The MacLellans of Kircubbright

Research into the MacLellans of Kirkcudbright continues. This site is very much in construction stage at this time. Considerable historical and archival material has been obtained on this subject and will be added to this site when analysed and interpreted.

Any contributions to or comments about this page would be much appreciated.

Greyfrairs chapel with MacLellans.Castle in the background. 

MacLellans Castle in 1981.Michael MacLellan Tracey at Greyfrairs 1981Jenny Tracey in Greyfriars Chapel 1981.

Dundrenan Abby 1981

Michael MacLellan Tracey At Urquhart Castle Loch Ness


The Record of The House of Kirkcudbright

On the first of July, died at Clifton, aged 68, The Honourable Camden Elizabeth Lambert, widow of James Staunton Lambert, Esquire of Creg Clare, and afterwards of Waterdale House, County Galway, in Ireland, formerly M.P. for that county. This accomplished gentlewoman was the only daughter and heiress of Camden Gray M'Clellan (MacClellan), tenth and last Lord Kirkcudbright in the peerage of Scotland, by Sarah, daughter of the late Colonel Thomas Gorges; and she traced her descent from that Sir Patrick M'Clellan of Bomby who was the father by a daughter of Sir Andrew Gray of Broxmouth, and of Janet, his wife, only child and heiress of Sir Roger de Mortimer, Lord of Foulis, and sister of Andrew, first Lord Gray, of Sir Patrick M'Clellan of Wigton, tutor of Bomby, the last heritable sheriff of ancient Galloway. The romantic circumstances of the latter's murder, in 1452, in Threave Castle (called the Lion's Den), by William, eighth Earl of Douglas, fifth Duke of Touraine, in France, and Lord of Galloway, are recorded by the old Scottish chroniclers and genealogists, and narrated, but somewhat inaccurately, by Sir Walter Scott and others.


Sir Patrick M'Clellan of Wigt, who, Pitscottie says, had always refused to acknowledge the Earl's supremacy in Galloway where the Douglases were comparatively new-comers and who now, with his kinsman, Lord Herries of Terregles, in spite of the Earl's promises and threats, stoutly refused to join him in the league which he had formed with the Earl of Crawford (called the Tiger Earl), and the Earl of Ross, Lord of the Isles, against King James II. of Scotland, retired for greater safety to Raeberry Castle, the chief stronghold of the MacClellans, which Douglas forthwith besieged.


Built on the brink of a precipitous cliff over hanging the Solway Firth, and surrounded landward by a strong wall with a deep moat spanned by a huge drawbridge outside it, Raeberry Castle was found to be impregnable. But the Earl bribed one of its warders for a ladleful of gold to leave unbolted a wicket of the sallyport of the Castle, by which on a certain night he himself, with a chosen band, entered. Then the records of the family were destroyed, and Raeberry Castle was dismantled;' Sir Patrick M'Clellan and his brother, probably John M'Clellan of Lochfergus (Dominus de Lochfergus, I448), were carried prisoners to Threave Castle. On the traitor presenting himself there and claiming the bribe, Earl Douglas ordered the gold to be melted and poured down his throat thus, it was said, he got at once his reward and his punishment.


Threave Castle, standing on an islet in the river Dee, contained a garrison of more than one thousand men. The Black Douglases were then at the height of their power; and this Earl, the greatest of them all, was stronger than the King himself; for he and his allies, the Earls of Crawford and of Ross, could raise 40,000 of the best trained soldiers in Scotland. He it was who jeeringly told Herries the younger of Terregles, before ordering him to be hanged in defiance of the King's mandate solemnly delivered by a herald, that " the gallows' knob of 'Threave has not been without a tassel these fifty years, and that it may not want one now, I have ordered your henchman, who has hung the usual time, to be removed to make room for his master."


To Threave Castle Sir Patrick Gray of Foulis, commander of the King's Guard, brother to Andrew, first Lord Gray, and Sir Patrick M'Clellan's maternal uncle, came in haste from Edinburgh with a letter from King James asking as a personal favour, rather than demanding, the release of Sit Patrick M'Clellan. Earl Douglas, who had just risen from dinner, knowing their kinship, guessed the object of the visit, and with feigned courtesy declined to enter upon business until Sir Patrick Gray had dined, saying, "It's ill talking between a full man and a fasting one." He then gave secret orders for Sir Patrick M'Clellan to be beheaded.


As soon as he had dined, Sir Patrick Gray presented the King's letter to Douglas, who, pretending to receive and read it with the utmost respect, and telling him "the King's deMstnd shall instantly be granted, the rathet for your sake,'' took him by the hand, and purposely leading him through the court-yard ur ere the headless body of his nephew lay, turned to him and said, " Alas ! you have come a little too late; there lies your sister's son, though without the head, but you can take his body.'' Gray, suppressing his indignation, re- plied, " My lord, since you have taken his head you may do your will with his body." Then, calling for his horse, he immediately mounted and rode outside the drawbridge of the Castle, and having there upbraided Douglas as a bloodthirsty tyrant and a disgrace to knighthood, added, "If I live you shall pay dearly for this day's work." He then rode off. "To horse, to horse, and chase him!'' cried Douglas, and had it not been for the strength and swiftness of his steed, which, foreseeing his chance of a ride for life, he had carefully chosen before starting on his perilous journey, Sir Patrick Gray would doubtless have shared the fate of his unfortunate nephew and that of Lord Colville, Sir John Herries the younger, Sir John Sandilands of Calder, Sir Allan Stewart, Sir James Stewart, and others, all friends of the King, whom likewise Douglas had ruthlessly slain ; for so eager was the Earl to capture him that the pursuit, kept up for more than sixty miles, ceased only within sight of Edinburgh. Sir Patrick Gray's threat of revenge was soon afterwards namely, on Fasting's Eve (Shrove Tuesday), 13th February, I452-executed by him in Stirling Castle, where the Earl Douglas visited the King by invitation, on a safe conduct, under the Great Seal of Scotland. For, on the second day of his visit, after dining and supping together, the King took the Earl into a small room ill the Tower, away from the Banqueting Hall, and urged him to break his bond with the Earls of Crawford and of Ross, as being contrary to his allegiance; and upon the Earl's haughty refusal, a fierce quarrel ensued, and the young King who was then only just of age in a burst of rage, drawing his dagger, cried out, " By Heaven, my lord, if you will not break the bond, this shall!" and he thereupon stabbed the Earl, first in the throat, and then in the belly. Sir Patrick Gray, who was on guard outside, stepped in, and seeing the King and the Earl struggling together, gave Douglas a finishing stroke on the head with his battle-axe. Others then coming in stabbed him with daggers and knives.\


Pierced with twenty-six wounds by the King and his courtiers, the dead body of the great Earl, who died without a groan, was hurled through the rose window now filled in with coloured glass. and buried where it fell, at the foot of the Great Tower, the skeleton being discovered there in October, I'/g7. Thus was settled the question whether Douglas or Stewart was benceforth to rule in Scotland ; for James, the Earl's brother and sole successor, proved himself to be a Douglas only in name, and through wavering he lost all. He and his three brothers, namely, Archibald, Earl of Moray, and Hugh, Earl of Ormond the victor at Sark and John, Lord Balveny, were utterly crushed at the battle of Arkinholme, fought on the first of May, I455, BV the royal army commanded by George Douglas, Earl of Angus; and so the Black Douglases then gave place to the Red.


Sir Patrick M'Clellan, of Wigton, was buried I in Dundrennan Abbey under a monument .of freestone, having a life-size statue, and bearing the following inscription: -


"Hic jacet vir honorabilis dominus Patricius MacClellanus de

Wigton, et vicecomes Gallovidice, Qui obiit

anno domin'i millesimo quadragentesimo quin-

quagesimo secondo Cujus anima requiescat in pace M'Clellan."


This monument was extant in I723, for it was then seen and described, and its inscription copied, by an English traveller who, sailing from the Isle of Man and landing at Kirkcudbright and going through Galloway, visited Dundrennan Abbey.

The M'Clellans (MacClellans), as being one of the indigenous or Pictish noble families of Scotland, whose origin has not yet been shown, claimed during the Roman Catholic times the right to carry the Host in all religious processions. They were still in great power and authority in the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries, and, for ages, heritable sheriffs of ancient Galloway, which consisted of the County of Wigton, the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright, and the districts of Nitbsdale, Annandale, and Carrick. That the Earls Palatine of Strathern, in Pertbshire, who figured so largely among the seven Earls of Celtic Scotland, were MacClellans is proved by their coat-of-arms "Two chevronels on a plain shleld." They were the successors of the ancient Mormaers of Strathern. The Yictish title of Mormaer, a dignity second only to that of king, appears to have been exchanged for the Saxon title of earl about the beginning of the tenth century. The great chieftain, William Mac Donochy, the King's' nephew being the legitimate son of King Duncan II., who was the eldest son of Malcolm Canmore by his first wife and Norwegian Queen Ingibiorg (widow of Thorfin, Earl of Orkney), and elder half-brother to Kings Edgar, Alexander I., and David I., who were the three youngest sons of Malcolm Canmore by his second wife and Saxon Queen Margaret and Malise II., Earl Palatine of Strathern and Ulgric and Dovenald, led the van of the Scottish army composed of the MacClellans, the MacCullochs, the Mac Dowalls, the MacKies or MacChies, and oeher Gallowegians at the battle of the Standard fought at Northallerton, in Yorkshire on 2nd August, Ir38. William MacDonochy's victory on the 6th June, II38, at Clitheroe, in Lancashire, had enabled him to force upon the unwilling King, David I., the claim of the unarmoured Gallowegians to form the van of the many-peopled and disunited Scottish army. The King putting more trust in his men-at-arms, the in anger, asked, "Why trust so much in places of steel or rings of iron ? I, who wear no armour, will go as far to-morrow with ,a bare breast as anyone who wears a breastplate. "You brag of what you dare not do," said Sir Allan de Percy, a Norman knight. The King could hardly still the quarrel, and in the battle on the morrow, the Gallowegians getting but slight support to wit, a dashing charge of cavalry led by Prince Iienry of Scotland, the King's eldest son the Scottish army was worsted. By this eventful battle the heretofore ever-varying borderline between England and Scotland became fixed at the Tweed instead of the Humber.


Gilbert, Earl of Strathern, and Matilda, his Countess, in I200, founded the Abbey of Inchaffray, in Perthshire Malise, Earl of Strathern, was also Earl of Orkney and Earl of Caithness. The earldom of Orkney went by marriage of his daughter, Isabella, to the St. Clairs (Sinclairs).


The earldom Palatine of Strathern passed, in I343, to Sir Maurice Moray, who became Earl of Strathern in right of his mother, Mary, daughter of Malise, sixth Earl, and heiress to her brother, Malise, seventh of Strathern. The latter fell at the battle of' Halidon Hill, lgth July, I333 The became extinct in 1346; but it was created ain favour of Robert Stewart, nephew David II., and Lord High Steward of Scotland, who was made Earl of Strathern in I35 ,'and became King, as Robert II., in 1370- It is now the second title of H.R.H. Arthur, Duke of Connaugbt and Strathern.


The branches of the MacClellans, sprung from the stem of Bomby, were so numerous that fourteen knights of the surname whose titles and estates are given by Crawfilrd and others were living at the same time, viz.:-B ard roch wood , Barhol m, Barscobe, Borgue, Colvend (otherwise Culwen), Gelstoun, Glenshinnoch (otherwise Orchardtoun), Kilcruichie, Kirkconnel, Kirkcormack, Kirkgunzeon, Ravenston (otherwise Remistoun), Sorbie, and Troquhain.


The MacClellans, barons of Gelstoun, were, as stated by the ancient genealogists, and as proved by their shield of arms, a junior, though very old, branch of the MacClellans, Barons of Bomby, being traceable back from Sir Thomas MacClellan of Gelstoun, I6 O, for Sir John M'Clellan of Gelstoun, r264 Their crest, a saracen's head, was probably the original crest of the MacClellans of Bomby. Sir John M'Clellan of Bomby (de Bondeby) was one of fifty companions-in-arms who sailed with Sir William Wallace from Kirkcudbright to France after the fatal battle of Falkirk, I298, to seek the aid of Philip IV. of France against Edward I. of England.

The MacClellans and the other Gallowegians loyally supported the Balliols, Lords of Galloway, as having the best right to the Crown of Scotland. In I3I4 lands in Knapdale and Glenarwyle, in ArgylIshire, were granted to Dougal M'Clellan of Gelstoun for his military services; and more probably instead of the barony of Gelstoun, which had been forfeited to King Robert the Bruce; but when the Balliols disappeared and the Bruce became by right, as well as by merit, entitled to the allegiance of all true Scotsmen, the Callowegians supported him, and, doubtless, the MacClellans so regained the forfeited baronies of Bomby and of Gelstoun.

During the reign of King Robert the Bruce, Gilbert M'Clellan (Gallovidiensis) was Bishop of Sodor and Man, 1321-28. He was buried at Rothesay, in the island of Bute, and in I329 a grant was made to his brother, Cuthbert M'Clellan, in connection with his funeral.

According to the Book of PluJcrrrdi (now lost), aE quoted by David Hume of Godscraft, History of Douglas (and Angus (1743 Edition, vol. i., pp. 255-6), not Sir John Swinton of Swinton, as commonly reported, but " Alexander MacClellan, a knight in the Lennox,'' slew Thomas Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence (younger brother of Henry V. of England) at the battle of Beauge, in Anjou, France, fought on Pasch. Eve, I42I Of this duke it was written, " Quif it itS be r arus, net cGariov u Cus." His monument can be seen in St. Michael's Chapel (the Waf Canterbury Cathedral. The monks of Pluscardin, says Godscroft, record that Sir Alexander MacClellan, having taken the duke's coronet from off his helmet, sold it to Sir John Stewart of Darnley for one thousand angels. He was ancestor of Henry, Lord Darnley, the husband of Mary Queen of Scots, and father of James the Sixth of Scotland and First of England. This Sir Alexander MacClellan may have been a descendant of Dougal MacClellan of Gelstoun, in Galloway, to whom lands in Knapdale and Glenarwyle, in Argyllshire, were granted in I3I4( as foretold. In John MacClellan was Custumar of Kirkcudbright. I435.


The heritable shrievalty of ancient Galloway, and also the barony of Bomby, with most of the estate of the collateral branches, were in I452 forfeited by the family for making without legal warrant or authority severe reprisals upon the Douglases in revenge for the aforementioned murder of Sir Patrick M'Clellan of Wigton, Tutor of Bomby, last heritable sheriff of ancient Galloway. Nevertheless, when shortly afterwards (I455) King James II. marched with an army into Galloway, and undertook in person the siege of Threave Castle, the MacClellans joined him in strong force.

Many of the forfeited estates were soon recovered by the MacClellans amongst others, Bardroch wood, Barscobe, Bomby, Borgue, Borness, Gelstoun, Glenshinnoch (otherwise Orchardtoun), Lochfergus, Ravenstoun (otherwise Remistoun), and Troqu:hain.


It has been boldly and repeatedly alleged that the parish and village of Balmaclellan were first so called only in 1466, and that they took their name from John MacClellan of BalmacClellan (Balmac Klellan), who, in February 1466, obtained from King James III. a chart: of the lands and village, and that his name was given to them on his bestowing a site for a church. It is enough to point out that on the 28th May, I408, Sir Alexander Gordon of Lochinvar was infeft in the twenty mark land of BalmacClellan, co namine, of old extent, upon a grant thereof to him by Archibald, Earl of Douglas, then Lord of Galloway.

Alexander Gordon, second son of Sir William Gordon of Lochinvar, acquired Auchenreoch, in Urr, by purchase from Dougal M'Clellan, son of the said John MacClellan of BalmacClellan, and he was the first of the Gordons of Auchenreoch.

Troquhain, part of BalmacClellan, passed by marriage of Janet, daughter of the said John MacClellan, to George Gordon, third son of Sir William Gordon of Lochinvar, and from them sprang the Gordons of Troquhain. Alexander Gordon and George Gordon were two of the brothers of Margaret Gordon, the first wife of Sir William M'Clellan of Bomby.

The heritable shrievalty of ancient Galloway is said to have been so great an office that upon its forfeiture by the MacClellans, the King, mindful of the past over towering of the Black Douglases, would not grant it again to any single family , but it was then divided into two distinct jurisdictions, namely, the sheriff ship of Wigtownshire and the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright, both of which offices were given to other families; and the districts of Nithsdale and Annandale were joined to Dumfriesshire, and that of Carrick to Ayrshire. In r452 the appointment of Sir Ancirew Agne of Lochnaw as first heritable sheriff of Wigtonshire was confirmed by charter, and Herbert, first Lord Maxwell, was made steward of the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright.


The shield of arms of the MacClellans -" Or, two chevronels sable '' differs but slightly from that of the ancient Lords of Galloway, displaying two chevronels instead of one chevron. Both crests of the MacClellans of Bomby, with their respective mottoes, were assumed in I455 by Sir William M'Clellan of Bomby, grandson of the said Sir Patrick M'Clellan of Bomby, and nephew of the murdered Sir Patrick M'Clellan of Wigton, Tutor of Bomby. The first commemorates his recovery of the barony of Bomby. This, King James bad by proclamation offered as a reward to any person who should bring to him, dead or alive, a fierce rover called f_ a_ __Lr 3" come from Ireland, who, with his band of marauders, had become a terror to the people of Kirkcudbright and its neighbourhood. It Is said that William M'Clellan gathered his followers, both kin and kith, and, after defeating the band and killing their leader, carried the head of Black Morrow to the King on the point of his sword, and bade him "think on, 'the King having at first forgotten his proclamation.


He was then knighted. The second bears allusion to the battering down of Threave Castle during its siege by King James, by means of a monster cannon called " Mollance Meg " (corrupted to " Mons Meg "3( from Mollance in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright by X ' t, constructed a blacksmith named M'Kim and his sons, who were retainers of the barons of Bomby, " Mollance " after M'Kim himself, to whom the King gave the lands of Mollance, and " Meg " after his wife, whose voice resembled that of the cannon.


On the ;all of the Black Douglases, Kirkcudbright, which under them had been a borough of Regality, was made a Royal Burgh, and its first provost was Sir William M 'Clellan of Bomby. The subsequent chequered history of this most ancient and once powerful family is not without interest.


Sir William M'Clellan of Bombay married, first, Marjory, eldest daughter of Sir John Dunbar of Mochrum, whose third daughter, Catherine, married Donald M'Clellan of Gelstoun; and secondly, Marion, daughter of Sir William Carlyle of Torthorwald, and sister of John, first Lord Carlyle of Torthorwald, descendants of Sir William CarIyle of Torthorwald and Cunnington, by Margaret Bruce, daughter of Robert Bruce, Earl of Carrick, and sister of King Robert the Bruce. By Marion CarIylel he had apparently a second son, Donald M'Clellan of Borness I476-1492-as he had a son afterwards, Sir Thomas M'Clellan of Bomby. The father and elder son and heir were successively in high favour with King James II. and King James II., to whom they rendered many good services. Sir Thomas M 'Clellan, the son, married, first, Margaret, only daughter of Sir William Gordon of Lochinvar, ancestor of the Viscounts of Kenmure; and secondly, Agnes, daughter of Sir James Dunbar of Mochrum, a descendant of Cospatrick, a Northumbrian prince who cast in his lot with Malcolm Canmore, and was by him, in Io57, created Earl of March; tracing through John Dunbar, Earl of Moray, second son of Patrick Dunbar, ninth Earl of March and Dunbar, and of Agnes his wife, the famous " Black Agnes " I339-only daughter and heiress of Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray, Lord of Man and of Annandale, nephew of King Robert the Bruce, and Regent of Scotland. He died in 1504, leaving by Agnes Dunbar three sons-first, Sir William M'Clellan of Bomby ; second, Gilbert M'Clelhnin Balmangan, from whom by Margaret Herries, daughter of Andrew, Lord Herries of Terregles, and grand-daughter of Archibald Douglas, 5th.Earlof Angus, nicknamed "Bell the Cat" the greatest of the Red Douglases, desceqded.


William, 7th Lord Kirkcudbright (grandson of Robert M'Clellan of Balmangan and Bo ess, and son of \\';William M'Clellan of Bornessr by Agnes, daughter of William M'Culloch of Ardwall), John, 8th Lord, Sholto Henry, gth Lord, and Camden Gray, roth l,ord ; and third, John M'Clellan of Auchlane, Tutor of Gelstoun.


Sir William M'Clellan of Bomby, who was considered to be one of the most accomplished gentlemen of Scotland, and who enjoyed the personal friendship of King James IV., fell, with Sir John Dunbar of Mochrum (the husband of his sister Catherine), and with Patrick M'Clellan of Gelstoun, together with a large number of their respective kinsmen and dependants, at Flodden, on the gth September, I5I3 By his wife, Elizabeth Muir of Cassencary, he bad at least three children. His daughter, Catherine M'Clellan, married John Kennedy of Colzean, whose only child and heiress, Elizabeth Kennedy, it appears, took back Colzean to the main line of the Kennedys on her marriage with Gilbert, 3'd Earl of Cassillis, Lord Treasurer of Scotland, ancestor of the Marquis of Ailsa.

William M'Clellan of Nuntoun, better known as the Tutor of Bomby, a younger son of the said Sir William M'Clellan of Bomby, married Agnes, daughter of Sir James ;Tohnstone ort iat ilk, ancestor of the Marquis of Annand le.


They were the progenitors of the MacClellans of Nuntoun. When in r547 Kirkcudbright was besieged by an English force under Sir 'Thomas Carleton of Carleton, in Cumberland, who threatened to burn the town, the 'tutor of Bomby came to its relief, and although Sir Thomas Charlatan claims to have repulsed an attack made by him, yet he admits that the Tutor of Bombay forced him to raise the siege.


Sir William MacClellan's elder son, Sir Thomas M'Clellan of Bomby, was, on the lrth of July, I526, slain by the Baron of Drumlanrig, ancestor of the Marquis of Queensberry, and by the Baron of Lochinvar, ancestor of the Viscounts of Kenmure, on the High Street of Edinburgh, at the door of St. Giles' Church, in a family quarrel. In the vain hope of terminating this, Sir Thomas M'Clellan, his son, married, in r544, Helen, daughter of Sir James Gordon of Lochinvar, and granted to him, and to Sir James Douglas of L)rumlanrig, Sir John Campbell, and thirty-four others, their assisters, letters of slains.


Both he and his father-in law, it seems, fell at p;nkie on the l0 th September, I547 This Thomas M'Clellan of Bomby and Thomas M'Clellan of Auchlane, Tutor of Bomby, have been mistaken for each other, The slaughter of his father, Sir Thomas M'Clellan of Bombay, is particularly mentioned by Sir Christopher Dacre, the English ambassador ;n Edinburgh, in a letter written in r526 to his brother, Lord Dacre, warden of the West Marches, as showing the distracted state of Scotland ; and he adds that the slayers go about free, none calling them to account they happened to be on the winning side for the time being; but it caused a fierce feud between the MacClellans and the Gordons, which lasted more than a century. During its continuance people in Galloway presented a petition to the Court of Session in Edinburgh, praying for removal of their legal action or cause from Galloway to Edinburgh, because, owing to the deadly feud then raging between the two leading families of Eastern Galloway, no justice could be had between man and man; and at length, in I608, King James VI. interfered, and Sir Robert M'Clellan of Bomby was required to give a bond in EIo,ooo, and William M'Clellan of Glenshinnoc. His brother, a bond of like amount, not to harm the Gordons ; and Sir Robert Gordon of Lochinvar and James Gordon, his brother, also had to give similar bonds of;f;ro,ooo respectively not to harm the MacClellans , but these bonds had to be renewed from time to time, as the feud still raged.


Sir Thomas M'Clellan of Bomby son of slr r Thomas M 'Clellan of Bomby, who fell at Pinki and grandson of Sir Thomas M 'Clellan of Bomby, who was slain in Edinburgh, and great-grandson of Sir William M 'Clellan of Bomby, who fell at Flodden and his father have usually been treated as being one and the same person.


He, the son, in I5701 sold the Kirk of St. Andrew, then disused, and also the Kirk of the Grey Friars of Kirkcudbright to the Burgh of Kirkcudbright; undertaking for himself to support the choir or chancel, being one-third, and for the parishioners to uphold the other two-thirds, of the Friars Kirk, and this became the parish Kirk until I838. Beneath that choir is the burying place of the MacClellans of Bomby. He also built the modern castle of Kirkcudbright, which was finished in I582. He died in July, I597 Above the family vault there is to him and his second wife, Grissel Maxwell (daughter of John, Lord Herrie3, ancestor of the Earls of Nithsdale an earldom forfeited I7I5-6), a monument with the reclining figure of a knight in Margaret M'Clellan, daughter ( f Sir Thomas M'Clellan of Bomby (slain in I526), and granddaughter of Sir William M'Clellan of Bomby, married James Johnstone, second son of Sir James Johnstone of that ilk, ancestor of the Marquis of Annandale. From `them sprung the Johnstones of Wamphray.


full armour, bearing the following inscription :-


"Hic Dominus situs est T. M'Clellanus et uxor.

D Grissel Maxwell ; marmor utrumque tegit.

His genitus R. D Kirkcudbrius ecce sepulchrum

Posuit hoc, chari patris honore sui. "

" Ille obiit Anno Dom. Jul, I597

Respice finem, memento mori ; mors mihi vita est."

By Grissel Maxwell he had three sons- .first, Sir Robert M'Clellan of Bomby (knighted by James I. of England ; created by Charles 1. In I629 a baronet, and ill I633 a peer, with the title of Lord Kirkcudbright), who Marriott, first, Anne, daughter of Sir Matthew Campbell of Loudoun, ancestor of the Earls of London; and, secondly, Mary, daughter of Hugh Montgomery, Viscount of Ards, in Ireland, ancestor of the Earls of Mount. Alexander an earldom now extinct; his only child, Marion, daughter by his first wife, married Sir Robert Maxwell of Orchardtoun. He with his wife and family lived in his leasehold castle of Ballycastle, in Ulster, Ireland, where he died in r639 Second, William M'Clellan of Glenshinnoch (otherwise Orcbardtoun), Provost of Kirkcudbright, who married Rosina, daughter of Sir Andrew Agnew of Lochnaw, and was father to Thomas, second Lord Kirkcudbright; and, third, John M'Clellan of Borgue, who married, first, his cousin Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Sir William M'Clellan of Auchlane, Tutor of Bomby (either by his first wife, Elizabeth M'Ghie, daughter of Alexander M' hie of Balmagbie, or by his second wife, Lady Catherine Kennedy, daughter of Gilbert, third Earl of Cassillis, Lord Treasurer of Scotland, ancestor of the Marquis of Ailsa), and, secondly, Margaret Couper, daughter of William Couper, Bishop of Galloway ; and from him descended, by Margaret Couper, his second wife, John of Borgue, third Lord ; William, fourth Lord ; John of Auchlane, fifth Lord ; and James or Auchlane, sixth Lord. Thomas M'Clellan of Glenshinnoch, otherwise Orcbardtoun, second Lord Kirkcudbright, a zealous Presbyterian, embraced the cause of the Covenanters. He was with the well-trained Scottish army under Sir Alexander Leslie, afterwards Earl of Leven, encamped on Dun seLaw, near Edinburgh, in defence of presbytery, when King Charles I., with an English army of about equal force, invaded Scotland to establish prelacy, but, after a cavalry fight, on the 3rd July, I639, retreated. Appointed, in r640, colonel of the South Regiment, a regiment of cavalry raised chiefly in Galloway, he joined the Scottish army, which, under Alexander Leslie, Earl of Leven, marched into England James Graham, Earl (afterwards Marquis) of Montrose, being the first man to ford the Tweed` and advancing to the Tyne fought and won the battle of Newburn, near Newcastle, on z8th August, I640, an English army of 6000 men under Lord Conway being put to flight. By personal gallantry, and care for those under his command, he became, it is said, a most popular leader.


In I644 he attended the Scottish Parliament, and was, on the forfeiture of the Earl of Nithsdale, created steward of the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright. The following year, on I3th September, I645, under Sir David Leslie, at the battle of Philipbaugh, near Selkirk, as commander of a regiment which he had raised in Galloway at his own expense from amongst his own tenants and retainers, he greatly distinguished himself, and the Scottish parliament voted a sum of 15,000 marks bills which was never paid- for distribution amongst the men of his regiment, as a reward for their extreme gallantry. Subsequently he served in Ire]and, where he died in I647 His issue, by his wife, Lady Janet Douglas (daughter of William, first Earl of Queensberry by Isabella, daughter of Mark, first Earl, and al'lcestor of the Marquis of Lothian, ancestor of the Marquis of Queensberry), having died young, he was succeeded by his cousin John, third Lord, son of John M'Clellan of Borgue. This nobleman brought ruin upon the MacClellans of Bomby, orgue, Nuntoun, Miltou . Cregorie. Overlaw, Almorness, Auchlane, Balmangan, and other branches, not, as has been charged against him, by fickleness, but, contrariwise, by extreme constancy; for, from first to last, under every change of rulers, with the corresponding change ) in form of religion, he proved himself to be a consistent, although, perhaps, too enthusiastic n. He raised from amongst his Presbyterian tenants and vassals, and maintained during the war, a regiment of foot. Nominated in I648 with Alexander Leslie, Earl of Leven, and General Holburn, as a deputation from the Convention of Estates, the most powerful party at that time in Scotland, Lord Kirkcudbright opened negotiations with Oliver Cromwell who was then with his army at Berwick.


The execution of Charles I. having caused disagreement between the English and Scottish Parliaments, the latter, in February, r6qg, proclaimed Charles II. King, and Lord Kirkcudbright's regiment, which had been sent to Ireland, was in December following surprised and nearly cut to pieces by the Parliamentary troops at I essne garvy, in Ulster. His vast estates were heavily encumbered by him to raise and maintain large forces during the Civil Wars; but, for this, the only return he got was the barren honour of forming part of the retinue of Charles lf.'ap the Restoration of 1660. These estates were ruined in I663 when he opposed the instruction of an Episcopalian minister into the Church of Kirkcudbright. He died in 1665, leaving by his wife Anne, daughter of Sir Robert Maxwell of Orcbardtoun (by Marion M'Clellan, daughter of Robert, First Lord Kirkcudbright) an Only surviving son, William, fourth Lord, who died in r66g, under age and unmarried. During his minority the whole estate was seized by his father's creditors.


Although the MacClellans were always noted for their loyalty;: yet both the second and third Lords Kirkcudbright were for God first, then the King. This is the key to the character of the much-abused, because misunderstood, John of Borgue, third Lord Kirkcudbright. He was, it has been said, a violent opponent of Oliver Cromwell and of the Independents.


John, fifth Lord, son of William M'Clellan of Auchlane, died a minor and without issue, and was succeeded by his brother James, sixth Lord, who died in I730, leaving by his wife, Margaret Drummond, no son but three daughters the eldest of whom, Margaret M'Clellan, married Samuel Brown of Mollance :. the second, Mary M'Clellan, appears to have died unmarried; and the youngest, Janet, married William Maxwell of Miltoun.

In I782 the Castle of Kirkcudbright was sold to the Earl of Selkirk by Sir Robert Maxwell of ll Orchardtoun whose wife was Margaret M'Clellan, daughter of Robert M'Clellan of Barscobe, and who succeeded his cousin, Sir Thomas Maxwell of Orchardtoun, the husband of Henrietta Brown, grand-daughter of James, sixth Lord Kirkcudbright.


Upon the death of James, sixth Lord, the title devolved upon William, seventh Lord, grandson of Robert M'Clellan of Balmangan and Borness, and son of William M'Clellan of Borness by Agnes, daughter of William M'Culloch of Ardwall. His claim was in '734 unsuccessfully disputed by Epbraim M'Clellan of Barmagachan, and also By James M'Clellan, eldest son of Sir Samuel M'Clellan, M.P., Lord Provost of Edinburgh (r 706-I 708), a strenuous, but thereby unpopular, supporter of the Union between England and Scotland and first representative of that city in the Parliament of Great Britain. The Master of Kirkcudbright, his eldest son, having died young and unmarried in Edinburgh in March, 174 r, he was succeeded by his youngest son, John, eighth Lord, a colonel in the 3rd Regiment Scots Guards, whose two sons, Sholto Henry M'Clellan and Camden Gray M'Clellan, became respectively ninth and tenth Lords.

The Lords of Kirkcudbright, being no time servers, but staunch Presbyterians and thorough loyalists, risked all and lost all for, first, cog science, and, then, the Crown ; hence t);e poverty of John, fifth Lord, James, sixth Lord and William, seventh Lord. The first died a bachelor; the issue male of the other twin, became long since extinct.


King Charles II. raised in heart a papist, and no return for their services and sacrifices was ever made to the Lords of Kirkcudbright. Still, poverty, howsoever caused, whether n bly arignobly, always did, and always will, call forth the sneers of those who worship only wealth, and also of those who delighted in the misfortunes of others.

Dunbar MacClellan was captain of the SuPcrb, the flagship of Admiral Sir Edward Hughes, on board of which ship Captain MacClellan fell on the 6th July, I782, in the second engagement with the Bai Cide Su in, in the East Indies, and on him Sir Edward in his despatches writes : " The death of Captain P lacClellan of the Super , who was shot through the heart with a grape shot early in the engagement, is universally regretted by all who knew him. I had experienced in him an excellent officer in every department of the service." He was not, as alleged by Sir Robert Douglas of Glenbervie and others, the third son of \William M'Clellan, seventh Lord Kirkcudbright, but he was a younger son of Robert MacClellan of Barscobe, by Elizabeth Heron, daughter of Patrick Heron of Heron and Kirroughtrie, M.P. for the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright.


The MacClellans of Barscobe, Balmaclellan, nalmangan, Barmagachan, Carslae, and Colli n, with many others, gradually disappeared from Galloway during the wars of r666, I7rS, and I745, in which they took active part.


Robert M'Clellan of Barmagachan fought at Pentland, 28th November, I666. His life and property were forfeited in June, 1680, when he fled with three children to Yoodbridge, New Jersey, U.S.A. In 16gr he regained his Lands and returned to Scotland. From him, or his father, Robert M 'Clellan of Barmagchan, descended General George Brinton M'Clellan U :, commander-in -chief of the Federal Army, I86I.


The ruins of the Castle of Kirkcudbright, and of about one-third of the house built by William M'Clellan of Barscobe in I640-I, in place of the ancient Tower of Barscobe, are still to be Reen ; but of the older castles of Bomby (r227 and earlier), Raeberry (dismantled I452), Gelstoun, Locbfergus, Pluntoun, Cumstoun (otherwise Compstoun), and others, and of the Tower of Borgue, Balmangan, Barscobe, and others, which also once belonged to this family, few vestiges remain.

By the death, on rgth April, I832, without male issue, of Camden Gray M'Clellan, tenth Lord Kirkcudbright, the title became dormant, but not, as is generally supposed, extinct; for many male descendants of the ancient Barons of Bomby, all coming within the limitations ccsibi snisque A vedibus masczl is cognomen eiavma dictt' domini Robevfr' 'erentibtls" of the Letters Patent creating the peerage, still exist.

THIS BOOKLET is a duplication of the only known copy of The Record of The House of Kirkcudbright, printed at Dumfries in 1906 under circumstances set forth in the prefatory note. The half-tone illustrations had already been recopied at least once. In attempting to copy them a sLin, more detail and definition have been lost. We apologise for this.


The booklet has been printed as a labour-of- we by The Cyril-Scott Company of Lancaster, Ohio, U.S.A.. Mr. E. L. McClelland is Managing Director of this firm, and he was aided and abetted in his good work by others of Scottish heritage including an Adamson, two Andersons, two Bells, three Boyds, a Davidson, a Hanna, a Johnson, a Leith, a MacCartney, a MacKenzie, a Martin, a McCusktr, a Rutherford, a Thompson, and, most suspect, one Angus MacFoltz. May 1980.

Rulers of Scotland

846 AD Kenneth I MacAlpin was the first Scot to rule both Scots and Picts. 

1034 Duncan I was the first general ruler.

1040 Macbeth seized the kingdom and was later slain by Duncan's son.

1057 Malcolm III MacDuncan (Canmore).

1250 Malcolm married Margaret, Saxon princess who had fled from the Normans. Queen Margaret introduced English language and English monastic customs.

1097  Queen Margaret's  son Edgar,  moved the court to Edinburgh.

1153 His brothers Alexander I and David I succeeded. Malcolm IV, the Maiden, , grandson of David I, was followed by his brother

1165 William the Lion

1214 Alexander II

1249 Alexander III defeated the Norse and regained the Hebrides.

1286 Margaret, child of Eric of Norway and grandniece of Edward I of England, known as the Maid of Norway, was chosen ruler, but died 1290, aged 8. 

1292-1296 John Baliol (Interregnum, 10 years).

1306-1329 Robert Bruce

1329-1371 David II, only son of Robert Bruce.

1371-1390 Robert II grandson of Robert Bruce, son of Walter, the Steward of Scotland, was called The Steward, first of the so-called Stuart line. 

1390-1406 Robert III, son of Robert II

1406-1437 James I, son of Robert III

1437-1460 James II, son of James I

1460-1488 James III, eldest son of James II

1488-1513 James IV, eldest son of James III

1513-1542 James V, eldest son of James IV

1543 Mary, daughter of James V, born 1542, became queen when one week old; was crowned . Married, 1558, Francis, son of Henry II of France, who became king 1559, died 1560. Mary ruled Scots 1561 until abdication, 1567. She also married (2) Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley, and (3) James, Earl of Bothwell. Imprisoned by Elizabeth I, Mary was beheaded 1587. 

 1566-1625 James VI,, son of Mary and Lord Darnley, became King of England on death of Elizabeth in 1603. Although the thrones were thus united, the legislative union of Scotland and England was not affected until the Act of Union, May 1, 1707.



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Wednesday, 04 February 2015