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The Scottish Nation
Clephane


CLEPHANE, a surname belonging to a family of great antiquity which, in very early times, possessed lands in the counties both of Fife and Berwick. The immediate ancestor of the family was Alanus de Clephane in the reign of King William the Lion. He was sheriff of Lauderdale, and is witness in a donation to the monastery of Kelso by Roland lord of Galloway; also, in a donation to the monastery of Newbottle, by the said Roland. In another donation to the monastery of Kelso he is designed “Alanus de Clephane, vicecom. de Lawdyr,” &c., &c., anno 1203. He died in the end of the reign of William the Lion. His son ans successor, Walterus de Clephane, is mentioned in a donation without a date to the monastery of Newbottle by Thomas of Galloway, fifth earl of Athol, who died in 1234. This Walter is supposed, in the reign of William the Lion, to have married the daughter and heiress of William de Carslogie, son of Richard de Carslogie, in Fife, and with her got the lands and barony of Carslogie, which became the chief title of the family. He died in the reign of King Alexander the Second. His son, David de Clephane, succeeded to th estate of Carslogie, and died in the reign of Alexander the Third. He had three sons, John his heir, Marcus de Clapan, miles, who was witness to several charters by dominus Alexander de Abernethy of Abernethy. In the Ragman Roll occurs the name of Marcus de Clypan, as having sworn fealty to Edward the First, 5th August 1296, at Arbroath. This appears to have been the same Marcus. William, the third son, was also forced to submit to King Edward the First. The eldest son John, got a charter from Duncan, earl of Fife, (supposed to have been Duncan the twelfth earl), of the lands of Carslogie, which bears him to possess them “adeo libere sicut David de Clephan pater ejus et praedecessores eas tenuerant.” As was usual with such documents in those days, this charter is without a date, but from the witnesses to it, “dominis Alexandro de Abernethy, Michaele et David de Wemyss, Hugone de Lochor, Johanne de Ramsay, Willielmo de Ramsay, et Henrico de Ramsay, cum multis aliis,” it appears to have been granted in the beginning of the reign of Robert the First. He had two sons, Alan his heir, and John de Clephane, who was killed near Norham in England, fighting against the enemies of his country, in 1327. His elder son, Alan Clephane of Carslogie, fought with Bruce on the field of Bannockburn, where he is said to have lost his right hand, and had one of steel made in its stead and so fitted with springs as to enable him to wield his sword. He is mentioned in the chartularies of Dunfermline and Balmerino in 1331, and by Sir Robert Sibbald in 1332.

      His descendant in the fourth degree, John Clephane of Carslogie, lost by apprisings, &c., the bulk of the family estate in Lauderdale, which had been about three centuries in their possession. This appears by a charter under the great seal from King James the Fifth dated 2d September 1516. Alexandro Tarvet de eodem, quadraginta mercatas terrarum de Quhelplaw in balivat. de Lauderdale, infra vice-comitat. de Berwick, quae appretiatae fuerunt a Johanne Clephane de Carslogie, &c. By his wife, a daughter of Sir John Wemyss of that ilk, he had a son, George Clephane of Carslogie, who married Christian, daughter of Learmont of Dairsie, by whom he had two sone and two daughters. James, the elder, carried on the line of succession. William, the younger, was progenitor of James Clephane, Esq., who went early into the service of the estates of Holland, where he rose to the rank of major. He subsequently entered the British service, and in 1757, as major to Colonel Fraser’s regiment, he was at the siege of Louisburg, and served with great reputation in all the campaigns in America till the expulsion of the French from Canada in 1760. He died in 1768. His brother, Dr. John Clephane, was physician to the British army, and died in 1758.

      The last of the eldest branch of the family, Major-general William Maclean Douglas Clephane, who died in 1804, was the twenty-first laird, in the direct male line, without the intervention of a female or the succession of a younger branch. He sold the remaining portion of the barony, and it is a singular coincidence that when the property went entirely from the family, the eldest male line became extinct. The general married the daughter of Mr. Maclean of Torloisk, Mull, and after his death Sir Walter Scott was chosen by his daughters to be their guardian. His eldest daughter married, in 1815, the second marquis of Northampton. Her ladyship died in 1830. The Clephanes are said to have been an exceeding tall, strong race of men, and General Clephane was far above the usual height. His brother, Andrew Clephane, Esq., Advocate, sheriff of the county of Fife, who died in 1838, though not so tall, exhibited in his person evident marks of the family characteristic in this respect. The old house of Carslogie, for centuries the residence of the Clephanes, became the property of the Rev. Mr. Laing, an English clergyman.

      According to tradition, in ancient times, when private feuds were common among the Scottish barons, the lords of Carslogie entered into a league of mutual defence with the proprietors of Scotstarvet, whose residence, Scotstarvet tower, in situated on a lower ridge or shoulder of Tarvet hill, about two miles to the south. The tower of Carslogie being situated in a hollow, might have been approached by an enemy without his being observed until very near it, but as the more commanding situation of Scotstarvet enabled the warden on the battlements to see to a greater distance, he, on occasions of danger, instantly sounded his horn, which was replied to by the warden from Carslogie, and the vassals were immediately in arms for the defence of the castle. Mr. Leighton in his History of Fife, believes, on good grounds, that this league was not with the Scotts of Scotstarvet, who only acquired possession of that estate in the seventeenth century, but with the previous proprietors of Upper Tarvet, a family of the name of Inglis. The horn of Carslogie, with which the call to battle was sounded, has been rendered famous by Sir Walter Scott, and is said to be still preserved by the representatives of the family of Clephane. Besides the horn, the steel hand already mentioned, which was also commemorated by Sir Walter Scott, was long in possession of the family. One tradition is that this steel hand was a present from an ancient king of Scotland to a baron of Carslogie, who had lost his hand in battle, in defence of his country. It does not seem, however, to be agreed what king this was, or which of the long line of barons of Carslogie received the royal gift. The more popular account has it that the hand, as above stated, was lost at Bannockburn, and that the gift was made by Robert the Bruce to Alan de Clephane, but others, bringing the story down to a later period, say, that it was presented to the great grandfather of the late General Clephane, the last direct male heir of the Clephanes of Carslogie. This famous steel hand is said to be still possessed either by the representatives of the family or by the third marquis of Northampton, General Maclean-Douglas-Clephane’s grandson.


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