John Guthrie Smith.

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

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(mis-spelt Kilmoran), Mukdow (Mugdock), and Strablane. The first-named,
though in Killearn, included Carbeth and Auchengillan ; Mugdock included
the Castle, Park, Gallow Knowe, and Craigend of Mugdock ; and Strathblane

^ Skene's Celtic Scotland, vol. iii. p. 227. Old Stat. Acct. of Scotland, vol. xii. p. 477.

* Any of the other lochs now nearer the church are mere modern dams made for the use of
the mills, and Ardinning belonged to the Kirklands of Strathblane.

* Cart, de Levenax, p. 40. ^ At Buchanan.

^ At Buchanan. These lands had been granted to Simon, son of Robert Croc, by Earl
Maldoven of Lennox.

^ Keg. Mag. Sig., a.D. 1458, 22 Jac. II.



included Leddriegreen, Edenkill with its neighbouring poffles, Dumbioch,
Peitch, and CraigaUian — all the lands in Strathblane then in possession of the
Grahams. Quinloch or Cumlacht, which was afterwards added to the Barony,
was probably among the lands disponed — Easter Ledlowan, which adjoins it,
being another— by Buchanan of that ilk in 1460 to Patrick, Lord Graham, in
excambion for several lands in Buchanan.

The remaining lands in Strathblane which came, but long afterwards, into the
hands of the Grahams were those of the " three towns of Easter Mugdock " or
Easter Mugdock-Michell, a ^5 land. Their history is this: Before 1502
Margaret Park, one of the co-heiresses of William Park of Park and Mugdock-
Michell, married Alexander Cunninghame, son of Andrew Cunninghame of
Drumquhassle, and part of her portion was three fourths of Mugdock-Michell.
In 1532 there is a charter by Mathew Earl of Lennox to Cunninghame of
Drumquhassle, wherein it appears that Drumquhassle had right to three
fourths of Easter Mugdock-Michell.^ On the 20th October, 1601, John Cun-
ninghame, heir of John Cunninghame of Drumquhassle, his father, is retoured
in the Barony of Drumquhassle, and it contained with other lands " 3 liberatis
16 solidates terrarum Antiqui extentis de Eister Mugdok-Michell." -

In 16 1 9 John Earl of Montrose purchased from John Cunninghame of
Drumquhassle the lands of Easter Mugdock-Michell, being a jQt^ 16s. land to
be holden in blench of the Duke of Lennox,'^ and so the Grahams held them
till the then Marquis of Montrose purchased the Dukedom and Regality of
Lennox in 1702.

The other one-fourth of Easter Mugdock-Michell was early in the hands of
the Stirlings of Craigbarnet, who had acquired it, as shown elsewhere, by the
marriage of Elizabeth Park, co-heiress of William Park of Park, in Renfrew-
shire, and Mugdock-Michell in Strathblane, to George Stirling younger of

In 1 613 the Duke of Lennox disponed among other lands to Sir William
Livingston of Kilsyth, the superiority of this quarter of Easter Mugdock-
Michell, still the property of Stirling of Craigbarnet, and in 1633 Stirling
sold it to James Earl of Montrose to be holden of Kilsyth, ward ;* and

' Charter at Buchanan. - Printed Retours. ^ ciiarter at Buchanan.

•* After the second Marquis of Montrose in 1655 redeemed his lands from the Argylls, to
whom they had been conveyed soon after the forfeiture of the great Marquis, he had a precept
of Clare Constat from Sir James Livingston of Kilsyth, of this part of Mugdock-Michell. The
preamlile narrates that " for sa meikle as His Heighnes the Lord Protector of the Gommon-
wealth of Ingland, Scotland, and Ireland, and the dominions thereunto belonging by his
letters of presentation under the testimonial! of the Great Seale, bearing date the '7 day of
August, 1657 years, niakand nicntione that foresameikle as the touns and lands of Mugdok-
Michell lyand within the parochin of Strablen which formcrlie parteaned to the



the Grahams thus held this quarter of Mugdock-Michell till the Duke of
Montrose acquired the superiority thereof from William third and last Viscount
of Kilsyth. 1

This acquisition of the whole of Easter Mugdock-Michell in superiority and
property completed the Montrose estates in Strathblane. But besides the lands
they held both in superiority and property, the Grahams held some in
superiority alone. Thus, that of " Harlhevvan " was obtained as a reward for
loyalty, for among the family papers "^ is a charter of a number of superiorities
in the Lennox which belonged to Mathew Earl of Lennox, and then fallen
by forfeiture into the Queen's hands, granted
by Queen Mary, " Anno Regni 4to," with con-
sent of James Earl of Arran, Lord Hamilton,
Governor of Scotland, in favour of William Earl
of Montrose, " for his good service in standing
by the Queen at the field of Stirling, and for
his guarding the Castle of Stirling and her
person." This deed is dated at Linlithgow, nth
January, 1545- The list is too long for inser-
tion here, but in it appears, among a number
of other lands belonging to Alexander Douglas
of Mains in property, Harlhewan in Strathblane,
the holding being a penny in name of blench
farm if asked only.^

When the Marquis of Montrose bought in 1702 the Regality of the Lennox
the superiorities of Blairquhosh Cunninghame, also held in blench farm for a
penny if asked only, and those of Ballewan Buchanan and Ballewan Lennox
and Cult Craig were included, and he also then became proprietor of the patron-
age of the provostry and prebendaries of the Collegiate Church of Dumbarton.
This brought him the superiority, since sold, of what was till lately Stirling of

MONTROSE. A.D. 1541.

Ff07n cast of Seal in Laings Collection.

deceast James Earll of Montrose, holden be him of me the sd. Sir James Livingstone,
superior of the same, and was fallen in His Heighnes hand and at his gift and disposition. By
reason and through the forfalture of the said deceast James Earll of Montrose, are now
redeeme and loozat of forefalture," and in possession of James, son of the deceased Ear]._ It
narrates, too, how His Highness (Oliver Cromwell), unwilling to prejudice Sir James' rights
as superior, had ordered him to infeft the Earl (or Marquis) in the usual way, and this Sir
James duly did. (Kilsyth Charters.)

1 Charter at Buchanan.

^ Charter at Buchanan.

^ Harlkrwan. — Although the superiorities of Harlhewan, etc., were thus given to the Earl
of Montrose, they afterwards reverted to the Earl of Lennox when on the 4th October, 1564,
Queen Mary rescinded the forfeiture of his estates and honours. The superiority of Harl-
hewan, however, for the second time became the property of the Montrose family when the
Regality of Lennox was purchased in 1702.


Craigbarnet's estate in Strathblane, as well as that of Ballagan,^ also sold, the two
comprehending the Kirklands of Strathblane. The patronage of the church
of Strathblane and the right to the teinds were also part of the patrimony of
this provostry. The abolition of patronage in the Church of Scotland by Act
of Parliament in 1874 put an end to this right, and the teinds of their respec-
tive lands, so far as still unexhausted and unsold, were in last century acquired
by the several heritors of Strathblane.

The lands in Strathblane were but a small part of the Barony of Mug-
dock. It comprehended a large district of country stretching southward, and
including Boclair, Summerston, and Millichen, and other lands in Kilpatrick;^
eastward, including Balmore in Baldernock, and lands in Campsie; westward
to the Dumbarton Muir; and northward, including Killearn.

Its Manor Place was the ancient Castle of Mugdock — the Dineiddwg
of Cymric times. This old stronghold stands in a very commanding
position on the high land in the south-western part of the parish. The
broad waters of Mugdock Loch, which are now spread out to the east
of it only, in days of old completely surrounded and enclosed the Castle

"^ Balla'^an. — There is a Ballagan in Kilmaronock parish, and which appears among the
superiorities in the Dukedom and Regality of Lennox, and it has often been confused with the
Strathblane Ballagan. The former was granted in 1451 by the Duchess-Countess Isabella of
Lennox to the Dominicans or Black Friars at Glasgow: — "Omnibus banc cartam visuris
vel audituris Isabella ducessa de Albania et comitissa de Lenox Salutem in Domino sempiternam.
Noveritis nos cum consensu et assensu dilectissime sororis nostre germane Margarete uxoris
quondam domini de Rusky dedisse et caritatis intuitu concessisse et hac presenti carta nostra
pro perpetuo confirmasse ad honorem et laudem Dei omnipotentis et gloriose matris sue
Beate Marie semper Virginis, Sancti Michaelis Archangeli, Sancte Dominici et omnium Sanctorum,
dilectis fratribus nostris Joanni de Govane Priori domus Fratrum Predicatorum de Glasgu, con-
uentui ejusdem, totas terras nostras de Balagane jacentes infra parrochiane de Kilmaronock
et vice-comitatum nostrum de Lenox." — Alunitncnta Fi'af. Ord. Fred. p. 171. In many
modern writings, however, it is stated that the lands of Ballagan were given by the Countess
to the Franciscans or C^rey Friars. There is no doubt Crawford in his " History of the
Stewarts " originated this error through his carelessness or ignorance in taking the Dominicans
or Black Friars for Grey Friars, and succeeding writers have simply copied from him. That the
Countess Isabella could not have made this grant to the (irey Friars is also proved by the
fact that their convent in Glasgow, to which this grant was said to be made, was not founded
till 1476, sixteen years after her death. Keith says "There was a convent of Grey Friars
founded in Glasgow in 1476 by John Bishop of Glasgow," and in Dr. Gordon's Glasghu Fades,
pages 660, 661, there are some interesting details of this Order taken from MSS. at Blairs
College. Among them is the Bull of Pope Sextus IV. confirming the erection of the Franciscan
Grey Friars Monastery at Glasgow, and also describing its style of architecture and buildings.
The Bull is dated at St. Peters, Rome, Kal. Dec. 1476, "in the 6th year of our pontificate."
The Kilmaronock Ballagan, which belonged to the Black Friars and afterwards to .the Univer-
sity of Glasgow, is a 40s. land, whereas the Strathblane Ballagan which formed part of the
Kirklands of .Strathblane was divided into Easter and Wester Ballagan, each of which was a
40s. land. (Ballagan Writs.)

* The Kili)atrick lands were originally in Dumbartonshire, but as the rest of the Barony
was in Stirlingshire this state of things was found inconvenient. King Robert II. therefore at
the express desire of .Sir Patrick Giaham disjoined these lands from the Sheriffdom of Dumbarton
and annexed them to that of .Stirling. This arrangement has continued ever since, and explains
why part of the parish of East Kilpatrick is in Dumbartonshire and part in Stirlingshire.



with its offices, chapel,^ garden, and but little more. The entrance was from
the south, and the remains of the portcullis still exist. The Castle itself con-
sisted of a long, probably castellated, house fronting the loch. Immediately
behind and connected with it were two large square towers, one of which is quite
in ruins, and the other is entire, and a most interesting specimen, both within and
without, of the architecture of Scotland at a very early date. The part of the
house fronting the loch, and one of
the towers, were allowed to fall into
ruins after they were " herried " by
the Buchanans in 1644,'-' and beams
from them were carried off and used
in building houses in the neighbour-
hood. Thus the roof-tree of the
house at Edenbarnet in Kilpatrick —
itself about to be swept away — is
said to be the identical oaken beam
that held the same place of honour
in ancient Mugdock.^ The late
house of Mugdock, removed in
1875, was built of the ruins of
the original mansion in 1655-56.
It was but a poor dwelling for a
marquis, and had little of interest
about it, except one vaulted chamber,
which, however, had been hopelessly
ruined by clumsy modern attempts to " restore " it. On taking down this old
place some oak beams which had formed a part of the older house were found


1 It is a matter of extreme regret that this chapel, which stands about 100 yards to the north
of the castle, has not been better cared for. Till some thirty years ago its walls were nearly
entire. The door was in the middle of the south side, and within and on the right side of it
was still to be seen the stone basin which of old held the holy water. After Bailie M'Lellan,
who was for long tenant of Mugdock, died, the fine old place was shamefully neglected, and much
irreparable damage done. Every effort is now being made to preserve the objects of interest which

2 This was the second time Mugdock had been "herried." In 1 641, when Montrose was in
prison, Lord Sinclair, by direction of the Committee of Estates, " violently brak up the yeitts and
doors" of the "Place of Old Montrose," when searching among the Earl's papers. The same
violence was used at " ane other house of the said Earle's, called Kincardin," and " It is said they
also demolished his staitly house of Mugdok." — Spalding's Hist. vol. i. p. 327. Mugdock was
only partially destroyed at this time, for the Earl was living there in retirement for some time before
he started on his famous campaign of 1644.

^ The old house of Edenbarnet was built in 1644 ; the present house was built in 175S.
Mugdock roof-tree has thus had three removals.




in excellent condition, with the original wooden nails or bolts still in them.i
There are many fine old trees round the Castle, and of old there must have
been a forest of tall oaks to the south, for several have been dug up lately
in the moss, straight as a rush for nearly sixty feet, and of great girth.

It is not known when the loch was lowered and reduced to its present size.
This work was effected by cutting a wide passage through the rock about 200
yards up the present avenue.

Around the Castle were the houses of the retainers, with their gardens and
crofts, and for the use of the Earl and his servants a corn-mill stood in the glen
through Avhich the little burn flows which carries off the surplus water of the
loch. Traces of this old mill can still be seen, as well as of the road which
led to it from the castle.

Between the Castle of Mugdock and Craigend, on the avenue of the latter,
is a round knoll, which is called the Moot Hill, or place of judgment.
From this spot the accused, if found guilty, were hurried off to the Callow
Knowe — the rising ground above Craigend Castle— where the culprits, if men,
were "worreit" or strangled on the gallows which always stood there, con-
veniently ready for such events ; or, if women, were " drounit " — for drowning
was of old the punishment of the gentler sex — in the little sheet of water
which lay at the foot of the gibbet, and which now^ no longer "troubled" by
the struggles of poor criminals, affords an unfailing supply of pure water to the
modern castle below.^


The Grahams, the Lords of the Barony and Castle of Mugdock, were
"... A race renowned of old,

Whose war-cry oft has waked the battle swell,
Since first distinguished in the onset bold,

Wild sounding, when the Roman rampart fell !
By Wallace' side it rung the Southrons' knell ;

Auldern, Kilsyth, and Tipper owned its fame —
Tummel's rude pass can of its terrors tell ;

Bat ne'er from prouder field arose the name,

Than when wild Ronda heard the conquering shout of Grseme." ^

^The present house, rebuilt in 1S75 from designs of Campbell Douglas & Sellars, architects,
Glasgow, stands very nearly on the site of the oldest house, and is connected like it with one of the
ancient towers.

^The remains of the gallows were removed towards the close of last centuiy, James -Scott, the
grandfather of David Scott now at Craigallian, being the man who cleared away the last relics in
Strathblane of the once much coveted right to hang one's fellow-creatures.

^Scott's Vision of Roderick, Conclusion, stanza 17. The hero of Ronda was Thomas Graham,
Lord Lynedoch.


Whether or not the redoubtable Gryme, the destroyer of the Roman wall
some fourteen hundred years ago/ was the ancestor of this distinguished famil)',
and whether he was a native of Strathblane or not — supposing always there was
such a person at all — might be an interesting subject of discussion were there
any reliable facts to start with, but, unfortunately, none exist. It is probable
there were Grahams before " William de Grame," who is a witness to the
Charter by King David I., granting to the monastery of " Halyrude House " cer-
tain lands, kirks, and privileges,- but he is usually treated as the first of
the family on record. He flourished early in the twelfth century, and is said
to have been the possessor of the lands of Abercorn and Dalkeith. His des-
cendant David de Graham acquired, as already shown, the lands of Strath-
blane and Mugdock, as well as Dundaf and Strathcarron, and about the same
time Kincardine came into the family. The lands of "Old Montrose" in
Forfarshire, from which the principal title of the family was afterwards
taken, were given to Sir David, a succeeding knight, by King Robert
the Bruce, in exchange for some lands in Cardross, on which His Majesty
built a Castle, and where he died, and William, third Lord Graham, had a
charter of the lands of Aberuthven in Strathearn, about the end of the fifteenth
century. The family was possessed of many more estates in other parts of
Scotland, but in those enumerated we find the sites of their principal
residences, Montrose, Mugdock in Strathblane, and Kincardine in Strathearn,^
and we find also their tombs, for the old churchyard of Aberuthven — a
parish long ago united to Auchterarder — contains the bones of many genera-
tions of Grahams.*

^Fordun (in Historians of Scotland Series), vol. ii, pp. 8l, 82.
- Robertson'' s Index of Charters, p. 126.

■^ Kincardine was destroyed by Argyll in 1646 and nothing but a few ruins now remain.
It had been much injured by Lord Sinclair, in 1641.

■* In the Montrose mausoleum at Aberuthven the flagged floor covers the remains of many of
the family, but the only inscriptions to l)e found are one on a marble slab inserted in the
wall in memory of David, eldest son of James first Duke of Montrose, who was created a
peer of Great Britain as Earl and Baron Graham of Belford, and died unmarried in 173 1
during his father's lifetime, and the following on crimson mounted coffins placed on the
floor of the vault :^

The Most Noble

Jemima Elizabeth,

Marchioness of Graham,

Died 17th September, 1786,

Aged 24 years.

The Right Honourable

James Graham,

Earl of Kincardine,

Died 29th April, 1787,

Aged 7 months and 25 days.


It is quite unnecessary to give in detail an account of all the members
of this old Strathblane family — their history is told in that of Scotland —
suffice it to say that they were emphatically a "gallant" race. Sir Patrick
Graham was slain at the battle of Dunbar in 1296, fighting against the
English for the independence of Scotland. His brother, Sir John the Graham,
was the friend of Sir William Wallace, and Avas killed at the battle of Falkirk
in 1298, fighting in the same righteous cause. A succeeding knight, Sir
David, was taken prisoner at the battle of Durham along with King David
11. in 1346. William, third Lord Graham and first Earl of Montrose, fell
gloriously at the battle of Flodden in 15 13. Robert, Lord Graham, eldest son
of William, second Earl of Montrose, fell fighting for his country at the batde
of Pinkie in 1547. And although John, the third Earl, and his son John, the
fourth Earl — the father of the future " Great Marquis " — were in the main men
of peace, the latter a quiet country gentleman living principally at Mugdock
and Kincardine, they too had slumbering within them the hot blood of their
race. This was clearly shown when father and son, in a bloody combat which
took place in the streets of Edinburgh, 31st January, 1594-5, were leaders
of the Grahams when they attacked Sir James Sandilands, Tutor of Calder,
and "his friends, seeking to avenge their kinsman, John Graham of Hallyards, a
judge of the Court of Session, who had been cruelly slaughtered by the Calder
family for giving a decision against them.^ In James, fifth Earl of Montrose,
afterwards the " Great Marquis," we find one of the most gallant of Scotsmen.

The Most Noble Lucy, Duchess of Montrose,
Died June i8th, 1788, aged 71 years.

The Most High, Puissant, and Noble Prince,

WilHam, Duke of Montrose,

Died Sept. 23, 1790, aged 78 years.

James, Baron Graham,
Third Duke of Montrose, K.G.,
Marquis of Graham and Buchanan,
Earl of Kincardine, Viscount Dundafif,
Lord Aberuthven, Mugdock, and Fintry,
and Earl and Baron Graham of Belford.
Born Feb. 8th, 1755.
Died Dec. 30th, 1836.
In Strathblane Church, just below the pulpit, there is a tombstone with the Montrose arms
cut thereon and the date 1604. It is not known who is buried underneath it. The late Duke
of Montrose was buried at Cannes in France, where he died in 1874. James, 'Marquis of
Graham, the elder brother of the present Duke, died 3rd April, 1872, and was buried in
Buchanan Parish Churchyard.

1 The peaceful and somewhat cowardly King James in the following year, "thinking upoun
his awne estate and the estate of the commounweiil, altogidder disordourit and shaikin louse
be ressoun of the deidlie feidis and contraverseis standing amangis his Hienes subjectis of all
degreis, and tliairwithall calling to mynd quhat unnaturall slauchtaris, bludeshed, barbarous
cruelteis and inconvenientis hes occurrit and is liklie yit daylie to occur and fall oute, to the
forder trouble and inquietatioun of his estate gif the same ftidis sail not be removit " {Re^.


John, fourth Earl of Montrose, the father of this great man, died compara-
tively young. He was much occupied latterly with domestic matters, and spent
a good deal of his time in golfing and archery, reading and smoking.^

He had evidently intended to make Mugdock his permanent home,^ but his

P. C. S. vol. V. p. 248), resolved to summon to Edinburgh certain persons who were at deadly
feud and to insist on their being reconciled then and there. The Earl of Montrose and the
Sandilands family were among those made friends in this summary manner. In the Forhines
of Nigel, vol. i. chap. 9, Sir Walter Scott introduces this incident in an amusing conversa-
tion between the King, Lord Huntinglen, and Nigel. " I mind it weel," said the King,
" I mind it weel — it was a blessed day, being the nineteen of September, of all days in
the year— and it was a blythe sport to see how some of the carles girned as they clapped
loofs together."

^ The accounts of James Duncan, " Burges of Glasgow, Factor of Mugdok, " and those
of the Earl's factors at Montrose and Kincardine, are interesting and throw some light upon
this Earl's life, and the earlier part of that of his distinguished son, who, whether he was
born at Mugdock or not — for the place of his nativity is uncertain — certainly spent many of
his youthful days in Strathblane and Glasgow.

We find such entries as the following : —
Item given the 12 of March, 1625, to Patrick Lytstone for ane dusone

goitf balls to my Lord, ........ iij lib.

Item to the Minister's man that brocht books to my Lord at command, vj sh.
Item for iiij unce tobacco to my Lord be the way cumming to Montross

from Kincardin at vij sh. vj d. the unce, ..... xxx sh.
Item given the 14th of Apryle for iij ells ane quarter ell round linning

claith to my Lord his black breiks, ...... xxiiij sh. vj d.

viij sh.

iiij lib.

vij sh.

iij lib. viiij sh. iiij d.

v lib. viij d.

xxvj sh. viij d.

Item for twa dusone tobacco pypes the said day.

Item that day to ane tailzeour that made ane stand of claiths to

my Lord, ..........

Item that day for ane pig full of ink to my Lord,

Item for half ane pund tobacco sent to the West countrie to my Lord,

Item for 18 goff balls to my Lord, ......

Item for ane pair of shone to Lord James the xxvj October, 1623,

(This "Lord James" was the future "Great Marquis.")
Item for shone to the bairne Beatrix, . . . . . . . xl sh.

(The "bairne Beatrix" was Lady Beatrix Graham, afterwards Lady Maderty. )
item on the 29th September, 1620, for fyve gang of schoone to my

Lord's horse before his Lordship rade to Rosedo, . . . v lib.

Online LibraryJohn Guthrie SmithThe parish of Strathblane and its inhabitants from early times : a chapter in Lennox history → online text (page 3 of 45)