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Lands and lairds of Larbert and Dunipace parishes online

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Sutherland, although at one time this was keenly disputed.' Sir
Oliver received from his father all his estates south of the Tay,
and had a charter, loth December, 1476. William Sinclair of
Newburgh (the eldest son of the Earl of Caithness), after
his father's death, raised a reduction of that settlement, and
a compromise was entered into. Sir Oliver gave over certain
lands and baronies to his half-brother, William, and William and
his son, Henry, renounced all title to the baronies of Rosslyn
and Herbertshire, 9th February, 1481-2.* Sir Oliver Sinclair
married Christian Haldane.' He is also stated to have married
Elizabeth, daughter of William, third Lord Borthwick." His
children were — (i) George, fiar of Rosslyn, who married Agnes

» " The Soots Peerage."

' Ihid., also see Preface Exchequer Rolls, Vol. VIII., p. xlvli., n.

' See Preface, Exchequer Rolls, Vol. VIII,, p. xlvii., n.

" " The Scots Peerage."

' Stirling Protocols, 1-182.

" Not mentioned in " The Scots Peerage " under " Borthwick." A third wife,
Isabella Livingstone, is assigned to him by Mr. Roland St. Clair in " The St. Clairs of
the Isles," but no reference is given.

Herbertshire. 171

Creichton, and died without issue before nth April, 15 10';
(2) Sir William, of whom presently ; (3) Henry, Bishop of
Ross," purchased the estate of Stevenson in Haddingtonshire,
28th August, 1536, but made it over to his brother, James, in
1537.' In granting a sasine, 23rd May, 1550, he designs
Mr. Robert Heriot of Lymphoy as his " beloved kinsman or
cousin."* (4) Sir Oliver of Pitcairns and Whitekirk, who
married Katherine Bellenden, with issue." He was a great
favourite of James V., and had the command of the Scots
army at the fatal battle of Solway Moss in 1542. He was also
Captain of Tantallon Castle, and cupbearer to the King." (5)
John, Bishop of Brechin, had the honour of marrying Queen
Mary to Henry, Lord Darnley, in 1565.' (6) Alexander of
Cockburnspath ' ; (7) Arthur of Lessudden '■' ; (8) James of
Stevenson^"; and (9) Margaret, said to have been married to
Sir Thomas Kirkpatrick of Closeburn."

n. — Sir William Sinclair of Rosslyn and Herbertshire was
the second son of Sir Oliver, and became his father's heir
about 1510 on the death of his elder brother, George." Sir
William married Alison Home" (said to have been daughter of
George, fourth Lord Home), by whom he had issue — (i) Sir

» R. M. s.

- See Diet. Nat. Biog.

2 R. M. S., 5th December, 1537,

* Protocol Book of James Harlaw, Record Office. See Dunipace, p. 128.

^ R. M. S., 12th January, 1537.

" Exchequer Rolls.

7 Diet. Nat. Biog., and K. M. S.

s R. M. S., 7th May, 1516.

Ibid., 5th March, 1539.

10 Ibid., 5th December, 1537.

1 1 " St. Clairs of the Isles."

12 R.M.S., nth April, 1510.

1 3 Ibiil., 25th August, 1542,

172 Herbertshire.

William, (2) Gilbert,' (3) Patrick," (4) Alexander,' (5) John,*
(6) Oliver,^ (7) Matthew," (8) Edward of Ethay.'

Sir William had the honour of knighthood conferred on him
by James V., with whom he was in great favour. He had a
charter of Herbertshire, 17th December, 1527. On the i6th
May of the same year he was " respited for abiding from the
Raid of Solway.'" He was succeeded by his eldest son, also
Sir William.

HI. — Sir William Sinclair of Rosslyn and Herbertshire was
Justiciary of Scotland. He married Elizabeth or Isabel Ker°
(said to have been daughter of Sir William Ker of Cessford), by
whom he had issue: — (i) Edward of Herbertshire, his heir, and
(2) William, who succeeded his father and carried on the line of
this family. Sir William is also said to have had three
daughters — Elspeth, Isabel, and Helen.'" Edward Sinclair of
Herbertshire, the elder son, married Christian Douglas, daughter
of Sir George Douglas of Parkhead, but had no issue. As
Edward's matrimonial affairs throw considerable light on the
course of justice in these days (circa 1583), it needs no apology
for quoting fully from the Register of the Privy Council. In
the Introduction to Vol. III., page Ixxx., we read : —

"One observes a very substantial notion of justice and of the importance of
law and the necessity of enforcing it, in the decision of the Council itself,
through all the changes of government. Where political partisanship
intruded, one observes, indeed, very high-handed proceedings, and systematic
use of law and construction of law for political ends or the personal advantage

» B. if. S., 25th August, 1542.
" VM. » HAS,. * Ibid. ' Ibid. « Ibid.
' Ibid., and 28th October, 1583.
8 Pitcairn's " Criminal Trials."

= Edin. Com. Rec, loth February, 1585-6. Father Hay gives his wife's name as

" "St. Glairs of the Isles."

Herbertshire. i73

of those in power. It is difficult to be sure, even in some apparently
indifferent cases, that political motives did not affect the decisions given.
But, where political feeling did not intrude, the Council seem generally to
have been anxious to do what was right, and to have taken much pains in
deliberating and coming to a conclusion. This appears particularly in their
decisions between husband and wife, and in other cases of domestic
difference or family quarrels. See the interesting . . . case of the
Sinclairs of Roslin, at page 568.

" Edinburgh, 4th May, 1 583.— Caution in ^400 by Sir Williame Sinclair of
Rois'ling, and Williame Sinclair, his second son, as principals, and Manis
Sinclair of the Leyis and Mr Johnne Henrysoun of Drydane, as sureties,
that Christiane Douglas, daughter of George Douglas of Parkheid, her tenants
and servants of the lands of Harbertschire, said to belong to her in conjunct
fee, shall be skaithless of the said Sir Williame and his son, in their persons,
lands, and goods.'

" 15th May, 1583.— Complaint of Christiane Douglas, daughter of George
Douglas of Parkheid, and wife of Edward Sinclair, fiar of Roisling, as
follows :— 'The saidis Edwart and Christiane, with consent of thair parentis,
lauchfullie contractit in mareage, and thairefter solempnitlie mareit in the
Abbay Kirk of Halyruidhous upoun a Sonday opinlie be the space of viii
yeiris syne or thairby last bipast ; and, for hir dowrie and conjunct fie, scho
wes infeft in all and haill the landis and baronie of Harbertschire liand
within the sherefdome of Striviling quhair, with help of his fader and
freindis, scho maid reasonabill biggingis and policie for the residence of hir
said spous and hir with him thair, induring the liftyme of the auld Laird of
Roisling ; Like as the said Edward and scho remanit in cumpany togidder
divers yeiris thairefter, but questioun or trouble in onywis, quhill, within this
tolmount bypast, the saidis Edwardis fader and freindis, without ony sufficient
caus, sinisterlie seducit and convoyit the said Edward fra hir, kepand him in
a maner captive ay sensyne within the place of Roisling ; quhair in the
menetyme thai have pairtlie compellit and movit him, upoun manifest
circumventioun of him, to his greit hurt, to gif owir his haill richt of the said
leaving, alsweill of hir conjunct fie landis foirsaidis as utheris, and mak
infeftmentis and alienationis thairof to utheris personis ; quhilkis pretendit
richtis thai ar suittand, at the least intendis to suitt, confermit be our Soverane

1 Reg. Privy Coiuicil, Vol. III., p. 566.

174 Herbertshire.

Lord, and thairby to denude him of his heretage and rychteous successioun
dew to him as eldest son and air of his fader, and als to mak impediment to
hir, a young gentilwoman quha hes godlie and honesthe behavit hirself ay sen
hir mareage, as thai thameselffis can not bot grant, in the peceabill posses-
sioun of hir said dowrie and conjunct fie landis, quhairof thay have urgit him
to gif letters of factorie and baillierie to uptak the samin induring his liftyme
and to mak pretendit contractis thairanent. The quhilkis the said Edward
micht nawyis mak nor lefuUie do, becaus sone eftir thair mareage he wes, be
interdictioun insert in the buikis of Secreit Counsale, with decreit of the
Lordis thairof interponit thairto, and letters of publicatioun past thairupoun,
execuit at the Mercat Croce of the burrowis of Edinburgh and Striviling,
openlie interdytit in maist suir maner fra all contracting, alienatioun, and
away-putting of ony pairt of his landis and heretage in hurt of himself or his
airis. In respect quhairof, the alienationis and dispositionis quhilkis thay
wald have confermit be our said Soverane Lord ar voyd and null in thame-
selffis ; and yit, als lang as thai ar permittit to keip and detene the said
Edward straitlie in thair handis and cumpany, quhair the said Christiane hes
na acces to him, nather may he nor scho provide aganis the saidis pretendit
titillis and inordourlie proceidingis thairof, without that he be put in ane frie
place, quhair he may gif his awin declaratioun how he wes seducit and
compellit thairto, and thairefteir concur with hir to the redres and reparatioun
thairof; as alsua that he may repair and abyde with hir upoun that meane
portioun of his leaving assignit to thame, and in the menetyme treat and
interteny hir as it becummis the husband to do to his wife, conforme to
Goddis' law and ordinance.' — Charge had been given to Sir William
Sinclair of Roisling, and to William Sinclair, his second son, 'to have
comperit personalie and to have brocht with thame, exhibite, and presentit
the said Edward with all contractis, obligationis, charteris, and infeftmentis
quhilkis thay persuadit him to mak during the tyme thai detenit him fra the
said Christiane, and all seasingis tane thairupoun, befoir our Soverane Lord
and Lordis of his Hienes Secreit Counsale' ; and now, 'the said Christiane
Douglas comperand personalie, and the saidis Sir William Sinclair and
William Sinclair, his secund sone, comperand alsua personalie, quha exhibit
and presentit the said Edward Sinclair, at quhome it wes inquirit gif he had
maid dispositioun and alienatioun of his landis and heretage or ony pairt
thairof, quha dedarit that he hes disponit and maid securitie to the said
Williame Sinclair, his broder, of all landis and heretage quhilkis he had or

Herbertshire. I7S

mycht succeid to as air to his said fader,' the Lords, ' in respect of the said
Edwardis declaratioun quhairby it appeiris that he hes bein compellit and
movit be circumventioiin, to his greit hurt and disherissing, to gif over his
rycht of his haill leaving, alsweill of his said spous conjunctfie landis as
utheris, and to mak infeftmentis and alienationis thairof,' ordain ' all con-
firmationis of the saniin to be stayit, and intimation heirof to be maid to our
Soverane Lordis thesaurar, and to the keparis of the signet, privie and greit
seillis, and writtaris thairto and thair deputis, quhairthrow thay pretend na
ignorance of the samin, and in the menetyme that the said Christiane persew
for reductioun of the saidis infeftmentis befoir the judges competent as
accordis.' They also ordain ' the maser of Counsale to pas and charge the
said Edward to repair to the duelling hous of Johnne Fergussoun, maser, in
Edinburgh, within twa houris nixt after the said charge, and thair remain as
in ane frie place quhair his said spous may have acces unto him, and he to
abyde, adheir, treat, and interteny hir as his lauchfull wyfe heirefter, ay, and
quhill forder ordour be tane heiranent as appertenis, under the pane of
rebellioun and putting of him to the home, and, gif he failyie thairin, the
saidis tua houris being bipast, that the said maser or other officiur of armes
denunce him rebell and put him to the home, and to escheit, &c.'"'

"23rd September, 1583. — Caution by Thomas Vans and Archd.
Hoppringill, burgesses of Edinburgh, for Edward Sinclair, eldest son of
Sir William Sinclair of Roisling, that Christiane Douglas, spouse of the said
Edward, shall have peaceable access to him in his father's place of Roisling,
and that he shall appear before the Council on 13th November next to
' underly sic order as sal be tane in that behalf.' "°

Later on in the same year there is confirmation of a charter
under the Great Seal" granted by Edward Sinclair of Herbert-
shire, fiar of Rosslyn and Herbertshire, of all the lands, to his
brother-german, William Sinclair.

IV. — William Sinclair of Rosslyn and Herbertshire succeeded
his father and married Janet Edmondstone.'' There is a story

1 Reg. Privy CoimcU, Vol. III., pp. 568-9.

' Ibid., 600.

» R. M. S., 28th October, 1583.

* Edin. Com. Reo., 3rd October, 1593.

176 Herbertshire.

in reference to this lady in Pitcairn's " Criminal Trials " in con-
nexion with a witch called Agnes Sampson in Nether Keythe.
Agnes Sampson was tried 27th January, 1 590-1, and among the
charges against her was : " Item — fylit that scho being sent for
to the Lady Roslene, quha wes seik, scho knew be hir devilisch
prayer that the said Lady wes nocht liable to recover and
thairfore, scho wald nocht cum to hir.'" Among other entries
in the Privy Council Register about this laird is one in 1600 to
denounce John and Alexander Borthwick for not appearing to a
charge of having sent a challenge to him. Again, in 1605, Lord
Newbottle charges Sinclair of Rosslyn with killing wild fowl on
his property. Another entry tells that a certain Captain William
Rigg complains of being " fiercely assaulted " by a natural son
of the laird of Rosslyn — in 1608 — with swords, daggers and
gauntlets, and " reft of purse, cloak and sword." William Sinclair
sold the barony of Herbertshire to Alexander, Earl of Linlithgow,
in 1608. He had a son, Sir William Sinclair of Rosslyn, who
married Dame Anna Spottiswood, by whom he had issue. ^


Alexander Livingstone, first Earl of Linlithgow, had a charter
under the Great Seal to himself and Dame Helen Hay, his wife,
22nd September, 1608, of the barony of Herbertshire. In his
earlier days he was known as Alexander, Master of Livingstone.''

1 Reg. Privy Council.

2 For further particulars of the Sinclairs of Rosslyn and Herbertshire, see Father
Hay's " Genealogy of the St. Clairs of Rosslyn," and Roland St. Clair's "The St. Glairs
of the Isles," &c. The family continued to exist till 1778, when William Sinclair of
Rosslyn, the last direct male heir, died. He had sold the barony of Rosslyn to the
Hon. James Sinclair Csecond sou of Henry, eighth Lord Sinclair of Herdmanston), who
died without issue, and the estates eventually descended to the Earls of Roaslyn,
as representatives of his second sister, the Hon. Catherine Sinclair.

' See " Livingstons of Callendar, &c.," by Mr. E. B. Livingstone, F.S.A.

Herbertshire. i77

Being warmly attached to the cause of the unfortunate Queen
Mary, he had been taken prisoner by the Regent's forces at the
capture of Dumbarton Castle in 1571. In 15S4 he was able to
render great assistance to the King in his successful attempt to
throw off the yoke of Gowrie by the prompt manner in which he
assembled his friends and retainers at Falkirk, and by his rapid
march on Stirling, which so disheartened the rebels that they
evacuated the Castle and fled before his arrival, whereupon he
took possession of the town and Castle in the King's name. In
1593, after the death of his father, he took his seat in Parliament
as seventh Lord Livingstone, and was appointed a member of the
Privy Council until the next meeting of the Estates. He was
entrusted with the care of the young Princess Elizabeth (daughter
of James VI.), who was afterwards to become celebrated as the
wife of Frederick, the Elector Palatine. This act of James gave
great offence to the ministers of the Kirk of Scotland, Lady
Livingstone, who was the only daughter of Andrew, eighth
Earl of Errol,' being a Roman Catholic, and at this period
threatened with excommunication by the Presbytery of Stirling
oiraccount of her being " an obstinat and profest papist." . . .
" Master Patrick Simpson, minister of Stirling, who had been the
means of bringing over several noble ladies to the true religion,
dealt also with my Lady Linlithgow, who was obstinate, and
affirmed that the Pope might not err in matters of faith, and
refused to argue with him, referring him to the doctors of
Sorbonne if he desired answers to his questions."

The Earl of Linlithgow,^ who had been appointed by the King
Keeper of the Palace of Linlithgow, as well as the neighbouring
Castle of Blackness, noticed in 1605 that part of the north

' "The Scots Peerage."

' Created Earl of Linlithgow before 13th January, 1601,

178 Herbertshire.

quarter of the Palace was in an unsafe condition, and informed
the King of the fact, who thereupon gave instructions that the
necessary repairs should be effected. However, the officials who
had been entrusted with the repairs did nothing, and in con-
sequence, two years later, the whole northern quarter of the
Palace fell in, whereupon the Earl wrote the following letter to
the King : —

Pleas zour Most Sacred Maiestie,

This sext of September betwixt thre and four in the morning, the north
quarter of zour Maiestie's Palice of Linlythgw is fallin rufe and all within the
wallis to the ground, bot the wallis ar standing yit, bot lukis everie moment
when the inner wall sail fall and brek zour Maiestie's fontan. I had bene to
blame if I had nocht maid zour Maiestie forsein twa zeiris since with the estait
of it, bot saw na furtherance in thes your Maiestie's offisers, quhomto your
Maiestie gave directioune at that tyme for repairatioun of zour Maiestie's said
palice. Heirfore it will pleas zour Maiestie tak sik ordour thairanent as zour
hines thinks gude, and seing the taxatioune is grantit for repairing zour
Maiestie's housis according to zour hines directioune, I sail endeuor my selfe
to sie zour Maiestie's wille performit thairanent.

So praying God to grant zour Maiestie many happy and prosperous
day and long to ring over us.

Zour Maiestie's humble subiect and servant,


From zour M palice of Linlythgow, the 6 Sept, 1607.'

On 22nd December, 1612, there is a charter of Herbertshire
to Sir William Livingstone of Kilsyth, Senator of the
College of Justice, on the resignation of Alexander, Earl of
Linlithgow. Sir William is described as a man of " parts and

In 161 5 the estate passed from this owner to Alexander
Livingstone of "Penteskin" [Bantaskine]. This was probably

» AnaJecta ScoHca, p. 400. See " Livingstons of Callendar,"

Herbertshire. 179

only a wadset, for in 1632 there is a charter to Sir John
Blackadder of Tullialian, in which Alexander, second Earl
of Linlithgow, resigns the lands, and that same year (ist
December, 1632) there is a charter to John Stirling, son of
William Stirling of Achyle, on the resignation of Sir John


I. — John Stirling of Herbertshire also had a Crown charter
of the lands of Little Denovan, dated 14th December, 1635.
John died without issue, and was succeeded before 1664 by
his nephew, William Stirling, eldest son of James Stirling of

II. (i). — William Stirling, second of Herbertshire, renounced
succession to James and William Stirling, his father and grand-
father, 31st October, 1667.^ As superior of the lands of Little
Denovan, William Stirling granted to David Forrester of Little
Denovan a charter of these lands, dated loth September, 1667."
William married (contract dated 13th February, 1672) Dame
Helen Sinclair, Lady Bannockburn, daughter of Sir William
Sinclair of Rosslyn, and niece of Sir Robert Spottiswoode of

William Stirling died between ist April, 1678, and 31st
December, 1679. He had a sister married to an Alexander
Short. William Stirling was succeeded in Herbertshire by his
brother, George.

II. (2). — George, third of Herbertshire, was the second son of
James Stirling of Achyle. He had a Crown charter of Achyle

» See " Stirlings of Keir," by Sir William Eraser ; R, M. S, &c.

2 Glorat Writs, " Stirlinga of Keir."

' Denovan Inventory in Callendai Charter Chest,

i8o Herbertshire.

dated Sth July, 1676, and he disponed Achyle to his brother
Alexander in 167S. George Stirling, as superior of Little
Denovan, granted a charter to David Forrester of the lands of
Little Denovan, to be held for three blasts of a horn at the
house of Herbertshire, in name of blench farm, dated 31st
December, 1679.* George Stirling's name is among the
Stirlingshire members of the Darien Scheme (^^300)." This
laird married Jean Crichton, daughter of Sir Robert Crichton,
brother to William, ninth Lord Crichton of Sanquhar.' They
had three sons — (i) William, who succeeded; (2) John, who
became laird of Achyle, and (3) George, a surgeon in Perth in
17 1 5. There were also two daughters. George Stirling died
before 28th March, 1707.

III. (i). — William Stirling, fourth of Herbertshire, was re-
toured heir to his father in the lands and barony of Herbertshire,
28th March, 1707. In 1740 he disponed the lands of Gunnershaw,
part of Herbertshire, to Charlotte, Lady Forrester, widow of
George, Lord Forrester. On 2Sth April, 1718, William Stirling of
Herbertshire and Lady Lilian Forrester, " daughter to the noble
lord, William Forrester of Torwoodhead, compeared and gave
up their names for proclamation to marry," and they were married
30th April of that year.* They had a daughter baptised
Charlotte on ist March, 1719,' and another, Jean, 30th March,
1722. William Stirling died before 28th January, 175 1, and was
succeeded by his brother, John.

III. (2). — Captain John Stirling of Balwill, Achyle, and
fifth of Herbertshire, was the second son of George Stirling

1 Denovau Inventory.

- "Stirling Antiquary."

= " The Soots Peerage."

* Diinipaoe Session Kecords,

■> Ibid.

Herbertshire. i8i

of Herbertshire. He purchased Achyle from his cousin, William
Stirling, in 171 8, married Christian, daughter of Sir William
Stirling of Ardoch, and died at Herbertshire isth January,
1756, at an advanced age." He had a son, George, who
succeeded him, and a daughter, Jean.

IV. (i). — George, sixth laird of Herbertshire, died on 4th
July, 1760, without issue. He was succeeded by his only sister,

IV. (2). — Jean Stirling,- seventh of Herbertshire and Achyle,
was married, first to Sir James Stirling of Glorat,' and secondly
to James Erskine, Lord Alva, but had no children. She
sold Herbertshire in 1768 to William Morehead of Cavendish
Square, of the parish of St. Mary-le-bone, Westminster, son of
Robert Muirhead.*


I. — William Morehead, the new laird of Herbertshire, was
grandson of John Muirhead, bailie of Hamilton, said to be a
descendant of the Muirheads of Lauchope. He was entered
as a student in the Middle Temple in 1758, and succeeded to
considerable property on the death of his father's cousin,
William Morehead (the first to change his name to Morehead)
of Cavendish Square, London, in 1767." He married, in 1768,
Isabella, daughter of John Sinclair Lockhart of Castlehill and
Camnethan, in the county of Lanark, and grand-daughter of Sir

1 Scots Magazine.

2 There is a portrait of tliis lady in the '" Magazine of Art," Vol. XII., page 315 —
year 1889. Article by J. M. Grey : the draughtsman is John Brown.

' Scots Magazine (1751).
* Writs of Herbertshire, and family papers.

5 William Muirhead of Herbertshire appears to have changed his name to
Morehead at this time.

i82 Herbertshire.

John Sinclair of Stevenson, Bart. They had at least three sons—
(i) William, who succeeded to Herbertshire, (2) John, and (3)
Robert ; and a daughter, Charlotte Martha. There are interesting
notices of the family and estate in the " Life and Writings of the
Rev. Robert Morehead, D.D." William Morehead died in June,
1793, and appears to have been a friend of Lord Jeffrey, as the
following characteristic letter from Lord Jeffrey to John More-
head will show : —

"On the iSth of this month [June, 1793], we lost a most excellent man,
and an undoubted friend, in our worthy Mr Morehead, who died at Herbert-
shire on that day, after a short and distressing illness. A man whose
amiable and elegant manners were by far his least accomplishment ; whose
unruffled gendeness flowed from the purest benevolence of his heart ; whom
env-y could not injure, nor malice hurt. He was the only man I have ever
known whose character was eminent by virtue, without the taint of a single
vice ; the friend of the friendless, the peacemaker, the liberal. There is no
event that I at present recollect that has occasioned me more sorrow."

Lord Jeffrey' disponed about three acres of the lands of

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