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The Great Historic Families of Scotland
The Scotts of Harden


The Scotts of Harden are descended from Walter Scott of Sinton, who traced his pedigree to John, second son of Sir Michael Scott of Murthockstone. According to Satchells, ‘he was so lame he could neither run nor ride.’ Robert Scott of Strickshaws, second son of Walter, seventh laird of Sinton, flourished in the reign of James V., and distinguished himself at the battle of Melrose. He had three sons, the eldest of whom, Walter, called ‘Watty Fire-the-Braes,’ succeeded his uncle in the estate of Sinton. The second son, WILLIAM SCOTT, was the first laird of Harden, having acquired the estate from Lord Home in 1501. Almost all that is known of this branch of the Scott clan is derived from the researches of Sir Walter Scott, with whom it was a labour of love to draw up the pedigree of the different branches of the family, and to record their exploits. William Scott was called ‘Willy with the Boltfoot,’ from a lameness caused by a wound which he received in battle. Of this redoubted Borderer, Satchells says

‘The Laird and Lady of Harden,
Betwixt them procreat was a son
Called william Boitloot of Harden;
He did survive to be a MAN.’

‘The emphasis,’ says Lockhart, ‘with which this last line was quoted by Sir Walter Scott I can never forget. Boltfoot was, in fact, one of the ‘prowest knights of the whole genealogy—a fearless horseman and expert spearman, renowned and dreaded; and I suppose I have heard Sir Walter repeat a dozen times, as he was dashing into the Tweed and Ettrick, "rolling red from brae to brae," a stanza from what he called an old ballad, though it was most likely one of his own early imitations:-

"To tak’ the foord he aye was first,
Unless the English loons were near;
Plunge vassal then, plunge horse and man,
Auld Boltfoot rides into the rear."

Boltfoot’s son was the renowned Walter Scott of Harden, commonly called ‘Auld Wat,’ whose marauding exploits have been commemorated in many a Border tradition and ballad. The old castle of Harden, the stronghold of this renowned freebooter, which is still in good preservation, stands on the very brink of a dark and precipitous dell, through which a scanty rivulet steals to meet the Borthwick, a tributary of the Teviot. Leyden, in his ‘Scenes of Infancy,’ has given a description, as accurate as it is spirited, of the appearance of the mansion, and its surrounding scenery :—

‘Where Bortha hoarse, that loads the meads with sand,
Rolls her red tide to Teviot’s western strand,
Through slaty hills, whose sides are shagg’d with thorn,
Where springs in scattered tufts the dark green corn,
Towers wood-girt Harden, far above the vale,
And clouds of ravens o’er the turrets sail;
A hardy race, who never shrunk from war,
The
Scott, to rival realms a mighty bar,
Here fixed his mountain home—a wide domain,
And rich the soil, had purple heath been grain.’

In the recess of the glen on the edge of which the mansion stands, Wat of Harden kept his spoil, which served for the maintenance of his retainers. When the supply was exhausted the production of a pair of clean spurs in a covered dish, was a significant hint to the hungry band that they must seek a supply of beeves from the Northumbrian pastures to replenish the larder.

‘And loud and loud, in Harden tower
The quaigh gaed round wi’ mickle glee;
For the English beef was brought in bower,
And the English ale flowed merrilie.

They ate, they laughed, they sang and quaffed,
Till nought on board was seen,
When knight and squire were boune to dine,
But a spur of silver sheen.’

Sir Walter Scott, in connection with this custom, relates one of the many anecdotes which tradition has preserved respecting this redoubtable chief. ‘Upon one occasion when the village herd was driving out the cattle to pasture, the old laird heard him call out loudly to drive out Harden’s cow. "Harden’s cow!" echoed the affronted chief. "Is it come to that pass? By my faith, they shall soon say Harden’s kye" (cows). Accordingly, he sounded his bugle, set out with his followers, and next day returned with a bow of kye and a bassened (brindled) bull.’

On his return with his gallant prey, he passed a very large haystack. It occurred to the provident laird that this would be extremely convenient to fodder his new stock of cattle, but as no means of transporting it were obvious, he was fain to take leave of it, with the apostrophe, now become proverbial, ‘By my saul, had ye but four feet ye should not stand long there.’ In short, as Froissart says of a similar class of feudal robbers, nothing came amiss to them that was not too heavy or too hot.

Auld Wat’s bugle-horn is often referred to. An engraving of it is given in the ‘Scotts of Buccleuch,’ and shows its surface completely covered with initials, cut or burned into the horn. Sir Walter, who must have often seen this interesting relic, thus describes it in the ‘Reiver’s Wedding’ :—

‘He took a bugle frae his side,
With names carv’d o’er and o’er,
Full many a chief of meikie pride
That Border bugle bore.

He blew a note baith sharp and hie,
Till rock and water rang around;
Three score of moss-troopers and three
Have mounted at that bugle sound.’

In the spirit-stirring ballad of ‘Jamie Telfer’ there is a most picturesque description of old Harden weeping for very rage when his kinsman, Willie Scott of Gorrinberry, was killed in the fray.

‘But he’s taen aff his gude steel cap,
And thrice he’s waved it in the air;
The Dinlay snaw was ne’er mair white,
Nor the lyart locks of Harden’s hair.

"Revenge! revenge!" Auld Watt ‘gan cry;
"Fye, lads, lay on them cruellie!
We’ll ne’er see Teviotside again,
Or Willie’s death revenged sall be."’

Sir Walter evidently had this striking picture in his eye when he wrote the famous description of Harden’s appearance at Branksome, in the ‘Lay of the Last Minstrel’ :—

‘An aged knight, to danger steel’d,
With many a moss-trooper came on;
And azure in a golden field,
The stars and crescent graced his shield,
Without the bend of Murdieston.
Wide lay his lands round Oakwood tower,
And wide round haunted Castle-Ower;
High over Borthwick’s mountain flood,
His wood-embosom’d mansion stood;
In the dark glen, so deep below,
The herds of plundered England low;
His bold retainers’ daily food,
And bought with danger, blows, and blood.
Marauding chief! his sole delight
The moonlight raid, the morning fight;
Not even the Flower of Yarrow’s charms
In youth, might tame his rage for arms.
And still, in age, he spurn’d at rest,
And still his brows the helmet press’d,
Albeit the blanched locks below
Were white as Dinlay’s spotless snow.
Five stately warriors drew the sword
Before their father’s band;
A braver knight than Harden’s lord,
Ne’er belted on a brand.’

Sir Walter mentions, in a note to the ballad of ‘Jamie Teller,’ that Walter Scott of Harden was married to Mary Scott, celebrated in song by the title of the ‘Flower of Yarrow.’ By their marriage contract the father of that lady was to find Harden horse meat and man’s meat, at his tower of Dryhope, for a year and a day; but five barons pledged themselves that at the expiry of that period the son-in-law should remove without attempting to continue in possession by force—a condition which was referred to as a curious illustration of the unsettled character of the age. According to another traditionary account, Harden, on his part, agreed to give Dryhope the profits of the first Michaelmas moon. The original, Sir Walter adds, is in the charter-chest of the present Mr. Scott of Harden. A notary-public signed for all the parties to the deed, none of whom could write their names.

It is evident that Sir Walter had never examined the document in question, but had described it from common report. Mr. Fraser, who takes nothing for granted, was induced, by the peculiarity of these ante-nuptial conditions, to examine the original contract for the marriage, which bears date at Selkirk, 21st March, 1576, and the parties to it are Walter Scott of Harden, and John Scott of Dryhope, for his daughter, Marion Scott. Walter and Marion became bound to celebrate their marriage before Lammas then next; and Walter obliges himself to infeft Marion in life-rent in the lands of Mabynlaw, as a part of Harden. The father of Marion Scott becomes bound to pay to Harden four hundred merks Scots, at the times specified, the balance being to be paid ‘at the said Walter and Marion’s passing to their awin hous.’ For observing the contract faithfully, the parties to the contract obliged them, by the faith and truth of their bodies, and by the ‘ostentioun’ of their right hands. The contract, however, contains nothing about providing meat for man and horse, or the five guaranteeing barons, and the profits of the Michaelmas moon.

By the 'Flower of Yarrow’ the laird of Harden had six sons, five of whom survived him, and his extensive estates were divided among them. The sixth son was slain, at a fray in a hunting match, by the Scotts of Gilmanscleugh. His brothers flew to arms, but the old laird secured them in the dungeon of his tower, hurried to Edinburgh, stated the crime, and obtained a gift of the lands of the offenders from the Crown. He returned to Harden with equal speed, relieved his sons, and showed them the charter. ‘To horse, lads,’ cried the savage warrior, ‘and let us take possession. The lands of Gilmanscleugh are well worth a dead son.’ The property thus obtained continued in the family till the beginning of last century, when it was sold by John Scott of Harden to Anne, Duchess of Buccleuch.

An interesting story has been preserved by tradition respecting one of the forays which Harden’s retainers made across the Border into Cumberland. On their return laden with spoil, which lay scattered in heaps around the hall, the lady of the mansion heard a wailing sound from one of the bundles, and on unloosing it found an infant wrapped in it, who flung his arms around her neck, and clung to her breast. She took charge of the little captive, and brought him up as her foster-child. He spent his life at Harden, but had no taste for the wild and adventurous enterprises of its marauding inmates, and passed his days in the quiet scenes of pastoral pursuits. He is said to have been the author of some of the most beautiful songs and ballads whose scenes are laid on the Borders. Leyden, in his ‘Scenes of Infancy,’ has embodied this touching story in the following beautiful lines:-

‘The waning harvest-moon shone cold and bright,
The warder’s horn was heard at dead of night;
And as the massy portals wide were flung,
With stamping hoofs the rocky pavement rung.
What fair, half-veiled, leans from her lattice hall,
Where red the wavering gleams of torchlight fall?
‘Tis Yarrow’s fairest flower, who through the gloom
Looks wistful for her lover’s dancing plume.
Amid the piles of spoil that strew’d the ground,
Her ear, all anxious, caught a wailing sound
With trembling haste the youthful matron flew,
And from the hurried heaps an infant drew.

Scared at the light his little hands he flung
Around her neck, and to her bosom clung;
While beauteous Mary soothed, in accents mild,
His fluttering soul, and clasped her foster-child.
Of milder mood the gentle captive grew,
Nor loved the scenes that scared his infant view;
In vales remote, from camps and castles far,
He shunned the fearful shuddering joy of war;
Content the loves of simple swains to sing,
Or wake to fame the harp’s heroic string.

His are the strains, whose wandering echoes thrill
The shepherd, lingering on the twilight hill,
When evening brings the merry folding hours,
And sun-eyed daisies close their winking flowers.
He lived o’er Yarrow’s Flower to shed the tear,
To strew the holly leaves o’er Harden’s bier;
But none was found above the minstrel’s tomb,
Emblem of peace, to bid the daisy bloom;
He, nameless as the race from which he sprung,
Saved other names, and left his own unsung.’

Auld Wat of Harden died about 1629, at a great age. His eldest son, Sir William, succeeded him as Baron of Harden; his second son, Walter, was killed by the Scotts of Gilmanscleugh. Hugh, the third, was the progenitor of the Scotts of Gala. The ancient family estate of Sinton was conveyed by Auld Wat to his fifth son, Francis, who is the ancestor of the modern family of Sinton. Wat’s six daughters, who probably inherited their mother’s beauty, were all married to Border lairds. Margaret, the eldest, became the wife of Gilbert Elliot of Stobs, who for some unknown reason was called ‘Gibby with the Gowden [golden] Garters.’ The fourth daughter was married to the famous freebooter, Scott of Tushielaw, who was designated ‘King of the Border.’

SIR WILLIAM SCOTT was a favourite of James VI., by whom he was knighted in the lifetime of his father. He obtained also charters of various lands in the Border counties. He embraced the cause of Charles I. during the Great Civil War, and was in consequence fined 3,000 by Cromwell in 1654. He was a man of good abilities, and held various offices of trust, including the sheriffship of Selkirk; but his memory has been preserved mainly by the romantic story connected with his marriage. It has been often told, but the fullest and best account of the incident, is given by Sir Walter Scott, who was a firm believer in the accuracy of the narrative, and commenced, but did not complete, a ballad upon it, called ‘The Reiver’s Wedding.’ The following account of the affair is given by Sir Walter in his ‘Border Antiquities.’ He tells it also in a letter to Miss Seward, June 29, 1802.

‘The Scotts and Murrays were ancient enemies; and as the possessions of the former adjoined to those of the latter, or lay contiguous to them on many points, they were at no loss for opportunities of exercising their enmity "according to the custom of the Marches." In the seventeenth century the greater part of the property lying upon the river Ettrick belonged to Scott of Harden, who made his, principal residence at Oakwood Tower, a Border house of strength still remaining upon that river. William Scott (afterwards Sir William), son of the head of this family, undertook an expedition against the Murrays of Elibank, whose property lay at a few miles distant. He found his enemy upon their guard, was defeated, and made prisoner in the act of driving off the cattle he had collected for that purpose. Sir Gideon Murray. conducted his prisoner to the castle, where his lady received him with congratulations upon his victory, and inquiries concerning the fate to which he destined his prisoner. "The gallows," answered Sir Gideon—for he is said already to have acquired the honour of knighthood—"to the gallows with the marauder." "Hout, na, Sir Gideon," answered the considerate matron, in her vernacular idiom; "would you hang the winsome young laird of Harden when you have three ill-favoured daughters to marry?" "Right," answered the baron, who catched at the idea, "he shall marry our daughter, Muckle-mouthed Meg, or strap for it." Upon this alternative being proposed to the prisoner, he upon the first view of the case stoutly preferred the gibbet to "Muckle-mouthed Meg," for such was the nickname of the young lady, whose real name was Agnes. But at length, when he was literally led forth to execution, and saw no other chance of escape, he retracted his ungallant resolution, and preferred the typical noose of matrimony to the literal cord of hemp. Such is the tradition established in both families, and often jocularly referred to upon the Borders. It may he necessary to add that Muckle-mouthed Meg and her husband were a happy and loving pair, and had a large family.’

The common belief in the district was that all Meg’s descendants have inherited something of her characteristic feature. Sir Walter Scott, who was one of them, certainly was no exception to the rule. Lockhart states that the contract of marriage, executed instantly on the parchment of a drum, is still in the charter-chest of Sir Walter Scott’s representative. Mr. Fraser, who carefully examined the document, declares that ‘the marriage of young Harden and Agnes Murray, instead of being a hurried business, was arranged very leisurely, and with great care, calmness, and deliberation by all the parties interested, including the two principals, the bridegroom and bride, and the parents on either side. Instead of one contract, as is usual in such cases, there were two separate and successive contracts, made at an interval of several months, before the marriage was finally arranged.’ The first contract bears date at Edinburgh, 18th February, 1611. In it young Harden and Agnes Murray agree to solemnise their marriage in the face of Christ’s Kirk, within two months and a half after the date of the contract. Stipulations are made in the document for the infeftment, by Walter Scott, of his son and his promised spouse, and their heirs male, in the lands of Harden and other lands belonging to Walter and William Scott; and Sir Gideon Murray on his part becomes bound to pay to William Scott the sum of seven thousand merks as tocher with his daughter. The contract is subscribed by Sir Gideon Murray, William Scott, and ‘Agnes Murray,’ all good signatures. But as Auld Wat of Harden could not write, his subscription is thus given: ‘Walter Scott of Harden, with my hand at the pen, led be the notaries underwritten at my command, becus I can not wryt.’ The marriage however did not take place at the time specified in the contract, a failure which is not accounted for, and a second contract was made at the Provost’s Place of Creichtoun, on the 14th of July, 1611, in terms similar to those of the original contract. Taking all these circumstances into account, Mr. Fraser considers himself entitled to regard the story of ‘Muckle-mouthed Meg’ as a myth.

The existence and the terms of these two contracts no doubt show that the marriage of young Harden and Agnes Murray was not a hastily-settled affair, regulated by a contract ‘executed instantly on the parchment of a drum;’ but it is difficult to believe that a story so minute and circumstantial in its details could have been entirely fictitious. Myths are of slow growth, and have always some fact as a foundation. Sir William Scott died in 1655. The eldest son of ‘Little Sir William’ survived till 1707, and his second son lived three years longer. Sir Walter Scott was born in 1771, and the story must have been in circulation and universally credited long before his day. Is it not possible and probable that Sir William Scott was ‘handfasted’ to Agnes Murray in some such circumstances as are narrated by his descendant, the poet? And may not the delay in solemnizing the marriage, necessitating the formation of a second contract, have been caused by the reluctance of ‘the handsomest man of his time’ to marry an ill-favoured bride?

Sir William Scott had by Agnes Murray five sons and three daughters. The eldest son, called ‘LITTLE SIR WILLIAM,’ was knighted by Charles II. immediately after the Restoration. The second was Sir Gideon of Highchester, whose posterity carried on the line of the family. Walter, the third son, called ‘Watty Wudspurs’ (or Mad-spurs), figures characteristically in the ballad of ‘Jamie Telfer.’ He was the ancestor of the Scotts of Raeburn. The fourth son was James of Thirlestaine; and from John of Woll, the fifth son, the family of Woll are descended.

SIR WILLIAM SCOTT, fifth Baron of Harden, the son of ‘Little Sir William,’ was implicated in the rebellion of the Earl of Argyll, but he obtained a remission 12th December, 1685. He died without issue in 1707, and was succeeded by his only brother, Robert, styled of Iliston. He also had no issue, and was succeeded in 1710 by his cousin, Walter, son of Sir Gideon Scott of Highchester, who was so deeply implicated in the intrigue for the marriage of his son to the Countess of Buccleuch (see p. 214). As we have seen, he was created by Charles II. Earl of Tarras and Lord Almoor and Campcastill, ‘for the days of his natural life,’ and this barren honour was all that he gained by his marriage. He and his crafty, intriguing father continued to press upon the King his claims for the sum of 120,000 Scots, which, under the marriage contract, was to be paid to him in the event of the Countess predeceasing him within a year and a day of the date of the contract. All his efforts, however, were fruitless; the marriage contract was reduced. An agreement with the Earl and Countess of Wemyss, that 20,000 merks per annum should be secured to him by a decree of the Court, came to nothing, as ‘my Lady Wemyss, notwithstanding all her promises and engagements, was not the least industrious in the matter.’ Both Monmouth and his Duchess, however, spoke to the King for him, but he says, ‘Truly the King, she found, was very little inclined to favour me, for he said, "Is it not enough that I have made him an Earle, though I doe no more?" and that the Duke answered that I was the worse of that, since I had not whereupon to maintain the post of an Earle, and that whate I pretended to was by vertue of my contract of marriage, for it was a shame I should have nothing upon that account. The King seemed not to notice much that which the Duke spoke anent my contract of marriage; but said over again he had made me an Earle.’ Under the influence of that ‘hope deferred which maketh the heart sick’ the Earl determined to leave the Court, and in September, 1671, he wrote to his father, ‘In a few days I am to parte homewarde, since I find my longer stay hier will be in vain.’ The unlucky husband of the Countess Mary was certainly treated shabbily and unjustly, but at the same time it is impossible to feel much sympathy for his disappointment.

The Earl of Tarras was connected with the plot for the exclusion of the Duke of York from the Crown, and on its discovery he was apprehended and tried for treason. He threw himself upon the King’s mercy, and confessed all that he knew of the plot, ‘either of himself or any other.’ His evidence was made use of to procure the condemnation of the eminent patriot, Robert Baillie of Jerviswood. But his confession saved his own life, for, though he was brought to trial 5th January, 1685, found guilty, and condemned to be executed, the sentence was merely formal; a remission was granted to him, and he was set at liberty under a bond of 3,000 for his appearance when called before the Privy Council.

The Earl of Tarras married as his second wife, 31st December, 1677, Helen, daughter of Thomas Hepburn of Humbie, and had issue by her five sons and five daughters. Through that marriage the estate of Humbie, in East Lothian, now belongs to Lord Polwarth, the head of the Harden family.

Lord Tarras was one of the first to take part in the Revolution of 1688. He died in April, 1693, in the forty-ninth year of his age. His life dignities of course became extinct. His estates were inherited by his eldest son, Gideon Scott of Highchester, whose two sons possessed in turn the family estates, and both died without issue. Harden then devolved on their uncle, the second son of the Earl of Tarras, who was four times married, and left two sons, the elder of whom, Walter Scott, his heir, represented Roxburghshire in Parliament from 1747 to 1763, when he was appointed Receiver-General of the Customs, or Cashier of the Excise, in Scotland. He married Lady Diana Hume Campbell, youngest daughter of the third Earl of Marchmont, the only one of the three that had issue. He died in 1793. Lady Diana survived her husband the long period of thirty-four years, and died in 1827, in the ninety-fourth year of her age. ‘She had conversed in her early days,’ says Lockhart, ‘with the brightest ornaments of the cycle of Queen Anne, and preserved rich stores of anecdote, well calculated to gratify, the curiosity and excite the ambition of a young enthusiast in literature. Lady Diana soon appreciated the minstrel of the clan, and surviving to a remarkable age, she had the satisfaction of seeing him at the height of his eminence—the solitary person who could give the author of "Marmion" personal reminiscences of Pope.’ When this venerable lady died, Sir Walter Scott entered in his diary, on the 22nd of July, ‘Lady Diana Scott was the last person whom I recollect so much older than myself, that she always kept at the same distance, in point of age, so that she scarce seemed older to me, relatively, two years ago, when in her ninety-second year, than fifty years before. She was the daughter (alone remaining) of Pope’s Earl of Marchmont, and, like her father, had an acute mind and an eager temper. She was always kind to me, remarkably so indeed when I was a boy.’

HUGH SCOTT, the son of Mr. Walter Scott and Lady Diana, eleventh Baron of Harden, was born in 1758. He was elected member of Parliament for Berwickshire in 1780—an honour which lost him a fine estate. (See vol. i. 404.) He married, in 1795, Harriet, daughter of Hans Maurice, Count de Bruhl, Saxon ambassador at the British Court. Sir Walter Scott, then a young man, was introduced to this lady shortly after marriage, and she gave him great assistance in his translations from the German. He used to say that ‘she was the first woman of real fashion that took him up; that she used the privilege of her sex and station in the truest spirit of kindness, set him right as to a thousand little trifles which no one else could have ventured to notice, and, in short, did for him what no one but an elegant woman can do for a young man whose early days have been spent in narrow and provincial circles.’ She continued through life his attached friend, and the letters which he wrote to her (the last of them from Naples, 6th March, 1832) show how cordially he reciprocated her esteem and regard. Of Harden himself, Sir Walter wrote to the Duke of Buccleuch, in 1817, ‘I have known Harden long, and most intimately—a more respectable man, either for feeling, or talent, or knowledge of human life, is rarely to be met with.’

Mr. Scott succeeded in recovering, in 1835, the Barony of Polwarth, which had been conferred on his maternal ancestor, Sir Patrick Hume, in 1690. Seven years later, Sir Patrick was created Earl of Marchmont and Viscount Blasonberry, and also, for the second time, Baron Polwarth. These honours were restricted to his heirs male, and their heirs male, and the heirs male of the family, but the first Barony of Polwarth was to descend to the heirs male of the first peer, and to their heirs. This destination of the peerage was long overlooked, and while various efforts were made, without success, to recover the earldom of Marchmont, it was not until many years after the death of the third Earl that attention was directed to the difference in distinction between the first and the second Barony of Polwarth. Mr. Scott presented a petition to the House of Lords, claiming the first barony as grandson and nearest heir-of line to the last Earl of Marchmont, and had his claim allowed in 1835. Lord Polwarth died 28th December, 1841, and was succeeded by his eldest son—

HENRY FRANCIS HEPBURN SCOTT, fifth Baron Polwarth, who was born on 1st January, 1800. He assumed the name of Hepburn, on inheriting the estates of the Hepburns of Humbie, which descended to him through Helen Hepburn, the second wife of the Earl of Tarras. Lord Polwarth married, in 1835, Georgina Baillie, daughter of George Baillie of Jerviswood, a descendant of the illustrious patriot and Covenanter, who suffered the loss of life and estate for ‘the Good Old Cause’ in the time of ‘the Persecution.’ Lord Polwarth held the office of Lord-Lieutenant and Sheriff-Principal of Selkirkshire, and was for many years one of the sixteen representative peers of Scotland. He was universally esteemed and respected throughout the Border counties, and his death, in 1867, caused wide and deep regret. The testimony, which the Duke of Buccleuch gave at the annual meeting of the Commissioners of Supply for the county of Roxburgh, to the personal worth of Lord Polwarth, was cordially concurred in by all parties and all classes. ‘For upwards of forty years,’ said the Duke, ‘he was one of the most indefatigable, most useful, and most attentive members of the various bodies connected with the county, and spared neither time nor trouble in the discharge of his manifold duties. His fine character as a gentleman stood as high as it was possible for any man’s character to stand. For my own part, I feel that I have lost in Lord Polwarth one of my oldest and most steadfast friends, for whom I have always entertained the most affectionate regard.’

Lord Polwarth was succeeded by his eldest son, WALTER HUGH HEPBURN SCOTT, sixth Baron Polwarth, who was born in 1838. His lordship holds the office, formerly held by his father, of Lord-Lieutenant and Sheriff-Principal of Selkirkshire.

THE SCOTTS OF RAEBURN are descended from Walter, third son of Sir William Scott, grandson of ’Auld Wat’ of Harden. Their chief claim to be kept in remembrance is based on the fact that Sir Walter Scott, the illustrious poet and novelist, belonged to the Raeburn family. Lockhart says ‘Christie Steele’s brief character of Croftangry’s ancestry appears to suit well all that we have on record concerning Scott’s immediate progenitors of the stubborn race of Raeburn: "They werena ill to the poor folk, and that is aye something; they were just decent, bein bodies. Any poor creature that had face to beg got an awmous, and welcome; they that were shamefaced gaed by, and twice as welcome. But they keepit an honest walk before God and man, and as I said before, if they did little good, they did little ill. They lifted their rents and spent them, called in their kain and eat them; gaed to the kirk of a Sunday; bowed civilly if folk tuk aff their bonnets as they gaed by, and lookit as black as sin at them that keepit them on."

At the Restoration, the first laird of Raeburn and his wife, a daughter of William MacDougal of Makerston, became Quakers, and were in consequence subjected to severe persecution by the tyrannical and oppressive Government of that day. Raeburn was first imprisoned in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, and was afterwards conveyed to the jail of Jedburgh, where his wife was incarcerated. No one was allowed to have access to them, except such persons as might he likely to convert them from their Quaker principles. Their children were taken from them by an edict of the Privy Council, in order that they might not be infected with the heresy of their parents, and the laird was ordered to pay 2,000 Scots for their maintenance. ‘It appears,’ says Sir Walter Scott, ‘that the laird of Makerston, his brother-in-law, joined with Raeburn’s own brother Harden in this singular persecution. It was observed by the people that the male line of the second Sir William of Harden became extinct in 1710, and that the representation of Makerston soon passed into the female line. They assigned, as a cause, that when the wife of Raeburn found herself deprived of her husband, and refused permission even to see her children, she pronounced a malediction on her husband’s brother and her own, and prayed that a male of their body might not inherit their property.’

Raeburn’s eldest son, William, at the age of twenty-four, fell in a duel with Pringle of Crichton, which was fought with swords, near Selkirk, in 1707. The second son, Walter, received a good education at the University of Glasgow. He was a zealous Jacobite, and was called ‘Beardie,’ from a vow which he had made never to shave his beard till the exiled royal family were restored. Sir Walter Scott says of him ‘that it would have been well if his zeal for the banished dynasty of Stewart had stopped with his letting his beard grow. But he took arms, and intrigued in their cause, until he lost all he had in the world, and, as I have heard, ran a narrow risk of being hanged, had it not been for the interference of Anne, Duchess of Buccleuch and Monmouth.’

In the introduction to the sixth canto of ‘Marmion,’ Sir Walter describes his ‘great-grandsire ‘----

‘With amber beard, and flaxen hair,
And reverend apostolic air,’

as having been loyal, to his cost :—

‘The banished race of Kings revived,
And lost his land—but kept his beard.’

Robert Scott, Beardie’s second son, was Sir Walter Scott’s grandfather.

The SCOTS OF THIRLSTANE are represented in the male line by Lord Napier of Ettrick.


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