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FULLARTON, a surname derived from the barony of Fullarton in the immediate vicinity of the town of Irvine in Ayrshire. Traditionally, it is said that the first of the name in Scotland had an Anglo-Saxon or Norman origin [Robertson’s Ayrshire Families, vol. ii. p. 85], and is supposed to have accompanied Walter, son of Alan, ancestor of the high stewards, from Shropshire in England, about the beginning of the twelfth century. As Walter, soon after his arrival, received a royal grant of the counties of Kyle (called from him Kyle Stewart), and Strathgryfe, now Renfrewshire, it is affirmed by Chalmers and others, that many of those who accompanied him obtained from him grants of land in that district, and the progenitor of the Fullartons is believed to have been of the number.

      The name Fullarton, anciently written Foulertoun, is obviously of Saxon etymology, and is conjectured primarily to be derived from office or occupation, such as that of a fowler. This conjecture derives probability from the fact that one Galfredus Foullertoun, whom there is reason to believe belonged to a branch of the family which settled in Ayrshire, obtained from Robert the First a charter of some lands in Angus, together with the hereditary office of fowler to the king in that county, in which office he and his successors were obliged to serve the royal household with wild fowl when the king arrived at Forfar castle, where this fowler was to be entertained with a servant and two horses. Nisbet states that the original charter is in the earl of Haddington’s Collections. [Heraldry, vol. i. p. 339.]

      The first of the Ayrshire family named in unquestionable written evidence is Alanus de Fowlertoun, who lived before the middle of the thirteenth century, and died about 1280. In 1242 he founded and endowed out of his lands a convent of Carmelite or White friars at Irvine. His son, Adam de Fowlertoun, received a charter from James, high steward of Scotland, of the lands of Fullarton, which has no date, but must have been granted between 1283 and 1309, the period in which James held the office of high steward.

      Adam’s son, Reginald de Fowlertoun of that ilk, was the father of Sir Adam Fowlertoun, who had a new charter from Robert, high steward of Scotland, dated at Irvine, April 13, 1344, of the lands of Fullarton, Gaylis, &c., in Kyle Stewart. Of an active and energetic character, in the beginning of October 1346 he accompanied the army under David the Second into England, and was one of the knights created by that monarch before passing the border. At the disastrous battle of Durham, on the 17th of the same month, he was taken prisoner, along with the king. On the release of the latter, October 3, 1357, Sir Adam’s eldest son, John Foulertoun, younger of Foulertoun, was one of the twenty hostages left in England, until payment of the king’s ransom. He was much in the interest of King Robert the Second, both before and after that prince, the first of the Stuart kings, ascended the throne, and for his long and faithful services, he obtained various grants of land in his own neighbourhood. He frequently occurs as a witness in the charters of that monarch, when he is designed “dominus de Corsbie,” having, among others, received a charter of the lands of that name. By his wife, Marjory, a lady of the Stewart family, he had two sons, John and David. John, the elder, predeceased him, leaving a son, Reginald, who succeeded his grandfather, on his death, about the year 1399.

      The son of this Reginald, Rankin de Foullertoun, was twice married, and by his first wife had a son, George his successor. His second wife was Marion, daughter of Wallace of Craigie, and by her he had two sons, William and Adam. He had a charter, dated at Perth, July 20th, 1428, from King James the First, of the lands of Draigarn (now Dreghorn), in Kyle, to which his elder son, by his second marriage, William, succeeded, and was the first of the Fullartons of Dreghorn.

      The eldest son, George Foulertoun of that ilk, but most frequently designed of Corsbie, had a charter under the great seal, by James the Third, in favour of himself, or, in failure of male heirs, to William his brother, of the lands of Fullarton, Marras, Shewalton, Harperland, and West Laithis, also Corsbie, Trune, Craiksland, and Russelsland, all lying within the bailiary of Kyle, as also of the lands of Knightsland in the Isle of Arran, dated at Edinburgh, October 24, 1464.

      His descendant in the seventh generation, James Fullarton of Fullarton, was served heir to his father, May 2, 1605. His youngest brother, Robert, is supposed to have been the first of the Fullartons of Bartonholme, in Ayrshire. James married Agnes, daughter of John Fullarton of Dreghorne, and (with a daughter, Helen, married to Blair of Ladykirk, Ayrshire,) had three sons. John Fullarton, the second son, adopted a military life, and served several years in Germany. In 1639 he went to France as lieutenant-colonel to the Hon. Alexander Erskine, brother of the earl of Mar, and the following year Louis the Thirteenth, king of France, advanced him to the rank of colonel in the French army. He acquired the estate of Dudwick in Aberdeenshire, which remained in his family till about the end of the eighteenth century. The last proprietor of Dudwick of the name was General John Fullarton, a brave and able officer, who greatly distinguished himself in the Prussian and Russian service, and in the latter was promoted to the rank of general. He is described as being of a somewhat peculiar character, from habits acquired in foreign service, and while residing at Dudwick, from advancing age, had little intercourse with the neighbouring proprietors, unless at public meetings, to which he went in an old-fashioned carriage, accompanied by one or two Russian servants. Dying unmarried, he was succeeded in his estate of Dudwick by the family of Udny of Udny, in the same county, supposed to have been related to, or connected with him.

      The third son, the Rev. William Fullarton, minister of St. Quivox, Ayrshire, acquired the lands of Craighall from his cousin, John Fullarton of Dreghorn. He married Frances, daughter of Stewart of Reece, Renfrewshire, a cadet of the Stewarts of Lennox, and had several sons and daughters, and was ancestor of the Fullertons of Thrybergh Park, Yorkshire. He was also the progenitor of the Fullartons of Carstairs in Lanarkshire, one of whom, Roberton Fullarton, was governor of Prince of Wales Island. His heirs sold Carstairs to Henry Monteith, Esq.

      James’ eldest son, James Fullarton of Fullarton and Corsbie, received on November 20th, 1634, a commission under the great seal, from King Charles the First, appointing him sheriff of the bailiary of Kyle Stewart. How long this office remained in the family does not appear. It was successively held by the families of Glencairn, Craigie, and Loudoun. The laird of Fullarton was one of the two commissioners for the shire of Ayr in the Scots parliament in 1643. The family of Fullarton appear at this time to have warmly espoused the presbyterian interest, and did not escape the severe measures which followed the troubled and eventful period of Charles the First and the Commonwealth. By the Act of Oblivion, September 9, 1662, by the unprincipled administration of Charles the Second, Fullarton of Fullarton was fined two thousand pounds Scots. He died in 1667. He married Barbara, daughter of John Cunninghame of Cunninghamehead, (sister of the first baronet of that family,) and had three sons and three daughters. George, the third son, succeeded to the estate of Dreghorn, by a special destination; and ultimately to his elder brother in Fullarton. The youngest daughter, Barbara, married Patrick Macdowal of Freugh, Wigtonshire, ancestor of the noble family of Dumfries (see DUMFRIES, earl of).

      The eldest son, William Fullarton of Fullarton, studied the law. On suspicion of being concerned in the affair of Bothwell Bridge, he and his brother, George Fullarton of Dreghorn, were, on 30th July 1683, committed to prison, and on 2d April following, were indicted for trial, but the diet, it seems, was afterwards deserted simpliciter. On this occasion, amongst other offences, they were charged with ‘Harbouring and countenancing” their brother-in-law, Macdowal of Freugh, who, as is well known, was one of the most forward and zealous supporters of the Covenanters. This laird of Fullarton obtained a charter, under the great seal, dated at Windsor castle, August 5, 1707, by Queen Anne, constituting the port of Troon a free port and harbour, and erecting the town of Fullarton into a burgh or barony. He died in 1710; but, although thrice married, he left no surviving descendant.

      The estates and representation of the family devolved on his next surviving brother, George Fullarton of Fullarton and Dreghorn, as mentioned above. The latter estate, on succeeding to the family property, he sold to William Fairlie of Bruntsfield, who changed its name to Fairlie. George Fullarton’s eldest son, Patrick, born in 1677, practised as an advocate at the Scottish bar, and predeceased his father in 1709. He had (with two daughters) two sons, namely, William, successor to his grandfather, and Patrick, who, in 1738, purchased the lands of Goldring, now called Rosemount, about four miles north-east of Ayr. The latter had also two sons; William, who added considerably to his paternal estate by purchases; and John, a general in the East India Company’s service. George’s second son, Robert, carried on the line of the family.

      William Fullarton of Fullarton, the grandson of the above George Fullarton, by devoting his attention to the study of agricultural science, greatly improved his estate, and in 1745 he built the house of Fullarton. He also successfully cultivated gardening and botany. He died in 1758.

      His only son, Colonel Fullarton of Fullarton, born January 12, 1754, was only five years of age when he succeeded his father. He received his academical education at Edinburgh, and in his sixteenth year was placed under the care of Patrick Brydone, Esq., (of whom a memoir is given previously). With that gentleman he travelled on the continent, and accompanied him when he made his celebrated tour in Sicily and Malta in 1770. In 1775 young Fullarton was appointed principal secretary to the embassy of Lord Stormont at the court of France. In 1780 he proposed to government the plan of an expedition to Mexico against the Spaniards, which being approved of, he raised the 98th regiment of infantry, of which he was appointed colonel, though not previously in the army. He and Lieutenant-colonel, then Major Mackenzie Humberstone, (of the noble family of Seaforth, see SEAFORTH, lord,) raised two thousand men, at their own expense, with unusual despatch, and involved their estates to a very large amount, by preparations for the expedition. The unexpected breaking out of the Dutch war, however, caused it, instead of Mexico, to be sent upon an attack on the Cape of Good Hope; and ultimately it was employed in the war in India. Colonel Fullarton, with the troops under his command, served at first on board Commodore Johnston’s fleet, but in May 1783 he received the command of the southern army on the coast of Coromandel, a force consisting of upwards of thirteen thousand men. His campaigns and operations with this army, in that and the succeeding year, were attended with a rapidity and brilliancy of success previously altogether unknown in that clime.

      On his return to Europe, he published a work entitled ‘A View of the English interests in India,’ &c., together with an account of his campaigns there in the years 1782, 1783, and 1784 (London, 1787); a very interesting narrative, which contains also some curious and valuable information relative to the history of our eastern empire. He was frequently a member of the House of Commons, and was twice returned for his native county of Ayr. In 1791 he was served heir of line and representative of the family of Cunninghame of Cunninghamehead, baronet.

      At the breaking out of the French war in 1793, he raised the 23d light dragoons, then called “Fullarton’s light horse,” and also the 101st regiment of infantry. The same year, at the request of the president of the Board of Agriculture, he wrote ‘An Account of the Agriculture of the County of Ayr, with Observations on the means of its improvement,’ which was printed and generally circulated. In 1801 he also wrote an essay, addressed to the Board of Agriculture in England, on the best method of turning grass lands into tillage. The same year he was appointed governor of the island of Trinidad, but returned home in 1803, when he preferred a charge against Sir Thomas Picton, the former governor, for authorising torture on a female slave, which led to the trial of that gallant officer. Colonel Fullarton died at London, 13th February 1808, at the age of 54, and was interred within the church of Isleworth, where a marble monument, with an appropriate Latin inscription, was soon after erected to his memory. He had married in 1792, the Hon. Marianne Mackay, eldest daughter of the fifth Lord Reay, and had a daughter, Rosetta, married to the representative of the family as mentioned in the next paragraph. His widow claimed, as heir of entail, the estates of the former noble family of Bargeny, and in consequence assumed the family name of Hamilton. (See BARGENY, lord.)

      As Colonel Fullarton left no male issue, the representation of the family of Fullarton devolved on his second cousin, Col. Stuart Murray Fullarton of Bartonholme, grandson of Robert Fullarton, second son of George Fullarton of Fullarton and Dreghorne, above mentioned. This Robert Fullarton, a writer to the signet, drew up a genealogical tree of the family of Fullarton. The lands of Bartonholme and others were bequeathed to him by his kinsman Captain William Fullarton of Bartonholme, who died in 1731. By his wife, Grizel, daughter of John Stuart of Ascog, in the island of Bute, a branch of the noble family of Bute, he had, with other children, a son, George Fullarton of Bartonholme, an officer in the army, who was much engaged in foreign service, and was present in North America, during the whole period of what was called the “Seven years’ war.” Col. Stuart Murray Fullarton, who succeeded to the representation of the principal family, was a son of this gentleman. He entered the army early, and in 1812 was appointed colonel of the Kirkcudbright and Wigton, or Galloway regiment of militia, but resigned his commission on becoming, in May 1819, collector of customs at Irvine. He was a fellow of the Royal Societies of London and Edinburgh. On January 4, 1796, he married Rosetta, daughter of Colonel Fullarton, of Fullarton, and had eight sons and four daughters. His wife having died October 19, 1814, he married, secondly, September 11, 1820, Isabella Buchanan, only daughter of the late James Muir, D.D., Glasgow, and had by her one daughter and one son.

      In 1805 the estate of Fullarton was purchased by the duke of Portland, and it now belongs to that noble family.


      John Fullarton of Dreghorn, who was served heir to that estate in 1546, and who was the fifth in direct descent from Rankine Fullarton of Fullarton, mentioned previously, took an active part in the Reformation in Scotland, and involved his estate very much on that account. With a view of suppressing the convent of Carmelite friars at Irvine, which the Fullartons of that ilk for centuries liberally supported, he purchased, on 19th May 1558, from Robert Burne, prior of said convent, the lands of Friars Croft and Dyets Temple, on which it was situated. At the meeting of the first General Assembly of the reformed Church of Scotland at Edinburgh, 20th December 1560, Fullarton of Dreghorn was one of the commissioners “for the kirk of Kyle.” On 4th September 1562, with the earl of Glencairn, Lords Boyd and Ochiltree, and a number of the gentlemen of Ayrshire, he subscribed the famous band at Ayr, to support and defend the reformed religion at all hazards, and against all its enemies; and, on Queen Mary’s marriage with Lord Darnley, he went, on 31st August 1565, to Edinburgh, along with the earls of Moray, Glencairn, and Rothes, and Lords Boyd and Ochiltree, at the head of 1,300 horse, in defence of the reformed faith. He was also one of those who, on 25th July 1567, subscribed the articles agreed to in the fifteenth General Assembly, for the punishment of the murderers of the king (Darnley), the defence of King James, and the rooting out of all monuments of popery. In 1570, with the Reformed noblemen and gentlemen of Ayrshire, he signed the letter addressed to Kirkaldy of Grange, desiring to know the meaning of his threats toward John Knox. In the General Assembly of March 1571, he was one of the commissioners appointed to wait upon the Regent, relative to matters pertaining to the jurisdiction of the church. By his wife, Janet, daughter of Mungo Mure of Rowallan, he had three sons and three daughters. His third son, Sir James Fullarton, was educated at Glasgow, under the tuition of the celebrated Andrew Melville, and afterwards went into the court of Charles the First, who knighted him, and appointed him first gentleman of the bedchamber. In this situation he died, and was interred in Westminster Abbey, where an elegant monument was erected to his memory.


      The family of Fullarton held, from an early period, lands in the island of Arran. A cadet of the principal family, said to have spring from a second son, named Lewis, settled in the island, and his descendants have always been distinguished by the patronymic of M’Lewie, or M’Lewis. When Robert the Bruce landed in Brodick Bay, whilst upon his peregrinations through the Western Highlands, one of the Fullartons directed him to a place where some of his adherents had taken shelter, and were employed in making a temporary fort. For this and other services, the king granted to Fergus Fullarton a charter, dated at Arnele castle, in Cunningham, 29th November, in the second year of his reign (1307), of the lands of Kilmichael and others, with the hereditary office of coroner of the bailiedom of Arran. The farm of Kilmichael, in the parish of Kilbride, worth about £100 a-year, still remains in possession of the family, the rest of the island being the property of the duke of Hamilton. The present proprietor of Kilmichael, who resides on his property, has his right of coroner confirmed to him and his heirs, from the family of Hamilton. He is obliged to have three men to attend him upon all public emergencies, and he is bound by his office to pursue all malefactors and to deliver them to the steward or in his absence to the next judge. The perquisites due to the coroner are a firlot or bushel of oats, and a lamb from every village in the isle; both of which are punctually paid to him at the ordinary terms. [Martin’s Description of the Western Islands.]

      From the Kilmichael family was descended Mr. Allan Fullarton of Glasgow, proprietor of the estate of Orchard in Lanarkshire. He married, in 1812, Janet, daughter of John Wilson, surgeon in Kilmarnock, and had a son, and several daughters. Another branch of Kilmichael were designed of Glenderuel, one of whom was bishop of Edinburgh from 1720 to 1727.

      Coeval with the Arran family, but from a third brother, were the Fullartons of the island of Bute, who had the patronymic of M’Camie, or son of James, which seems to have been the name of their original ancestor in that island. They are often also called Jameson.


      Of the Carstairs branch, who spelled their name Fullerton, one of them became a lord of session, and was distinguished as a sound lawyer and an able judge. John Fullerton, second son of William Fullerton of Carstairs, passed advocate, 17th Feb. 1798, when in his 23d year, and on 17th Feb. 1829 he was elevated to the bench in the room of Lord Eldin, when he took the judicial title of Lord Fullerton. He died 2d Dec. 1853, about three weeks after resigning his seat on the bench.

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