a surname the same as Irvine, being the mode in which some
Dumfries-shire families of the name spell it.
One of these
families, Irving of Woodhouse and Robgill Tower, descended from a
younger branch of the original family of Irvine of Bonshaw, possessed
a baronetcy of the United Kingdom, conferred in 1809.
Irvine of Bonshaw, who commanded the light horsemen at Flodden, was
killed there with his son, Christopher, Sept. 3, 1513. The son of the
latter, also named Christopher, was slain in command of a party of
horse at Solway Moss in 1542. His son, Edward Irvine of Bonshaw, lived
to a great age. His eldest son, Christopher, predeceased his father in
1582. He had married, in 1566, Margaret, daughter of John Johnstone of
that ilk, ancestor of the marquises of Annandale, and had a son,
William, who had, among other sons, William, of Rockhillhead,
afterwards of Woodhouse, Dumfries-shire, and Herbert, of Bonshaw by
Irving of Woodhouse married, in 1631, Janet, daughter of Jardine of
Applegarth, and was father of John Irvine, Esq. of Woodhouse. This
John Irvine of Woodhouse marrying Sarah, daughter of Sir William
Douglas of Kelhead, was succeeded by his son, William Irvine, Esq. of
son of William continued the line of Bonshaw. A younger son, Paulus
Emilus Irving, Esq. of Woodhouse, was a lieutenant-colonel in the
army, and governor of Upnor Castle. He died April 22, 1796.
Irving’s only son, Lieutenant-General Sir Paulus Emilus Irving, born
August 30, 1751, was appointed commander-in-chief in the West Indies,
and received the thanks of King George III., through the duke of York,
commander-in-chief, November 28, 1795, for the decisive victory he had
achieved at La Vigie that year. On September 19, 1809, he was created
a baronet of the United Kingdom. He had two sons and a daughter, and
died in 1828, when his elder son, Sir Paulus Æmilus Irving, became 2d
baronet. On the latter’s death, without issue, in 1837, he was
succeeded by his brother, Sir Thomas St. Lawrence Irving, third
baronet, born Feb. 18, 1795; died, unmarried, in 1859, when the title
Irvine, proprietor of Robgill and Annan, and bred to the law in the
Temple, London, receiving from James VI. A grant of some lands in
Ulster, was ancestor of the Irvines of Castle Irvine, baronets, county
Fermanagh, Ireland, and of the Irvines of Rockfield, same county.
seat of the Irvines of Bonshaw, the original stock of the family of
Irvine, stands on the right bank of the river, in the parish of Annan,
Dumfries-shire. The old mansion-house is built near the edge of a
steep rock, which rises to a considerable height above the bed of the
Kirtle. About half-a-mile from Bonshaw, and on the same side of the
river, is Robgill Tower, formerly possessed by Sir Emilius Irving,
bart. The scenery around Robgill-house, of which the old tower forms a
part, is most picturesque and beautiful.
The first of
the name settled in Dumfries town was Provost Francis Irving, 2d son
of the family of Bonshaw. He was educated in France, and on his return
to Scotland he married the heiress of the Rainings, by whom he
acquired a good fortune of houses in Dumfries, with burgage, and other
lands, part whereof remain yet with his posterity. He it was who first
imported into that town wines and spirits thither by sea, having
settled some kind of correspondence at Bordeaux in France. Upon the
sudden arrival of King James VI. On one occasion at Dumfries, Provost
Irving presided at an entertainment given to his majesty in a large
painted hall belonging to the Cunninghams. His lady likewise assisted.
She came at the head of some matrons, and presented his majesty with
an Italian broadpiece in gold, according to the usage of the times. At
the provost’s death a magnificent tomb or monument was erected,
embellished with pillars of the Corinthian order, gilt capitols, and
other ornaments. It was much effaced by Cromwell’s soldiers, coming up
from the siege of Carlaverock castle, and all the records of the town
destroyed they could lay their hands upon. In the lower part of the
monument is the following inscription:
“The King me first his Baillie named,
Dumfries oft since me Provost claimed,
God, King, and Country have I served,
For which in Heaven a Crown’s reserved.”
The lands of
Kurkledale and others belonging to him continued long in his family.
His bailiary is presumed to have been a jurisdiction of the lower
parts of Annandale, as all of it was in the gift of the crown, being
the prince of Scotland’s patrimony. The king, in speaking to him or of
him, usually termed him his own bailie. He left, with a daughter,
three sons. 1. John, often elected provost of Dumfries. 2. Edward, who
acquired the lands of Logan. 3. Stephen, who possessed the lands of
Reddens and others. The daughter Barbara was married to Sir William
Maxwell of Gribton, knight. Provost John Irving’s two sons, John and
Thomas, were likewise provosts of Dumfries. His daughter, Jannette,
married Maxwell of Carnsalloch. The second son represented the town in
parliament. The elder son was in the first nomination of justices of
the peace in Scotland, not as provost for the time being, but as a
landed gentleman, as appears from the printed acts of Charles II. He
married Janet, daughter of Sir Thomas Crighton of Ryehill, soon after
earl of Dumfries, and had a son, John, who had no family, and 3
daughters. The eldest of whom married Provost Maxwell of Barncleugh,
and the youngest Maxwell of Terraughty, grandson of the family of
Thomas, the other brother, married, 1st, Elizabeth Craik,
daughter of Craik of Stewarton, and 2dly, Elizabeth Maxwell, daughter
of the Kirkconnell family, but she had no children. He left three
sons, John, Thomas and William. The eldest married a Miss Fergusson,
and had John, commonly styled Logan, and 3 daughters. Thomas, the
second brother, afterwards of Gribton, married Mary Maxwell, niece of
the earl of Nithsdale, and had a son, William Irving, Esq. of Gribton,
and a daughter, Margaret, married to Thomas Goldie, W.S., afterwards
of Mains, issue, five sons and 2 daughters.
Irving of Logan, eldest in succession, was twice married, but leaving
only daughters, the male representation of the family devolved upon
William, the next in succession.
married Katherine, daughter of Captain James Menzies of Enoch, and had
eleven sons. James, the eldest, succeeded him. He married Elizabeth
Welsh, heiress of Waterside, issue, 2 sons, William and Joseph (who
died in Jamaica), and 5 daughters. Thomas, the second son, was
inspector-general of exports and imports, at London. He married
Marion, daughter of Provost Corbet, and had a son, William,
inspector-general, and a daughter, Maryan, who married a West India
proprietor, named Furness. Winfred, James’ youngest daughter, married,
1st, Mr. Baird; 2dly, captain Wilson, to whom she had one
daughter; and 3dly, Mr. Sweetman. The daughter, Catherine, married
Colonel Archibald M’Murdo, and had 11 children. Winfred, the eldest,
married Mr. Dinwoodie, one of the judges in the civil court of Ceylon.
One of her sons, John, in the Madras army, became Lieutenant-Colonel
commandant of the Dumfries, Roxburgh, Selkirk, and Kirkcudbright
militia. Another son, Archibald, post-captain in the navy, accompanied
Captain Buck, in the Terror, to the North Pole. A daughter, Phillis,
married George Hoggan, Esq. of Waterside. Another daughter, Catherine,
married Admiral Pennel, R.N. They had a son, Robert, mate of an
Indiaman; and another, colonel W. Montague S. M’Murdo, C.B.,
inspector-general of volunteers. Charles Irving, Esq., surgeon, of the
Gribton family, and a native of Holywood parish, Dumfries-shire, some
years before 1790, discovered a method of turning salt water into
fresh, for which he was rewarded by a grant from government of £500.
eldest son of James Irving of Gribton, married Jane, eldest daughter
of David Corrie of Newlaw; issue, 4 children. Mary, one of his
daughters, married Sir John Gordon of Earlston, bart. His son, James,
went to India as ensign in the Bengal cavalry in 1828, and became
through marriage proprietor of Barwhinnock estate.
of Gribton is no longer in the family, having been sold, and become
the property of a gentleman named Maxwell.
a celebrated preacher, was born in the burgh of Annan, August 15,
1792. His father was a respectable tanner in that town, and became
owner of a considerable portion of burgage and landed property in the
vicinity. After receiving a good elementary education in his native
place, he was sent to prosecute his studies at the university of
Edinburgh. His proficiency in the mathematics attracted the attention
of Professor Leslie, who recommended him, when only in his seventeenth
year, as mathematical teacher in an academy at Haddington. This
situation he occupied only a year, when he obtained one more lucrative
in a larger establishment at Kirkcaldy, where he also kept boarders,
and gave private tuition. He remained nearly seven years at Kirkcaldy,
during which time he completed his probationary terms, and became a
licentiate of the Church of Scotland. In 1819 he removed to Edinburgh,
resolved to devote himself to preaching the gospel, and on Dr.
Chalmers hearing him preach from the pulpit of St. George’s church in
that city, he was so favourably impressed with his abilities, that he
subsequently appointed him his assistant in St. John’s church,
In 1822 Mr.
Irving accepted an invitation from the managers of a small
congregation of Scots Presbyterians meeting at the Caledonian Asylum,
Cross Street, Hatton Garden, London; and shortly after obtaining this
living, he married Isabella, daughter of the Rev. John Martin, one of
the ministers of Kirkcaldy, to whom he had been previously engaged.
The novelty of his style, and the force and eloquence of his
discourses, soon rendered him the most popular preacher of his time,
and the singularity of his appearance and gesticulation attracted very
large congregations. The principal orators and statesmen of the day
crowded to hear him; he literally became quite “the rage” among the
wealthy and fashionable of the metropolis, and his chapel doors were
thronged with carriages, so that it was found necessary to grant
admittance only by tickets.
In 1823 Mr.
Irving published an octavo volume of 600 pages, with the singular
title of ‘For the Oracles of God, Four Orations – for Judgment to
come, an Argument in Nine Parts.’ Such was the demand for this
publication, that, though it underwent the most severe and searching
criticism, a third edition was called for in less than six months.
In May 1824
he preached for the London Missionary Society one of their anniversary
sermons, and early in the following year he published his discourse on
the occasion, dedicated to Coleridge the poet, with whom he had
recently formed an intimate acquaintance.
In 1825 Mr.
Irving preached the anniversary sermon for the Continental Society,
the substance of which he afterwards published, in a treatise on the
prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse, dedicated to Mr. Hatley
Frere, brother to the British envoy at the court of Madrid, and one of
the persons, about twenty in number, who, with Mr. Irving, assembled
at Albury Park, the seat of Mr. Henry Drummond, the banker, for the
express object of studying or elucidating “the sublime science of
sacred prophecy.” An account of this meeting was published by Mr.
Drummond in 1827, in a work entitled ‘Diaglogues on Prophecy,’ 3 vols.
8vo. About 1826 Mr. Irving drew up his Introductory Essay to Bishop
Horne’s Commentary on the Book of Psalms, published in Glasgow, which
is generally considered one of the best of his writings. In 1828 he
preached a fast-day sermon before the presbytery of London, which he
afterwards printed. In the same year he contributed to an annual then
existing under the name of the ‘Anniversary,’ a sketch, entitled ‘A
Tale of the Times of the Martyrs.’
course of 1827 he was first observed in his discourses to have
departed from the doctrinal standards of the Church of Scotland, by
the unusual manner in which he spoke concerning the human nature of
our Saviour. On the formation in the metropolis of a society for the
distribution of ‘Gospel Tracts,’ Mr. Irving preached a collection
sermon in aid of the funds of the new institution, and it is said to
have been on the delivery of his discourse on that occasion that some
of his hearers were astounded by his assertion of the “sinfulness of
Christ’s human nature.” In his ‘Sermons, Lectures, and Occasional
Discourses,’ published the following year, his new doctrines were
developed at large. The chapel in Cross Street, Hatton Garden, being
found too small to contain the large concourse of persons who
continued to throng to it, a subscription was entered into, to erect a
larger and more commodious church, and the handsome edifice in
Regent’s Square was completed in 1829. In the spring of that year, Mr.
Irving paid a visit to his friends in Scotland, and while at Edinburgh
he delivered a course of fifteen ‘Lectures on the Book of the
Revelation,’ which were published in parts, the whole making four
volumes duodecimo.– His portrait is subjoined.
[portrait of Rev. Edward Irving]
In the early part of 1830 the subject of his heretical views was
taken up by the Scottish church in London, and at a meeting of the
presbytery on November 29 of that year, the report of the committee
appointed to examine his work on Christ’s humanity was read. It
charged him with holding Christ subject to original and actual sin,
and with denying the doctrines of atonement, satisfaction, imputation,
and substitution. The exhibition of the “unknown tongues,” uttered by
some designing or deluded persons of his congregation, principally
females, and pronounced by Mr. Irving from the pulpit to be the
“manifestations of the Holy Ghost,” next occupied public attention;
and the trustees of the National Scottish Church, Regent’s Square, at
last found it necessary to prefer charges against him, in addition to
those which were already before the presbytery. On May 2, 1832, the
London presbytery unanimously found him guilty of heresy, and thus
dispossessed him of his charge as minister of the church in Regent’s
Square; and the presbytery of Annan, of which he was a member, on
March 13, 1833, formally deposed him from the ministry of the Church
of Scotland. After a course of itinerant open-air preaching in his
native district, Mr. Irving returned to London, and continued to
officiate in what had once been the picture gallery of Mr. Benjamin
West, the celebrated painter, in Newman Street, which had been fitted
up as a chapel by some of the most enthusiastic of his admirers.
His laborious and unceasing efforts to propagate his peculiar
religious tenets brought on consumption, and in the autumn of 1834 he
went to Scotland for the benefit of his health; but rapidly becoming
worse, he died at Glasgow, December 6, 1834. He left a widow, with a
son and two daughters.
Mr. Irving was only in his 42d year at the time of his death,
although his long grey hair and wrinkled brow made him appear much
older. There can be no doubt that the melancholy errors and
extravagances, into which he was betrayed in the latter years of his
life, were the effects of a diseased imagination, arising from that
morbid love of the marvellous, and craving for notoriety, for which he
was remarkable, and to which he at last fell a victim.
With all his eccentricities, however, and “although,” as his
successor in Regent’s Square church has well remarked in an article
analysing his character, “his practical wisdom did not keep pace with
his discursive powers, the might of his genius, and the grandeur of
his views, and the prevailing solemnity of his spirit’ left a deep
impression on his hearers and contemporaries, and Edward Irving became
the founder of a sect, which subsequently took the name of the
Catholic Apostolic Church, and in London, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, from
the wealth and influential character of some of its members, was
enabled to build large and imposing structures for their peculiar mode
His works are:
For the Oracles of God, Four Orations – for Judgment to Come, an
Argument in nine parts. London, 1823, 8vo.
For Missionaries after the Apostolic School, a series of
Orations, in four parts. London, 1824, 8vo.
Babylon and Infidelity Foredoomed of god; a treatise on the
Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse. London, 1825, 8vo.
The Coming of the Messiah in Glory and Majesty, by Juan Josafat
Ben Ezra, a converted Jew; translated from the Spanish. London, 1827,
Apology for the Ancient fulness and Purity of the Doctrine of
the Kirk of Scotland; a fast-day Sermon before the Presbytery of
London. London, 1828. 8vo.
A Letter to the King against the Repeal of the Test and
Corporation Acts. London, 1828, 8vo.
Sermons, Lectures, and Occasional Discourses. London. 1828, 3
The Last Days, a Discourse on the Evil Character of these our
Times, proving them to be the “Perilous Times” of the Last Days.
London, 1828, 8vo. 2d edit. With preface by the Rev. Horatius Bonar.
London, 1840, 8vo.
Lectures on the Book of the Revelation, published in parts,
making 4 vols. Duodecimo. London, 1829.
The Church and State responsible to Christ and to one another. A
Series of Discourses on Daniel’s Vision of the four Beasts. London,
IRVING, DAVID, LL.D.,
biographer and librarian, was born in the village of Langholm,
Dumfries-shier, December 5, 1778. He received his early education in
the Grammar school of his native place under a Mr. Telfer. He
afterwards attended, for Latin and Greek, a Mr. Little, who, though
deprived of sight, was an excellent scholar, and remarkable for
grounding his pupils thoroughly in a knowledge of the classics. In
1796, being then in his 18th year, he went to the
university of Edinburgh, where he continued till 1803. In the Greek
class he distinguished himself so much as to attract the particular
notice of Mr. Dalzell, the then professor in that chair. In 1799 he
published at Glasgow a short life of Fergusson the poet, dedicated to
Dr. Robert Anderson, editor and biographer of the British Poets, to
whom he brought a letter of introduction on his first arrival in
In 1801 Mr. Irving took the degree of M.A., and the same year he
issued another little volume, entitled ‘Lives of Scottish Authors,
viz., Fergusson, Falconer, and Russell.’ to this he was encouraged by
Professor Dalzell, to whom it was dedicated, and who had assisted him
in collecting materials for the two latter biographies.
Originally destined for the ministry, Mr. Irving was prevented
by some religious scruples from entering the Divinity Hall, and
resolved to devote himself to literature instead of the church. To fit
himself more particularly for this pursuit, he applied himself to a
careful study of the structure and powers of the English language. The
results he embodied in a short treatise, entitled ‘Elements of English
Composition,’ which was published in London in 1801. This treatise,
originally written whilst its author was yet a student at college, he
had occasion afterwards frequently to revise. It was his most
successful work. In England especially it obtained an extensive
circulation, and was introduced as a text-book in some of the leading
schools. At the time of his death it had reached the 13th
In 1804 he published ‘The Lives of Scotish Poets,’ 2 vols. 8vo.
He considered Scotish, with one t, the right spelling of the word, and
Scottish, although in more general use, a corruption. These Lives are
said to have been ably but hastily written.
He now resolved to bestow more care and labour on his future
writings. He spent the years 1805 and 1806 in London, paying frequent
visits to the library of the British Museum, consulting some rare
books for his next publication. This was ‘Memoirs of the Life and
Writings of George Buchanan,’ published in 1807, which at once
established his reputation. The work included a literary history of
the age and contemporaries of Buchanan, and was full of learning and
information. Sir William Hamilton (a memoir of whom is given above)
pronounced it to be a work “which for curious and recondite erudition
has been but seldom surpassed.” He subsequently very considerably
improved it, and in the preface to a new edition, which appeared in
1817, he tells us that these “Memoirs have undergone such essential
alteration that this may almost be considered a new work.”
In 1808 Mr. Irving obtained the degree of doctor of laws from
Marischal College, Aberdeen, and in 1810 he married Anna, Dr.
Anderson’s eldest daughter, the lady to whom Dr. Leyden’s ‘Elegy on
the Death of a favourite Linnet.’ was originally addressed. She died
suddenly in 1812, leaving a son.
In 1820 Dr. Irving was appointed keeper of the library of the
Faculty of Advocates. The vacation after his appointment to this
office he spent at Gottingen, that he might become acquainted with the
manner in which the library of the distinguished university of that
city was managed. Though the greater part of his time was now occupied
with his official duties, he still devoted a portion of it to literary
pursuits. He wrote the biographical notices prefixed to a collected
edition of the poems of Alexander Montgomery, author of ‘The Chery and
the Slae,’ published in 1821. His minute acquaintance with the early
literary history of Scotland, pointed him out as a fit editor for some
of those rare old books and manuscripts which the Bannatyne and
Maitland clubs were printing for their members. For the Bannatyne club
he edited in 1828-29 the two volumes of Dempster’s ‘Historia
Ecclesiastica Gentis Scotorum; sive de Scriptoribus Scotis,’ to which
he contributed a Latin preface; in 1835, ‘Philotus, a comedy,
reprinted from the edition of Robert Charteris, 1603;’ and in 1837,
‘Davidis Buchanani de Scriptoribus Scotis. Libri Duo nunc primum
Editi.’ For the Maitland club he edited, in 1830, ‘Clariodus, a
Matrical Romance,’ printed from a manuscript of the 16th
century; and in 1832, ‘The Moral Fables of Robert Henryson,’ a poet of
the later part of the 15th century.
In earlier life Dr. Irving had given private instructions to
candidates for admission into the faculty of advocates; and in 1815 he
had published, in the form of a pamphlet, ‘Observations on the Study
of the Civil Law.’ Successively reprinted and enlarged in 1820 and
1823, it finally appeared, in 1837, in the shape of a goodly volume,
bearing the title of ‘An Introduction to the Study of the Civil Law.’
In the same year the university of Gottengen conferred upon its author
the degree of doctor of laws.
Between the years 1830 and 1842, Dr. Irving was a stated
contributor to the 7th edition of the Encyclopedia
Britannica, then in course of publication. To that work the three
Treatises on the Canon, Civil, and Feudal Law, and most of the
biographies of Scottish authors, were contributed by him. With
considerable additions, these biographies were published in a separate
form in 1839, in 2 volumes, with the title of ‘Lives of Scotish
In 1849, after 29 years’ service, he retired from the
librarianship of the faculty of advocates, and was succeeded in that
office by Samuel Halkett, Esq. He still continued to prosecute his
literary labours. In 1819 he had edited anonymously an edition of
‘Selden’s Table Talk,’ with notes, a new edition of which was
published in 1854. His latter years were dedicated to preparing a
connected and comprehensive History of Scotish Poetry, from the middle
ages to the close of the 17th century. This he left in
manuscript, quite ready for the press.
Dr. Irving died at Edinburgh May 10, 1860. At the disruption of
the church of Scotland in 1843 he joined the Free Church, and was an
elder of Free St. John’s church, in that city.
As a scholar Dr. Irving held the highest rank. “With respect to
classical literature,” writes Fir William Hamilton, himself one of the
most erudite men of his time, “I believe that there are few men in
Scotland who possess so critical a knowledge of the ancient authors,
or who are so well read in philology.” His acquaintance with the
remains of Greek and Roman literature was minute and extensive. He was
so finished a Latin scholar that he once offered himself, and with
fair prospects of success, as a candidate for the chair of humanity in
the university of Glasgow. His study of the Roman jurisprudence in all
its branches was extensive and profound. With literary history,
foreign and domestic, he was perfectly familiar, from the middle ages
down to the close of the century succeeding the Reformation. His
knowledge of books was marvellous, and his love of them intense. His
private library numbered about 7,000 volumes, many of them rare and
Dr. Irving married, a second time, in 1820, Miss Janet Laing,
his second cousin, of which marriage a son and a daughter, with the
His works are:
Life of Robert Fergusson. Glasgow, 1799, 12mo.
Lives of Scottish Authors, viz., Fergusson, Falconer, and
Russell. Edin. 1801, 12mo.
Elements of English Composition; treating of purity, propriety,
and precision of style; of synonymous words; of the structure of
sentences; of clearness and precision, unity, strength, and harmony,
in the structure of sentences; of figurative language in general; of
personification, apostrophe, hyperbole, comparison, metaphor, and
allegory. London, 1801, 12mo. 8th edition, 1828, 12mo. 11th
edition, 1841, 12mo. 13th edition.
Lives of the Scotish Poets, with Preliminary Dissertations on
the Literary History of Scotland and the early Scotish Drama. 2 vols.
Edin. 1804, 8vo. The biographies here given are those of Thomas
Learmont of Ercildon, called “Thomas the Rhymer,” John Barbour, Andrew
Winton, King James the First, Henry the Minstrel, Robert Henryson,
William Dunbar, Gavin Douglas, Sir David Lindsay, John Bellenden, D.D.,
Sir Richard Maitland, Alexander Scot, Alexander Arbuthnot, Alexander
Montgomery, King James the Sixth, Allan Ramsay, Alexander Ross, A.M.,
Alexander Geddes, LL.D., Robert Fergusson, and Robert Burns. With
Memoirs of the Life and Writings of George Buchanan. Edin. 1807,
8vo. 2d edition, 1817, 8vo.
Observations on the Study of Civil Law. Edin. 1815, 8vo. 2d
edition, 1820, 8vo. 3d edition, 1823, 8v9. 4th edition,
much enlarged, with the title of ‘An Introduction to the Study of the
Civil Law,’ 1837, 8vo.
Lives of Scottish Writers. 2 vols. Edinb. 1839, 12mo.
Various Contributions to 7th edition of the
encyclopedia Britannica, particularly three Treatises on the Canon,
Civil, and Feudal Law, and Scottish biographies, afterwards separately
History of Scottish Poetry from the Middle Ages down to the close
of the 17th century. Posthumous. With a memoir of the
author. 1861, 8vo.
Electric Scotland Note: Comments by Rupert Irving
and Dr. M. A. Irving have been received by us but as there appears
to be a dispute between them we have elected to remove all comments
from each of them from our site. We would urge them both to
make contact with each other to resolve their issues and look
forward to receiving a joint statement from them that we can include