John Guthrie Smith.

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

. (page 8 of 45)
Online LibraryJohn Guthrie SmithThe parish of Strathblane and its inhabitants from early times : a chapter in Lennox history → online text (page 8 of 45)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

and Middle Mugdocks, The Parks, The Craigend, with all the poffles and per-
tinents thereof, and the lands of the Woodend of Mugdock, The tenants and
feuars thirled to Milndavie were bound to mill there all their "grindable oats,"
except seed oats, and to pay the usual dues. They were bound to wait twenty
days at the mill for wind and water, provided it was not the miller's default, but
the tenants were to be preferred to all others. The tenants of lands thirled to
the mill were bound to repair it and the dam, and to lead home new stones,
except the tenants of the three touns of Easter Mugdock, who were exempted
from everything but the dues. The miller was bound to grind the superior's
oats " so oft as he shall reside at Mugdock, free of all multure, knaveship, or
bannock." Milndavie passed from the Millers to a family of Buchanans. In
1758 William Buchanan was laird, and in 1795 another William was in posses-
sion, but by 1803 it had passed to the Robertsons, from whose heiress James
Smith bought it, as already shown, with its pertinents, which were about one

^ For some reason, not now known, part of the lands of the Easterton of Easter I^Iiigdock
was sucken to the Mugdock Mill, and when it fell into disuse the portioners of these lands
had no miller to fear, and were in the happy and unusual position in these days of being able
to take their grain to any mill they pleased. In chap. xiii. vol. i. of Sir Walter Scott's
Monastery there is an amusing account of Hob Miller's visit to the Tower of Glendearg to look
after '■^abstracted multures."



third of Edenkill and part ot I.urg or Lurg Acre.^ These various purchases
made up the estate of Craigend as it now stands.

James Smith, the last laird but one, like his first cousin, John Guthrie of
Carbeth, had a good deal of trouble rounding off his estate, rearranging the farms,
and getting roads and marches made to suit his rather lofty ideas. The old original
house was simply the steading of a small farm, and no doubt was a poor enough
affair. About the end of last century, the laird having by this time become a
West India proprietor, had more money to spend, and built a very comfortable,
suitable house, square, with the chimneys up the middle. But this was not
fine enough for the next laird, James Smith. Soon, therefore, after his father's
death in 1816 it was pulled down, and the present fine Castle was erected on
the site of the old building. The road from Craigallian to Strathblane had
hitherto passed right in front of Craigend house, going onwards through what is
now the garden, then passing close to the Peach Farm, and joining the road
from Mugdock to Strathblane just where the present porter's lodge stands. As
this old highway injured the amenity of the Castle by being so close to it,
James Smith, after some trouble, and with the sanction of the Sheriff, and his
neighbours, was allowed to alter it to the present line. This was about 1824,
and the principal entrance to Craigend was for long by the gate on this new
road near the present stables. Mr. Smith died in 1836, but not before he had
made an excambion with the Duke of Montrose by which he obtained part of
Mugdock Park in exchange for sundry acres of the Westerton of Mugdock. 2
This acquisition was to enable him to make a new avenue to the east. His
widow finished it after his death. The road from Craigend gate to the new
Strathblane road was also made about this time, and is still known as " Smith's
Road." 3

1 Edenkill was feued off the Barony of Mugdock to families of Wilsons, Grahams, and
Robertsons, one third to ea<:h. The Wilson and Graham thirds, and five and a half acres
of the Robertsons', afterwards Buchanans' third are now included in the estate of Leddriegreen.
The family of Buchanans who bought from the Robertsons, held for long Milndavie and Kirk-
house, besides their one third of Edenkill. Before 1793 they parted with their third of Eden-
kill to Richard Allan, from whom it passed to the Robertsons and was thus reunited to Miln-
davie. Lurg or Lurg Acre was a pendicle of Edenkill, and seems at first to have belonged
either to the Wilson or Graham third, which both belonged by the end of last century to
John Dougall M'Kean, farmer in Vicarland. M'Kean sold to William Buchanan of Milndavie
the part of Lurg called Mill Yetts, and this, with about one third of Edenkill, are the per-
tinents of Milndavie, which with it now form part of Craigend estate. When M'Kean sold the
Wilson and Graham thirds of Edenkill to Walter Robison of , Leddriegreen in 1787, the
remainder of Lurg, with the exception of a part belonging to Mrs. Jean Luke or Crawford,
went with them. Mrs. Luke's part of Lurg was bought by James Smith.

2 See Westerton of Mugdock.

3 James Smith built near the present south lodge of Craigend a handsome castellated tower,
partly as an ornament to his grounds and partly for the sake of the splendid view which is to be
had from the top of it. It is called in the parish " Smith's Folly."



The last Smith laird of Craigend was John Smith, who succeeded his father in
1836, and in 185 1 the estate was sold.

The Smiths were a thoroughly Strathblane race, and the tradition in the family
is that they took their name, when surnames came into use, from their occupation,
that of the smiths and armourers of the Barony of Mugdock. The remains of
charcoal furnaces and scoriae of iron dug up at Craigend tend to confirm this, and
to show, too, that the Smiths calcined and fused their own iron. Be this, however,
as it may, there is no doubt they were at the Craigend of Mugdock, which is
within a short distance of the Castle, at a very early date. They are known to have
been there in the fifteenth century, and in the middle of the sixteenth, Robert
Smith, then tenant, was drowned in Craigallian Loch when in the pursuit of
game. He was buried in Strathblane churchyard, and in memory of his fate a gun
was sculptured on his gravestone ; but this had become obliterated in course of
time, and the stone was removed when Robert Smith, the first laird of Craigend,
placed his new gravestone on or near the spot, towards the end of the seventeenth
century, and incised upon it —

This is the burying-place

Of Robert Smith and

Marion Fergus and

Their descendants, 1685.

There is little of general interest to tell of this old Strathblane family. Members
of it were out with the Great Marquis in his wars, and one of them, John, a
younger son of the laird, was in the army in Holland when the Dutch and

Austrians, and the British under the Duke of Cum-
berland, were beaten by the French under Marshal
de Saxe at Laffeldt, 2nd July, 1747,^ and James
Guthrie, nephew of a succeeding laird, was an
officer in the Royal Navy towards the close of the
eighteenth century ; but with these exceptions there
were no soldiers or sailors at Craigend. None of
the family were clergymen, lawyers, or doctors. Two
younger sons of literary tastes were booksellers, but
the lairds themselves were wholly given to agricul-
tural and pastoral pursuits up to the end of the
eighteenth century.

They always, however, held a good position
among the Strathblane lairds, and when the great


Differetued frovi Craigend {ivithiii a
bordure engrailed), and registered
in the Lyo>i Office.

^ The Strathblane lad was wounded there, and retired to Glasgow, where he set up a
bookseller's shop, and established the first circulating library in the city, which is still
flourishing under the style of John Smith & Son, though no Smith is now in it.



West India sugar trade gained a footing in Scotland, the family of Craigend,
principally through the energy of a younger son, Archibald, afterwards of
Jordanhill,! took an early part in it, and prospered exceedingly, the Westerton
of Mugdock, Dumbroch, and Milndavie were bought, and the Castle built;
roads were altered, and all preparations made for a long succeeding line of
Smiths of Craigend. but it was not to be. The fortune, and for those times
it was a very large one, gradually melted away till it finally disappeared, and
the estate was sold in 1851 to Andrew Bachanan, of whom hereafter.


Robert Smith, ist laird of Craigend, Avas born in 1644. He married Marion
Fergus, and had Jolui, his successor ; Robert married Elizabeth Watson ; and
Janet married George Ronald of Carbeth, and had issue. Robert Smith of
Craigend died in 1722.

John Smith, 2nd laird of Craigend, born 1675, married Margaret Williamson,
daughter of James Williamson, of Middleton of Mugdock, and had nine children,
of whom four were married — -James, his successor ; William, who married
Margaret Bissland, and had two daughters;.^ Archibald, married Janet Bowie;
his daughter Jean married Robert Forsyth, and was mother of the late Rev.
Dr. James Forsyth, of Aberdeen. John, after he returned wounded from the
battle of Laffeldt, married Susannah Crawford and had several children. ^ John
Smith of Craigend died in 1732.

James Smith, 3rd laird of Craigend, born 1708, married Jean Duncan,
daughter of John Duncan, of Killearn. His eldest daughter, Elizabeth, married
Robert Guthrie, and was mother of John of Carbeth and James, R.N., both of
whom died unmarried. His sons were John, his successor ; James, of Craig-
head, who married Margaret M'Gregor, and died childless; Robert, married

^Archibald Smith of Jordanhill was the father of James Smith, a well-known geologist and
Biblical critic ; grandfather of Archibald Smith, a most accomplished mathematician and exhaustive
writer on the compass and other abstruse subjects; and great-grandfather of James Parker Smith,
the present proprietor of Jordanhill {Old Country Hotises of the Old Glasgoiu Gentry, second
edition, p. 142). William Smith of Carbeth Guthrie, in this parish, was a younger son of
Archibald Smith of Jordanhill.

"(l) Elizabeth, married to John Barclay, whose representative in Strathblane is his grand-
daughter, Elizabeth Barclay, now Mrs. Donald M'Neil; and (2) Margaret, married to John
Graham, whose representative in Strathblane is his grand-daughter, Janet Graham, daughter
of Miller Graham of Milndavie, and widow of John Moir, late in Wester Leddriegreen.

^His eldest son, John, was father of (i) the late Dr. John Smith of Crutherland, well
known for literary and antiquarian tastes, and as secretary of the Maitland Club, and (2) of
Ehzabeth Smith, afterwards Mrs. Francis Brown, mother of Mary Brown, the late Mrs.
M'Duff of Bonhard.




Catherine Beattie, and had a family ;i Archibald, of Jordanhill ; William, who
died young. A younger daughter, Jean, married Andrew Buchanan of Borrow-
stowness, and had issue. James Smith of Craigend, died in 1786.

John Smith, 4th laird of Craigend, born 1739, married in 1788 Janet Short-
ridge, whose ancestors, the Spreulls of Glasgow, are said to be descendants of
Walter Spreull, seneschal in the fourteenth century of the Earl of Lennox. By
her he had Hannah, who married in 1809 Andrew Ranken, merchant in
Glasgow, and had a large family;- James, his successor; John and Archibald,
who both died unmarried. John Smith of Craigend died in 1816.

James Smith, 5th laird of Craigend, married Agnes Maxwell Graham, and
had John, his successor ; James Graham, who married Janet Dunlop of Clober,
and had issue, and assumed the name of Maxwell on succeeding to Merksworth ;
Archibald, Charles, Andrew, and two daughters ; Janet, who died unmarried,
and Agnes Graham, who married David, thirteenth Earl of Buchan, and had
issue. James Smith of Craigend died in 1838.

John Smith, 6th and last laird of Craigend, died unmarried at Inveresk, 2nd
June, 1 85 1, and was buried with his ancestors in Strathblane Churchyard.


Craigend was bougiit from the Smiths by Andrew Buchanan. The Buchanans
from whom his family originally sprang were a branch of the principal family of
the name and owned Gartacharan, a small property near Drymen ; but his
more immediate progenitors were the Buchanans of Auchentorlie, who are
descended from George, a younger brother of the laird of Gartacharan.^

Archibald Buchanan of Auchentorlie was third son of this George ; his wife
was Martha, daughter of Provost Peter Murdoch and Mary Luke of Claythorn,
and their two elder sons dying without issue, the third, Andrew Buchanan of
Ardenconnel, in Dumbartonshire, carried on the line. He married in 1769

^ The eldest of this family was the late Stewart Smith of Glasgow, who was Bailie in
1820-28, and Dean of Guild 1828-30, and was otherwise an active citizen. Stewart Smith
had a large family, and his sons, William, James Graham, and Charles Hutchison Smith are
now citizens of Glasgow.

- His eldest son is Alexander Ranken, formerly of Glasgow. His eldest daughter, Janet,
married James Macnair of Aucheneck, and has many descendants. Hannah, her eldest
daughter, is the wife of Charles Gairdner, manager of the Union Bank of Scotland ; Jemima
Janet married David Macfarlan, Royal Artillery ; Anne married John Macfarlan, his brother ;
and Elizabeth Dunlop married her cousin, the Rev. Henry Wallis Smith, D.D., of Kirk-
newton, who died in 1885 ; Euphemia, another of Andrew Ranken and Hannah Smith's
daughters, married Mattliew Pearce, late of Glasgow, and their descendants are many.

'^See Old Country Homes of (he Old Glasgmv Gentry, second edition, p, 186, for an interest-
ing account of the Buchanans of Glasgow.



Jane, daughter of James Dennistoun of Colgrain, and died in 1835. His eldest
son, x^rchibald, was father of the late Andrew Buchanan of Auchentorlie, who
died childless, and his second son, James of Blairvadick, a merchant in
Glasgow, who married Janet, daughter of James, twelfth Earl of Caithness,
was the father of Andrew, the purchaser of Craigend.^

Andrew Buchanan was born in 1807, and early in life entered the diplo-
matic service. After being an Attache, Secretary of Legation, and Charge'
d'Afifaires at various Courts, he was appointed in 1852 Minister in Switzerland.
In 1853 he was removed as Envoy-Extraordinary to Copenhagen, and he was
sent in 1858 to Madrid, and in i860 to the Hague. In 1862 he was ap-
pointed Ambassador to BerHn. In 1864 he was transferred to St. Petersburg
with the same high rank, and finally, in 187 1, he became Ambassador at

There were few men who were so constantly employed in diplomacy, or
who represented Great Britain at
so many Courts ; and throughout
his long and brilliant career Sir
Andrew was uniformly successful
in . supporting with dignity and
good temper the interests of his
country, and securing the friend-
ship and respect of the Courts to
which he was accredited. "When
he retired in 1877 he was offered
a peerage in recognition of his
services. This he declined, but
afterwards accepted a baronetcy
under the style of Sir Andrew
Buchanan of Dunburgh, from the
place of that name in Craigend.^
He finished his useful life in the
parish of his adoption, and died
at Craigend in November, 1882. His pleasant manners, interesting conversation,


As registered hi the Lyon Office, Edinburgh, and College of
Anns, London.

^Mr. James Buchanan and Lady Janet lived at Craigend from 185 1 till i860, when the
former died. Many in the parish must still remember the tall, erect figure of the handsome
old man, and none who knew her can soon forget the amiability and kindly placid manners
of the equally handsome old lady.

- The Buchanans of Craigend represent, and bear, the arms of Ardenconnel, as registered
in the Lyon Office, Edinburgh. But in virtue of a Royal licence, dated 8th April, 1879, and
recorded in the College of Arms, London, pursuant to a warrant from the Earl Marshal of
England, they are entitled to use supporters also. The words of the Royal licence are —
"Know ye that, although the privilege of bearing supporters be limited to the Peers of our


and strikingly handsome appearance all united in making him alike a credit
and an ornament to Strathblane.

Sir Andrew married, firstly, in 1839 Frances Katherine, daughter of the
Very Rev. Edward Mellish, Dean of Hereford. She died in 1854, leaving a
large family,^ of whom the eldest, now Sir James Buchanan, a retired naval
officer, succeeded to the estate and baronetcy. Sir Andrew married, secondly,
in 1857, the Hon. Georgiana Elizabeth, third daughter of Robert Walter,
eleventh Earl of Blantyre, and she survives him.

Sir James Buchanan, who was born in 1840, succeeded his father as second
baronet. He married 19th February, 1873, Arabella Catherine, youngest
daughter of Goodwin Charles Colquitt Craven, of Brockhampton Park, Glouces-


The three " touns " of Easter Mugdock or Mugdock Mitchell, a five pound
land, lie to the eastward of Craigend. They were feued out by James, second
Marquis of Montrose, in 1657, and the new proprietors of the soil were, so far
as can now be traced, those who had hitherto been tenants upon it.
Beginning with the westermost of the three touns, now called


its history is briefly this : — It is a 33s. 4d. land. One half of it was originally
feued off to a family of Edmonstones, one fourth to James Bryce, and one
fourth to John Stobo. In 1722 the Edmonstones' half passed to John Graham,
and his descendant sold it in 1810 to John Smith of Craigend. James Bryce's

realm, the Knights of our Orders, and the proxies of Princes of our blood at installations,
except in such cases wherein under particular circumstances we have been pleased to grant our
special licence for the use thereof, yet in testimony of our approbation of the services of the
said Sir Andrew Buchanan, we .... do give and grant unto him, the said Sir Andrew
Buchanan, our Royal licence and authority that .... he and the heirs male of his body

may bear .... the supporters which were assigned to him as a Knight

Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath."

^ I. James, the present baronet (see above). 2. Edward, born 4th June, 1844, died
unmarried 29th June, 1870. 3. Eric Alexander, born 1848. 4. Andrew Archibald, born
1850, married 1882 Ellen Maria, daughter of Philip Edward Blakeway, and has a son, Andrew
Sinclair, born 1882. 5. George William, born 1854, married February, 1885, Georgina
Meriel, daughter of Allan Alexander, 6th Earl of Bathurst. i. Florence Jane married 1865
Captain Maxwell Fox, R.N., of Annaghmore, King's County, Ireland ; she died s. p. 1882.
2. Frances Matilda married 1S73 John Willis Clark. 3. Louisa married 187 1 Sir George
Francis Bonham, Bart. 4. Janet Sinclair.

- Lady Buchanan has a good West Country Scottish descent, as well as an excellent English
one, her grandfather, Lieut. -Colonel Goodwin Colquitt, C.B., having married Anne Colquhoun,
youngest daughter of John Wallace of Kelly, and sister of the late Robert Wallace of Kelly,
M.P., the representative of the "Guardian of Scotland."


fourth remained with his descendants till it also was sold to John Smith in
1810. The Craigend estate, therefore, now contains three fourths of the
Westerton of Mugdock,^ with the exception of 10 acres and 8 falls which were
conveyed to the Duke of Montrose by excambion dated 26th September and
7th October, 1822, in lieu of part of the park and lands of Mugdock, extend-
ing to 9 acres 2 roods 14 falls, the Duke, however, reserving the sole right
to all the water within these lands. The remaining fourth of the Westerton,
that which was feued to John Stobo, was sold by his son to Robert Provan,
mason in Lettermiln of Killearn, who sold it in 1756 to Thomas Ronald. From
him it passed to the Weirs of Barrachan, from them to the Browns, portioners
of Middle Mugdock, and it is now incorporated in John Brown's estate of the
Middleton of Mugdock.


is also a 33s. 4d. land, and like the Westerton was feued out in 1657 to the
tenants then upon it. James Shearer was the largest of them, his holding
being " the half of the Middletoun of Easter Mugdock and of that poffle of
ground of old possessed by James George corresponding to a sixth part of the
three touns of Easter Mugdock." The Shearers held this part of the Middleton
without change till 1846, when James Shearer sold the Gallowmoss, and another
small part of his lands lying next the Leddriegreen estate, to Mr. Stirling of
Craigbarnet, as explained in the account of the Kirklands of Strathblane, and
the remainder of it was afterwards sold to William Brown, writer in Glasgow,
who already possessed other parts of the Middleton.

The Shearers were for about two hundred years, as proprietors, and probably
for long before as tenants, the principal family in Easter Mugdock,^ and they
possessed besides the half of the Middleton, part of the Easterton also. Their
house was the present farm-house of Middleton.

Old " Laird Shearer," the last of the long line of possessors of those lands,
died in the month of May, 1856. He was a man universally respected and an
elder of the Church. He was till almost the very close of his life a most
regular church-goer, and there was no more pleasing sight in Strathblane
Church than the old laird wrapped in his grey plaid and sitting in his in-

^ See Craigend.

- " Johnne Hammiltoun of Bardowie as principal and Paull Dog of Dunrobin as surety
for him 1000 marks and by the said principal for James Hammiltoun his eldest son, Mr.
Allan and Umphra Hammiltounis, also his sons, and Andro Cadder in Kirktoun of Bodernok
300 marks each, not to harme Malcolme Sheirair in Mugdok^' — Edinburgh, 23rd Dec, 1592-3.
And again, " Band of Caution in 300 marks by Hew Crawford of Clobarhill for Johnne Calder
in Clobarhill not to harme Malcolme Sheircr hi Mttgdok." — Keg. P. C. of Scot., vol. v,
pp. 577, 578.


variable seat— the elders' bench to the right of the pulpit, now removed,
listening with an attentive and intelligent face to the minister just above him.^

The next largest division of the Middleton was a fourth, and this early be-
longed' to a family of Williamsons, James Williamson being the possessor in
1736. Before 1795 it had passed into the hands of John Brown, a member of
an old Strathblane family, and his descendant now holds it. The house which
belonged to this part of Middleton stood on the site of the cottage built by
the late Mr. Brown, midway between Middleton and Easterton farm-houses.

The remaining fourth of the Middleton was feued out to Thomas Lennox.
By 1748 it was in the hands of William Ware or Weir, but before 1795 i* ^'^^
passed from the Weirs, and William M'llquham possessed one half of it and
Robert Pender the other half In the first quarter of this century James
Pender and John M'llquham were the respective lairds, and a little later the
whole one fourth passed into the hands of William Brown. The houses be-
longing to the Benders and the MTlquhams are still standing, that of the
Benders being the house immediately to the east of Middleton farm-house, and
that of the M'llquhams being now converted into a cart-shed in the Middleton
farm steading.^

John Brown succeeded his uncle, William Brown, and is now laird of
the Middleton of Mugdock, his estate being the whole 33s. 4d. land of the
Middleton of the three touns of Easter Mugdock, with the exception of the
small part sold by James Shearer in 1846 to Stirling of Craigbarnet; one fourth
of the westmost toun as already shown ; and a field called Garhenny extending
to about five acres, part of the eastmost toun, as explained farther on.


or the eastmost of the three touns of Easter Mugdock, is also a 33s. 4d. land,
and was, like the other touns of Mugdock, feued in 1657 to the tenants then
upon it, James Shearer and his heirs, Robert Shearer, a family of Hendrys, and
others. Without following in detail the various successive proprietors, it is
sufficient to say that by the middle of the eighteenth century seven ninths
of the Easterton belonged to John Graham, and two ninths belonged to
Robert Shearer's heirs. ' •

^ Mr. Jolin Shearer, the representative of this old Strathblane family and son of the last
laird, lives in Milngavie. He is possessed of an accurate and extensive knowledge of the
Mugdock district, and he is always most obliging in giving any information that may be

Online LibraryJohn Guthrie SmithThe parish of Strathblane and its inhabitants from early times : a chapter in Lennox history → online text (page 8 of 45)