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The Annals of Penicuik
Chapter VIII - Landed Estates - Families and their History

THERE are at present thirteen heritors of the parish of Penicuik. These are Sir George D. Clerk, Baronet, Penicuik; Charles William Cowan, Loganhouse; Horatio Forbes Brown, Newhall; George Johnston, Bavelaw; the Earl of Rosebery, as owner of the farm of Fullarton; James Greenhill, banker, Edinburgh, proprietor of Mosshouses; James Pow, Walltower and Greybrae: Robert Robertson, Aries Mill and Roseview; Thomas E. Steuart, banker, Edinburgh, proprietor of Stellknowe; representatives of Wellington Farm; trustees of the late Mr. Alexander, Howgate; Marion Murray, Springfield and Netherton; and James Abernethy, Wester Howgate.

The eight last mentioned hold their respective properties on long leases from the owner of the Penicuik estate, and are assessed on a very small sum for minister's stipend and church property repair. The portion of Lord Rosebery's estate which gives him a connection with this parish is so small and remote that it will hardly warrant any extended notice of past and present owners. In the case, however, of the four principal heritors I shall endeavour to give an account of their families, as well as a history of their predecessors in the ownership of the lands, in the hope that such may be of interest to my readers. First in extent and importance conies the barony of Penicuik. At one period, according to Chalmers the historian, the barony and the parish were co-extensive. The yewthird and middlethird of the Slipperfields at West Linton were also then a pendicle of the Penicuik estate. Considerable portions of their original possessions must, however, have been alienated at a very early period from the old proprietors, for at the beginning of the sixteenth century there were as many as eight possessors of freehold property in the parish. The earliest known proprietors were the Penicoks of that Ilk. Their redsendo was, `'Three blasts of a horn when the king came hunting on the Borough Muir`. This, taken in connection with the three-stringed bows on their crest, inclines one to believe that they were originally hereditary rangers or hunters to the Scottish kings. They were not in early times a family of any eminence, and the ancient charters having long ago disappeared, it is now of course impossible either to ascertain their origin or the date of their acquisition of the barony. I think it reasonable to believe, however, that during the tide of Saxon colonisation, which took place during the reign of David I., the first Penicok would probably obtain possession of the lands, and take from them his surname. Amongst the Saxon, Norman, and Flemish settlers who were invited and attracted to the Court of the Scottish king, and to whom he gave munificent grants of land, were many Northumbrian nobles, and amongst them in all likelihood would be the Penicoks. I am confirmed in this belief by the fact that King Edward I. wrote to his Chancellor on 14th March 1303, ordering the restitution of his lands and heritages in Northumberland to Hugh de Penicok, knight, who, he says, had come to the peace. On the 4th April of the same year the kin; in a letter dated from Newcastle-on-Tyne, further orders the resident Sheriff, not only to restore Penicoks heritages, but to treat him with all dignity and respect. These transactions without doubt indicate a previous connection of the family with that county.

The first of the line whose name I have been able to obtain was William de Penicok. It occurs in one of the documents registered by the abbey scribe of Newbattle, where it is set forth how King Alexander ii. issued his precept to John de Vaux, sheriff' of Edinburgh, and Gilbert Frazer, sheriff of 'I'racluair, to Heris his forester, and William de Penicok, another officer, that they go in person to the ground, and there by oath of good and faithful men of the country make to be extended the pasture of Lethanhope, with its pertinents; and, that extent made, that they inform the king by letters under their seals of the said extent and the yearly value of the said pasture.

The family appear shortly after this time to have risen in rank and importance, for the next owner is a knight of the shire, by name Sir Nigel de Penicok. Sir Nigel espoused the national cause, and in consequence had his estates confiscated by the English king. The name of his widow appears in a petition of various ladies addressed to Edward I., claiming restitution of their rights, which is preserved amongst other interesting Scottish documents. She asks those lands to be returned to her with which she had been endowed twenty years previously, probably at the time of her marriage. Her prayer had apparently been granted, for she and her son Hugh obtained livery of their lands after they signed the Ragman Rolls at Berwick on 26th August 1296. This name is given to the five great rolls of parchment which the Scottish nobles and clergy, either for fear or favour, filled with their seals and autographs, indicating their fealty and obedience to the English king. Penicok's seal is a griffin passant to dexter, with a curved object representing a bow in front, while his signature is printed thus, HYGONIS de PENEKOL. Lady Margaret and her son had not long continued in their allegiance, as will be seen from perusal of the following interesting letter, which has also been preserved amongst the historical documents of Scotland. It is from John de Kingston, Constable of Edinburgh Castle, to Walter de Langton, Lord-Treasurer of England. He writes thus:- 'Intelligence has come to inc that the Lady of Penicok (which is 10 leagues from our Castle) has received her son, who is against the peace, and that other evil-doers are there harboured and received, whereof I caused all the beasts of the said town to be sought for and brought to our Castle, and part of them I have delivered to the poor people who say they are at peace with us, and I have retained the remainder until the approach of our troops, and the withdrawal of the Scots, so that if we need we may take some of them for the king's money.' He further asks for approval of his action, finishing with the words—'Sire, may God give you a good and long life. Written at Maiden Castle on August 9th, 1298.' The above letter is interesting as containing the first known allusion to the town of Penicuik, and also for the information it gives as to the attitude of the inhabitants of our parish in the great conflict which was then raging between a portion of the Scottish people, under the leadership of their brave guardian, Sir William Wallace, and the English king.

Notwithstanding his repeated , defections Sir Hugh appears again to have made his peace with Edward, for, as already stated, he obtained restitution of his lands in Northumberland by order of that monarch on March 3, 1303. His sons Nigel and John, indeed, entered the English service, and in the year 1312 they were serving at Dundee under William de Montfichet, who commanded that garrison. Nigel succeeded his father in the ownership of the barony, but died before he had been long in possession. his son and heir, as also his lands, were given by King; Edward into the custody of one John de LandaIs. I have been unable to fill(] the name of the young knight, but it is possible that he may have been that Sir David de Penicok who, in 13713, granted to his cousin, William de Creichtoune, the lands of Brunstane and Welchtoune. It is needless further troubling my readers with a list of the names of the successive owners, for, with one or two exceptions, up to the close of the sixteenth century, they were all Sir John Penycukis. The last Sir John was succeeded by his son Andrew, and it is rather curious to notice that in the deed, dated 20th February 1591, confirming his succession, and that of his heirs and assignees, the reddendo is described as 'Six blasts of a flowing horn on time common moor of Edinburgh, of old called time forest of Drunnselch, at the kings hunt on the said moor, in name of blench. In every other charter which I have read the number Of blasts is mentioned as three. It is not unlikely that a clerical error may be an explanation of this discrepancy. Andrew Penycuke of that Ilk died in the early part of the year 1603, and Alexander, his brother, was served heir to his estates. In subsequent pages my readers will see that this last of the line was a wild and dissolute man, who succeeded in running through his patrimony in a very short time. On December 19, 1603, a contract was entered into between him and Mr. John Prestoun of Fentonharns anent the sale to the latter of the lands and barony of Penycuke, and on 22d March 1604 he granted procuratory of resignation in favour of the said John Prestoun. They were resigned accordingly, and on 29th March of time same year Mr. Prestoun had a charter of the lands from the Crown, and thus passed away from them for ever the ancient heritage of the Penycukcs. From Privy Council records, historical documents, and other sources. I have gleaned a variety of incidents in the history of this old family which are interesting, as throwing light upon the habits and life of its members and their dependants at different periods. It has already been stated that the Penycukes were not originally a family of influence. By the beginning of the sixteenth century, however, they had become more prominent. During the greater part of it, indeed, the successive owners were members of the Scottish Parliament, and frequently occupied important offices in the State. During the sixteenth century I find their names constantly mentioned as members of assize, and frequently as cautioners for the good behaviour of prominent Scottish noblemen and gentry. Instead, however, of always acting in the honourable capacity of law-makers, some of the lairds were more conspicuous as law-breakers. In this, however, they were not worse than their neighbours. For a long period in Scottish history the nobles and inferior barons were completely independent of the power of the Crown, and bade defiance to law and order. The country in consequence was in a state of constant turmoil, owing to their sanguinary and interminable feuds. At an assize held on 30th August 1529, Sir John Penycuke and his brother Alexander were convicted of unlawful convocation of the lieges, the result of their aiding and abetting in a deadly feud which took place between the lairds of Edmonston and Niddry. In the year 1532 the Penicuik laird, along with Crichtoun of Newhall, and Sir William Sinclair of Roslin, is amerciated for non-appearance at assize. The two brothers, John and Alexander, were indeed seldom out of trouble of one kind or another. In 1537 they were both before the Court charged with an assault upon one Roger Tuedy of Lynton, whose thumb it was alleged they had cut off in some sanguinary encounter. Upon this occasion, however, they were proved innocent, and their accusers punished for perjury. In the year 1576 the Sir .John of that period had apparently mortgaged a portion of his lands to the representatives of St. Leonard's College, St. Andrews. The interest upon the bond amounted to 22 merks yearly. When it became due he either had not the money, or wanted the will to part with it, for he is sued for payment, and an officer is sent to poind certain effects. The officer accordingly secured forty ewes and lambs, and was driving them off when the laird's two sons, William and Gilbert, with Robert Yule, their servant, did, as the indictment sets forth, 'violentlie reft and tuke them fra the officiar, and so deforcit him in the execution of his office. And anent the charge given to the said John Penycuke to have compeared personalie, and have brochit and presented with him the utheris personis above mentioned on a certain day past, under pane of rebellion and putting him to the horn. Qiihilkis being callit, and not compearand, my Lord Regentis grace thairfor, with advice of saids Lordis, ordains letters to be direct to denunce the said John Penvcuke our Soverane Lordis rebell, and his goods to be escheit.'

As further showing the lawless and cruel actions frequently perpetrated in those days, the following extract from the records of the court in Linlithgow is interesting, the more so as it contains allusion to the village of Penicuik, and to a well-known farm in its immediate neighbourhood:-

Linlithgow, 22d October 1595.—` Complaint by James Bellenden of Bruchton and Dame Margaret Levingstoun, his tutrix, for her interest, as follows: Upon 6th Sept. last Andro Penycuke, apparent of that Ilk, Gilbert Penycuke, his father's brother, and Jolene Penycuke, son of the late James Penycuke, father's brother of the said Gilbert, with their accomplices, "bodin in feir of weir," with hacquebatis, pistolettes, and utheris weaponis, invasive came at night to the house of Michaell Archibald in Cukin, the complainer's tenant, of sett purpose to murder him, and finding the doors closed, forcibly broke the house, entered therein, and searched for the said 1lichacll in all pairts thereof, threatening his wife and bairns with all kinds of crueltie; and seeing they could not find him, efter intromittin; with gold and silver and other gear in the said house, they shamefully and cruelly assaulted William Adam, the said Michaell's servant, wounded hint in divers parts of his body, and left him for deid; not content therewith, they passed to the town of Penycuke, and brocht Eyre agaitworde to the house of sett purpois tressonable to have print the sarnin. Still further, upon the morn thereafter they carne again to the said house, and commanded the tenants of the said lands to leave occupation thairof, and nivir to be fundin thair thairefter, threatening and minassin; to hoick thair oxen and hand; thamselfl'is over thair dalkes gift' that' did contrair.' The complainers appeared by Walter Cranstoun and the said Michael Archibald their procurators; the defenders, failing; to appear, are to be denounced rebels.

The last of the long line of Penycukes who owned the barony was that Alexander of whom mention has already been made. After selling his paternal acres he entered the King's Guard. Regimental discipline had not been very strict in those days, else he would not have been allowed to have worn his Majesty's uniform for a very long time. In the chapter which gives an account of the clergymen of the parish, it will be seen how, along with the minister's son and others, he committed a ruthless assault upon one Captain Rig, on a certain Sabbath morning, when he was returning from worship.

It would almost appear indeed as if Sunday was his favourite clay for shedding blood. In the Register of the Privy Council there is the following entry:—Upon a Sunday in February 1608 Umphra Gray, merchant burgess of Edinburgh, 'having remainit all that day in the kirk at the sernione according to his accustomed manor, and efter the efternones sernmone, having stayt in the kirk quhill about seven of the clock at nycht, and than comeing hame to his ane house in a sober and quiet maser to have gottin his supper, he took purpois to reid some twa or three chaptotiris of the Bible, unitill his supper had been reddy, as he was at this exercise, sitting at his asvne table, without ane other companie in his house saulfin; his awne servaund woman, Alexander Penevcuke, ane of his majestie's guard, with other twa personis, all unknown to the complainer, came to his house by way of hanmetticken, gaif him thrie grite straikes with it baton upon the head, and fellit hi in thairwith, and he being fallen to the ;ronrid, and having; lost his senses, thaw the farder to utter thair crueltie aganis the said complainair, gaif him ither thrie straikes upon the heid with a drawn durk.'

Pursuer appearing by Helen Cluech his spouse, the said Alexander failing to appear, the Lords decern him to be denounced rebel.

It is some satisfaction to know that his victim recovered from his worn ds, and it record is preserved showing how he received from James Prymrois, clerk of the Council, in name of Alexander Penycuke, one of his Majesty's guard, the sum of £100, the fine imposed upon him for hurting Gray. On the 24th October of the same year there is a complaint by James Watson, portioner at Sauchton; it is as follows: In violation of an act of Secret Council against assault within the burgh of Edinburgh, Alexander Penycuke, son of the late Sir John Penycuke of that Ilk, already guiltie of most bloodschedes and oppin innsolenceis, came at 6 hours at even, accompanied by George Smaill, indweller in the said burgh, both being armed with swords, gauntlets, and plait slieves, to the pursuer in the Cosvgate, he being then lopping on his horse going agaitwarde hame to his awne house in Sauchton, and there fiercely set upon him with drawn swordis, gafe him a grite stryke on the heid, cuttit off the knop of his left elbow, and wounded him in the left arm. Further, as pursuer had reparit to the barbouris for pansing of his said wvoundis, followit by his servaund, Penycuke put violente hands on the said servaund, and would have slain him if he had not escapit.' Pursuer and Smail appearing personally, the Lords assoilzie Smail, but order Penycuke to be denounced for non-compearance. I could quote many more instances in further illustration of the evil life led by this unworthy representative of a good old family, but space forbids. Over and over again he is bound down to keep the peace; on only one occasion does he appear as the wronged one. An entry in the books of Council records how David Kelso, cutler in Edinburgh, 'is ordainit to be denuncit for invading Alexander Penycuke, sometime of that Ilk, and now ane of his majesties guard, behind his back, and mutilating him of twa fingers.' On this occasion he had evidently some experience of the suffering which he so freely administered to others.

In the Register of the Privy Council, volume ix., there is an account of the final banishment of this most unworthy man. It is as follows: 'October 1612.—The quhilk day, in presence of the Lordes of Secret Counsale, comperit personalie Alexander Pennycuke, James Mourtoun, and Patrick llourtoun, and actit and oblist thamselflis that within the space of threttie dayis after the date heirof they sail depairt and pas furthe of this realme, and not returne agane within the sane without his majesties licence obtenit to that effect, under the pane of deade ; and in the meantyme quhill thai depairt and pas furthe of this realme, that thai sall behave thanieselfhs deutifullie under the said pane.'

As we have already seen (pp. 129, 130), descendants of the Penycukes again came to the parish some thirty-five years later, as proprietors of the estate of Newhall, of whom an account will be found towards the close of this chapter.

As before stated, the lands of Penycuke were sold to Mr. John Prestoun of Fentonbarns. He received his charter from the Crown on 31st March 1604, and immediately entered into possession. It is possible, I think, that lie purchased the estate of Brunstane from the Crichtounes about the same time. The career of this gentleman is well worthy of record. The son of a baker in Edinburgh, he studied for the law and passed in due time as advocate. He was commissary of Edinburgh from 1580 to 1599, and also one of the town assessors. For some time he held the offices of Clerk Register and Collector General of the King's Augmentations. He received the appointment of a Senator of the College of Justice on 12th March 1595, and was a member of Privy Council and of the Scottish Parliament. On the 23d December 1607 he was appointed vice-president of the Court of Session, and on 6th June 1609 he was promoted to the high position of Lord President of that court. In October 1606 an Act was passed in his favour, ratifying gifts of pension of £1087, 10s. and 24 bolls of meal to him and his eldest son for life. Again, on April 1611, on account of his old age and long services to the State, he received a further grant of pension for life of £1000 per annum, to be continued to his two younger sons, George and James, between them, with benefit of survivorship. Mr. Prestoun was twice married, first to a lady of the Scott of Balwearie family, and secondly to Lilias Gilbert, the daughter of a wealthy Edinburgh merchant. Prior to his purchase of Penycuke he had acquired the estate of Fentonbarns in East Lothian, also Good-trees, now Moredun, near Edinburgh. He died on 14th June 1616, and was succeeded in the ownership of the Penycuke estates by his eldest son, John Prestoun. This gentleman, like his father, had studied for the law, and lie became Solicitor-General about the year 1621. He was also a member of the Scottish Parliament, and was created Baronet on 22d February 1628. Sir John was married to Elizabeth, only daughter of William Turnbull, the owner of Airdrie, Thomastoun, Sypsies, Pitkerrie, and other estates. William Turnbull died in 1614, and on 9th August of that year Dame Elizabeth, wife of Sir John Prestoun of Penycuke, was served heir to her father in his numerous lands, the list of which occupies nearly a whole column of the retours. Soon after her death, which occurred in the year 1623, Sir John again married, the lady being Agnes, daughter of John Lundine of that Ilk.

Sir John Prestoun continued owner of the Penycuke estates for thirty years, but finally sold them in 1646 to Dame Margaret Scot, Countess of Eglintoune. The record from the Register of Sasines, volume xxxiv, folio 68, is as follows: Sept. 1st, 1646—' Sasine on Charter by Sir John Preston of Airdrie, Knight, in favour of Lady Margaret Scot, Countess of Eglintoun, her heirs and assignees whomsoever, heritably and irredeemably, of all and whole the lands and barony of Pennycuik with pertinents, viz., the town and lands of Pennycuik with the mill, in ill lands and multures, together with the dominical lands, commonly called the Maynes of Pennycuik, with the tower thereof, now called the Royal Town and lands of Newbigging, with houses, edifices, and pertinents thereof, the lands of Lufnes and Silverburne, the lands of Dyknuik, the lands of Bruntestoun, with manor place, houses, edifices, gardens, orchyards, parts and pendicles thereof, the lands of Raveinshauch, the lands of Braidwood, the lands of Welchtoun, the lands of Auchincorth with the commonity of Pennycuik, with parts, pendicles, annexis, connexis, dependencies, tenants, tenandries, service of free tenants, etc., of all the foresaid lands, with advocation, donation, and right of patronage of the Parish Kirk of Pennycuik, lying in the shire of Edinburgh.'

On September 4th, 1647, there is also recorded—Sasine, on Charter under the Great Seal, in favour of the foresaid Countess of Eglintoun, of the lands and barony of Pennycuik, as described in vol. xxxiv., and `also of all and whole the lands of Hallious and Leckhernaid [Halls and Leadhurn], with manor place, mills, etc., thereof, lying in the parish of Pennycuik, which lands formerly pertained to James Keith of Benholme, brother-german to William Earl Marshall and the deceased Margaret Lindsay, his spouse, in liferent, and to Elizabeth Keith, their daughter, in fee, and also of all and whole the lands of Cuiking, with houses, etc., sometime occupied and possessed by the deceased Mr. John Preston of Pennycuik, President of the College of Justice, and afterwards by Sir John Preston of Airdrie, his son, and their tenants, and now by the said I,adv Margaret Scot, Countess of Eglinton, and her tenants, which lands of Cuiking and others immediately foresaid, formerly pertained to Sir Andrew Flescheour [FIetcher] of Innerperer, Knight, one of the Senators of the College of Justice, and all which lands of Pennycuik and others respectively above mentioned, were resigned into the hands of His Majesty's Lords of the Treasury, in favour and for new infeftment of the said Lady Margaret Scot, Countess of Eglinton.'

This lady died in 1653, and on October 19th of that year Dame Jean Ross, Lady Innes, spouse to Sir Robert Innes, younger liar of that Ilk, was served heir-portioner to her mother, the Countess of Eglintouin, in the lands and barony of Pennycuik, and the lands of Cuiken in the barony of Glencross, also to the lands of Cairnhill and Wester Ravensneuk, then in the barony of Roslin.

The same day Margaret Hepburn, only daughter procreate betwixt John Hepburn of Wauchton, and Mistress Mary Ross his spouse, was also infeft in equal halves of the lands above specified.

This Margaret Hepburn was grand-daughter of the Countess. Their Sasines are recorded on 31st March 1654. Prior to this date, however, Sasine proceeding upon bond and obligation is granted by Sir Robert Innes, elder of that Ilk, and Sir Robert Innes, younger thereof, as principals; Alexander Brodie of that Ilk, and Alexander Douglas of Spynie, as cautioners for them, and also by David Dunbar of Binnies, and other cautioners for them, whereby, for the sum of £'6000 Scots, then borrowed and received by the said Sir Robert Innes, elder and younger, from John Clark, Merchant, burgess of Edinburgh, the said Sir Robert Innes, younger, bound him duly and lawfully to infeft and seise the said John Clark, his heirs and asignees whomsoever, in all and haill an annual rent of £360 out of the lands and barony of Pennycook, and lands of Hailles, with the whole parts, pendicles, and pertinents thereof, to be holden of the said Sir Robert Innes, younger, in free blench. This document is dated at Mylnetoun of Ross Innes, and Edinburgh the 29th September, 9th and 10th April and May 1653, and Sasine given on 10th February 1654. The above record is interesting as showing the first connection of the ancestor of the present owners with the barony of Pennycuik. His final acquisition took place shortly afterwards, when Jean Ross and Margaret Hepburn, who were infeft in equal halves of it, granted charter of the lands and barony to the said John Clerk, Merchant, burgess of Edinburgh, and he was infeft therein heritably and irredeemably, his Sasine being recorded on 3d June 1654.


The first Clerk of Penicuik was the son of a merchant iii Montrose. He was born in the year 1610, and in due course of time, it is believed, succeeded to the paternal business. Hoping no doubt to better his fortunes, and, finding the little east country town too small for his energies, he emigrated to Paris in the year 1634. Gifted with the national characteristics of perseverance and enterprise, Mfr. Clerk managed to acquire a modest fortune in a comparatively short space of time. He returned to Scotland about the year 1646, and ultimately settled in Edinburgh, of which town he became a merchant burgess. As already mentioned, he acquired possession of Penicuik in 1654. Shortly afterwards he purchased the lands of Wrightshouses near Edinburgh, and at his death the latter estate became the property of his second son, James, who married Mary Ricard, a French lady. .Mr. Clerk was a man of high character, and lie speedily attained to a prominent position in the county. He was elected an elder of the Established Church in Penicuik on December 6, 1657, and ever continued to be a faithful and regular attender at Session and Heritors meetings. On acquiring the Penicuik estate he found several mansions upon it, but he elected to live in the house of Newbigging, which he greatly improved. It was, indeed, at that time the finest house in the shire of Edinburgh, and, judging from the drawing of it, which still exists, appears to have been a more imposing edifice than that portion of the present Penicuik House which was erected upon its site, in 1771, by Sir James Clerk. Mr. Clerk married Mary, daughter of Sir William Gray of Pittendrum. With this lady he obtained several interesting relics of 'Mary, Queen of Scots, which are still carefully treasured in Penicuik House. These came to Mrs. Clerk through her mother, Mary Gillies, a lady-in-waiting to the Queen, and were given to her by her mistress before her execution.

It is worthy of mention here that another valued relic of Queen Mary, one of her gold watches, is now in possession of an adjoining proprietor, Professor Fraser Tytler of Woodhouselee. It was bequeathed to him by the late Rev. Alexander Torrence of Glencorse, who inherited it from an ancestor.

Mr. John Clerk died in 1674, and was succeeded by his eldest ,)on, John, who was created first Baronet of Penicuik by a royal patent from Charles II., dated 24th March 1679. This gentleman took a still more active and prominent part in public affairs than his father did. He became member for the county of Edinburgh in the Scottish Parliament, was Lieutenant-Colonel of a regiment commanded by the Earl of Lauderdale, and in every respect bore out the character given him by his distinguished son, ' as being a man of knowledge and application.'

In the year 1694 he extended the family possessions by the purchase of the lands and barony of Lasswade; a few years afterwards he also acquired the adjoining property of Uttershill, Loanstone, and Pomathorn. He was twice married, in the first instance to Elizabeth Henderson of Elvingston, grand-daughter of Sir 'William Drummond the poet. His second wife was the daughter of the Rev. James Kirkpatrick, parish minister of Carrington. There is an oil-painting of this lady in the dining-room of Penicuik House; she has a pleasant face, with brown eyes, and very light brown hair.

From a desire to improve the amenities of his estate Sir John began about the year 1703 to make nurseries for the propagation of young trees, and thereafter he started a regular system of planting. One of the very first strips laid down was on the south side of the mansion-house, near to the Esk, covering the ground where there still exists an old coal-hole, then known as Montesino's Cave. This is the same, I think, that in times more recent has often been erroneously described to inquiring strangers as an underground passage connected with the house. Several attempts were made by the baronet to discover coal upon the estate. He indeed incurred considerable expense in prospecting for it in the vicinity of the 'Mill of Penicuik, near what was then known as the great bridge. His son, in subsequent years, worked coal near to the old damhead, and followed the seams until they ran under the croft lands, but there he stopped, considering that any further development would result in more loss than profit.

Sir John died in 1722, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Baron Sir John Clerk. This distinguished man was born on the 8th of February 1676, and got his elementary education in the Penicuik parish school. In all likelihood it was Alexander Strachan, the village dominie, who instilled into the future baron's youthful mind his first conceptions of the mysteries of the three R's and the humanities. Clerk subsequently studied at the Glasgow University, and at the age of nineteen went to Leyden to be instructed in law. There he became the intimate friend and companion of the famous physician Herman Boerhaave, who at his death bequeathed to the baron that valuable collection of his books which is still to be seen in Penicuik House library. After leaving the University of Leyden the subject of our sketch travelled for a considerable time throughout Europe, and while at Rome began that careful study of Roman antiquities which, with his further researches, caused him ultimately to be looked upon as the then greatest living authority on that subject. Before he blossomed into an antiquary, Clerk, according to Sir Daniel Wilson, was a poet, 'and like the Laird of Monkbarns had reasons of his own for regarding somewhat cynically even the best of womankind.' The verses which he sent to Miss Susanna Kennedy, the reigning beauty of those days, were, Sir Daniel avers, communicated by Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe to Dr. Robert Chambers, who printed them in his Traditions of Edinburgh, along with an account, not 'quite correct, of the wooing of the fickle beauty by the Earl of Eglintoune, and her consequent jilting of the Laird of Penicuik. As a further evidence of the Baron's poetical proclivities he is quoted as the author of the fine song, 'O merry may the maid be that marries the miller. In 1702 he was elected Member of Parliament for Whithorn in Galloway, and this seat he held until the cessation of the Scottish Parliament in 1707. Prior to entering Parliament Clerk appeared to have got over his first disappointment in love, and was married to Lady Margaret Stewart, eldest daughter of AIexander, third Earl of Galloway. This lady, whom her husband describes as ' the best woman who ever breathed life,' died in 1701 in childbed of a son who was named after his father, whom he predeceased. Through the influence of Lady Margaret, cousin to the Duke of Queensberry, and his own friend, the Duke of Argyll, Clerk was appointed a Commissioner for the Union, and on the constitution of the Exchequer Court he was, on 13th May 1708, made one of the Barons of Exchequer. He afterwards married a daughter of Sir John Inglis of Cramond, by whom lie had seven sons and six daughters. After succeeding to the Penicuik estates the Baron added largely to their amenities. He planted both sides of the Esk from a point above the mansion-house down to the present serpentine walk. He also began the system of enclosing parks by double dikes of turf planted with thorns and hardwood trees. In 1727 the Baron increased the paternal estates by the purchase of Lawhead and Marchwell from Mr. Bothwell of Glencross. In 1728 he made the present main approach to Penicuik House, building the large bridge over the east burn. In 1730 he began to prepare the ground for the ultimate formation of the present beautiful high road, its site at that time being a large log, most of it, indeed, peat moss. In the same year he also purchased from Mr. Sinclair of Roslin the superiority of the lands of Cairnhill and Ravensneuk, which long before had become part of the Penicuik property. In 1742 he made the antique cave called Hurley Cove, and took much delight in the pond and the arbour which he had erected near it. In 1751 he built the tower on the top of the hillock, then known as Knights-law, which lie not only' designed as an ornament to the county, but as a useful place for rearing doves for his family, the dovecot which he had near the house being much infested with hawks and gleds. Not on his own property only were the Baron's enlightened views on agriculture given effect to, but on that of the neighbouring estate of Newhall also. It was then owned by his uncle, Sir David Forbes, who was much guided in his system of estate management by his distinguished relative. Perhaps, however, the department of knowledge in which Baron Clerk most excelled all others was that of antiquarian research. The famous Sandy Gordon, author of the Itinerarium Septentrionale, himself a man of the most versatile tastes and accomplishments in that and other subjects, described Sir John ' not only as a treasure of learning, but one of its chief supports in the country.' He further states that among all collections of Roman antiquities that of Baron Clerk claims the preference both as to numbers and curiosity. From the subject of this panegyric Gordon ever received the greatest sympathy and the most substantial aid. The old mansion-House of Penicuik during the Baron's reign was indeed the centre of hospitality and entertainment to many of the best known men of letters of the time. Allan Ramsay was a frequent guest, and his connection with the place is not only perpetuated by his portraits, which hang in the present house, but by the substantial stone obelisk at Ravensneuk, erected to his memory by Sir James Clerk in 1759. Aikman the painter, Gay the poet, William Clerk, the Baron's brother, the poetical correspondent of Dr. Pennycuick, [See Page 171] Duncan Forbes of Culloden, and many others, [Among these may be noted Dr. Richard Pococke, Bishop of Meath, who thus describes his visit to Baron Clerk in 1747, in a letter to his sister, dated Sept. 20, 1760:- 'Near this place [Roslin] I dined with the late Baron Clark, a great antiquarian, at his seat of Pennytine [sic], situated in a bottom on this river, a sweet spot, and here he had many valuable antiquities, among them a statue of the goddess Brigantine, a deity of the Brigantes, supposed to be the Picts. It is four feet high, in a kind of Toga with a Mural Crown, a head in relief on the breast, with a spear in the right hand and a globe in the left.'] were constant and valued guests. Among these visitors there is little doubt but that there would also be the Baron's distinguished relative, Dr. John Clerk, grandson of the first Baronet. This well-known man occupied the very highest position as a physician, amongst the many important offices which he held not the least eminent being that of President of the Royal College of Physicians. He purchased the estate of Listonshiels, in Midlothian, and founded the family of the Clerks of Listonshiels. The traditions and reminiscences of those times were most familiar to Sir Walter Scott, who himself in after days was not an unfreduent visitor in the new house of Penicuik. Not a few of the great novelist's characters were taken from those who formerly met around the Baron's social board. According to Sir Daniel Wilson there can be but little doubt that Scott had Gordon himself and his experiences in view when he drew the inimitable portraiture of Jonathan Oldbuck. Above all, says Wilson, was that crowning achievement involved in the trenching of the Kaim of Kinprunes, a genuine legend of the Penieuik family, derived from William Clerk of Eldin, the grandson of the Baron. On one occasion, when visiting his grandfather at Dumcrieff, in Dumfriesshire, he was present when the old baronet took some virtuoso to see a supposed Roman camp, and on his exclaiming at a particular spot, `This I take to have been the Prmtorium, a herdsman who stood by responded, Praetorium here or Prètorium there, I made it wi' a flaughter spade.'

Baron Sir John Clerk died at Penicuik on 4th October 1755, and was succeeded in the title and estates by his son .lames, who married Elizabeth, daughter of the Reverend John Cleghorn.

During his long life the Baron had kept voluminous diaries, and from these he compiled a History of his life. These most interesting manuscripts have been recently placed at the disposal of the Scottish History Society by the present Baronet, Sir George D. CIerk, and their appearance in book form is Iooked forward to with much interest, for it is understood they give vivid pictures not only of his own life and experiences, but of the manners and public occurrences of the times.

Sir James Clerk, prior to the death of his father, had resided for long periods in Italy, where his fine taste for art was strongly developed. Shortly after lie came into the property the old house of Newbigging was demolished, and near to its site he erected, from plans of his own, the centre building of the present Penicuik I-louse. The rich mural decorations by Runciman referred to in another chapter give evidence of his taste as well as of his classic interest in the writings of time old Scottish Bard, and his desire to illustrate and perpetuate the scenes depicted there. Mr. Jackson states, in his little pamphlet on Penicuik, that the family coat-of-arms, and the ornamental vases on the top of the house, were all carved by his own hands. Sir James had been much encouraged and assisted in his beneficent undertakings by his brother, Mr. John Clerk of Eldin. This latter able and worthy man devoted much of his time and talents to the study of the theory and practice of naval tactics. He published an essay on this subject in 1782, which attracted considerable attention. It was said, indeed, that his plan for breaking the enemy's line was adopted by Rodney in his decisive victory over the French under De Grasse in the West Indian seas, and that the carrying out of the same principles enabled -Nelson to win his most famous battles. It is interesting to recall the well-known fact that Mr. Clerk had few opportunities of becoming practically acquainted with seamanship, and that his plans were carried out and perfected by means of the little flotillas he engaged in mimic warfare upon the High Pond at Penicuik.

I can only allude very shortly to Mr. Clerk's son, Lord Eldin, famous both as advocate and judge. He was a man of varied accomplishments, eccentric manners, and remarkable for his ready humour and never-failing readiness and fertility of resource. Carlyle, in his Reminiscences, relates that the only figure he remembered in the law courts, when he and Tom Smail visited them that afternoon, after their weary tramp of nearly one hundred miles from Ecclefechan, was that of John Clerk. He says that the grim, strong countenance, with its black, far-projecting brows and look of great sagacity, fixed itself indelibly upon his memory. John Clerk, Lord Eldin, lent lustre to the name he bore, and the family record would not have been complete without an allusion to him.

Sir James, the third Baronet, died Without issue in 1782, and was succeeded by his brother George, who had added to his own the surname of Maxwell on marrying his cousin, Dorothea Maxwell, the heiress of Middlebie, in Dumfriesshire.

Sir George Clerk-Maxwell was, I believe, born at Edinburgh. He was ever deeply interested in promoting the commerce and industries of his native land. He was appointed King's Remembrancer in the Exchequer, and also Commissioner of the Customs of Scotland. Sir George only lived for a very short period to enjoy his inheritance. His death took place in 1784, and he was succeeded by his eldest son John, who married Mary, daughter of Mr. Dacre of Kirklinton, in Cumberland. Sir John was a good landlord, and did much toward improving the amenities of his estate. He was no doubt much indebted to the wise help and counsel of his wife, who was a woman of excellent abilities, and of great shrewdness and force of character. Sir Walter Scott was not infrequently a visitor at Penicuik House in those days. In his autobiography he relates the delight he experienced, when a young man, in looking at the beautiful pictures on its walls, and the lovely scenery surrounding it; while the flattering hospitality of the Baronet and his lady, upon one occasion at least, induced him to make a stay so long that it caused anxiety and alarm in his worthy father's household, who knew not, until his return, where the truant had been. Old Lady Sinclair of Dunbeath, who died not so very long ago, used to speak highly of the gallantry and worth of the Penicuik Baronet. Upon one occasion, in her young days, when some distance from home, her linkmen had made off, leaving upon the ground the sedan-chair in which she sat. She was carried safe to her destination, however, and found on her arrival there that Sir John Clerk and his friend the Duke of Argyll had been her carriers. They had been passing at the time, and, knowing by sight the lady who was left in this predicament, they hurried to the rescue. She used often to recall the incident; and in connection with it, and the times in which it occurred, she freely expressed her opinion that gentlemen were gentlemen in those days, and that Edinburgh was then the capital of Scotland, and not as it is now, only a halfway house to the Highlands.

After Sir John's death, in 1798, his widow removed to Edinburgh, and occupied the house No. 100 Princes Street. Dean Ramsay, to whom she was well known, says that her figure, as she used to walk about, was as familiar to the inhabitants as the steeple of St. Giles. A story of her early years is well worth recording. She was born in her father's house in Cumberland, in 1745—that memorable year when the Highland army was on its march through the north of England. While her mother was still confined to bed a party of the caterans, under a chieftain of the Macdonald clan, came to the house. On hearing the circumstances of the case he not only chivalrously prevented his men from levying any contribution, but took from his bonnet his own white rose or cockade and pinned it to the infant's breast. This he did to protect the household from any trouble should other parties of the Highlanders pass that way. This incident caused Lady Clerk to be known thereafter as the White Rose of Scotland. In his first edition of Scottish Life and Character Ramsay tells several stories about her. The late Lord Stowell had, in his young days, been a near neighbour of Miss Dacre's, and an attachment had sprung up between them. The entire want of means precluded all hope of marriage. But when, some years afterwards, William Scott attained to a measure of success in that profession of which he became so distinguished an ornament, he wrote to his first love a short and business-like offer of marriage. HIer reply was quite as much to the point. It was as follows:—"DEAR Willie Scott, I should have been glad to be your wife, but on Tuesday next I am to be married to Captain John Clerk, and am your affectionate Molly Dacre.'" Notwithstanding this incident Lady Clerk kept up a constant intercourse with him and his distinguished brother, Lord Chancellor Eldon, to the end of her life.

Sir John Clerk, her husband, was followed by his nephew, the Right Honourable Sir George Clerk, the sixth Baronet. Being only about eleven years of age when he succeeded to the title and estates, he was under curators until he attained his majority ; and to these gentlemen is to be traced the real beginning of the general and substantial improvements which were made upon nearly every farm on the property. Sir George also continued during his long life to follow out this enlightened policy. This distinguished man was the son of James Clerk, third son of the fourth Baronet, by Janet, daughter of George Irving, Esquire of Newton. He was born in 1787, and married, in 1810, Maria Anne Law, the daughter of Ewan Law, and niece of the first Lord Ellenborough. In early life Sir George gave indications of his desire to identify himself with public matters. Accordingly, when a vacancy occurred in the representation of Midlothian by the death of Viscount Melville in 1811, he presented himself as a candidate, and, with the approval of the Dundases, he was duly elected. The representation of the metropolitan county had been so long enjoyed by various members of the powerful family of Dundas as to make it seem to them almost a hereditary seat. Consequently, the Penicuik Baronet was looked upon at the time, both at Melville and Arniston, simply as a convenient substitute, whose duty it would be to vacate the position whenever the family required it. Sir George was one of those who offended his party by ratting, or continuing in office under Mr. Canning, for whose character and abilities he had a high admiration. This was the occasion of great offence to his political patrons, and they meditated turning him out at the next election. Sir George had, however, shown himself possessed of abilities of a high order, and was not one whose services could be lightly dispensed with. Acting, therefore, under the sensible advice of the Duke of Buccleueh, Lord Hopetoun, and others, Mr. Dundas agreed to permit him to retain his seat.

The political condition of Scotland at this time was lamentable—the people being utterly excluded from any share in the choice of their representatives. The narrow limits within which the franchise was confined—for in the latter part of last century there were less than one hundred voters in Midlothian—threw immense power into the hands of an influential family like that of Arniston. For many long years the people had fought the battle of reform, and finally, in 1832, a ministry pledged to carry out reforming principles, with Earl Grey as Prime .Minister, was appointed. having, however, sustained a defeat, Lord Grey appealed to the country, and a new Parliament was returned, a majority of whose members were fully committed to support the great measure which now filled the minds of the British people. Sir George Clerk's attitude on this question cost him his seat for ..Midlothian. He was opposed by Sir John Dalrymple. The fight was a long and bitter one, causing great excitement in Penicuik parish. The polling took place at Edinburgh, Dalkeith, and Midcalder, and occupied two days. The result showed that Sir John Dalrvnmple had a majority of sixty-five votes.

Sir George remained without a seat in Parliament until 1835, when Sir Robert Peel went to the country on the principles of reform announced in his Tamworth manifesto. At this election Sir George again stood for Midlothian, and was opposed by Mr. William Gibson-Craig. The latter lost by thirty-one votes, and the Penicuik Baronet was once more returned as member for his native county. Parliament dissolved on 17th July 1837, owing to the death of William iv., and upon this occasion fir. Gibson-Craig defeated Sir George by forty-two votes. The latter then obtained a seat for Stamford, which he represented from 1838 to 1847. He was afterwards for several years member for the constituency of Dover.

During his Parliamentary career Sir George held many important offices of State. With a short interval he was Lord of the Admiralty from 1819 to 1830; Secretary of the Treasury from November 1831 to April 1835; and again from September 1841 to February 1845. He became Master of the Mint, and Vice-President of the Board of Trade in February 1845, and continued so until July 1846. Sir George was highly respected by all classes in the parish of Penicuik. He was a keen curler, and has been known to travel from London to take his place in his rink in local matches. He had a dignified bearing, but was ever accessible and courteous to all. While pleased that his tenants and feuars should record their votes for himself or his party at elections, he did not deny to any one the right of his political convictions. In illustration of this a story Was often told by a well-known citizen, the late .Mr. John Wilson, baker. Mr. Wilson had given his vote against Sir George in 1837, and when he appeared upon the curling-pond within the policies for the first time afterwards it was With considerable trepidation. He need not have done so, for, on stepping upon the ice, lie was comforted and delighted by hearing the Baronet exclaim, 'Here comes John Wilson, an honest man. I'll have him on my side.'

Sir George took a hearty personal interest in the affairs of his tenantry. He patiently listened to their complaints, and had a marvellous knack of diagnosing at once whether these were well founded or the reverse. His practical knowledge of agriculture was often helpful to them, and was always made frankly and freely available. Sir George was an elder in the Established Church, and was a regular attender upon ordinances. Many of my readers will remember his stately figure, so often to be seen in the front seat of the gallery facing the pulpit, and his devout and reverent bearing. One of his last appearances in public was at the funeral of his wife in September 1866. None who witnessed it will readily forget the sight of the old Baronet upon that occasion, as lie walked behind the coffin holding by the black tape attached to it. The once firm step was feeble, and the once erect figure bending under the load of years,

`Even in the downfall of his mellow years
When nature brought him to the door of death.'

That door was not long in opening for him, for lie passed away at a ripe old age on 23d December 1867.

Sir George had a large family of sons and daughters. While in residence at Penicuik the ladies ever took a kindly interest in the place and its people, and were much beloved. Several of his sons have risen to positions of eminence in the British Army, while his third son, Mr. John Clerk, Q.C., attained to prominence at the English Bar, and has now retired from practice full of years and honours. He is the best known in Penicuik parish of all the members of the family of the late Sir George. Acting for a time as curator to his nephew, the present Baronet, lie was during that period actively engaged in administering the affairs of the Penicuik property, and his continuous and hearty interest in the parish and in its old residenters is known and appreciated by all.

Sir George was succeeded in the title and estates by his eldest son, Sir James Clerk. This gentleman was not well known in our parish, although, while residing at Penicuik house, he always showed his readiness to co-operate in any movement tending towards the good of the place and its people. In early life he held it commission in the army, and when the volunteer movement sprung into existence about the year 1859, he threw himself with Hearty enthusiasm into the work of organising a local corps. He was appointed Captain Commandant of the two Penicuik Companies, and was in command of them at the famous review field in the Queen's Park, Edinburgh, on 7th August 1860, when the Queen herself was present to witness the loyalty and patriotism of her citizen soldiers. Sir James did not live long enough after succeeding to the Penicuik property to have any opportunity of actively administering its affairs. His continuous ill-health, indeed, unfitted him in his latter years for any participation in public matters. He was married to .lane, daughter of Mr. Mercer Henderson of Fordell, by whom he had a family of one son and three daughters. Sir James died on 17th November 1870 at Clifton, and was succeeded by his son, Sir George Douglas Clerk, the present Baronet. Sir George is married to Aymée, daughter of the late Sir Robert Napier of Milliken Park, Renfrewshire, and has one son. For some years he held a commission in the Life Guards, and he is now Colonel of the Sixth Volunteer Battalion the Royal Scots. Sir George Clerk has not for some time been resident at Penicuik, but the Mansion-house is occupied by the Dowager Lady Clerk and her two unmarried daughters. These benevolent and highly esteemed ladies take an active and practical interest in the welfare of the district. Many hones in our village are made brighter, and the burdens of their owners made lighter, by the kindly ministrations of the ladies of the Manor.


The estate of Loganhouse, now the property of Mr. Charles William Cowan, embraces within its area it large portion of the hill land of the parish, and in extent measures about 5677 acres. From very early times, down to nearly the end of the seventeenth century, it was owned by the powerful family of St. Clair of Roslin. The exact date of its acquisition by them cannot now he ascertained. The well-known story of King Robert the Bruce staking the lands of Loganhouse, Kirton, and Earncraig against the head of his good Knight, William St. Clair, at the hunt of the white deer, and the gaining of theme by the latter in free forestry, owing to the swiftness of his two dogs, Help and Hold, must, I fear, be given up as legendary. The whole barony of Pentland and Pentland Moor was given by King Malcolm Cannxore to Sir Henry St. Clair for his bravery in fighting against the English invaders. r1hie probability is therefore that the Loanhouse lands would, through this gift, come into possession of the family at that early period. Long afterwards, in a charter dated at Roslin, Henry St. Clair, Earl of Orkney, (,ranted to his brother-german, John de St Clair, and his heirs, the lands of Sunnellishope, Loganhouse, and these pertinents lying in the moor of Pentland. The phraseology of many other charters would also incline one to believe that these lands were included in the original grant by King Malcolm. The history of the successive St. Clairs who owned the property is of exceeding interest, but as it is very fully set forth in the memorials of that family, written by their relative and historian, Father Hay, [Genealogie of the Sinclares of Rosslyn. Edinburgh, 4to, 1835] it is needless to relate it in these pages. Some of them attained to great wealth and distinction, notably Prince Henry St. Clair, who had upwards of twenty-five titles. In his louse he was served in gold and silver vessels, having Lord Dirleton as the master of his household, Lord Borthwick as his cup-bearer, and Lord Fleming as his carver. His wife had serving her seventy-five gentlewomen, whereof fifty-three were the daughters of noblemen, together with two hundred riding gentlemen, who accompanied her on all her journeys. In course of time, however, the fortunes of the St. Clair, waxed less Ebright, and portions of their large estates were alienated. In Father Hay's history I find allusion to a charter of certain lands granted on 23d August 1680, in favour of Mr. Alexander Gibson, by James St. Clair, brother-german to John St. Clair, the superior thereof. Thesein all likelihood referred to the portion of the Pentland estate of which I am writing, for in the following year charter and infeftment is granted to this Mr. Alexander Gibson of the lands of Kirton and Loganhouse, with tower and fortalice of the same. The property apparently remained in possession of this family for about a hundred years. On 24th August 178 William Ferguson of Raith was seised in the lands of Synelhope, Earncraig, Loganhouse, and Kirkton. In 1791, along; with his son Robert Ferguson, he was again seised in liferent and fee respectively of the before-mentioned lands and teinds in the parish of Pennycuick. On 18th September 1813 Robert Ferguson of Raith, and Lieutenant-General Ronald Crawford Ferguson, his brother, were seised in liferent and fee respectively in the following parts of the land and barony of Pentland, viz., Laster and Wester Synelliope, Larncraig, Loganhouse, and Kirton. About eighteen years afterwards the estate again changed owners. On 11th January 1831 William Robertson was seised in the lands and teinds (under exceptions) on disposition by Parliamentary trustee for selling parts of the entailed estate of Raith and others, and also trustee of Robert Ferguson of Raith, with his consent, 13th November 1830. Mr. Robertson held possession of the property for about twenty-two years, and then sold it to the late Mr. Charles Cowan, member of Parliament for the city of Edinburgh, for the sum of £31,000 sterling. At the death of this much-lamented gentleman in 1889, his eldest son, Mr. Charles W. Cowan of Valleyfield House, chief magistrate of Penicuik, succeeded to the ownership.


The estate of Newhall now includes Spittal and Carlops, which in former times were separate properties. It is very generally believed that prior to the thirteenth century an abbey or monastery, belonging to the Cistercian monks, occupied the site of the mansion-house, which was situated then, as now, on the north bank of the river Esk, five miles south-west from Penicuik.

The association of these ecclesiastics with the neighbourhood still lingers in the names of various places; such as, Monksburn, Monksrig, Monkshaugh, and the Monks' road, which crosses the hills westwards. The foundation of these monastic establishments was invariably followed by the erection near them of smaller houses called hospitals, which were used as homes for the sick, the aged and infirm poor, or for orphan children. The site of one of these is marked, and the name perpetuated by the farm-house of Spittal. This hospital, it is said, continued undissolved until about Reformation times ; prior to that period the white-robed figures of the monks, with their black scapular and hood and girdle of black wool, proceeding upon their missions of mercy, would be a familiar sight to the inhabitants of our parish. Time estate of Spittal, now embraced in the Newhall property, formerly belonged to a family of the name of Oswald. Frequent allusions occur in the Kirk-session records to the successive lairds in their capacity of heritors. The last proprietor of that name was one of the keenest and most active of the many Jacobite gentlemen in Peeblesshire. He kept up a long and close correspondence with the Pretender, frequently remitting to him considerable sums of money. lie appears to have been a man of singular social qualities. his dining-room table was made of marble, and it was his frequent custom to gather many of his neighbours and friends, especially sympathisers with the Stuart cause, around it to partake of his hospitality. On the table he caused a suitable inscription to be cut, so that it might be used as a monument over his brave. It was required for this purpose sooner than its owner anticipated, for he was accidentally shot by his servant on November 28, 1726, at Slipperfield loch, whither they had gone in quest of wild duck. His sorrowing widow piously carried out his wishes, and until about fifty years ago his tombstone was an object of curiosity and interest to those who visited Linton churchyard. It subsequently disappeared, and its after history is unknown to me. There is no authentic record as to how or when the lands of Newhall were alienated from the monks. Early in the year 1400 they were finally granted by King Robert Ill. to one Laurence Creichtoune, and they continued in possession of his descendants until the beginning of the seventeenth century. A story is told, both in prose and verse, of an unfortunate event which took place (luring the ownership of one of the first of the name. The heritable jurisdiction attached to the lands was that of pit and gallows, which meant that the owner had power of life and death over that class of his tenants or bondsmen, who by law were the absolute property of the Iord of the soil. In the vicinity of the castle there lived a poor widow whose husband had been a farmer or labourer on the estate. She had an only son who was a notorious reprobate. `Whatever mischief was clone in the neighbourhood could generally be traced to him. He was punished over and over again, but without producing any good result. Finally he was caught one day plundering a favourite cherry-tree and carried before the laird, who planned a method of punishment which he thought would effectually cure hint of his pilfering habits. Sending for the chaplain, he was instructed to prepare the culprit for death. The gardener was then ordered to carry him to the tree he had been seized upon, and there hang hum; but at the same time privately instructed to cut him down the instant he was turned over. Anxiety for the security of his garden, and his grudge against him on account of past offences, tempted the gardener to allow the boy to remain some time suspended, and on slacking the rope life was found to be extinct. The mother arriving at the time to plead for her son met the servants bringing out his dead body. Concluding rashly that he had been put to death by their master's orders, she vented her grief in pouring curses on his head, praying that none of the name of Creichtoune might ever have a son to inherit the estate. Though free from blame, the event made a deep impression upon the proprietor, that he went on a pilgrimage to Rome to obtain absolution and consolation.

I find frequent allusions in the Privy Council records, Acts of Scottish Parliament, and elsewhere, to the successive Creichtounes of Newhall; but space forbids me recording many of them. They appear to have been a family of some importance, and took their full share of the duties incumbent upon men in their position in the County. During those troublous times in our country's history, when Queen Mary was held prisoner in England, Alexander Creichtoune of Newhall appears to have been one of her active supporters. At the time of the bombardment of Edinburgh Castle by the young king's supporters, Harry Creichtoune, the lairds son, was deputed by Ker of Ferniherst, Provost of Edinburgh, to convey his wife away from the capital to his country house for safety. On their way they were met by the Laird of Carmichael, an active member of the Regent's party, who had with him nine or ten horsemen. He at once charged the Castle men, who numbered fourteen or fifteen, and put them to flight, no doubt much to the alarm of their fair mistress. Creichtoune seeing so few pursuing wheeled his men and charged in turn. This they continued to do until all their spears were broken; afterwards they fought on foot with their swords, though they were all well-nigh exhausted, continuing meanwhile to abuse each other as traitors. Carmichael at this stage appears to have had the worst of it; but two men coming up, who chanced to be of the king's party, rushed to his assistance, crying out 'Fie, lay upon the traitors,' and, suiting their action to their words, laid about them with such vigour, that Creichtoune and several of his troopers were severely wounded and afterwards taken prisoners. In the years that followed no events worthy of chronicle occurred in the history of this family.

About the year 1646 they sold the estate to Dr. Alexander Pennycuick, a lineal descendant and representative of the Penycukes of that Ilk. This gentleman had seen service in the Swedish wars, and was subsequently employed as surgeon-general to the auxiliary Scots army sent to England in 1644. Beginning life in the time of James VI. he lived to the great ale of ninety, and finished his career under the reign of William and Mary. Dr. Chambers and other authorities say he had only two sons, Alexander and James. They must be in error in this statement, as I find in Fountainhall's Decisions a case quoted which was before the Court on 20th January 1709, in which proof was led to show that Captain Robert Pennycuick of the 'St. Andrew,'—that went to our Darien colony in 1700, made a will wherein he left all his moveable goods to Captain Stephen Pennycuick, his brother, and failing him, to Campbell and Edgar, his nieces. Stephen having predeceased the testator, Dr. Alexander Pennycuick of Romanno, his only surviving brother, raises a reduction of the testament as depriving him of his jus sanguinis as nearest of kin. This distinctly shows that the family of the nonogenarian had been larger than Dr. Chambers and others supposed. Alexander Pennycuick was the famous author, poet, and physician, who succeeded his father in the ownership of the Newhall property, and who, in right of his wife, Margaret Murray, also acquired the estate of Romanno in Peeblesshire. He was born at Newhall in 1562. Like his father lie was educated in the medical profession, which he practised in the district surrounding the paternal estate. He was, indeed, the only 'practitioner' whose services were available at that time for our predecessors in this parish. Dr. Pennycuick also acted as surgeon to the Tweeddale troop of horse, which was occasionally employed by Dalzell and Claverhouse to hunt up the poor Covenanters. He was a man of genial and amiable temperament, taking life very easily, often visiting the thatched hostel at Cant Walls, and spending the hours there in carousals with comrades likeminded with himself. His management of his financial affairs was, however, far from satisfactory; and in the later years of his life his circumstances were somewhat embarrassed. He had two daughters, the elder of whom married Mr. Oliphant of Lanton in 1702. She received Newhall from her father as her dowry. Margaret, the younger daughter, wedded John Farquharson of Aboyne; and to them was given the reversion of the lands of Romanno, burdened with a liferent out of the property for Dr. Pennycuick's behoof. Mr. Oliplhant, it is said, was considerably in debt at the time of his marriage; and he sold Newhall in the year following that event to Mr. (afterwards Sir) David Forbes, who was married to Catherine Clerk, sister of Sir John Clerk of Penicuik. This gentleman greatly improved and enlarged the property, and it devolved at his death upon his eldest son, Mr. John Forbes, a member of the Faculty of Advocates, and for some time a Depute to his distinguished relative, Duncan Forbes of Ctulloden, when the latter was appointed King's Advocate. At this time the mansion-house or castle was much in the condition in which its former owners, the Creichtounes, had left it. It covered the whole breadth of the point on which the modern house now stands. The floors were arched below, and the walls of immense thickness, with slits for defence cut on every side,—some of the old vaults were indeed frequently used during the last century for confining refractory colliers, who were employed in the different mines upon the estate. Mr. Forbes pulled down most of the old castle, and erected the present house in its stead, in imitation, it is said, of the house of Culloden. It was subsequently enlarged by Mr. Robert Brown in 1795 from designs which he had himself prepared. In Mr. Forbes's time, Newhall was a popular resort of many of the most famous literary men of the day, each one of them well fitted to contribute to that feast of reason and that flow of soul so much appreciated by their benevolent and hospitable entertainer. Not the least celebrated of these visitors was Allan Ramsay, the Scottish poet, author of The Gentle Shepherd, published in 1725. This excellent poem, containing so faithful a transcript of character and of the manners and customs of a last generation in our neighbourhood, is not so well known as it should be by the younger generation of Penicuik townspeople. Many years ago frequent recitals of the play took place in the old Friendly Society's hall, and in more modern times the histrionic gifts of several well-known citizens were on more than one occasion exercised in the Town Hall in giving representations of the characters in the poems. Those who witnessed James Skinner as Sir William Worthy, James Cuthbertson as Bauldy, Robert Menzies as Patie, and William Stewart as Mouse, will not readily forget the amusement and pleasure they experienced upon those occasions.

There can be little doubt that Ramsay found both the characters and the scenery for his play at Newhall. A greater than Ramsay made known to his countrymen the beauties of the 'brown heath and shaggy wood, 'the mountain and the flood' of our Scottish Highlands; but the older poet equally gave immortality to the spot

'Where a' the sweets o' spring and summer grow.'

By the kindness of the present proprietor free access is given on certain days in the week to his grounds, and hardly one of these ever passes by in the summer-time when there are not heard from that

'Flourie howm between twa verdant braes'

the happy shouts of old and young alike, while they tread a measure on the green beside the

`Trotting burnie wimpling through the ground.'

In May 1734 Mr. John Forbes conveyed the estate of Newhall to Duncan Forbes of Culloden and others as trustees for his children. 'These gentlemen sold it to Mr. Robert Fisher of Sandifoord, and he had conveyance of it accordingly in July 1742. In May 1757 it was made over by him to trustees for his creditors. After administering the estate for two years it was sold by them to Mr. John Young, Writer in Edinburgh, his conveyance being completed in April 1759. At his death he was succeeded in the property by his cousin and heir, Mr. Andrew Young of Castle Yards, who, in June 1767, one month after his acquisition of it, sold it to Mr. William Hay. In January 1771 this gentleman made conveyance of the estate to his trustee, Mr. David Russell, Accountant, Edinburgh. In January 1783, Mr. Russell sold it to Mr. Robert Brown, Advocate, ancestor of the present proprietor. Mr. Brown was a gentleman of considerable literary attainments. He did much to improve the amenities of his estate. With commendable enterprise he built the village of Carlops for the accommodation of those whom he induced to settle down there and engage in the cotton-weaving industry. He was rewarded by seeing it become exceedingly prosperous; and this prosperity was shared in by the lint-mill at Marfield, the fulling-mill at Monkshaugh, the flax-mill down between Craigy Bield and the Harbour Craig, and the carding-mill above the bridge, now used as a meal-mill.

The application, however, of the all-conquering power of steam to the weaving industry produced disastrous effects upon the industries at Carlops. It is now only known as the resort of summer visitors, who seek health and pleasure in its invigorating hill air. Mr. Brown, at his death in July 1833, was succeeded by his eldest Son, Hugh Horatio Brown. This gentleman, who was much esteemed in the district, died in 1836 ; and conveyance of the estate was made in the month of October of that year to his eldest son and heir, Horatio F. Brown, present proprietor. This much-respected gentleman lives at present in Italy, and is an author of considerable repute.


The history of the Bavelaw lands, the possession of which carries with it the right of heritorship in Penicuik parish, cannot possess much interest to local readers. The old castle and its pertinents lie on the other side of the hills, and there is now little communication between the folks who live in that neighbourhood and those in the more eastward part of the parish. These Annals would not, however, be complete without some record of an estate which yields from one source and another the very respectable rent-roll of £744, 12s. 6d.

The ancient proprietors of Bavelaw or Baveley were the Brades. About the year 1230 Henry de Brade, Knight, who was sheriff of Edinburgh during the reign of William the Lion, granted to the monks of Holyrood the tithes of all his moorland and of his land of Baveley, which he held of the king, in the latter's moor of Penteland, and that towards the maintenance of worship in the chapel of Saint Katterine in Penteland. This grant was confirmed by Pope Gregory ix. in the tenth year of his episcopate.

On 9th October 1381 King Robert ii. confirmed a grant of the lands of Bavillay, lying in the sheriffdom of Edinburgh, which William de Fairley of Brade made to John de Fairley, his son, and Elene, natural daughter of Sir Henry de Douglas, Knight.

On 8th January 1426-7 Henry Forestar and Helen, slaughter of John de Farle of Brade, had, on the resignation of the latter, crown charter of the lands, to be held by them, or the longest liver of them, or by the heirs lawfully begotten of their bodies, whom failing, by the said John de Earle and his lawful heirs in fee. There is no further notice of the lands of Bavillay in the Register of the Great Seal till we come to the year 1515. On 14th October of that year they were granted to Robert Bertoun, dwelling in Leith, and Elizabeth Craufurde, his spouse. The charter narrates that the lands had belonged to the deceased Sir John Forrestar of Niddry, Knight, and were held ward of the king, and had been recognised in the hands of King James IV. on account of the alienation of the greater part of them without consent obtained. Robert Bertoun had, with the consent of Sir John Forrester, compounded with the king's treasurer for his being infeft in the lands, and made a payment of £200.

The Bavillawis are next found in the hands of the Mowbrays of Barnbougall. On 18th July 1549 the Crown granted to Robert Mowbray of Barnbougall and Barbara Mowbray, his wife, and to Archibald Mowbray, their son, the lands of both the Bavilawis, in the sheriffdom of Edinburgh. On 2d February 1557-8 Archibald Mowbray sold the lands to his brother-german, John Mowbray, and the sale was confirmed by charter from the Crown on 26th August 1565. John Mowbray held the property for fifteen years, and then sold it to George Dundas of that Ilk. The charter of sale was confirmed by James VI. at Stirling Castle, 22d May 1580. The next entry I find regarding Bavelaw is on 12th June 1621. It records that William, Lord Blantyre, was served heir to Walter, Lord Blantyre, his father, to these lands. They had not, however, been held very long by this family, for in the Edinburgh Retours it is stated that Mr. Laurence Scott of Bavillaw was, on 13th May 1670, served heir-male to Mr. Laurence Scott, his father, of both the Bavillaws, with liberty of common pasture of the moor of Balerno. This younger Laurence figures for a long period in the books of the Dalkeith Presbytery, and in the Penicuik Session records, as a contumacious resister of their discipline. For some acts of immorality lie was again and again cited to appear before them and submit to dealing, But without any response on his part. Finally compromise appears to have been arrived at for, instead of expiating, his offence by submitting to rebuke before the congregation on the Sabbath-day, a fine to the poor was substituted. The entry in the Session records is as follows: July 28th, 1679.---Received from Bavelaw the sum of £28, 8s. penalty for his sins, he having before this, for a considerable time, defied both Presbytery and Session.'

On 15th April 1690 Charles Scott, son of Laurence Scott of Bavillaw, was served heir to William Scott of Bavillaw, Advocate, his brother-german, in the lands and barony of Bavillaw, with liberty of common pasture in the wood of Balerno, lying in the parish of Penicuik.

Bavelaw continued in possession of the Scotts, and the castle was occupied by them, until nearly the close of the eighteenth century. The lands were then acquired by Mr. David Johnston of Lathrisk, and they still remain the property of his descendant, Mr. George Johnston.

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