by P.H. McKerlie.1878.
This history was published in 5 volumes and treats each parish in Wigtownshire and Kirkcudbrightshire to a detailed and in depth examination of ownership of farms etc., and histories of the families who owned them. The Kirkcudbright Parish entry, which is quite lengthy, is reproduced here.
PARISH OF KIRKCUDBRIGHT.
THIS parish derives its name from St Cuthbert, to whom a church was dedicated in the town, since known as Kirkcudbright. [The ancient name of the parish of Ballantrae was Kirkcudbright-Innertig, from the church, which, dedicated to St Cuthhert, stood at the confluence of the Tig. It was changed to Ballantrae in 1617. – Paterson’s “Ayrshire.”]
Chalmers, and others, state that the name is derived from Caercuthbert, the Saxons having founded the burgh, and giving it that name in honour of their tutelary saint, Cuthbert of Lindisfarne. We think, however, that the usual practice of honouring a saint, [The position of saints has been reversed, for by Scripture they are found on earth, but the Church of Rome made and makes them such after death.] was to build and dedicate a church, rather than a fortress or burgh, to him or her.
The history of Saint Cuthbert is worthy of notice. Butler, in his Lives of the Saints, states that he was born not far from Mailros (Me1rose), and that Cuthbert signifies illustrious for skill; or Guthbertus, worthy of God. He also mentions that, according to his MS. life in the Cottonian Library, he was born at Ceannes or Kells, in Meath, by his mother Saba, a princess who led a holy life; also that he was grandson of Murertach, king of Ireland, 533. Wherever born, it is evident that he got to Scotland. He is also stated to have been originally a shepherd, and one night when watching his flock, he saw the soul of St Alden (founder of the Monasteries of Melrose and Lindisfarne) carried up to heaven by angels. This decided him, and he entered Melrose as a monk, when Eata was abbot, and St Boisel prior. After different movements he succeeded as prior of Melrose in 664.
Some years afterwards he was removed as prior of Lindisfarne. Aspiring to a closer union with his Maker, some years following, with leave of the abbot, he retired to the small isle of Fame, nine miles distant, which was uninhabited, with neither water, tree, nor corn. He built a hut, and by his prayers obtained a well of fresh water in his own cell How he was supplied with food is not stated. He was, however, not allowed to enjoy his retirement, for he was called to the charge of the See of Lindisfarne, which he refused, until King Egfrid with others went to him, and on their knees implored him to accept, which he had to do, weeping bitterly. After holding the bishoprick for two years, foreseeing death, he resigned, returned to Farne island, where he existed for two months, dying on the 20th March 687. By his desire his remains were interred in the Monastery of St Peter, Landisfarne, on the right side of the altar. During the Danish invasion the monks removed his remains, and, after several removals, at last settled on a spot nearly surrounded by the river Wear. There they built a church in 995, and placed his body. The present cathedral was built in 1080. His life is said to have been one of continual prayer.
Not only a town and parish, but a whole district being called from him, we have thought it desirable to give what appears in Butler's Saints.
In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries the name was written Cudbright and Kircuthbright. In the fourteenth century Kirkubry. In Reginald of Durham, it is called Cuthbrictiskchirch and St Cuthbert of Denesmor, in the Chartulary of Holyrood. It is also found as Kirkcuthbert, Kirkcubree, Kilcubright, and Kirkcudbright
The ancient church was at the present town of Kirkcudbright. The following is an extract translation relating to the church : – " In the year 1164, Ailred of Rievaux went on a visit into Galloway, and was present at Kirkcudbright on the festival of its patron, St Cuthbert. A bull was brought to the church as an oblation, which the clerics of the place baited in the churchyard. The more aged remonstrated against such a profanation, but one of the clerics mocked and said, Nec Cuthberti hujus adesse presentia, nec huic loco talis ei probatur inesse potentia, licet hujus ipsuus sit patrosa et de lapidibus compacta ecclesiola." [Regm: Dunelm: lib. de Admir: B. Cuthbati virtutibus, p. 179. Surties Soc]. The bull, however, broke loose from those tormenting it, and gored the young priest who had so spoken. The church of Kirkcudbright, and all its rights, were granted by Uchtred, Lord of Galloway, to the Monastery of Holyrood, between 1161 and 1174.
The neighbouring parishes of Dunrod and Galloway were united with Kirkcudbright about 1683. There were more than one church in the town of Kirkcudbright.
The parish of Dunrod is mentioned in 1160, when the church and lands were granted by Fergus, first Lord of Galloway, to Holyrood. It so continued until the Reformation. The site of the church is three and a half miles from Kirkcudbright. As traced some years ago, it was thirty feet by fifteen. The site of St Michael's Kirk is east of the Kirkstead. In the gifts to Holyrood, are the Churches of St Mary and St Bruok of Dunroden. Who this latter saint was, and where the church was, we do not trace. There was a Welsh saint called St Brieuc, of illustrious extraction, who died abroad about 499. Also an Irish virgin Saint Breaca in the fifth century; also another Irish saint, named Briocus, in 502. We learn these particulars from Butler. Chalmers states, that Dunrod signifies the reddish hill, derived from the Gaelic dun, and British rudd. It is evident, however, that the meaning of the word has more to do with the rood or rude, which we have dealt with under Dunrod, parish of Borgue. Dun, as most know, is a hill, a fort, etc. The following is a translation of the charter in the chartulary : – "The King of Scots, to Uchtred son of Fergus, and to Gilbert his brother, and to Rad (ulph) son of Dunegal, and to Duvenaldus his son, and to all other persons, and to all persons in the whole of Galloway and Clydesdale, health; know ye, that I have given justly, my firm peace to all those men, who go, or (will or shall) go into Galloway, for the sake of both hospitality and habitation, the land of Dunroden; which Fergus gave in perpetual alms, and by his charter confirmed to the Church of the Holy Cross (Holyrood) of Edinburgh, which also Uchtred his son, by his charter, confirmed; and of these men, witnesses Alured, Abbot of St -; Robert, Prior of -; Eug. – Chancelur, W(alter), son of Alan dap(ifero), John of -. At Clackmannan."
The other parish joined to Kirkcudbright, about 1683, was Galtway. It is in the centre of the present parish. Chalmers states that the name is derived from the British galtwy, a bank, or ascent, on the water. It is true that the old kirk stands on a bank rising from a burn which falls into Kirkcudbright bay, but the ancient church did not stand where Chalmers would place it; and he evidently did not consult Pont's Survey, taken about 1608, or he would have seen that the name was not Galtway, but Gata, which is a pure Norse word, meaning a roadway, a thoroughfare, and also as a name for land. The site of the ancient church is two miles from Kirkcudbright. Several years ago the walls could be traced, and the building was only thirty feet by fifteen. It is believed that a priory also stood in this old parish (Galtway), but we cannot find any trace of the site, which, however, is not to be wondered at, when the ancient buildings were so long used in lieu of quarries. The burial ground of the Lidderdales is here, within the walls. On an altar tomb, surmounted by the arms, there is a Latin inscription in quaint old lettering, to the following effect : – "Here lies Thomas Lidderdale, of St Mary's Isle, who died 1st February 1687, aged fifty-seven." Also another – "Here lies David Lidderdale of Torrs, son to the above Thomas, who died 21st September 1732, aged fifty-seven." The Selkirk family also bury here. Fergus, first Lord of Galloway, granted the lands and church to the Monks of Holyrood, which was confirmed by John, bishop of Galloway, the beginning of the thirteenth century. This gift was, however, appropriated to the prior and canons of St Mary's Isle, as a dependent cell of Holyrood.
The churches of the parish of Kirkcudbright were in or close to the town, of which an account will follow. In the reign of Alexander II., a priory or convent was founded for Franciscans or Grey Friars. It stood near the site of the present castle. There was also St Andrew's Church, which stood on the site of the present jail. The ancient parish church of Kirkcudbright, which has disappeared, stood east of the town, distant about a quarter of a mile. It was dedicated to St Cuthbert. Near to its site are two small eminences, one called the Angel, and the other the Bell hills. The meaning of the first we do not learn, but the other was where the hand bell would be rung by the official. Hand bells were used. In 1345, Simon, bishop of Candida Casa (Galloway), granted to the canons of Holyrood all their privileges in his diocese, with the patronage of the vicarage at Kirkcudbright. In Bagimont's Roll, it appears in the reign of James V. that the vicarage was taxed at £3. 6s. 8d.
The late parish church, built in 1730, stood on the site of the Friars' Church. On the north side of the parish, farm of Kirkbride, there was also an ancient chapel dedicated to St Bridget, for an account of which saint, see Kirkmabreck.
The corporation of Kirkcudbright received from Queen Mary a grant of the Friars' Church to be used as a parish church. At the Reformation the vicarage of Kirkcudbright was held by Dene George Crichtoun, and reported by him as then worth £40 yearly, exclusive of coe presents, umest claithis and pasch fines, no longer paid. After the Reformation, the church of St Andrews was also confirmed to the corporation. Under the Annexation Act of 1587, the vicarage and lands were vested in the king. In 1633 they were given to the new bishopric of Edinburgh. Upon the abolition of Episcopacy in 1689, they reverted to the Crown.
The ancient churchyards of Kirkcudbright, Dunrod, and Galloway, are still in use-the first specially so. As the rule in Galtway, in none of them are to be found any very ancient memorials of the departed. We write so after personal inspection of most of the ancient burial-places. This arises from the dead having been buried under the religious houses; the higher the rank, the nearer the altar, without anything to mark the spot. This was characteristic of Galloway in other respects, accounting for much that is now wanting. It arose from an idea that they would never be forgotten. How erroneous, yet excusable, when we consider the times in which they lived, and society as it then was.
The most interesting memorial stone which we found was the one in St Cuthbert's, marking the spot where the mortal remains of William Hunter and Robert Smith, apprehended at Auchencloy (on the Dee), hanged, and then beheaded at Kirkcudbright, rest. There is another to the memory of John Hallam or Hallune. These were martyrs in 1684-5. John Hallume was only eighteen years of age. He was on a pathway in Tongland parish, when a detachment of cavalry, under Lieutenant Livingston, pursued, fired at, and wounded him. They then took him to Kirkcudbright, ordered him to take the abjuration oath, which he refused, on which he was executed, and interred here. There is also a rough stone marking the spot where Billy Marshall, the celebrated Gipsey, rests, so far as his mortal remains are concerned. On this rough memorial are the words-" Billy Marshall, born about 1671, died at Kirkcudbright 2 3d November 1792." This is supported with two tup horns and two cutty spoons. In a vault in the old church of Kirkcudbright, already described, the Maclellans of Bomby were interred. This, of course, was after they obtained the site of the old convent, etc., for a castle. There is a monument which pertains to the first laid there. The inscription is –
"Hic Dominus situs est T. M'Clellanus, et uxor
D. Grissell Maxwel; marmor utrumque tegit
Hic Genitus R. D. Kirkcudbrius ecce sepulchrum
Possuit hoc, chari patris honore sui
Ille obiit Ann. Dom. 1597."
Such is an outline of the ecclesiastical account of the parish as it was. We will now turn to the ancient town of Kirkcudbright. The name is from the patron saint already mentioned. The town, however, is believed to have been founded before the invasion of the Romans, and known as Benutium. There can be no doubt that in later times the centre of district government was here, or in the immediate neighbourhood. Skene in his "Celtic Scotland" supposes that a battle called Drumcathmail mentioned in the Ulster Annals A.D. 741, as fought by King Alpine when he invaded Galloway, was near Kirkcudbright. There is no proof of this. On the eastern side of the Dee, within the present burgh boundaries, stood a castle which overlooked the entrance to the river, the tide flowing into the fosse. In the era of the first Lords of Galloway, it belonged to, and is believed to have been built by one of them, either Uchtred or Roland. The fosse, or ditch into which the tide flowed, was outside of a wall which surrounded it. All remains have long since disappeared, excepting the fosse, which in some places could be traced a few years ago.
Mackenzie in his History tells us that the fosse commenced in the present dock, and passed between the gardens belonging to Castle Street and the west side of the park in which the new church is built; then nearly south, crossing the street, there was a gate called the "Meikle Yett," taken down about one hundred and thirty years ago. The pillars were removed to the entrance of the churchyard. There was another gate to the river side. The castle, with enclosures, occupied a square, each side being upwards of three hundred yards long. When Alan, last Lord of Galloway, of the Fergus line, died, the castle, etc., passed to his daughter Dervorgille. In ancient charters the castle is called Castlemains and Castledykes. The castle and town were together as is generally to be found. We learn nothing more of the castle or town until we come to the Succession Wars, when Galloway suffered so much from the Norman rulers whose ancestors King David I. had brought into the district in the twelfth century.
In 1291, there is a "receipt from William de Byville, warden of the castles of Dumfries, Wigton, and Kirkcudbright, for payment of his wages ;" also others. [Documents illustrative of the History of Scotland.] There can be no doubt that he was the William de Kircuthbright whom we find in the Ragman Roll as having sworn fealty to King Edward I. The castle was then in the occupation of the English, having been taken and garrisoned. Walter de Curry was keeper for a time; afterwards Richard Seward, who, on mandate from King Edward I., delivered the castle up to John Baliol Kirkcudbright was, however, clear of the English in 1298; for in the spring of that year, believed to have been the 20th April, Scotland's hero, the great patriot, Sir William Wallace, sailed from it on a visit to Philip, king of France. As will be seen under the history of the land of Bomby, it is a mistake to suppose that he embarked there through a Maclellan, being one of his companions in arms, for that family was not then known in Galloway.
We next learn that, in July 1300, King Edward I., with his queen and court, occupied the castle for ten days as his residence when he invaded Galloway. He made an oblation of seven shillings at the altar of the convent or monastery of Grey Friars. When there, he received from the town of Drogheda a present of eighty hogsheads of wine. The district was afterwards cleared of enemies by Edward Bruce, and the castle bestowed on him by his brother King Robert. At his death it reverted to the crown. It was next granted in 1369 by David II. to Archibald Douglas, with whose descendants it remained until their forfeiture in 1451, when it fell to the crown. King David II. also granted the Constabulary of Kirkubry to Fergus M'Dowgall, with ane three merk land.
In 1455 King James II. visited Kirkcudbright, on his way to take Threave Castle. The town was made by him a royal burgh by charter dated at Perth. 26th October 1455, in which the chief magistrate was styled alderman. This created the jealousy of Dumfries, and the question of right was laid before the Lord Auditors, who remitted it to the Lords of Council in October 1467. There is a transcript of this charter in the burgh, which was made within the chapel of Greyfriars on the 13th February 1466, William M'Lellan of Bomby being then provost. [This, and one or two other particulars, gathered from the report of the Historical Manuscript Commission.]
The next information is in 1461, when the castle was the retreat and residence of Henry VI., king of England, and his queen, after his defeat at Towton on the 29th March of that year. William of Worcester states, under date 30th August 1461, "The Kyng Herry is at Kirkowbrie, with four men and a child. Also that Queen Margaret was then at Edinburgh with her son. She afterwards returned, and sailed from Kirkcudbright to Bretagne on the 16th April 1462. King Henry returned to England in disguise the following year." Miss Strickland, in her "Queens of England," tells a story of an attempt to kidnap the queen and her son at Kirkcudbright, when they fled there after the battle of Hexham in 1468. This, as told, was by an innkeeper named Cork, in order to deliver them to the Yorkists. Cork and his men seized the queen and her son when in bed, with two of her attendants. They then got into a boat, and started to cross the Solway. De Broze, a French knight, in the dark liberated himself, also liberating his squire, when they attacked the innkeeper and his men, slew, and threw them overboard. The oars, however, were lost in the scuffle, and the boat drifted about, at last getting on a sand-bank in shallow water, supposed to be Luce bay.
They landed in a wild and thinly inhabited district. The squire was dispatched to Edinburgh, and in due time returned with an escort and supplies, when they proceeded to Edinburgh. The story is said to be in the main a true one, but it is evidently erroneous, unless there is a jumble of dates, which is not improbable. The battle of Hexham was fought on the 15th May 1464, and neither King Henry nor Queen Margaret again re-visited Scotland. She proceeded to the Continent (Flanders), and her husband, after concealment in Lancashire for a year, was seized and lodged in the Tower of London, where he died, or was murdered.
In 1501, James IV. was at Kirkcudbright, when on one of his pilgrimages to Whithorn. He bestowed £1 on the priest, and £5. 12s. upon the friars, to buy a eucharist. He then inhabited the castle. In 1507, Thomas, Earl of Derby, at the head of a body of Manxmen, landed on the coast, and nearly destroyed Kirkcudbright, from which it did not recover for several years. In 1508, James IV. again occupied the castle, and the next year he gifted it with some land, to the magistrates, for the good of the inhabitants of the town, which was confirmed by charter dated 26th February 1509. In 1547-8, the town was besieged by Sir Thomas Carleton of Carleton Hall, Cumberland, but unsuccessfully. The convent of Greyfriars having suffered from the excitement of the populace, was obtained by Sir Thomas Maclellan of Bombie, on the 6th December 1569, as a site for a residence, and a fortalice building, or strong house, was erected. The agreement with the magistrates was dated 23rd March 1570, and the castle was completed about 1582. The stones of the convent, it is said, were used in its erection. It is now in ruins, the walls only remaining entire. The roof was on until 1752, when it was taken off, a portion sold, and the rest, with other articles, conveyed to Orchardtown by Sir Robert Maxwell. It stood on the old castle lands, which were subject to a burgage tenure.
King James VI. was at Kirkcudbright when his forces were in pursuit of Lord Maxwell; and he appears to have presented to the incorporated trades of the burgh, a silver gun, seven inches long, as a prize to be shot for occasionally that they might improve in practice, as firearms were then coming into use. On the barrel 1587 is engraved, with the initials T. M. G. supposed to be those of Thomas Maclellan of Bomby, who was a baillie of the burgh.
On the 20th July 1633, King Charles I. granted a new charter to the town, creating a provost, two baillies, a treasurer, and thirteen councillors.
On the 3rd December 1653, Thomas Ferguson had sasine of the land and living, and the estate of Kirkcudbright. On the 21st December following, the laird of Lag had sasine of the lordship of Kirkcudbright, etc. On the 5th January 1654, William Reid had sasine of the land of Kirkcudbright, etc.; and, on the 21st January following, Lord Carmichael and Sir Dalziel his son had sasine of the same. We next find that on the 18th October 1654, Andrew Melville had sasine of the barony of Kirkcudbright. On the 10th January 1655, Sir Robert, Christan, and Marion Sinclair had sasine; followed by James Melville on the 24th December. On the 30th November 1656, Elizabeth Rig had sasine. The last notice we have to give under this head is that on the 3rd June 1782, Dunbar, Earl of Selkirk, had sasine of the castle.
The town of Kirkcudbright is pleasantly situated on the river Dee, with some good buildings. In 1763, the town was supplied with spring water, brought in lead pipes, from about half-a-mile distant. In 1777, a library was established. In 1808 and 1810 two building societies were formed, who erected one hundred and twelve houses. In 1815, the jail and new academy were commenced to be built. The new parish church, a handsome building, was erected in 1838. It is large, having accommodation for 1500. It cost about £7000. Kirkcudbright stands first in Galloway as having been supplied with gas, which was introduced in 1838.
The river Dee was crossed further up the river by a bridge erected about one hundred and eighty years ago. It was followed by another, built in 1808. There is now, however, at the town, a very handsome iron one, which is spacious, light in appearance, and strong in construction. It was erected in 1866 at a cost of £10,000. There was previously a ferry boat. There is considerable trade at Kirkcudbright, the river being navigable for vessels of two or three hundred tons burden. The depth of water off the town is twentythree feet at springs, and fourteen feet at neap tides.
At the mouth of the river there is an island called Little Ross, which is nearly oval, and a quarter of a mile in length, with two towers and a lighthouse. This lighthouse is sixty five feet high, standing on the summit at a height one hundred and seventy-five feet above high water. This island is close to the mainland, near to Great Ross Point Ross is from the Gaelic ros, a promontory.
On the shore at Balmae there are several caves, the largest of which, called Torrs, is sometimes inaccurately described as Sir Walter Scott's Dirk Hatterick's. If Sir Walter had any special cave at all in his mind, which is doubtful, as he knew nothing of the district beyond what he was told, we think that the one at Ravenshall, Kirkmabreck, must have been the cave depicted. However, the special one we now refer to was, no doubt, used by smugglers. It is stated to extend inwards sixty feet, and the entrance so low and narrow that it is necessary to crawl on the hands and knees. Inside it gradually rises to twelve feet in height, and as gradually declines to the further end. There had been a doorway regularly built, with a lintel at the top.
The lochs in this parish are few. At Loch Fergus there once was a loch, half a mile in length, but it has been drained for many years. There were two islands in it, one called Palace, and the other Stable Isle. This was where Fergus, first lord of Galloway had his habitation, and where his son, Uchtred, was cruelly tortured and slaughtered by his brother Gilbert. The other lochs is one at Jordieland farm, and another east of Culdoch farmhouse, in a cottage on which latter farm, Mary Queen of Scots is stated to
have taken shelter on her way from Langside to England. There are, however, rather contradictory accounts about the Queen's progress in Galloway.
The site of Galtway village is south of High Banks farm-house, and south of Townhead farm-house, is the site of Dunrod village.
When King William's fleet was on passage to Ireland, it became windbound in the bay of Kirkcudbright; and he is understood to have erected a battery on the eastern shore, close to Torrs point, which is still known by his name. We are not told how long he was detained, so as to be able to form an opinion whether the battery was formed by him, or afterwards by his orders. Also, south of Torrs Moor farm, there is a spot called the battery.
At Kirkcudbright the heads of Major M'Culloch of Barholm, parish of Kirkmabreck; John Gordon of Knockbrex, parish of Borgue; and Robert, his brother, were affixed to the principal gate of the town. They were at the action at the Pentland hills near Edinburgh, and, after the defeat, were taken and executed at Edinburgh.
When the Act of Parliament was passed in 1747 for abolishing hereditary jurisdiction in Scotland, Henrietta, Countess Dowager of Hopetoun, as heir of , claimed, with consent of her father, the Marquis of Annandale, £5000 compensation, which was granted.
The present parish extends to over eight miles in length by three and a half in width.
It is believed by many Gallovidians that the well known gun "Mons Meg" was forged in or near the town of Kirkcudbright. As Sir A. Agnew (1864) relates it, the burgesses raised a subscription amongst themselves, and bought metal, with which, to their order, a blacksmith of the town, named M'Kerin (elsewhere we find it M'Minn), manufactured her. There must have been a gun forged to give rise to this tradition, but it was not "Mons Meg." This is proved from papers left by the late Captain M'Kerlie, who as principal ordnance storekeeper in Scotland, had the full report of the very interesting investigation instituted by the Board of Ordnance to discover where Meg was manufactured.
To aid in the search, Captain M'Kerlie recommended to the Master General (then Lieut. -General Sir George Murray) that the services of the late Alexander Macdonald, Keeper of Records, Register House, Edinburgh, and one of the curators of the Society of Antiquaries, should be obtained. This was carried out, and Mr Macdonald in Scotland, with the Ordnance Department in London, made a most searching investigation into the old records, the result of which was against the supposition so long entertained. In the first place it was proved that the Stewartry had not the means of manufacturing such a gun at that early period, and secondly, it was found that at Ghent, in East Flanders, Belgium, there still was a similar gun to Mons Meg, one of three stated to have been forged at the town of Mons, in the Province of Hainault, Belgium, in 1486. Nothing can be more conclusive about Meg's birthplace, a district rich in iron, coal, and other minerals.
A story is told in the report to prove Meg's capaciousness, and thereby usefulness, in an opposite form to those of destruction, when resting in the Tower of London, whereby the population of the country was increased.
At St Mary's Isle, about two hundred yards off the southern extreme, there is a small wooded islet called the Inch.
The population of the town and parish by the census of 1871 was 1468 males and 1860 females, making a total of 3328. The Rev. William Mackenzie, author of the "History of Galloway," was born in Kirkcudbright, and remained there. He died in 1854, aged 64. John Nicholson, the publisher of the above-mentioned history, was brother to William the poet. John was born in Tongland parish in 1777. For a time a weaver, next a trooper in the Scots Greys, he subsequently settled in Kirkcudbright as a bookseller, &c. He was well known for his knowledge of Galloway traditions. He died at Kirkcudbright in 1866.
GATA OR GALTNEY.
The parish and land of Gata, now called Galtney, is absorbed in Kirkcudbright. The name Gata is from the Norse, being a pure word in that language applied to a thoroughfare and to land.
Beyond this we have very little information. In May 1629 Thomas Lidderdaill had sasine of the five pound land of Galeway; and in July 1630 William Tailzefair had also sasine. Then in February 1633 Mr Adam Lawtie (Rev. Adam Lawrie ?) had sasine of Mekilgultneyis, etc.
The old church has disappeared, but the site can be made out. The Lidderdales of St Mary's Isle buried here, and the ground is still owned by the present representative, Thomas W. Lidderdale (see St Mary's Isle). It is also the burial place of the present owners, the Earls of Selkirk, and used by a few of the old families whose descendants may remain in the district. There is a tombstone to James Gordon of Troquain, parish of Balmaclellan. The date is 1737. He was therefore buried here. More particulars will be found under the account of the present parish, Kirkcudbright.
ST MARY'S ISLE.
This residence takes its name from a priory of the order of St Augustine, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, which was founded here in the reign of King David I., by Fergus, Lord of Galloway, and occupied the Isle. Fergus bestowed it on the abbot and monks of Holyrood. Previously it was called the Isle of Trahil or Trayl. The priory was called "Prioratus Sanctae Mariae de Trayl." It was large, surrounded with high walls, enclosing an extensive area. The outer gate, called the Great Cross, stood at least half a mile from the monastery. The inner gate, called the Little Cross, led to the cells where the monks lodged. There was a fine orchard attached. All the buildings were taken away about 170 years ago, with the good taste for the ancient then prevailing, to extend the present grounds, which occupy the whole peninsula, and is one and a half miles in length and three furlongs in breadth. In former times it formed an island, but the retreat of the sea along the coast has been so great that it now forms a complete peninsula. It was in the old parish of Galtway.
So far as regards the priory records, they are all gone, in common with the records of the other religious houses in Galloway, which all disappeared at the Reformation, hitherto believed either to have been destroyed or taken abroad by the monks, but we think, in not a few cases, got rid of by those who obtained the lands.
The following is a translation of the history of the priory of St Mary, erected on the Isle of Trahil by Fergus, first Lord of Galloway. [A fragment of the Chartulary of Sancte Crucis (Holyrood), published by the Bannatyne Club in 1836. The translation we give is taken from Gordon’s “Monasticon”]
"This is the History of the Foundation of the Priory of the Island of Trail, and how Fergus, great Lord of Galloway, the founder thereof, obtained pardon from King David, and gave that Island and other possessions to the monastery of Holyrood, and how having become one of the Religious, he was buried therein.
"When the fabric of the monastery of Holyrood, near Edinburgh, was progressing under S. David, a most happy monarch, it happened that Fergus, Earl and great Lord of Galloway, failed in his duty to his Majesty, and committed a grievous fault, at which the king, evidently very angry, determined to put the law in force vigorously against him. This Fergus being very much devoted to God, and notwithstanding his accidental fault, always faithful to the King, knowing that the King was most determined in the execution of justice, was very much afraid, and in many ways and by various means endeavouring to regain the King's favour. At length, being inspired by Divine counsel, in a change of habit, and in the most secret manner, he repaired to Alwyn, the Abbot of the monastery of Holyrood, the King's Confessor and confidential secretary, for advice and assistance.
The Abbot, therefore, compassionating the aforesaid penitent, Lord Fergus, prayed to God to obtain the Royal favour for him; and because he well knew in this case the King's determination for the execution of justice was inflexible, he was afraid incautiously, to intercede in his behalf. At last, by the ingenuity of both Fergus and the Abbot, it was contrived that the same Lord Fergus should assume the Cloister Habit of a Canon Regular, and thus, God directing, should obtain, along with his Brethren the King's favour, and, at the same time, the pardon of this offence, through supplication under a Religious Habit. Leaving to God their purpose, they wait for a convenient day and hour, with the intention of the Abbot speaking to the King on this matter. One day, as usual, while the King was visiting the builders of his famous monastery, the Abbot at a seasonable moment thus addresses him, '0 most Gracious Prince and Founder, we, though unworthy petitioners and Conventual Chaplains, by reason of the wounds of our transgressions, to be cured only by a spiritual remedy, beg to have often the presence of your Highness in Chapter.' At this the merciful Prince, highly pleased, enters the Chapter House, when the Brethren were arranged in order at the hour of meeting, sits down in the middle of the Brethren prostrating themselves to the ground at the entrance.
The Abbot thus speaks, '0 most Gracious Prince, we, the Petitioners of your Highness, confessing our faults that we are guilty and transgressors, most humbly beseech thee, in the bowels of Jesus Christ, that your most benignant Highness would condescend to pardon us, and every one of us every fault and offence committed against your Majesty, with a single and unfeigned heart, and at the same time bestow upon us your blessing, in order that for the future we may be deserving to mediate and pray for the safety of your Kingdom more holly and devotedly, and that your Highness would be pleased in token to bestow upon every one of us the Kiss of Peace. The King, with a most placid countenance, replied, 'Dearly beloved Brethren, I forgive you all charges and commend myself to your prayers;' and immediately rising from his seat and taking the Abbot by the hand, Kissed him, saying, 'Peace be to thee, Brother, with the Divine Benediction.'"
The interpretation of this story is that Fergus was involved in the conspiracy of Angus, Earl of Moray, defeated at Strathcaro in 1130 by Edward, Constable [This was a new office in Scotland, introduced by King David I.] of Scotland, and that all the after donations of Fergus to the Church were the price of his escape from punishment and his elevation subsequent to 1138, to the Lordship of Galloway, for all of which he was indebted to the Church, and particularly to the abbot of "Sancte Crucis," alias Holyrood. It is strikingly shown by the list of gifts to this abbey, which consisted of the priory of St Mary of Trail (St Mary's Isle), the churches of St Mary and St Bruok of Dunroden, Galtweid (Galtway), St Bridget of Blacket, St Cuthbert of Denesmor (Kirkcudbright), Tuncegeland, Twenhame, St Andrew or Kirkandrew, Balmakethe (Balmaghie), Keletun, alias Locheletun, Kyrkecormac, with the chapel of Balnecross. Several particulars proving that Fergus was only a governor placed over Galloway by King David I. ; that he was not a native of Galloway, etc., etc., will be found in the Historical Sketch, Vol. II.
The early charters have been lost, and little can be gathered prior to the sixteenth century.
Of other lands now forming part of the property we find that King Robert the Bruce granted Brigend and Toskerton to William Hurchurche, no doubt some stranger, as the name is unknown in the district. He also granted the land of Sypeland to Alia Fergusio de Ardrossan. There was also a grant or rather confirmation to the Abbey of Halyrudehouse of St Marie's Yle. The two first named did not retain the land long, for King David II. granted Toskertoun to Nicoll Striveling (Stirling), and Sypeland to Robert Russell, on resignation of Fergus of Ardrossan.
We next find John Ramsay of Sypeland, who was killed at Pinkiecleuch, and succeeded by William Ramsay, who had retour as his heir on the 29th October 1548. The relationship is not named, but probably William was the son of John. Following this, on the 4th February 1550, John Marjoribanks, heir of John Marjoribanks, burgess, Edinburgh, had retour of the five merk land of Sypeland. This was no doubt a wadset.
The farm of Balgreddan appears to have belonged to the Maxwells of Munches at this time. On the 5th August 1550, Robert, son of Robert Maxwell of Munches, had retour.
David Panther, Paniter, or Painter, was prior early in the sixteenth century. He is stated to have been of an ancient family near Montrose. He was also vicar of Carstairs, and commendator of Cambuskenneth; also Secretary of State during Queen Mary's minority, and was sent as ambassador to the French court, where he remained seven years. He was afterwards bishop of Ross, and sent in 1550 as commissioner to France to bring about a peace between England and Scotland, in which he succeeded. He was a man of learning, and an elegant writer. His moral and religious character, however, is written of in terms showing that he fell far short in these the most important matters. He died at Stirling 1st October 1558. When he left St Mary's Isle we do not learn, but he was succeeded by Robert Strivelin as prior, who died about 1558. Robert Richardson succeeded him. We find him first styled as usufructuary, when William Rutherfurd was commendator. He afterwards was commendator. On the 30th March 1558, he was raised to be Lord Treasurer, and Master of the Mint. His progenitors for several generations were citizens of Edinburgh. His ambition, as stated, was to accumulate money, and found a family, in which he succeeded. He purchased a great deal of land, and left it to his two sons, Sir James Richardson of Smeaton, and Sir Robert of Pencaitland, and his daughter Katherine, who married James Lidderdale. Thus families rose at this time, while others fell. Although commendator, he was put to open penance in the church for having an illegitimate child. A commendator was not, however, in actual holy orders, but more of a lay superintendent. He died in 1571 .
[On the 7th July 1571, Mr Robert Richardson, commendatore of Sanct Marie Yle; James Richardsone, his sone naturall ; James Lidderdiall, feuar of Sanct Marie, and several others, the list being headed by John, Lord Glammis, had lands, &c., forfeited. – (MS. Maitland Club, Edinburgh, 1833).]
We next learn that, on the 4th August 1572, the lands belonging to the priory were granted by charter to James Lidderdale, and Thomas his son in fee farm, by Robert Richardson, described as usufructuar, and William Rutherfurd, perpetual commendator, which the king confirmed on the 4th November 1573. The first of this family to be found was Andrew Lidderdale, abbot of Dryburgh, A.D. 1489 to 1506. The next found was James Lydderdayll of Yrsyltoune (Berwick) in 1535. He was succeeded by James Lidderdail (umquhile) of Erslingtoun. He married Katherine, daughter of Robert Richardson, commendator, etc., of St Mary's Isle. From this marriage it would appear their connection with Galloway commenced. It is stated, however, in the Report of the Historical MSS. Commission on the St Mary Isle Papers, that the earliest charter is one dated by Robert Richardson in favour of Stephen Lidderdail, A.D. 1558.
It is not improbable that the surname was derived from the water of Leader in Berwickshire, from which is Lauderdale. The land then comprised the two and a-half merk land of St Mary's Isle, with the manor, wood, and fish yare of the same; the ten merk land of Grange, the ten merk land of Torrs, and seven and a-half merk land of Little Galtway, reserving from the last, eight acres for the minister of Galtway. There were also mills attached to the land. From Whitsunday 1574, the Lidderdales also received a lease for nineteen years of the tithes, revenues, and lands that appertained to the priory. The parish churches which belonged to it were Galtway (Gata), Anwoth, and Kirkmaiden, in Wigtonshire. The revenue was £307, 11s. 4d. The land of Galtway was owned about this time by Gilbert Maclellan, whose name we find in an agreement in 1593, made with Sir Robert Maxwell of Spottes, parish of Urr, in regard to land in the parish of Rerwick, etc.
Our next notices of various farms in the seventeenth century begin with Balgreddan. On the 19th September 1604, John, son of John Maxwell of Munches, had retour. He again was succeeded by his son Robert, who had retour on the 13th July 1619. We next learn that, on the 25th October 1621, and 11th October 1627, Thomas Lidderdale, styled of St Mary, son of James Lidderdale, styled of Isle, had retour of Middle or Meikill Galtway. On the 4th May 1630, Thomas Lidderdaill de Sanct Mary Isle was heir parcener of Magistri Roberti Richardsone, commendatoris de Sanct Mary Ile, avi ex parte Matris. On the 12th February 1624, James, son of James Muirhead of Laghoise, had retour of Balgreddane, etc. On the 17th March 1635, John, Viscount Kenmure, son of John, had retour of the land of Lochfergus, Blakstokertoun, Little Stokartoun, Meikle and Little Sypland, Bombie, and Balgreddan. In December 1636, James Lidderdaill had sasine of Torris Grange (Torrs and Grange) and others. On the 18th April 1643, Alexander, son of Patrick M'Clellan of Jurdanland, was served as his heir to Jordieland. In December 1640, we find Thomas Lidderdaill of St Mary's Isle, and James his son; and again, on the 17th August 1652, that Thomas, son of James Lidderdaill of Isle, had retour, as heir of his brother Robert, in the land of Torr.
[This Thomas Lidderdale is described by Nesbit as merchant citizen of London, son to the deceased Robert Lidderdale, a younger son of St Mary's Isle.
Arms – Azure, a chevron ermine, within a bordure ingrailed, argent.
Crest – An eagle's head erased, proper.
Motto – Per belle qui proevidet.]
On the 17th October 1653, Thomas Lidderdaill had sasine of the two and a-half merk land of Torris.
After this, on the 6th October 1653, Mary, Countess of Buccleuch, had retour of Balgreddan. This was only a wadset. Again, on the 29th July 1662, Alexander, son of Patrick Maclellan, had retour of Jordieland.
In regard to St Mary's Isle itself, there appear to have been numerous wadsets about this time. On the 7th February 1663, John, Lord Kirkcudbright, had sasine. It is called St Marie Yle. Again, on the 8th February following, Robert Maxwell of Orchardtoun had sasine. He was followed, on the 22d August of the same year, by John, Lord Kirkcudbright, of the land of St Marie's Yle, comprehending the land of Grange and others; and on the same day David Boyd, merchant and burgess of Edinburgh, had sasine of the land of Grange. We next find that on the 22d January 1664, James Douglas, minister at Crocemichell, and his spouse Alison Gordon, had sasine of the land of Grange. Then, in November 1665, that Thomas, son of William Maclellan of Meikle Syppieland, and Miln of Bombie, etc., had sasine of the same. In February 1666, Alexander Maclellan, son of umqll Patrick M'Lellan of Jordieland, had sasine; and on the same day and of the same land, John Inglis, clerk in Kirkcudbright, had sasine, followed by Janet Inglis, no doubt his daughter, and spouse to Alexander M'Clellan. In September following, David Ramsay had sasine of the farms of Cuorbtie, Sipleland, and Blackcraigs. In June 1666, John Inglis, already mentioned, had also sasine of the two and a-half merk land of Torris.
St. Mary's Isle appears to have been retained by the Lidderdales. On the 23rd June 1668, Robert, son of James Lidderdale, had retour of the two and a-half merk land of the Isle. In July 1668, Thomas Lidderdale of Gerantoun, son of Robert, had sasine of the land of St. Marie Ile; and on the same day Robert Lidderdale, now of St. Marie Ile, had sasine of the same.
We have next to state that on the 8th September 1668, Mary, daughter of William Gordon, had retour of the six merk land of Rotraive (Ross ?). In October 1669, that John Maxwell of Littlebar had sasine of the land of Nethercarse, etc.; and on the 12th October following, that Elizabeth Stewart, wife of Alexander M'Ghie of Balmaghie, heir of her father Colonel Alexander Stewart of Castle-Stewart, had retour of Meikle and Little Sypeland. In the same month and year, Wm. Whythead, now of Milnhouse, had sasine of the Milne of Grainge and land called Whythead, St. Mary's Ile. In December following she had sasine of the same land, and Thomas Lidderdale had sasine of the ten merk land of Torrs, etc. On the 18th of the same month and year, James Lidderdale had principal sasine of the two and a-half merk land of St. Mary's Isle. On the same date, in liferent, Margaret Brown and Robert Lidderdale, her children in fie, had principal sasine of the ten merk land of Torrs, etc. Probably she was the wife of Thomas Lidderdale, who died in February 1687. He is stated to have had issue-
David, born 1675, of Torrs, who married Eleanora, eldest daughter of Sir James Dunbar of Mochrum, and had issue. He died 21st September 1732.
Robert Lidderdale, etc., may have been other children. In 1681, Thomas Lidderdale, along with Grierson of Lag, held one of the grievous courts at Kirkcudbright, against the Presbyterians. In 1683, he held another court in Twynholm in a severe and overbearing manner. On the 12th February 1698, James was served heir to his father Thomas Lidderdale of Sanct Mary Isle. He married Margaret, youngest daughter of Andrew Heron of Kirouchtrie, and widow (without issue) of John M'Kie of Larg, parish of Minnigaff. By her he had issue-
– -, daughter, who married John Douglas, surgeon.
It is stated that Thomas, son of James Lidderdale of St. Mary's Isle, went to the West Indies, made a fortune, and on what was called a Spanish voyage (no doubt to the mainland called Spanish Main in several parts) he died. The estate of St. Mary's being much burdened, it was then sold to Lady Mary Hamilton, but before proceeding with this we must first continue the history of the Lidderdale family. On the 23rd June 1708, David Lidderdaill of Torr, had sasine of the ten merk land of Torrs. Then on the 1st June 1739, James Lidderdale, son and heir to the deceased David Lidderdale, had sasine of Torrs. Next, on 8th May 1740, John M'Kie of Palgown, parish of Minnigaff, had sasine; followed on the 21st July 1740, by Henry Home of Kaimes (Berwickshire), advocate, who had sasine of the ten merk land of Torrs.
After the death of Thomas Lidderdale in the West Indies, the representation of the family passed to David Lidderdale of Torrs, and his descendants. By his marriage already mentioned, he had issue-
John, born in 1713, died in 1777.
Thomas, married and had issue, Maria, who died unmarried.
James, predeceased his brother John, married, and had issue,
Thomas, who died unmarried.
—-, who married — Hutton, and had issue,
—, who married — Roebuck.
—, who married — Brown.
Eleanor, married Walter Pringle, St. Kitts, West Indies, grandson of Sir Robert Pringle of Stitchel, Roxburghshire, and had issue,
Anne, married John Dairymple, whose son James became fourth baronet of Hailes.
John succeeded his father David in the representation, and became the owner of Castlemilk, Dumfries-shire. He married in 1738 Elizabeth (who died in 1777), daughter of Robertson of Struan, Perthshire, and had issue, of whom survived,
William Robertson, died in 1814.
Thomas, born in 1760, married, of whom hereafter.
Several other sons who died in infancy.
William Robertson Lidderdale succeeded to the representation of the family at the death of his father at Castlemilk, in August 1777. He succeeded to Castlemilk, and became a captain in the Scots Greys in 1775, which regiment he joined as a coronet. He sold the property. He married Julia Rae in 1789, and had issue, of whom survived,
David, died unmarried in 1860.
Robertson, died unmarried in 1840.
Julia, married, in 1822, John Forrest of Long Meadow, Annan. She died in 1834, leaving issue,
John James, died young.
William John, born in 1828, of Long Meadow. He married, and had issue. He died in 1873.
William Robertson Lidderdale, born in 1870.
Andrew Turnbull, born 1830. He married, and has issue,
John Andrew, born in 1870.
Margaret, died 1868, buried at Gata.
Elizabeth, died 1827.
Eleanora, died 1824.
Jane, died 1831.
We have now to refer to Thomas, the youngest surviving son of John Lidderdale of Castlemilk, Dumfries-shire. He joined the 3rd (King's Own) Light Dragoons as a cornet in 1776; became a lieutenant in the 89th Regiment; and a captain in the 60th Regiment in 1799. The same year he exchanged into the 6th West India Regiment. He married, 20th March 1783, Eliza, daughter of – Cropper of Ludlow, and had issue-
Thomas Robertson, born 24th March 1785, died 16th May 1852.
Sophia Matilda Eliza.
Anna Mariana Barbara.
He obtained for his son an ensign's commission in the 6th W. I. Regiment. Both were shipwrecked in the Bay of Honduras. Captain Lidderdale died and was buried in the sand on the shore. His son, twice again wrecked, became broken in health, and was placed on half-pay. Thomas Robertson married, 16th June 1823, Anne (born 2nd June 1787), daughter of William Sadler of Bolton Hall. She (died 4th November 1865) had issue,
John, died in infancy.
[We have to acknowledge the kind aid received from Mr Lidderdale. From his position he was enabled to save us much time in getting the old works required to be seen, and was always ready to assist in any way he could. To him we are also indebted for our knowledge of Mr Yigfussion, and the information he gave in regard to the Orkneyinga Saga.]
The present representative of the Lidderdales is thus Thomas William of the Literary Department, British Museum. He married, 22nd January 1862, Frances Maria, daughter of John Acton of Ludlow, Salop.
Arms-Azure, a chevron ermine, quartering those of Robertson.
Crest-An eagle's head, erased, proper.
Motto-Foresight is all.
To return to the general history of this property, we find that on the 28th February 1682, Robert, son of Robert Maxwell of Orchardtoun had retour of the two and a-half merk-land of St. Mary's Isle, and the ten merk land of Torrs, in the same parish of Galtway. The farm of Drumore at this time is mentioned as having been owned by Walter Carson.
In regard to other land, on the 3rd December 1686, Sir David Dunbar of Baldoon, parish of Kirkinner, had principal sasine of the land of Meikle Galtway and Knock, and Over Galtway, etc.
Our notices in the eighteenth century commence with the 17th June 1700, when A. Ewart had sasine of the land of Drumore. On the 3rd March 1704, Patrick Heron of that ilk, elder, had sasine of the land of St. Marie Isle, and Jordiland, etc. ; and on the 13th July following, James Lidderdale of St. Mary Isle, had sasine of the same. Then on the 24th September 1707, Helen Gordon, spouse to John M'Clelland of Balmae, had sasine. In regard to Balmae, we find that there was a resignation and renunciation dated 11th August 1768, from Colin M'Kenzie, writer in Kirkcudbright, to Hugh Blair of Dunrod, of the land of Balmae, etc. This was followed, on the 24th May 1792, by a sasine in favour of John M'Michan, eldest son and apparent heir of Samuel M'Michan, portioner of Balmae, of part of the land of Balmae on disposition by John M'Naught to Samuel M'Michan, and disposition by the latter to John M'Michan.
The exact date when St Mary's Isle and adjacent lands were purchased we have not closely followed out; but on the 5th April 1725, Lady Marie Hamilton of Baldoon, parish of Kirkinner, had sasine of the lands of Lochfergus, etc., and her son, Basil, was several times provost of Kirkcudbright. He succeeded, in 1744, to the earldom of Selkirk. It was therefore about the dates given that possession was obtained.
It is necessary to give an account of the present family, which is as follows, – Lord William Douglas (eldest son of William, first Marquis of Douglas, by his second wife, Lady Mary Gordon, daughter of George, first Marquis of Huntly) was raised to the peerage of Scotland in 1646, by the titles of Baron Daer [This title is taken from a burn in the Upper Ward of Lanarkshire.] and Shortcleuch and Earl of Selkirk, to him and his heirs male for ever; but, marrying afterwards Anne, Duchess of Hamilton, he was created Duke of Hamilton for life, when he resigned the earldom of Selkirk, etc., in 1688, which were conferred on his second and younger sons.
[The origin of this family is not clear. It has been assumed that it is from the Manor of Hambledon, parish of Barkby, Leicestershire, which belonged to the Earls of Leicester, and from whose grant the Hamiltons obtained the same. The Earls of Leicester are stated to have been descended from Bernard, a kinsman to Rollo the Norseman, first Duke of Normandy who married, in A.D. 912, Sphreta de Burgeudia, and had issue Turfus whose great-grandson, Roger de Bellomoute, accompanied William the Norman or Conqueror to England in 1066. His son, Roth, was created Earl of Leicester, in A.D. 1103, by Henry I. William, third son of Robert third Earl of Leicester, is stated to have assumed the name of de Hamilton from the place of his birth, and was the founder of the Hamilton family in Scotland, having gone there about A.D. 1216, and to have married Mary, only daughter and heir of Gilbert, Earl of Strathern, and had issue Gilbert Hamilton, who married Isabella, sister of Thomas Randolph, first Earl of Moray. This is the history as given by Archibald, but it is not considered satisfactory.
The first on record in Scotland is Gilbert de Hameldun, who, in the Chartulary of Paisley, under date A.D. 1272, is found as Gilberto de Hameldun, clerico. It is considered probable that be may have been the father of Walter, John, and Hugo. A Walter filius Gilberti de Hamilton is stated to have sworn fealty to Edward I. in 1292 and 1296, but we have not in this case investigated the Roll, to see how the name
was spelled, which is necessary, as experience has proved to us. He joined, subsequently, King Robert I., as every foreigner did when fortune seemed to smile on his efforts to free Scotland. No credit to those who then joined. He got, however, from the king a charter of Cadzow, now Hamilton, and at one time a royal property or residence. In subsequent reigns various other lands were obtained. Sir James Hamilton, in after times rose in influence on the ruin of the Douglases. On the 28th June 1445, he was created a hereditary Lord of Parliament by royal charter, with the land of Cadzhow and Mawehane. James, second Lord Hamilton, was created Earl of Arran, 11th August 1503. His son became Duke of Chatelherault in France in 1548, and his issue were-
James, third Earl of Arran.
John, Marquis of Hamilton.
David, died without issue.
Claud, ancestor of Earls, now Duke of Abercorn.
The title of Duke was conferred, in 1643, on James, Earl of Arran, the elder son of the second Marquis of Hamilton. He had only daughters, and Anna, eldest surviving daughter, succeeded. She married Lord William Douglas, eldest son of William, first Marquis of Douglas. An account of the Douglas family will be found under Threave, parish of Balmaghie.]
His second son, Lord Charles Douglas, thereby became the second Earl of Selkirk, etc., and dying unmarried, in 1739, was succeeded by his brother, Lord John Hamilton, as third Earl of Selkirk, etc. He previously had been raised, in 1697, to the peerage, by the titles of Baron Hilhouse, Viscount Riccartoun, and Earl of Ruglen.
He married first, in 1694, Anne Kennedy, daughter of John, seventh Earl of Cassiis, by whom he had issue-
William, who predeceased him, unmarried.
Anne, who succeeded as Countess of Ruglen, on the death of her father, had married William, Earl of March, eldest son of the Duke of Queensberry, and was succeeded by her only child, William, fourth Duke of Queensberry, as Earl of Ruglen, at whose death, in 1810, it expired.
Susan, married to John, eighth Earl of Cassilis. No issue.
He married, secondly, in 1701, Elizabeth-Hutchinson, relict of John, Lord Kennedy, but had no issue. He died in 1744, when the earldom of Selkirk and baron Daer and Shortcleuch devolved on his grand-nephew, Dunbar-Hamilton of Baldoon, parish of Kirkinner, grandson of his brother, Lord Basil Hamilton, and his wife Mary Dunbar, daughter of David Dunbar, younger, and heiress of Baldoon.
It will thus be seen that the settlement of this branch of the Hamiltons in Galloway is recent, and was through the marriage of Lord Basil Hamilton with Mary, grand-daughter and heir of Sir David Dunbar, bart. of Baldoon. Sir David was a good man of business, and obtained a large extent of land in the Stewartry, to which with Baldoon, his granddaughter succeeded at his death. Her descendant, Dunbar Hamilton, already mentioned, had succeeded to all the lands, and now to the earldom of Selkirk, as fourth Earl, with the other titles. He assumed the additional surname of Douglas. He married, in 1758, Helen, fifth daughter of the Hon. John Hamilton, son of Thomas, sixth Earl of Haddington, and had issue –
John (Basil William ?), Lord Daer, unmarried.
Dunbar, Captain Royal Navy, unmarried.
Alexander, Captain in the Army, unmarried.
Isabella Margaret, unmarried.
Helen, who married Sir James Hall, bart.
Elizabeth, who married Sir James Montgomery, bart.
Katherine, who married John Halkett.
In 1778, Lord Selkirk had a narrow escape of a free passage across the Atlantic in an American man-of-war. In that year the celebrated American naval officer Paul Jones, or properly, it is believed, Jones Paul (whose father was the gardener at Arbigland, parish of Kirkbean), when cruising off the coast with a squadron, made a descent on St Mary's Isle, expecting to find and seize the Earl, and keep him as a hostage during the war. This far from agreeable honour was prevented by accidental absence from home. The officer, however, in charge of the boat's crew, with an eye to prize-money, seized the plate-chest as the Earl's substitute, with which Paul Jones, possessed of a chivalrous mind, was much displeased. There was some difficulty, but he secured the chest with its contents untouched, and after an absence of seven years, when the owners had no doubt replenished their stock, and the raid had been nearly forgotten, the chest was returned uninjured.
Lord Selkirk had been gradually adding to the St Mary's Isle estate. About 1786 he had transferred the management of his estates to his eldest son, Lord Daer, who conducted his affairs with great success. Reference to Baldoon, parish of Kirkinner, will show this. On the 22d September 1794, Basil William, Lord Daer, had sasine of the land of Black Stockerton and others, on disposition by his father, dated the 13th September. He is described as having been possessed of great ability. Unfortunately he went to Paris in 1789, and was an ardent admirer of the Revolution. He returned to Scotland and joined the society of the friends of the people, and was urgent for the reform of Parliament. He was dissatisfied with the article in the treaty of Union, which was supposed to exclude the elder sons of the Scottish peers from Parliament as members of the Lower House. The question was tried both in Scotland, and also in the House of Lords, when the decision was adverse then, though since entertained. It is stated that he died of consumption on the 5th November 1794, aged thirty, but it is not mentioned where. We have heard from good authority that he had to leave the country on account of his opposition to the authorities, and died abroad.
On the 12th July 1798, Dunbar, Earl of Selkirk, had sasine of the land of Townhead of Drumore on crown charter of sale. In 1799 the farms owned were Torrs, Balgreddan, Meikle and Little Sypland, Half Mark, Black and Little Stockertoun, Brockloch, Redbrae, Whinny Liggat, Culdough, Carse, Canee, Meikle and Little Kirkland, Auchenflower, Grange and Milne, Mutehill, Meikle and Little Galtway, Knockour Galtway, Milntoun of Dunrod, Mill, etc., thereof, Kirkland, Slackcroft, Glenan Croft, St Mary's Isle, Jordiland, Bomby and Miln, Glenlay, Drumore, Lochfergus, Cotland, and part of Kirkhouse, the other portion was then owned by Robert Clark The only noticeable differences in Pont's spelling is Syipland for Sypland, Balgreddal for Balgreddan, Gata for Galtway, Bomby for Bombie, Kouldowoc for Culdoch, and Tor-rosi for Torrsmuir.
Dunbar, Earl of Selkirk, died in 1799, and was succeeded by his youngest son Thomas, his other sons having predeceased him. Thomas, fifth Earl of Selkirk, etc., married in 1807 Jean, only surviving daughter of James Wedderburn Colville of Ochiltree (she died 10th June 1871, aged eighty-five), and had issue –
Dunbar James, born in 1808.
Isabella Ellen, who married the Hon. Charles Hope.
Katherine Jane, married Loftus Wigram, now Fitzwigram.
Dunbar James, succeeded his father as sixth earl in 1820. He is unmarried.
Arms – First and fourth, argent, a human heart, gules, ensigned with an imperial crown, or, on a chief, azure; three mullets of the field, for Douglas. Second, gules, three cinquefoils, pierced ermine, for Hamilton. Third, gules, a lion rampant within a border argent, charged with ten roses, gules, for Dunbar of Baldoon.
Crest – On a chapeau, gules, turned up, erm, a salamander in flames, proper.
Supporters – The dexter, a savage, wreathed about the temples and lions with ivy, holding with his exterior hand a club over his shoulder, all proper; sinister, an antelope, argent, armed, or, ducally gorged, and chained, of the last.
Mottoes – Firmior quo paratior, and over the crest, Jamais arriere.
We have already given an account of St Mary's Isle. The whole is now occupied as the park, in which is situated the present residence. The pleasure grounds are much admired, being finely wooded and nearly surrounded by the sea and river Dee. We confess not having been particularly struck with the position, probably from the situation being low. The house has nothing striking to necessitate delineation. It is about three quarters of a mile from Kirkcudbright, and approached by an avenue possessed of no special attraction.
Not a vestige of the priory now remains.
The names of the farms in 1799, as already given, nearly apply to the present, with one or two exceptions. The first is the addition to the estate of the extensive farm of Howwell and Balmae, spelled Halwel and Balme by Pont; also Banks, High Banks, and part of Overlaw. Such names as Brockloch, Redbrae, Auchenflower, Knockour, Glenlay, Cotland, with Slack and Grenan Crofts, do not appear. The derivations of all, however, are given under other properties where the names still exist.
On the farm of Culdoch, which now forms a portion of the property, stood a cottage in which it is stated Queen Mary rested after her flight from Langside, while her attendants were breaking down the old wooden bridge over the Dee, near Tongland Church, supposed to have been originally erected by the Romans, but who we think generally used stone for such purposes. No wooden bridge could have lasted so long. The ruins of the cottage were for long known as Dun's Wa's. The occupier was no doubt named Dun.
On the farm of Drumore, there is a large and very strong fortification of the Selgovae, which was supposed by Chalmers and others to be the Caerbantorigum shown by Ptolemy. As mentioned, however, by Skene in his "Celtic Scotland," it is placed by Ptolemy where the Moat of Urr stands. This is correct, but the ancient geographer was not free from mistakes. We confess, however, that in our visits to both places, the fort on the hill appeared to us only as a fort, while the ground at the Moat of Urr showed that a more extensive fortified place had existed. The height at Drumore is four hundred feet. It is of an oval form, with a rampart of stone and earth, surrounded by a fosse. Early in the 17th century a plate of pure gold was found near it. We are glad to state that the fort is in very good preservation, being kept protected from man and beast. The view from the site is very fine, commanding the sea as well as the surrounding country.
There was a Druidical circle at the foot of the hill, but which was destroyed some years ago.
There are the remains of two Roman camps, one south of Whinnyligget School, and the other on Bomby farm.
Moats or forts are to be found at Meikle and Little Sypland, Carse, Barend, and Milton farms.
On the high land, early in the present century, several flint hatchets were found buried in the ground, also the skeleton of a man. [Flint hatchets obtained the name of Celts from the British, a flint stone.]
On the farm of Lochfergus, on various occasions, a great quantity of English silver coin, of the reign of Edward I., was found.
The names of several of the farms, with their histories, have been dealt with separately, as they formerly belonged to other and distinct properties. Of those not given we have what is now Stockerton, but which in the 14th century bore the name of Toskertoun, and curious enough the same name as the ancient barony in the parish of Stoneykirk, which afterwards became possessed by the M'Dowalls of Garthland. In the seventeenth century we find the name changed or transposed to Stokartoun, and now transformed to Stockerton. It is not improbable, however, that we have in these forms the real name from the Norse stokkr, and Danish stok. Stok-land means an isolated land, and stokkr-tun means the isolated toun or dwelling. What we have to say about Toskertoun will be found under Stoneykirk parish.
Another farm named Balig is probably a corruption of the Norse baeli or byli and bygd, a farm, dwelling, etc. Balgreddan, also a corruption of the Norse graenn, with the prefix baeli or bol, and meaning the green and verdant farm. Howwell is in the prefix from the Norse holl, contracted from hvall, for a hill or hillock. The meaning is, the well at the hill or hillock.
The early history of this castle is unknown. It is not improbable that it may have been built by the Norsemen when they ruled Galloway in the 11th century. When it became the property of the Maclellans is also unknown. That they owned Bomby at the same time is clear, but as we have stated elsewhere, their settlement or position of any standing in Galloway cannot be traced beyond the fourteenth century, by tradition or in any other way. The castle of Raeberry is understood to have been their chief residence, which is on Howwell farm, south of Bomby. It was situated on a jutting precipice overhanging the sea, and was protected on the north side by a fosse, a thick wall, and a drawbridge, which is supposed to have been destroyed about one hundred and thirty years, and the interior over two hundred years ago. Nothing but the site and fosse remain. The situation is made to appear comparatively low from a high green hill overhanging it, on which we have an impression an ancient fort must have stood, although not now to be traced.
The castle does not appear to have been large.
The name Raeberry, we think, is a corruption of the Norse words raudr or rautt berg, the red rock or precipice. There is another rendering of it in the Norse raudabiorg, the red headland. In the case of Raeberry, the site is on a rock of a reddish colour. We did not examine the description of stone, but as the old red sandstone is found elsewhere on the coast, it may be the same here. If not, the reddish tinge is from the action of iron in some form, in the same way as to be seen at Salisbury Craggs, Edinburgh, and elsewhere.
In 1452, as we have mentioned under Bomby, William, eighth Earl of Douglas, besieged and took the castle, carrying the owner, Sir Patrick Maclellan, as a prisoner to Thrieve Castle. There is a blank after this in its history.
The land of Bomby, with all around, was obtained in the twelfth century by Fergus, the first Lord of Galloway, who appeared about 1138-9, and the last his great-grandson Alan, who died in 1234. Thus they did not exist one hundred years. Fergus had his residence in a castle on an island in the loch which was on the farm, since called Lochfergus. His son Uchtred also took up his residence in the same castle. He was attacked there by his brother Gilbert on the 22d September 1174, deprived of his eyes and tongue, and then murdered. Alan is believed to have died in the same castle. It would appear that the castle of Kirkcudbright was subsequently built. There were two islands in Lochfergus – one was called Palace Isle, from the castle being thereon; and the other Stable Isle, from, as supposed, the horses having been kept there. Both appear to have been fortified. With modern improvements the water has been drained off, and all now under cultivation, so that not a vestige remains. The traces of masonry have been so very faint during the present century, that there is an idea the castle must have been built of wood. Such an idea is untenable. Fergus built churches, etc., of stone, and is it at all likely that his own dwelling was of wood ? We believe him to have been a Norman thrust by King David I. as governor over the Galwegians, and as such, we think it will be found that he and his countrymen built for themselves stone fortalices as residences. When the Maclellans got possession, the materials were removed to Kirkcudbright in 1582, to assist in building for themselves a castle there. An account of Fergus is given in our Historical Sketch, Vol. II., and under St Mary's Isle in this parish.
We learn nothing more about the land of Bomby until the reign of King David II., when he granted them (spelled Bowbey) to Margaret M'Dougall, and afterwards to John M'Dougall. He granted a subsequent charter of the same land to Lachlan Edzear or Edgar, called Bomby, quhilk were ——- Lindsays. From this it appears that the lands had passed to the Lindsays from the ownership of the Lords of Galloway and their successors. David the Second reigned from 1329 to 1371. The farms of Sypeland, which form a part of the estate, were granted by Robert the Bruce to Fergus of Ardrossan.
We also find that Robert Russell had a charter of the land of Sympleland (Sypland) from David II., on the resignation of Fergus of Ardrossan; also a charter to Nicoll Striveling (Stirling) of the land of Stockertoun. It is thus evident that the Maclellans did not then possess this property. There is also another error in connection with this family which requires to be put right. It is the statement that one of them was the friend of the immortal Sir William Wallace, and sailed with him from Kirkcudbright on a visit to Philip, king of France, on the 20th April 1298. There is some excuse for the mistake, as the names bear a close resemblance to each other; but the friend of Wallace was not a Maclellan, but James Kneland or Cleland of that Ilk, parish of Dalziel in Lanarkshire. The families were quite distinct. The Clelands of Cleland are an old Lanarkshire family, who retained their property until the seventeenth century. Their lands, still called Cleland, now belong to the Earl of Stair.
The name of Maclellan was unknown in Galloway in the time of Wallace. If landowners, they would either have appeared as supporting him, or in the Ragman Roll as swearing fealty to Edward I. Playfair in 1809, and Douglas in 1813, state in their Genealogical Histories that a David MacLellan is mentioned in a charter of King Alexander II. in the year 1217. This we cannot trace, but if so, from the way it is mentioned, it would be as a witness. We are inclined to think that they came from the north, and that MacLennan and Maclellan are one and the same. According to their history, the first-named had a good deal to do with the Church, and one became a Highland saint. The MacLennans are numerous in the Highlands-a good many in Inverness-shire.
The first Maclellan known in Galloway was "Gilbertus Maclelan Gallovidiensis," [Chronica Regum Manniae] who was elected bishop of Man and the Sudreys in 1320, or, as Bishop Keith states, 1321 He was in office for four years. We next learn that David II. granted a charter to Gilbert Maclelan of his lands, but what these were is not stated. That he was the bishop, or his son, is extremely probable, for bishops did get children in those days, and obtained lands to leave to them. We have here a key to the rapid rise of the family in Galloway, for church influence was the best, and more particularly during the reigns of Robert Bruce and his son David. This no doubt arose from King Robert not only having had much aid from the Church in securing the throne, but also from having been excommunicated for the slaughter of John Comyn at the altar in the church at Dumfries, and glad to make concessions for the after-peace of his soul.
As already stated, the name of Maclellan is not to be found in the Ragman's Roll, nor does it appear among those who fought with Sir William Wallace or Robert the Bruce during the struggle for independence. This confirms the statement that bishop Maclelan was the first of the name known in the district. What the origin of the family was, beyond the bishop, is not to be traced. It has been stated that they are of Irish extraction. This may have arisen from Balmaclellan, bal, from bail, being the Irish for a townland or property; but baile is also the Gaelic for a town or village, as well as boeli or bol in the Norse, for a farm or dwelling. It is further to be stated that the charter for Balmaclellan was only granted in February 1466. This is fully a century after we find that they had land in the district. We have read an account, ephemeral, that they came from the West Highlands, and won Barscobe by bow and spear. Where this is found, we are at a loss to know.
There is little doubt that, instead of bow and spear, they obtained their lands through the crozier; but it corroborates so far our opinion already stated, that MacLellan may be a corruption of the Highland name Maclennan. It was in the fifteenth century when the family became of importance. The Bomby property was then in their possession. On the 11th July 1448, John M'Lelan of Lochfergns is mentioned in an instrument of perambulation of the land of Ardes. In 1452, Patrick Maclellan was, as stated, tutor of Bomby and sheriff of the Stewartry. The being tutor of Bomby is rather conflicting, and must be a mistake, as it means guardian to the heir of the house, whereas Sir Patrick appears to have been the owner, and, as will be found, his son succeeded him.
It is also stated that, having been prevailed on to take up arms against the Earl of Douglas, the latter besieged Maclellan in his castle of Raeberry in 1452, and forced him to surrender, when he was taken to Threave castle as a prisoner. His relative, Sir F. Gray, having heard of it, obtained an order from the king requesting Douglas to deliver up his prisoner. We will not repeat the particulars here which have been already given under Threave Castle, parish of Balmaghie. It is mentioned that Sir Patrick Maclellan was interred in Dundrennan Abbey, where a monument to his memory was erected with the following inscription –
"Hic jacet vir Honorabilis
Dominus Patricius Maclellanus
Dominus de Wigton, et vicecomes
Gallovidiae, qui objit MDCCCLII.
Cujus anima requiescat in pace."
We think there must be some mistake about this inscription and monument, which were unusual at that period in Galloway, and certainly instead of the titles given, Patrick Maclellan was simply a knight, and the owner of a barony. (See Dundrennan, parish of Rerwick.) It is mentioned that he married a daughter of Sir A. Gray of Broxmouth, and had issue, so far as known- William.
He succeeded, and in retaliation for the murder of his father, naturally committed raids on the Douglas estates in defiance of the law, for which King James II. outlawed him, forfeiting Bomby, etc., which were annexed to the crown.
About this time we are told that Galloway was infested by a band of robbers or gypsies, and the king offered, by proclamation, a reward to any one who would destroy them, or bring their leader, Morrow alias Black Morrow, dead or alive. With the aid of friends, this, it is stated, William Maclellan accomplished, brought to James II. the head of their chief, and obtained the restoration of his father's lands. From this it is supposed their crest of a Moor's head, and motto of "Think on" are taken. We can offer no opinion, beyond thinking that the crest of the family was probably obtained long before the period referred to; that the gypsies are not considered of Moorish but Egyptian extraction, and it appears strange a band of gypsies should have been so formidable in times when nearly every man bore arms. Whichever way it was, the lands were restored. On the 14th May 1471, we find that William Maclellan of Bomby had a charter, of that date, of the lands of Lochfergus, etc. He had a son, so far as is known – Thomas, who succeeded his father in 1474. He was styled a knight in the General Register of 1503. He also had a charter of part of Lochfergus, of Bardrochwood, Crosby, Chapeltoun, and Barfalgayk, on the 5th February 1492-3; and of Garcrogo, on the 18th August 1495. In February 1499 the dwelling at Lochfergus was burnt by Thomas Huthinson and Carynis in ye Copswoode. [Pitcairn’s Criminal Trials.]
Thomas Maclellan married Margaret, daughter of Sir William Gordon of Lochinvar, as appears by marriage contract, dated 13th July 1476, and had issue-
William, his heir.
Gilbert of Barmagachen, parish of Borgue, from whom Lord Kirkcudbright was descended.
John, of Auchlane.
William succeeded his father in 1507. Previous to this, on the 12th December 1505, he had a charter of Polmady (Polmeadow ?) parish of Carsphain, and on succession to other lands in 1507 and 1512. Being in favour with King James IV., he was knighted by him. He married Elizabeth Mure, but of which family is not named. He had issue, so far as found – Thomas.
Sir William was slain at Flodden in 1513, and was succeeded by his son Thomas. He obtained charters under the Great Seal of the lands of Plintoun, Blackmark, and others, in 1516, and 11th November 1521. Whom he married we do not learn, but he had at least one son – Thomas.
He was killed at the door of St Giles' Church, High Street, Edinburgh, in a quarrel with the lairds of Lochinvar and Drumlanrig, on 21st July 1526. He was succeeded by his son Thomas, who obtained, under the Great Seal in 1542, from Queen Mary, all the lands his father and grandfather had died possessed of. On the 21st December 1553, he entered into a bond of manrent to serve Robert, Lord Maxwell. On the 6th December 1569, he obtained the ground on which the church and buildings of the friars of Kirkcudbright had been built, with the orchard, etc., for the purpose of erecting a castle, as mentioned under Kirkcudbright. The castle was completed about 1582. As will be found under Orchardtoun, parish of Rerwick, there is a statement that Kirkcudbright Castle belonged to the Maxwells, and that their arms appear on the building, as also the words, "This is the house of Herries." How this happened we cannot find out, unless it was through the marriage, subsequently, of Thomas Maxwell with Grizell, daughter of John, fifth Lord Herries.
Thomas Maclellan married Helen, daughter of Sir James Gordon of Lochinvar, and had issue, so far as known – Thomas.
Sir James Gordon, with others, had slain his father. With the marriage settlement "Letters of Slains" were formally granted by Thomas, son and heir of Thomas Maclellan of Bomby, deceased, to his father-in-law, and all his assisters in the slaughter. [Agnew]. He was served heir on the 16th April 1583.
It is about this time that a statement refers to fourteen knights bearing the name of Maclellan. They are mentioned as the owners of Gelston, parish of Kelton; Ravenstone, parish of Glasserton; Kilcruichie, parish of Peninghame; Sorbie; Glenshinnock, parish of Rerwick; Troquhain, parish of Balmaclellan; Barholm, parish of Kirkmabreck; Kirkconnel, parish of Troqueer; Kirkcormock; Kirkgunzeon; Borgue; Barscobe, parish of Balmaclellan; Bardrochwood, parish of Minnigaff; Colvend. Being stated as possessing the lands mentioned, we have tried to follow them out, but failed. There is some mistake, for we have evidence that they could not have owned all the lands mentioned. We cannot trace that any of the name were owners of Kilcruichie (Castle Stewart), Sorbie, Barholm, Kirkgunzeon, Borgue, Colvend, Troquhain, or Glenshinnock (Orchardtoun). Also, in 1585, William, son of Alexander Maclellan of Gelston, was served owner of Ravenstone, which had for a time belonged to the M'Dowalls, but we do not find him a knight. There are evidently mistakes in this statement, as in other parts of their history. No family in Galloway had more than one or, perhaps, two knights at a time at any period.
On the 23d December 1585, we find that Thomas M'Clellan of Bombie, being owing the sum of 400 merks to Thomas Meikle, binds himself to infeft him in the land of Little Stockerton. On the 28th May 1586, he also borrowed 400 merks from James Dalziel in Plunton, and infeft him in the two merk land of Meikle Kirkland.
Thomas Maclellan succeeded his father. He obtained a charter of the lands and barony of Bombye, Skelrie, etc., on the 11th February 1591-2; Kirkchrist, parish of Twynholm, 26th December 1593; Balgreddane to him, and Robert his son and heir apparent, on the 7th June 1595; and of Auchinflower, same date. He married Grizell Maxwell, daughter of John, fifth Lord Herries, and had three sons –
William of Glenshannoch (Glenshalloch, alias Waterside, parish of Urr?) He married, about 1600, Rosina, daughter of Sir Andrew Agnew of Lochnaw and whose son Thomas succeeded to the peerage.
John of Borg, whose son succeeded his cousin Thomas.
Rosina, who married William Adair of Kilhilt, parish of Portpatrick.
He died in July 1597, and was buried in the church of Kirkcudbright, where is a monument thus inscribed –
Hic situs est D. T. Maclellanus et Uxor
D. Grizel Maxwell Murmor utrumque legit.
Hic genitus R. L. Kirkcudbrius ecce sepulcrum
Posuit hoc chari patris honore sui.
He was succeeded by his son Robert. As heir apparent he had a charter of the barony of Bombie, 5th June 1597, and was served heir to his father, the 5th July 1608. He had a charter of the lands of Culcraigie, etc., parish of Twynholm, on the 4th August 1610, of the land of Twynholm on the 28th June 1614, and of Cors on the 11th September 1616. He was in favour with that weak monarch James VI., who knighted him, and was also appointed a gentleman of the bedchamber. He was afterwards made a baronet by King Charles I., and afterwards, on the 25th May 1633, raised to the peerage by the title of Lord Kirkcudbright, to heirs male, bearing the name and arms of Maclellan. He was twice married, first, to Margaret, daughter of Sir Matthew Campbell of Loudon, and had issue- Marion, who married Sir R. Maxwell of Orchardtoun.
Secondly, to Mary, daughter of Hugh Montgomerie, Viscount Airds, Ireland, but had no issue.
During his time, in July 1624, John Henderson had sasine of the lands and barony of Bombie; and in November 1625, Robert Foullis had the same. Again, in August 1631 there was a reversion by Andrew and William Couperis and their curatrix in favour of John Gordon of the baronies of Bombie, Lochfergus, etc. These were wadsets. He died in 1640, and was succeeded by the heir in line, his nephew – Thomas, son of William Maclellan of Glenshannoch, as second Lord Kirkcudbright. He married Janet Douglas, daughter of William, Earl of Queensberry, and had issue, but they all died young. He was a zealous Presbyterian and opponent of Cromwell and the Independents. In 1639 he was at Dunse Law with the army. In 1640 he was appointed colonel of the south regiment, and accompanied the army into England. He was afterwards appointed steward of the Stewartry. In 1645 he raised a regiment in Galloway (called infantry, but believed to have been mounted) at his own expense, which behaved with such gallantry at Philiphaugh, that the Scottish Parliament awarded them 15,000 merks out of the forfeited estates of Lord Herries. However, the expense incurred by him created much debt. He died in May 1647, without issue. (His wife died in 1651). He was succeeded by his cousin – John, son of John Maclellan of Borgue. He was served as third Lord Kirkcudbright, heir to his cousin Thomas, second lord, on the 13th June 1648, when he had retour of the lands of Bombie and Castle, Lochfergus, Black and Little Stockertoun, Meikle and Little Sypland, Gribtie, etc. He also was a staunch Presbyterian, and much opposed to Cromwell and the Independents or Puritans. He raised a body of men, which afterwards was formed into a regiment. It was sent to Ireland, and on the 6th December 1649 was attacked by the Parliamentary forces at Lessnegarvey, Ulster, and being defeated, suffered severely. He expended so much money in raising men, for which he received no repayment, that he was in reduced circumstances; and after the Restoration his ruin was completed from opposing the introduction of a curate into the church at Kirkcudbright. He married Anne, daughter of Sir Robert Maxwell of Orchardtoun, and had issue – William, who succeeded on his father's death in 1664, as fourth Lord Kirkcudbright During his minority the estate was seized by legal diligence, at the instance of his father's creditors, and nothing left to support the title. He died under age, unmarried, in 1669.
He was succeeded by his cousin-german- John, eldest son of William Maclellan of Auchlean, parish of Kelton, second son of John Maclellan of Borgue. He never assumed the title, and died under age, unmarried. On the 28th February 1672 Margaret Vauns, spouse to William Maclellan, had principal sasine with John Maclellan of the land of Meikle Sypeland, and Mylne of Bombie. In the valuation roll of 1642-82 we find the following farms mentioned as Lord Kirkcudbright's, viz., Black Stockerton, Little and Meikle Sypland, Balgreddan, Black Galtway, Jordieland, Little Stockerton, Lochfergus, Kirkland, Bombie, North Milton, Milton, and Low Milton, and Gribdae, etc. He was succeeded by his brother – James, born 1661.
His curators considered it improper for him to assume the title, owing to the loss of lands.
On the 31st July 1693, Charles Maclellan of Colline, parish of Rerwick, had sasine of the castle and orchards of Kirkcudbright, fishings in the water of Dee, lands of Bombie, etc.; and on the 4th May 1695, Lord Basil Hamilton, fifth lawful son of William, Duke of Hamilton, had sasine of the baronies and lands of Bombie, etc., and Newark, etc., with the pertinents. The latter's son, Basil Hamilton, had sasine of Lochfergus, etc., on the 4th January 1704. There were various wadsets at this time; on the 23d March 1715, Robert Maclellan of Barcloy, parish of Colvend, had sasine of the castle and yeard of Kirkcudbright; and he was followed by Alexander Murray of Broughton, on the 6th May 1621. Lady Hamilton, the mother of Basil, had sasine of Lochfergus on the 3d April 1725.
James Maclellan did not assume the title until a keen contest for a representation of the Scottish peerage betwixt the Earls of Eglinton and Aberdeen in 1721, when no doubt he was pushed for his vote. It was, however, protested against, as beyond the memory of man, no one having claimed a seat in Parliament, and it did not appear he was the heir of the patent, and because the late Lord Kirkcudbright disponed and resigned his honours in favour of Sir Samuel Maclellan. He was, however, served as heir to his uncle, John, third Lord Kirkcudbright, on the 15th February 1729.
As we have already stated, the lands had passed from the Maclellans. On the 26th February 1728, Basil, son to the deceased Lord Basil Hamilton of Baldoon, had sasine of the land of Bombie, and on the 30th December 1729, of Lochfergus, etc.
Whom James Maclellan married, is not mentioned. He died in 1730, and left issue- Margaret, who married Samuel Brown of Mollance, parish of Crossmichael. They had issue-
Henrietta, who married Sir Thomas Maxwell of Orchardtoun, parish of Rerwick.
Mary, died unmarried.
Janet, who married William Maxwell of Milton, and had issue-Robert and Elizabeth.
The representation then devolved on William Maclellan of Borness, descended from Gilbert of Barmagachen, second son of Sir Thomas (third) Maclellan of Bomby. In 1730 William Maclellan assumed the title, and was served as nearest lawful heir male on the 9th April 1734.
With reference to the land of Lochfergus, we find that William Dunbar, merchant in London, had sasine on the 24th January 1738, and on the 18th June 1740, Thomas Maxwell of the castle and yeard of Kirkcudbright. Then on the 8th May 1754, Dame Henrietta Brown, wife to Sir Thomas Maxwell of Orchardtoun, had also sasine of the castle, etc.
William Maclellan voted as Lord Kirkcudbright at elections of peers from 1737 to 1739. In 1741, at the general election, a protest was entered by James Maclellan styled merchant,, and Lord Provost of Edinburgh, against his vote. William Maclellan entered a counter protest. Both William and James were present, and voted as Lord Kirkcudbright at the election in 1742. To show the difference in the times, and how families fell, William kept a glove-shop in Edinburgh. Burke, in his "Vicissitudes of Families," mentions that William Maclellan, the glover, whose son succeeded to the title, for many years used to stand in the lobby of the Assembly Rooms, in the Old Town, Edinburgh, selling gloves to those present; for, according to the fashion of the time, a new pair was required for every fresh dance. The only occasion on which he was absent from his post was at the ball following the election of a representative peer, when he appeared in full dress and joined with those present in the dance. We may add that sons of the best families in Scotland are often found at trades in these times, arising from the difficulty of being provided for. James ultimately gave up his pretensions, and William voted to 1761, but the House of Lords interfered and prohibited his doing so until his claim was recognised according to law. He married Margaret Murray, but there is no mention made of her family. They had issue- Master of Kirkcudbright, who died in Edinburgh, 1741.
Dunbar, Captain, Royal Navy. He commanded the "Superb," the flagship of Sir Edward Hughes, and was killed the 6th July 1682 in a second engagement with the "Bailli de Suffrein," in the East Indies.
William Maclellan died in 1761, and was succeeded by his son John, who claimed to be seventh Lord Kirkcudbright. He served in the 30th regiment, as an ensign, in 1756; lieutenant in 1758. He was abroad when his father died, but on his return he presented a petition claiming the title. On the 3d May 1773, it was sustained in the House of
Lords. He continued to serve in the 30th regiment, and obtained a company in 1774. In 1776 he exchanged into the 3d foot guards, the Scots Guards. In 1784 he obtained a company with the usual rank of captain and lieutenant-colonel He retired in 1789. He married a Miss Bannister, stated to be of Hampstead, now a part of London. We also find her called Miss Bannerman. They had issue-
Sholto Henry, born 1771.
Camden Grey, born 1774, a lieutenant in the Coldstream Guards, retired 1803.
Elizabeth, born 1769, married Finlay Ferguson, Hinde Street, London.
Lord Kirkcudbright died in Hereford Street in 1801, aged seventy-three, and his wife in Manchester Square, London, in 1807. He had therefore settled in London. He was succeeded by his eldest son Sholto Henry, as eighth Lord Kirkcudbright. He married a Miss Cantes. Who she was does not appear. (She survived him and married Robert Davies, an officer in the Royal Navy. His rank is not stated.) They had no issue. He died in 1827, and was succeeded by his brother, Camden Grey, as ninth Lord Kirkcudbright. He married Sarah, daughter of Colonel Gorges, and had issue, one daughter- Camden Elizabeth.
She married, in 1832, James Staunton Lambert, and had issue- Walter Maclellan.
Also other issue.
Walter Maclellan Lambert is now of Waterdale.
Lord Kirkcudbright died at Bruges, in Belgium, on the 19th April 1832, and failing male heirs the title became dormant, and has so remained.
The Rev. John MacLellan, minister of Kelton parish, and a native of Kirkcudbright, claimed to be the direct descendant. He claimed the peerage, and was preparing to follow it up when he died in 1840. His only brother and his only son died soon after, when they ended as a family.
There are others in line, no doubt, but the want of records in Galloway may prove a hindrance to what is called legal proof.
The armorial bearings of the family are,-
Arms-Or, two cheveronels, sable.
Crest-A dexter arm couped at the elbow and erect; the hand grasping a dagger, also erect, and on the point a Moor's head affronte, all ppr.
Supporters-Dexter, a man in complete armour, holding in his right hand a baton or leading staff, the end resting against his hip, all ppr. Sinister, a horse bridled and saddled.
Motto-Think on. Also " Superba frango," I break down the proud.
We have referred to the castle of Kirkcudbright under the account of the town.
In 1570 Sir Thomas Maclellan sold the Friars Church, together with the churchyard, and the Church of St Andrews, with the burying ground, to the magistrates of Kirkcudbright
Nothing now remains of the residence at Bomby. The farm of, and all the land around, is now owned by the Earl of Selkirk, with the residence at St Mary's Isle.
On the farms of Bomby, Meikle and Little Sypland, there were, in early times, British forts and Roman camps, as shown from the remains left.
A Druid temple once stood near the Roman camp on the farm of Bomby, but with the destructive rage which existed until recently, it was destroyed, and the stones removed as materials for the bridge erected over the Buckland burn.
We give Bomby separately from having been the residence of the Maclellans, with which we have coupled the farms of Sypland.
In Pont's map the spelling is Bomby and Syipland. Both names are evidently Norse. The termination by is clear proof of the first having been a Norse settlement. As Cleasby and Vigfusson state, "Wherever the Scandinavian tribes settled, the name by or bo went along with them." This is repeated by Worsaae and fully borne out. The prefix in Bomby is probably a corruption of buandi, a husbandman, with the suffix by, a village, &c., a settlement.
The only approach to Sypland is also found in the Norse. In the words svipa and svipta we may have the derivation. The last is to strip or deprive. There is another word which may have had some bearing on the meaning, – viz., svi-pjod, which is the land of the Swedes.
The early history of this property may be called identical with Raeberry, a separate account of which is given.
On the 11th June 1586 Thomas Maclellan of Balmae borrowed three hundred merks from James Lidderdale of Isle (St Mary's), and infefted him in the six merk land of Balmae (Meikle). In June 1618 George M'Kie had sasine of all and haill of the twenty schilling land of Balmae, etc. Then in June 1666 John Inglis, Clerk of Kirkcudbright, had sasine of the land of Balmae, and again in January 1668. In 1682 John M'Kissock and James Halliday appear to have been in possession of the land. There is a hiatus after this. We next find William Kirkpatrick, merchant in Kirkcudbright, the owner. He married, in 1775, Marion, eldest daughter of William Gordon, writer to the signet, of Greenlaw, parish of Crossmichael. He died, in 1778, without issue. During his lifetime he built the present house, which is a good structure, well laid out and commodious. The next owner was William Birtwhistle, whom we find in 1799 and 1813. He was styled of Raeberry. Little Balmae was then owned by James M'Michan.
Some information in regard to William Birtwhistle, who was brought into the district by James Murray of Cally, etc., will be found under Gatehouse, parish of Girthon. The land now belongs to the Earl of Selkirk, and forms a part of the St Mary Isle estate.
Pont, in his map, spells the name Balme. It may be a corruption of the Norse words baeli and mar, a farm near the sea. This certainly represents the position of the land, with the past and present residences.
The history of this farm, so far as we know, is identical with what we have given of Marks. On the 19th September 1604, John, son of John Maxwell of Buittle, Munches, etc., had retour, followed by his son Robert in 1619. Then Mary and Anne, Countesses of Buccleuch, in 1653 and 1661, and John and William, Viscounts of Nithsdale, in 1670 and 1696. We find, however, that on the 29th September 1675 John Kenman, elder in Kirkbryde, had principal sasine in liferent, and John and Andrew Kennans, his sons, in fie, of the twenty shilling land of Kirkbryde. The next owner was Robert Kirk, who was in possession in 1682. On the 23d March 1715 Robert M'Clellan of Barcloy, parish of Colvend, had sasine of the land of Kirkbryde, etc. He was the owner. His trustees sold Kirkbride, Gribdae and Mark to James, second son of John Bell of Arkland, parish of Anwoth. See Gribdae.
In 1799 the farm belonged to William Brown. We also find him in possession in 1819.
The owner in 1864 was Samuel Murphy, who still continues in possession.
On this farm was a chapel dedicated to St Bridget, from which is derived the name Kirkbride. An account of this saint will be found under Kirkmabreck parish history. Pont in his map spells it Kilbryd, the first syllable being from the Gaelic cill, a church.
We do not find the MacLellans mentioned as the owners, but it seems to us that this farm may have belonged to them. On the 19th September 1604, John, son of John Maxwell of Buittle and Munches, etc., had retour. He was followed, on the 13th July 1619, by his son Robert. We next find Mary Scott, Countess of Buccleuch, with a wadset over it on the 6th October 1653; followed by her sister Anne (who succeeded as countess) on the 17th October 1661. On the 6th April 1670, John, Viscount Nithsdale, had retour; and on the 26th May 1696, William, son of Robert, viscount. These latter named were only as regards the superiority. In 1682, Robert M'Lellan of Barmagachen, parish of Borgue, was the owner. We next find it in the possession of Robert MacLellan of Barclye, but he evidently was the same who owned Barmagachen. His trustees sold Mark, with Cribdae and Kirkbride, to James Bell, second son of John Bell of Arkland, parish of Anwoth, an account of whom is given under Gribdae. We learn from the valuation roll of 1799 that the farm was owned by the Miss Cultons, but by the account from the Bells, James Bell sold it (See Gribdae.)
In 1819 David M 'Lellan was the owner. He was succeeded by William Hannay M'Lellan, who died in 186-, and has been succeeded by his widow, Mrs Frances Sophia M'Lellan, who has issue. Their names, and other particulars, we are not in possession of. The late owner took much interest in the subjects we are dealing with, and in this History.
In the name Marks we have the Norse word mark for a march, a boundary.
Of this land we learn little. It became the property, with the rest around, of the Maclellans. In 1682, Lord Kirkcudbright was in possession. It was next owned by Robert MacLellan of Barclye, whose trustees in 1723 sold Gribdae, Mark, and Kirkbride, to James Bell of the Whyteside family, parish of Anwoth, being first cousin to John Bell of Whyteside, shot on Kirkconnell moor by order of Sir Robert Grierson of Lag in 1685. James Bell was second son of John Bell of Arkland, parish of Anwoth. He was born in 1676, and died in 1756. Whom he married we do not learn, but he had issue- William, born in 1698, and two daughters.
William succeeded in 1756. Whom he married is not mentioned, but he left issue, six sons and four daughters. He died in 1783, and was succeeded by his eldest son in Mark and Kirkbride, and by his second son in Gribdae.
James, born in 1742.
John, born in 1745.
James sold the farm of Mark to David MacLellan, writer, Kirkcudbright. He died in 1805.
John Bell, the second son, succeeded to Gribdae. Whom he married is not mentioned. He had issue, five sons and five daughters. The two eldest sons were-
John, died in infancy.
William, born in 1780.
The latter succeeded on the death of his father in 1835. He had issue-
William, born in 1846.
John, born in 1848.
He purchased, in 1857, Castlecreavie, parish of Rerwick. He died in 1861, leaving Gribdae to his eldest son William, and Castlecreavie to his son John.
William married, in June 1877, Catherine Ireland, second daughter of R. M'C. Gordon of Rattra, parish of Borgue.
Gribdae seems to us to be a corruption of the Cymric or Welsh word gwerydre, for cultivated land.
Of the farms of High, Mid, and South Boreland, properly Bordland, we find no trace in the sources of information at our disposal, but no doubt the land became the property of the MacLellans with the surrounding property. The farms are owned by the burgh of Kirkcudbright.
In the Historical Sketch, Vol. II., an account of the derivation of Bordland will be found.