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
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
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
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
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.