feud with Sir William Edmonstone, and had withheld from him his place of
Duntreath for three years; and again about 1563 the Stirlings had a violent
dispute with the Kincaids of Kincaid, their neighbours on the other side.
During the course of it the laird of Craigbarnet, accompanied by his brothers,
Duncan, William, and Walter, and his son and heir, John, his natural son
William, and nineteen others, attacked in Glasgow, James, son and heir of James
Kincaid of that ilk, and Malcolm, his brother. They wounded James in his
head, and put him in peril of his life, and also wounded Malcolm " in deuerse
pairtis of his body," and " mutilated " his left arm so that he lost the use of it.
The records show that this attack was consequent " vpoune auld Feid (feud)." ^
This laird of Craigbarnet died between 12th June, 1579, and 22nd December,

John Stirling, sixth of Craigbarnet and fourth of the Strathblane lands,
married Margaret Reid, and had a son, John, and a daughter, Jean, wife of

reserved to Elizabeth Park. Elizabeth Park had also brought to George Stirling part of the
lands of Spango in Renfrewshire, and this she and her husband had exchanged for the lands
of Kilwinnet, near Craigbarnet, as already mentioned. Kilwinnet was resigned by George and
Elizabeth at the same time as Craigbarnet and Mugdock Mitchell, and included in the charter
to John Stirling of Craigbarnet (George's father), and Margaret Abernethy, his spouse, the
liferent of it, however, being reserved to George Stirling and his spouse, Elizabeth Park.

^"Andro Spark had an action against Kessane of Mukdok, Robert Knok, James Smyt,
Alisone Park and Elizabeth Park, the heirs of umql. William Park of that Ilk, ' That is to
say, the said Kessane, Robert, and James Smyt for the wrangous occupatioun and manurin of
the myddel thrid of Mukdok claimed to pertain to the said Andro be reason of tack of the
said umql. William and the said Alisone and Elizabeth as heirs foresaid to warrant to the said
Andro the tack and set of the said lands,' — (Acta Dominorum Concilii, 23d Feb., 1489.)"

^ Ballewan Writs. ^ Craigbarnet Writs.

* Stirlings of Craigberna7-d and Glorat, p. 9.

* Pitcairn's Criminal Trials, vol. i., part i. p. 45S.
^Stirlings of Craigbernard and Glorat, p. 9.



Walter Buchanan of Spittal.^ During his time the " auld feid " with the Kin-
caids was as lively as ever, for it is recorded that in June, 1581, John Stirling of
Glorat, John Stirling younger of Craigbarnet, Walter Stirling of Ballagan, Luke
Stirling of Baldoran, Alexander Abernethy in Strathblane, and John Stirling,
" servitour to Glorat," again attacked the Kincaids and slew outright the same
Malcolm who had been "mutilated" in 1563.2 Malcolm, however, was not
unavenged, for apparently shortly afterwards, Thomas Kincaid, his brother, took
the law into his own hands, and slew in his turn Luke Stirling of Baldoran, one
of his brother's assailants, who left a "relict and ten faderles bairnis." ^ It is
not known when this laird of Craigbarnet died.

John Stirling, seventh of Craigbarnet and fifth of the Strathblane lands, was
twice married — first, to Margaret Grahame,^ and secondly, to Elizabeth, daughter
of John Hamilton of Bardowie,^ and he had an heir, John, and other sons and
daughters. There is not much known of this laird, who is stated to have died
between 1633 and 1640.^

John Stirling, eighth of Craigbarnet, was sixth and last of the Strathblane
lands of Cult Craigbarnet, Easter Ballewan, and Mugdock Mitchell, for during
his father's lifetime, and with consent of Annabella Ewing, his spouse, he sold
in 1628 Cult to Gilbert Craig,'' and in 1633 Mugdock Mitchell to James Earl
of Montrose, and apparently before this time Easter Ballewan was in the hands
of the laird of Buchanan.'^ This Craigbarnet, who, no doubt, was in pecuniary
difficulties, died before 9th May, 1646, on which date there is a precept from
William Livingstone of Kilsyth ^ for infefting his son, John Stirhng, in Craigbarnet,
or parts of it, as heir of his father, John Stirling.^o

'^ Stirlings of Keir, p. 131, and Stirlings of Craigbernard, p. lO.

^ Pitcairn's Criminal Trials, vol. i., part ii. p. 97.

^ Pitcairn's Criminal Trials, vol. i., part ii. p. 355.

*Will of Margaret Grahame, spouse to John Stirling of Craigbarnet, lOth March, 1592. —
(Commissariat of Edinburgh. )

^ Stirliftgs of Heir, p. 13 1. Stirlings of Craigbernard and Glorat, p. lO.

^ Among the Craigbarnet Writs is one which was executed on the 13th December, 1593: — ■
"Apud Strablane in templo parrochiali eiusdem." .... "The quilk day in presens of me
noter publict and witnes underwrittin personallie comperit ane honorabill man James Striueling
sumtyme in bangour father broyer (uncle) to Johnne Striueling elder of Craigbernard." This
James must have been a very old man. He was son of George No. 4, brother of John No. 5,
uncle of John No. 6, and grand-uncle of John No. 7. The deed relates to some money trans-
action between the old gentleman and his grand-nephew, John No. 7. The "noter" was
Robert Alexander, Clerk of the Diocese of Glasgow, and the witnesses were John Hamilton,
senior of Bardowie (no doubt father-in-law of John No. 7), Walter Stirling of Ballagan, Robert
Graham of Thorneuik, Samuel Hamilton of Bankell, and John Hamilton, his brother.

'' Ballewan Writs. ® See Ballewan.

^ In 1613 the Duke of Lennox had disponed among other lands the superiority of Craig-
barnet to Sir \Vm. Livingstone of Kilsyth.

^"Craigbarnet Writs.



John Stirling, ninth of Craigbarnet, married in 1656 Mary, daughter of Sir
Mungo StirUng of Glorat,^ and had three sons — Mungo, George, and James,^
and a daughter, Annabel, who married Patrick Bell of Antermony, in the parish
of Campsie.^ Before he succeeded to Craigbarnet John Stirling was a com-
panion-in-arms of his great neighbour, James Marquis of Montrose, and after
the disastrous battle of Philiphaugh in 1645, he was, along with his future father-
in-law, taken prisoner there by General Leslie.* This laird of Craigbarnet, from
a "burr" in his speech, was nicknamed " Burrie." About 1662 he resolved to
build a new mansion for the estate instead of the old Castle, which stood close
to the present house. The spot he fixed upon for this purpose was an artificial
mound at Keirhill on the lands of Baillie, opposite Kilwinnet, said to be an
ancient burial-place, and here the building was begun ; but an unexpected
obstacle intervened, for in some mysterious manner all that was built during
the day was carefully removed by invisible hands during the night, and a warn-
ing voice was often heard repeating —

" Burrie, big your house in a bog
And you'll ne'er want a fou' cog."

The laird took the hint, and, constructing a great artificial foundation, just
opposite the present house on the other side of the road, in the lowest part of
what was then a peat moss, built thereupon his house without further inter-

It seems curious that John Stirling should have built a house at all, for his
father had left the estate much involved, and he himself was not fully in pos-
session of it, for in a deed in 1657 he is designed not John Stirling "of Craig-
barnet," but " son of the deceased John Stirling of Craigbarnet." In fact, as
shown in the account of Ballagan, Sir Mungo Stirling of Glorat was probably
at this time in possession of Craigbarnet. He certainly was on the i6th July,
1667, for among the Glorat papers is " Ane Inventar of the plenishing within
Craigbarnett belonging to Sr Mungo Sterling of Gloratt as it was found the
16 of Julij 1667."^ Be this, however, as it may, the house was built, and is

^ Stirlings of Craigbernard and Glorat, pp. 11-26.

^ Stirling s of Craigbernard, p. Ii, and Stirlings of Keir, p. 132.

^ Patrick Bell of Antermony and Annabel Stirling had a son, John Bell, born in 1691. He
was a celebrated traveller, and the friend of Peter the Great of Russia. He died at Antermony,
1st July, 17S0, aged 89 years, leaving many of his books and other valuables to the Craig-
barnet family. Among them are an elegant glass vase and goblets with the Imperial Russian
arms and monogram engraved thereon, and a handsome gold-headed cane, bearing the Czar's
crest. Mr. Bell's Travels in Asia is among the publications of the celebrated Foulis Press of
Glasgow, and was translated into French, and had a wide circulation on the Continent.

^Glorat Papers. ^Printed in full in Appendix.



said to have been a substantial square building, with a "pepper-box" at each

corner, surrounded by a wet ditch, and further defended by a draw-bridge and

gateway.^ There are four large dressed stones built into the wall of the present

offices at Craigbarnet which bear the initials and date thus — "J.S. and M.S."

16 62

(John Stirling and Mary Stirling), and the StirHng coat-of-arms. These were

brought up from the " old place," when it was demolished in its turn
in 1786, when the present mansion-house was built. John Stirling died be-
tween 1697 and 1700, and his widow, Mary Stirling, and Mungo Stirling,
the new laird, her son, lived together at Craigbarnet apparently happily, for
she herself states "that after her husband's death she was entertained by her
son and lived with him, and they agried together till after his marriage." ^

Mungo Stirling, tenth of Craigbarnet, married Marjory or May Stirling,
daughter of Sir George Stirling, first Baronet of Glorat,^ and had a son, James,
who succeeded, and a daughter, Mary, who married Robert Graham in Shan-
noch Hill, great-grandfather of Major Charles Campbell Graham Stirling, the
present laird of Craigbarnet. The Stirlings in all their branches were thoroughly
loyal, and by the time Mungo Stirling succeeded, their fortunes were much
impaired by their exertions in favour of the two Kings Charles. He found,
therefore, the estate of Craigbarnet much involved, and early in the eighteenth
century there were many family transactions between the Glorat and Craigbarnet
families, apparently to help each other.^ It does not appear from the family
records whether Mungo Stirling was out, or involved in the Jacobite rising of
17 1 5, but most probably he was. At all events, Craigbarnet estate was so en-
cumbered by debt by 1731, that another family arrangement was made by
which the estate was bought by John Stirling of Keir,^ as a subsequent deed
expresses it, " solely with a view to preserve the estate of Craigbarnet to the
said Mungo Stirling, and his heirs, and to save the memory of the family of
Craigbarnet from the ruin and extinction with which it was then threatened." ^ The
laird of Craigbarnet did not long survive this transaction, having died, as the
Campsie Parish Records inform us, of "a cold and asthma," 7th January, 1733,
aged 73, and eleven days afterwards, also of "a cold and asthma," died his
wife, Marjory Stirling, aged 63.

^Mr. Fraser, in the Stirlings of Keir, has made " Burrie " of "the '45" build this house.
This mistake has arisen from his not being aware of there being two "Burries."

2 Glorat Writs.

^Stirlings of Craigbernard and Glorat, pp. 12 and 28, and Stirlings of Keir, pp. 133 and
146. :

^ Craigbarnet and Glorat Papers.

^ Among the family pictures at Craigbarnet is a very fine one of this worthy man, presented
by himself to James Stirling (the "Burrie" of "the '45").

^ Craigbarnet Papers.


James Stirling, eleventh of Craigbarnet, who now succeeded, or rather would
have done so, had the estate not been sold, was a man of great energy. Like
his grandfather, he had a " burr " in his speech, and he is known in the family
history by the nickname of " Old Burrie." The house of Craigbarnet may well
cherish his memory with affection and pride, for, while not forgetful of his duty
to the King he believed to be the right one, and risking his life and his all in
his service, he yet set himself with such a resolute will to retrieve the fallen
fortunes of old Craigbarnet, and worked with such industry and perseverance,
that he was enabled in his old age, not only to redeem his lands of Craigbarnet,
but also to add to the family possessions the fine estate of the Kirklands of
Strathblane, as presently shown. It was hardly to be expected that the risings
of "the '15 " and "the '45 " in favour of a Stewart King could take place without
a Stirling of Craigbarnet being actively engaged in them. Accordingly, we find
that "Old Burrie" was out in both of them. How he fared in "the '15" history
does not relate, but after " the '45 " he was taken prisoner, along with the Stir-
lings of Keir, father and son, while in a Dutch ship lying off Largs, laden with
tobacco, from Glasgow for Rotterdam, and was lodged in Dumbarton Castle.^
A man of James Stirling's energy could not tamely consent to languish in a
prison without an attempt to free himself, and, in fact, it does not seem to have
cost him much trouble to do so, for all his Dumbartonshire friends, male and
female, were admitted to visit him, and by the help, it is supposed, of one of
them, aided by the connivance of the county authorities, he escaped in about
a week after he was taken. He could not of course go back to Craigbarnet,
but his usual place of hiding was not far from it — in one of the old houses
still standing at Kirklands by the side of the railway, a little farther up the
Blane than Strathblane Manse. He managed to live mostly in Strathblane,
though sometimes at Glorat, till the hue-and-cry was over, often, however, having
narrow escapes, and after being obliged to resort to various disguises — occasionally
that of an old woman at her spinning-wheel. The thick woods of Woodhead —
now Lennox Castle — and the copse-covered rocks of the Cult in Strathblane,
often befriended him when pursued. There are many stories told of Prince
Charles in Strathblane and the neighbourhood. He is said to have passed a
few days in the old Castle of Craigbarnet — the old fortalice which stood to the
south of the present house — and when there to have presented his friend with
a claymore and a waistcoat, said to have been worked by Flora Macdonald,
both of which are in the possession of the present laird. The story goes,
too, that after his reverses the Prince was concealed at one time in the attic
of "Burrie's" cottage at the Kirklands, and the exact spot where he hid

^ Scots Magazine, vol. viii., p. 240.




is still pointed out. Whether these stories are likely or not is for the reader
to decide.

After Craigbarnet was sold to Stirling of Keir, James Stirling became tenant
of it, but it was not by farming he made the fortune which enabled him to do
so much for the family. It was in the neighbouring city of Glasgow, and by
his connection with the great Virginia tobacco trade there, that this happy
result was attained. James Stirling of Craigbarnet, like his neighbour, John
Graham of Dougalston, was an early tobacco importer, and though he was dead
before the trade attained its greatest dimensions, and though the events of "the