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The Scottish Nation
Bannatyne


BANNATYNE, in old writings spelled Benachtyne, and Bannachtyne, a surname supposed originally to have been the same as Ballantyne.

      The most ancient families of the name were the Bannatynes of Corhouse, of Newtyle, descended from the former; James Bannatyne of Newhall, son of the laird of Newtyle, Forfarshire, appointed a lord of session 14th February, 1626; died 1636; of Cainys, now Kames, in the Island of Bute; and of Kelly, founded by a second son of that family. By charters and bonds of man rent the Bannatynes may be traced as in possession of Kames early in the fourteenth century, when it is supposed that Kames castle, a single tower, which was long the residence of the family, was built. A tumnlus on the side of a small stream near the Point House, Rothesay, is shown where a bloody battle took place between the Bannatynes of Kames and the Spences of North Kames. The castle was formerly surrounded by a ditch, which was filled up, and a modern house added to the tower by the late Lord Bannatyne, of whom a notice is given below, and who sold the estate to Mr. James Hamilton, writer to the signet. Although the Bannatynes are no longer in possession of Kames, their name is perpetuated as having once been connected with Bute in the village of Port Bannatyne, about 8 miles from Rothesay. Connected with the ancient family of Bannatyne of Kames was George Bannatyne, the collector of our Scottish poetry, the subject of the following notice, whose father, Mr. James Bannatyne, a writer in Edinburgh, possessed the estate of Kirkton of Newtyle, in Forfarshire, the manor house of which was called Bannatyne House. He was a man of some eminence in his profession, and held the office of Tabular, or Keeper of the Rolls, to the Court of Session, in which his second but then eldest living son, Thomas Bannatyne, who became a lord of session, under the designation of Lord Newtyle, was conjoined with him as his successor by royal precept May 2, 1583. The father, James Bannatyne, died in 1583. The son, Thomas Bannatyne, was born on the last day of August, 1540, and appears for the first time as justice-depute, 17th February, 1572. On the 20th April, 1577, he was appointed an ordinary lord of session in place of Sir John Bellenden of Auchinoul. He was one of the commissioners for opening parliament, 18th November, 1583, and also in August 1584. On the 18th November, 1583, he was appointed by his colleagues on the bench their collector for the following year "of the fourtie shillings quhilk sall be givin them be the parties pleyand before them, quha tynes the pley the time of the giving of the saids lords decret of dempnation or absolvitor, (Books of Sederant,) a tax which the Court had been authorised to levy by an act of parliament passed a short time before. Lord Newtyle died 13th August. 1591. (Haig and Bruntons Senators of the College of Justice, p. 164.) In 1596 his son, Mr. James Bannatyne, was retoured his heir in the lands of Kirkton of Newtyle, with the brewhouse and cornteind, and half of tIre barony of Balmaw, which before the Reformation belonged to the abbey of Lindores, having been granted to that monastery by Alexander the Third, along with some other territorial grants. These properties belong now to Lord Wharncliffe.

BANNATYNE, GEORGE, the collector of the national poetry of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and whose name has been adopted by a distinguished Scottish literary club, founded by Sir Walter Scott, in 1823, was born February 22, 1545. His father, the above-mentioned James Bannatyne of the Kirktown of Newtyle, Forfarshire, by his wife, Katherine Taillefer, had twenty-three children, and George was the seventh child. He was brought up to trade, but it does not appear at what particular time he began to be engaged in business, nor what branch of business he pursued. His famous collection was written in the months of October, November, and December, in his retirement in Bannatyne House, Forfarshire, during a pestilence which raged in Edinburgh in the latter part of 1568. "Bannatyne's Manuscript," says Sir Walter Scott, in a memoir of him, which he wrote for the Bannatyne Club, "is in a folio form, containing upwards of eight hundred pages, very neatly and closely written, and designed, as has been supposed, to be sent to the press. The labour of compiling so rich a collection was undertaken by the author during the time of pestilence in the year 1568, when the dread of infection compelled men to forsake their usual employments, which could not be conducted without admitting the ordinary promiscuous intercourse between man and his kindred men. In this dreadful period, when hundreds, finding themselves surrounded by danger and death, renounced all care, save that of selfish precaution for their own safety, and all thoughts save apprehensions of infection, George Bannatyne had the courageous energy to form and execute the plan of saving the literature of a whole nation ; and undisturbed by the universal mourning for the dead, and general fears of the living, to devote himself to the task of collecting and recording the triumphs of human genius; thus, amid the wreck of all that was mortal, employing himself in preserving the lays by which immortality is at once given to others, and obtained for the writer himself." Many of the productions of the "Makkaris" of ancient days would have perished had not George Bannatyne thus rescued them from oblivion. On the north side of Bannatyne house, there is a capacious circular turret, which is believed to have been Mr. Bannatynes study, while engaged in this laborious but interesting task.

      In October 1587 Bannatyne was admitted a merchant and guild brother of the city of Edinburgh. Sir Walter Scott conjectures that, as usual in a Scottish burgh, his commerce was general and miscellaneous. In a few years, we are further told, he had amassed a considerable capital, " which he employed to advantage in various money - lending transactions." Bannatyne died some time previous to 1608. He had married Isobel Mawchan or Maughan, relict of Baillie William Nisbet, who brought him a son and a daughter. The son died young. His daughter was married, in her 16th year, to George Foulis of Woodhall and Ravelstone, whose grandson, William Foulis of Woodhall, bestowed the valuable collection of Scottish poetry left by George Bannatyne on the Hon. William Carmichael of Skirling, advocate, brother of the earl of Hyndford. Allan Ramsay afterwards selected from it materials for his Evergreen. In 1770 Lord Hailes published a more accurate selection from it. In 1772 the Bannatyne Manuscript was presented by the third earl of Hyndford to the Advocates Library, in which it is now preserved. Bannatyne himself wrote one or two pieces of original poetry, but these are of no great merit. The club that bears his name was instituted in 1823 for the publication of works illustrative of the history and antiquities of Scotland. Of this club Sir Walter Scott was president, and he regularly took the chair on their anniversary dinners from 1823 to 1831. For their first dinner on March 9, 1823, he composed an excellent song, (now inserted among his poems,) which was sung by Mr. James Ballantyne, bookseller, and heartily chorused by the company:-

"Assist me, ye friends of old books and old wine,
To sing in the praises of Sage Bannatyne,
Who left such a treasure of old Scottish lore,
As enables each age to print one volume more,
One volume more, my friends, one volume more,
We
ll ransack old Banny for one volume more.

BANNATYNE, RICHARD, secretary to John Knox, and compiler of Memoriales of Transactions in Scotland from 1569 to 1573, was, it is satisfactorily ascertained, a person of respectability and learning, and much esteemed by the great reformer, whose friendship and confidence he enjoyed till his death. Very little is known concerning him. It appears probable that he was a descendant of the family of which George Bannatyne was a cadet. It is uncertain whether he belonged to the profession of the law, or was a licentiate of the church. In the prefatory notice to Mr. Pitcairns edition of the Memoriales, printed in 1836 for the Bannatyne Club, which contains all the particulars of Richard Bannatynes life that can now be obtained, and to which we have been indebted for these details, there occurs the following passage: "There is no reason for supposing that Bannatyne had ever been employed as an authorized reader or catechist under John Knox. Although the first minister of Edinburgh would most likely require the services of such an individual, to aid him in overtaking the laborious but important duties of parochial visitation and catechising, &c., yet it is not known that Knox availed himself of the continued personal assistance and services of any other person than Richard Bannatyne. But at the same time it ought to be remarked, that in the course of the Memoriales, notice is repeatedly taken of Richard Bannatyne having made appearances in the General Assembly, and before the Kirk Session of

Edinburgh, during the illness or absence of John Knox; and that he was permitted to address these courts as a prolocutor or speaker ;" which he could only have done in the capacity of a member, or law-agent appearing on behalf of another. At the first General Assembly held after the death of Knox, which took place in November 1572, Richard Bannatyne presented a petition, or "supplication," praying that he should be appointed by the church to put in order, for their better preservation, the papers and scrolls left to him by the reformer. The Assembly agreed to his request, and granted him "the summ of fourty pounds, to be payed off the 1572 years crope," for so doing. About 1575, after he had completed the task assigned to him, Richard Bannatyne became clerk to Mr. Samuel Cockburn, of Tempill, or Tempillhall, advocate, in whose service he remained for thirty years, and whom he appointed joint executor of his last will and testament with his only brother, James Bannatyne, merchant in Ayr. To his masters daughter, Alice, he left a legacy of two hundred merks, besides smaller gifts to his domestics. Richard Bannatyne died September 4, 1605. Of the Memoriales there are two MSS. extant, understood to be transcripts of the original; one in the library of the university of Edinburgh, and the other in the Advocates Library.

      From the latter Sir John Graham Daizell, published, in 1806 an octavo volume, entitled Journal of the Transactions in Scotland.' which excited great interest from the historical value of the contents. The university transcript having been afterwards discovered, Mr. Pitcairn had the advantage of collating the two with each other, whereby he was enabled to produce the first complete edition of Bannatyne's work which has yet appeared. The following graphic and interesting notice of Richard Bannatyne, which records also one of the latest appearances in the pulpit of John Knox, is taken from the Diary of Mr. James Melville, 15561601, printed at Edinburgh in 1829. "The town of Edinbruche recouered againe, and the guid and honest men therof retourned to thair houses. Mr. Knox, with his familie, past hame to Edinbruche; being in Sanct Andros, he was verie weak. I saw him every day of his doctrine go hulie and fear, with a forming of martriks about his neck, a staff in the au hand, and guid godlie Richard Ballanden, his servand haldin vpe the vther oxtar, from the Abbay to the paroche kirke, and be the said Richart and another servant, lifted vpe to the pulpit, whar he behouit to lean at his first entrie; bot or he haid done with his sermont, he was sa active and vigorous, that he was lyke to ding that pulpit in blads, and file out of it! Sa, soone efter his coming to Edinbruche, he becam unable to preatch; and sa instituting in his roum, be the ordinar calling of the kirk and the congregation, Mr. James Lawsone, he tuk him to his chamber, and most happelie and comforta blie departed this lyff." (Melville's Diary, p. 26.)

        The scene that took place just before Knox breathed his last, in which Bannatyne acted a prominent part, is thus described by Calderwood, (vol. iii. p. 237) : "About five houres he sayeth to his wife, Goe, read where I cast my first anker; and so, she read the 17th chapter of the Gospel according to Johne; and, after that, some sermons of Mr. Calvins upon the Ephiesians. About halfe houre to tenne they went to the ordinar prayer, which being ended, Doctor Preston said unto him, Sir, heard yee the prayers? He answered, I would to God that yee and all men heard them as I heard: I praise God for that heavenlie sound. Then Robert Campbell of Kinzeancleuche sitteth doun before him on a stoole, and incontinent he sayeth, Now, it is come! for he had given a long sigh and sob. Then said Richard Bannatyne to him, Now, Sir, the time yee have long called to God for, to witt, an end of your battell, is come, and seeing all naturall powers faile, give us some signe that yee remember upon the comfortable promises which yee have oft shewed unto us. He lifted up his one hand, and incontinent therafter randered his spirit, about eleven houres at night."

      Bannatynes attachment to the reformer, and high appreciation of his character, are well illustrated in the following anecdote. When Knox was accused by Robert Hamilton of St. Andrews, of being " as great a murtherer as any Hamilton in Scotland, and, therefore, suld not cry out so fast against murtherers, he being privy to an attempt to assassinate Darnley at Perth," he challenged the accuser to make good his charge, and

        Hamilton at once retracted it. Upon which Bannatyne said to him, "Gif I knew my maister to he sic a man, I wold not serve him for all the geir in Sanct Andrews."

BANNATYNE, Sir WILLIAM MACLEOD, Knt., one of the senators of the College of Justice, was born January 26, 1743. He was the son of Mr. Roderick Macleod, writer to the signet, and through his mother he succeeded to the estate of Kames in the island of Bute, when he assumed the name of Bannatyne. His aunt, Lady Clanranald, was imprisoned in the Tower of London, for having afforded protection to Prince Charles during his wanderings, after the battle of Culloden. Being of a gay and easy disposition, he had not been many years in possession of Kames, when he was obliged to part with it, and, as already stated, it was purchased by Mr. James Hamilton, writer to the signet. He received a liberal education, and was admitted advocate, January 22, 1765. While at the bar he deservedly acquired the character of a sound and able lawyer. Among his intimate friends were Blair, Mackenzie, Cullen, Erskine, Abercromby, and Craig. He was a contributor to the Mirror and Lounger, and was the last survivor of that illustrious band of men of genius who shed so bright a lustre on the periodical literature of Scotland, about the end of the eighteenth century. In private life, his benevolent and amiable qualities of heart and mind, and his rich store of literary and historical anecdote, endeared him to a numerous and highly distinguished circle of friends. On the death of Lord Swinton, in 1799, he was promoted to the bench, and took his seat as Lord Bannatyne, on the 16th May of that year. He retired in 1823, when he had the honour of knighthood conferred upon him. He died at Edinburgh, November 30, 1833, in his 91st year. Although as a speaker Lord Bannatyne was perspicuous and distinct, his judicial remarks when written by himself, from his parenthetical style, were exceedingly involved and confused. Nevertheless, his decisions were sound, and his legal opinions had always due weight with his brethren on the bench. The Highland Society was originated by him and some other patriotic gentlemen in 1784, and he was an original member of the Bannatyne Club.

      He had collected a valuable library, rich in historical, genealogical, and antiquarian works, and at its sale, which took place 25th April, 1834, six months after his decease, a set of the Bannatyne publications was purchased for Sir John Hay, baronet, of Smithfield and Haystown, for one hundred and sixty-eight pounds sterling. It wanted, however, one or two of the "Garlands." The following is a likeness of Lord Bannatyne taken by Kay in 1799:

      His mansion, Whiteford House, near the bottom of the Canongate of Edinburgh, became a type-foundry after his death.


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