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King Robert I, King of Scots


page 7
The first mormaor of Mar whose name has come down to our day in a written document was Martachus, who in 1065 was witness to a charter of Malcolm Canmore in fayour of the Culdees of Lochleven. His son, Gratnach, who about fifty years later witnessed the foundation charter of the monastery of Scone by Alexander I., appears to have been the first of the great hereditary rulers of Mar who bore the title of earl. From this period downward the heads of the house of Mar filled a most influential position at the Court and in the national councils; they held the highest offices in the royal household, and took a prominent part in most of the great events in the history of the country. They were connected by a double marriage with the illustrious line of BRUCE; the restorer of Scottish independence having taken to wife a daughter of David, sixth Earl of Mar, while Gratney, seventh earl, married Christiana, sister of King Robert, and received as part of her dowry the strong castle of Kildrummie, in Aberdeenshire, which was long the chief seat of the family. His son Donald, eighth earl, was taken prisoner in 1306, at the battle of Methven, in which his royal uncle was defeated, and did not regain his liberty till after the crowning victory of Bannockburn. On the death of Randolph, the famous Earl of Moray, Earl Donald was chosen Regent in his stead, August 2nd, 1332. But only two days thereafter he was killed, at the battle of Dupplin, in which the Scots were surprised and defeated with great slaughter by the 'Disinherited Barons.'
page 8
Thomas, the ninth earl, or, according to another mode of reckoning, the thirteenth who enjoyed that dignity, was one of the most powerful nobles of his day. He held the office of Great Chamberlain of Scotland, and was repeatedly sent as ambassador to England. He died in 1377, leaving no issue, and in him ended the [p.8] direct male line of the Earls of Mar. His sister Margaret was, at the time of Earl Thomas's death, the wife of William, Earl of Douglas, nephew and heir of the 'Good Sir James,' the friend of Robert BRUCE. On the death of his brother-in-law he obtained possession of the historical earldom of Mar and transmitted it, along with his own hereditary titles and estates, to his son James, the hero of Otterburn, 'the dead man that won a fight'—one of the most renowned in Scottish history. The Douglas estates were inherited by Archibald 'the Grim,' the kinsman of Earl James, while the earldom of Mar passed to his sister, Isabella, wife of Sir Malcolm Drummond, brother of Annabella, Queen of Scotland, wife of Robert III. About the year 1403, Sir Malcolm was suddenly surprised by a band of ruffians, who treated him with such barbarity that he soon after died, leaving no issue. This outrage was universally ascribed to Alexander Stewart, natural son of the Earl of Buchan, the 'Wolf of Badenoch,' fourth son of Robert II. After the death of her husband the Countess was residing quietly and in fancied security at her castle of Kildrummie, when it was suddenly attacked and stormed by Stewart at the head of a formidable band of Highland freebooters and outlaws, and either by violence or persuasion the young Countess was induced to become the wife of the redoubted cateran, and to make over to him, on the 12th of August, 1404, her earldom of Mar and Garioch, with all her other castles. In order, however, to give a legal aspect to the transaction, Stewart presented himself, on the 19th of September, at the gate of the castle of Kildrummie, and surrendered to the Countess 'the castle and all within it, and the title deeds therein kept; in testimony thereof he delivered to her the keys to dispose of as she pleased.' The Countess, holding the keys in her hand, declared that deliberately and of her own free will she chose Stewart for her husband, and conferred upon him the castle, pertinents, &c., as a free marriage gift, of which he took instruments. It appears that even this formal transaction was not deemed sufficient to give validity to the transaction, for on the 9th December following, the Countess, taking her station in the fields outside her castle, in the presence of the Bishop of Ross, and the sheriff and posse comitatus of the county, along with the tenantry on the estate, that it might appear that she was really acting without force on Stewart's part or fear on hers, granted a charter to him of her castle and estates duly signed and sealed.
page 19
Soon after the new government was established, the national party lost their leader. He died suddenly, without male issue, in 1258, and it was believed that he had been poisoned by his wife, in order that she might be free to marry an English knight, named John Russell. There was no satisfactory evidence adduced to prove her guilt but her marriage to Russell, which took place shortly after, gave colour to the charge. She was in consequence deprived of her earldom, and imprisoned, along with her new husband, and was ultimately expelled the kingdom in disgrace. The Countess appealed to the Pope (Urban IV.) against the injustice which she alleged had been done to her, but the Scottish King and his nobles indignantly repelled the interference of the Roman Pontiff with the affairs of the kingdom. Isabella, daughter of the Countess by Walter Comyn, married her cousin, William Comyn; and after long contention a compromise was effected in the year 1285, and the vast domains of the earldom were divided between the Lady Isabella and the husband of her mother's youngest sister, WALTER STEWART, a son of the High Steward of Scotland, who obtained the title. The new Earl of Menteith, surnamed Bailloch, or 'the Freckled,' was a famous warrior. He joined the disastrous expedition under St. Louis of France, called the Third Crusade, for the recovery of the Holy Sepulchre, and fought with great distinction at the battle of Largs in 1263, at which his elder brother defeated the Norwegians under King Haco. He took a prominent part in the proceedings connected with the contest for the Scottish crown after the death of the 'Maiden of Norway,' and was one of the commissioners nominated by Robert BRUCE in his competition with John Baliol. The Earl left two sons, who dropped their paternal surname of Stewart, and assumed that of Menteith. The younger of the two, Sir John Menteith of Ruskie, is the 'false Menteith' who is branded by Scottish tradition and history as the betrayer of the patriot Wallace. Lord Hailes, who sometimes carried his scepticism respecting the statements of the old Scottish historians a great deal too far, discredits the story, which he asserts rests only on tradition and the allegations of Blind Harry. Sheriff Mark Napier, a descendant of Sir John Menteith, has made an elaborate defence of his ancestor from the charge of betraying Wallace; and Mr. Burton designates it as a part of the romance of Wallace's career that he was betrayed by a fellow-countryman and [p.19] an old companion in arms. 'Menteith,' he adds, 'held the responsible post of Governor of Dumbarton Castle, and it seems likely that he only performed a duty, whether an agreeable one or not.'
page 20
There is abundant contemporary evidence to prove that Sir John Menteith was the chief agent in the capture of Wallace. In the 'Chronicle of Lancaster,' written in the thirteenth century, it is stated that 'William Wallace was taken by a Scotsman, namely, Sir John Menteith, and carried to London, where he was drawn, hanged, and beheaded.' In the account of the capture and execution of Wallace contained in the Arundel manuscript, written about the year 1320, it is stated that 'William Wallace was seized in the house of Ralph Rae by Sir John Menteith, and carried to London by Sir John de Segrave, where he was judged.' Fordun, who lived [p.20] in the reign of King Robert BRUCE, when the memory of the exploits of Wallace must have been quite fresh, says: 'The noble William Wallace was, by Sir John Menteith, at Glasgow, while suspecting no evil, fraudulently betrayed and seized, delivered to the King of England, dismembered at London, and his quarters hung up in the towns of the most public places in England and Scotland, in opprobium of the Scots.' Wyntoun, whose 'Metrical Chronicle' was written in 1418, says—
page 21
ALEXANDER MENTEITH, sixth Earl of Menteith, elder brother of the 'false Menteith,' fought on the patriotic side in the War of Independence, and in consequence lay for a considerable time in an English dungeon. His son, ALAN MENTEITH, seventh earl, a staunch supporter of Robert BRUCE, was taken prisoner at the battle of Methven, in 1306, when the fortunes of the patriot king were at the lowest ebb, was deprived of his estates by Edward I., and died in an English dungeon. He was succeeded by his brother, MURDOCH STEWART, who was killed at the battle of Dupplin, 12th April, 1332. His niece, LADY MARY, only daughter of Earl Alan, who appears to have been under age at the time of her father's death, now became Countess of Menteith. She married Sir John Graham, who is supposed to have been the younger son of Sir Patrick Graham of Kincardine, ancestor of the Montrose family, and became Earl of Menteith apparently by courtesy through his wife. He accompanied [p.21] David II. in his invasion of England in 1346. He was present at the battle of Durham, and, when the archers were almost within bowshot, earnestly urged the King to send a body of cavalry to charge them in flank. His advice was unhappily disregarded, and when the archers were about to direct their deadly volleys on the serried ranks of the Scottish spearmen, the Earl exclaimed, 'Give me but a hundred horse and I engage to disperse them all; so shall we be able to fight more securely.' His appeal was, however, unheeded, and hastily leaping upon his horse, and followed only by his own retainers, he rushed upon the advancing bowmen. But his gallant attack was not supported. His horse was killed under him, and after bravely, but vainly, striving to arrest the advance of the enemy, he was compelled to retire to the main body of the Scottish army. After a stout battle, which lasted for three hours, the Earl was taken prisoner, along with his sovereign, and was imprisoned in the Tower of London. By the direct orders of King Edward, he was tried and condemned as a traitor, on the plea that he had at one time sworn fealty to the English King, and was drawn, hanged, beheaded, and quartered.
page 35
IN the story of Scotland,' says Mr. Froude, 'weakness is nowhere; power, energy, and will are everywhere;' and this national vigour, determined will, and indomitable resolution seem to have culminated in the 'Doughty Douglases.' Their stalwart and tough physical frames, and the strong, resolute, unbending character of such men as 'William the Hardy,' 'Archibald the Grim,' and 'Archibald Bell-the-Cat,' the types of their race, eminently fitted them to be 'premier peers'— leaders of men. From the War of Independence down to the era of the Reformation, no other family played such a conspicuous part in the affairs of Scotland as the Douglases. They intermarried no less than eleven times with the royal family of Scotland, and once with that of England. They enjoyed the privilege of leading the van of the Scottish army in battle, of carrying the crown at the coronation of the sovereign, and of giving the first vote in Parliament. 'A Douglas received the last words of Robert BRUCE. A Douglas spoke the epitaph of John Knox. The Douglases were celebrated in the prose of Froissart and the verse of Shakespeare. They have been sung by antique Barbour and by Walter Scott, by the minstrels of Otterburn and by Robert Burns.' A nameless poet who lived four hundred years ago eulogised their trustiness and chivalry. Holinshed, in the next century, speaks of their 'singular manhood, noble prowess, and majestic puissance.' They espoused, at the outset, the patriotic side in the War of Independence, and they contributed greatly to the crowning victory of Bannockburn. They sent two hundred gentlemen of the name, with the heir of their earldom, to die at Flodden. There was a time when they could raise thirty thousand men, and they were for centuries the bulwarks of the Scottish borders against our 'auld enemies of England.' They [p.35] have gathered their laurels on many a bloody field in France, where they held the rank of princes, and in Spain and in the Netherlands, as well as in England and Scotland, and—
page 37
SIR JAMES DOUGLAS, the 'good Sir James,' the friend of Robert BRUCE, the most illustrious member of the Douglas family, and one of the noblest of the band of heroes who vindicated the freedom and independence of Scotland against the English arms. The romantic incidents in the career of this famous warrior and patriot would fill a volume. On the imprisonment of his father he retired to France, where he spent three years, 'exercising himself in all virtuous exercise,' says Godscroft, and 'profited so well that he became the most compleat and best-accomplished young nobleman in the country or elsewhere.' On the death of his father young Douglas returned to Scotland. His paternal estate having been bestowed by King Edward on Lord Clifford, he was received into the household of Lamberton, Bishop of St. Andrews, with whom he 'counted kin' through his mother. He was residing there when Robert BRUCE assumed the crown in 1305-6, and took up arms against the English invaders. Douglas, who was then only eighteen years of age, on receiving intelligence of this movement, resolved to repair at once to BRUCE's standard. According to Barbour, he took this step secretly, though with the knowledge and approval of the patriotic [p.37] prelate, who recommended him to provide himself with a suit of armour and to take a horse from his stables, with a show of force, thus 'robbing the bishop of what he durst not give.' Lesley, Bishop of Ross, however, makes no mention of force, and says Douglas carried a large sum of money from Lamberton to BRUCE. He met the future King at Erickstane, near Moffat, on his way to Scone to be crowned, and proferred him his homage and his services, which were cordially welcomed. From that time onward, until the freedom and independence of the kingdom were fully established, Douglas never left BRUCE's side, alike in adversity and prosperity, and was conspicuous both for his valour in battle and his wisdom in council. He was present at the battle of Methven, where the newly crowned King was defeated, and narrowly escaped being taken prisoner. He was one of the small band who took refuge, with BRUCE and his Queen and other ladies, in the wilds first of Athole and then of Breadalbane, where for some time they subsisted on wild berries and the scanty and precarious produce of fishing and the chase. Barbour makes especial mention of the exertions of Sir James Douglas to provide for the wants and to promote the comfort of the ladies:—  
BRUCE himself was often comforted by his wit and cheerfulness.
page 38
At the encounter between the small body of men accompanying the King and the MacDougals of Lorn, at Dalry in Strathfillan, Douglas was wounded, and BRUCE freed himself only by his great personal strength and skill in the use of his weapons from a simultaneous attack made upon him by three of the followers of the Lord of Lorn. It was Douglas who discovered the small leaky boat in which the remnant of BRUCE's followers were ferried, two at a time, over Loch Lomond. He spent the subsequent winter with the King on the island of Rachrin. On the approach of spring he made a successful descent on the island of Arran, and succeeded in capturing a large quantity of provisions, clothing, and arms. Shortly after, while BRUCE was engaged in an effort to wrest his patrimonial domains in Carrick from the English, Sir James repaired secretly into Douglasdale, which was held by Lord Clifford, surprised the English garrison on Palm Sunday (1306-7), took possession of Douglas Castle, destroyed all the provisions, staved the casks of wine and other liquors, put his [p.38] prisoners to the sword, flung their dead bodies on the stores which he had heaped up in a huge pile, and then set fire to the castle. This shocking deed, which we may hope has been exaggerated by tradition, was no doubt intended to revenge the atrocious cruelties which Edward had perpetrated on BRUCE's brothers and adherents, and especially the death of Douglas's faithful follower, Dickson, who was killed in a conflict in the church. It was long commemorated in the traditions of the country by the name of the 'Douglas larder.' Sir James continued for some time after this exploit to lurk among the fastnesses of Douglasdale, for 'he loved better,' he said, 'to hear the lark sing than the mouse squeak.'
page 40
Sir James continued to take a prominent part in the struggles of the patriots to expel the English from the country, and was concerned in all the most perilous enterprises of that protracted warfare. He defeated a detachment of the English while marching from Bothwell into Ayrshire, under the command of Sir Philip Mowbray, and he cleared the wooded and mountainous district of Ettrick Forest and Tweeddale of the enemy. It was his skilful strategy that inflicted a crushing defeat on the Lord of Lorn at the Pass of Brander, near Loch Awe, in Argyleshire. On March 13, 1313, he captured the important fortress of Roxburgh and took the garrison prisoners. [p.40] He commanded the left wing of the Scottish army at the battle of Bannockburn. His chivalrous behaviour towards Randolph, on the evening before that memorable conflict, shows the true nobility of his character. Randolph had failed to notice the movement of a strong body of horse under Sir Robert Clifford, who had been detached from the main army of the English, for the purpose of strengthening the garrison of Stirling Castle, and he being apprised of this movement by BRUCE himself, had hastened at the head of an inferior force to arrest their march. Douglas, with great difficulty, induced King Robert to give him permission to go to the assistance of Randolph, whose little band was environed by the enemy and placed in great jeopardy. But on approaching the scene of conflict, he perceived that the English were falling into disorder, and ordered his followers to halt. 'These brave men,' he said, 'have repulsed the enemy; let us not diminish their glory by claiming a share in it.' 'When it is remembered,' says Sir Walter Scott,' that Douglas and Randolph were rivals for fame, this is one of the bright touches which illuminate and adorn the history of those ages of which blood and devastation are the predominant characters.'
page 41
Douglas continued to take an active part in the measures adopted after Bannockburn to clear the country completely of the English, and during the expedition to Ireland, undertaken by King Robert and his brother, Edward BRUCE, the government of the kingdom was intrusted to Sir James, in conjunction with Walter Stewart, BRUCE's son-in-law. Hostilities between the two kingdoms at this period were for the most part confined to occasional Border forays, in which the Scots were almost always successful, mainly through the activity and skill of Douglas. He inflicted a severe defeat on the Earl of Arundel at a place called Linthaughlee, near Jedburgh. The line of march of the invading army lay through an extensive wood, and [p.41] Douglas having twisted together the young birchtrees on both sides so as to form a kind of abatis impenetrable by cavalry, posted a considerable body of archers in ambush at the narrowest part of the pass. The English advanced in careless security, and on reaching this spot they were assailed by the Scots both in front and on the flanks, and driven back with great slaughter. In the first onset Sir Thomas de Richemont, one of the English leaders, was slain by the hand of Douglas, who took as a trophy of victory a furred hat which Sir Thomas wore above his helmet. The estate of Linthaugh, which King Robert bestowed upon Douglas as a reward for this victory, is still in the possession of the family.
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Soon after the death of King Robert, Sir James Douglas prepared to execute the last injunctions of his beloved master. He had the heart of BRUCE embalmed and enclosed in a silver case, curiously enamelled, and wore it suspended from his neck by a silver chain. Having settled all his affairs and made his will, he set sail from Scotland, attended by a numerous and splendid retinue, and anchored off Sluys, where he lay for twelve days, keeping open table on board his ship, and entertaining his visitors with almost royal magnificence. Froissart says that Sir James had in his train a knight bearing a banner, and seven other noble Scottish knights, and was served at table by twenty-six esquires, all 'comely young men of good family; and he kept court in a royal manner with the sound of trumpets and cymbals. All the vessels for his table were of gold and silver, and whatever persons of good estate went to pay their respects to him were entertained with two sorts of wine and two kinds of spice.'
page 45
While lying off Sluys, Douglas learned that Alphonso, the young King of Leon and Castile, was carrying on hostilities with Osmyn, the Moorish King of Granada. As this was reckoned a holy warfare Douglas resolved, before proceeding to Jerusalem, in fulfilment of his own mission, to assist Alphonso in his contest with the enemies of the Christian faith. He accordingly sailed to Spain, and shortly after his arrival at Seville a battle was fought with the Moors near Theba, on the frontiers of Andalusia. Douglas, to whom the command of the vanguard was assigned, fought with his usual bravery and put the enemy to flight; but he and his companions, pursuing the fugitives too eagerly, were separated from the main body of the Spanish army. The Moors, perceiving the small number of their pursuers, rallied and surrounded them. Douglas, [p.45] who had only ten men with him, cut his way through the enemy, and might have made good his retreat, had he not turned back to rescue Sir William St. Clair of Roslin, whom he saw surrounded by the Moors and in great jeopardy. 'Yon worthy knight will be slain,' he exclaimed, 'unless he have instant help.' And putting spurs to his horse he galloped back to St. Clair's assistance. But, in attempting to save his friend, he was surrounded and overwhelmed by the crowds of the Moors, who were twenty to one. When he found himself inextricably involved, he took from his neck the casket which contained the heart of BRUCE, and throwing it before him he exclaimed, 'Now pass thou onward as thou wert wont, and Douglas will follow thee or die!' He then rushed forward to the place where it fell, and was there slain, along with Sir William St. Clair and Sir Robert and Sir Walter Logan. On the following day the body of the hero of seventy battles was found on the field beside the casket, and by his few surviving friends sorrowfully conveyed to Scotland and interred in the sepulchre of his ancestors in St. Bride's Church at Douglas. The heart of BRUCE was buried by Randolph, Earl of Moray, in Melrose Abbey.
page 47
ARCHIBALD DOUGLAS, youngest brother of Sir James, succeeded to the territorial estates and title of the Lord of Douglas by virtue of the resignation made by his brother Hugh, the churchman. He was chosen Regent of Scotland in 1333, after the capture of Sir Andrew Murray of Bothwell at Roxburgh Castle—an unfortunate choice, as succeeding events proved. In his attempt to relieve the castle and town of Berwick, then besieged by Edward III., Douglas rashly and imprudently attacked the English army drawn up in a strong position at Halidon Hill (July 22, 1333), and was defeated and killed, along with a large number of the leading nobility of Scotland and several thousands of the common soldiers. This disastrous battle for a time laid Scotland prostrate at the feet of the English monarch. In this extremity the struggle for the independence of the country was maintained by a small band of gallant leaders, conspicuous among whom was— SIR WILLIAM DOUGLAS, the Knight of Liddesdale, known also in [p.47] history by the title of 'The Flower of Chivalry.' He was supposed by Tytler and other historians to have been a natural son of the 'Good Sir James;' but this is a mistake. He was the lawful son of Sir James Douglas of Loudon, and came into possession of the lands of Liddesdale through his marriage with Margaret, daughter of Sir John Graham of Abercorn. He took a distinguished part in the expulsion of Baliol and his English partisans from Scotland, after the young King David BRUCE had taken refuge in France. He was unfortunately taken prisoner in 1332 in an encounter with an English force at Lochmaben, and was confined in iron fetters by the orders of Edward III. himself. He was detained two years in captivity, and was released only on paying a large ransom.
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[p.49] WILLIAM DOUGLAS, son of the Regent who fell at Halidon Hill, and nephew of the 'Good Sir James,' returned from France, where he had been bred to arms, soon after the battle of Neville's Cross and the captivity of the Scottish king, and, with the hereditary valour and energy of his house, succeeded in expelling the English from Douglasdale, and in the course of time from Ettrick Forest, Tweeddale, and Teviotdale. He was created Earl of Douglas by King David in 1357. He faithfully supported the cause of national independence, and even went so far as to unite with the Steward and the Earl of March in a formal bond to compel David to change his counsellors and to give up his intrigues for altering the succession to the crown in favour of one of the sons of the English king. He made a pilgrimage to the shrine of St. Thomas-à-Becket in the year 1363; but, unlike some others of the great Scottish barons, who made such pilgrimages a pretext for treasonable intrigues with the English Government, Douglas continued steadfast in his adherence to his country's cause, and resolutely opposed the attempts of the unworthy son of Robert BRUCE to betray it to the enemy. On the accession of Robert II., the son of the Steward and Marjory BRUCE, the Earl of Douglas unexpectedly put forth pretensions to the crown, but abandoned them on finding that they were not likely to meet with public support. As a reward for the promptitude of his submission, the King's eldest daughter was promised in marriage to his eldest son, and the Earl himself was appointed Justiciar of Scotland south of the Forth, and Warden of the East Marches. This great noble, one of the best of his race, died in 1384 at an advanced age. He was succeeded by his eldest son by his wife the Countess of Mar.
page 70
ROBERT DE UMFRAVILLE, the son and successor of Earl Gilbert, was appointed Joint Guardian of Scotland by Edward II. in 1308, and was forfeited by King Robert BRUCE for his adherence to the English interests.
page 97
It is interesting to notice that notwithstanding the forfeitures and vicissitudes which the family have undergone, a great part of the estates associated with the history and exploits of the old house of Douglas are still in the possession of the present Lord Douglas. The extensive territory in Galloway which belonged to the Black Douglases, and their lands in Liddesdale, were divided among the Border clans who had contributed to their overthrow; and Lord Hamilton obtained a large share of their Clydesdale property. Hermitage Castle, at one time their chief stronghold, was surrendered by Archibald Bell-the-Cat, and now belongs to the Duke of Buccleuch. Tantallon Castle, which he received in exchange, has passed into the hands of the Dalrymples. But Douglasdale, the cradle of the house, with the remains of its famous old castle, still belongs to the family, along with Bothwell, redolent of the memories of the War of Independence, and of Archibald the Grim, whose daughter was married, in the Collegiate Church there, to the unfortunate Duke of Rothesay; and Linthaugh, near Jedburgh, the gift of King Robert BRUCE to his trusty companion in arms, the 'Good Lord James,' as the reward of one of his most gallant exploits. The Berwickshire estates, also of the Black Douglases, now yielding £7,000 a year; and the Angus property of the Red Douglases, worth £7,356 per annum, belong to the Earl of Home—altogether, according to the Domesday Book, extending to 90,336 acres, with a rent-roll of £47,721 a year.
page 99
The family soon become numerous and powerful, and spread their branches far and wide throughout the Lowland districts of Scotland. SIR WILLIAM KEITH of Galston, in Ayrshire, fought on the patriotic side in the War of Independence, and distinguished himself by his signal bravery and energy at the capture of Berwick, in 1318. He was one of the knights who, in 1330, accompanied Sir James Douglas in his expedition to the Holy Land, with the heart of King Robert BRUCE. In 1333 he was appointed Governor of Berwick, and two years later was sent ambassador to England. He was killed at the siege of Stirling in 1336.
page 100
SIR ROBERT DE KEITH, the fourth in descent from Philip, the Great Marischal, was one of the most celebrated knights of his day. In the year 1300 he was appointed Justiciary of the country beyond the Forth, and in 1305 was chosen one of the representatives of the barons, to consult respecting the government of the kingdom after the death of Wallace. Three years later he repaired to the standard of BRUCE, and distinguished himself at the battle of Inverury, where Comyn of Badenoch, the deadly enemy of the patriot King, was defeated. As a reward for his signal services in this conflict, Sir Robert received a grant of several estates in Aberdeenshire, along with a royal residence called Hall Forest—a donation which led, as in the case of the Gordons and Frasers, to the removal of the family to the north, where they ultimately had their chief seat and estates. Sir Robert de Keith rendered important service to the patriotic cause throughout the War of Independence, and contributed not a little to the crowning victory of Bannockburn. He was despatched by BRUCE along with Sir James Douglas to reconnoitre the English army on their march, and to bring him confidential information respecting their numbers and equipments; and to him was entrusted the important duty of attacking and dispersing the English archers, whose deadly clothyard shafts so often overwhelmed the Scottish spearmen. At the head of a small body of cavalry, Sir Robert, making a circuit to the right, assailed the formidable bowmen in flank, cut them down in great numbers, and drove them off the field. The effect of this manoeuvre is portrayed in spirited terms by Sir Walter Scott in his 'Lord of the Isles.' After describing the position of the Scottish army, and the manner in which BRUCE had drawn up the different [p.100] divisions, with the right wing under Edward BRUCE, protected by the broken bank and deep ravine of the Bannock on their flank, the poet goes on to say—
page 101
Sir Robert Keith was one of the Scottish magnates who in 1320 signed the famous letter to the Pope vindicating the independence of Scotland. He evidently stood high in the confidence of Robert BRUCE, for we find him nominated one of the commissioners to treat for a peace with England in 1323; and he was also appointed, along with other great nobles, to ratify an alliance with the French king, Charles le Bel. As a testimony of the esteem in which Sir Robert [p.101] was held by his sovereign, he received from King Robert a charter of the lands of Keith Marischal, and of the office of Great Marischal of Scotland, to himself and to his nearest heirs male bearing the name and arms of Keith. Sir Robert fell at the fatal battle of Dupplin, 12th August, 1332, when the Scottish army was surprised and cut to pieces through the negligence and incompetency of its commander, the Earl of Mar. His grandson, who bore his name and succeeded him in his estates and offices, was killed at the battle of Durham, 17th October, 1346, where David II. was taken prisoner, along with other two chiefs of the Keith family. As he died without issue he was succeeded by his grand-uncle, SIR EDWARD KEITH, who was twice married; his only daughter Janet, by his second wife, Christian Menteith, married Sir Thomas Erskine. Her maternal grandmother, Lady Eline, was the daughter of Gratney, Earl of Mar, of the ancient line, and that title was conferred upon their descendant, Lord Erskine, by Queen Mary, a hundred and twenty years after it had been withheld from Sir Robert Erskine, son of Sir Thomas and Lady Janet Keith. Sir Edward's second son, John, was the ancestor of the Keiths of Inverugie, an estate which he obtained by his marriage to Mariot Cheyne, the heiress of a family of Anglo-Norman descent, which settled in Scotland in the early part of the thirteenth century. After continuing separate from the main stock for seven or eight descents, this branch of the Keiths fell again into the direct line, by the marriage of the elder daughter and co-heiress of Sir William Keith to the fourth Earl Marischal. Sir Edward Keith died before 1350. His eldest son—
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SIR WILLIAM KEITH, added greatly to the power and possessions of the family by his marriage to the only child and heiress of Sir John Fraser, eldest son of Alexander Fraser, High Chamberlain of Scotland, by his wife Mary, sister of Robert BRUCE. He obtained with her large estates in Kincardine or Mearns, which from this time forward became the principal residence of the Keith family. He exchanged with William de Lindsay, of Byres, certain lands in the counties of Fife and Stirling for part of the estate of Dunnottar, in Kincardineshire. Here, about a mile and a half from Stonehaven, he erected an extensive fortress of great strength on the summit of a stupendous perpendicular rock projecting into the sea, and separated from the land by a deep chasm. The only access to it is by a steep and narrow path winding round the rock. Strange to say, notwith [p.102] standing its almost inaccessible position, the summit of this insulated rock was occupied by a church and churchyard long before it was made the site of a fortress. When Sir William Keith resolved to erect a castle upon it as a place of safety during the troublous times in which he lived, he took the precaution first of all to build a church for the parish in a more convenient place; but notwithstanding, the Bishop of St. Andrews, who must have been actuated by some personal feeling, thought fit to excommunicate him on the pretence that he had violated consecrated ground. Sir William, however, appealed to the Pope (Benedict XIII.), stating the whole circumstances of the case, the urgent need of such a fortress, and the compensation he had made for the site by building another church. The Pontiff, on learning the real state of matters, issued a Bull, dated 18th July, 1394, deciding the appeal in Sir William's favour, directing the Bishop to remove the excommunication, and to permit the baron to retain possession of the castle on the payment of a certain sum to the Church. Dunnottar thenceforth was the seat of the family, and became the scene of several important events in the history of the country. Though long dismantled and uninhabited, it is still an object of deep interest to Scotsmen, who visit it in great numbers. 'The battlements with their narrow embrasures, the strong towers and airy turrets full of loopholes for the archer and musketeer, the hall for the banquet, and the cell for the captive, are all alike entire and distinct. Even the iron rings and bolts that held the culprits for security or for torture, still remain to attest the different order of things which once prevailed in this country. Many a sigh has been sent from the profound bosom of this vast rock; many a despairing glance has wandered hence over the boundless wave; and many a weary heart has there sunk rejoicing into eternal sleep.' In 1685 Dunnottar was employed as a place of confinement for a body of the Covenanters, 167 in number, including several women and children, who had been compelled to travel on foot from Edinburgh to this spot. They were thrust, men and women together, into a dark underground dungeon in the castle which still bears the name of the 'Whigs' Vault,' having only small windows looking out to the sea, and the floor covered with mire ankle deep. They remained there during the whole summer with little more than standing room, and were subjected to the most shocking tortures by the soldiers who guarded them. A good many died under their sufferings.*
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SECKER DE SEYE, son of Dugdale de Sey, by a daughter of De Quincy, Earl of Winchester, the founder of this illustrious family, was of Norman descent, like most of the progenitors of the other great houses of Scotland, and settled in Scotland in the days of David I., from whom he obtained a grant of lands in East Lothian, to which he gave his own name—Seytun, the dwelling of Sey. His son, ALEXANDER DE SETUNE, or SETON, was proprietor of the estate of Winchburgh, in Linlithgowshire, as well as of Seton and Wintoun, in East Lothian, and his son, PHILIP DE SETUNE, received a grant of these lands from William the Lion in 1169. The fourth in descent from him was the noble patriot SIR CHRISTOPHER, or CHRISTALL SEYTON, who married Lady Christian BRUCE, sister of King Robert BRUCE, and widow of Gratney, Earl of Mar. The 'Gallant Seton,' as he is termed by the author of the Lord of the Isles, was one of the earliest and most strenuous supporters of his illustrious brother-in-law, and was present at his coronation at Scone, 27th of March, [p.127] 1306. At the Battle of Methven, on the 13th of June following, BRUCE, who had ventured his person in that conflict like a knight of romance, was unhorsed by Sir Philip Mowbray, but was remounted by Sir Christopher, who greatly signalised himself in the conflict by his personal valour. Sir Christopher is said to have been a man of gigantic stature. His two-handed sword, measuring four feet nine inches, is in the possession of George Seton, Esq., of the Register Office, representative of the Setons of Cariston.* He made his escape from that fatal field, and shut himself up in Lochdoon Castle, in Ayrshire, where he was betrayed to the English, through means (according to Barbour) of one Macnab, 'a disciple of Judas,' in whom the unfortunate knight reposed entire confidence. Sir Christopher was conveyed to Dumfries, where he was tried, condemned, and executed; and his brother John shared the same fate at Newcastle. Another brother, named ALEXANDER SETON, succeeded to the estates of the family, and adhered to their patriotic principles, for his name is appended, along with those of other leading nobles, to the famous letter to the Pope, in 1320, asserting the independence of Scotland. He was rewarded by King Robert BRUCE with liberal grants of land, including the manor of Tranent, forfeited by the powerful family of De Quincy, Earls of Winchester and High Constables of Scotland, from whom, as we have seen, he was descended in the female line. This Sir Alexander has been immortalised in the pages of Sir Walter Scott for the conspicuous part which he took in the defence of his country against the invasion of the English after the death of Robert BRUCE. He was Governor of the town of Berwick when it was besieged by Edward III. of England in 1333. Though the garrison was neither numerous nor well appointed they made a gallant defence, and succeeded in sinking and destroying by fire a great part of the English fleet. The siege was then converted into a blockade, and as the supplies at length began to fail and starvation was imminent, the Governor agreed to capitulate by a certain day unless succours were received before that time, and gave hostages, among whom was his own son, Thomas, for the fulfilment of these stipulations.
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The Court of Session had long been in bad odour in Scotland, on account of its subserviency to the Court and its partial and unjust judgments. It is therefore with a feeling of agreeable surprise that we learn that, though Seton was a favourite with the King, he had the courage to resist and defeat a characteristic attempt of James to induce the Court to decide unjustly in his favour against a claim of the celebrated Robert BRUCE, the successor of Andrew Melville, as the leader of the Presbyterian Church. BRUCE had been most unjustly deprived of his stipend by the King, and he sued the Crown in the Court of Session for redress. James pleaded his own cause, and commanded the senators to pronounce judgment in his favour. Seton, with great dignity and firmness, informed the King that though they were ready to serve him with their lives and substance, 'this is a matter of law, in which we are sworn to do justice according [p.143] to our conscience and the statutes of the realm.' 'Your majesty,' he added, 'may indeed command us to the contrary, in which case I and every. honest man on this bench will either vote according to conscience, or resign and not vote at all.' The judges, with only two dissentient voices, pronounced their decision in favour of Mr. Robert BRUCE, and the mortified monarch 'flung out of court, muttering revenge and raging marvellously.' As Mr. Tytler justly observes, 'When the subservient temper of the times is considered, and we remember that Seton, the president, was a Roman Catholic [a mistake], whilst BRUCE, in whose favour he and his brethren decided, was a chief leader of the Presbyterian ministers, it would be unjust to withhold our admiration from a judge and a Court which had the courage thus fearlessly to assert the supremacy of the law.'
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On the escape of the Queen to Dunbar, the assassins fled in all directions. Lord Ruthven escaped to England, and died there 13th June, 1566, at the age of forty-six, just three months after the murder, having, however, before his death written a history of the affair, in which there is not one expression of regret or symptom of compunction for the crime. 'He made a Christian end,' says Calderwood, 'thanking God for the leisure granted to him to call for mercy;' but it is evident that he regarded the 'slaughter of Signior Davie' not as a crime requiring pardon, but as a meritorious deed deserving commendation. WILLIAM, the eldest surviving son of this ruthless baron, succeeded him in his titles and estates, and was created Earl of Gowrie in 1581. But, as Mr. BRUCE remarks, he possessed none of the active energy of his father. His nature was calm, indolent, and passive. None of the great public events in which he was subsequently mixed up originated with him. His course was ordinarily straightforward and consistent, but he followed the lead of men more busy and more active than himself.
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The Gowrie conspiracy is one of those strange and mysterious events that attract the attention of historians and critics generation after generation, and excite controversies which, after the question seemed to have been finally set at rest, break out again at intervals with renewed energy. Even at the time when it occurred there were many who doubted, and not a few who denied altogether, the existence of a conspiracy. Sir William Bowes, the English ambassador; Nicolson, an agent of Elizabeth at the Scottish Court; and Lord Scrope, the English Border Warden, in their communications to their Government, threw the principal blame on the King himself. The Presbyterian clergy, who had no great goodwill towards James. indicated as plainly as they could venture to do their distrust of the royal narrative; and the celebrated Robert BRUCE of Kinnaird, though he was ultimately induced, after a rigid cross-examination of the King, to express his belief of the guilt of Gowrie and his brother, would never consent to declare this from the pulpit, and was in consequence deprived of his benefice and banished the kingdom. James seems to have felt that he had acted a somewhat ridiculous part in allowing himself to be drawn to Perth on the faith of a story so absurd and foolish as that which was told to him by Alexander Ruthven, and with the view of screening himself from ridicule, probably coloured some parts of his narrative and glossed over some of the incidents. And the vindictive cruelty with which he and his [p.168] greedy courtiers sought to revenge the crime of the Ruthvens on their innocent brothers. who were mere boys at the time, was fitted to cause a reaction in their favour. In later times Pinkerton and several other writers have revived the doubts which were expressed by contemporaries respecting the credibility of the royal narrative, and maintain that it was not Gowrie or his brother who conspired against the King, but the King who, by a prearranged plot, murdered them in their own mansion. Mr. James, the well-known novelist, has constructed his historical romance of 'Gowrie; or, the King's Plot,' on this theory, which he has also supported in an ingenious pamphlet; and now lastly, though in all probability not finally, Mr. Bisset adopts the same notion in his dissertation 'on the character of King James, whom he represents as a profound dissembler, plotter, and poisoner, who without scruple compassed the destruction not only of a large number of his leading nobles, but even of his own children. That there are difficulties connected with the narrative of the King, no candid person will deny. The silliness of the story of the alleged pot of gold found in the possession of the man whom Alexander Ruthven pretended to have seized, the unlikelihood that James would give credit to such a tale, and the apparently unpreparedness of Gowrie for the reception of the King, are all suspicious circumstances. On the other hand, if we adopt the theory of Mr. Bisset, we must believe that the King accompanied the younger Ruthven from Falkland to Perth for the purpose of murdering him and his brother in their own mansion, and that a person notoriously defective in courage deliberately planned to put to death two young men skilled in the use of their weapons, in the midst of their own retainers, and with the townsmen of Perth, among whom they were highly popular, within call, while the King had with him only fifteen attendants. Such a notion we hold to be quite incredible.
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THE clan Mackenzie, of which the Earls of Seaforth were the chiefs, has been conspicuous in Scottish history from the days of King Robert BRUCE down to the present century. As is usually the case with Highland families, there is a difference of opinion respecting their origin. According to one account, the Seaforth family are descended from a younger son of COLIN OF TIlE AIRD, progenitor of the powerful Earls of Ross, and their designation was derived from KENNETH, the grandson of their founder, who received from David II. a charter of the lands of Kintail in 1362. This view of the origin of the Mackenzies is corroborated, and, Mr. Skene says, completely set at rest by a manuscript of date 1450—the oldest Gaelic genealogical account on record—which states that the Mackenzies are descended from a certain Gilleon Og, or Colin the Younger, a son of Gilleon na h'Airde, the ancestor of the Rosses, and consequently must always have formed an integral part of the ancient and powerful native Gaelic tribe of Ross. The Mackenzies held their lands of the Earls of Ross until the forfeiture of those potent and turbulent chiefs. See Mr. Skene's Highlands of Scotland, pp. 223-5, and Celtic Magazine, iii. pp. 41-9.* On the other hand, an old and cherished, though erroneous, tradition represents them as having derived their origin from Colin Fitzgerald, a cadet of the great house of Geraldine in Ireland, who, having been driven from his native country, took refuge in Scotland, and, as a reward for his valour at the battle of Largs, received from Alexander a grant of the barony of Kintail.|R†|r He was also appointed governor of the [p.186] royal fortress of Ellandonan. According to a legend handed down from early times, an important service rendered to Alexander III. by Kenneth, son of this Colin, greatly advanced if it did not lay the foundation of his fortunes. That monarch, it is said, on one occasion held a royal hunting-match in the Forest of Mar. It was at the season when the deer are fiercest, and the King, accidentally separated from his attendants, was exposed to imminent peril by a stag which assailed him, when young Kenneth hastened to the rescue of the King, exclaiming 'Cudich an Righ Cudich an Righ' and sprang between Alexander and the deer, with his naked sword in his hand, and severed its head from its body at one stroke. The brave youth was immediately attached to the royal service and liberally rewarded with grants of land. The Caberfae (the deer's head) was taken as his crest, and Cudich an Righ became his motto and that of his descendants. It is quite possible that the tradition respecting the service which the ancestor of the Mackenzies rendered to the King may be substantially correct, though he was certainly the son of Colin of the Aird and not of Colin Fitzgerald.*
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Whatever may have been Kenneth's descent, there can be no doubt that he was a powerful and popular chief, and held the castle of overlord,' William, third Earl of Ross, who Ellandonan against his ' endeavoured to carry it by storm, but was defeated with great slaughter. The Mackenzies embraced the patriotic side in the War of Independence, and Kenneth's son JOHN is said to have sheltered Robert BRUCE after his defeat by Macdougall of Lorne, at Dalreigh, near Tyndrum. There is good reason to believe that the fierce enmity which afterwards existed between the Mackenzies and the Earls of Ross, who, like other powerful chiefs of Argyllshire and the Western Isles, were the determined foes of BRUCE, originated in the part which the former took in the struggle for the independence of Scotland; and as a reward for their loyalty the house of Kintail received liberal grants of the forfeited possessions of their feudal superiors, and ultimately absorbed the ancient inheritance of all the original possessors of the district. The Mackenzies, by warlike feats or strokes of policy, and by fortunate marriages, became numerous and powerful. Strathconan, Strathbran, Strathgarve, and Strathpeffer, which had belonged to the Earl of Ross, the sunny braes of Eastern Ross, the fertile church lands of Chanonry, the barony of Pluscarden, in the fertile low country of Moray, and even the distant and extensive island of Lewis (originally the property of the Macleods) were added to the Caberfae possessions. It is stated by a contemporary writer that about the beginning of the seventeenth century 'all the Highlands and Isles, from Ardnamurchan to Strathnairn, in Sutherland, were either the Mackenzies' property or under their vassalage, some few excepted.' It is a curious circumstance that the first six chiefs of Kintail had each only one lawful son to succeed the father. They seem all to have [p.188] borne distinctive sobriquets from some personal peculiarity or incident in their history. One was named 'Kenneth of the Nose,' in consequence of the great size of his nasal organ. Another was called 'Black Murdoch,' from his complexion. 'Murdoch of the Bridge' was so designated from the circumstance that 'his mother, being with child of him, had been saved after a fearful fall from Conon Bridge into the water of Conon.' 'Alastair Ionraic,' 'Alexander the Upright,' was so called 'for his righteousness'—an uncommon quality among the Highland chiefs in those days. 'Coinneach a Bhlair,' that is, 'Kenneth of the Battle,' obtained his cognomen from the distinguished part he took in the sanguinary battle of Blairna-Parc with the Macdonalds in 1491. 'Coinneach na Cuirc,' or 'Kenneth of the Whittle,' was so called from his skill in carving on wood. Celtic Magazine, iii.*
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The surname of the family is supposed to have been originally derived from the Manor of Hambleden, in Leicestershire, and WALTER DE HAMILTON, the first of the name who is certainly known to have held estates in Scotland, is alleged to have been the grandson of Robert de Bellemont, third Earl of Leicester, who died in 1190; but of this there is no evidence whatsoever. The story told by Hector Boece respecting the first Scottish Hamilton, and faithfully copied not only by the elder historians of Scotland, like Lesley and Buchanan, but also by modern peerage writers, that he killed John de Spencer, the King's favourite, and was, in consequence, obliged to flee from the Court of Edward II., in 1323, is evidently fabulous. It is said that, being closely pursued in his flight, Hamilton and his servant changed clothes with two woodcutters who were working in a sawpit, and, taking their places, were in the act of cutting an oak-tree when their pursuers came up. The servant, owing to his nervous anxiety, stopped in his work; but Hamilton cried out to him 'Through' and made him resume his task. From this incident he took for his crest an oak-tree and a saw cutting it, with the word 'Through' for the motto. This story, which bears the unmistakable stamp of Hector Boece's own mint, has evidently been invented for the purpose of accounting for the Hamilton crest and motto; and it is certain that Walter de [p.209] Hamilton was settled in Scotland long before the period mentioned in this legend. He was one of the barons who at first adhered to the English interest in the War of Independence; and he swore fealty to Edward I., in 1292, and again in 1296, for his estates in Lanarkshire and other counties. But after the battle of Bannock-burn he made his peace with Robert BRUCE, and received from that monarch the Barony of Cadzow (the ancient name of Hamilton), and several other grants of land. Here the family raised their roof-tree and extended their branches throughout Clydesdale and the neighbouring districts, where they founded several minor but still influential houses, some of which remain to the present day.
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The heads of the Hamilton family continued faithful in their adherence to the heir of Robert BRUCE and the Stewarts. The immediate successors of Walter fought at the disastrous battles of Halidon Hill and Durham, and took some part, though by no means a very prominent one, in the affairs of the kingdom and court. The member of the family to whom their greatness is mainly owing was SIR JAMES HAMILTON, the fifth knight and first baron, who was raised to the peerage in 1445 under the title of Lord Hamilton of Cadzow (pronounced Cadyow). He was noted both for his energy and his sagacity, which gave great weight to his opinion in the national council and among his brother barons. The vicinity of his estates to the principal seat of the Douglases, as well as kinsmanship with that family, probably led him at first to enrol himself in the ranks of their followers. He accompanied the Earl of Douglas in his celebrated visit to Rome in 1450; and, in the following year, went with him on a pilgrimage to the tomb of Thomas à Becket at Canterbury. As might have been expected, Hamilton joined the confederacy which Douglas formed with the Earls of Crawford and Ross against the Crown, and narrowly escaped the fate of the formidable chief of the league when he was assassinated by the King (James II.) in Stirling Castle. When Sir James Douglas, the successor of the murdered baron and the last of the old stock, took the field against his sovereign at the head of forty thousand men, Lord Hamilton was one of his most powerful and trusted supporters. The insurgents encamped on the south bank of the Carron, about three miles from the Torwood, so famous in the history of Sir William Wallace. James, who was well aware of his danger, advanced from Stirling to meet this formidable array with an army considerably inferior in numbers, but with 'the King's name [p.210] as a tower of strength, which they upon the adverse faction lacked.' A battle seemed imminent, which should decide whether the house of Stewart or of Douglas was henceforth to reign in Scotland. But at this critical juncture, art did more than arms for the royal cause. Acting under the advice of the patriotic and sagacious Bishop Kennedy, James made overtures to Lord Hamilton and other allies of the Earl of Douglas, representing the danger which threatened not only the independence of the Crown, but the welfare of the country and their own interests, from the ambition and overgrown power of the Douglas family, and making liberal promises if, in this hour of extremity, they would abandon the cause of the insurgent baron. These representations produced a deep impression on the mind of Lord Hamilton, and taking advantage of the contemptuous reply made by the Earl to his remonstrances against the proposal to postpone till next day an attack on the royal army— 'If you are afraid or tired, you may depart when you please'—the politic noble took Douglas at his word, and that very night passed over to the King with all his retainers. The other insurgent leaders, who had a high opinion of Lord Hamilton's prudence and sagacity, so generally followed his example that, before morning, the rebel camp was almost deserted. The complete overthrow of the formidable house of Douglas speedily followed: their vast estates were distributed among the supporters of the royal cause; and Lord Hamilton, whose timely desertion of the 'Black Douglases' had mainly contributed to their destruction, was rewarded with a large share of their forfeited possessions. He became thenceforth one of the most trusted councillors of his grateful sovereign, was frequently employed by him on important embassies to England, and, in 1474, he obtained the hand of the Princess Mary, the King's sister, through whom his descendants became next heirs to the crown after the Stewarts. Besides his legitimate offspring, Lord Hamilton left several natural sons, one of whom, SIR JAMES HAMILTON, of Kincavel, became the father of Patrick Hamilton, the protomartyr of the Scottish Protestant Church, and was himself killed in the celebrated fight between the Douglases and the Hamiltons in the High Street of Edinburgh, in 1520.
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The first Lords of Lorne were the M'Dougalls, descended from Dugal, youngest son of the mighty Somerled; but, unfortunately for themselves and their country, they embraced the side of the English [p.229] invaders in the Scottish War of Independence, and after a desperate struggle, in which they oftener than once put the life of Robert BRUCE in imminent peril, they were stripped of their power and their extensive territory; and now the ruined stronghold of Dunolly, and an estate yielding only £1,300 a year, are all that remain to their present lineal representative. The M'Dougalls have, however, in later times, generation after generation, earned distinction in the service of their country. The heir of the family, nearly seventy years ago, fell fighting gallantly in Spain, under the Duke of Wellington —a death, as Sir Walter Scott remarks, worthy of his ancestors.
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The origin of the Campbell family is hid in the mists of antiquity, and we shall not run the risk of provoking the ire either of Goth or Celt by pronouncing an opinion either on the notion of Pinkerton, who affirms that they are descended from a Norman knight, named De Campo Bello, alleged to have come to England with William the Conqueror, but of whose existence no trace can be found; or on the tales of the Sennachies, that the great ancestor of the clan was a certain Diarmid O'Dwbin, or O'Dwin, a brave warrior, who it is asserted was a contemporary of the heroes of Ossian. Suffice it to say that the earliest figure who emerges out of the Highland mist is GILLESPIC CAMPBEL, or Cambell, as the name is invariably written in the earliest charters, who married the heiress of Lochaw, and whose grandson, Sir Gillespic, witnessed the charter granted by Alexander III. to Newburgh, March 12th, 1266, more than six hundred years ago His son, SIR COLIN, who is reckoned the seventh of the chiefs of the Campbells, was one of the nominees selected by Robert BRUCE, in 1291, when his title to the crown was to be investigated. The story runs that this Sir Colin was so distinguished by his warlike achievements and the additions he made to the family estates that he obtained the surname of 'More,' or 'Great,' and that from him the chief of the clan is to this day styled in Gaelic MACCALIAN MORE, or the son of Colin the Great. Sir Colin's second son founded the earliest branch of the family—the Campbells, earls of Loudoun. His eldest son, SIR NIGEL, or NEIL, was one of the first of the Scottish barons to join Robert BRUCE, and adhered with unwavering fidelity to that monarch's cause throughout the whole of his chequered career. After the disastrous battle of Methven, BRUCE, with a small body of followers, took refuge in the Western Highlands, and Sir Nigel, through his influence with Angus, Lord of the Isles, secured a retreat for the hunted King in the remote district of Kintyre. Sir Nigel shared in all the subsequent struggles of the Scottish patriots for the recovery of their independence, and took part in the crowning victory of Bannockburn. He was rewarded for his fidelity and his important services with the hand of Lady Mary, BRUCE's own sister, and with a grant of the forfeited estates of David de Strathbogie, Earl of Athol. Sir Nigel was one of the commissioners sent to York, in 1314, to negotiate a peace with England—was one of the [p.231] leading barons in the Parliament held at Ayr in 1315, when the succession to the crown was settled, and obtained from his royal brother-in-law a charter, under the Great Seal, of several estates. By his wife, Lady Mary BRUCE, Sir Nigel had three sons, the second of whom, John, was created Earl of Athol, and succeeded to the extensive possessions of that earldom, in accordance with the grant made by his uncle. He fell, however, at the battle of Halidon Hill, July 19th, 1333; and, as he left no issue, his title reverted to the crown. Sir Nigel's eldest son—
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SIR COLIN, rendered important service to Edward BRUCE in his Irish campaigns, and to David, son of King Robert, in assisting to expel the English invaders once more from the kingdom. It is of Sir Colin that the well-known story is told, that when marching through a wood in Ireland along with his uncle, King Robert, in February, 1317, an order was issued by that monarch that his men were on no account to quit their ranks. Sir Colin, irritated by the attacks of two English archers who discharged their arrows at him, rode after them to avenge the insult. King Robert followed, and nearly struck him from his horse with his truncheon, exclaiming, 'Come back Your disobedience might have brought us all into peril.' In 1334 Sir Colin surprised and recovered the strong castle of Dunoon, which had been held by the English and the adherents of Edward. He was rewarded for this exploit by being appointed hereditary keeper of the castle which he had captured—an office that has descended by inheritance to the present Duke of Argyll.
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ARCHIBALD, the fourth Earl of Argyll, was on his succession to the title, in 1530, appointed to all the offices held by his father and grandfather, and in 1542 obtained a Charter of the King's lands of [p.235] Cardross, in Dumbartonshire, which had belonged to King Robert BRUCE, who died there. Three years later he received a portion of the lands of Arrochar, part of the confiscated estates of the Earl of Lennox, an adherent of the English faction in Scotland. At the death of James V., Argyll attached himself to the party of Cardinal Beaton, Archbishop of St. Andrews, who granted to him a charter of the lands of Balrudry, Pitgogar, and Blairhill, in the barony of Muckhart and shire of Perth. The charter, which is dated at St. Andrews, on the 17th August, 1543, is signed by the Cardinal, and bears to have been granted in consideration of the 'great benefits, assistance, counsel, and services' rendered by the Earl to the Cardinal and the Church, and 'especially for the protection and defence of ecclesiastical liberty, at that dangerous time when Lutheran heresies were springing up on every side, and striving to weaken and subvert ecclesiastical freedom; and for the like services to be rendered to the Church in time coming.' The Earl was one of the peers who entered into an association to oppose the marriage of the infant Queen Mary to Prince Edward of England, 'as tending to the high dishonour, perpetual skaith, damage, and ruin of the liberty and nobleness of the realm.' His own country suffered severely in the contest which ensued, and was wasted and plundered by the English and their adherents. In the year 1546 he received from Queen Mary a charter of the barony of Boquhan, in the county of Stirling. A contemporary indorsation on the charter, and also on the relative precept of sasine, marks both as granted to Archibald Roy—that is, the Red; a characteristic also of the celebrated John Duke of Argyll and Greenwich, and which, as Dr. Fraser remarks, appears prominently in the present generation of the descendants of Archibald Roy.* The Earl commanded a large body of Highlanders and Islanders at the sanguinary battle of Pinkie (10th September, 1547); and, on the invasion of Scotland in the following year, he marched with a strong force to Dundee, to repel the enemy. But at this juncture, for reasons which have not been fully explained, he changed sides, became a zealous opponent of Mary of Guise and the French party, and soon after quitted the Church of Rome, and openly embraced the Protestant faith. He was indeed one of the first men of his rank in Scotland who took this step. John Douglas, a converted Carmelite friar, afterwards the first Protestant Archbishop of St. Andrews, became his domestic chaplain, and carefully educated his family in the principles of the Reformed religion. The Earl also signed the famous Covenant against 'Popish abominations' in 1557, and, on his deathbed, earnestly exhorted his son to support the Protestant [p.236] doctrine, and to suppress Popish superstitions. From this time forward the house of Argyll was conspicuous among the leaders of the Reformation, and both by their great influence and exertions, and by their sufferings on behalf of the good cause, have contributed more than any other family to the ultimate triumph of the Protestant religion in Scotland.
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There can be no doubt that the great Marquis was a man of sincere and deep religious feeling. He was a true patriot, who made the love of his country and the desire for her good paramount to all personal considerations; and a statesman of great sagacity, and experience, and consummate address. He was almost adored by his own clan, and his memory is still held in high veneration by the Scottish Presbyterians; but his vast influence, and the height to which he carried the policy of his house, made him equally dreaded and hated by the neighbouring chiefs of his day. The Campbells were not satisfied—like their predecessors the old Lords of Argyll, the Isles, and Lorne—with a sway quite absolute and almost independent over the inhabitants of these remote and inaccessible mountains and isles of the western Highlands. From the days of Robert BRUCE downward they attached themselves to the Scottish Court, allied themselves by marriage to the great Lowland families, and held the highest offices of State. They were the Chancellors, the hereditary Masters of the Household, and Great Justiciars of Scotland. The personal character of the successive heads of this aspiring family—combining unwearied and indomitable energy with a peculiar dexterity and plausibility of address—had step by step raised them to such a height of power, that the number of fighting men who bore the name of Campbell was sufficient to meet in the field the combined forces of all the other western clans. The Marquis of Argyll, as Lord Macaulay remarks, 'was the head of a party as well as the head of a tribe. Possessed of two different kinds of authority, he used each of them in such a way as to extend and fortify the other. The knowledge that he could bring into the field the claymores of five thousand half-heathen mountaineers added to his influence among the austere Presbyterians who filled the Privy Council and the General Assembly. His influence at Edinburgh added to the terror which he inspired among the mountains. Of all the Highland princes whose history is well known to us, he was the greatest and the most dreaded.'
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THE Campbells of Loudoun are the oldest branch of the house of Argyll, and are descended from Donald, second son of Sir Colin Campbell of Lochaw, and brother of Sir Neil Campbell, the friend of King Robert BRUCE. 
The barony in Ayrshire, from which they derive their title, was originally the possession of the Loudouns of Loudoun, one of the oldest families in Scotland. Margaret of Loudoun, the heiress of the estate, married Sir Reginald Crawford, High Sheriff of Ayr, and was the grandmother of Sir William Wallace, the illustrious Scottish patriot. The barony passed to the Campbells in the reign of Robert BRUCE by the marriage of Sir Duncan, son of Donald Campbell, to Susanne Crawford, heiress of Loudoun, and fifth in descent from Sir Reginald Crawford. Sir Hugh Campbell, Sheriff of Ayr, was created a Lord of Parliament by the title of Lord Campbell of Loudoun, by James VI., in 1601. His granddaughter, Margaret Campbell, who inherited his title and estates, married Sir John Campbell of Lawers, a scion of the Glenorchy or Breadalbane family. He was created—
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THE Campbells of Breadalbane are the most powerful branch of the house of Argyll; indeed, in the extent and value of their estates they surpass the parent stock. They are descended from Sir Colin Campbell, third son of Duncan, first Lord Campbell of Lochaw, by Marjory Stewart, daughter of Robert, Duke of Albany, Regent of Scotland. In the 'Black Book of Taymouth,' printed by the Bannatyne Club, from an old manuscript preserved m Taymouth Castle, it is stated that 'Duncan Campbell, commonly called Duncan in Aa, Knight of Lochaw (lineallie descendit of a valiant man surnamit Campbell quha cam to Scotland in King Malcolm Kandmore his time, about the year of God 1067, of quhom came the house of Lochaw) flourished in King David BRUCE his dayes. The foresaid Duncan begat twa sons, the elder callit Archibald, the other namit Colin, wha was first laird of Glenurchay.' That estate was bestowed on him by his father. It was the original seat of the M'Gregors, who were settled there as early as the reign of Malcolm Canmore. It was gradually wrested from them by the Campbells in pursuance of the hereditary policy of their family, and in the reign of David II. they managed to procure a legal title to the lands of Glenorchy, but the M'Gregors continued for a long time to retain possession of their ancient inheritance by the strong hand. SIR COLIN CAMPBELL, the founder of the Glenorchy or Breadalbane branch of the clan, Douglas says, 'was a man of high renown for military prowess and for the virtues of social and domestic life. He was a stream of many tides against the foes of the people, but like the gale that moves the heath to those who sought his aid.' He was born about A.D. 1400, and, says the 'Black Book,' 'throch his valiant actis and manheid maid knicht in the Isle of Rhodes, quhilk standeth in the Carpathian Sea near to Curia [p.263] and countrie of Asia the Less, and he was three sundrie tymes in Rome.' After the murder of James I., in 1437, Sir Colin took prompt and active measures to bring the assassins to justice, and succeeded in capturing two of them, named Chalmers and Colquhoun. For this service James II. afterwards conferred upon him the barony of Lawers. In 1440 Sir Colin erected the Castle of Kilchurn (properly Coalchuirn) on a rocky promontory at the east end of Loch Awe, under the shadow of the majestic Ben Cruachan, at no great distance from the Pass of Brander, where the M'Dougalls of Lorne were defeated by Robert BRUCE. This 'child of loud-throated war,' as the castle is termed by Wordsworth, is now a picturesque ruin, which has been repeatedly sketched by eminent painters. 'From the top of the hill,' says Miss Wordsworth in her Journal, 'a most impressive scene opened upon our view—a ruined castle on an island (for an island the flood had made it) at some distance from the shore, backed by a cove of the mountain Cruachan, down which carne a foaming stream. The castle occupied every foot of the island that was visible, thus appearing to rise out of the water. Mists rested upon the mountain-side, with spots of sunshine; there was a wild desolation in the low grounds, a solemn grandeur in the mountains, and the castle was wild yet stately—not dismantled of turrets nor the walls broken down, though obviously a ruin.'—See 'Address to Kilchurn Castle, upon Loch Awe,' Wordsworth's Poetical Works, pp. 117—125.*
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'The right feeling of the present time,' says Mr. Cosmo Innes, 'has forbidden any change that would alter the character of the quaint, antique, charming old place. The tower which Thane William built round the hawthorn-tree in 1454 stands surrounded by buildings of all subsequent dates, down to the work trusted to the skill of the Nairn masons in 1699. The simple drawbridge hangs as it has hung for centuries. The gardens and garden walls, the row of limes to screen the east wind, are all as Sir Hugh left them, or, perhaps, made and planted them. The place is unspoiled—not changed but for the better. The burn pours its brown sparkling stream down its rocky channel as of yore. The air has the brisk freshness of the Highlands, while the sky is blue and bright, as in more southern climates. The woods now wave over the grey castle with a luxuriance of shade which its old inhabitants never dreamt off' Sketches of Early Scottish History, pp. 435, 436.* [p.285] The earliest notice of the possessors of Cawdor is in a charter granted by King Robert BRUCE, in 1310, to William, Thane of Calder, of the Thanage of Calder, for a yearly payment of 12 merks, and the rent of the land which Fergus the Dempster was wont to pay in the time of Alexander III. In all probability this William was a descendant of those hereditary stewards of the Crown to whom the charge of this part of the royal demesne lands had been committed, and who now became, under the Saxon name of Thane, hereditary tenants, paying the sum at which the land stood in the King's Rental. The Thanes of Calder were also hereditary sheriffs of Nairn, and constables of the royal castle at the burgh of Nairn.
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SIR NORMAN, the fifth in descent from the Hungarian Bartolf, appears to have been the first of the family who assumed the surname of Lesselyn, or Leslie. Previous to this time, the usual designation of their chief was the 'Constable of Inverurie.' Sir Norman's name is found in the 'Ragman's Roll,' and in other documents connected with the Scottish War of Independence. His son and grandson were staunch adherents of Robert BRUCE and David II., and shared in [p.293] their perils and privations, and ultimate success of their struggles with the Baliols and their English supporters. DAVID, the fourth in succession to the barony of Leslie, joined one of the Crusades towards the close of the fourteenth century, and was so long absent in Palestine without any intelligence of him having reached home, that he was given up for dead, and a distant kinsman, Sir George Leslie of Rothes, was installed in his ancestral castle and estates. But scarcely had Sir George taken possession of the family mansion of Leslie, when the long-lost heir unexpectedly returned to Scotland and recovered his patrimonial estates. He, however, confirmed the entail executed by his father in favour of his kinsman, and at his death, forty years later, the principal property of the family passed to Norman de Leslie, son of Sir George, while the remainder was inherited by his own daughter and only child, Margaret, wife of Alexander Leslie, a son of the Baron of Balquhain, who assumed the designation of Leslie, or, according to the Scottish phrase, of 'that ilk,' though he was the head only of a minor branch of the family.
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The Leslies of Rothes and Balquhain became henceforth the principal representatives of this ancient house. The Leslies of Balquhain still possess their ancestral estates. The Rothes Leslies exist in the female line, but the Leslies of that ilk were compelled to dispose of their patrimony about the beginning of the seventeenth century, owing to the imprudence and improvidence of George Leslie, the eighth baron. Their ancient castle of Leslie, erected by Bartolf, the founder of the family, which, like Balquhain, stands near the 'Hill of Bennachie,' was inhabited up to the beginning of the present century, but is now a ruin. So is the castle of Balquhain, 'a stern, simple square block, as destitute of decoration or architectural peculiarity as any stone boulder on the adjoining moor,' in which Queen Mary was hospitably entertained on her northern progress in 1562. It remained the main seat of the family till 1690, when they removed to Fetternear, an old summer residence of the Bishops of Aberdeen, beautifully situated in a finely wooded domain on the banks of the Don, which still remains their principal residence. The district of Garioch, in which these interesting baronial mansions stand, is associated with not a few historical incidents and remains of antiquity. The chapel of Garioch was endowed by Christian BRUCE for the celebration of religious services for the souls of her brother, King Robert, and of her husband, Sir Andrew Moray, his [p.294] brave companion in arms; and by the Countess of Mar, widow of William, Earl of Douglas, for the performance of similar services for the souls of her husband, her brother, and her son, the hero of Otterburn. About a mile from the church is the battlefield of Harlaw, where another chaplaincy was founded by the widow of Sir Andrew Leslie of Balquhain for the souls of her six sons, who fell on that fatal field, and of her husband, who was killed at Braco in 1420.
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GEORGE LESLIE, the grandson of this powerful baron, was the first Earl of Rothes, and through his father and mother (Christian Seton) was descended from both the royal families of BRUCE and Stewart. He was three times married. After he had lived nearly twenty years in wedlock with his second wife, a daughter of Lord Halyburton of Dirleton, he grew tired of her, and raised an action before the Consistory Court of St. Andrews, for the dissolution of the marriage on the convenient and common plea at that time, that he and his wife were related within the forbidden degrees of kindred, and that consequently their marriage was null and void from the first. A divorce could be obtained on this ground at that period with the utmost facility, and was a matter of everyday occurrence. But a formidable difficulty presented itself in regard to the position of the children born under the marriage, who would be declared illegitimate if it should be dissolved. As the Earl's eldest son, Andrew, had married into the powerful family of St. Clair, it was not to be expected that they would patiently acquiesce in a decision which deprived him and his children of their rights. It was ultimately decided by the arbiter to whom the case was referred by mutual consent, that the Earl should obtain a divorce, but that the legitimacy of his offspring should be preserved by his judicial deposition that he did not know of the relationship between him and his wife, till after the birth of all their children.
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[p.309] The Ramsays, like the BRUCEs, Hamiltons, Lindsays, Maxwells, Setons, Keiths, Stewarts, and other great Scottish families, settled in Scotland during the reign of David I. They are said to be of German origin, which is not improbable; but the founder of the Scottish branch of the house appears to have come into Scotland from Huntingdonshire, of which David was Earl before he ascended the throne, and where Ramsay is a local designation. The first person of distinction who bore the name in Scotland was the SIR WILLIAM RAMSAY whose noble and warlike character is eulogised by Fordoun. He was the friend of Robert BRUCE, by whose side he fought throughout the War of Independence, and was one of the nobles who subscribed the celebrated memorial to the Pope, in 1320, vindicating the rights and liberties of their country. SIR ALEXANDER RAMSAY, the son of this baron, was one of the noblest and bravest of Scottish patriots. In the dark days of David II, the unworthy son of Robert BRUCE, Sir Alexander acquired such distinction by his gallant exploits in defence of his country that, according to Fordoun, to serve in his band was considered a branch of military education requisite for all young gentlemen who meant to excel in arms. At the head of a body of knights and soldiers whom his fame as a daring and skilful warrior had drawn around him, he sallied from the crags and caves of Hawthornden, near Edinburgh, where he found shelter, intercepted the convoys of the enemy, captured their provisions, cut off their stragglers, and seriously hindered their operations. He was one of the leaders of the force which, in 1335, inflicted a crushing defeat on the Flemish auxiliaries under the command of the Count Namur, on the Boroughmuir of Edinburgh. He relieved the garrison of Dunbar, commanded by the famous Countess of Dunbar and March, daughter of Randolph, Earl of Moray, when besieged by the Earl of Salisbury, in 1338, and reduced to the greatest extremities, and compelled the English army to raise the siege. He even penetrated into Northumberland, which he wasted with fire and sword; and, on his homeward march, defeated a powerful body of the enemy near Wark Castle, and killed or captured them almost to a man. In a night attack, in 1342, he stormed the strong fortress of Roxburgh, situated near the confluence of the Teviot and the Tweed. The situation of this famous stronghold on the Borders rendered the possession of it during the continued warfare between England and Scotland of great importance to both of the contending parties. It was, therefore, usually the first [p.310] place of attack on the breaking out of hostilities, was the scene of several daring exploits during the War of Independence, and frequently changed masters. Sir Alexander Ramsay was rewarded for the important service which he had rendered by its capture, by the appointment of governor of the castle, and was also nominated by the King (David II.), Sheriff of Teviotdale, a post which had been previously held by Sir William Douglas, the Knight of Liddesdale. Deeply offended at this act, Douglas vowed vengeance against the new sheriff, who had been his friend and companion in arms, and suddenly pounced upon him while he was holding his court in the church of Hawick. Ramsay, having no suspicion of injury from his old comrade, invited Douglas to take his place beside him. But the ferocious Baron, drawing his sword, attacked and wounded his unsuspecting victim, and throwing him bleeding across a horse, carried him off to the remote and solitary castle of Hermitage, amidst the morasses of Liddesdale, where he cast him into a dungeon and left him to perish of hunger. Sir Alexander is said by Fordoun to have prolonged his existence for seventeen days by the grains of corn which fell through the crevices in the floor from a granary above his prison. Nearly four centuries and a half after the foul murder of this gallant patriot, a mason employed in building a wall beside the castle, laid open a vault about eight feet square, in which, amid a heap of chaff, there were found some human bones, along with the remains of a saddle, a large bridle-bit, and an ancient sword. These relics were conjectured, with great probability, to have belonged to the gallant but unfortunate Ramsay, whose cruel death excited great and general indignation and sorrow among all classes of his contemporaries. 'He had done a great deal,' said Fordoun, 'for the King and for the country's freedom; he had felled the foe everywhere around; greatly checked their attacks; won many a victory; done much good, and, so far as men can judge, would have done much more had he lived longer. In brave deeds of arms and in bodily strength he surpassed all others of his day.' And Wyntoun, after mentioning the sad fate which befel this brave and popular leader, adds—
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Several centuries before the extinction of the male line of the family in Normandy, a junior branch of the Maules had taken root in Scotland. A son of Peter, the first Lord Maule of that name, accompanied William the Conqueror into England, and received from him a part of the lordship of Hatton de Cleveland, in Yorkshire, and other extensive estates. ROBERT DE MAULE, one of his sons, became attached to David, Earl of Huntingdon, afterwards David I. of Scotland, and obtained from him a grant of lands in Midlothian. His eldest son, WILLIAM DE MAULE, was with King David at the Battle of the Standard, A.D. 1138, and received from that monarch a gift of the lands of Fowlis, in the Carse of Gowrie. He died without male issue, and the line of succession was carried on through ROGER MAULE, his younger brother—the progenitor of the Maules of Panmure. His grandson, SIR PETER MAULE, married Christian, only child and heiress of William de Valoniis, the representative of a great Norman family whose immediate ancestor settled in Scotland at the end of the reign of Malcolm IV., and was appointed by William the Lion High Chamberlain about 1180. Sir Peter obtained [p.322] with her the baronies of Panmure and Benvie in Forfarshire, and other estates both in England and Scotland, thus uniting the fortunes of two ancient and influential houses. He had two sons, WILLIAM—by whom he was succeeded—and SIR THOMAS, who was a soldier of distinguished valour and 'a most audacious knight in mind and body.' His character has been oftener than once reproduced in the family. He was governor of Brechin Castle, the only fortress in the north which shut its gates against Edward I. in his progress through the country in 1303. 'Trusting to the strength of the walls, the governor made no account of the war machines brought against them. The King of England's men incessantly threw stones against the walls without effect. Sir Thomas held the castle for twenty days against the assaults of the English army, and was so confident of its strength that he stood on the ramparts and contemptuously wiped off with a towel the dust and rubbish raised by the stones thrown from the English battering engines.' Wallace Papers, p. 21.* But he was at last mortally wounded by a splinter broken from the wall by the force of a stone missile. 'While he lay expiring on the ground, being asked if the castle should now be surrendered, he cursed the men as cowards who made the suggestion.'|R†|r The garrison, however, capitulated next day. Henry de Maule of Panmure, the nephew of this gallant soldier, fought on the patriotic side in the War of Independence, and was knighted for his services by King Robert BRUCE. Sir Thomas Maule, the head of the family at the commencement of the fifteenth century, fought under the banner of the Earl of Mar at the sanguinary battle of Harlaw, in August, 1411, along with the chivalry of Angus and Mearns, and was among the slain. As the old ballad says—

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The Maxwells, under their gallant chief, made a vigorous defence, showering upon their assailants such'huge stones, quarrels, and arrows, and with wounds and bruises they were so hurt and exhausted that it was with very great difficulty they were able to retire.' But though the operations of the siege proceeded slowly, the besieged were at length compelled to surrender, when it was found that the garrison which had thus defied the whole English army amounted to only sixty men, 'who were beheld,' says thechronicler, 'with much astonishment.' Possession of the castle was subsequently restored to Sir EustaceMaxwell, Sir Herbert's son, who at first embraced the cause of John Baliol, and in 1312 received from Edward II. an allowance of twenty pounds for the more secure keeping of the fortress. He afterwards, however, gave in his adherence to Robert BRUCE, and his castle in consequence underwent a second siege by the English, in which they were unsuccessful. But fearing that this important stronghold might ultimately [p.3] fall into the hands of the enemy, and enable them to make good their hold on the district, SirEustace dismantled the fortress—a service and sacrifice for which he was liberally rewarded by RobertBRUCE.
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The estate of Traquair was originally a royal domain, and was conferred by Robert BRUCE on his warmfriend and devoted adherent, Lord James Douglas. After passing through various hands, it came intopossession of an ancestor of the Murrays of Elibank, and was forfeited by William Murray in 1464. Itwas given to William Douglas of Cluny, but was almost immediately thereafter assigned to the Boyds. On the forfeiture of Robert, Lord Boyd, the head of this powerful family, in 1469, the estate was resumed by the Crown, but [p.67] was shortly after conferred upon Dr. William Rogers, an eminent musician, and one of thefavourites of the ill-starred James III. After holding the lands for upwards of nine years, Dr. Rogers sold them for an insignificant sum, in 1478, to James Stewart, Earl of Buchan, the second son of Sir James Stewart, called the Black Knight of Lorn, by Lady Jane Beaufort, widow of James I. The Earl conferred Traquair, in 1491, on his natural son, JAMES STEWART, the founder of the Traquair family. He obtained letters of legitimation, and married the heiress of the Rutherfords, with whom he received the estates of Rutherford and Wells in Roxburghshire. Like the great body of the chivalry of Tweeddale, and the 'Flowers of the Forest,' he fell along with his sovereign on the fatal field of Flodden in 1513. Four of the sons of this stalwart Borderer possessed the Traquair estates in succession, one of whom was knighted by Queen Mary when she created Darnley Duke of Albany, and was appointed captain of her guard, and, no doubt in that capacity, is said to have accompanied the Queen and her husband in their flight to Dunbar after the murder of Rizzio. He continued a steady friend of the ill-fated princess, and was one of the barons who entered into a bond of association to support her cause after her escape from Loch Leven in 1568.
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It thus appears that the founder of the Drummond family was not a Hungarian prince, or even gentleman,but Malcolm Beg, chamberlain to the Earl of Lennox. When the War of Independence broke out the Drummonds embraced the patriotic side. JOHN OF DRUMMOND was taken prisoner at the battle of Dunbar, and was imprisoned in the castle of Wisbeach; but he was set at liberty in August, 1297, on Sir Edmund Hastings, proprietor of part of Menteith in right of his wife, Lady Isabella Comyn, offering himself as security, and on the condition that he would accompany King Edward to France. His eldest son, SIR MALCOLM DRUMMOND, was a zealous supporter of the claims of Robert BRUCE to theScottish throne, and like his father fell into the hands of the English, having been taken prisoner by SirJohn Segrave. On hearing this 'good news,' King Edward, on the [p.90] 20th of August, 1301, offered oblations at the shrine of St. Mungo, in the cathedral of Glasgow. After the independence of the country was secured by the crowning victory of Bannockburn, MALCOLMwas rewarded for his services by King Robert BRUCE with lands in Perthshire. Sir Robert Douglas, the eminent genealogist, conjectures that the caltrops, or four-spiked pieces of iron, with the motto 'Gang warily,' in the armorial bearings of the Drummonds, were bestowed as an acknowledgment of Sir Malcolm's active efforts in the use of these formidable weapons at the battle of Bannockburn. Hisgrandson, JOHN DRUMMOND, married the eldest daughter and co-heiress of Sir John Montefex, It has hitherto been supposed that the estates of Stobhall and Cargill, on the Tay, which stillbelong to the family, came into the possession of the Drummonds by marriage with this heiress, but they were in reality bestowed by David II. on Queen Margaret, and were given by her to Malcolm ofDrummond, her nephew.* the first of the numerous fortunate marriages made by the Drummonds. Maurice, another grandson, married the heiress of Concraig and of the Stewardship of Strathearn. A second son, SIR MALCOLM, whom Wyntoun terms 'a manfull knycht, baith wise and wary,' fought at the battle of Otterburn in 1388, in which his brother-in-law, James, second Earl of Douglas and Mar, was killed, and succeeded him in the latter earldom, in right of his wife, Lady Isabel Douglas, only daughter of William, first Earl of Douglas. He seems to have had some share in the capture at that battle of Ralph Percy, brother of the famous Hotspur, as he received from Robert III. a pension of £20, in satisfaction of the third part of Percy's ransom, which exceeded £600. He died of his 'hard captivity' which he endured at the hands of a band of ruffians by whom he was seized and imprisoned. His widow, the heiress of the ancient family of Mar, was forcibly married by Alexander Stewart, a natural son of 'the Wolf of Badenoch.' [See EARLDOM OF MAR.]
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'To this long list of distinguished names,' says Mr. Fraser, 'the author might have added MargaretDrummond, sometime Logie, the second queen of King David BRUCE.'
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THE Erskine family, which has produced a remarkable number of eminent men in every department ofpublic life, derived their designation from the barony of Erskine in Renfrewshire, situated on the southbank of the Clyde. A Henry de Erskine, from whom the family trace their descent, was proprietor of this barony so early as the reign of Alexander II. A daughter of his great-grandson, Sir John de Erskine, was married to Sir Thomas BRUCE, a brother of King Robert, who was taken prisoner and put to death by the English; another became the wife of Walter, High Steward of Scotland. The brother of these ladies was a faithful adherent of Robert BRUCE, and as a reward for his patriotism and valour, was knighted under the royal banner on the field. He died in 1329. His son, Sir Robert de Erskine, held the great offices of Lord High Chamberlain, justiciary north of the Forth, and Constable of the Castles of Edinburgh, Stirling, and Dumbarton. He was six times ambassador to England, was also sent on an embassy to France, was Warden of the Marches, and heritable Sheriff of Stirlingshire. He took an active part in securing the succession of the House of Stewart to the throne, on the death of David BRUCE. In return for this important service he received from Robert II. a grant of the estate of Alloa, which still remains in the possession of the family, in exchange for the hunting-ground of Strathgartney. Sir Thomas, the son of this powerful-noble by his marriage to Janet Keith, great grand daughter of Gratney, Earl of Mar, laid the foundation of the claim which the Erskines preferred to that dignity, and the vast estates which were originally included in the earldom. Though their claim was rejected by James I., the family continued to prosper; new honours and possessions were liberally conferred upon them by successive [p.106] sovereigns, and they were elevated to the peerage in 1467. The second Lord Erskine fought onthe side of King James III. against the rebel lords at Sauchieburn. Robert, third Lord Erskine, fell at thebattle of Flodden with four other gentlemen, his kinsmen. The grandson of that lord, the Master ofErskine, was killed at Pinkie. For several generations the Erskines were entrusted with the honourableand responsible duty of keeping the heirs to the Crown during their minority. James IV., James V., Queen Mary, James VI., and his eldest son, Prince Henry, were in turn committed to the charge of the head of the Erskine family, who discharged this important trust with great fidelity. John, the fourth Lord Erskine, who had the keeping of James V. during his minority, was employed by him in after life in important public affairs, was present at the melancholy death of that monarch at Falkland, and after that event afforded for some time a refuge to his infant daughter, the unfortunate Mary, in Stirling Castle, of which he was hereditary governor. On the invasion of Scotland by the English, he removed her forgreater security to the Priory of Inchmahome, an island in the Lake of Menteith, which was his ownproperty. His eldest son, who fell at the battle of Pinkie during his father's lifetime, was the ancestor, by an illegitimate son, of the Erskines of Shieldfield, near Dryburgh, from whom sprang the celebratedbrothers Ebenezer and Ralph Erskine, the founders of the Secession Church.
page 119
THE Earldom of Buchan is one of the most ancient dignities in Scotland. It was held in the time ofWilliam the Lion by a chief named FERGUS, of whom nothing is known except that he made a grant of a mark of silver annually to the abbey of Aberbrothwick, which was founded by King William. His onlydaughter, Marjory, Countess of Buchan in her own right, married, A.D. 1210, WILLIAM COMYN,Sheriff of Forfar, and Justiciary of Scotland, who became Earl of Buchan in right of his wife. Their son, ALEXANDER COMYN, who inherited their title and estates, took a prominent part in public affairs during the reigns of Alexander II. and Alexander III. The Comyns were at this time among the most powerful families in the kingdom and were the leaders of the national party, in opposition to the English faction, who, even at that early period, sought to make the welfare of Scotland subservient to the interests of England. Earl Alexander was one of the guardians of Scotland after the death of Alexander III., and, like his father, held the office of Great Justiciary. He died in 1289, and was succeeded by his son, JOHN COMYN, who was Chief Constable of the kingdom. When the War of Independence broke out, the Earl of Buchan joined the English party. He seems to have cherished an intense hatred of Robert BRUCE, on personal as well as family grounds, and received from King Edward a grant of BRUCE's lordship of Annandale. In 1308 he collected a large army for the purpose of resisting BRUCE's invasion of Buchan,where the Comyns ruled with almost regal authority; but he was defeated with great slaughter at Old Meldrum, and his estates were laid waste with fire and sword. The power of the great house of Comyn was completely broken down by this overthrow, and the 'harrying' of Buchan which followed: their estates were [p.119] confiscated, and their very name almost disappeared from the roll of the Scottish nobility. The wife of EarlJohn, a daughter of the Earl of Fife, was the high-spirited lady who placed the crown on the head ofRobert BRUCE, in virtue of a privilege which, since the time of Malcolm Canmore, had belonged to herfamily.
page 142
Like most of the ancient Scottish families, the Grahams are of Anglo-Norman origin, and they settled inScotland during the twelfth century. The first of the race whose name occurs in the records of Scotlandwas a Sir William de Græme, who received from David I. the lands of Abercorn and Dalkeith, which descended to Peter, the elder of his two sons. Peter's grandson, Henry, by his marriage to the heiress of the family of Avenel, acquired their extensive estates in Eskdale. He was one of the magnates Scotiæ who, in the Parliament of 5th February, 1283-4, bound themselves by their oaths and seals toacknowledge as their sovereign the Princess Margaret of Norway, the grand daughter of Alexander III.,in the event of that monarch's death without male issue. His son, Sir Nicholas, was one of the nominees of Robert BRUCE when, in 1292, he became a competitor for the crown. His grandson, Sir John de Graham of Dalkeith, who died without issue, was the last of the original stock of the family. His estates were divided between his two sisters: the elder, who married William More, inherited the lands ofAbercorn; the younger became [p.142] the wife of William Douglas of Lugton, ancestor of the Earls of Morton, and conveyed to himDalkeith, and the estates of the Avenels in Eskdale.
page 144
From this time downwards the Grahams have taken a prominent part in public, and especially in warlike, affairs. The son of Sir David, who bore his name, which seems to have been a favourite one among theearly Grahams, was a zealous adherent of Robert BRUCE, and defended the independence of his nativecountry so stoutly, that he was excepted from the pacification which King Edward made with the Scots in 1303-4. Along with two of his kinsmen, he signed the famous letter to the Pope vindicating in noble terms the independence of Scotland. He died in 1327. It was he [p.144] who exchanged with King Robert BRUCE the estate of Cardross for Old Montrose. His son, alsonamed Sir David, was taken prisoner with his sovereign, David II., at the battle of Durham. Sir David's son, Sir Patrick of Graham, was the ancestor both of the Montrose and Menteith Grahams. His son and successor, by his first wife, Sir William, carried on the main line of the family. His eldest son, Patrick, by his second wife, Egidia, niece of Robert II., married— probably about the year 1406—Eufemea Stewart, Countess Palatine of Strathern, and either through courtesy of his wife, or by creation, became Earl Palatine of Strathern. (See EARLS OF MENTEITH.)
page 165
JAMES, third Marquis, who was appointed by Charles II. Captain of the Guard, and afterwardsPresident of the Council. Unmindful of the example set him by his father, he acted as chancellor of the jury who brought in a verdict of guilty against the Earl of Argyll, his cousin-german, 12th December, 1681, one of the most iniquitous acts of that shameful period. The Marquis died prematurely in 1684, leaving an only son, JAMES, fourth Marquis and first Duke of Montrose. He was a mere child at the time of his father's death, and was left to the guardianship of his mother, along with the Earls of Haddington and Perth, Hay of Drummelzier, and Sir William BRUCE of Kinross. On the 1st of February, 1688. however, the Marchioness was deprived of this office, on pretence of her marriage with Sir John BRUCE, younger, of Kinross, but in reality it was believed because King James wished to have the young nobleman brought up as a Roman Catholic. Fortunately the expulsion of the arbitrary and unconstitutional sovereign from the throne frustrated his design; but his feeling on the subject was made evident by his removal from their seats on the bench of Lords Harcarse and Edmonstone, the judges who had voted in favour of the tutors selected by the father. The young Marquis spent some time travelling on the Continent. He grew up singularly handsome and engaging in his manners, and joined the Whig party, by whom he was highly esteemed and honoured. He was appointed High Admiral of Scotland in February, 1705, President of the Council, February 28th, 1706, was a steady supporter of the Union betweenScotland and England, and was created Duke of Montrose on the 24th of April, 1707. He was five times chosen one of the representative peers of Scotland, and held that position from 1707 to 1727. He was also appointed Keeper of the Privy Seal, February 23rd, 1709, but was removed from that office in 1713 by the Tory Ministry. On hearing that Queen Anne was dying, the Duke, along with other Whig peers, hastened to Edinburgh, and, on the announcement of her death, they proclaimed George I., who had appointed the Duke one of the Lords of Regency. He then hastened to London to receive the new King, and six days after George had landed, he appointed Montrose Secretary of State for Scotland in room of the Earl of Mar, and he was sworn a Privy Councillor October 4, 1717. He was appointed Keeper of the Great Seal in Scotland; but, in consequence of his opposition to Walpole, he was dismissed from that office in April, 1733.
page 248
HEPBURN is the name of an old and powerful family located on the Eastern Marches, and notedthroughout the whole history of Scotland for their turbulence, and, not un-frequently, for their disloyalty. Their designation is said to have been derived from a place called Hepborne, or Hayborn, inNorthumberland, from which ADAM HEPBURN, the founder of the family, came, in the reign of David II. He is said to have received grants of various lands in East Lothian from the Earl of March, thedescendant of the Northumbrian Prince Cospatrick, and the head of the great family of Dunbar. The lands of North Hailes and Traprane were conferred upon him by Robert BRUCE, which shows that he must have fought on the patriotic side in the War of Independence. His eldest son, SIR PATRICK HEPBURN of Hailes, distinguished himself by his bravery at the battle of Otterburn (1388), in which his son Patrick, styled by Fordun, 'Miles magnanimus, et athleta bellicosus,' also took part. In 1402, in the lifetime ofhis father, the younger Hepburn commanded a body of Borderers who made a hostile incursion into England, but were intercepted on their return by the Earl of Northumberland and the Earl of March, who had turned traitor to his king and country, and, after a stubborn conflict, the Scots were defeated, andHepburn and other East Lothian barons were among the slain. His eldest son, SIR ADAM HEPBURN, took a prominent part in public affairs, and when the estates of the Dunbar and March family were forfeited, in 1435, he was made constable of the important fortress of Dunbar. In the following year he was present at the battle of Piperden, in which the Earl of Angus defeated the Earl of Northumberland, and took Sir Robert Ogle prisoner, with most of his followers. Sir Adam's eldest son, SIR PATRICK HEPBURN, was created a peer of Parliament in [p.248] 1456, by the title of LORD HALES. His son ADAM, the second Lord, who married the eldestdaughter of the first Lord Home, was by no means a pattern of loyalty and obedience to the law; and, in alliance with his kinsmen, the Homes, took his share in the broils and feuds which disturbed the peace of the country in the unfortunate reign of James III. The minor branches of the Hepburn family had by this time spread themselves through East Lothian and Berwickshire, and some of them, such as the Hepburns of Waughton Sir John Hepburn, the famous soldier, belonged to the Hepburns of Athelstaneford, a branch ofthe Waughton family. He fought with great distinction under Gustavus Adolphus, and afterwards entered the French service, in which he attained the rank of field-marshal. He was killed at the siege of Saverne, 21st June, 1636.* and Whitsome, had become powerful. GEORGE, the third son of the second Lord Hales, was Provost of Bothwell and Lincluden, Abbot of Aberbrothock, High Treasurer of Scotland in 1509, and, in the following year, Commendator both of Aberbrothock and Icolmkill. He fell, along with the Archbishop of St. Andrews, and several other ecclesiastical dignitaries, at the battle of Flodden, in 1513. JOHN, the fourth son of Lord Hales, was Prior of St. Andrews, and the founder, in 1512, of St. Leonard's College in that ancient city. The fifth son, JAMES, was first rector of Dairy and Parton; then, in 1515, he was elected Abbot of Dunfermline. In the same year he was appointed Lord High Treasurer, and, in 1516, he was elected Bishop of Moray. The fact that so many important offices were conferred upon his younger sons is conclusive evidence of the great influence to which the head of the Hepburn family had now attained.
page 271
Incensed at this defeat, King Edward invaded Scotland at the head of a powerful army, with which theScots were quite unable to cope in the open field. Comyn and most of the great nobles made submission to the invader, but Sir Simon Fraser firmly refused to lay down his arms, and was, in consequence, expressly excepted from the conditions of the capitulation made at Strathorde, on the 9th of February, 1303-4. The indomitable chief remained in concealment in the north till 1306, when he joined Robert BRUCE, who, in that year, was crowned at Scone. He was present at the battle of Methven, where he performed prodigies of valour, and is said to have rescued and remounted the King when his horse waskilled under him. According to one account, Sir Simon made his escape from the field along with BRUCE, and was treacherously seized at Restalrig, near Edinburgh, in 1307, by the retainers of one of theComyns. But a different account of his apprehension is given in a [p.271] manuscript chronicle in the British Museum, quoted by Ritson. After noticing the defeat of theScots, the chronicler thus proceeds:—
'When Robert the BRUCE saw this mischief, and gan to flee and hov'd him, that men might not him find;but S. Simond Frisell pursued was so sore, so that he turned again and abode bataille, for he was a worthy knight, and a bolde of bodye, and the English pursued him sore on every side, and quelde the steed that Sir Simon Frisell rode upon, and then toke him and led him to the host. And S. Symond began for to flatter and speke fair, and saide, "Lordys, I shall give you four thousand markes of silver, and mine horse and harness, and all my armour and income." Tho' answered Thobaude of Pevenes, that was the King's archer, "Now God me so helpe, it is for nought that thou speakest; for all the gold of England I would not let thee go without commandment of King Edward." And tho' he was led to the King, and the King would not see him, but commanded to lead him away to his doom in London, on Our Lady's own nativity. And he was hung and drawn, and his head smitten off and hanged again with chains of iron upon the gallows, and his head was set at London Bridge upon a spear, and against Christmas the body was burnt for encheson (reason) that the men that keeped the body saw many devils ramping with iron crooks running upon the gallows, and horribly tormenting the body. And many that them saw, anon thereafter died for dread, or waxen mad, or sore sickness they had.'
page 285
In his flight from Culloden, Prince Charles, attended by a small body of his officers, proceeded to Gortuleg, where Lord Lovat was then residing, and where they met for the first and last time, in mutual anxiety and alarm. Sir Walter Scott mentions that a lady, who was then a girl, residing in Lord Lovat's family, described to him the unexpected appearance of Prince Charles and his flying attendants at Gortuleg, near the Fall of Foyers [not Castle Downie, as Sir Walter erroneously supposed]. The wild and desolate vale on which she was gazing with indolent composure, was at once so suddenly filled with horsemen riding furiously towards the castle, that, impressed with the belief that they were fairies, who, according to Highland tradition, are visible only from one twinkle of the eyelid to another, she strove to refrain from the vibration which she believed would occasion the strange and magnificent apparition to become invisible. To Lord Lovat it brought a certainty more dreadful than the presence of fairies, or even demons. Yet he lost neither heart nor judgment. He recommended that a body of three thousand men should be collected to defend the Highlands until the Government should be induced to grant them reasonable terms. Mr. Grant of Laggan says that Lovat reproached the Prince with great asperity for declaring his intention to abandon the enterprise. 'Remember,' he said, 'your great ancestor, Robert [p.285] BRUCE, who lost eleven battles and won Scotland by the twelfth.' But this judicious advice was unheeded
page 287
General Fraser died without issue in 1782, and was succeeded by his half-brother, Colonel ARCHIBALD CAMPBELL FRASER, who, like him, was long member of Parliament for Inverness-shire. He had the misfortune to outlive his five sons, and on his death, in 1815, the male line of the eldest branch of the Fraser family became extinct, and the estates devolved upon THOMAS ALEXANDER FRASER of Strichen, [p.287] who was descended from the second son of the sixth Lord Lovat. He was the twenty-first chief insuccession from the great Sir Simon Fraser, the friend of Robert BRUCE, and the rights, both of the Lovat and the Strichen branches, centred in his person, two hundred and twenty-seven years from the time when his ancestors acquired the estate of Strichen. He was elevated to the House of Lords in 1837, by the title of BARON LOVAT OF LOVAT. In 1854 the attainder of the forfeited Scottish peerage was removed, and the ancient title of his family was restored to him by the House of Lords in 1857.
page 294
The ancestor of the Gordons had two sons, Richard and Adam. Richard, the elder, who died in the year1200, appears to have been a liberal benefactor to the monastery of Kelso. His son confirmed by charter his grants of land, and his grandson increased them, and gave lands also to the monks of Coldstream. He died in 1285 without male issue, and his only daughter, Alice, married her cousin, Adam de Gordon, the son of Adam the younger brother of Richard, and thus united the two branches of the family. This Adam is said to have accompanied Louis of France in his crusade for the recovery of the Holy Sepulchre, in 1270, and to have died [p.294] during the expedition. His son, who was also named Adam, was a supporter of Baliol in hiscontest with BRUCE for the crown, but he died before the commencement of the War of Independence.
page 294
His son, SIR ADAM DE GORDON, was one of the most powerful nobles of his time, and took a prominent part in the struggle for national freedom. He was at the outset an adherent of John Baliol, butafter the death of that unfortunate monarch, Sir Adam gave in his adhesion to Robert BRUCE. He was sent as ambassador to the papal court to submit to the Pope the spirited memorial prepared by the Parliament in 1320, in vindication of the freedom and independence of their country, and succeeded in persuading the Roman Pontiff to suspend the publication of his sentence of excommunication and interdict, and to address an epistle to the English king recommending him to conclude a peace with Scotland. As a reward for his important services, Sir Adam received from Robert BRUCE a grant of the forfeited estate of David de Strathbogie, Earl of Athole; but that nobleman, having returned to his allegiance, was allowed to retain possession of his lands.
page 347
THE GORDONS OF METHLIC AND HADDO, now ennobled under the title of Earl of Aberdeen, tracetheir pedigree to SIR WILLIAM GORDON of Coldingknows, in Berwickshire, younger son of SirThomas de Gordon, grandson of the founder of the family in Scotland. The Gordons of Huntly, as wehave seen, represent the house through an heir female, Elizabeth Gordon, who, in 1449, marriedAlexander de Seton, while the Aberdeen branch have preserved an unbroken male descent. Owing, however, to the loss of many of the family papers when Kelly, their residence, was taken and plundered by the Marquis of Argyll, in 1644, and at a later period, when the house in which the Earl lived in Aberdeen was burned, their descent from Sir William Gordon cannot be traced with certainty. SirWilliam's son is said to have accompanied his cousin, Sir Adam Gordon, to the north, in the time of King Robert BRUCE, and to have married the heiress of Methlic. His descendant, PATRICK GORDON of Methlic, was killed at the battle of Brechin (May 18th, 1452), in which the Tiger Earl of Crawford wasdefeated by the Earl of Huntly. JAMES GORDON, Sir Patrick's son, received from the King a gift of the barony of Kelly, a part of Crawford's forfeited estate. His great-grandson, GEORGE GORDON, though he signed, in 1567, the bond of association for the defence of the infant sovereign, James VI., became a staunch supporter of the cause of Queen Mary, under the banner of the Earl of Huntly, her lieutenant in the north. The head of the family during the Great Civil War was George Gordon's great-grandson, SIR JOHN GORDON of Haddo, who succeeded to the family estates in 1624. When the Covenanters took up arms against their sovereign, King Charles appointed Sir John Gordon second in command to the Marquis of Huntly, his lieutenant in the [p.347] north. He took part in the skirmish called 'The Trot of Turriff,' 14th May, 1639, when bloodwas first shed in that lamentable contest. In 1642 he was created a baronet by the King, but the honour thus conferred upon him no doubt helped to make him obnoxious to the Covenanting Convention, who issued letters of intercommuning against him, and granted a warrant for his apprehension. When the Marquis of Huntly took up arms on behalf of the King, in 1644, he was joined by Sir John Gordon, and a sentence of excommunication was pronounced against them both, by order of the General Assembly. When Huntly disbanded his forces and retreated into Strathnairn, in Sutherlandshire, Sir John attempted to defend his castle of Kelly against the Marquis of Argyll, who had been despatched to the north at the head of a strong force to quell the insurrection. Earl Marischal, Sir John's cousin, who was in Argyll's army, earnestly recommended him to surrender, assuring him that he would obtain safe and honourable terms. He accordingly capitulated, on the 8th of May. The greater part of the garrison was dismissed, but Sir John, Captain Logie, and four or five others, were detained as prisoners. The author of the history of the Gordon family asserts that Argyll 'destroyed and plundered everything that was in the house, carriedaway out of the garners 180 chalders victual, killed and drove away all the horse, nolt, and sheep that belonged to Sir John and his tenants round about,' and that this 'barbarous usage touched Marischal in the most sensible part; he took it as an open affront to himself,' being a violation of the terms of surrender. The History of the Illustrious Family of Gordon, ii. 407.*
page 373
All this is, no doubt, very interesting, but until this MS. history of the Hays is produced, and the circumstances in which it was found are made known, the alleged Celtic origin of the family must beregarded as a romance, and we must continue to believe that the Hays are in reality a branch of theNorman family of de Haya. [p.373] They derive their designation from an estate in Normandy, and their armorial bearings are the same as those borne by families of the name in Italy, France, and England. A Sieur de la Haya accompanied William the Conqueror to England in 1066. A William de la Haya, who married a daughter ofRanulph de Soulis, Lord of Liddesdale, was principal butler to Malcolm IV., about the middle of the twelfth century, and to his brother, William the Lion, who bestowed on him the lands of Errol. SIR GILBERT DE LA HAYA and his brother HUGH, descendants in the fifth generation from this royalbutler, were amongst the first of the Scottish barons to repair to the standard of Robert BRUCE, and were present at his coronation. Hugh was taken prisoner at the battle of Tippermuir, but Gilbert made hisescape, with BRUCE and a small body of his followers, into the wilds of Athole, and shared in all hissubsequent perils and privations. Hugh must in some way have regained his liberty, for he fought, along with his brother, at Bannockburn. Sir Gilbert was created, by King Robert BRUCE, HIGH CONSTABLE OF SCOTLAND— an office which was made hereditary in his family, and received from his grateful sovereign a grant of the lands of Slains, in Aberdeen-shire, which is still the seat of his descendants.
page 378
THE Hays of Tweeddale have attained higher rank and have figured more conspicuously in the history of Scotland than any other branch of this ancient family. They are descended from Robert, second son of William de Haya, who held the office of royal butler to Malcolm IV. and William the Lion. SIR JOHNDE HAYA, the grandson of Robert, acquired the lands of Locherworth (now Borthwick) in Midlothian by marriage with the heiress of that estate. His son, Sir William de Haya, in the contest for the Scottish Crown in, 1292, was one of the nominees of Robert BRUCE. But like the other Scottish magnates of English descent, he swore fealty to Edward I. in July of that year, and gave in his submission to him in 1297, as his son, SIR GILBERT HAY, had done in the previous year. Sir Gilbert made one of those fortunate marriages for which the Hays were so noted. His wife was one of the daughters and co-heiresses of Sir Simon Fraser, the gallant patriot, and the friend and companion of Wallace, who was executed at London by Edward I., with circumstances of shocking barbarity. By this marriage the Hays obtained the valuable barony of Neidpath, and other lands on Tweedside, which remained in their possession until the year 1686. SIR WILLIAM DE HAYA, Sir Gilbert's grandson, fought under the banner of David II. at the battle of Durham (17th September, 1346), where he was taken prisoner along with that monarch. SIR THOMAS, his son, was one of the hostages for King David's liberation, 3rd October, 1357, and seems to have been detained a good many years in England. In 1385 he received four hundred of the forty thousand francs which were sent by the French king with John de Vienne, to be distributed among the most influential Scottish barons.


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