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The Historical Families of Dunfriesshire and the Border Wars

So late as the reign of Alexander III. (died 1286) the district extending from the Solway to the Clyde was still known as Cumbria, or the land of the Celts; while the country between Northumbria and the Forth was called Saxony, from the number of English immigrants who had sought a refuge there when William the Conqueror laid waste the district north of the Humber. In Cumbria Christianity was introduced from Iona before it had been embraced by the Saxons of South Britain. St. Ninian, from Rome, built a church in Galloway in 412, and that long stood alone, but the Irish St. Colomba and his followers had settled at Iona, and were active missionaries in Dumfriesshire in the 6th century. "Tis plain," says Maitland, one of the first authorities on early Scottish history, "that the Christian Scots were converted before the arrival of Palladius, the first bishop, by persons of a different communion to the Church of Rome, as is manifest by the disputes afterwards carried on by Coleman and other Scottish chiefs against the followers of Austin the Monk (St. Augustine) concerning the keeping of Easter, which by its being kept by the Scots according to the practice of the Eastern Church shows that our ancestors, instead of being proselytized by the Church of Rome, owed their conversion to the Greek Church, as no doubt the Britons did, by their maintaining the same doctrine." Soul’s Seat or Salsit, in Galloway, was always admitted to be a non Roman ecclesiastical house. As the Danes and Norwegians possessed the Hebrides, the Isle of Man, and some authority over Argyllshire, it is probable that they had a footing in Dumfriesshire. By or Bie, a Norse termination, is found to several Dumfries names; and the ancient runic cross at Ruthwell, adorned with Christian symbols, is similar to another erected at Campbeltown in Argyll, and they are the only two remaining in Scotland. The names of Bridekirk, Kirkpatrick, Redkirk or Rampatrick come from Irish saints. St. Mungo is also Celtic; and the Roriesons anglicized their appellation from MacRorie, its original form (borne by the Lords of Bute), as did the Thomsons, Fergussons, Andersons, and some other families with the termination son.

The Greek, rather than Roman, source from which the Columba Christians derived their faith perhaps accounts for the prevalence of Greek Christian names in the earliest records of Dumfriesshire. Agamemnon, Homer, Achilles, Michael, Hercules, Constantine, Simon, Alexander, Andreas, Nicolas (for both men and women), Helen, Agnes, Catherine, Sapientia, and many more frequently appear. Chalmers has conjectured that all the Norman families found in Annandale in the 13th century were invited to settle there by David I., who, as Earl of Cumberland, had been companion in arms with Robert Bruce at the Court of Henry I. This Robert Bruce was probably the same who came over with William the Conqueror or his son, and he appears as a witness in deeds connected with Henry I. Robert de Comyn (the same as the French Comines) was made Earl of Northumberland, and was killed at the siege of Alnwick in 1093. Malcolm Canmore, King of Scotland, who was killed on the same occasion, did homage to England for the county of Cumberland, then united to Dumfriesshire, a wild and uncontrolled part of Scotland; and his son David having seen the superior refinement of the Norman French knights to those of England and Scotland, hoped by their means to civilize the natives of Cumbria, who were much the same as the wild Scots or Galwegians. The crusades brought the military of all nations together on the fields of Palestine, and made them acquainted with each other’s characteristics. Like Malcolm III., Alexander III. did homage to the English King, his brother-in-law, for Cumberland; and everything prophesied the closest relations in the future between the two countries, when a series of premature deaths, and what some call the unprincipled ambition, others the high policy of Edward I., inaugurated a long war, and all its consequent miseries. The misfortunes of Scotland towards the close of the reign of Alexander III. began with the death of the King’s younger son David in 1281. In 1283 the elder son, Alexander, Prince of Scotland, also died, and a letter from Sir Raoul Fleming to the King of England requested a safe conduct for himself and the Sieur de Baliol, as well as for "their young lady," widow of the Prince, through England, on her way back to her father’s Court in Flanders. On February 5, the Scottish nobles had recognised Margaret, daughter of the late Margaret, Princess of Scotland, by her marriage with Eric, King of Norway, as their future Queen, and Edward lost no time in obtaining, with much expense, a dispensation from the Pope for his own son to marry within the prohibited degrees, with a view to a future wedding between this youthful heiress and the Prince of Wales.

A letter from Alexander III. to Edward, in April of the same year, thanks the King for a long course of benefits, and for his sympathy transmitted by his messenger, Friar John of St. Germains, which afforded him great solace in these intolerable difficulties and troubles which he has sustained, and still feels, through the death of his most beloved son, the King’s dearest nephew. [From the Scottish Chronicles collected in the London Record Office edited by Joseph Bain, F.S.A.] Though death had carried off all his blood in Scotland, yet one remained, the child of his own dearest daughter, King Edward’s niece, and now, under Divine Providence, the heir apparent of Scotland. Much good may yet be in store for them, and death only can dissolve their league of unity. He requests a reply through his messenger, Andrew Abbot of Cupar. The letter is dated Edinburgh Castle, 20th April, and 35th of his reign.

A letter to Edward I. from this young Prince Alexander is still extant. He styles himself the English King’s "own nephew, and first-born son of Alexander, King of Scotland, to his most hearty uncle the King," and expresses the warmest affection for himself, the Queen, and their children, and wishes to hear of them more frequently. He believes the King will be glad to hear good news of himself and his kindred, and as he has no seal of his own (he was but sixteen) he uses that of Sir W. de Saint Clair, his guardian. His sister also wrote a year later to the King, telling him that she is "healthy and lively by God’s mercy, and hopes he will constantly inform her of his own state which God keep, and of his wishes towards her." She seals with the seal of Dame Luce de Hessewell, her chamberer—lady of the bed-chamber—and concludes with a thousand salutations. The Armstrongs were even then beginning to give trouble. One named John had been killed by James de Multon, for whom Alexander III. solicits a pardon from his brother-in-law, 1281.

The Scottish King re-married after the death of his son, but within a year was killed by a fall from his horse over, a cliff in Fifeshire at the age of 44, and with him ended the line of the native Celtic kings. Edward I. at once lent the King of Norway, father of the infant Queen, 2000 marks to bring her to Scotland, and granted annuities to severa1 Norwegians of rank; but the child died, possibly of sea sickness, in Orkney, before she had touched the Scottish shore, and while Edward was fitting out a great vessel at Hull to bring "Margaret, the damsel of Scotland," to England. The Bishop of St. Andrews wrote to beg him to come to the Borders to prevent disorders, for the Lord of Annandale (Robert Bruce, the grandfather) had unexpectedly arrived with a formidable retinue at Perth, and with eleven other competitors was prepared to dispute the crown. The claims of nine were soon dismissed, and of the pretensions of John Baliol, Lord of Galloway and Annan, of John Comyn, Lord of Badenoch, and of Robert Bruce, Edward I. gave the casting vote in favour of Baliol, as descended from the eldest female branch, but on conditions which destroyed the independence of Scotland, as they included the maintenance of English garrisons in all the principal fortresses, and the performance by Baliol of homage to Edward for all his Scottish provinces.

Comyn renounced his own claim to support that of Baliol, his brother-in-law, and was appointed to high office by Edward I. All the Scottish noblemen except William Douglas took an oath of fidelity for themselves and their heirs in the most solemn terms to Edward at Roxburgh, Berwick-upon-Tweed, and other Scottish towns in 1296, and the documents which record it, with their names and seals attached, called the Ragman’s Roll, are still preserved. With the exception of the Bruces, the Dumfriesshire lairds seem generally to have kept the oath. Dumfriesshire was indeed held by the English till the disadvantageous peace with Scotland, made during the minority of Edward III., and which an old English writer treats as a judgment on England for the murder of Edward II.; and the Baillies, Cathcarts, Craigies, Gordons, Grahames, Kirkpatricks, Setons, [With the Setons fear must have been the motive, for the father of Bruce’s brother-in-law was hung, drawn, and quartered by the English. The men of Galloway, descended from the wild Scots who inhabited the Highlands and borders of Dumfriesshire, are said to have thrown off their clothes when they went into battle. Speed depicts them as wearing nothing but a blanket or plaid wrapped round them, and held together by the hand like an Arab’s burnoose. The women wore the same garment, but made a hood of it.] St. Clairs, Stewards of Bonkill, Carliles of Torthorwald, and others, particularly Annandale men, fought for the English long after the death of Edward I.


In the civil wars occasioned by the arrival on Scottish soil of Prince James Stuart in 1715, and of Prince Charles Edward in 1745, some members of a family adhered to the cause of King George, while the rest took up arms for his opponent in order to save the family property, and probably this was the case in the time of the Plantagents. Even the horrible penalties for high treason inflicted in England so late as 1745, and which were carried out most illegally (and apparently introduced) under Edward I. (the Scots not being his subjects could not be accused of high treason) did not deter some of those most likely to fall into English hands from taking up arms for Robert Bruce. The Earl of Ulster, related to both Bruce and the Stewards of Scotland, gave his support to Edward I. Robert Bruce effected an alliance with the native princes of Wales and with part of Ireland, and in time many of the lairds of Celtic descent joined his standard. Of Norman origin, it was natural that with those Scottish chiefs of Norman descent he should at first adhere to Edward I., and it was not till he was excommunicated by the Pope, and outlawed by the civil power for the death of Comyn in the chancel of the Grey Friars’ Church at Dumfries, that he openly assumed the role of a Scottish patriot. Almost the last of Edward’s acts was to order the execution of Thomas and Alexander Bruce, who had been taken prisoners in Galloway as they were marching at the head of some Irish forces to join their brother. Although desperately wounded they were carried actually bleeding on to the scaffold at Carlisle (February 9, 1307). Three months before, their brother Nigel Bruce, had been hung, drawn, and quartered at Perth by order of the English governor; and the Countess of Buchan, with King Robert’s daughter Marjory, his second wife, the Countess of Carrick (as she was called), and his sisters, Christine and Marie, who was afterwards exchanged for Walter Comyn, and married Sir Nigel Campbell, the ancestor of the Duke of Argyle, were all dragged out of the sanctuary of St. Duthoc at Tain, where they had taken refuge, and three of the ladies, including Bruce’s sisters, were imprisoned in cages. In February, 1314, King Robert’s wife was in prison at Rochester Castle. Edward II., then reigning, seems to have been very humane with regard to the Scottish prisoners, and he ordered her at that time to have "a sufficient chamber," and 20s a week for expenses. She was also to be allowed exercise within the Castle and St. Andrew’s Priory at suitable times. A year later she was exchanged with her sister-in-law, Christine, her stepdaughter, Marjory, her brother-in-law, the Earl of Mar, and the Bishop of Glasgow for some of the English prisoners captured at the battle of Bannockburn.

In later days nearly every Scottish family has tried to show that its ancestors was on the side of Bruce or Wallace, but unfortunately this cannot be proved. The appeal by the Scottish nobles to the Pope stating the proofs that Scotland had a right to be independent, alleged truly enough that the signatures to the Ragman’s Roll had been obtained by the "threats and horrid tortures" to which Edward had subjected all who opposed him. It stated that the Scottish nation (Speed, in the reign of Elizabeth, derives the name of the Scots from Scyth) issuing out of greater Scythia, passed the Tyrenian Sea and the pillars of Hercules, and for a long time resided in Spain. (In Speed’s days Cape Finisterre was called Scythicus in remembrance of their sojourn in Spain.) There, said the memorial, they could not be subdued, though among a very fierce people, and they had eventually found their way to the west of Scotland, where they expelled the Britons and destroyed the aborigines, maintaining themselves against the invasions of Danes, Norwegians, and English. This was dated from Aberbrothock, 1320. Undoubtedly the Scots would have earlier shaken off the English yoke if there had not been divisions among their leading men. It was the attitude of the Scottish nobles, including Bruce and Comyn, that caused the defeat of Wallace; and Sir John Steward of Menteith, who betrayed the popular hero to the English, was on friendly terms with Bruce, and great-uncle to his son-in-law. The temporalities of the bishopric of Glasgow, in Annandale, were granted to Sir John Steward for "great services" by Edward I. in 1306. These great services were the betrayal of Wallace, though Sir John has apologists who try to prove his innocence in the matter. Sir William Carlile, King Robert’s brother-in-law, did not join the Scots till 1317. He then forfeited his lands in Cumberland, but as his sons William and John, and his brothers Thomas and James, all adhered to England, it is probable that the descendants of one or other of them obtained the restoration of the lands of Newbie in Cumberland, which bore the same name as the paternal inheritance in Dumfriesshire. In later centuries there were English Carliles of some distinction who claimed an origin from the owners of Newbie in Cumberland. In the State accounts of Edward II., Sir Thomas de Torthorald — i.e., Carlile of Torthorald—is described as being killed in the English Warden’s raid on the Scots near Redcross, November 30, 1314. The same year Johanna, widow of Sir James de Torthorald, killed in the King’s service at Stirling, writes to acknowledge 8 qrs. of wheat and 10 qrs. of beans and pease sent to her from the King’s stores "for the sustenance of herself and her children." She appends her seal to the letter, and a little later was granted an annuity. On the 24th of July, 1347, an inquisition, held at Lochmaben under a writ of the Duchy of Lancaster, by Gilbert de Joneston, Wm. de Levyngton, Robt. de Crosby, Adam Latimer, Thos. de la Beck, Wm. Mounceux, Robert son of John, Wm. del Lathes, Nicolas del Skaleby, Adam del Yate, and Helias Post, jurors, declared William de Carlile to be the son and heir of the late John de Carlile (second son of Sir William de Carlile and Lady Marjory Bruce), and nearest heir to his uncle William de Carlile. They further show that the late William did nothing against his lord (the English King) at any time; nor did William, son and heir of the late John de Carlile, that he should not recover his lands of Luce, in the Burgh of Annan, Loughwode, Woodhouse, &c. Throughout his career Bruce was remarkable for his magnanimity towards his enemies, and even towards his faithless friends; and the same quality was not absent in his son David, nor in their opponents, Edward II. and III. The difficult position of Dumfriesshire lairds was evidently taken into consideration by the Scottish and English Monarchs, for Thomas de Torthorald, the second son of Sir W. de Carlile and Marjory Bruce, had been killed the previous year at the battle of Durham when fighting by the side of David II. The head of the family in 1431 married Elizabeth Kirkpatrick. Their grandson, Alexander Carlile, second son of the first Lord Carlile of Torthorald, received Bridekirk as his portion, and his direct male descendant, John, son of Thomas, son of Alexander Carlile of Bridekirk, had a charter of the ecclesiastical lands of Torthorald in 1605 as one of the male heirs of the original grantee. Robert Carlile, laird of Bridekirk, was one of the nearest of kin who took out letters of slain for the murder of James Douglas, Lord of Torthorald, who had married the heiress of the Carlile barony, and when he "was walking in peaceable and quiet manner," as the indictment set forth, "upon the High Street of the Burgh of Edinburgh, looking for nothing less than any trouble, pursuit, or injury against him"(l4th July, 1608), was stabbed by William Stewart, whose father, Captain James Stewart, had been killed by Douglas in 1596. The relatives on each side were ordered to find caution for keeping the peace, as "His Majesty (James VI.) cannot abide," [In spite of this objection by James VI. the practice was evidently in full force in Dumfriesshire in 1628.] says the legal document, "the reviving of that ugly monster of deadly feud, and will take care that justice is administered in the matter if the said pursuers will challenge Lord Ochiltree (Stewart) as guilty of the said slaughter."

But to return to earlier times. The seizure by Edward I. of all Scottish deeds and charters deposited at Perth, Lochmaben, and other towns held by his garrisons, afforded room for much imagination with regard to some of the Scottish family histories. The ancestor of the Grahames who broke through the wall of Severus in the 5th century, the descent of the Kirkpatricks from Fingal, and of the Stewarts from Banquo, could hardly be proved in a court of law. The Stuart Celtic pedigree is found in the visitation of Notts as early as 1611, but is demolished by Lord Hailes; and the charters of grants of lands made by members of the family to St. Peter’s Cathedral at York, prior to the days of Bruce, [Among the early grants to the hospital of St. Peter of York, Walter Fitzalan, Steward of the King of Scotland, grants two pieces of land and a common pasture for the souls of King David and Malcolm, and of his parents and predecessors, and for the present weal of King William. Alan, son of Walter, Steward of Scotland, witnesses a charter for King Malcolm. Eudo de Carlile, son of Adam, son of Robert, also grants an estate in Dumfriesshire.] show their Norman origin. The last Celtic Kings of Scotland resisted the claim of the Sees of York and Canterbury to have any authority over Scottish churchmen. The Stewarts are declared by the best chroniclers to be descendants of Fitz-Alleyne, one of the companions of William the Conqueror, who was killed at Hastings. His relative Alan obtained from William the barony of Oswestry, in Shropshire, and possibly one of the family may have married Nesta, the daughter of Griffith, Prince of Wales, as the pedigree alleges, considering their near neighbourhood, but there is no proof of it. There is also no documentary proof that Oliver Cromwell had any connection with the royal house of Stuart, as has been alleged, but Charles Stuart, a grandson of the Prior of Coldinghame, half-brother to Queen Mary, did bear arms against Charles I. Many interloping Saxon families on the estates of Celtic lairds are said to have adopted their predecessors’ names and pedigrees. But a love of over-long pedigrees was always characteristic of Scotland. At the coronation of Alexander III. an ancient Herald enumerated his alleged ancestors, fifty-six in number, from the first Scottish King, and as far back as one of the Pharoahs.

It is supposed that after swearing fealty to Edward I. and his heirs for ever in 1296, and also after the elder Bruce had been infefted in the lands which his father had owned in several parts of England, Robert Bruce, the younger, and the Steward family were impressed with the successes of Sir William Wallace and his followers, and made overtures to join him. It must be owned that their conduct at this period is very obscure. Blind Harry the minstrel is really our chief authority for the career of William Wallace. The English contemporary records scarcely allude to his exploits, but state that his two brothers surrendered to the English governor at Perth, and were at once hung, drawn, and quartered. The Scottish writers under the Stuart dynasty naturally attributed patriotism to the fathers of their Kings, throughout these almost civil wars, in the same way that they gave them a Celtic ancestry, which Shakespeare has introduced into ordinary history; but the English records relate that on July 9, 1297, "Robert de Brus, Earl of Carrick, James, the Steward of Scotland, and John, the brother of the Steward, confess their rebellion against the King (Edward), and place themselves in his will." This John is supposed to have been John Steward of Bonkill, who is reported to have been killed at the battle of Falkirk a year later fighting for Scotland. Old pedigrees made him out to be the father of Walter the Steward, who married Marjory Bruce, though Walter’s father is now generally acknowledged to have been James the Steward, who married Egidia de Burgh; but is there evidence beyond that of courtly writers (who perhaps like those in Austria at the present day were liable to a penalty and the suppression of their books if they wrote any ill of the monarch’s predecessors) that John Steward of Bonkill was killed on the side of Wallace? He was certainly alone among his kindred if he assisted the so-called lieutenant of King John Baliol, who signed all his orders in the name of Bruce’s rival. Baliol was brought to England and detained there in 1296 in consequence of some of the Scottish nobles having persuaded him to conclude an offensive and defensive alliance with France when at war with England, and Wallace’s rising was to accomplish the object contemplated by that affiance, the expulsion of the English garrisons from Scotland. If he had declared for the younger Bruce, whose family for four generations had looked upon themselves as probable inheritors of the throne, he might have obtained the full support of the Stewards and Bruces, who were cousins through the mother of Robert I., as well as connected by marriages with the Anglo-Irish de Burghs. At the request of Edward III., when peace was temporarily effected in 1328, Sir John de Carlile of Torthorald was restored to his property in Dumfriesshire. Sir Roger de Kirkpatrick, the murderer of Comyn (Baliol’s nephew), seems to have deserted Robert Bruce as early as 1315, when we hear of him as commander of Lochmaben Castle (which had surrendered to Edward II., when Prince of Wales, in 1306) holding it for the King of England. He received as pay for himself and four esquires £4 16s 0d for twelve days. At the same time and place Sir William Heriz and his esquire were paid 36s; Sir Thomas de Torthorald, knight, and his esquire, 36s; the esquire Alan de Dunwithie, with his valet and steed, 12s; Sir Robert the chaplain, 7s; Henry de Carlile, a cross-bowman, 6d; and others in proportion. After the battle of Falkirk, gained by the English over Wallace, these Scotsmen received compensation for their slain horses at the following rates:—Sir Roger de Kirkpatrick received for a brown bay £10; Sir James de Carlile, £10; William Comyn, of the King’s son’s household, 100s; Sir Humphrey de Jardine had only 12 marks for a black horse with two white feet and star on its forehead; Sir Thomas de Carlile lost one worth 100s; and William de Gardin’s valet’s horse was valued at 6 marks.

The murderer of Comyn had been excommunicated by the Pope, and his end seems never to have been ascertained. After serving Edward I., who appointed him a justice of the peace, he turned to Bruce, yet was serving Edward in 1315, and apparently again joined Bruce, for after King Robert’s fortunes seemed declining, and he was known to be afflicted with leprosy, so that there was every prospect of a minor sovereign and all the evils it would entail, Sir Roger Kirkpatrick and his wife asked for a safe conduct and protection within the realm of England. The same was asked for a year for Humfrey de Kirkpatrick and Idonia his wife, December 12, 1322. Seven weeks later King Edward II. ordered instant inquiry to be made by good men of Cumberland and Westmoreland as to the abduction of Sir Roger Kirkpatrick, Knight of Scotland, and his wife, who fled to England to save his life, and while there, under the King’s special protection, have been seized by evil-doers, and are still detained in some place unknown. This order is dated from York, and as seven months later another to the same effect is dated from Berwick-upon-Tweed, and there is no further mention of them, they were probably secretly murdered by some of Comyn’s friends. In 1341 Humphrey Kirkpatrick, son and heir of Roger Kirkpatrick, was one of seventeen hostages for the ransom of David II., who were sent to England; another being John Fernyear or Stewart, afterwards Robert III.

A Humfrey de Kirkpatrick was a witness to a grant of the lands and advowson of Ecclefechan to Sir Robert Bruce and his heirs in 1249. The other witnesses are Sir Walter Comyn, Earl of Menteith, Sir A. Cummin, Earl of Buchan, Sir John Cummin, Sir William de Cunnynghame, Hugh de Mauleverer, Gilbert de Johnestoun, Ivo de Jonesby, Richard de Crossbie, William de Boyville, William de Annaud, clerk, and others. This is the first time in which a descendant of Le Seigneur de Jeanville or Joinville—the name was spelt both ways in France—is mentioned in Dumfriesshire records as Johnestoun [Archibald Johnstone of Warriestoun, executed in 1662, signed his name Johnstown.] or Johnstone, for it appears in the original French in a deed connected with the Carlile family, signed by Gulielmo de Joyneville, as late as between 1191 and 1215. The barony of Joinville, in the province of Champagne in France, passed in the 15th century into that of Lorraine. It was here, at the Castle of Joinville, that the French historian of the same name, who is described as a cadet of an ancient family in Champagne, was born in 1274, and was early introduced to the Comte de Thibaudeau at the French Court. He died in 1319, but was at the height of his popularity with King Philip le Bel when Geoffrey or Gilbert de Jeanville, [The deeds of this period and long afterwards were usually signed by a clerk for all the witnesses, who sometimes went through the form of putting their hands on the pen; but, as they could not read the deeds when they were written, mistakes are often found in places and Christian names. In a Scottish Crown Charter of 1517 the same man is first called Herbert then Gilbert. In a decreet of the Privy Council in 1591 Edward Johnstone of Ryehill is called Andrew. In other registered Scottish deeds John is called James; Peter is called Patrick; Ryhill, Robgill; Marion, Margaret; and the second Marquis of Annandale and Earl of Hartfell is called Earl of Hertford, even in the Register of Burials in Westminster Abbey in 1730. Gilbert and Geoffrey are more than once transposed, and this Jeanville is called both in copies of the deed.] known in Dumfriesshire as Johnestoune, an adherent of Baliol, came in 1299 with the English Commissioners to sign a treaty between Edward I. and the Scottish King John with King Philip of France, which had been arranged through the medium of the Pope. The treaty was signed for the Pope by Bishop Kenault of Vicenza, and for England by John of Winchester, Symon of Salisbury, Bishop Aymer de Savoie, Henry de Nicolas Guis de Warwick, Count Aymer dc Valence, Otto de Granson, John of Bar Chevalier, and Geoffrey or Guilbert de Jeanville, and there can be little doubt that the last was of the same family as Philip’s historiographer, and that it was from the Joinville or Jeanville barony that the Seigneur de Jeanville, mentioned by the old chronicler Guilliaume de Tailleur as being with William’s army among princes and nobles from Germany, and distant parts of France, came to join the Conqueror’s forces before the battle of Hastings, and half Saxonized into Janvil, the name appears again on the roll of Battle Abbey. Like other Norman French families planted in Scotland, the Johnstones obtained estates in different parts of the country, but the manor, if not the advowson, of the Church of Johnstone was bestowed on the monastery of Soltray by Sir John de Johnstone about l285, when he confirmed his father’s (Hugo de Johnestoune) gift of the lands in Haddington to the same establishment. Soltray was particularly intended for the reception of pilgrims and strangers. It is difficult to find what other land the Johnstones owned so early as 1249, as most of the estates they afterwards held then belonged to the Bruces, Baliols, Corries, and Carliles. They may have held Graitney Tower, as Constables of the Borders, and Cavertholme, which was an early possession, for in1296 both Sir John de Johnstone and Gilbert Johnestoune are described as of Dumfriesshire. In 1333-4 a charter of lands in Annandale from Edward Baliol, calling himself King, to Henry Percy is signed by Gilbert de Johnstone of Brakenthwayte, an estate which was later held by the Carliles, and may have been exchanged with them, by marriage or otherwise, for Loughwode or Lochwood, which the Carliles held at that period (though it became later the stronghold of the lairds of Johnstone), because Brakenthwayte was never reclaimed by the Johnstones during the settlement of the Borders in 1603-20, when no title of possession seems to have been too obscure to be used. The other signatures to this charter of 1333-4 were—Adam de Corry, Keeper of the Castle of Lochmaben; Walter de Corry; Thomas de Kirkpatrick, in Penresax; William Kirkpatrick and the clerk, Thomas of Carruthers. Douglas states that Gilbert de Johnstone had a charter from Robert II. of lands in Lanarkshire, where Matthew de Johnstone of Westraw is found in 1455.

In the reign of David Bruce (1329-70), Stiven Johnstoune, whom his descendants affirm to have been described in their genealogies as brother to Johnstone, laird of Annandale, and a man of great learning, was in possession of the estate of Johnstone in Aberdeenshire, but his branch of the family adopted a different crest, though the same arms as the Johnstones in Dumfriesshire. It is curious that the seal attached to Sir John de Johnstoune’s signature (1296) to the Ragman’s Roll has the coat of arms now borne by all his descendants, with the augmentations of mullets and garbs, only borne by the Johnstones of Galabank and Fulford Hall, while Gilbert de Johnstoune, who is supposed to have been his son, had on his seal a man on horseback, similar to that which was adopted as a distinctive crest by the illegitimate branch of the descendants of William Johnstone of Graitney and Baron of Newbie. Like the Maxwells, they adhered to England, instead of following the fortunes of Robert Bruce. This may have been from loyalty or relationship to the Baliol family. King John Baliol’s son, Edward, entered Dumfriesshire in 1332 with the aid, we are told, of the Anglo-Norman lords, whose Scottish lands had not been restored them, in spite of a clause in the Treaty of Peace, signed in 1327 between Robert Bruce and the Queen Regent of England. Probably most of the Border lairds assisted him, and a Charter, granting Ryvel and Comlongan to one of Baliol’s supporters, Murray (ancestor of the Duke of Athol), is signed by John de Johnestoune and his son, Gilbert, as well as by Humfrie de Bosco and Roger de Kirkpatrick before 1331. Again, in 1347, Gilbert de Johnstone was presiding over the inquisition which returned young Carlile as heir to his uncle, under English auspices. In 1341 David Bruce invaded England during the absence of Edward III. in France, possibly with a view of obtaining the restoration of all Dumfriesshire. He was defeated, and taken prisoner into England; but Edward was just then more set upon the conquest of France than of England, and in 1356, owing to the capture of the fortified towns in Dumfriesshire, and the offer of a ransom for the young king by Robert Stuart, who ruled the country as Regent during his imprisonment, Edward Baliol retired, so that the Johnstones, Maxwells, and others were released from any further allegiance to his house. Sir John of Johnstone, the son of Gilbert, was made a Warden of the West Borders at this time, and Adam de Johnstone received a grant of the lands of Monyge, Moling, and Rahills. The old Prior of Lochleven, Andrew Wyntoun, who died about 1424, records, in the "Original Chronicle," the fame of Bruce, and of the Scottish leaders, his contemporaries. He gives a few lines to Sir John de Johnstone, who, in 1370, defeated the English army which invaded Scotland at the close of the reign of Edward III.:—

When att the wattyr of Solway,
Schyr Jhon of Jhonystown on a day,
Of Inglismen wencust a grete dele.
He bore him at that time sa wele
That he and the Lord of Gordoune,
Had a sowerane gude renown.
Of ony that was of thar degree
For full they war of grete bownte

Sir John Johnstone’s son is mentioned in a letter from Robert II. (1385), in which the King thanks Charles VI. of France for the succour he has given him against the English, and for the sum of 40,000 livres which Charles had sent to be divided among "the Scottish nobles, his faithful allies." A list of the recipients is given, and among them John of Johnestoune had received 300 livres. He fought under Douglas at Otterburn or Chevy Chase, and was one of the constables (scutiferi) for keeping order on the Borders. In 1384 a safe conduct was obtained for him into England, wherein he is described as a military man. A large proportion of the Scotsmen, who asked for safe-conducts into England, either for trade or to go to the Continent, were Borderers. In 1413, one is obtained for Adam Johnstone, lord of Johnstone; Herbert, son and heir of Herbert Maxwell, lord of Caerlaverock; William Carlile, son and heir of John Carlile, soldier; Gilbert Grierson, Gilbert M’Dowall, son and heir of Fergus M’Dowall; and Archibald M’Dowall, soldier. In 1485, for Mr John Ireland, John Murray, David Scot, Gilbert de Johnstone, Lord Kennedy, David Lyle, Alex. Hume, &c. In March, 1464, a petition is presented from Adam of Johnstone, Robert and John Johnstone, Gilbert of Johnstone, and Matthew of Johnstone for several safe conducts for a whole year into England, with permission for two of them to trade at English ports with three boats of 15 tons burden, which boats have competent masters and mariners; also for the said petitioners to go freely between the two countries with ten Scotsmen in their company. Among the acts and decreets of this date in connection with a Borderer is one against Elizabeth, the widow of a certain James Burcane in Bruges, for detaining a pair of silver flagons, a stoup of silver gilt, a cup with a silver gilt cover, and a silver goblet left in her husband’s care by John Lord Carlile.

While the English Kings appointed one wealthy English nobleman after another to the lordship of Annandale, Robert Bruce gave it to Sir James Douglas, who was attached to him not only by the ties of friendship, but by private wrongs sustained from Edward I. His father had aided Wallace, and then submitting to the English was imprisoned in the Tower of London, where he died, and his estates were forfeited, for besides his so-called rebellion he was the only Scotsman of rank who declined to sign the Ragman’s Roll. James Douglas, then in France, came to Westminster, and offered to remain faithful to England if Edward would restore to him his father’s lands. The King declined to give him either the lands or any employment, upon which he became a patriot, and joined Bruce. It is a well-known story that the name of his friend was changed from Lokarde to Lockhart, because he brought back Bruce’s heart, which James Douglas had endeavoured to convey to the Holy Land; and the name of Lokard is found in Dumfriesshire as early as 1200. When the English were finally driven from Annandale the Douglases were for many years more powerful in this district than the Scottish King.

The Cars, Kers, and Kerrs, all one family, bear the same arms as the French branch of their house. They first settled in Teviotdale, at Ancrum, Fernihurst, and Cessford about 1330, but like the Hepburns of Bothwell, who are found in Berwickshire at the same period, they belong to the east frontier more than to Dumfriesshire. The Kerrs are now represented by the Duke of Roxburgh and the Marquis of Lothian. The eldest son of their house, Andrew Ker, was one of the hostages for the release of James I. In 1459 Andrew Ker of Cessford, John Johnstone of that ilk, Thos. Cranstoun of that ilk, George Ormiston, Charles Murray of Cockpool, William Carlile of Torthorald, and James Rutherford of that ilk are bracketted as "scutiferi," and as all "naval admirals," in the list of Border chiefs charged with the care of the marches. The same year David Hume, Walter Scott, Simon Glendinning, and Robert Crichton, Viscount of Nithsdale, were granted a safe conduct into England.

The Borderers are often compared to the Highlanders, who were of much the same race, in their system of clan-ship, but with the difference that they were all horsemen. The chief landowners were given baronial rights, which included the services of the freemen on their lands, whom they protected from each other and from the enemy. A code of unwritten laws existed, of which the origin is most obscure, but the object of the county courts, to judge from the cases tried, was to legislate between the families of the landowners, and to punish ill-doers among them. The peasantry could be dealt with in a more summary way. Their mode of life, as described by Froissart in 1323, was of the roughest description, but when we read that Bruce’s army, which was all cavalry, contained a knight or esquire to every five troopers, its marvellous success is no matter of surprise. The "bold and hardy troopers armed after the manner of their country, and mounted on little hackneys that are never tied up or dressed, but turned immediately after the day’s march to pasture on the heath or in the fields," brought no carts and carried no bread. "They can live on flesh, half sodden, without bread, and drink, the river water without wine. They dress the flesh of the cattle in their skins after they have flayed them. Under the flaps of his saddle each man carries a broad piece of metal behind him, with a little bag of oatmeal. When they have eaten too much of the sodden flesh, they set this plate over the fire, knead the meal with water, and make a thin cake of it, which they bake on the heated plate to warm their bodies." But in those times even the table of a Prince of Wales was not supplied with modern refinement. At Perth, Feb. 10, 1303-4, when the Prince, afterwards Edward II., gave a dinner to the King’s envoys—Sir Aymer de Valence, Henry de Percy, Robert Fitz-Payn, and John de Beustede and their retinue "about the peace with Sir John Comyn"—the King’s stores provided 1 shield of brawn, 100 herrings, 1 bushel of beans, 4 roes, 2 bushels of pease, 2 1/2 flagons of acetum, 1 flagon of verjuice, some bread, and 2 casks 6 sesterces of wine. From the Prince’s store 11 bacons and 4 pieces of sturgeon. On Friday, Feb. 14, the Earl of Warwick and Sir Hugh le Despenser dined with the same Prince, on which occasion the King’s stores supplied 1600 herrings, 44 stockfisb, 1 bushel of flour, 1 bushel of pease, 1/2 gallon of honey, 4 lbs. of anydoyne, 1/2 bushel of salt, 1/2 gallon of vinegar, two shillings worth of bread, and 62 sesterces of wine, and from the Prince’s store were added 9 pieces of sturgeon.

An inquisition at Dumfries, April 23, 1347, held by John de la More, under sheriff (he was related to the first wife of Robert II.) to infeft Thos. de Molton in the whole manor of Kirkpatrick-Juxta, with the advowson of the Church and services of free men, is another instance of the early practice of giving benefices to laymen. Several Milners and Macaynes were the jurymen. Owing to the sequestrations and exactions by both the Scottish and English rulers, it was apparently difficult to find anything left but Church property with which to reward loyalty in Annandale. In 1297, Clifford had orders from Edward I. to occupy Bruce’s estates in Annandale with his contingent, and in 1304 the escheats in other parts of Annandale amounted to £194 2s 6d, being £33 6s 3d for the relief of Walter de Corry, 60s 8d from the farm of the town of Annan, 19s 11d from toft mailes of the same town, 44s from the Provostry of Newbie, 44s 9 1/2d from the Provostry of Kirkpatrick and Gretna; 33s 4d from the mills of Moffatdale, £6 from the mill of Annan, and 6s from Loughwood.

The extraordinary efforts which Edward I. made to reduce Scotland to submission brought the greatest misfortunes on his son, and even affected the reign of his grandson. He had debased the coin to carry on his wars, and it was perfectly impossible to perform his two dying commands to pursue the war with Scotland and a crusade. The £30,000 he had left for the last purpose went to Hugh le Despenser and Piers de Gaveston to pay the dowry of their wives, £15,000 being the dowry of an English princess, and Despenser had married the sister and Gaveston the niece of Edward II. The country was impoverished and sick of the war, as is shown by the secret convention of the Earl of Carlisle with Robert Bruce, which cost the first his life and limbs. The terms offered by Robert Bruce—who even styles himself Sir, not King—were very liberal, and only to be explained by his already failing health. Among other things, if his title were acknowledged, he undertook to build an Abbey where daily mass should be celebrated for the souls of those who had perished in the long war. But Edward’s last words still weighed on his son; while England was put to enormous expense in providing for the numerous Scottish prisoners, and the chiefs who still adhered to him. Complaints are recorded from all parts of the country as to the inability of the castellans and abbots to maintain them; even the once wealthy Prior of Gysburn points out that his monastery is ruined, and that he now gets nothing from Annandale and. Carlisle, which used to be the great source of his revenue; and this went on throughout the century. In 1376 the English officials cannot obtain the proper dues from Calfhirst (Cavertholme), Annan, Gretenhowe (Gretna), Kirkpatrick or Redkirk, for the tenants are ruined by the incursions of the Earl of March. In 1315 there had been a scarcity, and with the false political economy of the day, the English Parliament endeavoured to keep down prices, and ordered that a fatted ox should not cost more than 15s; a fat goose, 2 1/2d; a fat sheep, 1s 2d, and so on, till it became difficult to supply even the King’s table, and the order was cancelled.

Sir Eustace de Maxwell received £22 yearly from Edward II. in 1312 for the defence of Caerlaverock, but he afterwards submitted to Robert Bruce, who razed its fortifications, and compensated him. It seems to have been rebuilt very soon, for the Earl of Northampton, then Sheriff of Annandale, tells an anonymous correspondent, in 1347, that Herbert de Maxwell had come to him in England to surrender the Castle of Caerlaverock under safe conduct from the King. He desires that no one on the English march should annoy him or his men, or take their victuals from them, and that he shall in all way be treated as an Englishman. In 1356, Caerlaverock was stormed by Roger Kirkpatrick, assisted by John, Earl of Carrick, afterwards Robert III., and Kirkpatrick was murdered the next year, in the middle of the night, by Sir James Lindsay, like himself a son of one of Comyn’s murderers, and who was executed for it.

To an active Borderer, spending his life on horseback, close imprisonment in England was often fatal, but it was only those whose friends could provide a ransom who were thought worth capturing. An order in the handwriting of Edward III. commands the Warden of the Tower of London to receive from John de Clifford William de Gladestoun, chevalier, a Scottish prisoner, and keep him there. Westminster, 1357. The following year Thomas Gillisbe, Alexander Johnstone, James White, and John Roxburgh, imprisoned in Eccleshall Castle, Staffordshire, where they were allowed to go at large within the Castle, broke their parole, and escaped with their goods to the march between Scotland and England, where "they confederated with the lieges." An order was issued to re-imprison them, and deprive them of their goods. In 1422, John Bell, James, William, John, and Walter Johnstone, Donald Brown, and others were released from the Tower, and allowed to return to Scotland to bring their ransoms. After depositing the money, they would be free to go back to Scotland.

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