Barony of Cowdenknowes was once part of the much older Barony of
Ercildoune (later known as Earlston) in the Scottish Borders.
Having been a stronghold of the Humes it was created as a separate
burgh of barony in 1634 by Royal Charter in favour of Jacob
Livingstoun of Beill, and was later passed on to the Hamilton
family, Earls of Haddington.
region of the barony has a rich history of war and peacetime
raiding with the border reivers. Romance, tragedy, humour and
folklore also play an intricate role in the region. It was home to
Thomas the Ryhmer who was from Earlston, and Cowdenknowes itself
was immortalized in the old folksong “Broome of Cowdenknowes,” a
story of the love and heartbreak of a local lass.
In 2003, The Barony of Cowdenknowes
came into possession of the Harden family. The Hardens claim
descent from the Scots of Harden through their surname.
Hardens have always maintained a passion for the region. This
began for the current Baron when he was a small boy. His father
would take him on trips to Harden Glen and tell him stories of the
border reivers and of the family’s roots. This passion has
continued with the Baron’s oldest son Mark, the Younger of
Harden, the current Baron of Cowdenknowes, was born in Malta in
1945. His father, William John Harden, was serving with the 2nd
Battalion, the Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment, throughout
World War II, and was mentioned in despatches. His grandfather was
a regimental sergeant major in the Scots Guards and served in both
Boer and World War I until being severely wounded during the
Baron lived in Fort Clarence in Rochester, Kent, for the early
part of his life, moving to Gillingham in 1951 where he received
his education. After serving in the Royal Navy he moved to Harrow
Middlesex where he met and married Miss Joan Bidwell, now Lady
Cowdenknowes. In March of 1967 the couple’s first son, Mark John
Harden, was born. The family later moved to Cambridgeshire where
their second son, Darren Barry Harden, was born. The couple remain
Baron is an avid historian and an accomplished artist. He is
currently engaged in painting family portraits for their archives.
John Harden, Younger of Cowdenknowes, holds a degree in
engineering and lives in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, with his
American-born wife Elizabeth (her paternal grandmother was a
MacDonald of the Isles). They have a son, Ryan Wesley, and a
daughter, Elizabeth Anne. It is interesting to note that there is
a tradition in Elizabeth’s family of naming all first born
daughters Elizabeth, and in keeping with that tradition their
present daughter is the ninth of that name.
youngest son, Darren Barry Harden, holds a degree in graphic
design. He lives and works in Croydon. Darren is engaged to
Natalie Fullick (of New Zealand) and they are due to be married in
Surrey in 2004.
Thanks to Mark
Harden of Cowdenknowes, yr, for the above information.
their web site here!