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Biggar and the House of Fleming
Chapter XXVIII - Early Conterminous Proprietors

HAVING given some details regarding the Fleming family, it may not be inappropriate to follow them up with a very brief notice of some of the early conterminous proprietors, to whom special reference has not yet been made. These men, though of inferior rank and influence to the Flemings, yet occupied a prominent place in the district They were chiefs in their own localities, and had a number of retainers, who were bound to aid them in all their enterprises. Each of them occupied his grim baronial tower, in which he defended himself and his property from the attacks of marauding neighbours, and from which he occasionally led forth an armed band to revenge his wrongs, or obey the call of his lord-superior.

We will begin with the Browns and Dicksons of Hartree.

Hartree is an estate which lies to the south of Biggar, and was long held by a family of the name of Brown. Richard Brown of Hartree is mentioned in a* deed dated at Lanark, 20th December 1409, serving William Douglas heir of his father, by an inquest held at that town. Richard and his son John were, in 1431, appointed bailies to David Menzies, laird of one-half of the barony of Coulter. William Brown of Hartree appears in a suit before the Lord Auditors of Parliament in 1478-9, at the instance of John Martin of Medop. It appears that Richard Brown, son and apparent heir of Andrew Brown of Hartree, had married Janet, a daughter of Malcolm Lord Fleming; and his Lordship, on the 23d September 1536, granted a precept of sasine for infefting Richard and his wife, and the longest liver of the two, in the L.5 lands of Easter Hartry. Andrew Brown of Hartree was one of the witnesses of the charter of foundation of the Collegiate Church of Biggar in 1545. In 1587, John Lord Fleming granted a precept of clare constat for Infefting Andrew Brown of Hartree, as heir to Andrew Brown, his grandfather, in the lands of Logan, lying in the barony of Glenholm, his Lordship being superior of these lands. On the 21st of June 1627, Andrew Brown of Hartree was served heir of his father, Gilbert, in the annual rent of 300 merks of the village, demesne lands, and mill of Kilbucho. In the muster roll of a Weapon-showing, held on the King’s Muir, near Peebles, on the 15th June 1627, it is stated that the Laird of Hartree (Andrew Brown) was absent himself, but that ten of his men were present, ‘ horsed, with lances and swords.’

On the 13th of August 1630, John Dickson, ‘servitor’ to Sir Alexander Gibson of Durie, Clerk Register, received a charter from the Earl of Morton, of all and haill the town and lands of Kilbucho, the myln and mainlands and multures thereof, the lands of ‘ Moitt or Maynis of Kilbucho,’ of Raw, Blendewing, Cleugh, Goisland, with the patronage of the kirk, and the parsonage and vicarage teinds of the parish. The same John Dickson received, in 1635, two charters from the Earl of Traquair, conferring on him the lands of Bumfoot, Easter Place, Howslack, Blackbyres, Hartree Mill, and Threpland, ‘ with the toure, fortalice, and maner place of the same lands.’ John Dickson, who thus became the founder of the family of Dickson of Hartree and Kilbucho, followed the law as a profession, and was raised to the Bench by the title of Lord Hartree. Some of Lord Hartree’s successors have been distinguished men. We may refer to Lieutenant-Colonel William Dickson, who commanded the 42d Royal Highlanders at the commencement of the present century. He accompanied his regiment in the expedition to Egypt in 1801, and was wounded

'Whan Abercromby, gallant Scot,
Made Britain’s foes to tack again.’

On his return in 1802, he reviewed his Highlanders before George in., and an immense concourse of spectators, at Ashford; and then, at their head, commenced his march to Scotland, receiving great attention and applause from the inhabitants of all the towns through which he passed At Peebles, he and his officers were entertained at a public dinner by the provost and inhabitants of that burgh; and, in course of the evening, the civic worthies, feeling proud of the Colonel as a native of their own county, offered to make exertions to return him as their representative to the next Parliament. They were as good as their word, and at next election succeeded in securing a majority of votes in his favour, and the Colonel sat one Parliament as the representative of the burghs of Lanark, Linlithgow, Peebles, and Selkirk, then united in returning a member to the Imperial Parliament. Shortly after this, Colonel Dickson was raised to the rank of Brigadier-General. He is understood to have been a free, hearty individual, and rather fond of a glass of good wine or whisky punch. In consequence of repeated applications to these inspiring beverages, his nose by and by assumed a somewhat rubicund appearance. On one of his visits to London, he happened to be in company with 1 that daft buckie Geordie Wales,’ when his Royal Highness said to him,

‘Well, General, how much has it cost you to paint your nose?’ ‘ I really canna say,* replied the General; ‘ I haena yet counted the cost, as I consider the wark still unfinished.' It is worthy of notice that the General's servant, Mr William Harlan, who attended him in his expedition to Egypt, and remained with him till his death, is still this year, 1862, alive at Biggar.

The Tower of Hartree, which was a conspicuous object from Biggar, stood on a knoll surrounded by marshes, near the site of the present mansion-house. It was demolished by the late Colonel Alexander Dickson, who erected the present building in its stead.

The Hartree estate is now the property of David Dickson, Esq., advocate. He generally resides a portion of the year at Hartree House, and takes a deep interest in all schemes for the benefit of the district.

Threpland, a farm lying at the foot of the Hartree Hills, a short distance to the west of Hartree House, was a separate holding in the time of Alexander ni. At the commencement of the war of independence, in 1296, Robert, Laird of Threpelande, swore fealty to Edward I. The name of the proprietors of Threpland was Brown, at least it was so in 1526. At a short distance from the * onstead1 of Threpland, at one time stood a cottage or hamlet, called the Hole ayont Threpland, which very probably was built by the company of Germans to whom James V., in 1526, gave a grant of the precious mines of Scotland for forty-three years. These individuals made many excavations in our hills for the purpose of discovering ores of lead, silver, or gold. A hole in the hillside, supposed to be dug by them, can still be traced, and pieces of lead ore are occasionally picked up. This place is referred to in a rhyme, which, it is said, was composed by a vagrant, who had been disappointed in obtaining an ‘ awmous1 at the different farm-houses mentioned:—

'Glenkirk and Gleucotho,
The Mains of Kilbucho,
Blendewan and the Raw,
MitchelhiH and the Shaw,
The hole ayont the Threpland
Wad had them a'.


One half of the lands of Coulter, at an early period, belonged to a family of the name of Bisset. It then passed in succession into the hands of the Newbiggings and Douglases. The other half was long the patrimony of a family named Menzies. In the year 1385, Robert Maynheis obtained a charter from Robert IL of half of the barony of Coulter, which his father John had resigned. It is interesting to note that David Menyheis, one of the members of this family, granted, in 1431, hjs part of the lands of Wolchclide 'in frankalmoigne' to the monks ,of Melrose. At the Reformation, this and other possessions of the monks were conferred on Sir Thomas Hamilton of Byres, in Haddingtonshire, who, in 1619, was raised to the peerage by the title of Earl of Melrose, but who shortly afterwards was allowed to change this title for that of the Earl of Haddington. In 1645, John, the fourth Earl of Haddington, was returned heir of the demesne lands of Melrose, comprehending, among others, those of Wolfclyde. The farm of Wolfclyde appears to have been, at a subsequent period, the property of Sir William Menzies of Gladstanes. It now forms part of the Hartree estate; and it is worthy of notice that it still pays annually a few shillings to the Duke of Buccleuch, as Lord of Erection of the Abbey of Melrose. Alexander Menzies, yr. of Coulterallers, was appointed Commissioner of Supply and Lieutenant of the Upper Ward of Lanarkshire Militia, by an Act of the first Parliament of William and Mary, 14th March 1689.

The family of Menzies continued to hold a portion of the parish of Coulter, particularly Coulterallers, down to the death of Mr Robert Menzies, which happened in 1769 ; and the lands of Coulterallers and others were purchased two years afterwards by Mr James Baillie, writer, Edinburgh. The family generally resided at Coulter, but their names do not appear very frequently in history.


The family of Baillie of Coulterallers, formerly of Bagbie, Harding-ton, and Hillhouse, is an offshoot from the Baillies of Lamington. It is not accurately known at what time it branched off, but it has generally been stated that the founder of it was a younger son of William Baillie of Lamington, who flourished in the early part of the reign of Queen Mary. This, however, appears not to be correct, as we find that the Baillies were in possession of Bagbie previous to 1555. On the 22d of November of that year, William Baillie of Bagbie, Nicholas his brother, and Michael Short, his servant, and three others, were ‘replegiated* by James, Earl of Morton, to his regality of Dalkeith, to underlie the law, on the 17th of January following, for the convocation of the lieges to the number of six score persons, armed in warlike manner, and attacking James, Lord Sommerville.

William Baillie of Bagbie, in 1574, purchased the farm of Unthank, in the parish of Coulter, of which his father Richard had been tenant. His son, Alexander, succeeded to the lands of Bagbie and Unthank, but does not seem to have made up any titles to Unthank. He was appointed ruling elder for the parish of Roberton to the Presbytery of Lanark 18th July 1639. His son, Major Alexander Baillie, made up titles to Unthank, as disponee of his father, in 1642. His brother, Major Claud Baillie, made up titles to Unthank, as heir to his brother, in 1644. The lands of Hardington seem to have belonged to a family named Baillie, probably cousins of Baillie of Bagbie; and on the 2d October 1645, the Moderator of the Presbytery of Lanark gave thanks to Lord Angus, the Laird of Lee, Sir William Carmichael, James Wondrone of Wiston, the Laird of Halcraig, Hardington, probably Alexander Baillie after -mentioned, Gilkerscleugh, and Gideon Jack, baillie of Lanark, all personally present, for fchei* commendable adherence to the Covenant, and their resolute resistance to the enemy at this difficult time; and on 6& September 1666, Mr William Thomson reported to the Presbytery of Lanark, ‘ That as for the conventicle keept of late at young Hardington’s house, he,can prove by Witnesses that Mr Nicol Blaick preached there. The Presbytery thinks fitt that it be recommended to Littilgilly Sainct John’s Kirk, and William Somervil, the Justice of the Peace, to take notice thereof for the breach of the Act of Parliament.’ Major Claud Baillie married Jane Baillie, daughter of William Baillie of Lamington. The Major was appointed one of the Commissioners for the county of Lanark, to gather in a supply, in 1666. He seems to have been of an extravagant disposition. He sold Unthank in 1666, and on 4th July 1661 he granted an heritable bond over all his lands and heritages to Alexander Baillie, son of the deceased William Baillie of Hardington, and Marjory Menzies, spouse of the said Alexander Baillie; and he granted another heritable bond to Alexander Baillie of Hillhouse, son to Richard Baillie, his brother-german, for 1300 merks, and to Joan Baillie, his sister, for 1000. merks, on 29th October 1661. Major Claud Baillie had a son named William, who succeeded him in the lands of Bagbie, against whom Mr Alexander Baillie of Hillhouse led an apprising, in which he obtained decree on 27th November 1672; and Mr William Baillie of Hardington (probably son of the above Alexander Baillie) also led apprisings and adjudications against Mr William Baillie of Bagbie, by which he acquired the lands of Bagbie, Shillowhead and Marchilands, Hillend and Bank, from him. Mr William Baillie of Hardington seems to have got into difficulties himself ; for we find him denounced his Majesty’s rebel, and put to the horn, for not making paymqpt of some money he was owing. An action of ranking and sale of the lands of* Bagbie and Shillowhead with the Kirklands thereof, Nether Hardington and Kirklands thereof, the Half West land of Hardington, Fallside, Smellgills, Hillend and Bank, was brought, in which decree was pronounced on 18th July 1721, declaring these lands to belong to Mr James Baillie, Writer to the Signet. This Mr James Baillie was son to Alexander Baillie of Hillhouse, who was son to Richard Baillie, brother of Major Claud Baillie of Bagbie, and son of Alexander Baillie of Bagbie add Unthank He was born in the year 1660; married Miss Elizabeth Johnston, daughter of David Johnston, merchant, burgess, and guild-brother, of Edinburgh; and passed Writer to the Signet in 1694. In right of his wife, he was made a burgess and guild-brother of Edinburgh 8th July 1696. He is designed of Wells in 1701, and 6eems to have sold this property previous to 1704, when he married Miss Anna Livington, daughter of George Livington of Saltcoats, in Haddingtonshire. He had three sons by his first marriage,—Robert, who was one of the magistrates of Edinburgh in 1745, and again in 1755; David, who married Miss Helen Bruce of Earlshall, and was killed at a horse-race at Cupar-Fife in 1725; and William, who was Governor of Guinea;—and by his second marriage he had an only son George.

Mr James Baillie purchased Hardington and Bagbie from the representatives of Mr William Baillie in 1721. Mr Baillie, who died in 1747, is represented as having been ‘a very honest and bright gentleman,’ and was private agent for the Earl of March, Baillie of Lamington, Menzies of Coulterallers, etc., and had a large and respectable practice. His son, Mr George Baillie, succeeded him in the lands of Hardington and Bagbie, and married Miss Euphemia Bertram, daughter of William Bertram of Nisbet, and.had—with several other children—James, Robert* and Menzies. James, who was born in 1732, was a writer in Edinburgh. He purchased Coulterallers in 1771, and died unmarried in 1818. Robert, who was born in 1734, was apprentice to his uncle, the Edinburgh magistrate, and afterwards a settler in Georgia, in the United States of America. He distinguished himself very much in the American War, and was colonel of a regiment of Volunteers in the service of his Britannic Majesty. He married Miss M‘Intosh, daughter of John Mohr M(Intosh, one of the earliest colonists of Georgia, and one of whose descendants again distinguished himself in the Mexican War. He died in 1782. Menzies was first an assistant surgeon in the army'; then a partner of the firm of Bertram, Gardner, & Company, of Leith, and afterwards Barrack Master at Leith. He was bom in 1741, and died in 1804. He married Miss Anne Hodgson. The present proprietor of Coulterallers, Robert Granbery Baillie, Esq., who is grandson to the above-mentioned Robert Baillie, succeeded to the estate of Coulterallers on the death of his grandunole, James Baillie, in 1818. He married Miss Anna Baillie, daughter of the above-named Menzies Baillie, and has two sons—James William Baillie, Esq., W.S., and John Menzies Baillie, Esq., C.A.


The lands of Coultermains were held for a long period by a family of the name of Brown, a name that prevailed largely in the Biggar district. The Browns of Coultermains are supposed to be a branch of the family of Brown of Hartree, to whom we have referred. The period at which the Browns became proprietors of Coultermains cannot now be exactly known. The earliest notice of them that appears on record is in 1492, when John Brown of Cultre is mentioned as attending an inquest of the gentlemen of the shire of Clydesdale. Richard Brown of Coultermains, in 1512, along with John Tweedie of Drummelzier, and James Lockhart of Lee, became surety for John Symontoun of Symontoun, when he was arraigned on a charge of treasonably forging false money; and as Symontoun did not appear to underlie the law, Brown and his associates were 4 amerceated ’ in the sum of 1000 merks. Richard Brown of Coultermains, along with Malcolm Lord Fleming, Andrew Brown of Hartree, and others, as formerly mentioned, was in 1526 accused of treasonable communication with Englishmen in time of war, and received a respite for nineteen years. He also, along with Hugh Lord Sommerville, on the 24th April 1536, became surety for William Chancellor of Quothquan, his brother Robert, and James Chancellor, when they were accused of the slaughter of Thomas Baillie of Cormiston.

In December 1562, James Tweedie of Fruid, most likely the son of the individual who married Catherine Fraser, formerly referred to, was attacked when seated before a fire in the house of William Tweedie, burgess of Edinburgh, and mortally wounded, before he could raise himself up, or parry the blows aimed at him. Patrick Hunter, John Hunter, burgess of Edinburgh, John Bum of Over Posso, George Paterson of Harestanes, and William Glen, the Laird of Fruid’s servant, were tried for this murder; and among the 4Pre-locutouris ’ at the trial were the Laird of Coultermains, the Laird of Carmichael, my Lord Semple, the Laird of Traquair, and the Laird of Coilstone. The panels were on this occasion acquitted. John Brown of Coultermains was arraigned for taking part in the murder of David Rizzio, in March 1566 ; but it is not known whether he suffered any punishment for this crime or not.

In the year 1571, during the regency of the Earl of Lennox, the people of Scotland were divided into two inveterate factions, called respectively Queensmen and Kingsmen; that is, those who favoured Queen Mary, and those who favoured her son James. Both factions held separate Parliaments, and pronounced condemnation and forfeiture on each other. The Queen’s party held a Parliament at Edinburgh, in the autumn of the year referred to, under the protection of William Kirkcaldy, the Governor of the Castle, and, of course, passed the doom of forfeiture on their opponents, the Earl of Lennox, the Earl of Morton, the Earl of Mar, and, among many others, James Johnston of Westeraw, John Lindsay of Covington, and John Brown of Coultermains^4 for certain crymes,’ as the author of the 'Diurnal ’ says, ‘and poyntis of tressoune contenit in the summondis directit thairupone; and decemit the saidis personis, and ilk ane of thame, to have tint and foirfaltit thair lyvis, landis, and guidis, and ordaynit thair airmes to be riffin, and thair namis and armis to be deleted out of the buikis thairof for ever; and thairefter the saidis lieutennentis and nobilitie, with sword, sceptour, and cronn, past to the mercat croce of Edinburgh, and thair causit prodame the said foirfaltour.' From this it appears that the Laird of Coultermains was opposed to the unfortunate Queen Mary, and took part with the Earl of Murray, the Earl of Lennox, and others, who contended for the government of her son James.

Robert Brown of Coulter, most likely a relative of the- Browns of Coultermains, was, in the June of 1596, cruelly slaughtered on the Green of Coulter, and the goods and cattle of his brother carried offf by Thomas Jardine of Bimock, and his two sons, Humphrey and Alexander, individuals who, about that period, committed many barbarous outrages in the Upper Ward. One of their most atrocious deeds was their burning and destroying the place of Iittlegill, in the parish of Wandell, in 1589, 1 with haill laiche housis, bames, and byres thairof, and haill insicht and plenessing being thairin, and their crewall burning and slaying of umquhile Alexander Bailzie of Little-gill, Rachel Bailzie, dochter to Mathow Bailzie now of Iittlegill, and umquhile Achiesone, servand to the said Mathow, the 6aidis umquhile three persones being all within the said place the tyme of the burning and destroying thairof.’

The estate of Coultermains consisted of two divisions. The one was called the dominical 50s. lands of old extent, and the other the L.5 lands of old extent. The 50s. lands lay on the west, and are those which were first acquired by the family of Brown, and On which the old mansion-house was built. Till 1598, this mansion was a tower, or, as it is called in the deeds, a fortalice, and the exact spot on which it stood is the north-east comer of the present garden. The family abandoned the tower at that time, and erected a small but commodious dwelling-house near it; and this building remained till 1838, when it was removed by the present proprietor, Mr Sim. Two stones of the old building were carefully preserved, and built into the elegant new edifice then erected One of these stones has the inscription, J. B. 1598, K. L.; and the other, J. B^ K. L;, 1600. The initials refer to John Brown, and his spouse, Katherine Lockhart, a daughter of the old Clydesdale House of Lee.

This Laird died in 1600, and was succeeded by his son Richard, who, on the 12th of May of that year, was retoured heir of his father of the 50s. lands called ‘ Coultermaneis,’ within the barony of Coulter. John Brown, and his son Richard, involved their affairs and estate in pecuniary difficulties; but from what cause, does not appear; and wadsets were granted over the lands to Sir James Lockhart of Lee, Malcolm Fleming, younger, of Cardon, Menzies of Coulterallers and Carlops, and Walter Carmichael. It appears that in the end Sir James Lockhart1 exerted himself to set the affairs of his relatives the Browns free from embarrassment, and that through his means a charter of resignation in favour of John Brown, and his wife, Jean Sommerville, was granted by the various parties, restoring all their possessions from wadsets, in 1637.

John Brown, the Laird of Coultermains of whom we are now speaking, was what was called a ‘ Malignant,* that is, he favoured the side of Charles L; and though he did not openly join Montrose, and take part in his military movements, yet he secretly gave him his countenance and aid. The consequence of this was, that he came under the lash of the Presbytery of Biggar. At a visitation of the Kirk of Coulter, on the 16th of July 1645, one of the questions asked at John Currie, the minister of the parish, was, ‘if there was any in his parish suspected of malignancie?’ The answer was, that ‘John Brown, portioner of Cultermaines, was suspected, because it was reported that his reasoning in discourse with company did tend that way. As also, when upon a time, ye minister in his sermon was stirring up ye people to advance and hasten the levie, the said John Brown was perceived to smyle.’ Mr Brown denied that there was any truth in these allegations, and, being removed, the elders of the parish were called in; but though they admitted that ‘ he was bruited and ill thought off/ yet they could not charge him with any special act of malignancy. The case being referred to the minister and elders of the parish for further examination, John Currie, on the 19th November, reported that he and his session had been diligent in trying the disaffection of John Brown, but had not found out anything against him of a serious character. This did not satisfy the Presbytery, and therefore John Currie was ordered to cite the Laird of Coultermains to appear before the Presbytery at their next meeting. The Laird accordingly appeared before the Presbytery on the 24th December, and admitted that he smiled in the Kirk when the minister was insisting on constancy in the good cause; but he asserted that the smile was extorted from him by the light behaviour of a person that sat near him in the Kirk, and that he was very sorry that such a thing had taken place. He declared ‘ that he thocht weill of ye work of Reformation,’ but denied that he received any protection from Montrose, or was at the Battle of Philiphaugh. He confessed, however, that he went in-the cause of the King to Dumfries with the Marquis of Douglas. These admissions not proving satisfactory to the Presbytery, Robert Elliot of Kilbucho, George Bennet of Quothquan, and the indefatigable John Currie of Coulter, were appointed a committee to investigate still further into his conduct. These worthies reported at the next meeting th&t they were unable to elicit any further information, and therefore it was resolved to cite the Laird to appear once more before the holy conclave. The result of the whole was, that the Laird was forced to compear on the 21st of October 1646, when he humbled himself, confessed his malignancy, and craved pardon. He was thereupon referred back to the Kirk of Coulter to fulfil the rest of his censure. This, as laid down by the Presbytery in cases of malignancy, was to appear before the congregation, and ‘ efker sermon, to stand before ye pulpitt, and mak open confessione of yr offence, and falling down upone yr knies, craive pardon for ye same.’

At the period to which we are now referring, when great commotions in Church and State prevailed, and property and even life were insecure, John Brown of Coultermains removed the writs and evidents of his lands to the house of his friend and brother-Malignant, William Lindsay of Birthwood, situated in a solitary but beautiful glen at the foot of Coulter Fell. Here an accident happened, by which the whole papers and charters containing the history of the Browns, and the rights and titles of their estate, were destroyed. The following extract from the Charter of Novodamus of both halves of Coultermains in favour of John Brown of Coultermains, dated 4th February 1659, tells the story:—‘ Richard, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and dominions thereto belonging, to all men to whose knowledge this our present charter sail come, greeting,—Be it kxiowne that for-as-mekill as we understanding that our loved Johne Broune of Coultermaynes stands heritablie infeft in all and haill the fyve pund land of Coulter Maynes, alswell that halff thereof called the auld or west halff, as in that other halff of the samyne called the new or eister halff of the saidis lands, with houses, biggings, yardis, pairts, pendicles, and pertinents thereof whatsomever, lyand within the parochin of Coulter and our Shereffdome of Lanark, holdin immediatelie of us and our predecessors, Kings of Scotland, be service of warde and relieff, and siclyke, wee being certainlie informed that in the time of the late troubles in the year ane thousand sex hundreth and fiftie ane, the said Johne Broune, for securing his writes and evidents of the saidis lands, haveing committed the samyne to the custodie of William Lindsaye of Birthwode, to be keeped wtin his hous, as a place remote and reteired frome all publice hieways, the saide hous, and all within the samyne, and among the rest, the saidis haill writs and evidents, were be ane sad and unexpected accident totallie brunt, and destroyed with fyre, as hes beene sufficientlie instructed and made appear to our said Commissioner of Exchequere, be twa severall certificates of the truith thereof produced before them,— ane whereof subscribed be the Moderator and brethren of the Prisbitre of Biggar, and the other, be the Justices of our Peace within that our countie,' etc., etc. The Brounes thought it necessary to get a similar charter from Charles II., July 1st, 1661, two years afterwards.

In July 1681, a deed was committed by the Laird of Coultermains, which strongly marks the disordered state of the country at the time, and the disposition of the local proprietors to disregard the laws and settle their disputes by brute force. Alexander Menzies, Laird of Coulterallers, about that period, for the accommodation of the housewives of his neighbourhood, erected a waulk-mill on his own property, near the foot of Coulter Water, and a short time afterwards built a house contiguous to it, as a dwelling for the person in charge of the mill. Mr Brown offered no obstruction to the process of building this house; but after it was completed, he, on some ground or other, manifested his dissatisfaction. Mr Menzies, in consequence, took out a law-borrows against him; but Mr Brown paying no regard to this legal protection, assembled a considerable number of persons connected with Coulter, and among others, John Vallange, Luke Vallange his son, John Kemp, James Brown, William Brown, John Patoun, Mungo Inglis, and Alexander Inglis, ‘ all boddin in feir of weir, armed with swords, pistols, axes, and other instruments,’ and leading them to the waulk-mill in question, there ‘by force, bangistry, violence, and oppression, did demolish and throw down the said dwelling-house.’ For this crime, the Laird and his accomplices, just named, were served with an indictment at the instance of Sir George Mackenzie of Rose-haugh, his Majesty’s advocate, and Mr Alexander Menzies of Coulterallers, on the 80th of the same month of July, to stand their trial; but, unfortunately, the result is not known.

In the chapter on the Covenanters, we have referred to the capture of a James Brown of Coulter by Claverhouse; but this person was not the Laird of Coultermains, though it is very possible he was a relation of the family. John Brown of Coultermains died in 1685, and was succeeded by his son Richard, of whom nothing of importance is known. His son William was the next Laird of Coultermains, who obtained a disposition of the estate from his father in 1704, upon which he expede a crown charter, and was infeft. The eldest son of William was John, who succeeded in 1736, and was at first minister of Symington, and afterwards of his native parish of Coulter.

The memory of this worthy clergyman is still held over the district in the very highest respect. As a minister of the Gospel, he was distidjguished for his piety and intelligence, as well as for his deeds of hospitality and benevolence; and as a proprietor, for the improvements he made on his ancestral property, by embankments, water-ducts, and planting, thus affording ample employment to his poorer parishioners. With the exception of the old trees which stood round the tower taken down in 1598, he was the planter of all the others, on this now well-timbered properly. He built a considerable addition to the mansion in 1753, which formed the principal part of the house that was removed in 1838. An ornamental window, which was carefully placed in the new house, has the above date, 1753, cut on it, and is preserved as a sort of memorial of the worthy minister. His eldest son, called William, was educated for the Church, but was carried off by consumption in 1771, at a very early age. His worthy father received a severe blow from this bereavement; and when asked by the family when the funeral should take place, he replied, ‘ Do not be in a hurry, you may have two to bury.’ He died the same night, and the worthy minister and son were interred in the same grave. An incident occurred at the funeral which we have heard related by an eye-witness, The minister’s man, an attached old servant, was so overpowered by his feelings, that he fell, as if he had been dead, into the grave. Water from the baptismal well soon restored him to consciousness ; but the incident, of course, made a great noise at the time at which it happened.

John Brown, before the Sheriff of Lanark, 3d July 1795, was served heir to his father, John Brown, Laird of Coultermains, and minister of the Gospel at Coulter, to whom we have just referred. He married Miss Cecilia Grizel Bertram, a daughter of the old House of Nisbet and Kersewell. Mr Brown was a Deputy-Lieutenant of the county of Lanark, and a freemason, hailing from St Luke’s Lodge, Edinburgh. He was admitted an honorary member of the Lodge of Biggar Free Operatives in April 1796, and on the occasion presented the Lodge with a donation of two guineas. On the 19th of February 1817, Mr Brown sold Coultermains to the late David Sim, merchant, Glasgow. The present representative of this old family is John Brown, Esq., W.S., Edinburgh, a gentleman well known and universally respected.

We regret that the old documents connected with this family were lost, and that we are thus left in ignorance of the time and manner in which they acquired their estate, and other incidents in their early history. In preparing even a brief notice of their proceedings and their different successions, it is difficult to avoid confusion from the continued repetition of the family names, Richard and John, which evidently were favourites with the House of Coultermains. It was, in fact, a common custom with great families, to adhere as closely as possible to certain names, and hence, from this source, no small embarrassment is felt in writing family history. The Browns of Coultermains for three hundred years held their property in direct succession from father to son, and, with one exception, were all called Richard or John.

The present proprietor of Coultermains, Adam Sim, Esq., in 1838, erected an elegant mansion on the estate. It is in the Elizabethan style of architecture, from a design by Mr Spence, architect, Glasgow. It stands on a lawn not far distant from the banks of the Clyde, and is finely embowered amid luxuriant plantations. Internally it is fitted up in a style of great elegance and taste. The library is a fine apartment, stored with a rich collection of antiquarian lore; the drawingroom is magnificently adorned with costly furniture, and a perfect profusion of rare and choice works of art; and one of the rooms above stairs is fitted up in a very impressive manner, with carved oak pannelling in the medieval style of art, with antique furniture and stained glass windows. The floor and walls of the lobby are covered with a variety of implements of the olden time; every apartment, in fact, has its store of curiosities; while scattered over the house is one of the largest collections of Lanarkshire antiquities that was ever made. The generous-hearted proprietor deserves the utmost gratitude for the immense labour, to say nothing of the cost, that he has expended in gathering these rare articles together, and also for the readiness, frankness, and evident delight that he, on all occasions, exhibits in showing them to his friends.


To the south of Coulter are the lands of Lamington. The earliest proprietor of these lands of whom mention is made, is Hugh Braidfoot, who, according to Blind Harry, died previous to the year 1295, leaving a son and a daughter. Hesilrig, the English Sheriff of Lanark, put the young Laird to death; and his sister, whose name was Marion, purchased the protection of the English, and leaving the tower of Lamington, took up her abode at Lanark. Sir William Wallace, in the year 1296, occasionally sojourned at Gilbank, in the parish of Lesmahagow, the residence of his uncle, Nichol Auchinleck. It was his wont, when living here, to repair at times for recreation to the town of Lanark; and here he accidentally met with the heiress of Lamington. At the time at which Wallace first saw her, she was little more than eighteen years of age, possessed of great personal attractions, and distinguished no less for her modesty than for her amiable and generous disposition. Wallace fell deeply in love with her; and finding that his love was returned, he, after much hesitation, on account of his own unsettled mode of life and the disturbed state of the country, made her his wife, greatly to the mortification of the English Sheriff, who, it seems, had a design to wed her to his son. Some time after his marriage, Wallace received a visit from his attached companion-in-arms, Sir John Graham, accompanied by a small party of his followers. One morning the two chieftains and their retainers attended mass in the Parish Church of Lanark, which stood at a short distance from the town, and, on their return, the English soldiers, who at that time occupied the town and Castle of Lanark, intentionally fastened a quarrel on them in the streets. After some altercation, swords were drawn, and a sharp conflict ensuing, a strong party of the English were marched from the Castle to the aid of their friends. The Scots fought stoutly, and slew not a few of their opponents; but being overborne by numbers, they were forced to retreat, and naturally directed their steps with all speed to Wallace’s mansion, where they were admitted by a female domestic, who had presence of mind to bolt the gate behind them. This retarded their pursuers; and by a back passage they succeeded in securing a safe retreat amid the woody fastnesses of Cartlane Craigs. The English, incensed at their escape, seized the wife of Wallace, and barbarously put her to death. The news of this sad event was conveyed to Wallace by an old female retainer of the House of Lamington, and naturally overwhelmed him with the deepest sorrow and distress. On recovering, he vowed from that time to devote himself entirely to the service of his country, and either to drive out the English, or perish in the attempt. It was instantly concerted that an attack should be made that night on the garrison of Lanark; and Auchinleck being apprised of this resolution, joined them with a small detachment of men. The Scots, divided into several little parties, came suddenly and unexpectedly to Lanark, and, by fire and sword, put the whole garrison, consisting of about 250 men, to death. Among the slain were Hesilrig the Sheriff, his son, Sir Robert Thorn, and other persons of distinction.

It is stated by the Minstrel, that Marion Braidfute had by Wallace a daughter, who was married to a person named Shaw, and that ‘ rycht gudly men came off yis lady zong.’ It is supposed that either this lady herself afterwards, or that her daughter and heiress, was married to William, a member of the family of Baillie of Hoperig, in East Lothian. It was the opinion of the learned antiquary, Sir William Baillie of Castlecarry, that the name Baillie was the same as Baliol, and that the family of Hoperig was a branch of the illustrious House of Baliol, the head of which was Lord of Galloway, and, at one time, King of Scotland. William Baillie, who married the heiress of Lamington, was taken prisoner at the Battle of Durham in 1346. After his release, King David Bruce, in 1357, raised him to the rank of a knight; and on the 27th of January 1368, conferred on him and his heirs a new charter of the lands of ‘ Lambestown,’ on condition of rendering the usual service.

William Baillie left two sons, William and Alexander. Alexander is supposed to be the founder of the family of Baillie of Carphin. William, the heir of Lamington, is designed in a charter, dated 4th Feb. 1395, also proprietor of Hoperig; and it thus seems that these two estates were for some time possessed by the same individual. He gave his son William as a hostage in exchange for David Lesly of that Ilk, in 1432; and this son is mentioned in a document, dated 1466, as still the possessor of the estates of Hoperig and Lamington. He was appointed by his country one of the conservators of peace; and in this capacity he took part in the negotiations at Nottingham that led to the conclusion of a treaty of peace with England in 1484. His daughter, Mary, was married to Lord SommerviUe of Carnwath; and in 1485, he witnessed a charter of the lands of Cambusnethan, granted by that baron to his son.

Sir William Baillie left a son, William, who was his successor, and who married Marion, a daughter of Patrick Home of Polwarth, Comptroller of Scotland in the reign of James IV. He obtained a charter of his lands, under the Great Seal, in 1492; and left two sons, William, his heir, and John, the progenitor of the Baillies of St John’s Kirk, Jerviswood, and Walston. William married Elizabeth, daughter of Lord John Lindsay of Byres, and bad a son, also William, evidently a favourite name in the family, who, in 1542, was appointed to the office of Principal Keeper of the Wardrobe to Queen Mary. * This gentleman was a keen partisan of that Queen. He appeared on her side with his followers at the Battle of Langside; and on this Account his lands were ravaged and afterwards forfeited by the Regent Murray. By his wife Janet, daughter of James, Earl of Arran, he had William, his successor, and another son, said to be the progenitor of the Baillies of Bagbie and Hardington, now represented by R. G. Baillie, Esq. of Coulterallers.

William, the next Laird of Lamington, married Margaret, a daughter of John Lord MaxweU, and relict of Archibald, Earl of Angus. By this lady he had one child, a daughter, who, by the negotiations of her mother, was induced to marry a relative of her own, Edward Maxwell, Commendator of Dundrenan, and third son of Lord Herries of Terregle8. Baillie conferred the fee of his estate on his daughter and her heirs, on condition that they should assume the name of Baillie, and bear the arms of the House of Lamington, reserving only a life-interest in his estates to himself and his lady. While his wife was stall living, he formed an improper intimacy with a Mrs Home, by whom he had a son. After his wife’s death, he married this woman, with the view of legitimatizing his son; but in this object he failed. The son, thus prevented from inheriting his paternal estates, devoted himself to the profession of arms. Like many enterprising young Scotsmen, he went abroad, and fought with distinction under the banner of the renowned Gustavus Adolphus. When the contentions between Charles I. and the Parliament broke out, and both sides prepared to adjust their differences by the arbitration of the sword, Baillie returned to his native country, and threw in his lot with the opponents of royalty.

Under old Lesly, Earl of Leven, he was appointed Lieutenant of the Scots army that assembled at Berwick in 1644, and afterwards marched into England He shared in the victory over the Royalists on Marston Moor, and took part in the siege of York and the capture of Newcastle. When the great Montrose was known to be carrying everything before him in Scotland in the cause of his royal master, Baillie was despatched from England to oppose his movements. He encountered Montrose first at Alford, and afterwards at Kilsyth, and in both cases sustained a defeat. Historians have not failed to vindicate the generalship of Baillie, and to admit that his failures on these occasions were attributable not to himself, but to the nobility and Committee of Estates, by whom his counsels were thwarted and set aside. In the year 1648, he held a command in the army that was raised in Scotland in favour of Charles I., and placed under the direction of the Duke of Hamilton. This army was marched into England; but was remarkably ill-conducted, as the Duke was no general. The consequence was, that his troops were defeated and dispersed by the English Roundheads; and Baillie, after being deserted by his commander, was forced to surrender at Uttoxeter to Lambert, one of Cromwell’s captains. He is known to have made an effort to recover his paternal estate of Lamington, but without success.

William Maxwell, the son of the Commendator of Dundrenan, took the name of Baillie, and married Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Stewart of Craigiehall, Linlithgowshire. He was the elder for Lamington parish at the formation of the Presbytery of Biggar. In 1648 he was a member of the Scottish Parliament, and agreed to support the cause of Charles I. after he was placed in confinement by Cromwell and his party. The engagement which a number of the other Scottish barons entered into on this occasion, as is well known, gave great offence to the Presbyterian clergy. They denounced it from their pulpits, and threatened to inflict spiritual censures on those who should obey the edict of the Parliament, and take up arms in defence of the King. Baillie of Lamington, in consequence of his connection with the ‘ sinful engagement,’ as it was called, was, along with others, pounced on by the Presbytery of Biggar, and summoned to appear before them. He accordingly appeared on the 12th December 1649, and pled that by taking part in the engagement he did not consider that he had done anything wrong. The members of Presbytery were of a different opinion, and therefore they intimated to him, ‘ if he wold not be readie to give satisfactione against ye next meiting, that they wold enter into farther proces against him.’ He came up before the Presbytery again on the 2d January 1650, and the reverend court laid down in detail the charges which they brought against them. They were as follows:—‘His being a member of that parliament consenting to yr unjust proceedingis, and not dissenting with ye honest partie of that parliament,—his being att ye committee of estaitts flowing from that Parliament, and giveing his oath yr,—his keiping ye first rendezvous at Lanerk moore wth his men verie willinglie,—his refusing to helpe ye westeme forces, and not suffering his men to helpe theme or joyne with theme,—his giveing furth his men to the enemie without constraint,—his goeing a great way for joineing with Lanerkers,— and his refuseing to cleare himself anent subscrybing the unlawfull band.’

The Laird denied the greater number of these charges, but admitted that, in Parliament, he gave his consent to the engagement, and took no part with the ‘ honest partie,’ and that he refused to render any help to the western forces. The Presbytery laboured hard to bring him to ‘ a sense of his guyltinesbut not succeeding, they appointed a committee of 1 some breather and rewling elderis* to dead with him, and report at a future meeting. The clergy, in these days, when they entered on a case of this kind, pursued it with unwearied obstinacy; but in searching the records of Presbytery, we failed to discover any intimation that the Biggar divines had succeeded in extorting any further confession from the Laird, or inflicting on him any sort of punishment The kirk-session of Lamington found him quite inexorable, and therefore deprived him of his office of elder, until he should give signs of penitence and make satisfaction.

Sir William Baillie was succeeded by his grandson William, who married Henrietta, a daughter of William, Earl of Crawford. By this lady he had only daughters, the eldest of whom married Sir James Carmichael of Bonninton. Sir James agreed that his estate should be sunk into the family of Lamington, and that his heirs-male should bear the title and surname of Baillie. During last century, the estate of Lamington was held by two other heiresses, the last of whom, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Lord President Dundas, married Sir John Lockhart Ross of Balnagown. This lady’s son, Sir Charles Ross, had a daughter named Matilda, who married Admiral Sir Thomas Cochrane, K.C.B. The eldest son of this lady, Alexander Dundas Ross Wishart Baillie Cochrane, Esq., as heir to his mother, is the present proprietor of the Lamington estate. He was bom in 1816, and received his education at Eton, and Trinity College, Cambridge, where, in 1837, he took the degree of B.A. In 1844 he married Annabella, a daughter of A. R. Drummond, Esq. He represented Bridport for upwards of ten years in the Imperial Parliament, and the county of Lanark for three months in the spring of 1857. He was elected for Honiton in 1859, and this place he still continues to represent. Mr Cochrane has devoted a good portion of his time and attention to literary pursuits. On returning from his travels in Greece and the east of Europe in 1840, when he had only reached his 24th year, he published a poem entitled ‘ The Morea.’ He has since published a work on Italy, and several novels, such as 4Lucille Belmont,’ (Ernest Vane,’ 4 Florence the Beautiful,’ etc., and other productions. He has taken a warm interest in the affairs of the town of Biggar; and has especially been noted for his generous efforts to befriend the poor, and promote the cause of education. The old tower of Lamington, which it is supposed had stood from the days of Wallace, was greatly demolished eighty years ago, and thus rendered altogether uninhabitable. Mr Cochrane, some time ago, erected an elegant mansion on the estate, at which he usually resides a part of the year, and, from his affability and active benevolence, is held in great and deserved esteem, not only by his tenantry, but by the population of the district at large.


The first proprietor of Symington of whom we know anything was Simon Lockhart, who flourished in the reigns of Malcolm IV. and William the Lion. Simon was one of the witnesses of a donation of the Church of Weston, to the Abbey of Kelso, by Wicius of Weston, for the safety of the soul of King Malcolm and his brother William, some time previous to 1164. The honour of knighthood was conferred upon him by William, as appears from a gift, which he bestowed on the Abbey of Kelso, of the Church of Wodechurch, with the whole of its parish, as well of Thankerton as of the village of Sir Simon Lockhart. This gift was confirmed by Jociline, Bishop of Glasgow, who occupied that See from 1174 to 1199. A controversy afterwards arose between the Prior of Paisley and the Abbot of Kelso in regard to the chapel of the village of Sir Symon Lockard; but a compromise at last took place, by which it was agreed that the chaplain appointed by Sir Simon should continue for life, and that the chapel should then be resigned to the Abbot It is understood that it was from this knight that the village and parish received the name of Symon’s Town, afterwards changed into Symington.

The Lockharts continued for a long period to be proprietors of Symington; and their names occur repeatedly as witnesses in early charters. They became proprietors of the estate of Lee, in the parish of Lanark, an estate still possessed by their descendants. The lands of Symington at length fell into the hands of a family who took the name of Symington of that Ilk. The Symingtons are often incidentally mentioned in our public muniments. As already stated, John Symontown of that Ilk, was, in 1512, charged with the crime of forgery and making false money. Robert Menzies of that Ilk, John Tweedie of Drummelzier, James Lockhart of Lee, and Richard Brown of Coultermains, conjointly and severally became caution that he would appear and stand his trial, under a penalty of 1000 merks. As he did not come forward, these parties forfeited this large sum.


The lands of St John’s Kirk, in the suppressed parish of Thankerton, were long possessed by a family of the name of Baillie, a branch, as we have already said, of the Baillies of Lamington. Thomas Baillie of St John’s Kirk, like the rest of the Baillies, was a partisan of Queen Mary. On the 27th of February 1572-3, he was delatit for the slaughter of the umquhile James Ballanye and others at the Battle of Langside, 18th May 1568; but the case against him was in the end deserted. He had previously, however, sustained serious losses by the ravages committed on his property by the Earl of Murray, shortly after that battle. On the 4th of January 1642, John Baillie was returned heir of the lands of Thankerton, lately St John’s Kirk, with the teinds and pasturage in the Common of Thankerton, the lands of Lockharthill and a portion of Anneston commonly called 4Schawcruick,’ in the barony of Symington, and the lands and meadow called Annetscheill, with pasture in the Common of 4 Wowstoun.’ We have already referred to the part which the Lady of St John’s Kirk played during the persecuting times of Charles II. and James VII. She appears to have had a strong leaning in favour of the Covenanted work of Reformation, but manifested some alarm and indecision at a time when a terrible system of rapine and bloodshed, carried out under the orders of Government, made the stoutest hearts tremble. From this respected family sprung the Baillies of Walston and Jervis-wood, that have given birth to men who have played a distinguished part in the public transactions of their country. The estate of St John’s Kirk, which is pleasantly situated at the foot of Tinto, has been out of the hands of the Baillies for a considerable period.


The Chancellors of Shieldhill are the oldest proprietors of land in the neighbourhood of Biggar. They are supposed to have come to this country from France at the time of the Norman Conquest, along with the Sommervilles of Camwath, whom they acknowledged as their lords-superior. The alliance between them and the Sommervilles appears, according to Nisbet, to have existed at least in 1317, in the time of Robert Bruce. The oldest of their charters extant, is one that is referred to in that curious gossiping work, 4 The Memorie of the Sommervilles,’ and was granted by Thomas Lord Sommerville to William, or, as Nisbet calls him, George Chancellor of Shieldhill, in the year 1432. George was succeeded by his son Alexander, who added some lands to the family estate, and obtained a charter from Lord Sommerville in 1460. He was succeeded by his son George, who resigned his lands into the hands of his superior, Lord Sommerville, in 1472, for new infeftment, and at that time received a new charter. He is styed 4 Nobilis vir Georgius Chanceler, dominus de Quodquan.’ By his wife, a daughter of Ramsay of Dalhousie, he left a son, William, who was his successor, and in whose favour, and of his wife Janet Geddes, a daughter of Geddes of Rachan and Kirkurd, a sasine was registered in 1477. In the account of the famous incident of 4 Speates and Raxes,’ which took place in July 1474, William Chancellor of Quothquan is mentioned as one of the parties who turned out to the assistance of his friend and superior, Lord Sommerville, when it was supposed that he was placed in a state of danger in Edinburgh.

The next two Lairds of Shieldhill were John and Robert; but nothing is known regarding them worthy of special notice. The successor of the last named was William, who was infeft in his lands in 1583, and was designated of Shieldhill, Quothquan, and Conniston. In April 1535 he became surety for Hugh Lord Sommerville’s underlying the law at the next Justice Aire at Lanark, for art and part of southrief and oppression done to John Tweedale, Carnwath, in reiving from him his cows, horses, crops, goods, and utensils. In the year following! his Lordship rendered a similar service to William Chancellor and his brother Robert, when they were charged with the crime of being art and part in the murder of Thomas Baillie, Laird of Cor-miston. The Chancellors were fined in the sum of three hundred merks for not appearing to answer this charge; but Lord Sommerville and Richard Brown of Coultermains came forward as their cautioners, and a new trial having been appointed, they gave themselves up to justice, and were acquitted.

William Chancellor was succeeded by his son William, who had a charter from Lord Sommerville in 1546, and who married Agnes, a daughter of Sir John Hamilton of Crawfordjohn. Being allied with the Hamiltons, as might be expected, he . was attached to the cause of Queen Mary. He accordingly, with his retainers, joined the Queen’s party at Hamilton, and took part in the unhappy encounter at Lang-side in 1567. On this account his mansion-house at Quothquan was destroyed, and his lands were devastated by the Regent Murray. The successor of William was Robert, who- married a daughter of Symington of that Hk. His son John was the next Laird of Shieldhill, and the sasine of his lands is dated 1605. John was succeeded by his son Robert, who was distinguished for his loyally to Charles I. and Charles U. In consequence of his attachment to the Stewarts, he was, no doubt, either opposed, or at all events indifferent, to the Presbyterian form of Church government then established It was on this account perhaps that he and his family got into trouble with the Presbytery of Lanark. On the 24th of June 1630, he was summoned before that reverend court, when ‘ being convick of contempt of word, of raling against his pastor, wes ordainit to find cautione to obeye qlk thing he promisit to do, whairfor he wes injoined to make his publick repentance in his awin claithes only one day, if he maid a guid con-fessione, and so to be absolved’

The minister of Quothquan was not content with the prosecution of Mr Chancellor himself. He laid an accusation before the Presbytery against Lady Chancellor, and her daughter Susanna, for having resorted to charming in order to restore a child to health. The corpus delicti was, that for the attainment of this end they had 4 buried the claithes of a chyld betwixt laird’s lands.’ The worthy incumbent, on the 23d of September 1630, insisted before the Presbytery that the Lady of Shieldhill should appear before the brethren, and, in all humility, confess her fault, and give signs of unfeigned repentance. It is certain at least that Miss Chancellor, on the 14th October following, did appear before the Presbytery, ‘and, in presence of the brethren, upon hir knees confessit her grit offence in haying any medling with charmers, and promisit amendment in tyme coming.’ The reverend gentleman had another contention with Mr Chancellor before the Presbytery of Lanark in 1689. The cause of offence on this occasion was, that Mr Chancellor had broken open the door of Quothquan Kirk, and interred the remains of his Lady in the interior of the said Kirk. As we have stated elsewhere, the Laird had to acknowledge his fault, and was ordered to be censured by the kirk-session of Quothquan.

Robert Chancellor died in 1664, and was succeeded by his son James. The opinions of James on the political and ecclesiastical topics of the day were somewhat "different from those of his father. He appears to have attached himself to the cause of the Covenanters. After the Battle of Bothwell Bridge, he was for some time confined in prison on the charge of having given shelter to some of the poor countrymen who fled from that unhappy conflict On another occasion, he got into trouble by taking violent possession of a piece of ground called the Parkholm, lying on the river Clyde. The river formed the boundary between die lands of Thankerton, belonging to Carmichael of Bonniton, and those belonging to James Chancellor, George Kello, and others. About the year 1638, a violent storm taking place, caused the Clyde to overflow its banks, and form a new channel, thus leaving a piece of ground belonging to Carmichael on the opposite side of the river. It got the name of the Parkholm, and remained for a number of yean in a neglected, state. Carmichael, considering it to be his property, at length put it under the plough, and year after year carried off the produce, much to the dissatisfaction of the neighbouring proprietors, who entertained an idea that the river should still form the boundary, as before. Carmichael dying about the year 168S, and his son and successor being a minor, James Chancellor and his friends thought the time favourable for establishing their claim to the piece of ground referred to. They mustered about eighty men, furnished with pitchforks, great staves, scythes, pistols, swords, and mastiff dogs, and in a rude and violent manner cut down ‘ the whole growth of fourteen bolls sowing of com or thereby,' drove it home to their houses, and there made use of it in bedding their cattle, or converting it into dung. Thus ‘corns which would have yielded at least ninety bolls, at eight pounds Scots the boll, were rendered useless for man or beast' During the progress of the plunder, the tenants were confined to their houses under a guard; so it was altogether a riot and oppression, inferring severe punishment, which was accordingly called for by the curators of the young landlord. The Council having heard both parties, found the riot proven, and ordained Mr Chancellor of Shieldhill to pay 300 merks to the pursuer. The Lords of Session finally determined, in 1695, that the Parkholm should remain the property of Sir James Carmichael.* James Chancellor was returned an elder by the Presbytery of Biggar to the first General Assembly that met after the Revolution in 1688.

The members of this family are not known to have taken a very prominent part in the stormy and violent contentions of former ages; which constitute the larger portion of written history. They appear in general to have held on the noiseless tenor of their way, doing good and receiving the esteem and approbation of their neighbours. They have thus contrived to preserve their name and their property for centuries, while the family of many a baron, once powerful and endowed with extensive domains, have disappeared. The present proprietor of Shieldhill estate is J. G. Chancellor, Esq.


To the west of the possessions of the Chancellors lay the lands of the Lindsays of Covington. For a considerable period they were neighbouring proprietors of the Flemings of Biggar, while they held the lands of Thankerton. The oldest writs of Thankerton in possession of the Fleming family do not indeed extend farther back than the year 1465, but it is understood that these are not the original titles. The lands and barony of Thankerton were sold on the 18th of February 1666 to Sir William Purves. The Lindsays of Covington were not only neighbouring proprietors of the Flemings, but several marriages took place between the two families that united them in a greater bond of intimacy and friendship. The Lindsays of Covington were descended from the Lindsays of Crawford. The first of them was John Lindsay, who was the son of Sir Philip Lindsay, and married the heiress of Covington some time previous to the year 1366. Lord Lindsay, in his ‘ Lives of the Lindsays,9 gives a detail of the successive Barons of Covington; but there is nothing very interesting in it, except to the genealogist Margaret, a daughter of John Lindsay of Covington, became the second wife of Robert Lord Fleming, who died in 1494. John Lindsay of Covington was one of the persons who witnessed the Charter of Foundation of Biggar Kirk in 1545. That baron, during the very year in which he signed that charter, was arraigned, along with several of his relatives and eighteen other persons, for having assembled a party of two hundred men, armed with lances, culverings, bows, and other invasive weapons, and on the 28th September, marching to the barn of James Sommerville, Rector of Iibberton, and there wounding Robert Millar, the Rector’s servant, in the neck and other parts of his body, to the effusion of his blood and the danger of his life. Lord Sommerville became surety for Lindsay himself, and he was detained in Edinburgh ‘ until a royal license was granted for his departure.’ The record does not say what was his ultimate punishment.

John Lindsay of Covington, about the commencement of the seventeenth century, married Agnes Fleming, only daughter and heir to John Fleming of Bord. Her tocher, amounting to 8000 merks, was paid on the 13th of November 1602 by John Lord Fleming. The oldest son of this pair was George Lindsay, who, on the 4th of November 1623, was retoured heir of his father in the barony of Covington, and also of two oxgates of temple lands called ‘ Stane,’ in the barony of Big-. gar, the value of which, according to the ancient extent, was 16s. 8d., and according to the new extent, 3 merks. This Baron of Covington seems to have married Lady Rachel Fleming, a daughter of John, second Earl of Wigton; and a discharge for her tocher, dated 31st March 1630, is still preserved.

Sir William Lindsay, the last Baron of Covington, by profuse expenditure, squandered away the family inheritance, so that his lineal descendants became, ere long, merely labouring men. Lord Lindsay has given the following amusing anecdote regarding Sir William, the last,Laird, who died previous to the year 1688:— 4 Sir William left four daughters, one of whom marrying John Baillie of St John’s Kirk, was mother of a daughter married to William Somerville of Corehouse, representative of the Barons of Cambus-nethan. Their daughter Isabella married Inglis of Eastshiel, whose only child, Violet, was the late Mrs Lockhart of Birkhijl, who died in 1825. She used to relate to her grandchildren the following anecdote of her ancestor, Sir William, who, it appears, was a humorist, and noted, moreover, for preserving the picturesque appendage of a beard at a period when the fashion had long passed away. He had been extremely ill, and life was at last supposed to be extinct, though, as it afterwards turned out, he was only in a “ dead faint,” or trance. The female relatives were assembled for the 44 chesting” in a lighted chamber in the old tower of Covington, where the bearded knight lay stretched upon his bier. But when the servants were about to enter to assist at the ceremonies, Isabella Somerville, Sir William’s great-granddaughter, and Mrs Lockhart’s grandmother, then a child, creeping close to her mother, whispered in her ear, 'The beard is wagging —the beard is wagging!” Mrs Somerville upon this looked to the bier, and, observing indications of life in the ancient knight, made the company retire, and Sir William soon came out of his faint. They explained that they believed him to be actually dead, and that arrangements had even been made for his funeral! In answer to his question, “ Have the folks been warned?” (гл., invited to the funeral), he was told that they had, that the funeral day had been fixed, an ox slain, and other preparations made for entertaining the company. Sir William then said, “ All is as it should be; keep it a dead secret that I am in life, and let the folks come.” His wishes were complied with, and the company assembled for the burial at the appointed time. After some delay, occasioned by the non-arrival of the clergyman, as was supposed, and which afforded an opportunity for discussing the merits of the deceased, the door suddenly opened, when, to their surprise and terror, in stepped the knight himself, pale in countenance, and dressed in black, leaning on the arm of the minister of the parish of Covington. Having quieted this alarm, and explained matters, he called upon the clergyman to conduct an act of devotion, which included thanksgiving for his recovery, and escape from being buried alive. This done, the dinner succeeded. A jolly evening, after the manner of the times, was passed, Sir William himself presiding over the carousals.’ This story will remind the reader of the resuscitation of Athelstane, and his subsequent supper, in Ivanhoe.


The barony of Skirling, or ‘Scrawlin,’ was possessed by a family of the name of Cockburn for more than three hundred years. The first Cockbum of Skirling appears to have been Alexander, who, some time prior to the year 1362, married Margaret of Monfode, daughter and heiress of Sir John of Monfode, to whom Robert L granted the whole lands of Skirling and the advowon of the church. The names of many of the subsequent Barons of Skirling appear in our public muniments. We may refer to one or two of them. In the year 1478, the Auditors of Parliament decided that Walter Tweedie of Dreva should restore to Adam Cockbum of Skirling a silver cup double gilt, having a foot and a lid, which Cockbum had laid in pledge for twenty merks. At a Justiciary Court held at Peebles on the 12th November 1498, Sir William Cockbum of Skirling, James, his brother, and John Paterson, in 'Kingildurris,* produced a remission from the charge of being art and part in the slaughter of Walter, son of John Tweedie of Dreva; also of being art and part in the southrief of a sword and shield from the said Walter,—and further, of forethought of felony, in mutilating Andrew Tweedie within the town of Edinburgh during the sitting of Parliament.

William Cockbum of Skirling, who flourished in the early part of the sixteenth century, appears to have had a feud with Alexander Crichton of NewhalL He was, in addition to other acts of oppression, charged with carrying off a box of documents belonging to that gentleman, which he found in possession of Patrick Aitken, burgess, Edinburgh,—with forcibly occupying his lands of Kirkrighill, pasturing on them seven score of cattle and sixty horses and mares, overturning a ‘ fail dyke,’ etc. This case was brought by the Councillors of State before James V. The King, who at the time was sojourning at Crawfordjohn, wrote to his Councillors the following reply


. Trust Counsakraris, we grete yon weO, and hes resavit zonr writingis anent the Laird of Scraling, and thinkis zour avise and consel beat anent the publishing of dome gevin aganis him. Quhair ze mentione of ane Minut send, we haue sene nane. Therefor we pray zou yat ye tak yat travil to pass to him and deolair quhow it etandis. Swa yat his lyf and gnddis are in our handis. Gif he cumznis in will we wilbe gracious to him. Fail-zeandyairof, we sail cause justice be keipit. Andyairefter yat ze write to tb ane ansuir, as ze will do vs singular plesour.

Gevin at Craufordjone, ye xxix day of March, and of our regne ye xxij zeir/

James Cockbum thought it proper to come in the King’s will, and this he did on the 31st of March 1536; but no statement has been left on record regarding the punishment assigned him by the King. Sir James Cockburn of Skirling, most likely a son of the preceding Laird, was a keen partisan of Queen Mary. The Queen, as a mark of her confidence and respect, appointed him Governor of Edinburgh Castle in the spring of 1567, in room of the Earl of Mar. Birrel, in noticing the event, says, ‘ The 21st of this month the Castell of Edin-burge was ranched to Cockbume of Skirline at ye Queinis command. This same day ther rais ane vehement tempest of vunde, which blew a verey grate shipe out of the rode of Lieth, and sicklyk blew the taile from the cocke wich standis one the tope of ye steiple away frome it, so the old prophecy came trew,

'Quhen Skirline sail be Capitaine,

Ye cock sail vant his taile.’

The author of the 'Diurnal’ states that this change in the command of the Castle was made against the wishes of the inhabitants, who were in favour of the Earl of Mar, as he ‘ wes a guid man and na oppressour.’ Sir James Cockbum, however, did not long enjoy the honour of holding this responsible office. James Balfour, Clerk Register, who had been instrumental in getting the banns proclaimed between the Queen and Bothwell, was appointed Governor on the 8th of May of the same year, most likely as a reward for his subserviency. Cockbum still remained faithful to the Queen; and the consequence was, that his lands were ravaged, and his house of Skirling was destroyed by the Regent Murray, while he himself had to seek security in exile.

James VI., as some compensation for the services which Sir James had performed, and the losses which he had sustained in defending the cause of his mother, Queen Mary, with the advice of his Parliament, erected Skirling in the year 1592 into a free burgh of barony, ‘ with all the easements, liberties, and commodities in as ample and large form as any burgh of barony within this realm, with power to keep and proclaim a fair to be observed within the said burgh on the fourth of September yearly, and a market day weekly upon Friday.’ At that period, however, Sir James Cockburn had paid the debt of nature, and his son William possessed the estate of Skirling. This baron was succeeded by his son William, as we find from a * Retour’ that he was returned heir of his father, on the 20th Dec. 1603, of the lands and barony of Skirling, the L.20 lands of Roberton and Newholm, and the L.10 lands of ‘Heidis,’ all of old extent, annexed to the barony of Skirling. This was, most likely, the last proprietor of Skirling of the name of Cockburn, as, in the roll of the persons who attended the weaponshaw held on the Borrow Muir of Peebles on the 15th day of June 1627, it is stated that James Cockbum, bailie of Sir John Hamilton of Skirling, appeared for that knight, who was absent; and who thus seems by that time to have acquired the superiority of the barony of Skirling. Skirling is now the property of Sir William Gibson Carmichael, Bart, of Castlecraig.

We close this volume, which is principally of an antiquarian character, with a woodcut representing the Moat Knowe of Biggar, undoubtedly one of the oldest monuments of antiquity in the parish.

It may be mentioned that Sir James Lockhart was the father of the celebrated Sir William Lockhart, who was the friend and minister of Oliver Cromwell, his ambassador to France, and the commander of his army at the taking of Dunkirk. Sir William married Robina Sewster, the niece of Cromwell, and thus the cousin of the Conltermains family was intimately connected with the great head of the Commonwealth.

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