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CATHCART, a surname supposed to be derived from Kerkert, or caer-cart, ‘the castle on the Cart,’ a river in Renfrewshire. Mr. Ramsay, in his ‘Sketches’ of that county, prefers the etymology Caeth-cart, ‘the strait of Cart,’ the river at the parish of Cathcart running in a narrow channel. The surname was first assumed by the proprietors of the lands and barony of Kethcart in the reign of William the Lion, who succeeded to the crown in 1165.


CATHCART, earl of, a title in the peerage of the United Kingdom, possessed by a family of the same surname of great antiquity in the west of Scotland, conferred in 1814 on William, Lord Cathcart (a baron in the peerage of Scotland, date of creation 1447) for his military services. this noble family’s great ancestor, Rainaldus de Kethcart, as early as 1178, was witness to a charter by Alan, the son of Walter, ‘dapifer regis,’ of the patronage of the church of Kathcart, to the monastery of Paisley. William de Kethcart, his son, is witness to a charter, whereby Dungallus filius Christinin judicis de Levenax exchanged the lands of Knoc with the abbey of Paisley, for lands lying near Walkinshaw; to which Alan his son is also a witness, about 1199 of 1200. His son Alan de Cathcart appends his seal to a resignation made by the judge of Levenax to the abbot and convent of Paisley, of the lands of Culbethe in 1234. He is also witness to a charter, dated in 1240, of the great steward of Scotland to Sir Adam Fullarton of the lands of Fullarton, in the bailiary of Kyle. He had a daughter, Cecilia, married to John de Perthick; this lady made a donation to the monastery of Paisley of all her lands in the village of Rutherglen in 1262; and a son, William de Cathcart, one of the barons of Scotland who swore fealty to Edward the first in 1296.

      Sir Alan de Cathcart, his son, was one of the patriotic barons who gave effectual aid to Robert the Bruce in maintaining the independence of Scotland. He was with Bruce at the battle of Loudonhill in 1307, when the English troops under the earl of Pembroke were defeated. The following year he formed one of a party of fifty horsemen under Edward Bruce, who, under cover of a thick mist, surprised on their march, fifteen hundred cavalry under John St. John in Galloway, attacked and dispersed them. The particulars of this recontre he related to Barbour, who thus describes him:

                        “A knight that then was on his rout,
                        Worthy and wight, stalwart and stout,
                        Courteous and fair, and of good fame,
                        Sir Alan Cathcart was his name.”

On this Lord Hailes remarks, “It is pleasing to trace a family likeness in an ancient portrait.” [Annals of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 25, note.] He is designed dominus ejusdem in a donation which he made to the Domincans of Glasgow in 1336. By his wife, the sister of Sir Duncan Wallace of Sundrum, the fourth husband of Eleanor Bruce, countess of Carrick, he had a son, Alan de Cathcart, who succeeded him. On the death of Sir Duncan Wallace about 1374, without issue, Alan de Cathcart, in right of his wife, inherited the baronies of Sundrum and Dalmellington in Ayrshire.

      His son, Alan de Cathcart, dominus ejusdem, entered himself a hostage for King James the First in England in June 1424, in room of Malcolm Fleming. He died in 1440.

      His grandson, Sir Alan de Cathcart, added largely to his paternal estate. In 1447 he redeemed several lands in Carrick from John Kennedy of Coyff, which had been mortgaged by Sir Alan de Cathcart his grandfather. The same year he was, by James the Second, raised to the Scots peerage by the title of Lord Cathcart. Hi obtained by charter the lands of Auchencruive and other lands in Ayrshire, 2d July 1465, and on 11th April 1481, he was sworn into the office of warden of the west marches, at Holyroodhouse. He had a grant from King James the Third of the custody of his majesty’s castle of Dundonald and of the lands thereof in Ayrshire, 13th December 1482. He also obtained the lands of Trabeath in King’s Kyle, then in the crown by the forfeiture of Lord Boyd, and in 1485, he was constituted master of the artillery. He died before 12th August 1499. By his wife, Janet Maxwell, he had four sons, and one daughter, namely Alan, master of Cathcart, who predeceased his father, leaving a son, John, second Lord Cathcart: David, who also died before his father; Hugh, ancestor of the Cathcarts of Trevor, and John of Gabryne. Helen, the daughter, married David Stewart of Craigiehall in the county of Linlithgow.

      John, second Lord Cathcart, succeeded on the death of his grandfather. He had a charter to himself and Margaret Douglas, his wife, of the lands of Auchencruive, 12th August 1499, and other lands in Ayrshire, forfeited to the king, as steward of Scotland, for the alienation of the greater part of the same by the first Lord Cathcart, without his majesty’s consent, 6th March 1505. He died in December 1535. He married, first, Margaret, daughter of John Kennedy of Blairquhan, by whom he had a son, Alan, master of Cathcart; secondly, Margaret, daughter of William Douglas of Drumlanrig, and by her he had four sons and four daughter. Alan, master of Cathcart, and his two half-brothers, Robert and John, were killed at Flodden. Robert married Margaret, daughter and heiress of Alan Cathcart of Carleton, and by her he had a son, Robert Cathcart, from whom are descended Sir John Andrew Cathcart of Carleton and Killochan castle, Ayrshire, baronet, (baronetcy conferred in 1703), and the Cathcarts of Genoch. The third son of the second marriage, David Cathcart, married Agnes, daughter of Sir George Crawford of Liffnorris, by whom he had Alan, his son and heir, who added to his paternal estate bye barony of Carbiston, by marrying Janet, daughter and heiress of William Cathcart of Carbiston. From him were descended Major James Cathcart of Carbiston, of the nineteenth regiment of light dragoons, who distinguished himself in the East Indies, and his brother, Captain Robert Cathcart, royal navy. The fourth son of the second marriage was Hugh, ancestor of the Cathcarts of Coiff, a family now extinct.

      Alan, third Lord Cathcart, the son of Alan, master of Cathcart, by his second wife Margaret, daughter of Patrick Maxwell of Newark, succeeded his grandfather in 1535. He fell at the battle of Pinkie 10th September 1547. By Helen, his wife, eldest daughter of the second Lord Sempill, he had a son, Alan, fourth Lord Cathcart, and a daughter, Mariot, married to Gilbert Graham of Knockdolian in Carrick. About 1546 his lordship sold his estate of Cathcart to his wife’s uncle, Gabriel Sempill of Ladymuir, younger son os the first Lord Sempill. In this branch of the Sempills the estate continued till the beginning of the eighteenth century, when it was sold to John Maxwell of Williamwood. In the end of the century it was disposed of in parcels. The castle and principal messuage were acquired by James Hill, from whose representatives they were purchased by the tenth lord and first earl of Cathcart in 1801. Thus, after the lapse of two centuries and a half, this portion of the barony returned to the direct male heir of its ancient owners. The earl afterwards acquired another portion named Symshill.

      Alan, fourth Lord Cathcart, was a zealous promoter of the Reformation, particularly in the west, where his influence was great. In 1562, when John Knox was preaching in Kyle, a bond was drawn up for the maintenance of the reformed religion, which was signed by many of the barons and gentlemen of Ayrshire, among whom Lord Cathcart’s name appears. In 1567 he entered into the bond of association for the defence of James the Sixth. At the battle of Langside, 13th May 1568, he fought at the head of his vassals, on the side of the regent Murray. A place is still pointed out on an eminence fully in view of the field of battle, and near the castle of Cathcart, where the unfortunate Mary anxiously awaited the result. In 1579 he was appointed master of the household, and on 28th January 1581, he subscribed the second confession of faith, commonly called the King’s Confession, which was signed by his majesty and his household with several others. During the regency of the earl of Morton he had several grants from the crown, which were afterwards resumed. His lordship died in 1618. He had married Margaret, daughter of John Wallace of Craigy, by whom he had a son, Alan, master of Cathcart, who died before his father in 1603, leaving by his wife, Isabel, daughter of Thomas Kennedy of Bargany, a son, Alan, fifth Lord Cathcart.

      The fifth Lord Cathcart was served heir to his grandfather, 8th May 1619, and died on 18th August 1628. He married, first, Lady Margaret Stewart, eldest daughter of Francis earl of Bothwell, without issue; secondly, Jean, daughter of Sir Alexander Colquhoun of Luss, and by her had a son, Alan, sixth Lord Cathcart, born in 1628, the same year his father died. He is described as a nobleman of much goodness and probity, but does not seem to have taken any prominent part in public affairs. His attendance in parliament is mentioned in Balfour’s Annals, in the second session of the second triennial parliament, 23d June 1649, with the remark that “there were ten noblemen only present from the downsitting to this day, – often fewer, but never more.” He died 13th June 1709, in the eighty-first year of his age. He married Marion, eldest daughter of David Boswell of Auchinleck, and had three sons, namely, Alan, seventh lord; Hon. James; and Hon. David Cathcart, killed in the public service at the time of the Revolution.

      Alan, seventh Lord Cathcart, born about 1647, was in his sixty-second year when he succeeded his father. He died in 1732, in the eighty-fifth year of his age. He married the Hon. Elizabeth Dalrymple, second daughter of James first Viscount Stair, the eminent lawyer, and had three sons and one daughter. Alan, the eldest son, perished at sea in August 1699, on his passage to Holland. Charles, the second son, became eighth Lord Cathcart; and James, the third son, a major in the army, was killed in a duel by Gordon of Ardoch. The daughter, Hon. Margaret Cathcart, married Sir John Whitefoord of Blairquhan, baronet, and had issue.

      Charles, the eighth lord, born about 1686, was a distinguished military commander. He entered early into the army, and had a captain’s commission 29th June 1703. In the following year he went over to Flanders, where he had a company in General Macartney’s regiment, and soon afterwards he commanded the grenadier company. He quitted that regiment in 1706 for a troop in the second regiment of dragoons or royal Scots Greys. In 1707 he acted as major of brigade under the earl of Stair. In 1709 he became major in the Scots Greys, and was afterwards promoted to be lieutenant-colonel of that distinguished corps. On the accession of George the First, he was appointed one of the grooms of his majesty’s bed-chamber. At the breaking out of the rebellion of 1715, he, being then Colonel Cathcart, joined the duke of Argyle at Stirling, and, on 23d October, was despatched by his grace with a detachment of dragoons against a body of the rebels, consisting of two hundred foot and one hundred horse, who had been sent towards the town of Dunfermline, for the purpose of raising contributions. Receiving intelligence that they had passed Castle Campbell, and had taken up their quarters for the night in a village on the road, Colonel Cathcart continued his march during the whole night, and coming upon their resting-place unperceived at five o’clock in the morning, surprised the party, some of whom were taken while in bed. In the fray several of the insurgents were killed and wounded , and the prisoners amounted to eleven gentlemen and six servants. He returned to the camp at Stirling the same evening, having sustained no loss, as only one of his men was wounded in the cheek, and one horse hurt. At the battle of Sheriffmuir, which followed, 13th November, when Argyle perceived that he could make no impression in front upon the numerous masses of the insurgents, and that he might be outflanked by them, he resolved to attack them on their flank with part of his cavalry, while his foot should gall them with their fire in front. He therefore ordered Colonel Cathcart to move along the morass to the right with a strong body of cavalry, and to fall upon the flank of Mar’s left wing, a movement which he executed with great skill. Cathcart, after receiving a fire from the rebel horse, immediately charged them, but they sustained the assault with great firmness. After nearly half-an-hour’s contest, however, they were compelled to give way, and the rebel foot being also forced to fall back, a general rout of the left wing of the insurgents in consequence ensued.

      Colonel Cathcart was promoted to the command of the 9th regiment of foot, 15th February 1717, and of the 31st, 13th August 1728. On 1st January 1731 he received the command of the 8th dragoons. He succeeded his father as Lord Cathcart in 1732, and was appointed one of the lords of the bedchamber to George the Second in January 1783, in room of the duke of Hamilton resigned. He was made colonel of the third regiment of horse or carbineers, 7th August 1733. He was chosen one of the sixteen representative Scots peers at the general election of 1734. In the following year he was appointed governor of Duncannon fort, and in 1739 of Londonderry, with the rank of major-general in the army.

      In 1740, after war had been declared against Spain, it was resolved to attack the Spanish dominions in South America, and Lord Cathcart was appointed general and commander in-chief of all the British forces in this service. He sailed from Spithead in October of that year, but never reached his destination, as he died at sea, after thirteen days’ illness, 20th December 1740, aged fifty-four years, and was buried on the beach of Prince Rupert’s bay, Dominica, where a monument is erected to his memory. His death, happening at the time it did, was considered as a national loss. His lordship married, first at London, 29th March 1718, Marion, only child of Sir John Shaw, baronet, of Greenock, county of Renfrew, and by her, who died in 1733, he had five sons and five daughters. The eldest two, twins, died young. Charles, the third son, succeeded as ninth Lord Cathcart. The Hon. Shaw Cathcart, the fourth son, an ensign in the third regiment of foot guards, fell in the sanguinary battle of Fontenoy, 30th April 1745, in his twenty-third year, unmarried. Lord Cathcart married, secondly, in 1739, Mrs. Sabine, the daughter of a Mr. Malyn of Southwark and Battersea, but by her he had no issue. The history of this lady was somewhat remarkable. She married, first, James Fleet, Esq., lord of the manor of Tewing in Hertfordshire; secondly, Captain Sabine, younger brother of General Joseph Sabine of Quinohall in Tewing; thirdly, Lord Cathcart, fourthly, 18th May 1745, Hugh MacGuire, an Irish officer in the Hungarian service, for whom she purchased a lieutenant-colonel’s commission in the British army, but was not encouraged by his treatment of her to verify the posey on her wedding ring:

            “If I survive, I shall have five.”

The colonel took her over to Ireland, and secluded her in a solitary place in the country, keeping her to confinement till his death, which, to her great satisfaction, happened in 1764, when she returned to England. She danced at Welwyn assembly when past eighty years of age, with all the spirit and gaiety of a young woman. She died at Tewing 3d August 1789, in her ninety-eighth year, after having enjoyed the liferent of the manor of Tewing for fifty-six years. In the well-known novel of Castle Rackrent, by Maria Edgeworth, and her brother, Richard Lovell Edgeworth, several particulars concerning the harsh treatment of Lady Cathcart by col. MacGuire are given by Mr. Edgeworth, who mentions that he was acquainted with Colonel MacGuire, and had lately questioned the servant who lived with him, during the time that Lady Cathcart was confined by him, which was nearly twenty years.

      Charles, ninth Lord Cathcart, born at Edinburgh 21st March 1731, was also an officer of distinction. He succeeded his father in 1740, and became a captain in the 20th regiment of foot in 1742. He was aide-de-camp to field-marshal the earl of Stair, under whom he served at the battle of Dettingen, June 16, 1743. Subsequently he was appointed one of the lords of the bedchamber to the duke of Cumberland, and was aide-de-camp to his royal highness, commander-in-chief at the hard-fought battle of Fontenoy, April 30, 1745, where his lordship was severely wounded in the face, and his only brother fell. He accompanied the duke, with three others of his aides-de-camp, when, in January 1746, he arrived in Scotland to put down the rebellion, and was present at the battle of Culloden, where he was wounded. He was also wounded at the battle of Laffeldt, July 2, 1747. In the following year Lord Cathcart and the earl of Sussex were nominated hostages for the delivery of Cape Breton to the king of France, in virtue of the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. They were presented to Louis the Fifteenth, 27th November 1748, and remained in France till October 1749. On 12th April 1750, his lordship was appointed adjutant-general to the forces in North Britain, with the rank of colonel. In November 1762, he was elected one of the sixteen Scots representative peers, and re-chosen at all succeeding elections during his life. In 1755, he was appointed lord high commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and continued to fill that high office for the eight subsequent years to 1763, inclusive. He attained the rank of major-general, 21st January, 1758, and of lieutenant-general, 14th December 1760. In June 1761, he was appointed governor of Dumbarton castle, and in 1763 was invested with the order of the Thistle. In January 1764 he was named first lord of police, on which he resigned the governorship of Dumbarton castle.

      In February 1768 Lord Cathcart was appointed ambassador extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to the empress of Russia, and was sworn a privy councillor, 2d August same year. He remained at St. Petersburg till 1771, Russia being at that time engaged in a war with Turkey. After his return from St. Petersburg he was re-appointed lord high commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, from 1773 to 1776, both inclusive. In the latter year he was constituted on of the lords of the bedchamber to George the Third. His lordship died 14th August 1776, in his fifty-sixth year. He married at Greenwich Hospital, 24th July 1753, Jane, fourth daughter of Lord Archibald Hamilton of Riccarton and Pardovan, master of Greenwich Hospital, and sister of Sir William Hamilton, D.B., and by her he had five sons and four daughter, namely, 1. Jane, born May 20, 1754, married John, fourth duke of Athol, and died in 1791, leaving issue; 2. William Shaw, tenth Lord Cathcart; 3. Mary, born at London in March 1757, married, 26th December 1774, to Thomas Graham, Esq. of Balgowan, in Perthshire, afterwards the gallant Lord Lynedoch, and died, without issue, in June 1792, aged thirty-six; 4. Louisa, born in July 1758, married first, David, Viscount Stormont, afterwards earl of Mansfield, with issue, and secondly, the Hon. Robert Fulke Greville, second brother of the earl of Warwick, also with issue; 5. the Hon. Charles Allan Cathcart, who distinguished himself both as a soldier and a diplomatist, born at Shaw Park, county Clackmannan, 28th December, 1759. He entered the army in 1776, as a volunteer in the grenadier company of the 55th regiment of foot, with which he served in America. After obtaining a lieutenant’s commission in the 23d foot, or Royal Welsh Fusileers, in 1778 he became captain in the Athol Highlanders or 77th foot, then in Britain. He embarked at New York to join his regiment, but was taken by a French privateer, 21st September, after a severe engagement. On 29th May 1780 he was appointed major of the 98th foot, and soon after became lieutenant-colonel of that regiment. He accompanied it to the East Indies, where he was employed in diplomatic missions by Sir John Macpherson. Subsequently he served under Major-general Stuart against the French at Cuddalore, and commanded the grenadiers at the storming of the redoubts of that place, 13th June, 1783, when the whole of them, with the outposts and eighteen pieces of artillery, were carried at one stroke. He and Colonel Gordon commanded in the trenches, 25th June, when the enemy made a sortie, but were completely repulsed, and the Chevalier de Damas, their leader, taken prisoner. After the surrender of Cuddalore, Colonel Cathcart was sent home with the despatches, and for his gallant conduct was appointed quarter-master-general of the forces in India, 3d August 1783, and in 1784 had a sword of a hundred guineas value voted to him by the Court of Directors. At the general election in the latter year he was chosen member of parliament for the county of Clackmannan. In 1788 he was invested with full powers from the king and the East India Company, to open a commercial intercourse with the emperor of China. He embarked on board the Vestal frigate for China, but died on the passage in the Straits of Banca, 10th June 1788, in his twenty-ninth year, unmarried. The companions of his voyage erected in the Dutch fort of Anjerie a monument to his memory, with a suitable inscription in Latin; – 6. John, born 1761, died in infancy; 7. Archibald Hamilton, born 7th July 1764, rector of Metheley, in Yorkshire, and prebend of York, married Frances, daughter of John Freemantle, Esq. of Abbot’s Aston, Buckinghamshire, with issue; 8. a still-born son; and 9. Catherine Charlotte, born in Russia, 8th July 1770, maid of honour to the queen, died at London, unmarried, in 1794.

      William Shaw, tenth Lord Cathcart, born at Petersham, in Surrey, 17th September, 1755, and received part of his education at Eton college; but in 1768, on the appointment of his father as ambassador to Russia, he accompanied the family to St. Petersburg, where he pursued his classical studies, under his private tutor, Mr. Richardson, professor of humanity in the university of Glasgow. After his return to Scotland he studied for the bar, and in 1776, was admitted advocate. The same year he succeeded his father, when he turned his views to the army, and in 1777 had a cornet’s commission in the 7th dragoons. Proceeding to America, then in a state of revolt against Britain, he served as aide-de-camp, first to Major General Sir Thomas Spencer Wilson, and afterwards to Sir Henry Clinton, and distinguished himself on various occasions. In 1778 he was major-commandant of the British Legion, a body of volunteer infantry raised in North America, but resigned that command in 1780, preferring to serve with the 33d regiment of foot, of which he had been appointed major of the previous year. He also held the office of quarter-master-general in America. Being appointed to a company in the Coldstream regiment of foot-guards, he returned to England, and continued in that regiment till October 1789, when he exchanged into the 29th foot, long stationed at Windsor, of which regiment he was made lieutenant-colonel. He was elected one of the sixteen representative Scots peers on a vacancy, 19th January 1788, by a majority of one over the earl of Dumfries, and he was re-chosen at every subsequent general election, till raised to the peerage of the united kingdom. He filled the office of chairman of the committees of the House of Lords from 1790 to July 1794, when the duties being incompatible with foreign service, Lord Walsingham was chosen in his stead. In January 1795, Lord Cathcart was appointed vice-admiral of Scotland. He attained the rank of colonel in the army, 11th November 1790, and was promoted to the command of the 29th foot, 5th December 1792. In December 1793 he had the rank of brigadier-general on the continent, and in 1794 accompanied the earl of Moira to the relief of Ostend. In the face of a formidable body of the French they succeeded in effecting a junction with the duke of York at Malines, July 9. He commanded a brigade at the defeat of the french at Bommel, and attained the rank of major-general 4th September the same year. With the 14th, 27th, and 28th regiments of foot, he attacked the French, 8th January 1795, near Buren, and after an action of several hours succeeded in driving them beyond Geldermalsen, taking from them a piece of cannon, and maintained his ground till night, in spite of repeated assaults from fresh bodies of the enemy, who poured in from different quarters. This post so gallantly defended by his lordship was, however, too much exposed to be retained in the face of a strong army. The forces, under the command of Sir David Dundas, were obliged to evacuate Holland. Lord Cathcart proceeded to Germany, and remained on the Weser, and in other places, having been intrusted by his majesty with the command of the British light cavalry and the foreign light corps in British pay, in all thirty squadrons, till December 1795, when he embarked at Cuxhaven for England. On 7th August 1797 he was appointed colonel of the 2d regiment of life guards, and was sworn a privy councillor at Weymouth, 28th September 1798. He had the rank of lieutenant-general in the army, 1st January 1801, and was appointed commander-in-chief of the forces in Ireland, 28th October 1803.

      In 1805, Lord Cathcart received the appointment of ambassador extraordinary to the emperor of Russia and the king of Prussia, and at his audience of leave at Windsor, 23d November that year, was invested with the order of the Thistle. As both monarchs were then in the field, it was deemed advisable, on account of the critical situation of affairs, to postpone his embassies to the spring, and they were never carried into effect. In the meantime he was appointed to the command of the British, in a combined army of British, Russians, Swedes, and Prussians. He had the local rank of general on the continent, 30th November 1805, and the following month took the command of the British troops in Hanover. After the battle of Austerlitz he returned home with the army, in February 1806; and the same year, was appointed commander of the forces in Scotland.

      In the summer of 1807, to prevent the Danish fleet at Copenhagen from falling into the hands of the French, it was resolved by the British government to take possession of it, and on this important service an army was sent under the command of Lord Cathcart, with a fleet under Admiral Gambier. After waiting the result of ineffectual negociation, Lord Cathcart proceeded to invest Copenhagen; which he bombarded with so much effect that, after a siege of eighteen days, a capitulation was entered into, on 6th September, in the possession of the British, and the Danish fleet, consisting of sixteen ships of the line, fifteen frigates, six brigs, and twenty-five gunboats, and an immense quantity of naval stores and ammunition, brought to England.

      On his return home, Lord Cathcart was, on 3d November, created a British peer, by the titles of Baron Greenock of Greenock, and Viscount Cathcart of Cathcart in the county of Renfrew, On the 7th he arrived at Edinburgh, to resume the command of the forces in Scotland, and had the freedom of the city voted to him, 17th November. On the 28th of the following January the thanks of parliament were voted to his lordship and to Lord Gambier. His lordship attained the full rank of general in the army in January 1812, and retained his command in North Britain until May 1813, when he was called upon to undertake another mission to St. Petersburg. In the same year the emperor Alexander conferred upon him the order of St. Andrew and the Cross of the military order of St. George of the fourth class. On 18th June 1814, he was advanced to the dignity of an earl of Great Britain, by the title of earl Cathcart. Besides being governor of Hull, he was a member of the board of general officers, and a commissioner of the royal military college, and royal military asylum. He died, the senior general in the service, 16th June 1843, at the advanced age of eighty-eight, retaining his active habits and vigour of mind to the last. He married, 10th April 1779, Elizabeth, daughter of Andrew Elliot, Esq. of Greenwells, Roxburghshire, collector of customs at New York. By her he had six sons and four daughters. William, the eldest son, born at London 30th June 1782, chose the navy for his profession, and served his time in the Mediterranean and in the inshore squadron off Brest. He was acting lieutenant of the Medusa frigate at Boulogne, on board of which Nelson had hoisted his flag, and commanded the cutter of that vessel at the attempt on the French flotilla, 16th August 1801, when his critical assistance rescued Captain Parker (who was mortally wounded), in charge of one of the divisions, and his crew, when their boat had fallen alongside a French ship. This gallant young officer fell a victim to the yellow fever, at Jamaica, when in command of the Clorinde frigate, with the rank of post-captain, 5th June 1804, in his 22d year, unmarried.

      The second son, Charles Murray Cathcart, became eleventh baron and second earl. After his brother’s death he was styled Lord Greenock. Born at Waltens, Essex, 21st December, 1783, he entered the army in 1799 as an ensign in the 71st foot. After being in various regiments, he was made captain in the 39th foot, 9th July 1803, and served as assistant quarter-master-general in Ireland, and in the Mediterranean. He was in the expedition to the Scheldt, at the siege of Flushing, &c., served in the Peninsular war, and was at the battle of Waterloo. He attained the rank of lieutenant-general in November 1841, and of general in 1854. He was governor of Edinburgh castle and commander of the forces in Scotland from 1837 to 1842. In March 1846, he was appointed commander-in-chief of the forces in Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, &c., and in 1847 he became colonel of the 3d dragoon guards. He married in France, 30th September 1818, and remarried in England, 12th February, 1819, Henrietta, second daughter of Thomas Mather, Esq., issue, two sons and two daughters. The second earl died 16th July 1859. His elder son, Alan Frederick, Lord Greenock, born 15th November 1828, succeeded as twelfth baron and third earl; married, with issue. The younger son, the Honourable Augustus Murray Cathcart, born in 1830, is also an officer in the army.

      The third son of the first earl, the Hon. Frederick Macadam Cathcart of Graigengillan, born at Twickenham Common, Middlesex, 28th October 1789, also chose the profession of arms, in which his family had acquired so much distinction. In January 1805, he was appointed cornet of the 2d dragoons or Royal Scots Greys, and became lieutenant 12st May 1806. He served as one of the aides-de-camp to his father in 1805, 1806, and 1807, and in the latter year was sent home with the intelligence of the surrender of the citadel of Copenhagen and the Danish navy. On the 8th September his father wrote: “I send this despatch by Lieutenant Cathcart, who has been for some time my first aide-de-camp; who has seen everything that has occurred here and at Stralsund, and will be able to give any further details that may be required.” On the 19th September he was promoted to a troop of the 25th regiment of light dragoons, which he exchanged for a troop of Scots Greys, 13th February 1808. He was aide-de-camp to his father, when commander of the forces in Scotland; and in 1837 became a colonel in the army. He married, 18th October 1827, Jane, daughter and heiress of Quentin Macadam, Esq. of Craigengillan, Ayrshire, and in consequence assumed the surname of Macadam before that of Cathcart; issue, a son and several daughters.

      The Hon. Sir George Cathcart, the fourth and youngest son, born in 1794, received a cornet’s commission in the 2d Life Guards in 1810, and served as aide-de-camp to his father in the campaigns of 1813 and 1814, in Germany and France. In 1815, as aide-de-camp to the duke of Wellington, he was present at the battle of Quatre-Bras. He held a high command in Canada during the insurrection there. In 1851 he became major-general, and was appointed governor and commander-in-chief of the forces at the Cape of Good Hope. Subsequently nominated a K.C.B., in 1853 he was appointed lieutenant-general and commander of the 4th division of the British army during the Crimean war. He was killed at Inkerman in 1854.


      The family of Cathcart of Carleton is a junior branch of the noble family of the same name. The Hon. Sir John Cathcart, a younger son of the first Lord Cathcart, married the daughter and heiress of Carleton of that ilk, an ancient family in Ayrshire, and had a son, Alan Cathcart, who, in his mother’s right, became proprietor of Carleton, and 3d December 1505, received from James the fourth a charter of the lands of Carleton and others. His only daughter and heiress, Margaret, married her relative, the Hon. Robert Cathcart, second son of the second lord, by whom he had a son, also named Robert. On the 26th march 1547, Thomas Kennedy of Knockdow, and David and Fergus, his sons, found security that they would satisfy Robert Cathcart of Carleton, for the mutilation of his left hand, and for wounding him in the face, in one of the feuds of the period, as the lord high treasurer would modify, under the penalty of a thousand pounds, and on the 10th May 1549, the two latter were respited from the same, having made sufficient satisfaction. The Cathcarts seem to have been, from an early period, opposed to the Kennedys. Accordingly we find that so late as 1607 John Cathcart of Carleton and John his son, younger thereof, were put to the horn with several others, for assisting Mure of Auchindrane in an attack, in form of war, on the earl of Cassillis in the fields at Maybole, when the master of the household of the latter was slain, and several of his followers wounded.

      The “fause knight,” of the old ballad of May Collean is popularly said to have resided at Carleton castle, which gives title to this branch of the Cathcarts. It is situated about two miles to the south of Girvan, a tall old ruin standing on the brink of a bank which overhangs the sea, and the country people affirm that the heroine, May Collean, was a daughter of the family of Kennedy of Culzean, now represented by the marquis of Ailsa, The ballad begins:

      “Oh! Heard ye of a bludie knicht,
      Lived in the south countrie?
      He has betrayed eight ladies fair,
      And drowned them in the sea.

      Then next he went to May Collean,
      A maid of beauty rare:
      May Collean wes this lady’s name,
      Her father’s only heir.”

She refuses at first to wed him, but by means of a charm, she consents to accompany him, when he takes her to a lonely place called Bunion Bay, where he commands her to strip herself of her clothes and ornaments, previously to drowning her like the rest; but under the pretence that she could not take off her clothes in presence of a man, she prevailed upon him to turn his back, when she seized him in her arms and threw him into the sea. She then mounted his ‘dapple grey,’ and galloped off, and according to the tradition, acquired all his immense wealth. May there not be in this ballad some covert allusion to the frequent feuds between the Cathcarts and Kennedys?

      The son of the above Robert Cathcart, John Cathcart of Carleton, built the castle of Killochan, the present family residence. He was a leading supporter of the Reformation, and in 1570, when Kirkaldy of Grange began to show his hostility to John Knox, and a report spread that he had become his enemy and intended to slay him, the laird of Carleton, Lord Ochiltree, the earl of Glencairn, and ten others of the principal reformers of Kyloe and Cunningham, sent him a formal letter from Ayr, solemnly warning him of any attempts to injure Knox, “that man whom God had made the first planter and waterer of his church.” In 1581 he was one of the committee named by the General Assembly to deliberate as to the bishops sitting in parliament and performing judicial functions both civil and criminal, when they gave in a report recommending that commissioners from the Assembly should take the place of the bishops in parliament, and that their temporal jurisdiction should be exercised by head bailiffs. By his wife, Helen, he had a son, Hew, from whom are lineally descended the Cathcarts of Greenock, and Hew Cathcart of Carleton, who was created a baronet of Nova Scotia, 20th June, 1703. The latter married, in 1695, a daughter of Sir Patrick Broun, baronet, of Colstoun. His son, Sir John Cathcart, married, first, in 1717, Catherine, daughter of Robert Dundas, Lord Arniston, his issue by whom, a son and two daughters, died before him; and, secondly, in 1729, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Kennedy of Culzean, baronet, by whom he had a numerous family. His eldest son, Sir John Cathcart, died, without issue, in 1785, when the title and estates devolved on his next brother, Sir Andrew Cathcart, a lieutenant-colonel in the army; at whose death, without issue, in 1828, in his eighty-seventh year, they passed to h is grand-nephew, the fourth baronet, John Andrew Cathcart, eldest son of his nephew, Hugh Cathcart. Sir John Andrew Cathcart, the fifth baronet, born in February 1810, at one time an officer in the second lifeguards, married, 5th July 1836, Lady Eleanor Kennedy, only daughter of the earl of Cassillis, and grand-daughter of the first marquis of Ailsa, and has issue.

      There is a tradition in the Cathcart family that either Sir Alan Cathcart, the companion in arms of Robert the Bruce, or his son, attended Douglas to Spain, on his way to the Holy Land, with the heart of the patriot king, in consequence of which the Cathcarts carry a heart in their coat of arms.


      David Cathcart, a senator of the College of Justice, under the title of Lord Alloway, was born at Ayr, in January 1764. His father, Elias Cathcart, a respectable merchant, who dealt in French wines, and traded with Virginia, previous to the Revolution in North America, was at one time provost of that town. His son David received the elementary part of his education at the schools of his native burgh. He studied for the bar at Edinburgh, ans passed advocate 16th July 1785. He was promoted to the bench 8th June 1813, and was appointed a lord of justiciary in 1826. He married in 1793 Margaret Muir, daughter of Robert Muir, Esq. of Blairston, on the banks of the Doon, through whom he succeeded to that estate, which became the property of his son Elias Cathcart, Esq., styled of Auchindrane. The small estate of Greenfield, purchased by his father, was also the property of his lordship. In one corner of it stands the venerable and roofless ruin of Alloway’s “auld haunted kirk,” from which Mr. Cathcart took his judicial title when raised to the bench. He died at Blairston, 27th April 1829, at the age of sixty-five, and was interred in the ruin of Alloway kirk.

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