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Summer at the Lake of Monteith
The Stirlings of Garden


In every country and in every district there are certain families of distinction—those grand old landmarks of society that more or less adorn every country. In times of war and trouble, the clansmen and followers would gather around them for advice, to resent an insult or to repel an invader; and in times of “peace and plenty,” headed by their chief, they would assemble round the festive board and social cup, and there cement the bond of union and friendship between the ruled and those that rule. Now, there is no nation in the world more proverbial for these adornments than dear old Scotland, and no district has produced more families of distinction than Stirlingshire; while there is no family in the county more remarkable for their endearing social natures, sterling worth, and love of country, than the ancient family of Garden.

It may be said this branch of the Stirlings has not produced any members distinguished in history, or that will be known to posterity; but for hundreds of years the family has been remarkable, as possessing a stern integrity and honesty of purpose, and an attachment to the institutions of the country rarely to be met with; and has at least produced two members of singular ability -and distinction; while we look upon the young chief of the house as possessed of some of the rarest gifts of his honoured ancestry.

This branch of the Stirling family have held Garden since about the beginning of the seventeenth century. The first proprietor of Garden, of the name of Stirling, was Sir Archibald Stirling of Keir, who purchased the estate from Sir James Forrester of Garden, of the very ancient family of that name. At that time the estate is said to have comprehended East, Middle, and West Garden, and is so noted in “Pont’s map of the Lennox.”

1. The first .of the family who possessed Garden as a separate estate was Sir John Stirling, Knight, second son of Sir Archibald Stirling of Keir, who received it from his father in 1613, on the occasion of his marriage.

2. Sir Archibald Stirling succeeded his father, Sir John. He was educated at the University of Glasgow, and became a very distinguished student. He afterwards became a member of the various Committees of War, appointed for the defence of the country in 1643. He also obtained the command of a troop of horse under the Earl of Lanark in the year 1648. He was fined ^1,500 sterling by Cromwell’s Act of Grace, and pardoned 1654. On the 14th of February 1661, he was nominated one of the Senators of the College of Justice, when he assumed the title of “Lord Garden.” He was chosen a Lord of the Articles in 1661 and 1663.

He married, first, a daughter of Sir Patrick Murray of Elibank. The issue by this marriage was two sons and two daughters:—

1. John, who succeeded to the Keir estate.

2. George, who died young, but another son received the same name in 1653.

3. Anna, born at Garden on 3d August 1634.

4. Margaret, born at Stirling 9th January 1660.

He married, secondly, a daughter of Sir James Murray of Kilbaberton, and had issue—seven sons and three daughters:—

1. Archibald, born at Garden 21st March 1651, who succeeded his father in the Garden estate.

2. James, who married a daughter of Sir George Stirling of Glorat.

3. George, born at Ochiltrie 20th July 1653.

4. William, born at Ochiltrie 20th October 1654.

5. Alexander, born at Ochiltrie 26th December 1656.

6. Thomas, born at Ochiltrie 25th December 1638.

7. Henry, born at Edinburgh 20th July 1667, was an Ensign in the Company raised by the London Merchants for duty in the East Indies.

8. Catherine, born at Edinburgh 8th September 1647.

9. Elizabeth, born at Ochiltrie 31st January 1649.

10. Rebecca, born at Ochiltrie 2d April 1650.

3. Archibald Stirling succeeded his father, Lord Garden, in the year 1668. This laird of Garden was a very prominent man of his time. He was a keen supporter of the Stuart family; and, along with his retainers from Garden, swelled the assembly known in history and tradition as the “Gathering of the Brig of Turk.” For his zeal in the cause of his sovereign, he was apprehended, carried to London for examination before the Privy Council, and imprisoned in Newgate till the month of July. He was then sent back to Edinburgh Castle, and tried for high treason, but acquitted. He married, first, Margaret Bailie, only daughter of Sir Gideon Bailie of Lochend, and widow of Sir John Colquhoun of Luss, by whom he had issue—an only son, Archibald, who succeeded to the estate of Garden. This amiable lady died at Garden 20th July 1679. By her former marriage with Sir John Colquhoun, she was mother of Lilias Colquhoun, wife of Sir John Stirling of Keir, elder brother of Archibald Stirling of Garden. The wives of the two brothers were accordingly mother and daughter, the younger brother being married to the mother.

Archibald Stirling married, secondly, the eldest daughter of Sir Alexander Hamilton of Haggs, who had issue four sons and five daughters.

1. James, who died in early life.

2. John, who acquired the estate of Garden from his eldest brother Archibald in 1718.

3. James, one of the most distinguished Mathematicians of his time; the bosom friend of Sir Isaac Newton; and the companion and correspondent of all the great philosophers of his day.

4. Charles, who was a Merchant in Jamaica.

The daughters appear to have all died young or unmarried.

Archibald Stirling died at Garden in 1715, aged sixty-four, having possessed the estate forty-eight years.

4. Archibald, the only son of the first marriage, succeeded his father in the estate of Garden. He was a man of considerable learning, and went to Barbadoes as private tutor in the family of Judge Walker. He sold the estate of Garden to his next brother, about a year after his succession.

5. John Stirling of Garden, who acquired the estate of Garden from his brother, built the present mansion-house on the lands then called Blairfeichan. He married Grizel Graham, youngest daughter of Robert Graham of Gartmore, and had issue three sons and two daughters:—

1. Archibald, who succeeded to the estate.

2. Robert, who was in the Indian army, but died at the Cape of Good Hope, while on his homeward journey in i76S-

3. James, who was a West India planter, but died in Jamaica, young and unmarried.

4 and 5. Isobel and Ann both died unmarried.

6. Archibald Stirling of Garden succeeded his father in 1760. He was a man of the most energetic mind; for a time he assisted his uncle in the management of the extensive mines at Leadhills, and on the death of his relative succeeded to the sole management. He much improved the estate of Garden, and purchased the adjoining properties of Arngibbon and Arnfinlay. He married his cousin, the daughter of James Stirling the Mathematician, and had issue one son. He died at Garden 1829, aged eighty-seven years.

7. James Stirling of Garden. He greatly improved the estate, having during his lifetime expended no less a sum than ,40,000 in extending and improving the property; and purchased the adjoining estate of Arnmore. He was a gentleman of the most honourable and upright character, and one of the most kind and warm-hearted landlords in the county of Stirling. He married Isabella Monteith, daughter of William Monteith, Esq., who survives him, and was succeeded by his only son.

8. James Stirling of Garden. Mr. Stirling was born in 1844, and succeeded to his estate about a year ago.


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