John Guthrie Smith.

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

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New Yeirmas in the year 1554 and was left with the lessors. They refused to deliver it to
the tenant and hence the action. For the defence it was pled that at the time of signing the
tack it was agreed that the pursuer should deliver to Lady Glorat and her husband " ane hors
of grey collor " before he should get delivery of the deed. This he had not done. The 22nd
November, 1558, was assigned to the defenders to prove their allegations. — [Acts and Decreets
of the Court of Session, vol. xviii. p. 1 17.)

" The Kirklands seem to have been in non-entry for about five years. Instrument of sasine
dated 26th November, 1552, in favour of John Stirling, son of George Stirling of the Kirk-
lands of Strathblane, proceeding upon a precept of clare constat, by David Hamilton, Provost
of the College Kirk of Dumbarton, dated 2lst November, 1552. — (Ivirklands Writs.)

^ The Edinonstones of Duntreath, p. 39. In 1588, John Stirling, with consent of Annabella
Edmonstoicne, his wife, granted an annua! rent oi f^\o out of the lands of Glorat.— (Deed quoted
in Stirlings of Craigbernard and Glorat, p. 22.)

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



bond of caution for 5,000 merks being given by John Earl of Montrose, and
John StirUng, younger of Craigbarnet.^ He died and was succeeded by his
eldest son John before 14th December, 1613, as Kirklands Writs already quoted

John Stirling, fourth of Glorat and Kirklands, must have been married
long before this time to his wife Annabell Graham, for in 16 14 their eldest
son, Mungo, was contemplating matrimony, and a deed dated 22nd August of
that year ^ throws considerable light upon the family relations. It is a charter
by the said John Stirling and Annabell Graham, his wife, whereby they, in
implement of a contract of marriage between them and Mungo StirHng, their
eldest son, upon the one part, and Alexander Hamilton of Kinglass, Elizabeth
Forrester, his wife, and Margaret Hamilton, their third daughter, on the other
part, dispone to the said Mungo Stirling and the heirs male to be procreate
between him and the said Margaret Hamilton the foresaid Kirklands of Strath-
blane, with the miln and pertinents, under the reservation of the liferent of
the said John Stirling and Annabell Graham. John Stirling was dead before
17th October, 1642, for on that date there is among the deeds at Glorat a
" factorie to Gloratt be the Earle of Mare and others," and in it Mungo
Stirling is styled of Glare tt"

Mungo Stirling, fifth of Glorat and Kirklands, was a keen loyalist and
active supporter of King Charles I., in whose cause he was out with Montrose
and taken prisoner at Philiphaugh. He suffered severely in consequence both in
purse and person, as he afterwards himself narrates in a petition to King Charles
II.* in 1660. The petition "in all humilitie sheweth, that your petitioner
hauing engaged himselfe and freindes in his late Majestie's service, under
the command of James Marquis of Montrose, was unfortunatlie teakne prisoner
at the battale of Philiphache, caried to the citie of Glasgow, and ther com-
mitted. During the tyme of his committment his lands wer exceedingHe
wasted and spoyled throw quartring and plundring ; and to fill up the cupe of

^ Reg. P. C. of Scot., vol. iii. p. 419.

2 It seems just as likely as not that the Kincaids had themselves to blame for the attacks
the Stirlings made upon them. In fact, at this time the Kincaids seem to have been bad
neighbours, for in the Register of the Privy Coinjcil (vol. ii. p. 82), 22nd September, 1 571, there
appears a dismal complaint "at the instance of the kin and friendis of Johnne Levenax of Wod-
heid (now Lennox Castle) makand mentioun — That quhairupoun the sevintene day of September
instant he being solitar at his prayers beside his dwelling place of Wodheid, belevit na evill of
ony persoun bot to have levit under Godis peax and the Kingis ; nottheles the sonnes and
brethir of James Kincaid of that ilk upoun sett purpois cruellie invadit the said Johnne, and
woundit and hurt him in deverse partis of his body to the effusioun of his blude in great
quantitie, and maisterfullie and per force tuke him with thame to the place of Kincaid, quhair
thay detene him captive as yit in hie contemptioun of our Soverane Lord and his auctoritie."

^ Among the Kirklands Writs.

* Glorat Writs, printed in the Stirlings of A'eir, p. 465.



his suffering a considerable fyne was imposed upon him, which, with his former
sufferings and thoes of late, did put his estate in such a totering conditione
as he was not able to keipe it from falling into peices." He therefore requests
the King '* to teake his faithfull and loyale services, which hath occasioned a
ruine of his fortune in a pairte and the hasarde of what remaines, into your
princlie consideratoune ; that what was teakne from him as a punishment
may by your Majestic be graciouslie restored to him as a rewarde of his
loyaltie ; and prayeth your Majestic will be graciouslie pleesed toe that effect
to recommend this his just petitioune to your succeeding Parliament in Scot-
land, or Lord Commissioner for Parliament, that your petitioner may be
impoured to proceid legalie against the personnes to whom the said fyne
was given for refunding it to him. So your petitioner prayeth for your
Majestie's long lyfc and prosperous rainge." The petition was duly referred
to the Parliament of Scotland, but no result followed, and the only reward
the Glorat family ever got for
their sufferings and losses was a
baronetcy and an honourable
augmentation to their armorial
bearings. This was conferred
on Sir George Stirling, knight,
on the 30th April, 1666, during
the lifetime of his father. Sir
Mungo. The patent narrates
— "The good and faithful ser-
vices, great sufferings and losses,
through several imprisonments,
fynes, and other prejudices sus-
tained by Sir Mungo Stirling of
Glorat and Sir George Stirling,
his sone, for and in His Majestie's
service, and His Majestic being
no less sensible thereof as desyrous for there encouragement in the future, to
put ane mark of His Majestie's favour upon the family." ^

Sir Mungo married twice after Margaret Hamilton's death, firstly, Marion
Wauchope of Niddrie and, secondly, Margaret Livingstone, and bis family con-
sisted of George, his heir; William, who was a "Roundhead," and a very
undutiful son, and whose accusations against his father (history does not say what
they were) were found by Commissioners of his own party " false and scandelus " ;


Sfiowing the addition of the '^honourable aiig7neniation."

^ Printed in the Stirliiigs of Craigbernard and Glorat, p. 26.


Jean, who married George Ross of Galston in 1649 '■> Margaret, who married in the
same year Thomas Kennedy of Baltersan ; and Mary, who married, as already
shown, in 1656 John StirHng of Craigbarnet.^

After Sir Mungo's death, his son the baronet succeeded to sadly-impaired
estates, for, though the baronetcy and the honourable augmentation of arms
were all very well, they did nothing to meet the losses and fines that their
loyalty had cost the old and young laird of Glorat.

Sir George Stirling, baronet, sixth of Glorat and Kirklands, thus found that
he could not hold the Strathblane estate very long after he succeeded. The
debt was going on increasing, the principal creditor being William Stirling of
Law and Edenbarnet in Kilpatrick, and to him finally in March, 1681, the
estate of Kirklands of Strathblane was made over.^ As Sir George the first
baronet, was the last of the Glorat Stirlings in Strathblane, we here take leave
of this interesting and gallant family, and only trust that the race may long
flourish, and that the present worthy representative, Sir Charles Elphingstone
Fleming Stirling, eighth baronet, who has rebuilt and now resides in the old
place of Glorat, may be the honoured ancestor of a long line of descendants, as
ready to do their duty at all hazards as their old Strathblane forbears did
before them.^



who thus became Strathblane lairds, were cadets of Glorat, the first Stirling of
Law being Andrew, son of William Stirling, first of Glorat. William Stirling,
the fifth laird of Law, who bought the Kirklands, died about the end of
the seventeeth century, and was succeeded by his grandson, John Campbell,
second son of Agnes Stirling, his daughter, and John Campbell of Succoth,
W.S. On succeeding to Law, Edenbarnet, and the Kirklands he assumed the
name of Stirling.

John Campbell Stirling was quite of a different way of thinking from all the
other Stirlings in these parts. He was, of course, half a Campbell, and in-
herited the Whig principles of his race. His father was the legal adviser and
friend of the unfortunate Archibald Earl of Argyll, and was present with
him on the scaffold at his execution.*

^ The Craigbernard and Glorat Book and the Keir Book agree as to Sir Mungo's wives and

^ Kirklands Writs.

^ Full details of the successive baronets and their families are to be found in the Stirlings of
Ciaigbernard and Glorat.

■* Old Country Houses of the Old Glasgc-v Gentry, article on Garscube.


In the Jacobite risings of "the '15" and "the 45" this laird of Kirklands
strongly supported the House of Hanover, and was one of the actors in the
ridiculous Loch Lomond Expedition which was got up by the Whig lairds in
Dumbartonshire in 17 15 to overawe the Highlanders and secure all the boats
on the loch. John Campbell Stirling died in 1757 and was succeeded by his
only son, James.

James Stirling of Law, Edenbarnet, and Kirklands, alienated a considerable
part of the family estates, and in particular sold, as already related, the Kirk-
lands of Strathblane to James Stirling of Craigbarnet, 3rd September, 1760, and
thus ended the short connection of the Stirlings of Law and Edenbarnet with

The Stirlings of Craigbarnet too have now but a slender hold on Strath-
blane, In 1883 Muirhouse, with the lands attached to it, was sold by Major
Graham Stirling of Craigbarnet to Robert Ker of Dougalston, and in the same
year Broadgate to Andrew Jameson, advocate, the only property in Strath-
blane left to the Stirling family being the small villa of Napier Lodge.


The estate of Ballagan consists of the forty shilling land of Wester Ballagan
and the Hill of Dunglass, and of the forty shilling land of Easter Ballagan,
both parts of the ten pound land of the Kirklands of Strathblane.^ The history
of the other parts of the Kirklands of Strathblane has been fully given already,^
and it is only necessary to repeat here that Ballagan was disjoined from them
at two different periods — firstly, by a charter by William Stirling of Glorat,
dated 5th June, 1522, granting Wester Ballagan and the Hill of Dunglass to his
brother, Walter Stirling; and, secondly, when Sir Mungo Stirling of Glorat set
in feu farm to John Stirling, fiar of Ballagan, the lands of Easter Ballagan.
This was in March, 1657.^ The only change in the extent of the property
which has taken place since then was when Miss Margaret Lennox of Woodhead
feued from Ballagan in 181 5 a strip of land extending to about four acres.
This piece of land is situated south of the high road leading from Strathblane
to Lennoxtown at the extreme end of the Ballagan estate, and runs in a
southerly direction to where it joins the Craigend farm, part of the Lennox
estate in Campsie.'* This land was feued with the intention of making an

1 " The lands of Easter and Wester Ballagan and the Hill of Dunglass and teinds thereof,
parts of the said ten pound land of Strathblane." — (Craigbarnet Writs.)

^ Pages 126-129. ^Ballagan Writs. ■* Lennox Castle W'rits.


avenue at this point to Lennox Castle from the west, an intention, however,
which was never carried out.

In days of old there was a castle or fortalice at Ballagan. It stood on the
opposite side of the Blane to the present house, and till about one hundred
years ago some part of it still remained, including, it is said, a stone on which
was carved the saltire and roses of the Lennox.^ The foundations may still be
traced, but not a stone is now left, the last having been long ago built into
the present garden wall. A magnificent old yew tree close to the site of the
old Castle is now the sole memorial of the past.^ Nothing is known with
certainty of the connection of the old Earls of Lennox with Ballagan, and
no deeds extant seem to have been signed there, with the exception, perhaps,
of the charter granting Balcorrach to Donald of the Lennox, the ancestor of
the Hon. Mrs. Hanbury Lennox. This charter may have been signed at Bal-
lagan, though it is not expressly so stated. The deed was by Earl Duncan,
and was a charter, dated 22nd July, 142 1, of the lands of " Ballyncorrauch "
to his " weil belufit sone lafifwell Donald of the Levenax," and the testing
clause runs thus : — " We haf hungyne to our sell at Strablayn . . . befoir
thir witness that is to say Walter Stewart and James Stewart his broyer,
William of Streuylling Lord of Cadar, Alexander of the Lennox, Sir Robert
Lang, Parson of Inchecalzach, Gibbon of Galbrath, Donald Clerk and oyers
mony personis." ^ It may be that Ballagan was called at that time the
Castle of Strathblane, but this is mere conjecture, for this deed may have
been signed at the church or somewhere else in the parish. It is very
possible, indeed, that the old Castle or house of Ballagan was not built at all
till Walter Stirling got the lands in 1522, and the old stone with the Len-
nox saltire and roses on it may have been placed in the wall of his new
house in token of the descent he possessed from the old Earls, The house
of Ballagan, as the name implies, is built in a sheltered or lown place on
the banks of the Blane, just below the splendid falls known as the Spout
of Ballagan.


From the time Ballagan was first separated from the Kirklands of Strath-
blane in 1522 till 1760, when it was sold by James Stirling, it remained in
the possession of a branch of the Craigbarnet family.

^ Nimmo's Stirlingshire, p. 272.

^ The far-spreading branches of this tree formed the coach-house of the old lairds of Ballagan.

^ Lennox Castle Writs.



William Stirling, first of Glorat, and Walter Stirling, first of Ballagan, were
brothers, sons of Sir John Stirling, third of Craigbarnet ;
and their wives, Mariota Brisbane, lady of Glorat, and
Eufame Brisbane, lady of Ballagan, were very probably
sisters. Four years after William got Kirklands ^ he con-
veyed to Walter and his spouse, Eufame Brisbane, the
west half of the lands of Ballagan and the Hill of Dun-
glass for a certain yearly payment in money and barley,
and Ballagan thus became for the first time a separate
estate. The brothers had afterwards another transaction, seal of walter


but why it was required, or when it took place, is not a.d. 1535.

known, by which Walter granted a reversion of the Kirklands of Strathblane to
" his derrest broder germane William Stryuelyng of Glorat."

On the 25th October, 1535, Walter Stirling of Ballagan, as curator of
Andrew Cunynghame, son of the deceased Walter Cunynghame of Blairquheis,
granted a precept for infefting Walter Buchquhannan of Spittail, and Isabella
Cunynghame, his spouse, in the lands of Blairwoike, and in August, 1537, he
was one of the witnesses at the entry of George Stirling of Glorat, his nephew,
as heir to his father, William, to the Kirklands of Strathblane. ^ This Walter,
first of Ballagan, died 6th June, 1549.^ The" next four succeeding lairds
of Ballagan were — I. Luke, of whom but little is known;"* II. Walter, who
was fined 31st January, 1570-71, one hundred pounds for the non-appearance for
trial of John Hamilton of Bardowie and Robert Tripnay in Branzeitt, for
whom he had become surety, and who were accused of the traitorous de-
tention of the tower or fortalice of Bardowie against the King and his Regent,

'See page 127. 2 gee Page 127.

^John Colquhoun of Kilmardinny gave a charter of half of that place in liferent in 1545 to
Katherine, carnal daughter of Walter Stirling of Ballagan, "Propter speciales favores et amores
quos habeo et gero erga honestam puellam ac dilectam meam." — (Luss Writs.)

■*From the Register of Testaments in the Diocese of Glasgow, as quoted in Keir Book,
page 165: -

"Ego vero Valterus Striveling, eger corpore, sanus tamen mente. Condo testamentum
meum in hunc modum ; imprimis, do et lego animam meam Deo Omnipotenti, corpusque
meum sepeliendum fore in humo Sancti Mathani, et quartuor denarios fabrice Sancti Kinti-
gerni : Item lego, ordino, et constituo fore meos executores Eufamiam Birsbane, meam sposam
et Lucam Streneling meum filium. Residuum vero omnium bonorum meorum. lego Eufamie
Birsbane mee sponse, vt ipsa disponat pro salute anime meo, vt velit rendere coram summo
judice in extremo judicio. Factum fuit hoc testamentum apud Strablane, die, mense et anno
quibus supra, per me Dominum Johannem Litiljohne capellanum, coram hiis testibus, viz.:

" Domino Gilberto Provane, Johanne Galbraith et Arthure Hamiltone, cum diuersis alliis :
Teste mea manuali subscriptione Johannes Litiljohne capellanus manu propria." Dated 6th
June, 1549.

Mr. Eraser in his account of the Stirlings of Ballagan {Keir Book, page 166) says Luke
Stirling of Ballagan married Janet Edmonstone ; but this is a mistake. Janet was wife of Luke
Stirling of Baldorran (see page 114).



and also for their remaining at home from the raid of LinUthgow.^ He was
also engaged along with his kinsman of Glorat in the slaughter of Malcolm
Kincaid in 1581.^ III. George Stirling, who died in 1615; and, IV. Walter
Stirling, his son. The next laird of Ballagan was another Walter Stirling.
When he succeeded his father does not appear, but in 1648 he marched to
England with the rank of captain-lieutenant in the Army of the Engagement,
under the Duke of Hamilton, to assist King Charles I. On the failure of
this unfortunate expedition he returned to Strathblane, and after being severely
censured by the Presbytery of Dumbarton for his sinful conduct in attempting
the rescue of his King, and having made his repentance in the church of
Strathblane,^ he settled down into a quiet country laird, looking after his
property, and taking a lead generally in parish affairs. He was on good
terms too with his relatives, and occasionally gave them good wholesome
advice, as the following letter to his cousin, George Stirling of Glorat,
shows : —

" Balagan 19 Jully 1662.
"Sir, — Yours of the 24 of Junii com to my handis wpon the 15 of this;
for the which sir I rander yow many hertie thankis for your wnnumberabill
kynd expressiovnes quhilk, sir, in ane word I shall bot ansher with sillence.
I am hertelie glaid of your recuffrey quhilk I prey God to continue. I request
yow, sir, to heaue ane speciall cair of your selff, and keipe ane guid dyat, and
when yea ar convolesed that you doe wentor to travell. I wald requeist yow
to heast hom, for now I hoipe yea heaue gotin your herts desyr in your
travellis, so that I wald not adwyce yow to follow them furder, but that yea
wald com hom and sattell your self, and cast your fancie wpon som handsom
creator, ether in Ingland or at hom ; but gif yea doe in Ingland, I requeist
yow not to be rassh, for they ar very kittill, or as yea ous to say wher ye
ar, ticklish ; for albeit yea gat an guid woman quhilk com from that pleace
wher yea ar, yea most not think they ar all alyk, nether most yea think to be
assured to get on ther so guid as the last, so I wald advyce yow to be cair-
full in your chous and wyss .... And again let me requeist yow (as
yea ar wys) to be exciding wary and wys in your chous, for yea know it is
ane continvall feist, and gif wther wayes yea know ane continvall droping.
. . . . Your father and mother-in-law I heave left very weill this morning,
and for your young dochter, ther is no chyld in the wordill I am mor be
holdin to for her loue and kyndnes then I am to hir In a word

^ Pitcairn's Crim. Trials, vol. i. part ii. p. 22.

2 See page 134.

* Records of the Presbytery of Dumbarton and Session Records of Strathblane.



all your freindis is in health. I heaue not as yeatt met with Law, bot as
shon as I meit with him, I shall not be forgetfull to remember yow to him.
. . . . And heauing nothing elis to ad, but shall still remember yow in my
preyers, and wisis yow all helth and happynes, and a saif return, I teak live
and restis your faithfull and assured servand and cussing till I breath.

"W. Sterling.

"For his much honred cussing, Georg Sterling of Glorat, to be fund at
the syn of the Tuo Shucker Loffes Saint Merting's Lane London." ^

Walter Stirling's wife was Margaret Logan, and on his death his eldest son,
John, succeeded him. John Stirling of Bal lagan had been married early in
1655 to Jean Stirling, eldest daughter of James Stirling, Chamberlain of Mug-
dock, 2 and two years afterwards he acquired from Sir Mungo Stirling of Glorat
the lands of Easter Ballagan, thus reuniting, after 135 years' separation, the
" lands of Easter and Wester Ballagan and Hill of Dunglass, parts of the said
ten pound land of Strathblane." This sale was effected with the consent
of John Stirling, who is designed " son of the deceased John Stirling of
Craigbarnet." ^

The affairs of the four Stirling lairds, viz., those of Craigbarnet, Glorat,
Ballagan, and Law, all cousins, were by this time very much mixed, and all
were more or less in difficulties apparently from the same cause — their devotion
to the Stewart Kings. It would, however, be a difficult and useless task to
unravel them even if it were possible. Craigbarnet seems to have mortgaged
his lands to Glorat ; Glorat was under pledge to Craigbarnet ; Ballagan and
Law were helping them both, with the result that the Ballagan family soon
afterwards got into serious difficulties themselves, and that Law, after buying
Glorat's Strathblane estate, had in a generation or two to sell it back to

John Stirling of Ballagan died before 20th March, 1668, as a deed among
the Glorat Writs shows, leaving James Stirling of Bankell and Mr. Walter
Stirling, minister at Baldernock, tutors and curators of his children, and they
in virtue of their office required Sir Mungo Stirling of Glorat, then living at
the New Hall of Craigbarnet, to pay some money owing by him.

It was not till the 29th August, 1684, that James Stirling, son of the de-
ceased John Stirling, had a precept of clare constat for infefting him in Bal-
lagan,^ and then it was not from the old superiors, the Stirlings of Kirklands

^ Among the Glorat Papers, and printed in full in the Stirlings of Keir, p. 497.
^ Ballagan Writs, quoted in the Stirlings of Keir, p. 167.

* Ballagan Writs. *(ilorat and Craigbarnet Papers. ^Ballagan Writs.




and Glorat, but from William Stirling of Law, now also proprietor, from about
three years before this date, of the " ten pound land of the Kirklands of
Strathblane, comprehending therein the superiority of the lands of Ballagan, and
property and reversion of the miln thereof"

James Stirling of Ballagan was a goldsmith in Glasgow. He married Mary
Napier, and had a son, James, and a daughter, Jean. He died about the begin-
ning of last centuiy, leaving the estate deeply burdened. His son James succeeded
him, and after much litigation and trouble a judicial sale of Ballagan took place
for the satisfaction of the creditors. This was in 1728, and James Stirling
himself was the purchaser, and the price given ^16,000 Scots.

The Stirlings of Ballagan, like tlieir kinsmen of Craigbarnet and Glorat,
were thorough loyalists, and suffered much in the cause of the Stewarts. In
fact, their loyalty lost them their lands. The lairds of Glorat at the expense
of the loss of a great part of their estates, managed to struggle through their
difficulties ; those of Craigbarnet, by the help of the Stirhngs of Keir and the
energy of " Old Burrie,'"' not only saved their lands, but added to them. But
the Stirlings of Ballagan, whether from want of energy or want of friends, both
or either, were obliged to succumb, for in 1756 James Stirling could hold out

Online LibraryJohn Guthrie SmithThe parish of Strathblane and its inhabitants from early times : a chapter in Lennox history → online text (page 19 of 45)