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The Elphinstone family book of the lords Elphinstone, Balmerino and Coupar (Volume 1) online

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of Erth-chalmerlain, the lands of Pittendreich and Cragorth, in the shire of
Stirling, into a barony to be called the barony of Elphinstone, to be held by
him and his heirs-male whomsoever. The charter of erection is dated 4th
January 1503-4. The witnesses to it include the archbishop of St. Andrews,
chancellor; William Elphinstone, bishop of Aberdeen, keeper of the privy
seal ; Archibald, Earl of Argyle, Lord Campbell and Lorn, master of the king's

' Original in the Eljiliinstone cliarter-chest.
2 Register of the Great Seal, vol. ii. No. 2602.


household ; Patrick, Earl of Bothwell, Lord Hales ; Matthew, Earl of Lennox,
Lord Darnly ; Alexander, Lord Home, lord chamberlain ; Andrew, Lord Gray,
justiciar, and others. The town of Little Erth in the barony of Erth-chal-
nierlain was to be the principal messuage of the barony of Elphinstone.i
He received sasine of the barony of Elphinstone on 11th April 1504.^

On 16th December 1506, Sir John Elphinstone of Elphinstone had a
charter from Nicholas Cristesone, burgess of Stirling, of the five-merk
land of the third part of the seventh part of the lands of Crannok and Plane,
with the pertinents, in the barony of Plane and shire of Stirling, in ex-
cambion for his five-merk lands of Cragorth and pertinents in the shire of

The will of Sir John Elphinstone, a notarial instrument, dated 2nd
August 1508, bears that in presence of the notary and witnesses he appointed
Alexander Elphinstone of Innernochty, his son and apparent heir, his only
and indubitable assignee and cessioner to all and sundry assignations of
lands made to him by any lords temporal and spiritual, which he then
enjoyed and possessed, or any right to the same ; giving to the said Alex-
ander full power to intromit with the said assignations and to dispose
thereof at his will and pleasure, nevertheless paying nothing to the lords of
the assignations according to the terms of the letters thereof made to them
thereupon. The lands of Eossyechtell and luverdargie are stated as excep-
tions. The will mentions that it was done in Sir John Elphinstone's
chamber in the town of Edinburgh, in the street or vennel vulgarly called
Peblis Wynd, on the west side of the same, at the second or third liour
after noon.

Sir John Elphinstone died previous to 19th October, in the year 1508,
when his son Alexander received sasine of the barony of Elphinstone. He

1 Register of the Great Seal, vol. ii. ^ Original in Elphinstone charter-chest.

No. 2765. There is an extract of the charter 3,

iu the Elphiuatoue charter-chest. * Original notarial will, ibid.


was twice married: first to Eapliamia, and secondly to Margaret; but the
surnames of these two ladies have not been ascertained. He had issue
two sons and two daughters.

1. Alexander, who was created Lord Elphinstone, of whom a memoir follows.

2. Thomas Elphinstone. In the marriage contract between Alexander, afterwards

first Lord Elphinstone, and Margaret Erskine, daughter of Robert, Master
of Erskine, son and heir of Alexander, second Lord Erskine, it was arranged,
as a reversion containing the terms of it shows, that if the marriage was not
completed owing to the death of Alexander Elphinstone, it was to take place
with Thomas Elphinstone, his brother.^ The marriage did not take place
with Alexander, as is shown in his memoir, neither was it carried out with
Thomas Elphinstone, his brother.

In the Crown rentals drawn from Stirlingshire for the years from l.')02
to 1.505, and also for 1508, Thomas Elphinstone was tenant with his
father John Elphinstone of Pittendreich of the Halls of Erth and Orchar-
land of Erth. 2

Robert Elphinstone, rector of Kincardine, who became tutor of Alexander,
second Lord Elphinstone, was probably the son of Tiiomas Elpliinstone, as
he is described as "cousin" to his lordship. On 16th December 1511,
Robert Elphinstone received a charter from the king erecting the Kirklands
of Kincardine O'Neil, namely, the Kirktoun of Kincardine O'Neil and others
into a barony with a burgh of barony.^ In 1526, in the time of Gavin,
bishop of Aberdeen, Robert Elphinstone was a member of the chapter of
Aberdeen.* On 14th December 1529, he subscribed a gift by that
bishop with the consent of the dean and chapter of Aberdeen to Gilbert
Menzies, provost, and the bailies of Aberdeen, of the lands of Ardlair in the
lordship and shire of Clatt and earldom of Garioch, for upholding the new
stone bridge over the Dee.^

In 1518 he was appointed tutor of Elphinstone in room of AVilliam
Elphinstone, rector of Clatt, in Aberdeenshire, who resigned.

1 OriginalReveraion,datedl.3th July 1502, vol. i. p. 354. Register of the Great Seal,

iu Elphinstone charter-cheat. vol. ii. No. 3667.

„,„ „„„ * Register of Aberdeen, vol. ii. p. 254.

- Exchequer Rolls, vol. xu. pp. 636, 679; , ^^.^ ,,^j . ^^ 393 ^ ^^^ j^^^^ ^^

vol. xui. pp. 638-9. Ardlair previously belonged to Andrew

' Register of Aberdeen, Maitland Club, Elphinstone of Selnies.


1. Isabella Elphinstone. This lady was highly esteemed at the Court of King
James the Fourth, and on the birth of Prince James, his first son, on 21st
February 1507, she was appointed, by the royal parents, to the responsible
office of nurse to the young prince. This office she fulfilled to the perfect
satisfaction of the king and queen. The prince died in infancy, on 27th
February 1508, and, in recompense for her service, King James the Fourth
gave to her, for the term of her life, the ferms of the 5 merkland of
Chapeltoun, during the leases of the tenants, and after the end of the
leases, the lands themselves ; and the ferms of the 5 merklands of
Bonischaw and Dririg, 5 merklands of Myltouu Crevauche, 5 merklands of
Ormyllisheuche, .5 merklands in Blaklaw, and 5 merklands in Riddinghill
and Holhouse, extending in the king's rental to 20 lib., in the bailiery of
Cunynghame, and shire of Ayr. This ample gift was bestowed, as the
king states, on Isobel Elphinstoun, "nurse of the deceased James, our
son, for her faithful and thankful service in her diligent and assiduous
labour by her undertaken, and done in tender nursing of the said James."
The charter is dated at Edinburgh, 9th March 1507-8.1

Isabella Elphinstone was first married to David Lindsay of Dunrod. She
was his second wife, as he and Eufamia Stewart, his first spouse, receive
a charter of a £20 land in the Isle of Bute on 16th June 1498.- She was
lessee of the assize of herrings of the Western sea and lochs. As such she
in 1516 gives in her account to exchequer, which extends from 9 th
September 1513 to 7th August 1516, a period of three years. In that
account she is styled " Isabella Elphinstoun, lady of Dunrod," ' and there is
no mention of her husband, who, by that time, was probably dead. Isabella
Elphinstone, lady of Dunrod, was married, secondly, to Robert Blaxwell,
sixth of Calderwood. In her account to the exchequer, following the one
just mentioned, and extending from 7th August 1516 to 1st July 1522,
dated 17th March 1523, she is styled Isobella Elphinstoun, lady of
Calderwod.* Her marriage to Robert ]\Iaxwell may have taken place
between the 12th and 17th of Blarch 1523, as in another account from 1st
July 1522 to 12th March 1523 which contains a memorandum of her intro-
missions with the western herring assize for six years, she is simply called

1 Eegister of the Great Seal, vol. ii. No. 3204. Compared with E.xchequer Rolls, vol.
ii. p. 40.

2 Register of tbe Great Seal, vol. ii. No. 2421.

3 Exchequer Rolls, vol. xiv. pp. 193-4. * Ibid. vol. xv. p. 60.



Isobella Elpliinstoune, lady of Dnnrod.i On 14th January 1524-5, King
James the Fifth, with consent of the three estates, let in feu-farm to Isobel
Elphinstoun, lady of Dunrod, and Eobert Blaxwell of Calderwood, her
spouse, the 5 merkland of Chapeltoun, etc., as above, with the addition of
1 merk of Hairschaw, and 3 merits of Cokilby, extending in all to £22,
1 3s. 4d. of old extent. These Isobel had in liferent from King James the
Fourth, for a payment of 40 lib. yearly to the bailies and community of
Irwin, a duplicaud, and erecting of mansion and policies.^ This gift was
twice confirmed by the Scottish parliament, in two Acts of Parliament
in favour of Isobel Elphinstone and Eobert Maxwell of Calderwood, her
spouse.* On the 15th August 1530, King James the Fifth granted to
Eobert Maxwell of Calderwood and Isobel Elphinstone, his spouse, and the
heirs-male of their bodies, whom failing, the eldest heir-female of their
bodies, without division, etc., the foresaid lands of Chapeltoun, etc.* A
curious letter is written by Isabella Elphinstone and her husband, from
Calderwood, 22nd October [1530], addressed to James Colville of Ochiltree,
comptroller and one of the auditors of exchequer, regarding mailling of
the lands of Blaklaw. The letter is written in the interests of Adam
Welsoune, one of their tenants, and ends as follows : —

" Prayand your lordschip to fordar this pur man for my sayk, and fardar
plesset your lordschip to geyf cradaus to my gosseng, thes berar. At Caldei wod,
wyth our handis, the xxij day of Octohar, be yowris at otvt powars.

[Robert Maxwell of Calderwod, with my hand.
IsBELL Elphenstouse, wyth my hand one the pen."^]

Eobert Maxwell died in 1540, and his wife seems to have predeceased
him. She had issue by her second husband, two sons and one daughter.
2. Jean Elphinstone. There was a marriage contract made between Sir John
Elphinstone of Elphinstone, knight, and John of Kinross of Kippenross, to
the effect that John of Kinross sold to Sir John Elphinstone the marriage of
his heir or heirs-male or female whatsoever, for matrimony to be contracted
between James Kinross, heir to the said John of Kinross and Sir John Elphiu-

' Exchequer Rolls, vol. xv. p. 5(5. ' .25th February 1524-5, and 20th Novem-

- Register of the Great Seal, vol. iii. No. ber 1526. Acts of the Parliaments of Scot-

204. In 1525 and 1527, mention is made land, vol. ii. pp. 291, .Sll.

>f Isabella Elphinstoun as tenant of the * Register of the Great Seal, vol. iii. No.

kinds of Chapeltoun and others. [Exchequer 959.

Ilolls, vol. XV. pp. 149, 150, 343.] ' Exchequer Rolls, vol. xv. p. 5S5.


stone's (laughter, and failing her, with a kinswoman of Sir John. If it
happened that the heirs of John of Kinross were females, their marriages
were to be disposed of at the will and pleasure of Sir John. The contract
bears that for the sum of four score merks usual money and other kindness
done to John of Kinross by Sir John Elpliinstone, the former infefted the
latter in the corn mill and mill lands of Kippenross upon the understanding
that the mill and mill lands should revert to John of Kinross, and the four
score merks should be returned to Sir John Elphinstone when the marriage
was completed. The contract is dated at Edinburgh, 24th February 1504.
The name of this lady is only ascertained from the docquet on the back of
the contract, which is as follows : "The contract of the marriage of the
lard of Kippanros vith Jene Elphingston as vithiu vrittiu.''^

Alexander, afterwards first Lord Elphinstone, on 29th March 1509
gave a bond to his " weil-beloweit freind," John Kinross of Kippenross,
containing an arrangement for a marriage connection similar to that now
described. The bond narrates that as John Kinross had infefted the
granter thereof in his corn mill, and mill lands of Kippenross, he would
resign them in his favour as soon as James, his son and heir, should
come of age and complete marriage with " ane cousines " of the grantei-,
or with another competent person at his command, or failing thereof, the
heirs-male whatsoever succeeding to John's heritage or the heirs-female
named at his pleasure. ^

The marriage arranged for in this contract, so far as Jean Elphinstone
was concerned, did not take place. This is shown in a notarial instrument
dated 28th January 1529, which states that James Kinross married Isabella
Callender, daughter of Robert Callender of Mauer, and Katherine Elphin-
stone, kinswoman of Lord Elphinstone, and with his consent and good will.
The instrument also narrates the reversion of the mill and mill lands of
Kippenross, and the sum of money respectively, in terms of the contract

of 1504.3 1212318

' Original contract in the Eliibiustone 27th March 1510, also a charter by the king

cliarter-cbest. confirmiug tbe sale of these, dated 12th April

- Original bond, ibid. There are in the 1510.
s:ime custody a precept of sasine by John

Kinross in favour of Alexander Elphinstone of ^ Original notarial instrument in Elpliin-

tlie mill and mill lauds of Kippenross, dated stone cbarter-cbest.


XL — Alexander ELrniNSTONE, first Lord Elphinstone.

Elizabeth Barlow, Maid of Honour to Queen Margaret Tudor,

Consort to King James the Fourth of Scotland, his Wife.


Alexander Elphinstone was the eldest son and heir of Sir John Elphin-
stone of Elphinstone and Euphamia his first wife. He received from his
father the lands of Stirkfeild, with tenants, tenandries, and services of
free tenants, with the pertinents, in the barony of Chalmerlain-Newtoun and
sheriffdoni of Selkirk. The precept to give sasine of the lands is dated
at Edinburgh, 2nd October 1497, and witnessed by his kinsman Andrew
Elphinstone of Selmys and others.^ He also received a few weeks later from
his father the lands of Strikschawe, in the same barony and sheriffdom of
Eoxburgh, to be held by him and his heirs from (a me) the granter and his
heirs, of (de) Patrick, Lord Lindesay of Byres, lord superior thereof, in fee
and heritage, for the annual payment by Alexander and his heirs to Lord
Lindesay and his heirs of one penny usual money, when required, at the
feast of Pentecost. The charter giving the lands is dated at Edinburgh, 20th
November 1497.- Confirmation of the charter was given by Lord Lindesay
at the same place on 7th December following.' As in the precept above
named, Andrew Elphinstone of Selmys is one of the witnesses in both charters.

An alliance by marriage was projected between Alexander Elphinstone
and Margaret Erskine, daughter of Eobert, Master of Erskine, son and heir-
apparent of Alexander, second Lord Erskine. There is no marriage contract
among the Elphinstone muniments. But the terms of the arrangements for
the marriage are given in letters of reversion by Alexander, Lord Erskine,
to John Elphinstone of Airth. As these are interesting, and as they give

■ Original precept in Elptinstone ehaiter-chest.

- Original confirmation narrating the charter, iu the Elphinstone charter-chest. It is signed
"Patryk lord L^ndissa off ye Byris." 3 Xbid.


the substance of so early a marriage contract in the main line of the
Elphiastoue family, they may be here stated at length. The letters
referred to bear that John Elphinstone had given to Alexander, Lord Erskine,
heritably, by charter and sasine, the five pounds worth of his lands of Pettin-
drech, in the town and soil of Pettindrech, and barony of Erth-Chamerlane
and sheriffdom of Stirling. That notwithstanding this grant, as soon as the
marriage was completed, " in the face of halikirk," between Alexander
Elphinstone, son and apparent heir to John Elphinstone, and Margaret
Erskine, daughter to Eobert, Master of Erskine, son to Alexander, Lord
Erskine, his lordship obliged himself to resign and give over to John Elphin-
stone and his heirs the above-mentioned lands, with the charter, sasine,
and other evidents.

It was stipulated that in the event of failure by the death of Alexander
Elphinstone, the marriage was to be completed with Thomas Elphinstone,
his brother. On the other hand, if failure occurred through the death of
Margaret Erskine, the marriage was to be with Jonet Erskine, her sister, or
with any other of John's sons and heirs and Eobert Erskine's daughter.
Further, in case of such failure through the death or " dissasent " of the
parties mentioned, John Elphinstone was, upon a day betwixt " the sone
rising and ganging to of that ilk," in the parish church of Stirling, upon " the
he alter of the samyne," to pay to Lord Erskine the sum of one hundred
pounds gold and silver, which he had delivered him "in onwart of payment
of his said sovme of tocher," when a discharge would be given for the same.
Other provisions were made, securing that Lord Erskine would not refuse to
receive the money, and to carry out the arrangements stated in the circum-
stances described. The reversion, which is dated at Edinburgh, 13th July
1502, has the seal of Lord Erskine appended to it, and is witnessed by
Andrew Elphinstone of the Selmys, John of Portarfeild of Cliapeltoun, and

' Original reversion in the Elphinstone charter-chest.


This proposed marriage alliance, so carefully and particularly arranged,
never took place. Alexander Elpliinstone, the first party in the contract, as
will be seen, soon afterwards married Elizabeth Barlow. Margaret Erskine,
the other principal party in the contract, was twice married, first to John
Haldane of Gleneagles, and, secondly, to George Home of Lundies and Argaty.
Janet Erskine, the youngest daughter of Eobert, Master of Erskine, was
married to John Murray of Touchadam. It has not been ascertained whether
Thomas Elphinstone, the brother of Alexander, was ever married, but he
was not allied to any of the above-named Erskine ladies.

The alliance between the two families of Elphinstone and Erskine, how-
ever, was ultimately brought about, if not in the person of any of the two
sons of John Elphinstone, or in that of either of the two Erskine daughters
named in the reversion, at least in the person of the grandson of John Elphin-
stone. Alexander, second Lord Elphinstone, son and successor of Alexander,
the subject of this memoir, was married to Catherine Erskine, daughter of
John, fourth Lord Erskine, and niece of Margaret and Jonet Erskine.

Alexander Elphinstone married Elizabeth Barlow, one of the maids of
honour to the Princess Margaret, daughter of King Henry the Seventh of
England, and queen of King James the Fourth of Scotland. The marriage
must have taken place prior to 8th August 1507, for, in a charter of that
date, Elizabeth Barlow is described as his spouse. Alexander Elphinstone
was ofRcially attached to the court. His Majesty held him in much favour,
and styles him, in the charter just quoted, his familiar servant. Queen
Margaret also showed favour to her maid of honour for leaving her native
country of England and following her Majesty to Scotland. The king and
queen taking such a warm interest in young Elphinstone and the maid of
honour, and being desirous to have them united in marriage, the Erskine and
Elphinstone alliance was postponed till another generation. King James and
his queen not only promoted the marriage of Alexander Elphinstone with
Elizabeth Barlow, but continued to the close of Alexander's life to show the


greatest interest in them, and to confer substantial favours upon tliem.
During this period, consisting of six years, Alexander Elphinstone received
many charters, precepts, and other writs, from King James the Fourtli,
granting to him lands, baronies, etc. It was the uniform custom of the king
in these grants to give them conjointly to Alexander Elphinstone and his
wife, and to the longer liver of them. This will be seen as reference is made
to these different grants. It would have been interesting to have the con-
tract of marriage between Alexander and Elizabeth, and to have seen its
terms. In an inventory of writs contained in the charter-chest of Lord
Elphinstone, preserved among his muniments, the following entry is
made at the beginning : — " Contract of marriage betwixt Alexander, Lord
Elphinstone, and Elizabeth Berlay.''^ That entry merely shows that a
formal contract was actually prepared, and that at the date of that inventory,
which is comparatively modern, the contract existed in the Elphinstone
charter-chest. No further particulars are given, and the contract is not
now forthcoming.

On 8th August 1507, as stated above, Alexander Elphinstone received a
charter under the great seal from King James the Fourth. The grantee is
described as the king's familiar servitor, " familiar! servitori suo," and Eliza-
beth Berlay, the grantee with him, is named as the queen's servant, " servitrici
regine." The charter is given for good service, and because Elizabeth became
a Scotswoman and a liege, and for singular favours. The lands conveyed
by the charter are the lands of Invernochty, Ballebege, with mill, etc., and
Ic Glennys de Gleunochty, Invernechty, Ledmakey, Culquhony, Culquhar}', in
the lordship of Strathdon ; Mekill-Mygve, Ester- Mygve, Tulliprony, Blalok,
and Correcreif in Cromar, in the earldom of Mar and sheriffdom of Aberdeen :
also the lands of Duncanstoun, Glandirstoun, with mill, Eochmureall, and
TuUefoure, in the lordship of Garviauch and sheriffdom foresaid. All tliese
several lands the king incorporated into one free bakony of Invei!N0cuty,

1 Inventory of writs in the Eljiliiustone charter-cbest.


which was to be held by the grantees, and the longer liver of them, in con-
junct fee and heritage, and by the heirs of their bodies ; whom failing, the
lands should revert to the king. Their holding of the lands was to be for
three suits at the three head courts of the sheriffdom of Aberdeen.^ On the
same day when this charter was given, the king directed letters under the
quarter seal to Andrew Elphinstone of Selmys and three others, his sheriffs
of Aberdeen in that part, to give sasine of the lands and barony above
recited to Alexander Elphinstone and Elizabeth Barlay.^ Sasine was given
in terms of the royal letters on 23rd August 1507.^

Upon receiving this important grant of lands and their erection into a
barony, Alexander Elphinstone and his wife, without any loss of time, set
themselves to consolidate their newly acquired territorial possessions. It
will be noticed that the lands now constituting the barony of Inver-
nochty comprised lands out of the lordship of Strathdon, the earldom of
Mar, and the lordship of Garioch. This appears to have been thought a
disadvantage; and it was judged a preferable arrangement to have the
whole lands of the barony in one lordship. In order to have this effected,
Alexander Elphinstone and his wife made resignation in the hands of the
king of the whole lands and barony they had just received, for the purpose
of obtaining a regrant of the lands of Invernochty and others situated in
the lordship of Strathdon. They also renounced and overgave the remaining
lands of the barony of Invernochty, which were located in the earldom
of Mar and lordship of Garioch, and which consisted of the lands of
Mekill-Mygve, Ester-Mygve, Tulliprony, and others above enumerated, in
excambion for lands in the lordship of Strathdon. These lands thus
acquired were the lands of Skaleter, with forest of Corgarf, lands of Fennelost,
r>oIquhame, Baluaboith in Glenbouchat, Balnaboith in Kelbethok, Ballinta-

> Register of the Great Seal, vol. ii. No. 3115.

2 Anti(|intiesof the shires of Aber.lceu and Banflf, Spalding Club, vol. iv. pp. 73S-9.

3 lh„i. pp. 739-40.


more, Tiileskeuch, Summeil, Culbalauche, with forest of Baddynyoun aad
Kilvalauche, Estir Clova with Corrykeynzane, Contelauche with Braidschaw,
Auchmyllane, with the east half of Glenlof (Glenlos), Kinclune, and New-
mill, with le glennys, woods, groves, viz. le schawls of the said lands. By
this arrangement the barony of Invernochty was composed of lands all
of which were situated in the lordship of Strathdon.

King James gave a charter to Alexander Elphinstone and Elizabeth
Barlow giving effect to this excambion, and uniting the lands of Skaleter
and others to the barony of Invernochty, and also giving them a regrant
of the other lands in that barony which were resigned for that purpose.
The charter is dated at Edinburgh, 10th December 1507. The holding of
the lands was for one suit at the head court in the sheriffdom of Aberdeen

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