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Gladstaines


THE Gladstanes of Oldentime from the Scottish Review

THE following article professes to be a more complete outline of the family of the Gledstanes than has yet been attempted by any one writer. Naturally it is very much curtailed, and the fortunes of the principal branch alone are given in any detail.

Half-way between Lanark and Peebles lies the prosperous little town of Biggar, situated on an undulating plain, girt by hills of rounded form, the lower heights being cultivated, and the upper ones covered with heather or scrub. North of the town the country is bleak, with trees sparsely scattered in the hollows, and the fields of to-day would willingly revert to the moorland of ancient times, when the kite could carry off its prey in safety to the rocky slopes of Bell Craig or Coklaw Hill. This bleak and secluded upland was the cradle of the race of the Gladstones, and here, four miles from Biggar, they built the tower known as 'Gledstanes' or the 'kite's rock.' The original castle has long since disappeared, but for over six hundred years there has been a dwelling-place on this spot, and, though at present it is but a modern farm-house, it bears the same name, and is surrounded by traces of older and more important buildings.

The name of the tower became the patronymic of its owners, and its purely Saxon character would lead to the inference that the family was of Saxon origin. At first the name is met with as de Gledestan (1296-1356) and de Gledstan, but from the local peculiarity of adding an 's' to the end of words, it was soon changed to Gledstanys or Gledstanes, along with other forms, a few of which will appear in the subsequent pages. It is only since 1835, when John Gladstone of Fasque, after-waids Sir John, obtained royal licence to drop the final letter in his ' paternal name of Gladstones ' that it has become stereotyped in its present best known shape.

For the earliest scene in the history of the family, we must carry our minds back six hundred years, to a time when peace and prosperity reigned in the district south of the Forth and Clyde, and the War of Independence had only just begun. It may be remembered that, when Edward I. had forced his victorious arms into Scotland after the death of the Maid of Norway, he exacted homage from all the important landholders of the realm. Among the names added to the Deed of Homage or ' Ragman's Roll' at Berwick on August 28, 1296, is that of ' Herbert de Gledestan del counte de Lanark.' The only other trace of this man is a seal of about the same date as the signature, which is also preserved in the Record Office, London, but most probably he and his sons descended from the peel tower on Bell Craig, to take part in the struggles for freedom under Wallace and Robert Bruce. It may be that the friendship which undoubtedly existed between this family and the Bruces caused one of the de Gledstans to join that ill-fated company who, in 1330, started with Lord James Douglas for the Holv Land in order to bury the heart of their royal master in sacred soil. This is conjecture, but we know that shortly after this date the Gledstanes were staunch retainers of the Earls of Douglas, and a tradition exists that their shield bore originally an orle of martlets, the bleeding head of a savage or Saracen being added to commemorate a feat of arms in the Crusades. It is, therefore, by no means impossible that their armorial bearings were adopted in memory of this expedition, just as the Douglases henceforward bore a bleeding heart, and the Lockharts gained the heart and padlock on their shield.

Probablv some Gledstanes fought under the banner of Douglas in the disastrous battle of Neville's Cross, for in 1346 William and Paterick de Gledstaines were obliged to renew their homage, and are mentioned among those who delivered up to Edward III. the Castle of Roxburgh and other Border fortresses.

The glimpses we get of this William de Gledestanes, who must have been a son or grandson of Herbert, are typical of the eventful history of the times. He is described in 1346 as of Mintowe, in Teviotdale, and he seems to have made his principal residence on the Borders rather than at the ancestral home in Lanarkshire. Both properties were held from the first Earl of Douglas, and, ten years after he had sworn loyalty to Edward III., William de Gledestanes accompanied his over-lord to France in order to fight against the English. There he bore himself so bravely that the Earl belted him a knight-banneret on the battle-field of Poitiers, September 19, 1356. But any triumph that he may have felt was to be of short duration. He was taken prisoner, and most probably was in that sad procession of French captives who formed part of the triumphal entry of the Black Prince into London on May 24, 1357. A fortnight later he was committed to the Tower. A letter from Edward III. still exists, dated Westminster, June 5th, 1357, in which the king commands the Warden of the Tower to receive from John de Clifford ' William de Gledestan, chivaler, a Scottish prisoner, and to keep him there.' The ' winged lion' (the device on his seal, and possibly the precursor of the griffin rampant of the Gladstone crest) must once more have met his captive king within the dreary walls of the White Tower, for David II. was not released from captivity until November, 1357. In the following October Sir William obtained his freedom, after promising 4 never to bear arms against the King of England or his heirs, except in presence of the King of Scotland, his sovereign liege, or in self-defence.' And he did not break his knightly word.

The last years of his life were spent in serving the Earl of Douglas as bailie for the barony of Cavers, close to Hawick, and in suppressing the smuggling of wool over the frontier at a time when the tripled duty on its export was being devoted to the payment of the king's ransom. During 1360 and 1361, Sir William received no less than 26 13s. 4d. from the Chamberlain of Scotland, ' pro custodia lane super Marcbias.'

Our story is now almost entirely confined to the northern side of the Borders. William, the son of the knight, although  designated miles, led a less eventful life than his father, but the friendship with the Bruces remained, and, in 1305, David II. granted him lands in the county of Peebles. He married Margaret Trumbil or Turn bull, who seems to have belonged to the Turnbulls of Bedrule in Teviotdale. Margaret was heiress to large possessions in Peebles, Selkirk and Eoxburghshires, which she divided amongst her sons between 1390 and 1412.1 James, the eldest son, inherited from his father Gledstanes in Lanarkshire, and the Teviotdale home in the parish of Cavers near Hawick, known as Coklaw Castle, and from his mother, Hundles-hope near to the town of Peebles. These three estates remained with the chief branch of the family, which was henceforward known as Gledstanes of that Ilk and Coklaw, although Gledstanes in Lanarkshire was soon to pass out of their hands.

As Scotland had long been devastated by war and was far poorer in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries than in the thirteenth, the buildings belonging to this period are of the simplest kind, and Coklaw Castle consisted, no doubt, of nothing but a square Norman keep surrounded by a wall enclosing a courtyard. Shortly after its erection it was attacked by the Earl of Northumberland and his son 'Harry Hotspur.' This investment by the Percies occurred in 1403, and was simply a ruse by means of which they proceeded ostensibly to take possession of the lands of the Earl of Douglas in Teviotdale, which had been calmly bestowed on them by Henry IV., whilst in reality they were secretly conspiring with Douglas against the English king. Of course the sight of Northumbrian soldiers carried dismay into the hearts of the dwellers in Coklaw, but John Greenlaw, the squire of the absent laird, bravely refused to yield and the tower remained in a state of siege. Meanwhile James Gledystanes obtained help from the Scottish king, but, before he could reach his house with the force provided for its defence, the Northumbrian army had disappeared and Coklaw Castle stood intact 'in its native loneliness.'

All this time the Gledstanes had been faithful adherents of the house of Douglas. In 1413 we find James Gladstanes acting as bailie for the then Earl of Douglas, just as his grandfather the ' chivaler,' had done more than fifty years before, but until 1482 we can trace little more of Coklaw Castle and its owners. It was a period of special difficulty. The pride and arrogance of the Douglases had at last brought about their ruin, and, after the murder of the heads of the house in 1455, James II. divided their vast possessions, part being retained by the Crown, and part being given to loyal subjects. Gledstanes, with other properties in Lanarkshire and Peebles, was granted to the fourth Earl of Angus, but only came into possession of his son. We do not know who may have been lairds of Coklaw at this time, but there is a Gorgon de Gledstanys of Hundwellishop (Hundleshope) who died in 1456, when his property passed into the king's ward, and a John de Gledstanys, who in 1463 witnessed the re tour of the fifth Earl of Angus, better known as ' Bell the Cat.' This is probably the father of Johannes Glad-stons of that Ilk and Coklaw, who from 1482 acted as bailie to the Earl of Angus, although the record of his doings in Peebles proves that he must have made a bad magistrate.

Hundleshope, the Hope of the Hound's Well, lay about a mile from Peebles, and had come to the Gledstanes, as has already been stated, through Margaret Turnbull. It was a somewhat bare possession, but was bordered to the north by the hills of Cademuir, a ridge of pasture lands belonging to the burgh to which the burgesses of the town had common rights. In 1482 John Gladstanes and Thomas Lowis of Manor claimed part of these common lands, and even let them out to their tenants. The matter was brought before the local court, and in 1505 and 1506 Gladstanes was prosecuted before the Lords of Council and prohibited from further interference with the common. Twelve years later, on a Sunday in June, he sent his household men and servants and 'cruelly dang and hurt thair (the borough's) hirdis and servants that were kepand thair corne and gudis within thair said propir lands, and left twa of them liand on the field for deid, and honndit thair cattale furth of thair aeone grund.'

The same John Gledstanes was a retainer of the Scots of Branxholme, who had received a portion of the Douglas lands in Roxburghshire, and the Gledstanes became very closely connected with these Scotts, who afterwards were created Earls of Buccleuch. A quaint marriage contract exists, dated February 9th, 1519, in which John, the grandson of the laird of Coklaw, is [betrothed by his father, James, to a daughter of the second Sir Waltyr Scot of Branxhelm. ' The said Johanne Gledstanis, zoungar,' shall marry either Jonet or Christiane Scot, and 'fail-zeand of than tua be ony mauer caus, ony vthir gentylwoman quhom it sail plis the said Waltyr Scot, knicht, to mary the said Johanne Gledstanis, zoungar, apon.' Waltyr Scot promises to pay 300 merks on the completion of the marriage, and James Gledstanis agrees to give his son the 10 worth of land of ' Hundilhillishop,' and 20 worth of land in Roxburghshire. The marriage is to be at the command and pleasure of Waltyr Scot, and it is arranged that, if Johanne Gledstanis dies and Coklaw comes to the 'airis famail,] the eldest daughter shall marry John Scot of Branxhelm and Sir Waltyr shall see to the marriages of the other daughters, provided he weds them to gentlemen. The persons here spoken of were mere children, but such contracts were not uncommon, and strangely enough these forced marriages did not always turn out badly.

Until the Gledstanes threw In their lot with these Scotts of Buccleuch they were a fairly law-abiding race, but from this time forward they shared in the turbulent behaviour of the Border lairds. The depredations at Hundleshope were repeated again and again, resulting in the maiming and killing of cattle and the deaths of at least two men. In 1561 the Johne Gledstanis of the marriage contract had to appear before the Lords of Council to answer for the murders committed by his son and his kinsmen. With his sureties, the Gledstanes of Colefurd and Wyndington Hall (both in Roxburghshire) and their ally John Scott, he offered 200 as compensation for the two lives. This offer was deemed insufficient, and there the matter rested! As Professor Veitch remarks, ' the impotency of the law and the power of the individual in these terrible times could not receive a stronger illustration.'

By the middle of the sixteenth century we have to deal with a large and complicated clan, which was established in the counties of Lanark, Roxburgh, and Dumfries, and in the town of Dundee. In 1455, Herbert and Homer (Aymer) de Glendstanys became deputy sheriffs of Dumfriesshire under Lord Maxwell, the Warden of the Western Marches. Their descendants lived in Annan-dale, holding the properties of Craigis and Overkelwod. Some members of this branch had honourable positions in the city of Dumfries, and others were landowners in the neighbouring counties of Kirkcudbright and Lanark. The Dumfriesshire families were in close league with their cousins in Roxburghshire, and their annals contain many reckless and turbulent incidents quite in keeping with the refractory character of the western Borders. In Selkirk too there was a wild group, 'servitors' of Robert. Scot, the goodman of Hanyng, whilst a family of Gled-stons of a much more peaceable character had penetrated into East Yorkshire, and before 1584 were living at Marton in Craven, where Gledstone House still commemorates the former owners of the property.

Meanwhile the old house in Lanarkshire had passed into other hands. It is probable that this took place before 1488 and, therefore, shortly after the forfeiture of the Douglas estates.3 Two small portions of the lands of Gledstanes were, however, still held by members of the family. One of these was the farmsteading of Arthurshiel which, in 1551, was inhabited by a ' cadet of Gladstanes of Gladstanes.' Of this property we shall speak later on. The other portion known as Quothquan extended over twenty-six acres of land, and belonged to John Gledstanes of that Ilk, LL'D., a man of an entirely different stamp from any we have as yet met with. After being at the University of St. Andrews, 1505-150G, he studied in France, and in 1534 was chosen as a man of ' gude conscience ' to be one of the newly appointed advocates for such poor clients as could not afford to pay law charges. Ilis stipend was 10 a year. ' My Lord Doctor, Mr. John Gladstanes' died in 1574, beloved by his companions, and having filled satisfactorily the post of Advocatns Pauperum as well as the higher offices of Lord of Sessions, Procurator to the Judges, and Member of the Privv Council. His property descended to his nephew, and remained in the family for at least three generations more.

The second of these lairds of Quothquan was an interesting personage, and also bore the name of John. He was an attendant on one of the Scotch Heralds, had the magnificent title of Ormonde Signifer. or Ormonde Pursuivant, and was entitled to wear a doublet with collar and a coat of Damask ' paintit by painter's pincell with the single escutcheone in metal. But his duties were somewhat onerous. In 1584 he was the bearer of the sentence of treason on the Earl of Angus; in 1590 he was commissioned to collect money from the burgh of Ayr, to refund Robert Jamesoun for equipping the ship James Royall which had gone to Norway to bring back James VI. and his Danish bride. The Pursuivant made many enemies, and on six several occasions the Privy Council had to bind persons over to do him no bodily injury.

But to return to the heads of the clan! As long as frequent hostilities occurred between England and Scotland the Borderers formed a valuable barrier against the enemy. But when James VI. was desirous of maintaining peace with Queen Elizabeth lawlessness could no longer be tolerated and a war of c^termina-tion was declared, the Border lairds being forced to become answerable for the good behaviour of each other and of the lands under their jurisdiction.

In 1561, the same year as Johne Gledstanis had to answer for murders committed by his son at Hundleshope, he and his neighbours, Kers, Rutherfurds. Scotts, etc., were charged to appear before the Privy Council to give their advice • in materis con-cernyng the weill of the Bordouris.' They made fair promises at the time, but, as we may imagine, afterwards winked at 'stouths, reifs, and other enormities,' and aided the escape of prescribed persons, for in a few months time they were obliged to confess that they had contravened their bond, and ' wer culpable of the pains contenit thairin.' But it was on James, the son of this John, that the full weight of the law descended. His name occurs more than thirty times in the Register of the Privy Council, and his record from 1567 to 1608 is a succession of 'bands' against malefactors, securities for this person or that, and punishments inflicted on himself for broken promises. He was placed in ward in the Castle of Blackness, and fined again and again to the appalling sum of 7000 (Scots ?). For payment of these fines his goods were ordered to be seized, and he himself was denounced rebel. Nevertheless, James Gledstonis of Cokkilaw continued to be one of the most prominent 'landit men' in the south of Roxburghshire, and was a power in his neighbourhood. Two incidents in his career must suffice, but they are typical of the period.

It had been arranged that from time to time ^Courts of Justice should be held by the united English and Scottish Wardens for the peaceable settlement of Border difficulties. Such a meeting took place in July, 1575, on the flat hill-top of Carter Fell, close to the town of Hawick. Hundreds of armed men were in attendance, the English chiefly carrying longbows and the Scotch firearms. An interesting ballad of the day tells how the ' Raid of the Reidswyre ' began with mutual sports and a sort of fair. Unfortunately some hasty words turned the peaceful gathering into a skirmish, in which the Scots were victorious, and the English fled ' with mony a shout and yell.' In this skirmish ' Little Gladstain, gude in need,' led the men of Hawick to the fray.

The second incident is a proof of the habitual insecurity of life and property on the Borders. James Gledstains seems to have had three brothers, John, William, and Walter. John lived at the i steding' of Meikle Whytlaw, which had been bequeathed to him by Sir Walter Scott. One night in August, 1580, 'certain Englische and Scottis thevis' came to Mekle Quhitelaw and carried off some of John Gledstanes' cattle. A party of over fifty men connected with the house of Branxholme at once followed these thieves into England, but failed to recover the cattle; and, in returning home through Liddesdale, they were set upon by some of the moss-troopers of that valley, who had a grudge against the laird of Coklaw and his companions. Walter Gledstanes was slain, and more than a dozen of the party were wounded. James Gledstanes proceeded to make complaint to the Privy Council, and the marauders were denounced as rebels. This did not mend matters, for six weeks after the first attack, the Elliots and Armstrongs of Liddesdale and others came to Quhitelaw, and ' thair thiftunslie, under silence of nicht, staw ane hundreth scheip pertening to Johne Gledstanes, to his utter wrak and herschip.' They then went on to a steading belonging to the laird of Coklaw, and csta, reft, and awaytuke twenty ki and oxin and twa horse, with his puir tennentis haill insight guides and plennissing' (entire household goods and farm implements).

The eldest son of James Gledstanes, also a James, took part in many lawless deeds, and in 1600 he helped to murder the ' pundler ; of the provost and bailies of Peebles, who, doubtless, was watching the fields to see that the corn was not injured or stolen. After the death of this James, his widow, Beatrice Ker, Lady Gladstanes, with three of her sons, headed a raid on Cade-muir, and threatened some of the inhabitants, who ' were occupied in their lauchful affairs upon their awin heritage.' But about this time Hundleshope passed to a branch of the Scott family.

It is easy to understand that men brought up in such wild surroundings, found life very tame when the Union of the two kingdoms had been accomplished, and the Border counties had become the middle shires of Great Britain. Many thousands of Scotchmen left their homes early in the 17th century, and the mania for emigration increased to an alarming extent after the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War. Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden had a Scotch brigade, and more than a hundred Scotch officers in his army, one of whom was a Gledstanes. This Herbert Gledstaines was born in Dumfries in the year 1600, and joined the Swedish flag in Germany about 1640. In 1647 he was naturalized by the name of Gladsten, and created a nobleman, with extensive properties in Oestergottland and elsewhere. The fortunes of the Scandinavian Gladstens are very interesting, for almost all the sons were professional soldiers. This branch has lately been brought prominently forward in the public press in connection with a correspondence between Mr. W. E. Gladstone and M. Du Chaillu, but probably 1 the laborious search among the Genealogical Tablets of the Swedish Nobility ' was made at the request of the writer of this paper as early as 1891. The name became extinct in Sweden in 1761, but Carl Gustaf, a great-grandson of Herbert Gladsten, had attached himself in 1725 to the Dutch East-India Company and had settled in the Moluccas, where he was acting as member of the Political Council of Amboyna as late as 1750. Three sons and three daughters being born to him on that island.

The Irish branch of the family, who have had the good sense to retain the old spelling of the name, are descended from another emigrant, Captain James Gledstanes, who took a body of yeomen to the relief of Londonderry in the memorable siege of 1689.

But all the Gledstanes were not men of war. At the beginning of the seventeenth century there was a group in Edinburgh, most of whom were ' merchants.' One of these acquired a beautiful house known as 'Thomas Gladstone's Land,' which is mentioned in 1634 in connection with one of the armed train-bands of the city. It stands in the Lawn-market, and is a perfect and typical example of those stone-fronted houses with outside stairs, which in the seventeenth century helped to make High Street and Canongate the finest street in the world.5

We have now arrived at the period when unhappily the fighting spirit found vent in the struggle between Prelacy and Presbytery. It is not our intention to go into the question of the Reformation movement in Scotland; suffice it to say that ferocious intolerance soiled the reputation of each party in the religious war. The Gledstanes in Dumfriesshire seem to have held to the faith of their forefathers, and two of them suffered for appearing as witnesses against the secret continuance of Popish practices. The Reformed Episcopal side was vehemently represented by the son of a clerk in Dundee, Mr. George Gladsteans, Archbishop of St. Andrews from 1G06 to 1615, or, as he is described by his patron James VI., ' the Reverend Father in God, our trustie and weilbeloved counsellor, primat and metropolitan of our kingdom/ But the ascendancy of Episeopalianism was short lived, and in 1638 his son, Mr. Alexander Glaidstanes, was deposed from his office as Archdeane of Sanctandrois and was obliged to ' take exilement upon him' in England, having left behind him his wife and small children. In 1662, his daughter Nicolas obtained 100 of the stipend still owing to her late father.6 Among the Covenanters we find 1 ffrancis Gladstanes, ane leftetennent ' and his brother Captain James Gladstanes who were killed at the battle of Aulderne, May 14t.li, 1645, and the grandson of ffrancis Gladstains, who died in Barbadoes about 1700, and who probably had been banished there as a slave on the restoration of Charles II. Meanwhile Walter Gladstanes of Coklaw, son of James and Beatrice (nee Iver), along with the Gledstanes of Whytlaw and Todschawhaugh, attempted to keep their persons in favour by serving in 1648 on a Committee of War, so that his Majesty's subjects ' might be kept in a dutiful obedience to the laws and public judicatories, and in Christian unity among themselves; ' and in 1685, 1690, and 1704 we find Gledstouns of that Ilk and ffrancis Glaiclstaanes of Whytlaw and Flex among the Commissioners of Supply for Roxburghshire.

But the importance of the whole family was now on the wane. By the middle of the eighteenth century all tlje chief branches had become extinct. It is somewhat doubtful who succeeded Walter at Cocklaw, but in 1672 there was a James Gladstains who received a grant or confirmation of arms. This man died about 1707, when Cocklaw descended to an heiress, Janet, who also died unmarried about 1734, and the property was divided in 1741. In 1745 the laird of Whytlaw and Flex was deprived of his lands for being an officer under Prince Charles ; and all the other important proprietors of the name had already disappeared from the County Valuation Roll of

Roxburghshire. The Gledstanes of Overkelwod-Craig in Dumfriesshire ended in an heiress, Bessie, who married Matthew Hairstanes before 1620, and those of Crocketford in Kirkcudbrightshire died out about 1746.

There were, however, numerous burgher and peasant families all over the Borders, who are traceable in Burgh Books and Parish Registers, but at the present day their descendants are to be found in the northern counties of England rather than in the Lowlands of Scotland. That the Gladstones have again come into notice is due to the fact that some of these peasants and hard-working burghers, were men of the same forceful characteristics as their ancestors, men, too, who by perseverance and rectitude were enabled to raise their sons to the social position they had held in the past.

The Liverpool branch, headed by Sir John, Baronet, and including the ex-Premier, alone attempts to connect the Gladstones of to-day with the old home in Lanarkshire, by tracing their descent from the 'cadet of Gladstanes of Gladstanes, who, in 1551, was laird of Arthurshiel. A link in the chain is missing. But there is little doubt that all branches of the family may claim as their ancestor that Herbert de Gledstan who swore fealty to Edward I., on August 28th, 1296.

Florence M. Gladstone.


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