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The Scottish Nation

COULTHART, of Coulthart and Collyn, the surname and designation of an ancient family in Wigtownshire, which derive their name and descent from Coulthartus, a Roman lieutenant, who fought under Julius Agricola, at the foot of the Grampian mountains, when that victorious general was opposed by the confederated forces of the Scots, Picts, and Danes, under Corbredus Galdus. Peace having been restored soon after that decisive engagement, Coulthartus, instead of returning to Rome, married Marsa, daughter of Kadalayne, chief of the Novantes, by whom he acquired large territorial possessions near the present Whithorn, in the county of Wigtown. Coulthartus, who was versed in all the wisdom and learning of the Romans, afterwards lived as a Caledonian chieftain, and died there.

Godofredus, a descendant of Coulthartus, appears to have opposed the usurpations of Donald Bane and Duncan, and to have energetically supported the restoration of the legitimate offspring of Malcolm to the throne. Godofredus was present at Scoon when Edgar was crowned and anointed, but dying at Coulthart in the succeeding reign of Alexander, was buried with great pomp and solemnity in the family mausoleum at Candida Casa. By his wife, Maud, daughter of Stephen de Maulia, he had, with 2 daughters, 2 sons, Sir Radulphus, his heir, and Amerlick, who fought at Northallerton, under the earl of March, against Stephen, king of England.

The elder son, Sir Radulphus de Coulthart, was the first of the family on record that used the territorial designation as a surname, and the first lord that joined the Crusaders in an expedition to Palestine. After his return from the Holy Land, he assisted in repressing the disturbances in Galloway, when Angus, the thane thereof, assumed political independence; and as a reward for his valour and loyalty on the occasion, King Malcolm granted him the lands of Benmark, at the same time knighting him and his eldest son, the next chief.

This was Sir Peter de Coulthart, knt. He contributed largely in money, in 1191, towards the relief of the Christians in Jerusalem, and also furnished a quota of the armed men that left Scotland under the command of the earl of Huntingdon, to assist Richard, king of England, in prosecuting the Holy wars. His name appears in the list of noblemen and gentlemen who accompanied King William to England, to congratulate King Richard on his safe return from Palestine, and it also occurs amongst those present at York when peace was concluded between King John and King William.

His son, William de Coulthart, had a grant of the lands of Barlochtery, in the shire of Wigtown, from Allan, lord of Galloway, which lands were afterwards mortified by the said William de Coulthart to the monks of Dundrennan, for the salvation of the soul of the said Allan. He had, with other children, to sons, Sir Roger, his successor, and Walter, who assisted John Cumin, earl of Buchan, in capturing Gillespy Ross, the Outlaw, and his followers, after they had plundered and burnt the town of Inverness. He died in 1238.

His son, Sir Robert de Coulthart, knt., witnessed a charter granted by the bishop of Candida Casa in 1227, and had the honour of tilting at the Royal Haddington tournament, in 1240, before Alexander II., who was so highly pleased with the skill he displayed on the occasion, that he personally invested him with the knightly girdle, and heraldically added to the three black colts courant on his silver shield, a fesse sable, which armorial ensigns have ever since, without alteration, been borne by the chiefs of the family. He married Isabella, daughter of Walter Stewart, hereditary high-steward of Scotland, and had, with 3 daughters, 5 sons, 1. David, killed in Palestine, in his father’s lifetime; 2. Alexander, his heir; 3. Allan, 4. William, 5. Robert, mentioned in a mortification-charter granting certain lands in Galloway to the monks of Glenluce. He died at Coulthart, aged 64 years.

His son, Alexander de Coulthart, commanded a battalion in the left wing of the Scottish army at Largs, when Haco, king of Norway, was overthrown, Aug. 15, 1263. He had 3 sons, 1. John, his heir; 2. William, who married Matilda, daughter of Sir Richard Edmundstone, of Edmundstone, by whom he had 3 sons, John, who succeeded his uncle John as chief of the name; Richard, in holy orders; Peter, who was drowned at sea; and 2 daughters, Maud and Helen, mentioned in a charter, 1321; 3. Alexander, designated in a testamentary disposition as “of Craigtower,” who died in 1278.

The eldest son, John de Coulthart, an exceedingly studious and learned man, who devoted much of his property to charitable and religious objects, died, unmarried, Oct. 18, 1313.

He was succeeded by his nephew, John de Coulthart, eldest son of William de Coulthart. He does not appear to have taken any conspicuous part in the political affairs of Scotland during the troublous reigns of John Baliol and Robert Bruce; but the circumstance of his name not occurring in the lists of the barons and others who swore fealty to the two first Edwards, coupled with the fact of his having received a grant of the barony of Whithorn from Robert I., leads to the conclusion that he was a supporter of Scottish independence, and was prevented by some unexplained cause from prominently sharing in the struggles for freedom which chiefly terminated with the battle of Bannockburn. He married for his 2d wife, Elizabeth, daughter of William St. Clair of Roslin, and this lady is expressly joined with her husband in the charter of Robert I. above mentioned. They had issue that arrived at maturity, four sons, viz., 1. and 2. Robert and Henry, both killed at the battle of Neville’s Cross, 17th Oct. 1346, without leaving issue; 3. William, the heir; 4. James, who acquired lands in the shire of Stirling. This John de Coulthart appears to have been a great favourite of King Robert I., as he had also a grant of the lands of Carswell from that monarch. He died subsequently to 1346.

His son, William de Coulthart, obtained an entirely new grant of the lands of the barony of Coulthart from David II. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Alexander de Durrisdeer, and had Andrew, his heir; Robert, who married Elizabeth, daughter of David Napier, and niece of Sir Alexander Napier, ancestor of the Lords Napier; and Janet, who married the laird of Muirhead, Lanarkshire.

His son and successor, Andrew de Coulthart, obtained a charter of the lands of Largmore, in Galloway, from Robert II. He died Nov. 12, 1384.

His only son and successor, Gilbert de Coulghart, married Mariot, daughter of Andrew Blackadder of Blackadder, Berwickshire, lineal ancestor of Sir Patrick Blackadder of Tulliallan, and of Robert, first archbishop of Glasgow, and had Sir Roger, his heir, and Andrew, to whom and his mother Mariot, Robert III. granted a charter of the lands of Barglass and Murburne, within the barony of Coulthart. He had also a daughter named Janet, who married Robert de Agnew. He died 18th August, 1391, at Dantzic, in Western Prussia, whilst on an expedition against the Turks.

His eldest son, Sir Roger de Coulthart, was knighted by James I. at his coronation at Scoon, 1424. He married Margery, daughter and co-heiress of John the Ross of Renfrew, knt. And maternally co-heiress of Macknyghte of Macknyghte, and Glendonyn of Glendonyn, and had, with 2 daughters, 4 sons, 1. Sir Roger, his heir; 2. Gilbert, who went in the train of Earl Douglas, lord of Galloway, to various European courts, A.D. 1449, and fought at the battle of Brechin May 18, 1452; 3. James, “of Auchtergillan;” 4. John (and his wife Annabel), mentioned in a chancery precept dated March 18, 1454. Sir Roger distinguished himself at the battle of Aberbrothic, Jan. 13, 1445-6, and fell at the siege of Roxburgh castle, Sept. 17, 1460.

His eldest son, Sir Roger de Coulthart, was served heir to the lands of Coulthart and Largmore in 1461, and to those of Renfrew, Macknyghte, and Glendonyn, on the death of his mother, March 10, 1474. He married Anne, daughter and co-heiress of Sir Richard Carmichael of Carspherne, and by her had 6 sons, 1. Richard, his heir; 2. Walter, an admiral of the fleet; 3. Henry, who settled in Craven, in Yorkshire, and was ancestor of H.W. Coulthurst, D.D., at one time vicar of Halifax; 4. Allan, 5. Edward, mentioned in a charter dated 20th June, 1473; 6. George, described “of Rockhill,” married Margaret, daughter of John Chalmer, baron of Gaitgirth. Sir Roger was killed at Sauchieburn, June 11, 1488, having been knighted by King James III. only a few months before his death.

His eldest son, Richard de Coulthart, fell at Flodden, Sept. 9, 1513, leaving, with 5 daughters, 4 sons, 1. Cuthbert, his heir; 2. John, who obtained sasine of the lands of Blairhill, Ayrshire, 10th June 1543; 3. William, who obtained a charter of the twenty-pound land of Bengairn, in the stewartry of Kirkcudbright; 4. Robert, who married a daughter of Houston of Houston, 12th May, 1538.

The eldest son, Cuthbert de Coulthart, of Coulthart, was a chief of extraordinary physical powers, who frequently distinguished himself in the military encounters of his time. At the battle of Flodden-field he behaved with great bravery, and at Solway Moss, where he fell, he commanded a division of the Scottish army with admirable courage and discretion. He died Nov. 25, 1542, and was succeeded by his only son, John Coulthart, of Coulthart and Largmore. Amongst the deeds in the possession of the Coulthart family, is a writ under the great seal of Scotland, granted to this chief under the earl of Moray’s regency, dated 20th October, 1568, which clearly establishes the recognized rank and antiquity of the feudal lairds and barony of Coulthart. Born July 12, 1542, he married Helen, daughter and eventually co-heiress of John Forbes of Pitscottie, and died about 1620. He had, with 4 daughters, 3 sons, 1. William, his heir; 2. Roger, in holy orders; 3. Cuthbert, capt. Royal artillery.

The eldest son, William Coulthart, of Coulthart and Largmore, Esq., married Mary, daughter and co-heiress of Richard Mackenzie of Craig Hall, Ayrshire, and died Feb. 20, 1653. He had 2 sons, John, his heir, and Richard, a major in the army of Charles II., who, when Oliver Cromwell was proclaimed lord protector, fled beyond seas, and never returned.

His elder son, John Coulthart, Esq. of Coulthart and Largmore, born in 1625, died Sept. 11, 1690. He had, with 2 daughters, 3 sons, 1. Richard, his heir; 2. Robert, an officer R.N., killed June 15, 1693, off St. Vincent, when fighting under Admiral Rooke against the French squadrons; 3. William, who represented the burgh of Wigtown in parliament from 1692 to the Union, of which he was a staunch supporter.

His eldest son, Richard Coulthart, Esq., was an eminent practical agriculturist, and author of the once-celebrated work entitled ‘The Economy of Agriculture,’ which long formed a text-book to the farmers in Scotland. Born at Coulthart, Jan. 16, 1659, he married Nov. 15, 1698, Jean, daughter and heiress of William Gordon of Sorbie, Esq. He died Nov. 10, 1717.

His only son, James Coulthart, of Coulthart and Largmore, born in 1702, purchased the estate of Knockhill, Ayrshire, in May 1732, and died May 8, 1775. He had 3 sons; 1. William, his heir; 2. Andrew, of Trostone, Kirkcudbrightshire; 3. John, born 18th April, 1743, in holy orders.

The eldest son, William Coulthart, of Coulthart and Largmore, Esq., born in 1739, had 2 sons and 2 daughters. Sons; 1. Alexander, born 21st June, 1769, died s.p. July 19, 1789; 2. William, his heir. Mr. Coulthart alienated the lands of Largmore, in the stewartry of Kirkcudbright and of Knockhill, Ayrshire, May 15, 1776, and took possession of the estate of Collyn, Dumfries-shire, on June 4, the same year. This chief died Feb. 15, 1807.

His only surviving son and successor, William Coulthart, of Coulthart and Collyn, Esq., born March 21, 1774, married 3d Sept. 1801, Helen, 2d daughter of the late John Ross, Esq. of Dalton, Dumfries-shire, a descendant of the Lords Ross of Halkhead, Renfrewshire, and a collateral relation of the Boyles, earls of Glasgow. He had one son, John Ross, his heir, and one daughter, Margaret, married in 1833, James Macguffie, Esq. of Crossmichael, Kirkcudbrightshire, issue 6 sons and 5 daughters. Mr. Coulthart died at Pasture-house, co. Cumberland, 7th Oct. 1847.

The present chief of the name and representative of the family is his only son, John Ross Coulthart, of Coulthart and Collyn, and Croft-house, Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire, Esq., banker, born June 24, 1807; educated at the grammar school of Buittle, in the stewartry of Kirkcudbright; entered the National Bank of Scotland’s office, Castle-Douglas, in 1828; the Yorkshire District Bank’s branch at Halifax, in 1834; and the Ashton Stalybridge, Hyde, and Glossop Bank, Ashton-under-Lyne, as general manager, in 1836. In 1838, he published an 8vo volume of Decimal Interest Tables, which have been found exceedingly valuable by bankers. Deputed in 1843 by the sanitary commissioners, to inquire into the condition of Ashton-under-Lyne, for fullness of information, lucidness of arrangement, and accuracy of description, his report was specially commended both in the house of lords and house of commons. He is a fellow of the society of Antiquaries, Scotland, of the Royal Society of Literature, London, one of her Majesty’s justices of the peace for Lancashire, and he served the office of mayor of the manor of Ashton-under-Lyne in 1855-7. In Michaelmas term 1862, he was called to the bar, by the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn, having completed a course of legal study, without any intention of practicing as a barrister, but for the purpose of rendering himself more generally useful as a banker and a magistrate. A portrait and a memoir of Mr. Coulthart appeared in the ‘Bankers’ Magazine’ for Jan. 1858.

By intermarriages from time to time with heiresses, this very ancient family is entitled to bear for arms: Quarterly of eight. 1. Ar. A fesse between 2 colts in chief, and one in base, courant, sa. For Coulthart of Coulthart. 2. Ar. A chev. Chequy, of three tracks, sa. And or, between three water-bougets, of the second, for Ross of Renfrew. 3. Sa. An inescutcheon, chequy, ar. And or, between three lions’ heads, erased, or the second, for Macknyghte of Macknyghte. 4. Quarterly, ar. And sa., a cross parted per cross, ingrailed, counterchanged, for Glendonyn of Glendonyn. 5. Ar. A bend cotised, patentee, sa., charged with a tilting-spear of the first, for Carmichael of Carsepherne. 6. Erm. A chev. Chequy, ar. And sa., between three bears’ heads, couped of the last, muzzled gu., within a bordure nebulae of the third, for Forbes of Pitscottie. 7. Quarterly, first and fourth, az., a stag’s head cabossed, or; second and third, ar., three human legs, armed ppr., united in the centre at the upper part of the thigh, triangularly flexed, garnished and spurred, of the second; in surtout, an escutcheon erm., charged with a stag’s head cabossed, sa., within a bordure, pellettee, of the third, for Mackenzie of Craighall. 8. Erm. A fesse, sa., charged with a spear, ar., the point to the dexter side, between three boars’ heads erect, and erased, of the second, for Gordon of Sorbie. Supporters. – On the dexter, a war-horse, ar., completely armed for the field, ppr., garnished, or; on the sinister, a stag of the second, attired, and ducally gorged, of the third; being a rebus on the name Coulthart. Crest. – A war horse’s head and neck, couped, ar., armed and bridled, ppr. Garnished or. Motto. – virtute non verbis, in allusion to the horses in the arms.

The above account of the Coultharts of Coulthart has been chiefly compiled from the family monuments, and had space permitted, a number of the Latin charters referred to would have been inserted, and also an engraving given of an ancient seal appended to a charter granted by Roger de Coulthart, knight, to Robert de Agnew, assigning certain lands in Galloway, A.D. 1443.

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