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The Scottish Nation

GLENDONWYN, GLENDONING, or GLENDINNING, a surname derived from the territory anciently known by that name, which comprehended a considerable district of Eskdale, Eusdale, Liddesdale, and the western parts of Teviotdale. In the reign of Alexander the Third this territory was possessed by Adam de Glendonwyn, whose son, Sir Adam de Glendonwyn, was a faithful adherent of King Robert the Bruce, and a constant companion of James Lord of Douglas, called “the good Sir James.” As many of his lands were held of the house of Douglas, in 1313 he obtained a discharge of the feu duties from Archibald Douglas, lord of Galloway. He had four sons, namely, sir Adam, his heir; Sir Simon, killed at the battle of Otterbourne in 1388, at the side of the earl of Douglas; Matthew, bishop of Glasgow from 1389 to 1408; and Sir John, who was one of the conservators of the peace with the English in 1398.

      The eldest son, Sir Adam, was general receiver of all the earl of Douglas’ rents; and he, and sir Henry Douglas of Lugton, were sent as envoys to King Richard of England, then in Picardy, when that monarch swore to the observation of a truce at Lenlyngham, 18th June 1389. He appears to have been much about the court of King Robert the Third, as he is witness to many of the charters of that king. He died in 1397. His son, Sir Simon de Glendonwyn, had a share in the achievements of both the third and the fourth earls of Douglas, and was concerned in all their transactions. In 1398 he became, with his uncle, Sir John, surety to the English for keeping the peace in all the earl of Douglas’ lands on the borders. From King Henry the Fourth he had letters of safe-conduct, in 1405, to travel through England in company with several other knights; and in 1406 he got other two safe-conducts to go to the English court, with Archibald and James, sons of the earl of Douglas, and other noblemen and gentlemen. In an indenture made between King Henry and Archibald, earl of Douglas, dated London, 14th March, 1407, Sir Simon is a witness, and when the earl, then a prisoner in England, in 1408, obtained leave to go to Scotland, upon his giving security to return, his own two sons, with Sir Simon, became hostages for him. By his wife, Lady Mary Douglas, daughter of Archibald, fourth earl of Douglas, and first duke of Turenne, he had three sons; Sir Simon, his heir; John de Glendonwyn, who, following the fortunes of the ninth earl of Douglas, settled in England, and was progenitor of several of his name in that kingdom.

      Sir Simon, the eldest son, was knighted by James the Second, by whom he was held in great favour. Vested with the most extended justiciary powers within his own lands, particularly in Glendonwyn, and with the privilege of regality throughout Eskdale, of which he was hereditary baillie, – that office having been conferred on his father by charter dated 26th April 1407, – Sir Simon was one of the most potent barons in the kingdom of his time. In 1449 he was one of the guarantees of a treaty of peace with King Henry of England, the other guarantees being the earls of Douglas, Angus, Ross, Murray, Crawford, &c.; and he was among several great lords who were guarantees of the peace in subsequent years. In 1458 he obtained a confirmation of the barony, baronial rights, and patronage of what is now the parish of Parton, in the stewartry of Kirkcudbright, by which he and his descendants were afterwards designed, and which is now the title of the representative of this ancient family.

      His son, John de Glendonwyn of Glendonwyn and Parton, died in the autumn of 1503. He was succeeded by his son, Ninian, whose great-great-grandson, John de Glendonwyn, the eleventh baron mentioned in Douglas’ Baronage, joined Montrose on his first setting up the king’s standard at Dumfries in the spring of 1644, for which, on 27th May of that year, he was denounced a traitor, and forfeited. All his goods and gear were sold by Robert Gordon, commissary of Dumfries, on 29th October thereafter, part whereof being bought back by friends for the benefit of his wife and children. He himself took refuge on the continent, where he remained till the Restoration.

      The male line of the family ended in 1720, but Robert, the last laird, left a daughter, Agnes Glendonwyn, who married James Murray of Conheath, and that gentleman, in consequence, assumed the surname and arms of Glendonwyn instead of his own.

The House of Glendinning

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