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The Scottish Nation

KIRKPATRICK, anciently sometimes spelled Kilpatrick, a surname derived from Cella Patricii, the church of Patrick, and the prefix of the name of no less than four parishes in Galloway.

      The ancient family of Kirkpatrick of Closeburn, who possess a baronetcy, have, according to tradition, held lands in Nithsdale since the ninth century. In the reign of David I., (1124-1153), Yvo Kirkpatrick was witness to a charter of Robert Brus the competitor, lord of Annandale, and Eufemia, his wife, granting the fishing of Torduff to the monks of Holme Cultram. His grandson, also Yvo, obtained from Alexander II. a charter of confirmation of the lands of Kilosburn, [from Cella Osburni] which belonged formerly to his ancestors, dated 15th August 1232. In the Ragman Roll, among those mentioned as having, in 1296, sworn fealty to Edward I., are Stephen de Kilpatrick, and Roger de Kilpatrick, the latter supposed to be of the Torthorwald branch of the Kirkpatricks. These last afterwards took the name of Carlyle by marriage. Roger Kirkpatrick, successor of John, was one of the attendants of King Robert Bruce at Dumfries, when he met Comyn in the church of the Franciscans in that town, and it was he who, on Bruce’s rushing out, and expressing a doubt that he had killed the Red Comyn, despatched the latter, with the exclamation, “You doubt! Ise mak siccar,” (or sure,) which became the motto of his family, their crest being a hand holding a dagger, in pale, distilling drops of blood. In 1314 he was sent on an embassy to England, in company with Sir Neil Campbell, ancestor of the duke of Argyle. Roger’s son, Sir Thomas Kirkpatrick, besides inheriting Closeburn, for his father’s signal services and his own to his sovereign and country, got the lands of Redburgh in the sheriffdom of Dumfries, as the charter of Robert Brus bears, dated at Lochmaben, 4th January in the 14th year of his reign.

      In 1355, Sir Thomas’ son, Sir Roger, who remained faithful amidst the general defection of the nobles, distinguished himself by taking from the English the castle of Caerlaverock and Dalswinton, and thus preserved the whole territory of Nithsdale in allegiance to the Scottish crown. The historian, John Major, says he levelled the former with the ground. This however, could not be literally true, as he continued to reside in it till his assassination by his kinsman, Sir James Lindsay, in 1357. No known cause of quarrel existed between them, except that Kirkpatrick, as tradition records, had married a lady to whom Lindsay was greatly attached. Lindsay expiated his crime with his life, having been executed by order of David II. ‘The Murder of Caerlaverock’ is the subject of a very spirited ballad by the late Mr. Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe. Sir Roger’s son, Winfred or Umfrey, in addition to the lands of Rebburgh, got those of Torthorwald, in the debateable district between Lower Nithsdale and Lower Annandale. The son, or grandson of the latter, Sir Thomas Kirkpatrick, made a resignation of the baronies of Closeburn and Redburgh into the hands of Robert duke of Albany, earl of Fife, and governor of Scotland, for a new charter of Tailzie, to himself and his heirs male, dated at Ayr, 14th October 1409. He was succeeded by his brother, Roger Kirkpatrick, who was one of the gentlemen of inquest in serving William Lord Somerville heir to his father, Thomas Lord Somerville, before Sir Henry Preston of Craignillar, sheriff-principal and provost of Edinburgh, 10th June 1435, when he had on his seal, appended to the retour, the escutcheon of his arms, supported with two lions guardant, though afterwards the supporters were two talbots (Nisbet’s Heraldry, vol. i. p. 147). In 1348, his son, Sir Thomas Kirkpatrick, was one of the conservators of the truce with England. His descendant, Sir Thomas Kirkpatrick, knight, a gentleman of the privy chamber to James VI., obtained from that monarch a patent of free denizen within the kingdom of England in 1603, and died about 1628.

      His great-grandson, Thomas Kirkpatrick of Closeburn, for his unshaken fidelity to Charles I., was created a baronet of Nova Scotia, 26th March 1685. His eldest son, Sir Thomas, second baronet, had four sons and a daughter. The eldest of these, Sir Thomas, third baronet, by his marriage with Susannah, daughter and heiress of James Grierson of Capenoch, brought that estate into the family. Of the ancient castle of Closeburn, a square tower about 50 feet high, consisting of a ground floor and three vaulted apartments, Grose has given a drawing in his ‘Antiquities of Scotland.’ The mansion-house, built by the first baronet, partly with the materials of the old residence, was burnt to the ground, through the carelessness of drunken servants, on the night of the 29th August, 1748, and all the family papers, portraits, plate, &c, therein consumed. He had eight children, and died in October 1771. His second and eldest surviving son, Sir James, fourth baronet, commenced in 1772 the limeworks both in Closeburn and Keir, which have proved most beneficial to the district. In 1783 he sold the estate of Closeburn to Mr. Menteth, and died 7th June 1804. His son, Sir Thomas, the fifth baronet, sheriff of Dumfries-shire, married Jane, daughter of Charles Sharpe, Esq. of Hoddam, and died in 1844, when his son, Sir Charles Sharpe Kirkpatrick of Closeburn, born in 1808, became sixth baronet.

      The younger brother of the 3d baronet of Closeburn, William Kirkpatrick of Ellisland, married a daughter of Lord-justice-clerk Erskine. Their son Charles, succeeding to the estate of Hoddam, assumed the name of Sharpe, and was father of General Matthew Sharpe, M.P. for the Dumfries burghs, who died in 1841, and of the antiquary and wit, Mr. Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe of Hoddam, who died in 1851. The latter drew up a chart of the family tree of the Kirkpatricks of Closeburn.


      From a branch of the Kirkpatricks, styled of Conheath, is descended the empress Eugenié, consort of Napoleon III, of France. According to one account, this branch springs from Alexander Kirkpatrick of Kirkmichael, 2d son of the 3d Roger de Kirkpatrick of Closeburn; the barony of Conheath having been bestowed on him as the reward of his valour in making a captive of the 9th earl of Douglas at Burnswark in 1484. Another account grafts it on the main tree at a much more recent date. The Empress Eugenié’s great-great-grandfather joined the standard of the Pretender in 1745, and being taken prisoner, died on the scaffold. His son left Scotland, and settled at Ostend, whence the family emigrated to Spain.

      About the middle of the 18th century, William Kirkpatrick, cousin-german of Sir James Kirkpatrick, baronet of Closeburn, was proprietor of the estate of Conheath, parish of Caerlaverock. The estate had originally been one of the numerous possessions of the Closeburn family, of which he was a cadet, but had passed out of their hands, and was repurchased by Mr. Kirkpatrick’s grandfather. Mr. Kirkpatrick himself had a very large family, the only remaining member of which, Miss Jane Forbes Kirkpatrick, residing at Nith Bank, Dumfries, who died Dec. 21, 1854, in his 89th year, was aunt of the countess de Montijo, the mother of the empress Eugenié. One of his sons, also named William Kirkpatrick, was for upwards of a quarter of a century a merchant in Malaga, and American consul in that city. He married Francisca, eldest daughter of Baron Grivignee, a Belgian, and had one son, who died early, and three daughters. Maria Kirkpatrick, the eldest, married Don Cipriano Palafox, then Count of Teba, a grandee of Spain of the first class, later, on the death of his elder brother, Count del Montijo, issue 2 daughters; the elder married the Duke of Berwick and Alba, and died in Sept. 1860, leaving 3 children; the younger, Eugenié Marie de Guzman, Countess of Teba, born at Grenada May 5, 1826, married January 29, 1853, Charles Louis Napoleon, (Napoleon III.,) Emperor of the French, issue, Napoleon, Prince Imperial, born March 16, 1856. William Kirkpatrick’s 2d daughter, Carlotta, married her cousin, Thomas Kirkpatrick of Ostend. The 3d daughter, Enriquetta, married the Count de Cabarrus, whose sister was the celebrated Madame Tallien.

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