John Charles Gibson.

Lands and lairds of Larbert and Dunipace parishes online

. (page 4 of 19)
Online LibraryJohn Charles GibsonLands and lairds of Larbert and Dunipace parishes → online text (page 4 of 19)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

of the late Sir William Livingstone of Kilsyth. At this date
Edward Bruce of Kinnaird assigns and disposes his " lyfifrent
in Kynnaird " to Sir William Livingstone, who on the 29th
January following resettles the same on him and his wife for
their lives, excluding " aires and assignyes." But it appears that
prior to this date, Edward Bruce had already disposed of the
reversion of his estate after his death to his kinsman. Sir
Alexander Bruce of Airth, so that on Edward's death in 1602
(Elizabeth Livingstone having apparently predeceased him, and
Sir Alexander Bruce of Airth also being dead) there is a "decree
of Registration by the Lords of Council at the instance of
Mr. Robert Bruce, Minister of God's Word, as assignee of
umquhile Sir Alexander Bruce of Airth, his father, against
Patrick Bruce, brother to the late Edward Bruce of Kinnaird,
and to whom Patrick Bruce is charged to enter heir."- Edward
Bruce died without issue, or at least without male issue.

The lands of Kinnaird had really fallen into the hands
of Sir Alexander Bruce of Airth before 1581. Sir Alexander's
second son (by his wife, Janet Livingstone), Mr. Robert Bruce,
was the first of a new family of Bruces of Kinnaird." He was
born, it is supposed, at Airth Castle in or about 1554,'' just in

» Stirling Register of Mnrriages.

= Kiimaird Writs.

= See under Stenhouse.

' Woodrow says 1 3.j9.

32 Kinnaird.

the very heat of the Reformation in Scotland. He had a
liberal education at the Universities of St. Andrews, Paris, and
Louvain, and was intended by his father to follow the law. He
completed his education at Edinburgh, and began to practise
law. Although his reputation was advancing rapidly, and
the position and influence of his family such that promotion
to very high places in the law was sure to have come to him,
yet he had no heart in this work. A man of very strong
religious feelings and of extreme conscientiousness, he believed
that he was called to the ministry. He describes in most vivid
language the torment of conscience he went through, when,
bowing for a time to the desire of his father and mother, he
resisted " the calling of God to the study of theology and
ministrie." Rather than again suffer such torment, he said,
" I had rather goe through a fire of brimestone half a mile

Mr. Bruce's father had put him in possession of the barony
of Kinnaird in order that he might be in a position to become a
senator of the College of Justice. His parents only consented to
his going into the Church on his resigning the estate of
Kinnaird, which he willingly did. He entered the Church, and
became one of the most distinguished of its ministers. He was
a strong adherent of Knox's principles. Mr. Bruce had a good
deal of the intolerance of his day, and was mixed up in the
factions which tortured poor old Scotland in those days. There
was a certain superstitious element in his nature which came out
in his belief in dreams, &c.

King James VI. entertained feelings of blended respect and
fear for Mr. Bruce, and when he went over the seas to marry his
Queen, the Princess Anne of Denmark, he made Bruce a

> Calderwood'a " History of the Eitk of Scotland,"

Kinnaird. 33

member of the Privy Council, and desired him to take cognizance
of the affairs of the country, saying he had more confidence
in him and the other ministers of Edinburgh than in all his
nobles. James was not disappointed, for the country was never
in greater peace than while he was out of his kingdom on this
occasion. At the coronation, after the return of the King and
Queen, Bruce had the honour of anointing the Queen with oil.

In the same year, 1590, Bruce married Margaret, or Martha,
daughter of George Douglas of Parkhead, by Marion Douglas,
daughter and heiress of James Douglas of Parkhead and Pitten-
dreich,^ and his father restored to him the barony of Kinnaird.
Bruce never had much respect for King James, and was tactless
enough to show it, perhaps more openly than was necessary.
He early said, " I had no will of the Court, for I knew weill that
the Court and we could never agree." On several occasions
he admonished the King rather severely, and these rebukes
rankled in the King's mind to such an extent that he called the
ministers of Edinburgh before him and complained of the
personal censures from the pulpit, but without effect.

About this time began the King's persecution and worrying
of Bruce, which made his life a burden to him. The principal
charge brought against Bruce at this time was that he had
harboured Bothwell after the Raid of Falkland. There was not
a word of truth in it, and the King was very uncomfortable
about the whole matter before it ended. In 1596 Bruce was
appointed to visit the churches in the vicinity of Glasgow,
where he was received with the greatest respect and honour, so
high was his reputation for faithfulness, wisdom, and usefulness.

The King was offended at the warmth of his reception in the
west, and vowed he should lose his head for his conduct in

' Marriage contract dated 8th June, 1090.— Riddell's MS. " BBionetftge."

34 Kinnaird.

regard to Bothwell. It is said that when Bruce returned to
Edinburgh, James, looking out of a window in Holyrood and
seeing him entering the Canongate, said with indignation which
extorted an oath from him, " Master Robert Bruce, I am sure,
intends to be King and declare himself heir to Robert the
Bruce." One of James's methods of annoying Bruce was to
send him some frivolous message every Saturday to disturb
him in his studies. But things reached a climax in 1600,
after the Gowrie Conspiracy. From the Privy Council
Register, and other sources, we learn that Bruce discredited
the story of the Conspiracy, and refused to offer up thanks
from the pulpit for the King's preservation. This brought
down the King's most relentless wrath upon him. He was
prohibited from preaching in the kingdom, and was ordered
to enter into ward in the Tower of Airth. Later on he was
ordered to quit the kingdom. Knowing the value James put
upon himself, and how he considered the Commonwealth had
just had " a fair escape from the heavy and bloody loss of a
dear father — for we are pater patrice"^ &c., Bruce showed an
amount of stickling which now seems overstrained. The King
was greatly excited and very touchy upon this matter, and
there is no doubt that the attitude Bruce assumed gave the
King a great advantage, and tended to overthrow the very
power of the Church which Bruce was so anxious to maintain.
It is interesting to note that George Heriot was a friend of Bruce.

1 The scene in "The Fortunes of Kigel," Chapter XXVIIl., where James so
exaggerates the inciJent of the meeting -with Lord Glenvaxloch, seems to be Sir
Walter Scott's criticism on the Gowrie Conspiracy, ^^'hen referriug to the Gowrie
Conspiracy, it may not be out of place to quote a letter from King James to the
Provost of Stirling, copied out of the MS. Stirling Burgh Records, 21st November,
1600:— "It is our will that ye receive twa quarters of the late Earl of Gowrie
and his brother, clean traitors, and causs thame to be set up oa the maist eminent wtd
usual place.— James Res."

Kinnaird. 1358153 3,

Bruce was allowed to return to Scotland, but was com-
manded to keep ward in his own house of Kinnaird, and on
2Sth February, 1603, his church in Edinburgh was declared
vacant. His last interview with the King was on sth April,
1603, just when the King was setting out for England, but
though very well received, and rather as a baron than as a
minister, there was nothing said of his being restored to his
church. After the King had mounted his horse, Mr. Bruce
went again to him, when the King at parting said, " Now all
particulars are passed between me and you, Mr. Robert."
After a good deal of trouble with the Commissioners of
Assembly, he was inhibited from preaching, and ordered to
Inverness. About this time his wife died, and he felt the
blow keenly. His son petitioned for him to be allowed to
return to Kinnaird, and this was granted, but he was again
committed to Edinburgh Castle for appearing in Edinburgh
about the " Five Articles of Perth," and subsequently banished
again to Inverness. The Council wrote to the King, interceding
for him' to be allowed to pass the winter at Kinnaird, but
the King replied, " It is not for love of Mr. Robert that ye
have written, but to interteane a schisme in the Kirk. We
will have no more Popish pilgrimages to Kinnaird : he sail
go to Inverness."^ In 1624 King James died, when the severity
against him was much mitigated, and he was not required to
go north again. In 1629 Charles I. wrote to the Council
to restrict him to Kinnaird and to two miles round it.

In 1629, the church of Larbert having been neglected and
left without a minister by the bishops, he not only repaired it,

> Register of tho.Privy Council.

36 Kinnaird.

but preached there every Sunday to large congregations. Mr.
Bruce died 13th August, 163 1. On the morning of that day
he breakfasted with his family as usual, but, having a presenti-
ment that death was near, he warned his children. He then
desired a Bible to be brought, and, finding that his sight was
gone, requested his daughters to put his fingers on the two
last verses of the eighth chapter of Romans. He had only
strength to add, " Now, God be with you, my children ; I
have breakfasted with you, and shall sup to-night with the
Lord Jesus Christ." He then closed his eyes, and peacefully
expired. He was buried in the aisle of the church at Larbert,
and Calderwood says that four or five thousand people followed
his body to the grave. He is described in the Preface to the
Register of the Privy Council, Vol. XH., p. 66, as that "famous
and veteran Presbyterian minister once the stateliest and most
aristocratic-looking of the ministers of Edinburgh, and the
King's most intimate and most confidential friend among all
the Scottish clergy."

His countenance was grave and majestic, and expressive of
much authority. His skill in languages and in the science of
those times was equal, if not superior, to that of any of the
Scottish reformers. A writer in the " Scots Magazine " says
that he was less violent than Melville, more enlightened than
Knox, and that he viewed with a brighter and milder eye the
united interests of the Church and nation. King James once
said of him that " he judged Mr. Bruce was worth half of
his kingdom.'"

> Woodiow's " Lifs of Bruce." For particulars see " Dictionary of National
Biography," Anderson's " Scottish Nation " (from which most of the above information
is taken) and Register of Privy Council, &c. Since writing the above, a life of Mr.
Robert Bruce has been published by the Rev. D. C. Maonicol, B.D, ; Edinburgh :
Oliphant, Anderson &, Fetrier, 1907. (This book contains a portrait.)


Kinnaird. 37

I.— Mr. Robert Bruce, first of Kinnaird, left by his wife,
Martha, or Margaret Douglas, two sons, Robert, who succeeded
him, and John ; and three daughters, Elizabeth, who was
married to James, eldest son of John Campbell of Moy, Mary,
married to Michael Elphinstone of Ouarrell, and Martha.

II. — Robert Bruce, second of Kinnaird, succeeded his father
in 163 1. He married' Margaret Menteith of the Kerse family,
and had two sons. Colonel Robert and Alexander.

III. (i) — Colonel Robert Bruce, third of Kinnaird, succeeded
his father in 1645. He was a captain of the Life Guards of
Charles II., in which he continued till the fight of Worcester,
when, " doing all that became a gentleman and a good soldier,
he received there wounds which soon after caused his death."
He married Dame Marianne Rollo, but had no children." He
was succeeded in 1655 by his brother Alexander.

III. (2) — Alexander Bruce, fourth of Kinnaird, married first,
Helen Bruce, daughter of Sir Robert Bruce of Clackmannan,
by whom he had two daughters, Helen and Jean. He
married second, Margaret Elphinstone, daughter of Michael
Elphinstone of Quarrell, but had no family.

IV. — Helen Bruce, fifth of Kinnaird, succeeded in 1711
through a deed of entail by which her son and heir and his
successors were obliged to retain the name and arms of Bruce.
Helen Bruce" was married first to David Hay, son of John Hay
of Woodcockdale, Linlithgowshire, who assumed the name of
Bruce. They had a son David.

1 Major Bruce Ai'mstrong states that he also maaried Isobel Ross, daughter of
John Ross, merchant burgess of Glasgow. See " Bruoes of Airth."

■ " Bruces and Cumyns."

' Helen Bruce was married secondly to Robert Boyd, writer, Edinburgh.— Edinburgh
Com, Rec, 26th April, 1733.

38 Kinnaird.

V. — David Bruce, sixth of Kinnaird, succeeded in 1729.
He married first, Marion Graham, daughter of James Graham
of Airth, and by her, besides other children, had James, his
heir. David Bruce married secondly, Agnes Glen, by whom
he had six sons and two daughters.

VI. — James Bruce, seventh of Kinnaird, was born at
Kinnaird, 14th December, 1730. He was educated at Harrow
and Edinburgh University, where he studied law, but did not like
it. He went to London and married in 1754 Adriana Allan,
the daughter of a rich wine merchant, and became a partner
in the business. She died at Paris within a year after the
marriage. Bruce now studied languages and travelled in
France, Spain, Portugal, and the Netherlands. His father died
in 1758, and he then returned to London. In 1761 he retired
from the wine trade. About this time he submitted to the
Government a project for a descent on Spain, there being a
rumour of a war between Great Britain and Spain. In 1763
he was appointed Consul General at Algiers. There he studied
oriental languages and surgery. In June, 1768, he proceeded
to Alexandria, and from Cairo set out on his famous journey
to Abyssinia, which forms an epoch in the annals of discovery.
He arrived at Jeddah in April, 1769, and after many adven-
tures and detentions reached Gondar, the capital of Abyssinia,
in February, 1770, and on 14th November of that year
succeeded in reaching the sources of the Abawi, then con-
sidered the main stream of the Nile. Here he experienced
great elevation of spirits from the joy of having realised his
ambition, but this was followed by great dejection. He went
through many and great hardships, and frequently showed
much bravery and presence of mind. His accomplishments
were many and varied, and he would probably, but for

Kinnaird. 39

his eccentricities and excitability, have made a stronger
impression on those with whom he came in contact. Time has
fully verified all his statements which seemed so extravagant
that at first many of them were received with incredulity.

He seems to have been a man of a large and generous
disposition, and capable of drawing out the affection of the
peoples with whom he came in contact. In 1774 he returned
to Scotland. His "Travels" appeared in 1790 and startled
the belief of many. There is an interesting conversation
recorded by Boswell in " Johnson's Life " (1775). Johnson had
told Boswell that he had been in the company of a gentleman
(James Bruce) whose extraordinary travels had been much the
subject of conversation. " But," Boswell says, " I found he had
not listened to him with that full confidence without which
there is little satisfaction in the society of travellers. I was
curious to hear what opinion so able a judge as Johnson had
formed of his abilities, and I asked if he was not a man of
sense." Johnson — " Why, sir, he is not a distinct relater ;
and, I should say, he is neither abounding nor deficient in
sense. I did not perceive any superiority of understanding."
Boswell — " But will you not allow him a nobleness of resolution
in penetrating into distant regions ? " Johnson — " That, sir,
is not to the present purpose. We are talking of sense. A
fighting cock has a nobleness of resolution."^

Bruce married secondly, 20th May, 1776, Mary, eldest
daughter of Thomas Dundas of Carron Hall. In a letter to
his father-in-law he says at the end : — " My most dutiful and
respectful good wishes to Lady Janet. I never knew in my
life what it was to be perfectly happy till now. My Mary

1 Boswell's " Life of Johnson," Napier's Ed. (1884), Vol. II., pp. 306-7.

40 Kinnaird.

is everything I could wish, and I believe, excepting for you,
who are ourselves, we could live most happily strangers to the
world, in the deserts of Nubia, was not my Mary's example
wanted by the wives of this world." Mrs. Dundas of Carron
Hall says " Mr. Bruce was commonly known among his county
neighbours as the ' Traveller,' and it would seem he rather
bored them with his traveller's tales. He was likewise rather
dyspeptic, and fond of dwelling on his precarious health. A
story is told of my own grandfather, Sir William Bruce of
Stenhouse, on an occasion when Mr. Bruce had exhausted
his patience, saying to him, ' Weel, traveller, dee when you
like, you'll dee wi' the gudewill o' a' your neebours ! ' It
was a doubtful compliment."

Bruce was an emotional man and easily moved to tears.
When leaving Abyssinia it is said he shed tears at parting
with his many friends. The following story is from Dean
Ramsay's " Scottish Life and Character " : — A certain Mrs.
Henderson was an old housekeeper at Airth. A speech of
hers was preserved in the family as having been made at
the time of the execution of Louis XVI. in 1793. She was
noticing the violent emotion exhibited by Mr. Bruce of
Kinnaird, the Abyssinian traveller, at the sad event which
had just taken place, and added in the following quaint and
caustic terms, " There's Kinnaird greeting as if there was nae
a saunt on earth but himsel' and the King o' France." His
vanity and imperious manner had won for him the nickname
of "The Prince." His brother-in-law alludes to him as "The
Prince " in a letter in which he says, " I neither love nor fear
the Prince.'"

1 " Dundas of Fingask," by Mrs, Dundas of Canon Hall (1891).


Kinnaird. 4*

Bruce died in a tragic manner. He had been entertaining
some company at Kinnaird, and when handing a lady to her
carriage his foot slipped on the stair and he fell down
headlong. He was taken up speechless, much cut and
bruised. He remained in a state of insensibility for eight or
nine hours, when he expired on Sunday, 27th April, 1794,
in the 64th year of his age. He was a very tall man. In
March, 1773, on his arrival in England, Fanny Burney, in
her lively sketch of him at this time in a letter to Samuel
Crisp, says : — " Mr. Brace's grand air, gigantic height, and
forbidding brow awed everybody into silence. ... He is
the tallest man you ever saw gratis." His portraits^ give no
clue to the "forbidding" brow described by Fanny Burney.
His countenance was manly and good humoured, and his
manner affable and polite. He was a keen sportsman, and
used to go in the season to Ardchullarie, on Loch Lubnaig,
the fishing and shooting of which he rented. He was buried
in Larbert Churchyard, where there is a tombstone with an
inscription setting forth his virtues and accomplishments.
By his wife, Mary Dundas, Bruce left two sons, Robert, who
died young, and James, who succeeded him ; also a daughter
Janet Maitland, who married John Jardine.

Vn. — James Bruce, eighth of Kinnaird, who succeeded in
1794, married Eliza, daughter of William Spicer of Wear, in
the county of Devon, and had a daughter, Mary Elizabeth,
who was heiress of Kinnaird.

1 The original o£ the portrait reproduced here was painted by Pompeo Battoui,
(See particulars under list of illustrations.) Bruce wrote from Rome in 1762 to his
fiancee. Miss Murray of Polmaise : " I begin to sit to-morrow to the best painter in
Italy."— Portfolio IV., 77, "Scottish Portraits," edited by James L. Caw, Director
of Scottish National Portrait Gallery. This lady must have been Mai-garet, only
daughter of William Miuray of Polmaise, by his wife, Elizabeth Gibson, who eventually
married the Marchese Accramboni, and died at Rome, 1784. It is said she despaired
of Bruce's ever coming back. See " Biog. Diet, of Eminent Scotsmen."

42 Kinnaird.

VIII. — Mary Elizabeth Bruce, ninth of Kinnaird, succeeded
to the property in 1810, and was married 20th June, 1822, to
Charles Lennox Gumming (who assumed the name and arms
of Bruce), third son of Sir Alexander Gumming Gordon,
Bart, of Altyre and Gordonstown. They had one daughter,
Elizabeth Mary, who succeeded to Kinnaird. Mrs. Gumming-
Bruce was the authoress of " The Bruces and the Gumyns."

IX. — Elizabeth Mary Gumming-Bruce, tenth of Kinnaird,
was married in 1841 to James, Lord Bruce, who succeeded
his father as eighth Earl of Elgin, &c. They had one daughter,

X. — Lady Elma Bruce, eleventh of Kinnaird, was married in
1864 to Thomas John, fifth Baron Thurlow, who assumed the
name of Gumming-Bruce, and has issue.'

The estate was exposed for sale by the Free Ghurch of
Scotland under the power of sale contained in a bond and
disposition in security, and was bought by Robert Orr,
merchant in Glasgow, J. P. for the Gounty of Stirling, in 1895."
Mr. Orr built the present house, which stands on the site of
the old house of Kinnaird. He died at Kinnaird on 23rd
January, 1906, leaving a widow and family.

' Burke's " Peerage."
'' Writa of Kinnaird,


(Parish of Larbert.)

THE lands of Carron Hall, formerly called Quarrell, or
Querrell,' in the parish of Larbert, which include the
old barony of Skaithmure, have belonged to several
notable families. The mansion house of Quarrell is one of the
oldest in the district, and has many interesting features. It is a
quaint, rambling old place, just the kind of country house to
gather a number of eerie ghost stories about it. The house is
supposed to date from the beginning of the seventeenth century,
but some parts are probably older. It must have been built by
the Bisset family, who previously had lived in the old castle
of Skaithmure. The sundial is the same as that at Barnbougle
Castle, Linlithgowshire,- and is in very perfect preservation.
There are several coats of arms on various parts of the
buildings. Over the fireplace in the harness room is the
coat of the Forresters, with the date 1698. This was probably
brought from Torwood, which had previously belonged to the
Forresters, and fixed in here by the Dundases, who acquired

* Formerly QUARRELL.

1 The word Quarrell is old Scots aud mid-English for "a quairy." Rev. J. B.
Johnston—" Place Names of Stirlingshire."

^ " Castellated and Domestic Architecture of Scotland."— M'Gibbon and Ross.

44 Carron Hall.

Torwood in 1749. There is no record of Forresters ever having
owned Quarrell. In the dining room, over the mantelpiece, is
the coat of the Diindas family. There are some very fine trees
in the grounds.'


The ancient barons of Quarrell are said to have taken their
name from the lands, and as early as the reign of David I.
designed themselves Quarrells of Quarrell. In a genealogy"
of Quarles van Uiiford of The Hague, sent from Edinburgh
in 1767, it is stated : — " The name of Quarles is local, and
originated in Scotland. It was first assumed by the lords
of the lands and barony of Quarrell, in the county of Stirling,
in the reign of David I. The Quarrells of that ilk were by
no means insignificant barons at that time in the counties of
Stirling and Perth, and were well known for several generations.
There are extant many Diplomata Regia in which the Quarrells
sign as witnesses."

On 20th September, 1298, we are reminded of the usurpation
of Edward I. in Scotland by the following entry in the Calendar
of Documents relating to Scotland (pp. 260-263) : — " The King
to John de Langton, his chancellor, commands a presentation
to be issued for Thomas de Querle, clerk, to the vacant church
of Ratheu in St. Andrew's diocese," and on the same day
Thomas de Querle was presented to this church, " sede vacante
and in the King's hands, under letters to the keeper of the

1 See IS'ew Statistical Account of Stirlingshire.
- In the possession of H. de Quarles van Ufford of The Hague. This
signed by one of the Magistrates of Edinburgh.

Carron Hall. 45

William Ouarles' left Scotland about the year 1420, and
settled down in Northamptonshire, where he married Catherine
of Ufford. The following coat of arms was matriculated in
the Lyon Register, Edinburgh, on 3rd July, 1767, by the
Honourable William Quarles, baron of the Holy Roman
Empire, Lord of Tedingswend in Holland, representative of

1 2 4 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Online LibraryJohn Charles GibsonLands and lairds of Larbert and Dunipace parishes → online text (page 4 of 19)