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The Scottish Nation

ARNOT, of Arnot, Kinross-shire. – A short account of this surname and family has been inserted in the body of the work, and the following information is here given in addition and correction:

A genealogical history of the family (in some points extremely incorrect) is said to have been compiled by Hugo Arnot, Esq. of Balcormo, a copy of which is preserved in the Lord Lyon office. From this it appears that, in the Chartularies of our abbeys, vestiges of the family of Arnot are discovered at a remote period. The first of the family mentioned in the family pedigree is John de Arnot, 1105. In the reign of Malcolm IV., Sir Michael de Arnot disponed the lands of Cluny (Sibbald’s Hist. of Fife), to the Dunfermline monks. Malcolm de Arnot, 1120, is said to have been the father, and Sir Peter, 1150, and William, the brothers of Arnold, bishop of St. Andrews. This Arnold was educated at Durham, and was first abbot of Kelso. He was chosen bishop of St. Andrews on St. Bride’s day, Feb. 1, 1160, and sat for one year, 10 months, and 17 days. He was appointed legate à latere by Pope Alexander III. He founded the cathedral church of St. Andrews, and died in 1163. A charter of this bishop’s in favour of the canons regular at St. Andrews is preserved in the Advocates’ Library at Edinburgh.

Succeeding Sir Peter in the family tree is Sir Michael de Arnot, 1160, who is supposed to have died in 1190. He had two sons, Nicol, and Arnold, abbot of Melrose.

Hugo’s MS. Says, “It appears from the Chronicle called the Stemmata Bruti that, in 1240, King Alexander II, sent Duncan (should be Malcolm), earl of Fife, ambassador to Henry III. of England, accompanied by two knights of Fife, John de Menevil and Malcolm de Arnot. It is probable that this Sir Malcolm de Arnot had two sons, Sir Henry and Michael, for in the Roll of Arrears of rent for the year 1289, to the priory or St. Andrews, it is said that “Sir Henry Arnot, in the parish of Portmoak, resteth for the tythes of Arnot, forth shillings, and Michael Arnot, for the lands of Brocollie, twelve shillings.”

In 1305 David de Arnot, son of Michael de Arnot, was in possession of the lands. Nicol appears to have been his son and successor. In 1320, in a Roll of the military services of lands holden of the king, it is said, “Terra Nichol de Arnot debat servitudinem unius Militis.” (MS. Genealogy. Nicol was succeeded by his brother Sir Michael, who married the sister of Duncan, 11th earl of Fife.

“About this period,” continues Hugo Arnot’s MS., “the ancient charters belonging to the family being lost, Michael Arnot [in the reign of David II.] took a new charter from Duncan, earl of Fife, [which his predecessors held immediately of the crown]. By him he was drawn over to Edward Baliol’s party, and joining with Sir John Stirling and other partisans of Baliol, in the siege of Lochleven anno 1334, the water suddenly bursting through the mounds with which the besiegers endeavoured to dam it up, he was drowned. To him his son, David, succeeded. From his untoward looks, according to the manners of that rude age, he got the nickname of David the Devil. In a scuffle concerning Marches, one of his servants happened to wound the bishop of St. Andrews, for which David was obliged to give the lands of Kynestoun in assythment to the bishop and see of St. Andrews. He had two sons, Sir Henry, his successor, and John Arnot, first laird of Lochrig in Cunningham, Ayrshire, The lands of Kynestoun, which David gave in assythment to the see of St. Andrews, were the occasion of fresh troubles with the church, Sir Henry asserting his superiority over the lands, which Walter Trail, bishop of St. Andrews, refused to acknowledge. These differences were composed by Robert, duke of Albany, who, in 1388, decreed that a quarterly payment of three pounds should be made out of these lands to the family of Arnot. He had a daughter married to Cunningham, Lord Kilmaurs, and three sons, William, his successor, John, and James Arnot of Brocollie and Cockburnspath.”

As this last was much the most considerable branch of the family, Hugo Arnot proceeds to give an account of it. As already stated, Michael, younger son of Sir Michael Arnot, was laird of Brocollie in 1289. From that period there are no traces of this family till the year 1410, when, in an entail made of his lands by William Arnot of Arnot, James Arnot of Brocollie is designed son of Sir Henry Arnot of that ilk, and brother of the entailer. He seems to have acquired the lands of Brocollie by marrying the heiress. He had two sons, of whom only the name of the elder, John, his successor, is given. Their cousin and chieftain, John Arnot of Arnot, was killed, in 1440, by Livingston, laird of East Wemyss, in consequence of which a deadly feud arose between the families, and John Arnot of Brocollie and his brother, having been concerned in the slaughter of one of the family of East Wemyss, John fled to East Lothian, where he was protected by Hepburn of Waughton and Lord Dirleton. His brother escaped to England, and, adds Hugo, “from him the Arnolds and Arnots of that country are said to be descended.” Matthew Robert Arnot of Wakefield, Yorkshire, in Hugo’s time principal clerk in the House of Peers, admitted his descent from the Arnots of Scotland, and carried, first and fourth, a chevron between three stars, being the arms of Arnot, quartered with the coat of some other family. The grandson of John Arnot of Brocollie acquired the lands of Cockburnspath. His son, William, married Margaret Wallace, and their son, Sir John Arnot of Berswick, a burgess in Edinburgh, was in 1587 chosen lord provost of that city for four years. He was knighted by King James VI., and, about 1604, was appointed treasurer-depute of Scotland. He was again chosen lord provost of Edinburgh from 1608 to 1615 inclusive. IN 1605 he acquired four oxgates of land in Restalrig. In that and subsequent years he bought from the earl of Orkney, (who was beheaded,) the lands of Berswick, Sandwick, and Hoy, Kirkluscar, and Westraw in Orkney. He also possessed the barony of Granton near Edinburgh, the lands of Foulden, Renlismains, and Crumstanes in Berwickshire, and those of Woodmill in Fife. Fast Castle and the adjacent lands of Lumsdean, after remaining a few years vested in the crown, became the property of James Arnot, merchant in Edinburgh, who resigned them to the Homes, May 24, 1617. (Hist. of Coldingham Priory, p. 92.) Sir John Arnot married, first, a daughter of Johnston of Kellobank, issue, three sons and two daughters; 2dly, a daughter of Craig of Riccarton, by whom he had two daughters. All his children were married, and to them all he gave portions of his estates; and now, says Hugo, (who died in 1786,) “it is not known that he has a descendant on earth, or if that descendant retains any part of his property, except Home of Manderston, whose predecessor, Sir George, married Sir John’s second daughter, Helen, and got the lands of Crumstane, and Wilkie of Foulden, who married the only daughter of his third son, James Arnot of Granton.”

Sir John Arnot, (his eldest son predeceasing him,) gave the lands of Woodmill to his grandson. Woodmill had belonged to an old branch of the family of Arnot, but John Arnot, heir apparent of Woodmill, having unfortunately killed John Murray, son of Charles Murray of Aikit, the sum paid as an assythment to the friends of the deceased, the expense of obtaining a royal pardon, and other circumstances, obliged them to part with the estate in the beginning of the 17th century. It was purchased by Sir John Arnot, and continued in his family about 100 years, “when,” says Hugo, “James Arnot, younger of Woodmill, sitting in sober manner in a tavern in Edinburgh, in company with three other young gentlemen, on January 13, 1700, was barbarously murdered, (Edinburgh Gazette, No. 93). Archibald Montgomery, brother of Sir James Montgomery of Skelmorlie, a man who had already committed the most flagitious actions, pursued, with a drawn sword, his own servant, who fled for shelter into the room where young Arnot and his companions were sitting. Montgomery burst open the door, and thrust his sword up Arnot’s left eye into the brain, of which he died in eight hours. Montgomery was unaccountably suffered to escape, and notwithstanding the rewards offered by the laird of Woodmill, never was apprehended. The estate was soon afterwards sold, and went entirely out of the name and family of Arnot.”

To his second son, William, Sir John gave the lands of Cockburnspath (Beneral Register, Oct. 15, 1612)His hospitality was so great that an Englishman (Taylor’s Works, p. 137,) who visited Scotland about 1630, represents his house as an inn, where every stranger was sure of good entertainment and a hearty welcome. William Arnot of Cockburnspath, with his two sons, and his brother, the laird of Granton, unfortunately became security, to a very large amount, for James Dalziell, merchant in Edinburgh, who married on of Sir John’s daughters, and, in consequence of his bankruptcy, they were obliged to sell their estates of Cockburnspath and Granton. But John Arnot, king’s equerry, William’s eldest son, kept the lands of Hoprig. The family are now extinct.

To return to the family of Arnot of Arnot. William, the son of Sir Henry Arnot, entailed his lands in 1410. He had two sons, Richard, and John. Richard resigned the lands in favour of his brother, (General Register, Nov. 26, 1429,) and died without issue.

[A “Jacobus de Arnot” was shield-bearer to Robert duke of Albany, in the eighth year of his governorship, about 1413 or thereby].

John Arnot married Margery, daughter of John Boswell of Balmuto, and had 2 sons, John, his successor, and Walter Arnot of Balbarton, and 3 daughters. 1. Florence, married Sir John Rattray of Rattray, whose daughter and heiress, Grizel, married John, 3d earl of Athole. 2. Elizabeth, married William, 2d Lord Semple. 3. Helen, married Sir Thomas Douglas of Arnacroigh. This laird of Arnot was killed at Bogiebushes by Livingston, laird of East Wemyss, who, with a numerous party of his followers, attempted to rescue his cattle, which had been poinded by Arnot’s brother-in-law, the laird of Balmuto, but was taken prisoner, and his followers routed. Arnot’s widow afterwards married Sir Thomas Sibbald of Balgonie. Walter Arnot of Balbarton, the younger son, had a son, William, who succeeded him, and had two daughters, co-heiresses. 1. Elizabeth, married, 1st, to Brown of Fordell, who got with her the mansion-house and half the lands of Balbarton; 2dly, Colville of Hiltoun, from which marriage descended the Lords Colville, both of Culross and Ochiltree. 2. Helen, wife of Archibald Dundas of Fingask, who got with her the other half of the lands of Balbarton, but Fingask conveyed his share of these lands to Brown of Fordell.

John, the son and successor of the laird of Arnot killed at Rogiebushes, married Catherine, daughter of Melville of Carnbie, and had 18 sons, and a daughter, married to John Wemyss, brother of the laird of Wemyss. The 3 eldest sons were, 1. John. 2. David, bishop of Galloway, dean of the Chapel Royal, and councillor to King James IV.; and 3. Robert, who got the lands of Woodmill from the king, his master. He was comptroller of Scotland, and captain of Stirling castle. With his two uncles-in-law, Sir Robert Colville of Hiltoun and the laird of Fingask, he was killed in the battle of Flodden. From this gentleman the Arnots of Balcormo were descended. Of the remaining brothers, some purchased lands in Fife, Galloway, Kirkcudbrightshire, &c., and several devoted themselves to the church, and became prebendaries of the Chapel Royal and Stirling.

John, the eldest son, married in 1489, Euphame, daughter of Scot of Balwearie, and had 5 sons and 3 daughters.

Walter, the eldest son, 1520, married Elizabeth Duddingston, daughter of the laird of Saintford, and had 3 sons and 5 daughters.

David, the next laird of Arnot, married, in 1549, Jane, daughter of Bruce of Earlshall, and had 4 sons and 3 daughters. He was remarkable for his vigour and dexterity in martial sports and exercises. King Henry VIII. having sent William, Lord Howard, and the bishop of St. David’s, ambassadors to Scotland, six of their retinue challenged any six Scottish gentlemen and yeomen to a trial of skill in archery on the links of Leith, for a hundred crowns and a tun of wine. David Arnot, then younger of that ilk, was one of the six who accepted the challenge, and the Scots gained the match.

David Arnot, his son and successor, married Katherine Forrester, daughter of the laird of Strathendry. David, their eldest son and successor, died, unmarried, in 1584, and was succeeded by his son [natural son?] Walter. The latter married Mary, eldest daughter of Sir James Balfour, and sister of the first Lord Balfour of Burleigh.

His eldest son, James, died unmarried.

His second son, Michael, was, by King Charles I., created a knight baronet, July 27, 1629. The patent was in favour of Sir Michael and his heirs male, but does not appear in the Index to the Register of the Great Seal. This, however, is not uncommon. Sir Michael died about 1642. By his wife, Ann Brown, he had a son, Colonel Charles Arnot, who had a charter under the great seal to him and his spouse, Helen, daughter of James Reid of Pitlithie, of the barony of Arnot and Scotlandwell united, dated July 31, 1643. He died about 1670.

His father, Sir Michael, appears to have built the Tower of Arnot, Kinross-shire, now in ruins. A shield cut in the stone in the peak of the wall, is supposed to have a lion rampant in the centre, -- the royal arms of Scotland.


The following is the lintel, bearing date 1632, with the coats of arms and initials of Sir Michael Arnot and his wife, Dame Ann Brown.


Col. Arnot’s son, Sir David Arnot, bart., was served heir in special of Colonel Charles Arnot, Fiar of that ilk, in the North Tower of Arnot and town and lands of Fead and others, Aug. 2, 1670. Whether from the circumstance of the patent of baronetcy not being registered, that Colonel Charles did not assume the title, being merely designated “Fiar,” or that he was indifferent about it, is uncertain. Between 1685 and 1704, Sir David Arnot appears as one of the commissioners for the barons in parliament, and also as a commissioner of supply for the county of Kinross. He died about 1726.

Sir David’s son, Sir John Arnot of Arnot, entered the 2d regiment of foot as ensign, Dec. 31, 1688. He got a charter of resignation under the great seal of the lands and barony of Abbotshall, Fifeshire, dated Dec. 16, 1726. In 1727 he was appointed adjutant-general of Scotland. In 1735 he rose to the rank of brigadier-general, in 1739 to that of major-general, and subsequently to that of lieutenant-general. He died at York, June 4, 1750.

He was succeeded by his eldest son, Sir John Arnot, baronet. He had another son, Captain William Arnot, who had a charter of resignation in his favour, under the great seal, “Terrarum et Baroniae de Abbotshall, nunc vocant Arnot,” &c., dated Nov. 29, 1750. It appears that the whole of the paternal estates of the family of Arnot of Arnot passed into the possession of Sir John Bruce of Kinross, baronet; and it is probable that between June and November 1750, Sir John Arnot sold them to Sir John Bruce, and that his brother, Captain William Arnot, to keep up the family designation, gave the name of Arnot to Abbotshall, for the short period it was in his possession. Both Sir John and his brother appear to have died without issue.

The baronetcy was next taken up by Robert Arnot of Dalginch, Fifeshire, son of Major William Arnot of Dalginch, formerly designated of Auchmuir, 1702-3. The family connexion is not known. The major died in 1736, leaving two sons, Robert, who became Sir Robert Arnot of Dalginch, and William, and two daughters, 1. Elizabeth, who married the Rev. Hugh Glass, minister of Keith, issue a son, William; 2. Ann, wife of Thomas Arnot of Chapple, called Chapple Arnot, Fifeshire, and had a son, Thomas.

Sir Robert Arnot of Dalginch, who assumed the baronetcy, was served heir of line in special to his father, Major William Arnot of Dalginch, May 8, 1736. He entered the 26th regiment of foot, June 17, 1731, and resigned his commission as major, Feb. 13, 1762. He died, without issue, June 12, 1767.

His brother, Sir William Arnot of Dalginch, was the next baronet. He entered the army May 16, 1735, rose to the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and sold out of the 2d dragoon guards, Aug. 12, 1779. He died at Powick, Worcestershire, in July 1782. He was succeeded in his lands by his nephews, William Glass, and Thomas Arnot of Chapple, but the baronetcy lapsed as regards the family of Dalginch.

Sir William Arnot, sixth and last baronet, died about 1830.


A branch of the Arnot family settled in Ireland in the time of Oliver Cromwell. IN the Records of the Rolls, in the office of Ulster King of Arms, there is a marriage indenture, made in 1658, between James Arnot, county Fermanagh, and Robert Stokes of Tonaghtagerman, in that county, whose sister, James Arnot the elder had married. One of the family of Arnot of Fermanagh was an officer in the army of William III., when in Ireland in 1690. He is said to have distinguished himself in the field, and was honoured with the notice of the king himself, and who styled him “Bucktooth Arnot.” He was to have shared in the king’s bounty, but at the time of his majesty’s distribution of certain confiscated property, as the tradition runs, he was unfortunately absent, and another managed to get what was intended for him. It was ever after a saying among the Irish Arnots that the family “had had ill luck.” There does not appear to be any document in the office of Ulster King of Arms at Dublin which gives a list of the officers of the regiments in the army of William III., when his majesty was in Ireland. What rank “Bucktooth Arnot” held in the army which fought against King James is therefore not known. Whether he commanded a regiment or not is not ascertained, as even the War-office, London, has no means of furnishing a list of officers of the name of Arnot commanding regiments in Ireland during King William’s reign. In the Records of Ulster King of Arms there is the registration of arms to James Arnot of Arnot Grove, May 27, 1747. This James Arnot died in 1780. With a daughter, he had 4 sons, Hugh, Henry, William, and Robert. The eldest and third sons, Hugh and William, entered the army about 1794, the former as surgeon, and the latter as assistant surgeon, 14th Light Dragoons. Both died, with a servant, on the same day, in June 1796, of an epidemic disease, in St. Domingo. Henry, the 2d son, a surgeon at Demerara, is said to have gone to St. Domingo, and nothing was afterwards known of him. Arnot Grove, and another estate in King’s county, fell to the youngest son, Robert. By mismanagement all the Arnot property in Ireland was subsequently lost to the family, and was ultimately sold by auction by order of the Encumbered Estates court. Thus lapsed the estate and property of the family of Arnot of Fermanagh, and it is not known if there is any person of the name descended from this family in Ireland. The last was James Arnot of Rich-hill, Armagh, who had no male issue, grandson of John Arnot, brother of James Arnot of Arnot Grove, father of James of 1747. The family of Arnot Grove are represented, in the female line, by the issue of the only daughter of the latter. This gentleman had no brothers or sisters, but he had three uncles, brothers of his father. The eldest, Hugh Arnot, principal of an educational Institute at Edenderry, King’s county, dying unmarried, left his property to his nephew, James Arnot of Arnot Grove. Michael Arnot, the second uncle, had two daughters, one of whom married a gentleman of the name of Buchanan, and was mother of Mrs. Gabriel Montgomery of Lisnaskea. John Arnot, the third uncle, had a son, Hugh, who married Sarah, daughter of John Davies of Markethill, Armagh. Hugh’s son, James Arnot, married Agnes, daughter of John Thomson of Stoneygate, Ayrshire, heiress of the lands of Stoneygate, and had two sons, John Thomson Arnot, and Hugh Arnot.

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