Coulthart and Collyn, the surname and designation of an ancient family
in Wigtownshire, which derive their name and descent from Coulthartus, a
Roman lieutenant, who fought under Julius Agricola, at the foot of the
Grampian mountains, when that victorious general was opposed by the
confederated forces of the Scots, Picts, and Danes, under Corbredus
Galdus. Peace having been restored soon after that decisive engagement,
Coulthartus, instead of returning to Rome, married Marsa, daughter of
Kadalayne, chief of the Novantes, by whom he acquired large territorial
possessions near the present Whithorn, in the county of Wigtown.
Coulthartus, who was versed in all the wisdom and learning of the
Romans, afterwards lived as a Caledonian chieftain, and died there.
Godofredus, a descendant
of Coulthartus, appears to have opposed the usurpations of Donald Bane
and Duncan, and to have energetically supported the restoration of the
legitimate offspring of Malcolm to the throne. Godofredus was present at
Scoon when Edgar was crowned and anointed, but dying at Coulthart in the
succeeding reign of Alexander, was buried with great pomp and solemnity
in the family mausoleum at Candida Casa. By his wife, Maud, daughter of
Stephen de Maulia, he had, with 2 daughters, 2 sons, Sir Radulphus, his
heir, and Amerlick, who fought at Northallerton, under the earl of
March, against Stephen, king of England.
The elder son, Sir
Radulphus de Coulthart, was the first of the family on record that used
the territorial designation as a surname, and the first lord that joined
the Crusaders in an expedition to Palestine. After his return from the
Holy Land, he assisted in repressing the disturbances in Galloway, when
Angus, the thane thereof, assumed political independence; and as a
reward for his valour and loyalty on the occasion, King Malcolm granted
him the lands of Benmark, at the same time knighting him and his eldest
son, the next chief.
This was Sir Peter de
Coulthart, knt. He contributed largely in money, in 1191, towards the
relief of the Christians in Jerusalem, and also furnished a quota of the
armed men that left Scotland under the command of the earl of
Huntingdon, to assist Richard, king of England, in prosecuting the Holy
wars. His name appears in the list of noblemen and gentlemen who
accompanied King William to England, to congratulate King Richard on his
safe return from Palestine, and it also occurs amongst those present at
York when peace was concluded between King John and King William.
His son, William de
Coulthart, had a grant of the lands of Barlochtery, in the shire of
Wigtown, from Allan, lord of Galloway, which lands were afterwards
mortified by the said William de Coulthart to the monks of Dundrennan,
for the salvation of the soul of the said Allan. He had, with other
children, to sons, Sir Roger, his successor, and Walter, who assisted
John Cumin, earl of Buchan, in capturing Gillespy Ross, the Outlaw, and
his followers, after they had plundered and burnt the town of Inverness.
He died in 1238.
His son, Sir Robert de
Coulthart, knt., witnessed a charter granted by the bishop of Candida
Casa in 1227, and had the honour of tilting at the Royal Haddington
tournament, in 1240, before Alexander II., who was so highly pleased
with the skill he displayed on the occasion, that he personally invested
him with the knightly girdle, and heraldically added to the three black
colts courant on his silver shield, a fesse sable, which armorial
ensigns have ever since, without alteration, been borne by the chiefs of
the family. He married Isabella, daughter of Walter Stewart, hereditary
high-steward of Scotland, and had, with 3 daughters, 5 sons, 1. David,
killed in Palestine, in his father’s lifetime; 2. Alexander, his heir;
3. Allan, 4. William, 5. Robert, mentioned in a mortification-charter
granting certain lands in Galloway to the monks of Glenluce. He died at
Coulthart, aged 64 years.
His son, Alexander de
Coulthart, commanded a battalion in the left wing of the Scottish army
at Largs, when Haco, king of Norway, was overthrown, Aug. 15, 1263. He
had 3 sons, 1. John, his heir; 2. William, who married Matilda, daughter
of Sir Richard Edmundstone, of Edmundstone, by whom he had 3 sons, John,
who succeeded his uncle John as chief of the name; Richard, in holy
orders; Peter, who was drowned at sea; and 2 daughters, Maud and Helen,
mentioned in a charter, 1321; 3. Alexander, designated in a testamentary
disposition as “of Craigtower,” who died in 1278.
The eldest son, John de
Coulthart, an exceedingly studious and learned man, who devoted much of
his property to charitable and religious objects, died, unmarried, Oct.
He was succeeded by his
nephew, John de Coulthart, eldest son of William de Coulthart. He does
not appear to have taken any conspicuous part in the political affairs
of Scotland during the troublous reigns of John Baliol and Robert Bruce;
but the circumstance of his name not occurring in the lists of the
barons and others who swore fealty to the two first Edwards, coupled
with the fact of his having received a grant of the barony of Whithorn
from Robert I., leads to the conclusion that he was a supporter of
Scottish independence, and was prevented by some unexplained cause from
prominently sharing in the struggles for freedom which chiefly
terminated with the battle of Bannockburn. He married for his 2d wife,
Elizabeth, daughter of William St. Clair of Roslin, and this lady is
expressly joined with her husband in the charter of Robert I. above
mentioned. They had issue that arrived at maturity, four sons, viz., 1.
and 2. Robert and Henry, both killed at the battle of Neville’s Cross,
17th Oct. 1346, without leaving issue; 3. William, the heir; 4. James,
who acquired lands in the shire of Stirling. This John de Coulthart
appears to have been a great favourite of King Robert I., as he had also
a grant of the lands of Carswell from that monarch. He died subsequently
His son, William de
Coulthart, obtained an entirely new grant of the lands of the barony of
Coulthart from David II. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Alexander de
Durrisdeer, and had Andrew, his heir; Robert, who married Elizabeth,
daughter of David Napier, and niece of Sir Alexander Napier, ancestor of
the Lords Napier; and Janet, who married the laird of Muirhead,
His son and successor,
Andrew de Coulthart, obtained a charter of the lands of Largmore, in
Galloway, from Robert II. He died Nov. 12, 1384.
His only son and
successor, Gilbert de Coulghart, married Mariot, daughter of Andrew
Blackadder of Blackadder, Berwickshire, lineal ancestor of Sir Patrick
Blackadder of Tulliallan, and of Robert, first archbishop of Glasgow,
and had Sir Roger, his heir, and Andrew, to whom and his mother Mariot,
Robert III. granted a charter of the lands of Barglass and Murburne,
within the barony of Coulthart. He had also a daughter named Janet, who
married Robert de Agnew. He died 18th August, 1391, at Dantzic, in
Western Prussia, whilst on an expedition against the Turks.
His eldest son, Sir Roger
de Coulthart, was knighted by James I. at his coronation at Scoon, 1424.
He married Margery, daughter and co-heiress of John the Ross of Renfrew,
knt. And maternally co-heiress of Macknyghte of Macknyghte, and
Glendonyn of Glendonyn, and had, with 2 daughters, 4 sons, 1. Sir Roger,
his heir; 2. Gilbert, who went in the train of Earl Douglas, lord of
Galloway, to various European courts, A.D. 1449, and fought at the
battle of Brechin May 18, 1452; 3. James, “of Auchtergillan;” 4. John
(and his wife Annabel), mentioned in a chancery precept dated March 18,
1454. Sir Roger distinguished himself at the battle of Aberbrothic, Jan.
13, 1445-6, and fell at the siege of Roxburgh castle, Sept. 17, 1460.
His eldest son, Sir Roger
de Coulthart, was served heir to the lands of Coulthart and Largmore in
1461, and to those of Renfrew, Macknyghte, and Glendonyn, on the death
of his mother, March 10, 1474. He married Anne, daughter and co-heiress
of Sir Richard Carmichael of Carspherne, and by her had 6 sons, 1.
Richard, his heir; 2. Walter, an admiral of the fleet; 3. Henry, who
settled in Craven, in Yorkshire, and was ancestor of H.W. Coulthurst,
D.D., at one time vicar of Halifax; 4. Allan, 5. Edward, mentioned in a
charter dated 20th June, 1473; 6. George, described “of Rockhill,”
married Margaret, daughter of John Chalmer, baron of Gaitgirth. Sir
Roger was killed at Sauchieburn, June 11, 1488, having been knighted by
King James III. only a few months before his death.
His eldest son, Richard
de Coulthart, fell at Flodden, Sept. 9, 1513, leaving, with 5 daughters,
4 sons, 1. Cuthbert, his heir; 2. John, who obtained sasine of the lands
of Blairhill, Ayrshire, 10th June 1543; 3. William, who obtained a
charter of the twenty-pound land of Bengairn, in the stewartry of
Kirkcudbright; 4. Robert, who married a daughter of Houston of Houston,
12th May, 1538.
The eldest son, Cuthbert
de Coulthart, of Coulthart, was a chief of extraordinary physical
powers, who frequently distinguished himself in the military encounters
of his time. At the battle of Flodden-field he behaved with great
bravery, and at Solway Moss, where he fell, he commanded a division of
the Scottish army with admirable courage and discretion. He died Nov.
25, 1542, and was succeeded by his only son, John Coulthart, of
Coulthart and Largmore. Amongst the deeds in the possession of the
Coulthart family, is a writ under the great seal of Scotland, granted to
this chief under the earl of Moray’s regency, dated 20th October, 1568,
which clearly establishes the recognized rank and antiquity of the
feudal lairds and barony of Coulthart. Born July 12, 1542, he married
Helen, daughter and eventually co-heiress of John Forbes of Pitscottie,
and died about 1620. He had, with 4 daughters, 3 sons, 1. William, his
heir; 2. Roger, in holy orders; 3. Cuthbert, capt. Royal artillery.
The eldest son, William
Coulthart, of Coulthart and Largmore, Esq., married Mary, daughter and
co-heiress of Richard Mackenzie of Craig Hall, Ayrshire, and died Feb.
20, 1653. He had 2 sons, John, his heir, and Richard, a major in the
army of Charles II., who, when Oliver Cromwell was proclaimed lord
protector, fled beyond seas, and never returned.
His elder son, John
Coulthart, Esq. of Coulthart and Largmore, born in 1625, died Sept. 11,
1690. He had, with 2 daughters, 3 sons, 1. Richard, his heir; 2. Robert,
an officer R.N., killed June 15, 1693, off St. Vincent, when fighting
under Admiral Rooke against the French squadrons; 3. William, who
represented the burgh of Wigtown in parliament from 1692 to the Union,
of which he was a staunch supporter.
His eldest son, Richard
Coulthart, Esq., was an eminent practical agriculturist, and author of
the once-celebrated work entitled ‘The Economy of Agriculture,’ which
long formed a text-book to the farmers in Scotland. Born at Coulthart,
Jan. 16, 1659, he married Nov. 15, 1698, Jean, daughter and heiress of
William Gordon of Sorbie, Esq. He died Nov. 10, 1717.
His only son, James
Coulthart, of Coulthart and Largmore, born in 1702, purchased the estate
of Knockhill, Ayrshire, in May 1732, and died May 8, 1775. He had 3
sons; 1. William, his heir; 2. Andrew, of Trostone, Kirkcudbrightshire;
3. John, born 18th April, 1743, in holy orders.
The eldest son, William
Coulthart, of Coulthart and Largmore, Esq., born in 1739, had 2 sons and
2 daughters. Sons; 1. Alexander, born 21st June, 1769, died s.p. July
19, 1789; 2. William, his heir. Mr. Coulthart alienated the lands of
Largmore, in the stewartry of Kirkcudbright and of Knockhill, Ayrshire,
May 15, 1776, and took possession of the estate of Collyn,
Dumfries-shire, on June 4, the same year. This chief died Feb. 15, 1807.
His only surviving son
and successor, William Coulthart, of Coulthart and Collyn, Esq., born
March 21, 1774, married 3d Sept. 1801, Helen, 2d daughter of the late
John Ross, Esq. of Dalton, Dumfries-shire, a descendant of the Lords
Ross of Halkhead, Renfrewshire, and a collateral relation of the Boyles,
earls of Glasgow. He had one son, John Ross, his heir, and one daughter,
Margaret, married in 1833, James Macguffie, Esq. of Crossmichael,
Kirkcudbrightshire, issue 6 sons and 5 daughters. Mr. Coulthart died at
Pasture-house, co. Cumberland, 7th Oct. 1847.
The present chief of the
name and representative of the family is his only son, John Ross
Coulthart, of Coulthart and Collyn, and Croft-house, Ashton-under-Lyne,
Lancashire, Esq., banker, born June 24, 1807; educated at the grammar
school of Buittle, in the stewartry of Kirkcudbright; entered the
National Bank of Scotland’s office, Castle-Douglas, in 1828; the
Yorkshire District Bank’s branch at Halifax, in 1834; and the Ashton
Stalybridge, Hyde, and Glossop Bank, Ashton-under-Lyne, as general
manager, in 1836. In 1838, he published an 8vo volume of Decimal
Interest Tables, which have been found exceedingly valuable by bankers.
Deputed in 1843 by the sanitary commissioners, to inquire into the
condition of Ashton-under-Lyne, for fullness of information, lucidness
of arrangement, and accuracy of description, his report was specially
commended both in the house of lords and house of commons. He is a
fellow of the society of Antiquaries, Scotland, of the Royal Society of
Literature, London, one of her Majesty’s justices of the peace for
Lancashire, and he served the office of mayor of the manor of
Ashton-under-Lyne in 1855-7. In Michaelmas term 1862, he was called to
the bar, by the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn, having completed a
course of legal study, without any intention of practicing as a
barrister, but for the purpose of rendering himself more generally
useful as a banker and a magistrate. A portrait and a memoir of Mr.
Coulthart appeared in the ‘Bankers’ Magazine’ for Jan. 1858.
By intermarriages from
time to time with heiresses, this very ancient family is entitled to
bear for arms: Quarterly of eight. 1. Ar. A fesse between 2 colts in
chief, and one in base, courant, sa. For Coulthart of Coulthart. 2. Ar.
A chev. Chequy, of three tracks, sa. And or, between three water-bougets,
of the second, for Ross of Renfrew. 3. Sa. An inescutcheon, chequy, ar.
And or, between three lions’ heads, erased, or the second, for
Macknyghte of Macknyghte. 4. Quarterly, ar. And sa., a cross parted per
cross, ingrailed, counterchanged, for Glendonyn of Glendonyn. 5. Ar. A
bend cotised, patentee, sa., charged with a tilting-spear of the first,
for Carmichael of Carsepherne. 6. Erm. A chev. Chequy, ar. And sa.,
between three bears’ heads, couped of the last, muzzled gu., within a
bordure nebulae of the third, for Forbes of Pitscottie. 7. Quarterly,
first and fourth, az., a stag’s head cabossed, or; second and third, ar.,
three human legs, armed ppr., united in the centre at the upper part of
the thigh, triangularly flexed, garnished and spurred, of the second; in
surtout, an escutcheon erm., charged with a stag’s head cabossed, sa.,
within a bordure, pellettee, of the third, for Mackenzie of Craighall.
8. Erm. A fesse, sa., charged with a spear, ar., the point to the dexter
side, between three boars’ heads erect, and erased, of the second, for
Gordon of Sorbie. Supporters. – On the dexter, a war-horse, ar.,
completely armed for the field, ppr., garnished, or; on the sinister, a
stag of the second, attired, and ducally gorged, of the third; being a
rebus on the name Coulthart. Crest. – A war horse’s head and neck,
couped, ar., armed and bridled, ppr. Garnished or. Motto. – virtute non
verbis, in allusion to the horses in the arms.
The above account of the
Coultharts of Coulthart has been chiefly compiled from the family
monuments, and had space permitted, a number of the Latin charters
referred to would have been inserted, and also an engraving given of an
ancient seal appended to a charter granted by Roger de Coulthart,
knight, to Robert de Agnew, assigning certain lands in Galloway, A.D.