John Guthrie Smith.

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

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required of him.

- Mr. Donald M'Larcn, the worthy occupier of the MidJIcLun farm, is the representative
in Strathblane of the old Mugdock families of Pender and Williamson, and Mrs. M'Laren of
the Browns.


The subsequent history of John Graham's seven ninths is this : — On the 5th
June, 1806, John Graham, his son and heir, sold them to Henry Glassford of
Dougalston. They continued in Glassford's possession till his death, and on
the 15th August, 1823, they were bought from his sisters, his heirs portioners,
by Robert Russell of Glasgow, all except about five acres called Garhenny
which Mr. Glassford had sold some time before to John Brown, and which are
now incorporated in the estate of his descendant, John Brown of Middleton of
Mugdock. On the 8th February, 1833, James Russell, as eldest surviving son
and nearest and lawful heir of the said Robert Russell, had a charter of con-
firmation by the Duke of Montrose of these seven ninths, and on his death
Alexander Turnbull Russell, the youngest and only surviving son and nearest
and lawful heir of the said Robert Russell, succeeded.

Taking now the two ninths of the Easterton which belonged in the middle
of the eighteenth century to Robert Shearer's heirs, their subsequent history is
this : — Robert Shearer's heirs were his three daughters — Janet, wife of Robert
Watson in Mugdock ; Marion, wife of Alexander Gardiner ; and Elizabeth, wife
of Robert Stoat. Elizabeth Stoat's share was afterwards equally divided,
acquired probably by purchase, between her elder sisters. Janet Shearer or
Watson had a son, Robert Watson, who in 1795 sold his one ninth of
Easterton to John Clerk, who sold it in 1798 to James Black of Craigmaddie,
reserving about two acres which remained in his family till a few years
ago, when, with the house upon them, they were sold to David Graham.
In 1803 Mr. Black excambed part of this one ninth with Mr. Glassford of
Dougalston for some lands of his which lay into Craigmaddie. The position,
therefore, of this " third part of the just third part ( = i/9th) of the eastmost of
the three touns of Easter Mugdock " is at present this : — A part of it belongs
to the Dougalston estate, a part to Craigmaddie, and a small part to William
Graham, heir of David Graham.

The history of the remaining one ninth of Easterton is this : — Marion
Shearer or Gardiner, daughter of Robert Shearer, had two daughters — Marion,
who married George Gray ; and Elizabeth, who married William Anderson, and
had a son also named WiUiam : and by 181 1 this one ninth of the Easterton
was equally divided between Marion Gray and William Anderson the younger.
On the 14th November, 181 1, Mrs. Gray, who was by this time a widow, sold
her half of this one ninth to Robert Shearer, then in Easter Mugdock. He
retained it till 12th June, 1844, when it was sold to William Brown, writer in
Glasgow, who in his turn sold it next year to the trustees of Henry Gordon,
or Glassford of Dougalston; William Anderson, son of William Anderson the
younger, at the same time sold his half of this ninth, by the same deed
to the same trustees. On the 8th March, 1862, this reunited ninth of


Easterton was sold by Archibald Borthwick, accountant in Edinburgh, trustee
on the sequestrated estate of Henry Glassford, to Alexander Turnbull Russell.^

What is called the Easterton of Mugdock estate thus consists of eight ninths
of the eastmost toun of Easter Mugdock, with the exception of the one field
called Garhenny, and of the poffle of land called Blandsherrie, which belongs
to the Kirklands of Strathblane. This poffle was sold in 1762 by James Stirling
of Craigbarnet, " Old Burry," to John Graham, proprietor of seven ninths of
Easterton, and it has since gone along with them. The old farm steading of
the Graham part of Easterton is very prettily situated about the middle of the
lands in a sheltered position and with a southern aspect. Mr. Alexander
Turnbull Russell built in 1877-78 a comfortable villa near the Blandsherrie part
of his property, but he did not long enjoy it, for he died in Edinburgh in
1879, leaving Easterton to his widow in liferent, and to a certain line of heirs
in fee. In 1883 Easterton was bought by Robert Ker of Dougalston.

The part of Craigmaddie and the house and fields at Bankend which are
parts of Easter Mugdock, belong to Mr. Ker of Dougalston, and contain
(except two acres) one ninth of the Easterton of Easter Mugdock. As already
explained this ninth was bought from John Clerk in 1798 by James Black, Lord
Provost of Glasgow, and when improving Craigmaddie about the beginning of
this century he excambed part of it with Mr. Glassford of Dougalston for
some ground near the house. Mr. Ker bought Dougalston and Craigmaddie
in 1870.

Robert Ker is descended from a family of the name formerly settled in Cantyre
in Argyllshire. He was born there in 1799. In 1825 he went to the East and
continued there as a merchant till 1836. When he came home he settled in
Glasgow, and carried on the extensive Manilla and Singapore house latterly and
still known, though Mr. Ker has now retired from it, as Ker, Bolton & Co. In
1852 he bought Auchenraith, in the parish of Blantyre, and lived there till he
acquired Dougalston. This fine estate is in the parish of Baldernock, and
adjoins Easterton and Muirhouse in Strathblane. It was a part of the Barony
of Mugdock, and was formerly in the possession of the Grahams of Dougalston,
cadets of Montrose, through the Knockdolian branch, and afterwards of the
Glassfords, whose founder, John Glassford, was in his day the greatest of
Glasgow merchants.^

When Mr. Ker bought Dougalston he found it in a somewhat ragged and dis-
ordered condition. It is now, however, in fine order, and with its handsome
mansion-house, built by Mr. Ker, is in every way a most agreeable residence.,

^ Easterton Writs.

"See Old Country Houses of the Old Glasgo^v Gentry, second edition, p. 259.


In 1841 Mr. Ker married Elizabeth, daughter of Alexander Johnston of


as it may be called to distinguish it from the Dougalston Bankend just mentioned,
contains two acres, and is part of the ninth of the Easterton of Mugdock, at one
time wholly in the possession of John Clark. It was bought from his descendants
by David Graham, an excellent old man and a fine curler, and on his death in 1882
it passed to his heir, William Graham.


The Estate of Leddriegreen consists of the two merk land of old extent of
Leddriegreen. It also since 1787 includes two equal third parts of the thirteen
shilling and fourpenny land of Edenkill,^ and the Kirkhouse property, a twelve-
penny land, as well as a pofifie of Lurg ^ — all being parts of the Barony of Mugdock,
and the Blue Risk, part of the Kirklands of Strathblane."*

It was in 1657 that James, second Marquis of Montrose, "with the special
advice and consent " of Dame Isobel Douglas, his spouse, granted and disponed in
feu farm to "John Craige," the tenant therein, in consideration of " certain great
sommes of money," "all and haill the twa merk land of auld extent of Leddrie-
grean," " whilkes haill lands ar proper pairtes and pertinents of our landis and Bar-
rounie of Mugdocke and lye within the samen." ^

John Craig was succeeded by his son Gilbert, who, being dead before August,
17 19, was succeeded in turn by William, his eldest son, who died before 1749, and
James, preacher of the gospel, his second son. The Reverend James Craig made
a settlement of Leddriegreen upon his wife, Mary Harvie, and, at his death, was
succeeded by her. In 1776 she married the Reverend James Morrison, minister
of the gospel at Paisley, and formerly minister of Strathblane; and in this year

^ Mr. Ker's family consists of (i) Agnes, who married in 1863 Charles Titus Higginbotham,
Craigmaddie, and has three sons and one daughter; (2) Margaret, who married in 1871 the Rev.
Henry Menteith Hamilton of Hamilton, and died childless in 1884 ; (3) John Ronald, born
1846, died 1867 ; (4) Thomas Ripley, bom 1854, married in 1877, Helen, daughter of the late
James Scott of Kelly, and has two sons. Robert MacNeil, born 1878, and Ronald Scott, born

^The other third being now part of Craigend Estate.

^The portion of Lurg or Lurg Acre, comprehending what used to be called " Mill Yetts," is a
pendicle of Milndavie — now part of Craigend Estate ; and Mrs. Jean Luke or Crawford's part of
Lurg, which she possessed at the beginning of the century, is now also part of Craigend.

* The Magistrates and Council of Glasgow as Commissioners for the Glasgow Corporation
Waterworks bought on loth February, 1862, 2 roods 32:^ poles of Leddriegreen Estate, and the
Blanefield Railway Company bought, 14th February, 1857, three pieces or stripes of ground extend-
ing to (i) i\ poles, (2) I acre 38 poles, (3) 2 acres I rood 35 poles.

^ Leddriegreen Writs.


Leddriegreen was sold by the minister and his wife to Walter Robison, who
in the disposition is styled "late of the Island of Jamaica, now residing in

In 1787 Walter Robison added to his estate the Edenkill and Lurg lands
already mentioned, and the Blue Risk. The first of the two thirds of Edenkill had
been feued off the Barony of Mugdock by James, Earl of Montrose, in 1631 to
Humphrey Wilson ; and the other third had been feued off by his son, James,
Marquis of Montrose, in 1657 to James Grahame, the tenant therein. In 1737
they were both in the hands of John Grahame, "merchant taylor and late Bailie
of Glasgow," as well as the Lurg pofifle, and 5^ acres of the other one third of
Edenkill, which had belonged to the Buchanans ; 10 acres or thereby of the pofifle
called Blue Risk; part of the Kirklands of Strathblane, was also part of the
Grahams' holding, which had been bought from James Stirling of Craigbarnet by
John Graham in 1760, and from him by John Dougall MacKean.^ About 1805
the Leddriegreen estate was completed by the purchase of " Kirkhouse Acre "
by Robert Robison. This was feued off the Barony of Mugdock by James,
Earl of Montrose, 25th August. 1631, to Walter and Archibald Weir. It contains
" by admeasurement thirteen acres and one-half acre or thereby," and is bounded
on the east by Broadgate, on the south by the Vicarland and the manse and
glebe, on the west by the lands of Edenkill and the turnpike road, and on the
north by Leddriegreen ; and it carries with it the privilege " to brew ale, and
make banquets and bridals ... to such as dwell " within the parish of Strath-
blane and Barony of Mugdock.^

Early in the eighteenth century Kirkhouse belonged to Thomas Buchanan,
son of Walter Buchanan of Conachra in Drymen, second son of Thomas, fifth laird
of Drummikill.3 Thomas Buchanan had also bought from the Robertsons one
third of Edenkill, and from the Millers, Milndavie. Kirkhouse fell to his son
James, who was a merchant in Glasgow, and whose son Thomas had an only
daughter, Jean, who married Richard Allan, junior, merchant in Glasgow.

Mr. and Mrs. Allan had two daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, heiresses
portioners, who had a precept of clare constat dated 4th June, 1801, from
Alexander Graham of Ballagan, who had bought the superiority from the Duke
of Montrose. With consent of their mother, Jean Buchanan or Allan, they sold
Kirkhouse immediately afterwards. Robert Mitchell, merchant in Miln-gavie, was
the purchaser, and from him it was bought by Robert Robison.

The two most notable of the Craigs of Leddriegreen were John Craig, the
first laird, and the Rev. James Craig, his grandson. The former made himself

1 Leddriegreen Writs. - Leddriegreen Writs.

^ Buchanan of Auchmar, p. 77.


famous, or rather infamous, through his unhandsome conduct in informing against
Archibald Edmonstone, his neighbour at Duntreath, for allowing a conventicle
to be held there, as related in the life of the Rev. John Cochran in another
part of this book ; and the latter appears as one of the actors in the great dis-
puted settlement case which, from 1743 onwards, kept the parish in hot water
for nearly five years. The Rev. Mr. Craig was the last of the Leddriegreen
family in the direct line, but through their cousins the Craigs, now of Colbeg,
and the Ballewan branch, this old Stratliblane family is still well represented,
though not now in the parish.


The Craigs of Colbeg in Baldernock are a branch of the Strathblane Craigs.
They are descended from John Craig, who was tenant of Laggan in Easter
Cult in 1672,1 a cousin of the Leddriegreen and Ballewan Craigs, and ancestor
also of a family of Craigs who were tenants of the Vicarland at the end of the
eighteenth century. There is a tradition in the Craig family that this John Craig ot
Laggan was a Covenanter, and refused, like his neighbour, John Foyer, school-
master at Duntreath, to take the test, and that he escaped from his pursuers,
the dragoons — who no doubt in 1677 were in Strathblane arresting Archibald
Edmonstone of Duntreath — by getting the man at the brewhouse at Ballewan
to put an empty cask over him while the search was going on. John Craig
of Leddriegreen was the man who gave information of the conventicle at Dun-
treath, for which Archibald Edmonstone was arrested, and a very shabby action
it was. It may be that he informed against his cousin of Laggan also.

John Craig of Laggan was grandfather of Archibald Craig, who was tenant
of Laggan in 1743,^ and who removed from Laggan to Meadowhead or Wester
Arlehaven in 1775.^ Archibald Craig died in 1792. His eldest son had
already died childless, and Walter Craig, the younger brother, who was learning
silk weaving at the time of his brother's death, left the loom, took to the
plough, and finished out the lease of Meadowhead.

In 1794 he took the farm of Dowan in Baldernock, and there he died. By
his wife, Jean Liddell, daughter of the tenant of " The Boards," he had a son,
Walter, born at Dowan in 1801.

Walter Craig, the second tenant of Dowan, married Janet Calder of Colbeg,

^ Craig Papers,

^ Among the Craig Papers are receipts from Anna Fleckfield, relict of John Craig of
Ballewan, and life-renter of it, for rent paid to her by Archibald Craig.

^ Tack from James Lyll of Arlehaven to Archibald Craig in Laggan of Easter Cult, of the
mailing of Meadowhead presently possessed by William Brown.


and had two sons and six daughters. The younger son died in 1855, aged
twelve years.

Mr. Craig left Dowan in 1846 for Glasgow, and subsequently he lived at
Colbeg with his son Walter, and died there in 1884.

By arrangement with his uncle, John Calder of Colbeg, Walter Craig, jun.,
entered into possession of the estate in 1868, Mr. Calder living with him till
his death in 1879. The members of the Calder family are now all dead.

Walter Craig, jun., who is unmarried, resides at Colbeg.


Walter Robison, first of Leddriegreen, belonged to an old Strathblane race,
who were tenants in Ballewan early in the seventeenth century, and lairds of
Craigallian and Ballochalary from 1632 to 1696. Like many others of the
small lairds and farmers in the parish, and, unlike the indolent and spiritless
Highland crofters, whose miserable condition would have been theirs had they
preferred to remain at home and divide and subdivide their small holdings, the
Robisons left Strathblane and pushed their fortunes abroad, and by 1776 Walter
Robison, who had made money in Jamaica, was enabled to return to the old
parish and buy Leddriegreen. He married Agnes, daughter of Hugh Lyle by
Christian Selkrig, his second wife, and had two sons, Robert, his successor, and
James, who died childless, and a daughter, Christian, who married in 1803
James Murray M'Culloch of Ardwall and Hills, in the Stewartry of Kirkcud-
bright. Walter Robison of Leddriegreen died in February, 1793.

Robert Robison, who succeeded to Leddriegreen, was a writer in Glasgow.
He married Rachel Hay Clarke and had Walter, who died young ; James, after-
wards of Leddriegreen; and Agnes, who died unmarried in 1864. This laird of
Leddriegreen died in 1808, aged thirty-two years.

James Robison of Leddriegreen was an advocate, and for many years one of
the Sheriffs-Substitute of Ayrshire. He was a man of good intellect and fine
literary tastes, but withal of such a retiring disposition that it was only those who
knew him very well who could appreciate him thoroughly. He died 26th
November, 1876, unmarried, and was succeeded in Leddriegreen by Walter
M'Culloch of Ardwall and Hills, W.S., his eldest surviving cousin-german..

The M'Cullochs of Ardwall are an old Galloway family, a branch of the
M'CuUochs of Cardoness, in the parish of Anwoth, who were settled there in
the fifteenth century.^ James Murray M'Culloch, through whose marriage to
Christian Robison of Leddriegreen the estate came to her son, succeeded to

^ Lands and then- Oivncrs in Gallorvay, M'Kerlie, vol. iii. pp. 9 and 49.


Ardwall in 1796 on the death of his brother, Edward M'Culloch, H.E.I.C.S.
He had a family of fourteen children, nine of whom grew up. The survivors
were Walter, presently of Ardwall and Hills, W.S. ; Alexander of Kirkclaugh and
Glen, also in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright ; and Penelope Elizabeth. The
only one of the family who married was Janet. This she did in 1850, and
her husband was John Gordon Brown of Lochanhead, in the Stewartry. She
had three daughters — Christian Robison, of whom afterwards ; Janet M'Culloch,
who married E. A. Chff of Liverpool, and has issue; and Annie Agnes, who
married Captain Stewart of Shambellie, Kirkcudbrightshire, and has issue.

In 1875 Christian Robison Brown married Andrew Jameson, advocate,
eldest son of the late Andrew Jameson, Sheriff of Aberdeen and Kincardine,
and in 1884 Mr. M'Culloch made a gift of Leddriegreen to them. In the
same year Mr. Jameson bought the farm of Broadgate, part of the Kirklands
of Strathblane, from Major Graham Stirling of Craigbarnet, and Leddriegreen
and Broadgate now united form a compact little estate, which under a family
arrangement is to be settled after the death of the survivor of Mr. and Mrs.
Jameson, according to certain events, on one or other of the great-grandchildren
of Christian Robison of Leddriegreen, who was married to James Murray M'Cul-
loch of Ardwall in 1803.

The children of Mr. and Mrs. Jameson of Leddriegreen are — Andrew
James, born 1876; John Gordon, born 1878; Alexander M'Culloch, born



This poffle of land, though mentioned last in this account of the feuing off
of the Barony of Mugdock, was really the first to be detached from it. It is
situated at the extreme south-east corner of Mugdock wood, and the greater
part of it is in the parish of Strathblane, a small part only being in East or
New Kilpatrick. It is an old holding of the Weirs of Barrachan, a family who
have been in the Barony from time immemorial, and who were put in posses-
sion of it by a charter from William, Earl of Montrose, dated in 1569 in favour of
Walter Weir and Margaret Buchanan his spouse. Considering that it was only
a house and garden and some twelve acres of land, the description of it in the
charter is misleading : " the arable lands, airds and crofts of land and meadow,
houses and yards thereof called the Forrester Land ; " but there is no doubt
it was never much, if at all, larger than it is at present ; indeed, the charter
goes on to state that all is enclosed " within a ditch lying on the east end of
the wood or park of Mugdock."



The tradition in the Weir family is that they got this piece of land for
services rendered to the Montrose family when an incursion was made on the
Barony of Mugdock.

Among the Montrose papers is a commission under the Great Seal " for
judging in a spoulzie and depradation committed by the Earl of Argyle and
others upon severall tennants of Mugdock," dated i6th February, 1569.^ It may
be that this " spoulzie " took place when Archibald, Earl of Argyll, who was then
acting on behalf of the unfortunate Queen Mary, came to Glasgow, i8th August,
1568, *• with ane greit cumpany of men, and assaigit the castell thairof,"^ or
perhaps when he and the other lords who were with him, in obedience to the
Queen's commands, "wreitt out of Ingland,'' " that thay should not proceid nor
gang fordwart," " skaillit thair folkis, and depairtit to thair awne boundis."^ It
does not appear that Montrose and Argyll were particularly at enmity at this
time ; the " spoulzie " therefore may have been merely the usual conduct of a
Highland host when they found themselves in the low country, and the Weirs,
who were leading people of the Barony,* may have headed the tenants and
saved the castle and other parts of it from the savage Argyllshire Highlanders,
and have been rewarded by the grateful Earl. All this, however, is mere con-
jecture, for there is nothing further recorded as to this raid or incursion either
in public or private documents.

There used to be a house on this small property^ which was used as an
inn, and as it stood close to the old mill of Mugdock, it would be a convenient
spot for refreshment of man and beast after toiling through mosses and muirs
with grain for the mill ; and as it was just at the foot of the Bank of Mugdock,
it would no doubt often be a resting-place for the weary traveller before, with
a stout heart, he set himself to climb that remarkably "stae brae."

When Walter Weir and his spouse got a grant of the Woodend they were
only tenants of Barrachan, which adjoins it in Kilpatrick parish, but on the
27th April, 1630, Walter Ware, who was probably their grandson, had a feu
charter of it on the same terms as the other tenants on the Barony.*^

Barrachan and Woodend descended from father to son, and at the beginning

^ Montrose Writs. "^ Diurnal of Occurrents, p. 136. ^ Dhirnal of Occiirrcnts, p. 137.

*Iii a remission under the Great Seal (printed in full at p. 302 vol. ii. The Chiefs of
Colquhoiai), dated at Edinburgh, 12th February, 1489, to Mathew Stewart, son of John, Earl
of Lennox, and his brothers, Alexander Stewart and Robert Stewart, David Lindsay, Patrick
Colquhoun, and many others, for the taking and keeping of Dumbarton Castle, and for the
burning of the town thereof, " George Were, the standard-bearer of Montrose " ((}eorgius
Were nuncupatus Montros signiferus) is included. It is very prol^able from the -position
the Weirs held of old in the Barony that this officer of the noble family at Mugdock was a
parishioner of Strathblane, possibly an ancestor of the Laird of Barrachan and Woodend.

°On Blcau's map, compiled by Timothy Pont about 1600, it is called " Woodsyd."

^ Montrose Writs.


of last century were in the possession of John Wair or Weir. His son Gilbert
succeeded, and following him was a James. This James Weir of Barrachan
made a settlement in 1822 in favour of his sons, James (of whom afterwards),
John, William, and Robert; and his three daughters, Ehzabeth, wife of James
Douglas of Barloch ; Jean, wife of William Weir in Craigdow ; and Janet, wife
of Walter Watson in Craigash.

James Weir, the eldest son, had an only daughter, Christina Weir, who, by
her settlement, disponed her lands of Barrachan and Woodend to her cousin,
James Weir, and he on her death succeeded her.

The late James Weir of Barrachan and Woodend had three sons who each
succeeded to these lands in turn, viz., John Weir, William Weir, and lastly
James Vv^eir now of Barrachan and Woodend.

The present position of the Barony of Mugdock, in Strathblane, and the
lands of Easter or Mugdock-Mitchell may be thus summarized. They originally
consisted of —

1. Part of the lands of Strathblane, including Mugdock.

2. Garchebeth or Gartbeth — the modern Carbeth.

3. Auchengillan, originally included in Kilmannan.

4. Quinloch or Camlacht.

5. The lands of Easter Mugdock or Mugdock-Mitchell.
These lands belonged in property to the Earls of Montrose.
They are now divided into the estates of —

1. Auchengillan, the property of James Provan.

2. Auchengillan, the property of Mary and Agnes Aitken.

3. Craigmore, the property of the heirs of James Ritchie.

4. A poffle of Auchengillan, the property of John J. Pollock of Aucheneden.

5. Carbeth Guthrie, the property of Ebenezer M'Alister.

Online LibraryJohn Guthrie SmithThe parish of Strathblane and its inhabitants from early times : a chapter in Lennox history → online text (page 9 of 45)