John Guthrie Smith.

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

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Item for twa gang of schoone to Lord James' twa naigis, . . . x viiij sh.

Minute accounts were also kept of the " stands of claiths " made for Lord James and his
pages Mungo and William Graham when he was sent to Glasgow for his education in 1624.
An " Inventour of his Lordship's geire in Sir George's ludging in Glasgow," shows his
way of living, and a list of his " buikes," how he spent his time there. After his father's
death the young Earl was a student at the University of St. Andrews, and the accounts of
his personal expenditure when there afitbrd a pleasant and lively picture of his young life. —
Memorials of Alontrose, Napier, vol. i. pp. 85, 135, 140, 156, etc.

- Letter from the Earl to his factor at Kincardine : — " Laurence Grahame — I doutt not bot
ye have bein cairfuU in causing haist in making of my doghter Beatrix her goune as I
derectat you. I have send this bearer Harie Blacwod to bring her to me as he will schow
you. It is my will also that the tapestrie in my own chalmer in Kincardine be taine doune
and paket weill to come to me to Mugdok as I have sent Mergaret Stirling and Robert
Taylzer word to be cairfull of it quhilk ye sail sie weill done and send guid carrage horses
with it, with all expeditioune and send Robert Taylzer to convoy it. Further it is my will
that ye delyver to Harie Blacwod aucht bolls meill and four staine of cheis.
" From Mugdok the 28 Jany. 1625.
"To our Servitour Laurence Grahame, factor of Kincardine. These — ■''
— Memorials of Montrose, Napier, vol. i. p. 57.



death in 1626 put a stop to his plans, and his son found but few occasions
when he could enjoy the quiet and seclusion of Strathblane.

Earl John died at Kincardine, and in the factor's books there is a curious
account headed the " Dayett of Eurriall." This gives an account of the ex-
penses incurred at his funeral, and the entertaining of the friends who remained
feasting at Kincardine for eight weeks at the expense of the young Earl, while
they were settling his affairs. Details are given of what was consumed from the
" Pantrie," " ^Vyne Sellar," " Aill Sellar," the " Lairdner," and the " Pettie
Lairdner." These viands consisted of " Venison, Beif, Muttonne, Lamb, Veill,
Geess, Caponis," and other poultry; and of game and wild fowl, "Capercailzies,
Black Cokis and Ethehenis, Termaiganis, Muirfoullis, Wodcocks, Peitriks, Wyldgeis,
Pleivoers, and Birsall foulls," besides one puncheon of " Claret Wyn," one puncheon
of " Quhyt Wyn," besides " Ester Aill," and small ale without measure. The young
Earl, James the fifth, afterwards the Great Marquis, was at this time when his
friends were so kindly taking care of him — and themselves — about 14 years old,
having been bom in 161 2. Two years before his father's death he had been
settled in Glasgow with an establishment consisting of a private tutor, two pages,
and a valet, with the intention apparently of preparing him for the University
of Glasgow, and at the same time keeping him under the eye of his father,
who was then living at Mugdock.

The young lord lived in a house belonging to Sir George Elphinstone of
Blythswood, called, in a receipt granted for the rent by Agnes Boyd, the wife
of this knight, part of " our great ludgin situat in the Citie of Glasgow,
near the towne heid thereof" The house in the Drygate of Glasgow, which
was subsequently called " Montrose's Lodging," and which was formerly the
manse of the prebendary of Eagleshame, had not at this time been acquired
by the family. After his father's death the young Earl was placed at the
University of St. Andrews, where he remained till towards the end of 1629,
when, at the early age of sixteen, he married Magdalene Carnegie, youngest
daughter of David, Lord Carnegie, afterwards Earl of Southesk.^ By this
lady, who died about 1633, he had two sons. Soon after her death he
went to the Continent, where he remained for about three years. Return-
ing home he became an active supporter of the Covenant. In 1638 he
reduced by arms the town of Aberdeen and took Lord Huntly prisoner. The
same year he totally routed Lord Aboyne at the Bridge of Dee. In 1640 an
army being raised to march into England, Montrose at the head of it, and on
foot, crossed the Tweed, and had a large share in the victory .over the
Royalists at Newburn. About this time, however, he began to be alarmed at

> Contract of marriage between the Earl and ' ' Mrs. Magdalen Carnegy " dated at
Kinnaird, loth November, 1629 — {At Buchanan Castle).



the proceedings and intentions of the Covenanting party and their chief Argyll.
He left it, therefore, and joined the King's party. He was arrested and im-
prisoned in Edinburgh. On being released he returned to Mugdock, where he
lived in retirement for some time. In 1643 he received a commission as Lieu-
tenant-General for the King in Scotland, and soon afterwards was created a

In 1644 he raised the Royal Standard at Dumfries. It would be superfluous
to give in detail the wonderful career of victory which now followed ; suffice it to
say that in this year he routed at Tippermuir the large army of the Covenant and
took the town of Perth. A few days afterwards he defeated Lord Lewis
Gordon at the Bridge of Dee and became master of Aberdeen. Eluding his
great rival the Marquis of Argyll, who was sent against him with a very
superior force, he suddenly appeared in February, 1645, in Argyllshire and in-
flicted a tremendous defeat on the army of Argyll at Inverlochy, near Fort
William. He agam proceeded north, and at the Bog of Gight lost by death
his eldest son. In April he took Dundee ; in May he defeated with great loss
General Hurry at Auldearn ; in July, at Alford, he routed General Baillie ; and
in August he fought his great battle of Kilsyth, where he again defeated General
Baillie, with a loss of 5,000 men. By this victory he became complete master
of Scotland, and marching towards England to assist there the Royal cause,
lie encamped his army at Philiphaugh near Selkirk. It was here the tide of
victory turned, for during a mist, and while he was absent in Selkirk, his
army was surprised by General David LesUe and totally defeated, 13th
September, 1645.

Shortly afterwards he left Scotland, and spent some time in Norway and
France, and afterwards in Germany, where he served in the army of the Emperor.
After the execution of King Charles I. he received a commission from his son,
King Charles II., and proceeded to Scotland to raise again the Standard in the
Royal cause,- but fortune had now deserted him, for shortly after his arrival
his small army was totally defeated by General Strachan at Invercarron. Being
taken prisoner he was brought to Edinburgh, where he was treated with shame-
ful indignity, and finally on the 21st May, 1650, he was cruelly hanged at the
Cross there. His head was cut off and placed on a spike on the top of the
Tolbooth, and his legs and arms were sent to Glasgow and the other
principal towns for exposure there.

^ The patent creating him a Marquis is dated at Oxford, 6th May, 1644, and is
signed by King Charles I. and countersigned by Sir Robert Spottiswood, Secretary — {At
Btuhanan Castle).

2 The King sent him a letter at the same time creating him Knight of the Garter and
enclosing the George and Ribbon. This letter is dated Castle Elizabeth, in the Isle of Jersey,
the I2th January, i6i| — {At Buchanan Castle),



On the night before his execution he composed and wrote on a window
the following lines : —

"Let them bestow on every airth a limb,
Then open all my veins, that I may swim
To Thee, my Maker, in that crimson lake ;
Then place my parboiled head upon a stake,
Scatter my ashes, strew them through the air.
Lord, since Thou knowest where all these atoms are,
I'm hopeful Thou'lt recover once my dust,
And confident Thou'lt raise me with the just."

The Great Marquis met his death with the courage of a brave man and
the calmness of a Christian.^ The Committee of Estates had long before this

^ The trunk of the Marquis' body, for head, legs, and arms were cut off and publicly
exposed in various places, was buried below the common gallows on the Burgh Muir, and
there it remained for years, all save the heart, which under cloud of night, and two days
after the execution, was taken out of the body, embalmed, and placed in a small steel box
made of the blade of the great soldier's own sword. It was given to his niece. Lady Napier,
who enclo.ied it first in a little gold casket which had belonged to John Napier, the inventor
of logarithms, her husband's ancestor, and then in a silver urn. The heart thus enclosed was

sent to the second Marquis, then in
Holland, but by some mischance it
was lost. It was afterwards, however,
found in a curiosity shop there, the
silver urn only gene, and sent back
to the Napiers. The Lord Napier of
the day gave it to his daughter Hester,
wife of Alexander Johnstone, H.E.I.C.S.
On her way to India with her husband,
taking the precious relic with her, their
ship was attacked by a French frigate,
and a cannon ball smashed the golden
casket. Arrived in India, a new gold
box was made as like the old one as
possible, and the heart, within its steel
casing, was placed in this, within a
silver urn which stood in the John-
stones' drawing-room at Madura. The
idea having got abroad that it was a
talisman of great virtue, it was stolen,
but afterwards restored. Finally, the
Johnstones having returned to Europe,
it was lost in Paris during the Revolu-
tion, and has never been recovered.
In 1661, after the restoration of King
Charles II., the trunk was disinterred
and the limbs collected and deposited
with it in a coffin. This was brought
to the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, where
Lord Napier, with the Grahams of
Morphie, Inchbrakie, Orchill,' and Gor-
thy and others, ascended to. the top of
the building to remove the head from
the spike and place it in the coffin with the rest of the remains. David Graham of Gorthy,
the faithful companion of the Great Marquis in his victories and disasters, took the head from



time forfeited his lands, and in 1644 granted a commission to George Buchanan,
younger of Buchanan, with his friends and followers, " to repair to the house
and fortalice of Mugdock, and to intromit with the cannon, powder, ball,
matches, and other warlike furniture therein, and to break open doors and
break down the iron gates, etc." What followed is given in Buchanan's own
words : — " According to the qlke commissioune I upon the nynteene day of
Apryle last (1644) went from Edr. and conveened ane company under the
command of Patrike Buchanan of Auchmnar and upoun the twentie day of
Apryle came to the hous of McDocke at night and finding the yets fast brake
them up and stayed yr that night and the 21 day being Sonday and upon
Monday made search of the house conforme to my commissioune and fand
no armes nar ammunitioune ther bot some few pickes that had bene removed
the day before and put in the officeres house with some few musketes wch
wer bigged up in the wall of the hous— and I causit take doune all the gaites
and irone windowes and therefter I did acquant the Lord Chancellor with
what wes done who thereupon did signifie to me that the Committie fand it
not necessr that ony farder should be done at that tyme, wherupon I caused
remove the saides pickes and muskets with all the Irone workes and gaits that
were tain doune to the house of Duntraith qr they now are." ^

Swift retribution, however, followed the young laird of Buchanan, for Mon-
trose, or his friends, during his career of victory in 1645 found time to punish
him for his doings at Mugdock, and they did it very effectually, for in a
supplication for assistance which Buchanan made to Parliament in 1646 he says
" his ennemies have utterly destroyed, plundered, and wasted his whole lands,
tenants, and servants, and have left him no manner of maintenance for liveli-
hood, whereby he is brought to a very low and lamentable condition." He
was paid 20,000 merks in compensation, probably through the influence of
Argyll, who soon afterwards had the Barony of Mugdock transferred to him-
self. This important transaction was arranged thus — Argyll had some claims

the spike, kissing it as he did so. He died the same night, as Covenanting writers record
with evident satisfaction. The reunited body of our hero was afterwards, with all honours,
buried in a vault in St. Giles' Church, Edinburgh. In order to commemorate the connection
of his family with this imposing event, the next Laird of Gorthy adopted for his crest a
crowned skull, heraldically described thus — "Two arms issuing from a cloud erect and lifting
up a man's skull incirculed with two branches of a palm tree, and over the head a Marquess'
coronet: motto, ' Sepulto Viresco.'" In 1628 when the Great Marquis was a young man —
then only an Earl — studying at St. Andrews, he gained the Archery prize, and as the custom
was, hung a silver medal with his name and arms engraved thereon to the silver arrow, which
was kept and still remains at the University. In 1687 Mungo Graham of Gorthy, the grandson
of the man who took Montrose's head from the spike, was a student at St. Andrews, and in
his turn won the same arrow, and hung beside the medal of his great chief, his own, bearing
the ghastly Gorthy crest, the hands holding up the skull of the very man whose medal was
next to his own.

^ Act Par. Car. I. 1644, cap. 171.


on the public for money expended in the wars, and to satisfy them the Com-
mittee of Estates allowed him to choose any of the forfeited estates. He fixed
upon the lands and Barony of Mugdock, and at Whitsunday, 1647, he had entry
to them.^

The Barony was ratified to him by Act of Parliament in 1649, and is thus
described: — "To witt of all and haill the toune and landis of Mugdock and

Mugdockmitchell with the toure, fortalice and maner place of Mugdok

The toune and landis of Gallowschiell and Craigend, and the Mylne of Mylne-

davie with the Mylelandis and Multores The toune and landis of

Craigalzeane, Carbeth, Auchengilzean, Drumbroche, Kirkhouse Aiker, Peitch,
Edenkill, and Kirgaiber. The toune and landis of Quinloche. The toune and
landis of Killerne. The toune and landis of Somerstoune. The toune and
landis of Kilmonane. The tounes and landis of Carlestoune, Eister Bagrochane,

and West Bagrochane, with the Mylne of Bagrochane Mylelands, etc

The landis of Collier Aiker, Temple of Bagrochane, Faudieholl and Guildeaiker.
The toune and landis of Bahnoire, Balmoireaiker, and Orcheard. The tounes
and landis of Dowgalistoune, Barloch, Kessantoune, Barachane, Eister Clobar,
Wester Clobar, Kaystoune, and Milnnegavie with the Coaleheugh of Mylnegavie,

and Barloche, and with the Mylne of Milnegavie Multores, etc., etc and

of halff of the toune and landis of Malichen possest be Walter Grahame and
his subtennents." After having thus obtained this fine old Barony, Argyll, by
an Instrument of Resignation, while reserving his own liferent, made it over to
his second son, Lord Neil Campbell, and on the 13th March, 1650, there was
a charter under the Great Seal following upon the above resignation containing
a novodamus and new creating of the said lands into a Barony to be called
" the Barronie of Neilston." In the same year a petition was presented to
Parliament by Argyll for the " delyverie of the evidentis," in which he sets
forth that he " has right to the landis and Barronie of Neillstowne of old called

The Campbells, however, were not long in Mugdock, or Neillstowne its
name, for in 1655 James, the second Marquis of Montrose, no doubt assisted
by his friends, redeemed his Barony by a payment of ^50,000.- In February,
1 661, Parliament rescinded the forfeiture of his father, and soon afterwards
ordained Argyll to repay the young Marquis the rents of Mugdock uplifted by

^ The Barony of Mugdock had suffered severely m those troubled times, "goodes" having
been " takin from the tennentis be those who had charge of the Castle of Stirling, and the
gariesone qlk wes in the hous of Buquhannan," and " horsses takin be Lewtennent Colonell
Lockart," and "comes and guides destroyed be General! Maior Middletounes forces."— Act
Par. Car. II. 1649, cap. 137.

-The Deed completing this transaction is dated at Westminster, London, and "Rossneth,"
20th Dec, 1655, and 8th Jan., 1656— (/^/ Bnchauan),



him, and also this sum of ;^5o,ooo paid to him and his son Neill for the re-con-
veyance of the estate. The Argylls thus profited but Httle by the transaction.^
The whole of the Montrose estates were afterwards re-erected into " ana haill
and free Marquiedom, Earledome, Lordship, Baronie and Regalitie with free
Chappell and Chancellarie To be called then and in all time comeing The
Marquiedom, Earledom, Lordship, Baronie and Regalitie of Montrose ordaining
the Castle of Mugdock to be the principal Messuage therof. . . . ." At the
same time was erected " The Towne and burgh of Mugdock into a free burgh
of Regalitie To be called then and in all time comeing The Burgh of Regalitie
of Mugdock and head Burgh of the said Regalitie of Montrose," at "the Mercat
Croce" of which, or at the Castle of
Mugdock "ane seising to be taken for
the whole." A " weekly mercat ilk
fryday and two free faires yearlie "
were also granted ; the one " upoun
the second Thursday of August and
the other upoun the second Tuesday
of November within the said Burgh
and territories therof"

The Acts of Parliament ^ give an in-
teresting account of all these trans-
actions, and show that the young Mar-
quis had been left without lands and
without home, " destitute of a house
whairin to live and grieved that his
antient inheritance should be possessed
by strangers," and that the recovery of stone FouNn among the ruins of old mugdock,


Mugdock had been no easy matter.

Mugdock Castle had fallen into ruins, not having been inhabited since

^ In an Act of Parliament, Car. II. 1649, cap. 136, the accounts of James Stirling,
" Chelmerlane to James Grahame, Late Earle of Montrose," are ratified, and it appears from
them that Argyll began to draw the rents of Mugdock in 1645. By 1661 he seems to have
been due, in all, to the Marquis over ;i^ioo,ooo Scots, and after his execution in that year
the lands of Cowall in Argyllshire were given to Montrose in lieu of that sum. In 1667
the succeeding Earl of Argyll recovered these lands on giving the Marquis of Montrose a
wadsett right to them for ^100,000, the sum remaining unpaid of the ;^ioo,664 originally
due — {Ahihial General Discharge, at Buchanan Castle).

The young Marquis, in addition to what he received from Argyll, had in 1660 a grant
of " the Customs of Port-Glasgow for 21 years for the yearly Tack Duty of 700 pound
Sterling, which the Marquis is to retain in his own hands till he be compleatly paid of
the sum of 10,000 pound Sterling now granted to him by the King for the Losses sustained
by him, his estate, and family During the Late Rebellion." — Dated at Whitehall, 26th Sept.,
1660. This refers to Glasgow. What is now called Port-Glasgow did not then exist — {At
Buchanan Castle).

2 Act Par. Car. II. 166 1.


the Buchanans herried it in 1644, and when the young Marquis recovered it
in 1655 it seems to have taken two years to make it habitable. During
this time he hved with the laird of Killearn, and among the papers at
Buchanan Castle is a " Discharge by Captain Henry Graham, son to the
deceased John Graham of Killerne, in favoure of James, Marquess of Montrose,
of the sum of 4,000 merks for his boarding and entertaining the said Marquess
and his servants for the space of Two years. Contained in a Bond granted by
the Marquess to him dated the 14th September, 1657."

Mugdock was thus restored to the second Marquis of Montrose, and the
Casde again became his home.^ He is known in history as the "Good Marquis,"
a tide he acquired from his amiabihty and strong sense of right and justice.
These qualities came out prominently when Argyll, the bitter enemy of his father,
was tried for his life before Parliament, for the Marquis then refused to vote on
the ground that his resentment for family injuries might bias his judgment. During
his somewhat troubled and short life, for he was but thirty-eight when he died, he
was much engaged in the management of his private affairs, and in the difficult
negotiations which resulted in the restoration of his ancient estates, and it was
not till the very close of it that he held any public office save that of Privy
Councillor. In 1668, however, he was appointed one of the Extraordinary
Lords of Session, and in less than a year he died, much respected and regretted,
and was followed to his grave at Aberuthven by many a mourner, among whom
was, strange to say, Archibald, ninth Earl of Argyll,- son of the Earl (or first
Marquis) executed in 1661, whose head had bleached for years on the
same spike on the top of the Tolbooth of Edinburgh which had held aloft the
head of the " Great Marquis " of Montrose, his rival. ^ By his wife, Isabel,

1 In the Lauderdale MSS., British Museum, there is a letter from the Marquis to the
King dated Mugdock, 31st October, 1661.

- Hist. AJSS. Report vol. vi. p. 609. This Earl of Argyll paid a visit to the Marquis of
Montrose at Mugdock in 1668, as letters in the Lauderdale Collection of MSS. in the British
Museum show.

^ The Rev. Dr. Hamilton, in his article on Strathblane in the Nexo Statistical Account of
Scotland, says — "After the Restoration, when the Earl of Middleton and his associates were
employed in subverting the civil and religious rights of their country, Mugdock Castle was
one of the scenes of their bacchanalian orgies." It is true that the Lord High Commissioner
and some of the Council were at Glasgow in the autumn of 1662. Montrose was one of them
and naturally invited his colleagues to Mugdock, and no doubt hospitably entertained them.
Wodrow, in his History of t/ic Sufferings of the Cliiirch of Scotland, says — " They came to
(llasgow, September 26th, and were regaled and royally treated at Hamilton, Paisley, Dum-
barton, Rosedoc, and Mugdock," and then goes on to narrate how " many remarks upon
the prodigality, profaneness, and terrible revelling at this progress were made at this time."
And Kirkton has a similar story; the information of both, no doubt, being drawn' from the
s-\me source. There was a great tendency, however, in both of these historians to magnify the
vices of enemies and the virtues of friends. The reported revellings therefore should be taken
with some reserve. Dr. Hamilton copied and rather improved upon Wodrow, and Macdonald,
who in his Rambles Round Glasgozo has a poetical effusion about Mugdock, copied and improved



daughter of William, seventh Earl of Morton, and widow of Robert, first Earl
of Roxburgh, he had two sons — James, his successor ; Charles, who died young ;
and a daughter, Anne, Countess of Callender.^

James, third Marquis of Montrose, was but a child when his father died in
1669. In the succeeding year a matter which had engaged his father's attention
before his death was carried into effect by the establishment of Fairs at Killearn
and Strathblane. This was done by an Act of Parliament, which was to the
following effect-: — "The King's Majestic and Estates of Parliament taking to
consideration that the towne and Kirk of Killerne and towne and Lands of
Strablane pertaining heretably to James Marques of Montrose lying within the
Shireffdome of Stirline are publict places of resort and ly near to the heigh-
lands And that for the incouragement and advantage of those who duell upon
the same Lands and Nightbouris adjacent therto and for keeping of Commerce
and trade amongst His Majestie's Leidges and Subjects in those bounds and
that all persons resorting there may be furnished with all maner of Commoditys
Avherof they stand in need It is most necessar and convenient ther should be
yeerly faires kept at the forsaid places. Therfor the Kings Majestic with advyce
and consent of his Estates of Parliament Do heerby give and grant to the said

on Dr. Hamilton. In Fullarton's Gazetteer of Scotland there is the same parrot cry, and a
recent Strathblane poet (and a very creditable one too) repeats the oft told but unauthenticated

Online LibraryJohn Guthrie SmithThe parish of Strathblane and its inhabitants from early times : a chapter in Lennox history → online text (page 4 of 45)