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NOTES., D. MacRitchie, J. Bain, (May, 1895), pp.280-282.

Sixteenth Century References to Ross-shire Brochs.

“SINCE writing my note on Dun Aliscaig (SCOTS LORE, Feb, pp. 113-114), I have consulted, somewhat tardily, the “List of Brochs” appended to Dr. Anderson’s well-known description of certain Caithness brochs (Archaeologia Scotica, vol. v.), and therein I find that I was in error in assuming that Kirk (1677) was the first person that had noticed Dun Aliscaig from the point of view of an antiquary. Dr. Anderson quotes, first, Boece’s “Scotorum Regni Descriptio” (1520) to this effect: “Servantur in valle quandam Rossiae duae aedes vetustatis monumenta rotunda figura in formam campanae factae.” And he also gives a similar extract from the Italian of Ubaldini’s “Descrittione de Regno di Scotia” (1588), translated as follows: “There are in Ross, also, two churches, not of great size, the structure of which is built upwards in the form of two bells, but they are also open from above… I have seen the form (drawings?) [Vedi la forma] of these two temples, from which it is found that they were built of great stones places one upon another with much skill.” It is probable that Ubaldini had only seen drawings of the buildings, but it is interesting to notice that both he and Boece compare them to bells in shape. This seems to indicate that the upper courses approached each other even more closely than in the Mousa broch, as it now is. At any rate, it cannot be doubted that Dr. Anderson is right in identifying one of these buildings with Dun Aliscaig.

Dr. Anderson also quotes Maitland (1757) and Cordiner (1776), and a description “by Mr. James Anderson, in a paper read before the Society of Antiquaries of London, 27th November, 1777, and published in their Archaeologia, vol. v. p. 241.” It is interesting to find that so many descriptions are extant of a broch that has now wholly disappeared. 


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The Wallace Sword.

“THIS celebrated weapon figured in an imposing ceremony some years ago, when it was deposited in the Wallace Monument near Stirling, having to the surprise of many (including the Town Council of Dumbarton) been removed, by consent of the authorities, from Dumbarton Castle, where it has been long kept. A leading article in the Scotsman at the time summed up with impartiality the arguments for and against its genuineness. Most Scotsmen would fain believe the former alternative, but from what was said in the Scotsman it does not seem to have been continuously in the Castle since the patriot was a prisoner there. Here is a further piece of evidence – negative only, it must be admitted – that it can hardly have been there in 1510. On 24th June of that year, William Stirling, of Glorat, keeper of the Castle, delivered the “geir and gudis” within it to Robert lord Erskine. Particular mention is made of “Wallas toure” and its contents – a bell, iron gate, beds, &c., but not a word about a sword.

This tower must have been so called from the fact of Wallace being confined in it by Sir John Menteith. It can hardly be that his sword, if there in 1510, should not also have been particularly named. It would have been too important an article to be forgotten. And the inference is that wherever the sword was, if then known as Wallace’s, it was not in the Castle of Dumbarton in 1510. The document from which this note is taken is printed in the “Stirlings of Keir” (edited by Sir William (then Mr.) Fraser in 1858). 


Scotsman Articles Relating to WALLACES SWORD transcribed directly:

Wednesday 13 July 1825, p. 5. 
“A patriotic correspondent, indignant at the idea of the sword of Wallace being removed to London, asks if it be not the property of the people of Scotland as much as the regalia; and if the public officers are not culpable in allowing it to be removed out of the kingdom?”
Wednesday 24 June 1846, p. 1. 
WALLACE’S SWORD, &c., &c., 
To be SOLD by Public Roup, on FRIDAY the 26th day of June, 1846, at WEEDINGSHALL, near Falkirk. 
A Considerable Quantity of HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE, together with the whole of the fine old OIL PAINTINGS and ENGRAVINGS, in frames, and the LIBRARY of Antique and Rare Books; WALLACE’S TWO-HANDED SWORD, and various other valuable effects. 
The Household Furniture comprises 
Which is said to have belonged to Sir William Wallace; a Double-Barrelled Gun and Gun-Case; and a considerable variety of other Effects, all of which will be Sold without Reserve. 
Roup to begin at Eleven o’clock forenoon exactly. 
JAMES NEILSON, Auctioneer.”
Wednesday 11 January 1854, p. 2.
“SCULPTURE. – We understand that the statue of Sir William Wallace, one of the earliest works of our townsman Mr Handyside Ritchie, and modelled immediately after his return from Rome, where he studied for three years under Thorwaldsen, has been purchased by Mr Alexander Denny, Dumbarton, for the purpose of being erected in that town, so intimately connected with the history of the Scottish hero, and in the castle of which the far-famed “Wallace Sword” is still preserved. Mr Peter Denny, Provost of Dumbarton, has also given the same artist a commission to execute a nude statue in marble, to be classically treated, and embodying a combination of the passions of horror and despair…”
Thursday 16 November 1871, p. 2.
LAST night, Mr Butt, in passing through Greenock, en route, for Ireland, received quite an ovation. It having become known that Mr Butt was to proceed from Greenock per Belfast mail-steamer Llania, bills were posted throughout the town calling on all true Irishmen to assemble at the station, and welcome the great champion of Home Rule. Over a thousand persons were present when the train arrived, and Mr Butt was loudly cheered. The band of the Port-Glasgow Young Men’s Catholic Society was present, and as Mr Butt took his seat in an open carriage, the band played “See the Conquering Hero Comes,” and marched in front of it to the pier. On arriving there, Mr Butt stood up and thanked the crowd for the enthusiastic welcome they had given him. He might say that since he visited this noble river, the noblest thing he had seen on it was the sword of Wallace in Dumbarton Castle. It was the emblem of Scotland’s liberty – (great cheers) – and reminded him how Wallace and Bruce had gained Scottish independence. It also should show them that Scotland must sympathise much with Ireland. He would just say – “God save Scotland” – (cheers) – and as he was going home to his native land, he would add – “God save Ireland.” (Cheers.) God save Ireland, say we all. (Great cheers.)
He then proceeded on board the steamer, amidst enthusiastic cheers, and as the vessel left the pier the band struck up “The Boatie Rows.” One of the gentlemen who had accompanied Mr Butt from Glasgow then addressed the crowd, thanking them for their hearty reception of Mr Butt, and alluding to their duty as Irishmen of remembering their native land, and striving to assist their brethren in obtaining that Home Rule without which Ireland would never be a free country.”
Thursday 24 October 1872, p. 3.
SIR, – In July last, at the request of the Grampian Club, I sent a communication to the Secretary of State for War, begging that the sword of Wallace at Dumbarton Castle might be transferred to the Wallace Monument on the Abbey Craig, and stating that I had reason to believe that a suitable case would by the custodiers be prepared for its reception. I had an immediate acknowledgment and promise that the request of the Club would not be overlooked, and that I would receive another communication on the subject. The second communication reached me a few days ago, and as its contents are somewhat remarkable, I subjoin a copy for the information of your readers. It is to be regretted that the War Authorities did not withdraw the sword from public exhibition at the time of Dr Meyrick’s report, 17 years ago. – Yours, &c. 
Surveyor-General’s Department, War Office,
18th October 1872.
SIR,  – In reference to your letter dated 8th July last, requesting, on behalf of the Grampian Club, that the sword of Sir William Wallace might be recovered from Dumbarton Castle, and placed, under the care of the Provost and Magistrates of Stirling, in the National Wallace Monument.
I am directed by Mr Secretary Cardwell to acquaint you that this sword was sent to the Tower of London in the year 1825 for repair, and to be fitted with a new hilt, and was, by direction of the late Duke of Wellington, Master-General of the Ordinance, submitted for the opinion of Dr Meyrick. That gentleman was of the opinion that the sword never could have belonged to Sir William Wallace, but was of the time of Edward IV.; and at page 146, vol. Ii., of his work on Ancient Armour, he writes – “The two-handled sword shown at Dumbarton Castle as that of Wallace, is of this period (temp. Edward IV.), as will be evident to any one who compares it with the sword of state of the earldom of Chester, which belonged to Prince Edward V., and probably was used when he entered Chester in state in 1475.” 
This opinion having been concurred in by the Tower authorities, the sword was fitted with a new handle of the 15th century, and returned to Dumbarton.
Mr Cardwell, therefore, desires me to state that there appears to be no truth in the belief that has been entertained by some persons that this sword was that of Sir William Wallace, and directions will be sent to Dumbarton Castle to refrain from exhibiting as such in future. – I have, &c. 
Colonel Royal Artillery, Asst. Director of Artillery. Rev. Dr Chas. Rogers, L.L.D., 
Snowdoun Villa, Lewisham, S.E.”
Wednesday 31 October 1888, p. 8.
“WALLACE’S SWORD. – The War Office authorities have approved of the Wallace sword being transferred from the armoury at Dumbarton Castle to the National Wallace Monument, and the relic is to be handed over to Mr G. Rogers, of Edinburgh, for that purpose.”
Monday 19th November 1888, p. 6 & 8.
“THE Wallace sword, which has hitherto been kept in Dumbarton Castle, was transferred on Saturday, with becoming ceremonial, to the custodiers of the National Wallace Monument at Stirling.”
“THE WALLACE SWORD. – In connection with the transference of the Wallace sword from Dumbarton Castle to the National Wallace Monument, a reception took place in the Public Hall, Stirling, on Saturday. Provost Yellowlees presided, and was accompanied on the platform by Sir James Maitland, Bart., Colonel Nightingale, Mr H. R. Wallace of Busbie and Cloncaird, a descendant of the national hero; Bailies Ronald Kinross, Forrest, and Brown, Dr Rogers, Rev. J. P. Lang, and others. The sword was handed over, and was accepted by Provost Yellowlees, the Chairman of the Wallace Monument custodiers. A historical sketch, showing the genuineness of the sword, was given by the Rev. Mr Rogers. The CHAIRMAN remarked that Mr Mitchell had sent him account of the Wallace family pedigree, in which he traced the direct descent of Mr Hugh Robert Wallace who was with them to-day, from Sir John Wallace, the laird of Elderslie in 1390. Mr WALLACE said, in course of a brief speech, thanked Dr Rogers for what he had done. He hoped the sword would remain in the Wallace Monument for all time coming. The CHAIRMAN said, in accepting the Wallace sword, he could assure Mr Wallace that the custodiers would prize it as their greatest treasure, and guard it as a sacred thing. Bailie RONALD proposed a vote of thanks to the war authorities for authorising the transference of the Wallace sword from Dumbarton Castle to the National Wallace Monument, and Col. NIGHTINGALE acknowledged the compliment. Votes of thanks were also accorded to Dr Rogers, Mr Wallace, and the chairman. The CHAIRMAN intimated that Mr Wallace had given a “shrine” for receiving the Wallace sword, and Provost Donald, Dunfermline, in a letter regretting his absence, promised a bust of David Livingstone for the Wallace Monument. At the close of the proceedings the company had an opportunity of viewing the Wallace sword. The blade, which is two-edged, is 4 ft 4 in. long, and 21/4 in. broad at the top, narrowing to 1 in. at the point. The hilt is 14 in. long, with iron knob, and is mounted with leather.”
Thursday 22 November 1888, p. 4.
“THE Dumbarton Town Council feel aggrieved at the removal of Wallace’s sword from the castle to the Wallace Tower on Abbey Craig, and have resolved to remonstrate with the War Office authorities, and ask that the historic weapon be returned to the place where it has lain for between five and six hundred years.”
Tuesday 18 December 1888, p. 4.
“THE WALLACE SWORD. – Last night, at a meeting of the Custodiers of the National Wallace Monument, the CHAIRMAN (Provost Yellowlees) referred to the action taken by the Dumbarton Town Council in connection with the removal of this relic from Dumbarton Castle, and moved that it be remitted to a small committee, along with the clerk, to take such steps as might be necessary to secure the retention of the sword. This was agreed to. A design by the Master of Works of a case for the Wallace sword was approved of. The sword is to be placed on a stone table below the bust of Robert the Bruce. The offer by Provost Donald, Dunfermline, of a bust of David Livingstone was accepted.”
“THE custodiers of the National Wallace Monument have appointed a committee to oppose any attempt by Dumbarton to regain possession of the Wallace sword.”
Friday 18 January 1889, p. 7.
January 14, 1889. 
SIR, – Having read with interest your description of the designs which have been brought forward for the projected memorial to Wallace and Bruce, may I offer a remark on detail which, there is no reason to believe, is open to criticism?
You mention that in one of the designs Wallace is represented with “his great double-handed sword grasped by the right hand.” Now, I am aware that a two-handed sword exists which goes by the name of “Wallace’s sword,” but I believe that it can be shown that, notwithstanding the firm belief and reverence with which that ancient weapon is regarded, it has been ante-dated by a century at least. To assign a two-handed sword to the time of Wallace and Bruce is clearly an anachronism. Such a style of weapon was then unknown. It will, I believe, be found on examination that the fourteenth century was far advanced before it was introduced.
Our principal authorities for the dates of ancient arms and armour are, after the Bayeux tapestry, monumental effigies, ancient sculptures on and in churches, &c.; and the illuminations of ancient manuscripts, some of which, as for instance the beautiful copies of Froissart in the British Museum – they dating, however, from the end of the fourteenth century – afford many valuable examples. I believe that among none of these can contemporary authority be found for the existence of the two-handed sword in the days of Wallace and Bruce, nor for some decades thereafter. A single-handed sword, with a cross guard and broad blade, rather short in proportion to its width, appears to have been the weapon wielded by the contemporaries of our favourite heroes, and, no doubt, by themselves also. – I am, &c. 
Friday 8 March 1889, p. 3.
… In the absence of Mr Wallace of Cloncaird, the lenial descendant of Sir William Wallace, who was expected to unveil the “shrine” of the Wallace Sword. Colonel McFADYEN was called upon to perform this ceremony, and in doing so he remarked that however much they might sympathise with the Dumbarton people in being deprived of that famous weapon, they were all agreed that now it rested in its proper place. (Applause.) As long as it remained there, which he thought would be in all time coming, the custodiers would take good care of it. (Applause.)”
Tuesday 11th June 1889, p. 5.
… IT is more than probable that comparatively few of the reader of the Scotsman are acquainted with a very notable work the first volume of which appeared some few years ago from the pen of a still more notable writer – namely, the renowned Hajee Abdulah.
The title of the work is the “Book of the Sword.” The cunning writer, with infinite skill and conceit peculiar to himself, has traced the history of what he quaintly terms “The White Arm” in all ages; and describes every species of sword, or knife, from the cowardly and eminently treacherous Wag-nuch [same as Wagh nakha/Bagh Nakh?] of the Mahratta chief, which, under the semblance of an affectionate embrace, is pressed with the keenness and sharpness of a tiger’s claws into the very innermost sources of life, to the open and straightforward “two-handed” weapon of our own country.
When the Hajee Abdulah – better known, perhaps, as the explorer of the gold mines of Midian, the African traveller, the Mecca pilgrim, the interpreter of the poet Camoens, and of the “Thousand Nights and a Night,” [A Thousand and One Nights]  
“Bright music from the world where shadows are,” 
and as Sir Richard Burton was preparing materials for his second volume, the present writer was called on to furnish details of certain Scottish weapons of note worthy of a place in such good company.
Amongst others that seemed worthy of attention was the famed sword of Sir William Wallace preserved at Dumbarton Castle. It so happened that there was in the writer’s hands at the moment exact drawings, to scale, with dimensions annexed, of the “twa-handed” weapon kept at Dumbarton. These, as stated in a letter to Sir Brooke Boothby at the time – that is, in 1814 – were made by Tobiss Smollett, grand-nephew of the celebrated author of that name, or, at all events, under his personal superintendence. These details were required for the guidance of the sculptor entrusted with the preparation of the colossal statue of Wallace still to be seen in the neighbourhood of Melrose. Tracings of these drawings were made and sent to Trieste, where Sir R. F. Burton was Consul, along with such further notes as seemed likely to be of use.
For instance, the historian of Dumbartonshire, Mr J. Irving, writing on this subject, calls attention to the fact that at the present day there are many difficulties in the way of proving that this old weapon can rightly establish an ownership so illustrious. Still it appears that mention was made of the weapon so far back as the year 1505. When King James IV. visited Dumbarton the following entry of an item of expenditure was made in the books of the Lord Treasurer, under date 8th December:-
          “For bynding of ane riding sword and rappeyer and binding of Wallass sword with cordis of silk, and new bilt and plomet, new skabbard, and new belt to the said sword, xxvj. sb.”
Further, it appears that in the year 1644, towards the end of May, when Provost Sempill entered anew on the guardianship of the Castle he gave a certificate in which he owns to having found and taken over amongst other things – “In Wallace Tower… ane auld twa-handed sword, without a scabbard.” “No doubt,” adds the historian, “the Wallace sword.” (See Dennistoun’s MSS. Ad. Library.)
The following is a very exact description of the sword shown at Dumbarton Castle some years ago. 
          “It measures from point to point four feet eleven and half inches, the handle being one foot two inches, and the blade itself three feet nine inches. It varies in breadth from two inches and a quarter at the guard to three quarters of an inch at the point, and weighs six pounds. It has been welded in two places, and is believed to have lost each time from six to eight inches in length. The scabbard and silk binding are now among the things that were.”
This was in the year 1860. About the same period a chatty writer, who, issuing from the from the dreary streets of Glasgow, described in pleasant letters, entitled “Days at the Coast,” the sights that met his view “down the water,” amongst other things the “ferly” of Dumbarton. “In truth,” he says, “a gigantic blade… Large as the blade alluded to is now, it has been somewhat curtailed. A considerable fragment has been broken off the point. All signs of the fracture were obliterated, however, when it was taken to the Tower of London in 1825. With the intention of preserving it among the curiosities of that fortress… it was deemed expedient to restore it to its former and present resting-place.”
Such were the items of description made up in a packet for dispatch to the Hajee Abdulah with the drawings aforementioned. But just on the point of dispatch the following foot-note from no less an authority than Black’s “Tourist’s Guide” met the eye of the reporter. It seems that “by direction from the War Office the sword called ‘Wallace’s Sword’ is no longer to be exhibited at Dumbarton Castle as such, it having been shown that the date of the sword could not be earlier than the time of Edward IV.” In honesty this pithy postscript had to be added to the other notes, and left for Sir R. F. Burton to deal with as he should see fit. In due course came a gracious message of thanks from Trieste. It had not escaped the eye of the author of the “White Arm” that by some curious oversight, or still more curious copying on the part of Tobias Smollett, junior, the two drawings which claimed to show the sculptor the two sides of the broken weapon could by no possible theory be made to agree as regards the details of scroll work forming the hilt. The right-hand view of the hilt and blade formed the subject of one drawing, and the left-hand view of these was shown in another. It seemed impracticable without a comparison with the original to say where the apparent error lay.
As I have said, the second volume of this unique and entertaining work, though long looked for, has not yet seen the light of day, and I know not what use, if any, Sir Richard Burton has made of the facts faithfully reported. But within the last few months attention has once more been drawn to this questionable weapon. At a meeting of the Municipal Authorities, I believe, of Stirling it was solemnly and formally handed over for safe keeping in the tower called Wallace’s Monument, with appropriate patriotic speeches and so on. I think the present representative of the family of Ellerslie was induced to take part in the function, so that nothing was omitted to lend eclat to the occasion. Now, one or two things strike one as curious in connection with this matter. In the proceedings connected with the depositing of the sword in Wallace’s Monument, so far as I remember, the Dumbarton folk made little or no appearance. Had they considered the old weapon to be what was so plainly asserted of it at Stirling – namely, the “white” though shattered “arm” which bore a part so noble in the deliverance of our country from foreign oppression, and established our independence as a nation, it is hardly possible to think that they, shrewd folk as they are, would have been willing to let such an ornament to their town and castle go without apparently any consideration, valuable or otherwise.
Further, I do not remember to have read of any reference to the detractive paragraph from the War Office being made or refuted in the course of the proceedings at Stirling. As for the history, private or other, of the weapon under discussion further than I have given in the notes sent to Sir R. F. Burton, I am no better than one of the “parcel of ignorant ignoramuses” prettily alluded to by an Irish counsel at a recent Dublin trial. But it will be seen that I am in an awkward position, indeed in a somewhat unenviable predicament, with the conscious presence of the “white arm” always before me, except that the Hajee Abdulah is a maitre d’armes breveté, and that he, and the only other holder of that patent with whom I am acquainted, an excellent old parish minister of the Church of Scotland, who, besides the coup de jarnac and other cunning devices with the sword, taught his pupil how to give up his life, as a Christian gentleman should, before the walls of Delhi, are models of gentleness and forbearance. But for these considerations, my position is not quite a desirable one. For if there be reasons why the fama against this weapon is unfounded, I ought to know, and communicate them without loss of time before I am called to account for furnishing defective details on a subject of considerable interest to all Scotsmen.
Moreover, the tourist season is already upon us, coming, as such things usually do, from across the Atlantic, and promises to be one of unusual severity. And if “Black” and the War Office be indeed speaking the very truth, our American cousins and other visitors should know it, and the Wallace Monument, which has already been purged of “ginger beer” and other incongruities, should equally be cleared of questionable “nicknackets” with which we cannot afford to associate the name of our national hero, and make him ridiculous. So let the truth be spoken by those in a position to do so, and Mephistophales put to shame.”
Friday 12 September 1890, p. 4.
“THE WALLACESTONE MEMORIAL. – A demonstration for the purpose of inaugurating a movement to raise funds to erect a statue of Sir William Wallace at Wallacestone, near Polmont, was held there yesterday afternoon. At this place, it is said, Wallace viewed the approach of the English forces on the morning of the Battle of Falkirk, on the 22d July 1298. A stone pillar, about 8 feet high and of great age, marks the historic spot, but the committee wish to have, if possible, a statue of the Scottish hero mounted on a pedestal – a monument at once worthy of the great patriot whose memory it is intended to commemorate, and of the historic surroundings of the place. Beautiful weather prevailed yesterday, and the procession was taken part in by several hundred people, including Provost Yellowlees, Stirling; Ex-Bailie Mitchell, Falkirk; and a number of other civic dignitaries; the Sir William Wallace Lodge of Free Gardeners, and the Sir William Wallace Lodge of Free Colliers. Shieldhill and Blackbraes brass bands and the Redding pipe band were also present. There was a large turnout of the miners of the district, the day being the usual week holiday of the men. A prominent feature in the procession was the burgh officer of Stirling in his scarlet uniform, carrying Wallace’s sword, which had been kindly lent for the occasion by the custodiers of the National Wallace Monument, Stirling. Starting from the Co-operative Hall, Redding, the demonstration proceeded to Wallacestone, situated at the top of the hill, a distance of about quarter of a mile, where a small platform had been erected. A triumphal arch and flag decorations gave the hill a bright and pleasing appearance. Provost Yellowlees presided, and after the singing of two verses of the xliv. Psalm to the tune of Dunfermline, prayer was offered by Mr Colin Maxwell. The CHAIRMAN then delivered an address, at the outset of which he remarked that well nigh 600 years had passed away since the battle of Stirling Bridge was fought, and now on its anniversary they had met at this historic spot to commemorate the deeds, and to celebrate the fame of the great patriot by whose prowess that battle was fought and won. (Applause.) He next briefly referred to the battle of Falkirk, and said that in point of fact that battle became the prelude to the glorious victory of Bannockburn, where the independence of our native land was for ever honourably secured. (Hear, hear, and applause.) He then alluded to the mementoes of the time of Wallace, including that of his sword which had been carried at the procession that day. He (the chairman) had heard the fear expressed that the custodiers were in danger in bringing that sword there that day. (Laughter.) Yes, they might well laugh. He held that it was a reprehensible idea, because he maintained that so far from the sword being treated with anything like disrespect there was no Scotsman there who did not look upon it as a sacred relic. (Applause.) MR ANDREW BENNIE, secretary of the Memorial Committee, then presented ex-Bailie Mitchell with an illuminated address, in recognition of his service in connection with the present movement, and for so kindly providing the seats and railing round the Wallace stone. Ex-Bailie MITCHELL returned thanks, and expressed the hope that, as the result of this magnificent meeting, there would be subscriptions given that would enable them to erect a noble statue to the great hero. Ex-Bailie Christie, Falkirk, having spoken, Mr JAMES McGILCHRIST, Dumbarton, in the course of an address, referred to Wallace’s sword which they had there that day, and remarked that the sword was the common property of all Scotsmen. (Applause.) The people of Dumbarton grudged the people of Stirling that sword, and he hoped that when the time came when the sword would be removed from Stirling – cries of “Never,” and laughter – the people of Stirling would not feel the loss so keenly as the Dumbarton people did when it was removed from their midst. (Laughter and applause.) Probably a fitting place for it would be beside the monument there. Mr Walter Towers, Bonnybridge; Mr James Simson and Mr W. Liddle, Redding; Bailie Forrest, Stirling; Mr J. Cooke Gray, Blair Lodge School; and Mr John Simpson, Falkirk, also addressed the assemblage. The proceedings lasted over two hours.”

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Carlyle of Torthorwald Barony.

“NISBET in his Heraldry (vol. i. p. 78), speaking of the family of Douglas lord Mordington, says that Sir James Douglas married Elizabeth, grandchild and heiress of Michael lord Carlyle, and was in her right Lord Carlyle, of Torthorwald; that their son James married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Gordon of Lochinvar, but having no issue, resigned his honours to William, first Earl of Queensberry, in 1638, and that the title is extinct. Some years ago I saw the following curious note by some American “descendant,” written in ink, on the copy of Nisbet in the British Museum reading room, after the words “having no issue”:- “This is a great mistake; he had a son William, who, before his father’s utter ruin and extinguishment, left Scotland, and in 1640 went to New England, where he had a numerous progeny wreckoned (sic) by thousands. Wm. Balbirnie, of Philadelphia. London, 10 July, 1883.”

This is an odd story, and, if true, would invalidate the resignation of the title in 1638, now held, I suppose, either by the Duke of Buccleuch or the Marquis of Queensberry. It is a regular challenge of the accuracy of the old herald, and, in another point of view, rather a daring act, for if Mr. Balbirnie, “of Philadelphia,” had been seen writing, he would, according to the rules, have been shown to the Museum door. There may be some very slight ground for the claim, for in the Complete Peerage, by “G. E. C.,” it is said in a note that “this William Douglas is said to have died s.p. abroad.” But whether or not, he must surely have been non-existent when his father James resigned his peerage to the Earl of Queensberry, or it would have been inept. The resignation must be engrossed in the signature for the re-grant, and should be in the Scotch records of 1638, or thereabout. 


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