The history of the name Edgar
In Ireland the name Edgar is almost exclusively found in Ulster, mainly in
counties Antrim and Down. Though the original name Edgar is English from the old
English personal name Eadgar, meaning “happy spear” in Ulster though the name
stems mainly from Scotland, they originate from and are still common in the
province of Galloway, where Edgar was first noted in the thirteenth century.
The Edgar’s of Nithsdale in
Dumfriesshire were of Gaelic origin, the progenitor of the family was Edgar,
circa 1200, son of Duvenald, son of Dunegal of Stranid (now Strath Nith), he
held extensive lands in Nithsdale, his descendants assumed the name Edgar. Some
of the Galloway Edgar’s came to Ulster during and after the plantation in the
Other old pronunciations of Edgar were Agar and Eager and both are found in Ulster, Agar particularly on the Ards peninsula in Co Down.
Edgars in Ireland
A branch of the Scottish Edgars is settled in Ireland. The family tradition is that four Edgar brothers came to Ulster in the early part of the reign of William 111, of who one joined the army, and another settled near Castlewellan, County Down, where his descendants remain, now spelling their name with a phonetic variation, A third settled in the district of Ards, and the fourth near Gilford, where they held several farms, and where the name has become localised.
Of this last branch there were two brothers, one of whom ___ the Presbyterian minister of Loughageny, was the father of the Rev S O Edgar, the author of a learned work on Popery; and the other the father of the Rev Samuel Edgar, Professor of Divinity at Belfast, and the father of the late Rev John Edgar, DD, LLD, Professor of Divinity at Belfast, Vice-President of Belfast College, an eminent leader in the Temperance Movement and other salutary reforms. He died in 1866, aged sixty-nine.
The surnames of Scotland: Edgar
record in Scotland is of Eadgar King of the Scots, the seventh son of Malcolm
111, who reigned 1097— 1107. Despite the name Edgar being English in its
history, coming from the old English name Eagdar, meaning “happy spear”, the
Edgar’s of Nithsdale were of Gaelic Scotch origin.
held lands in Berwickshire, and Edgar son of Duvenald, son of Dunegal of Stranid
(Strath Nith), held extensive lands in Nithsdale during the reign of
William the lion, his descendants assumed the name Edgar about the year 1200,
this Edgar granted the church of Kyllosbern and the church of Morton in Strehtun
to the abbey of Kelso.
Richard Edgar of Wedderbie was one of the witnesses at the second marriage of Robert Bruce, he also possessed the castle and half the barony of Sanchar or Seneschar, in upper Nithsdale, during the reign of that king. A Richard Edgar was the sheriff of Dumfries in 1329, and a Ricardus Edger witnessed the royal charter of the lands of Dalmakeran.
The historic house of Wedderlie was originally a 'fortalice' or 'keep' in 1258 and converted to a mansion house in 1684 by the Edgar family who lived here from 1327 to 1733. Sir Richard Edgar was a witness at the second marriage of Robert the Bruce and three of the Edgar's were Members of Parliament for Berwickshire, Edinburgh and Haddington. They 'fell on hard times' and were forced to leave Wedderlie, defacing the family crest as they left in darkness.
THE HOUSE OF EDGAR
(The following has been taken from the book "Genealogical Collections Concerning the Scottish House of Edgar" printed by the Grampian Club, London 1873)
EDGAR OF WEDDERLIE
EDGAR is an old and peculiar surname. One might suppose that even at the present day it would be common, at any rate about large cities, and in those districts whose characteristics are still, to a certain extent, more especially Saxon. When, however, we come to inquire narrowly, and refer to Directories, we find it of rare occurrence. For example, if we take the diocese of Winchester, and run over the index of Wills in its Probate Court from 1498 down to the present time, or, at least to the close of last century, among numerous Saxon names, that of Edgar occurs but thrice and in two of these Wills, oddly enough, we meet with the same corrupt spelling of the name which, ill the contemporaneous registers of the northern kingdom was so prevalent.
It is doubtful whether, prior to the present century, even where Scottish patronymics were largely infused, there were any persons of this name in the sister isle.
In England, an ancient family of the name settled in Berkshire at an early period. That and the Edgar family in Suffolk may have had a common ancestor; and it may not be saying too much to suggest their descent from one or other of the Edgar’s who appear in the pedigrees of the Saxon Earls of Northumbria.
A few persons named Edgar seem to have been in attendance upon, or connected with, the courts of several of the ancient kings of Scotland, One named “Gilbert, son of Edgar," was witness to the execution of a charter by William the Lion about 1176. Another named Edgar son of Henry was witness to a charter by King David about 1208. Another, Gilbert, son of Edgar, was witness to a charter in 1200. And Walter, son of Edgar, was witness to a charter of the lands of Scrogges in 1208.
In Rymer's "Foedera" three notices of this name are to be found. i. In the 24th Edward 1, (1296), - “Walterus Edger persona de Penicok vicecomiti de Edinburgh." 2. 1st Edward Il. (1308) "De vadiis prisonibus Scotiae &c., "habere facias Galfrido Edger in castro nostro Ebor." 3. 7th Edward 11. (1314) . . . " quod Isabella de Brus in Castro praedicto sub custodia vestra, de mandato nostro, jam existens, habeat secum, ut de familia sua, Elenam Edger, Johannem de Claydon, Samuelem de Lynford et Willielmum de Preston," &-c., &c.
Besides these, we find a notice of a Sir Patrick Edgar, (Ric de Barneby Domino Patricio Edgar Milite) in 1272, ill the Chronicle of Lanercost; and in the reign of King John (Abbrev. - Placid) “Edgar avuncul. Comitis Waldeni patris comit Patricii fuit seisit in Dnico suo sicut de feudo de Villa de Bewic," &c.
"In the shire of Berwick," says Nisbet," besides the Homes there were other ancient families of different surnames who carried lions rampant in variation of tinctures from the old Earls of Dunbar and March; whether upon the account of descent from that eminent family, or, is vassals, carried lions in imitation of those of their patrons I shall not be positive, as the Hepburns, Rentons, and of the name of Edgar who held their lands of the old Earls of Dunbar.
The principal family of the name of Edgar there is Edgar of Wadderlie, yet extant, who carried for their proper Arms-Sable, a lion rampant argent.
As for the antiquity of the name, I shall here vouch a charter of Earl Patrick, son of Earl of Dunbar, who grants to the monks of Durham the Church and lands of Edram for prayers to be said for the soul of his father and mother, of King Malcolm, his sons, King Edgar, King Alexander, King David, and his son Earl Henry, and King Malcolm, and for the safety of his brother David, and for himself, wife, and children. The charter has no date, but is granted in the reign of King William, and in it are many witnesses, among whom are many barons in the shire of Berwick, as Stephan Papedie, Robert de Bonaire, Gilbert de Hume Henric de Prenderghest, Edward de Aldcambus, Alan de Suyntoun, Willielm de Nesbit, and Willielm filius Edgari.
"The last-mentioned William, son of Edgar, I take to be one of the progenitors of Edgar of Wadderlie.
“The aforesaid principal charter is fully repeated in the charter of confirmation of King Robert the Bruce, dated at Berwick, the 15th day of November, the 21st year of his reign.
Richard Edgar, in the reign of King Robert the Bruce, married the eldest daughter and coheir of Ross of Sanquhar, and William Crichton married the other sister. . . . King Robert confirms to Richard and his son Donald Edgar, the half of the lands of Sanquhar, with the manor place as the charter bears:- De capitali mannerio in Baronia de Sanquehar cum mediate ejusdem Barronie ad ipsum mannerium pertinen. It appears that Edgar of Wedderlie is descended of this Richard.
I have seen a resignation in the custody of Edgar of Wedderlie, by Richard Edgar, son of Richard Edgar of the lands of Wedderlie in favour of Robert Edgar Dominus de Wedderlle, in the year 1376, and confirmed to his son, John Edgar of Wedderlie, 1384.
"And beside the Arms of Wedderlie are quartered with figures like to these of Ross of Sanquhar -three water budgets or much defaced, as on an old stone on the house of Wedderlie supported by two greyhounds, and for crest, a dexter hand holding a dagger, point downwards. Motto: “Maun do it,” and on a compartment below, Salutem disponit Deus.
“It has been remarked, with reference to the origin of our Peerage, that two great Houses, one English, one Scottish, sprang from the best Saxon aristocracy. Of the old Earls of Northumberland, one named Cospatrick left England after the Conquest, and settled in Scotland. He was ancestor of the Earls of Dunbar, of whom the Homes, and we believe the Edgars, are cadets. From him the Nevilles of Raby, in England, are also descended."
According to Douglas ("Peerage of Scotland:" ed. Wood, ii. 107) the descent is stated thus:
1. Cospatrick, son of Maldred by Algetha, daughter and heiress of Uchtred, Prince of Northumbria, by Elgiva, daughter of Ethelred, King of England, was father of Dolfyn and, -
II. Cospatrick, 1st Earl of Dunbar, whose son, -
III. Cospatrick, 2nd Earl, died in 1147, leaving 1. Cospatrick (3rd Earl). 2. Edward. 3. Edgar ("who appears to have been ancestor of those of the surname Edgar.") 4. Uchtred. In Surtees “Durham", we find, with many other collateral descents, the following :-
Waltheof (circa A.D. 969) father of Uchtred, who was thrice married, and had by his 2nd wife, Elgiva, a daughter, Aldgetha, who married Maldred, and was mother of Cospatrick, whose issue follows:
1. Cospatrick, father of Cospatrick and Patrick
2. Dolfin (1120)
4. Edgar (Nothus)
5. Gunil, who married Orme, and had Cospatrick, Dominus de Workington, father of Thomas (ob. 1152), father of Patrick.
Waltheof (circa 969), by his 3rd wife, Sigen, had Cospatrick, the father of Uchtred, father of Dolfin (1131), father of Maldred and Patrick. This Maldred was father of five children, viz., 1. Robert, who married Isabella, daughter of G. de Neville. 2. Gilbert. 3. John. 4. Gilbert. 5. Richard.
In his version of the pedigree of the House of Dunbar, &c., many references are given by the author to the sources of his information; it contains likewise the name of Siward, the Giant Earl of Northumberland, who is stated to have married Aelfled, the great granddaughter of Waltheof, the founder (?) of these families.
The territory once in possession of the Wedderlie family appears to have extended in a broken chain from the coast of Berwickshire to the Solway Firth. Yet many small landowners bearing the name, who were settled under a peculiar tenure in the royal patrimony at Lochmaben, may have had no distinct legitimate connection with the chief House, but at the same time it is probable there was but one family of the name.
It is probable that in the fourteenth century the House of Wedderlie was more powerfully represented in Nithsdale than in its native county; and it is a question whether the representation of the family early in the seventeenth century did not revert to the head of the House settled in the former locality.
Towards the close of the thirteenth century an Edgar, Laird of Wedderlie, appears to have been married to a Countess of Home; and immediately afterwards, the fortune of this House seems to have reached the summit of its prosperity, in the reign of King Robert the Bruce, at whose marriage Richard de Edgar was a witness. One of the latter's four sons was placed by David Bruce at the head of the Clan McGowan, and Wedderlie itself seems to have been resigned to a younger brother, probably the king's godson.
The Laird of Wedderlie, as co-representative of Robert de Ros, Lord of Sanquhar, through his wife, a daughter of the latter,-was allied to the family of one of the competitors for the crown of Scotland in 1292. Thus his position must have been among the foremost.
Yet it seems strange, that when a distinction came gradually to be made between territorial and titular barons, an Edgar should have acquired the latter rank; thus losing for his descendants a nominal status, which, like many powerful barons, they perhaps undervalued, during the season of material prosperity, and before the encroachments of men inferior by birth, but more ambitious had reduced, by taking advantage of their inaptitude for war or business, or by marriage with their daughters, the once noble possessions of the family to comparatively a few acres.
Moreover, "they were among the few families who disobeyed the act of 1672, C21, in not having their arms matriculated in the Lyon Register then established."
Then again, the direct succession seems to have been more than once broken; and, like certain other families of cognate origin, there is a period of obscurity midway in the descent, and though it is incontrovertible, that even during the most troublous times Wedderlie never was held but by an Edgar, still the then laird may have been self sufficient and short-sighted, or ignorant of the intention of the act referred to, and content to thus proceed on the stagnating principle of "leaving well alone."
Of the Edgars of Wedderlie, in the fifteenth century, little is known, although it is evident that they must have continued to maintain considerable influence in their native county. In the following century, it is probable, that cadets of the House established themselves at Edinburgh.
The heads of the family seem to have been turbulent in the seventeenth century. The Laird of Wedderlie was in 1679 a rebel. In 1661, George Edgar of Newtown was proceeded against, in the Court of Session, for oppressing Ker of Mersington and his servants, and preventing them cultivating their lands, and attending to peaceful occupations.
Towards the close of the seventeenth century, the irregularities of another laird brought him into frequent bad odour with the rigid Presbyterians of his parish, whose interference he resisted for a while, but he was obliged to yield to them eventually.
In this century flourished the Edgars of Peffermyln (an interesting ancient fortalice near Craigmillar), and the Edgars of Keithock, &c. The former was of the Nithsdale line of Wedderlie, and will be noticed elsewhere.
The lands of Wedderlie continued in the possession of the Edgar family until 1733-6, when they passed by sale to Robert Lord Blantyre. So late, however, as the 25th July 1736, John Edgar, the last in possession, marked the exodus of his race from their ancient patrimony by the gift to his native parish of Westruther, of a Bible “bound in blue Turkey leather, for which the Session appoints the minister, Mr. Scott, to return thanks to Wadderlie."
From a reference to the title deeds it would appear that the older muniments have either perished or gone astray among other collections, for the earliest is a crown charter granted in the year 1619, to John Edgar, eldest son of Robert Edgar of Wedderlie. This is a curious coincidence, inasmuch as the collateral succession of this Robert Edgar is one of the obscure links of the pedigree of Wedderlie.
Before the Reformation, the Edgars were buried in their own chapel at Wedderlie; from the Reformation to 1649 at Bassendean, and subsequently, at Westruther; all their tombstones, however, have unfortunately disappeared, with one exception, on which the last resident Laird of Wedderlie has left a memorial of himself, in his native parish, which, from its quaintness, seems characteristic of the sad and somewhat sarcastic spirit of its author.
An apocryphal story is told of the departure of the Edgars of Wedderlie from their ancient inheritance. The family were fallen and obliged to sell their estates, and in the words of the narrator,- The auld laird and leddy drove out in their carriage and four horses at mid-day; but the young laird (their only child) was broken-hearted at the thocht o' leaving the auld place, and he waited till the darkening; for he said the sun should na shine when he left his hame." The preserver of this anecdote was a very aged woman, named Eppy Forsyth, who died about 1840. She remembered seeing the young laird riding down the avenue alone, and she said “it was a dark nicht when the last Edgar rode out of Wedderlie."
The death of the last recognised male heir of Wedderlie is thus recorded, and one of the many examples of the same kind of error is here repeated.
1817, March. . . . In Bedford Street, Bedford, Square, London aged 80, Rear Admiral Alexander Edgar, the last male descendant of the ancient Scottish family of Edgar of Wedderlie."
There are no complete pedigrees on record of the various families of Edgar in Scotland, and it would be a somewhat bold assertion to make, that there may not, at the present day, be many in the male line, of the numerous cadets of the house of Wedderlie, in the sixteenth and earlier centuries.
It is quite certain, for example, that the branch of the Wedderlie family planted at Newtoun in Berwickshire, flourished there until the death of Lieut Colonel Hunter Edgar, in 1808.
But there is a probability of nearer cadets of Wedderlie being in existence. Beside the " Edgars, of Evelaw and of Westruther," local records show, that at the opening of the eighteenth century, Edgars were still numerous in the neighbourhood of Wedderlie, and several families of the name still as lairds, others as kindly tenants"- around the chief of their house. It would be perhaps impossible, to ascertain their relationship to him, considering that the last Laird of Wedderlie no than fewer than five sons, of whom the Admiral was one; it does seem remarkable that should have left any known male descendants.
On a reference to the records of the Commissariat of Lauder, and of Edinburgh, where the Wills of from, or at Wedderlie, are recorded, it is at once perceived that there have been extensive offshoots, whose descendants have never been traced.
In the “Bride of Lammermoor"
there are a few marked and curious coincidences between the Ravenswood and that
of Edgar of Wedderlie. Both were of the Merse, and Wedderlie is situated at the
foot of the Lammermoor Hills. The Master of Ravenswood is named Edgar. Against
“Wolfs Crag" of the Romance we have "Wolfstruther," afterwards Westruther, the
parish of Wedderlie. Edgar Ravenswood was related to the Humes and Douglases; so
likewise was Edgar of Wedderlie; but what is still more remarkable, both
families were connected with that of Chiesly, and at the period. The Ravenswoods
were involved in a litigation, in which Chiesly was implicated while in the
Public Records (Decisions of the Court of Session) at the period of the Romance,
Edgar of Wedderlie had a bitter lawsuit with Chiesly, the tutor of his father's
younger children. Edgar of Wedderlie was impoverished by his opposition to the
Presbyterian church, just as Edgar Ravenswood opposed its minister at his
father's funeral. Both families were turbulent, and brought to ruin by espousing
the losing cause.
EDGAR OF PEFFERMYLN AND EDINBURGH
The conjecture of one generation is apt to become the family tradition of the next, and then, if embalmed in the pages of a literary sponsor, it is transmitted to posterity with a fictitious authority, to question which would, in many instances, excite the strongest indignation. The fact that certain families of Edgar used the pure arms of Wedderlie prior to the extinction of the chief line in 1817, militates against the very origin that it suggests; at the same time, one may well understand the ignorance of heraldic rules on this point, among the obscure descendants of an old parent stock.
Sometimes we find two families of the same name, to all appearance so thoroughly amalgamated, that after the lapse of a century, without some special knowledge of them, it becomes a matter of no slight difficulty to separate their records, and give to each its own fair proportion. This has more than once occurred among the Edgars, and a notable example is found in the family of Keithock, when the ancestral estate was transferred by sale from one branch to another.
Edinburgh seems to have been the crucible in which these commingling families were fused. Here, early in the sixteenth century, dwelt a powerful burgess, named Patrick Edgar, who was one of the first offshoots of Wedderlie of whom we have any record. His name occurs in the Diurnal of Occurrents and his house is now better known as that in which the celebrated Sir David Baird was born.
A reference to the General Inquisitions of the seventeenth century shows that the Edgars at Peffermyln, in the Barony of Craigmillar; at Restalrig, in the Barony of Broughton ; in Leith, and at Hillhousefield, formed but one family, to trace all the ramifications of which, however, would be a task attended with almost insurmountable difficulties.
These Edinburgh Edgars traded in grain, as their Wills attest. The Will of Edward Edgars of Papermylne, is a curious example. The rich acres, or "riggs," as the equivalent seems often to have been termed, about the metropolis, must have had peculiar advantages from the proximity of the port of Leith, the trade of which was, at the period referred to, very considerable.
We find, in the seventeenth century, two Edgars, described as merchants, trading with the great continental grain port of Dantzic, which received and garnered the produce of the fertile plains of Poland. These were Gilbert of Sheirington, in Dumfries, whose nephew, Thomas, was returned his heir in 1623, and John 'I of Poland," “eldest lauchful sone to Thomas Edgar of Keithock," about eighty years after.
In the eighteenth century, and during the palmy days of the West Indies, many persons of this name emigrated thither; and at Bristol (the commercial nurse, so to speak, of these colonies) there were residing at that period two gentlemen, whose names, Preston and Alexander Edgar, point rather to a Scottish than a southern origin.
A glance at the map of Scotland will at once suggest with what ease an over-crowded family in the parish of Westruther, could transfer its junior members to the metropolis, not to say anything of the other outlets in Haddington, Roxburgh, Dumfries, &c.
Certain baptismal names seem to have been peculiar to certain branches. Thus Edward, Clement and Herbert prevail in one, Alexander is common in another, David in a third, and several of these branches were ultimately represented by a" Margaret." This happened more than once in the Berwickshire families; and Margaret, the wife of Alexander Edgar of Auchingrammont, was, we believe, the co-heiress of her father, James Edgar of Edinburgh (about 1737). These resemblances are so closely involved in some instances, that it is scarcely possible, among so many counterparts all grouped contemporaneously, to discriminate accurately.
In Scotland, when a family parted with its paternal acres, the origin of its descendants was soon lost, owing, in a great measure, to deficiencies in parochial and heraldic registration.
Peffermyln, in the parish of Liberton, near Edinburgh, is an ancient “Tower and Fortalice," once belonging to a branch of the family of Edgar of Wedderlie, in Berwickshire. There is a curious piece of armorial sculpture over the entrance to the tower, representing Edgar of Wedderlie, impaling Pearson of Kippenross, with only the difference of a mullet instead of a cinquefoil in the latter. Such monograms are very obscure, for this reason that little is known of the Edgars who owned the place, beyond what can be gleaned from the imperfect parish registers, the Burgess Rolls of Edinburgh, and a few other records.
Edward Edgar of Peppermyln, or Peffermiln the son of Patrick Edgar (whose house in Edinburgh in the time of Mary, Queen of Scots, and which is still standing, shows him to have been a person of no small consequence), was one of the last of the commissioners appointed to try witches, and the record of some curious trials at which he presided is preserved. He appears to have been succeeded by his son, Patrick Edgar, who was succeeded by his brother Edward, whose heirs were Andrew and Margaret.
There is a deed recorded (Reg. of Deeds Dur. Off. 1664, Dec. 23), which is dated at Johnstoun, and was executed by the heirs of Edward Edgar, bailie and burgess of Edinburgh. In it is described the estate of umquhile Patrick Edgar, and of Andrew and Edward, sons to the deceased Edward Edgar, and Margaret, their sister, married to Walter Cant; Patrick, son and heir of the defunct “Edward Edgar the elder." The names of two Johnstouns appear to this deed along with Margaret, relict of the deceased.
Edward, the elder, had been admitted a guild brother of Edinburgh on the 12th of August, 1621, and appears to have acquired from another Edgar the lands of “Kingsmedow alias Scharnyhall," Edinburgh, on the 19th of June, 1629. Possibly, however, this may have been Edward Edgar, also of Edinburgh, and a guild brother in 1607.
These Edgars of Peppermyln owned land about the village of Water of Leith, Restalrig, Hillhousefield, &c., all in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh, and they appear to have intermarried with Thomsons, Johnstons, Cants, Romes, Cranstouns, and perhaps with Chisholm; but as the parish registers of that period are very imperfect, it would be scarcely possible to construct a complete pedigree, although the descent of property could be shown in the same family.
The quaint and elegant old fortified house of Peffermyln closely resembles externally that of Wedderlie, in Berwickshire, which latter again is described in a deed dated December 14th, 1714, as the "tower, fortalice, and manour place" of Wedderlie. During a portion of the seventeenth century Peffermyln. appears to have been occupied by a family named Osborne, whose transactions with the Edgars are the subject of several records.
Many of the Edgars of Wedderlie were burgesses of Edinburgh. A branch of the Nithsdale Edgars early in the sixteenth century settled in Edinburgh, under the auspices of Lord Maxwell.
There seems to have been a connection between Murray of Broughton in 1720 and James Edgar, writer in Edinburgh, and from the Retours we discover that certain Edgars possessed land in the Barony of Broughton but this James Edgar must not be confounded with his namesake and contemporary.
James Edgar, writer in
Edinburgh, an honorary burgess of the city, Extractor in the Court of Session
and private clerk or secretary to Sir Gilbert Elliot, the first baronet of that
family, had two daughters, viz.,- 1 Margaret, married in f 742, Alexander Edgar,
of Auchingrammont, and died in 1791. 2. Elizabeth, married, in 1739, John Myln
of Edinburgh, and had issue - 1 John, progenitor of the families of Milne and
Ritchie of Edinburgh and Redford, 2, Edgar, physician. 3. James (ob. s. p.). 4.
Priscilla. 5. Margaret, married Dr Colin Lauder of Edinburgh, who by him had
issue - 1 William Preston, M.D. married Harriet, daughter of General Harry
Dalmer (ob. s. p). 2. A daughter, who married a Mr. Guild; and left issue- 1
Margaret, married Lieut.Col. Edenborough. 2. Eliza married Admiral James
Ferguson. 3. Jesse married Nathaniel Spens, of Craigsanquhar.
EDGAR OF NEWTOUN BERWICKSHIRE
RICHARD EDGAR, son of Oliver (son of another Richard of Wedderlie) who married Margaret, daughter of George Pringle of Torwoodlee in 1564, and acquired Newtoun de Birgham, (now known as Eccles-Newton) early in the seventeenth century, was succeeded, about 1645, by his son George, who in 1648 was one of the commissioners for putting the kingdom in a posture of defence. The latter had a long feud with Thomas Ker, of Mersington, which was terminated in 1661, by an act of the Estates, in Ker's favour. (Acts of Parliament, vol. vi. 299, vol. vii. 37.)
Richard Edgar, of Newtoun, who lived at the time of the Revolution of 1668, was an Episcopalian, a Nonjuror, and one of the few gentlemen of the county, who stood by Charles, Earl of Home, in his opposition to the new government. He was one of three who, in May, 1691, went with Henry Home, of Kames, into the church of Eccles, and interrupted the ordination of the Rev. John Lauder. In 1702 he married Rachel Maxwell, by whom he had two sons; Richard, his successor, and Andrew, who married Grace, daughter of the Rev. James Allen, minister of Eyemouth. He was grandfather of the Rev. John Edgar, minister of Hutton, in Berwickshire, who died on the 2nd April, 1858, in his seventy-third year. The latter married, 7th June, 18 14, Jessie, daughter of Abraham Logan of Burnhouses, and had issue Andrew, barrister at law, of the Middle Temple, and LL.D. John George, born 1827, died 15th April, 1854, and others. The first mentioned who represents the Edgars of Newtoun, married 1st (1850) Mary Ann daughter of the late E. Bichnell Esq. (d. 1858) by whom he has a son Logan Bichnell Edgar of Trinity Hall, Cambridge and of the Middle Temple, and 2nd (1864) Emily Elizabeth, daughter of the late Humphrey Ballard Esq. The last mentioned was the author of several popular works, of which the best known are “Boyhood of Great Men,” “Footprints of Famous Men,” and “History for Boys.” He also contributed some materials for the present work.
Richard Edgar, eldest son of the Jacobite and Nonjuror, succeeded his father as Edgar, of Newtoun, and having married, in 1728, Margaret, daughter of George Bell of Riglie had two sons and two daughters. Of these Margaret, born 1734, and Richard, born 1736, attained maturity.
Richard, after being an
officer in the Berwickshire Militia, entered the 25th Regiment as a lieutenant.
In 1757 lie accompanied the regiment to the Continent, and fell during the seven
years war. In consequence his sister Margaret, on her father's death in 1767,
succeeded to the estate of Newtoun. Having married William Hunter, of Linthill,
Roxburghshire she had two sons, William, who died young, and Lieutenant Colonel
Richard Edgar Hunter, 1st Dragoon Guards, who was killed by falling from his
horse, as he was returning from a meeting of heritors. He died unmarried and
after his death there was a long litigation about the succession, in the Court
of Session and House of Lords; the estate being claimed by the Rev. John Edgar
as heir of entail under a Disposition executed by his great uncle Richard Edgar,
the son of the Nonjuror. It was held, however, that the entail had been broken
by a deed executed alio intuitu by Mrs. Hunter, the mother of the last
proprietor. Thus the estate of Newtoun passed from the Edgars into the hands of
EDGAR FROM DUNSE BERWICKSHIRE AND OF LANARKSHIRE
Nearly connected with the House of Wedderlie is that of the Edgars of Auchingrammont, who have the of uniting another family of the same name by the marriage of Alexander Edgar of Auchingrammont in 1742, With the daughter of James Edgar of the Melrose branch of Wedderlie derived intermediately, from the Edgars of Grueldykes (Dunse)
John Edgar, Laird of Wedderlie, was, in 1674, sued by Mr. Chieslie, surgeon, of Dunse, for the maintenance of his younger brother Alexander, then Mr. Chieslie's apprentice. This lawsuit and others continued till the close of the seventeenth century. On the establishment of the Edinburgh College of Surgeons, Alexander Edgar became a member, as did also his cousin Thomas Edgar, and that he is identical with the apprentice of Mr. Chieslie, an order for him to settle the affairs of his late master Mr. Chieslie clearly shows. Thomas Edgar, son of the previous Thomas, had property in Dunse; in which town James, father of the first Edgar of Auchingrammont, was a Surgeon.
The traditions of the family of Auchingrammont, supported by the uncertain evidence of old fashioned silver plate, bearing the arms of Wedderlie, asserted that they were the descendants of a cadet of Wedderlie, inasmuch as the father of the first Edgar of Auchingrammont was an Edgar of Dunse ; that he took with him to Jamaica, portraits of the Edgars of Wedderlie ; and that on his return he married a relative named Edgar, by whom he acquired property in the Lawn Market, &c., Edinburgh.
In 1754, Alexander Edgar, then in possession of Auchingrammont, which he had owned for many years, was styled by the designation of “from Nether-houses.” He was then living within the bounds of South Leith, near Hillhousefield, adjacent to the village of the Water of Leith, both of which places are contiguous to the baronies of Broughton, Restalrig, and other places mentioned in the Inquisitiones Generales” Of 1599, as including property appertaining to Edgars from Berwickshire.
Early in the eighteenth century, the Edgars of Auchingrammont owned property in Jamaica, viz., Wedderlie plantation, and Osborne, in the parish of St. George. The latter was named after a Mr Osborne, surgeon probably of the Peffermyln family, who settled in Jamaica towards the close of the seventeenth century.
In an old silver-bossed family Bible, the property of Margaret Edgar, the last of her family who owned Auchingrammont, is the following entry:- Alexander Edgar, born 1698. The locality of his birth is not given, and, as parish registers in Scotland are imperfect, it might be difficult to find this entry of baptism, although that of Peter Edgar, a younger brother, is recorded in the Dunse register. Alexander Edgar is, in the record of his purchase of Auchingrammont, stated to have returned from Jamaica. His younger brother Peter, of Bridgelands, married in 1743 Anne, daughter of the Rev. John Hay, minister of Peebles, and was father of Anne (the wife first of James Lesile of Deanhaugh, by whom she had two daughters and a son who was drowned in infancy, and secondly of Sir Henry Raeburn;) of an only son, John Edgar, Writer to the Signet, who (lied S.P. in 1799, besides other daughters.
In 1742 Alexander Edgar married Margaret (ob. 1791), daughter of James Edgar, writer in Edinburgh, clerk to Sir Gilbert Elliot of Minto, as before stated. James Edgar left no male issue but had a son Robert who died in infancy.
The issue of Alexander Edgar of Auchingrammont by his wife Margaret Edgar were 1. Alexander, ob. 1820; 2. James, of Auchingrammont, ob. IS 10 : 3. Handasyde, M.D., ob. 1806; 4. Susan, ob. 1778, aged twenty two; and 5. Charity.
James Edgar, originally from Melrose, married the daughter of a Handyside or Handasyde of Kelso, and afterwards of Edinburgh, named Priscilla Handasyde. The latter's pedigree is readily obtainable from the Kelso Parish Register. The wife of the other writer in Edinburgh, also named James Edgar, was Eliza Lithgow. This latter James Edgar had sons who died in infancy, named John, Alexander, James. He is merely mentioned casually to distinguish the two families.
A portion of the patrimony of Alexander, the son of Alexander and Margaret of Auchingrammont, consisted of ground rents and tenements at Edinburgh, and a reference to the City Register of Sasines confirms the tradition of a connection with Wedderlie.
Janies Edgar became of Auchingrammont by the breaking of the entail and surrender of Auchingrammont to him by his elder brother Alexander, who was returned their father's heir in 1777, and had seisin of the said property. On the 1st March 1783, there is a seisin in favour of James, as heir of his brother Alexander of Auchingrarnmont.
A synopsis of pedigree is subjoined.
Alexander Edgar, of Auchingrammont, born 1698, married, in 1742, Margaret, elder daughter and co-heir of James Edgar, writer in Edinburgh, honorary burgess of that city, and clerk to Sir Gilbert Elliot, first baronet of Minto He died in 1777, and was buried in the churchyard of Hamilton; she died in 1791, leaving issue
1. James, who succeeded to Auchingrammont. Married, 25th 'March, 1789, Eliza Lorington, and died October 13, 1810 leaving issue
1. James, ob. inf, of whom there is a fine portrait by Sir Henry Raeburn.
2. Alexander, ob. bif.
3. John, ob. inf.
4. Mary Anne, ob. inf.
5. Margaret. She succeeded to Auchingrammont, which she sold ; and died, unmarried, October 12, 1857.
6. Eliza Priscilla, died unmarried.
11. Alexander, married, I0th July, 1797, Anne, daughter of Henry Gordon, son of - Gordon by his second wife Anne, d. of Christopher Taaffe by his wife Rachel Lawrence, daughter of Lawrence.
Lawrence, by his wife Susanna, daughter of John Lawrence and Susanna Pelgrave. Alexander Edgar died December 25th, 1820, and is buried in St. Cuthbert's churchyard, Edinburgh. By his wife, who died April 30, 1857, lie had issue.
The issue of Alexander Edgar and Anne Gordon were as follow:-
1. Alexander, b. 9th Sept., 1807 ; Captain in the 63rd Regiment. ob. unm. 1837.
2. Henry, b. 24th February, 1815; late Captain 26th Regiment.
3. James Handasyde ; b. June 24,.1816; Lieut.-Colonel 69th Regiment.
4. Margaret, b. 1st July, 1798 m, Lt-Col. Hugh McGregor, and had issue, Alexander Edgar, d. unm., and Anne Murray, J s.p.
5. Anne, b. 15th January, 18oo; m, 1821, James White, M.D. and had issue, a daughter. Dr. James White was brother of Dr. White, Inspector General of Army Hospitals, previously Surgeon of the 16th Lancers.
6. Mary, b. 11th January, 1802; m. October 15, 182 2, J. H. Archer, M. D., and had issue James Henry. (2) A daughter.
7. Elizabeth, b. 19th June, 1803; m. George Archer, M.D., 64th Regiment, and had issue, an only child, Captain W. M. Archer of the 78th Highlanders, who d. unm. in 1861.
8. Susan, b. 12th December, 1805; ob. unm., 1859.
9. Louisa, b. 18th December, 1809; in Rev. S. Jackson, and had issue, John B., a son, d. unm. and 3 daughters.
10. Jemima, b. 18th February, 1813; ob. inf.
11. Catherine, b. 7th June, 1819; ob. unm.
III. Handasyde, M.D., F.R.S., born 27th March, 1754, married a daughter of - Simpson, of Bounty Hall, Jamaica, and died s. p. June 8th 1806
1. Charity, ob. inf.
2. Susan; married James Hutton, merchant in Leith, and had issue a son, John, who died s.p.
Peter Edgar, of Bridgelands, Peebles (brother of Alexander, of Auchingrammont) born in 1706
married, 1743, Anne, daughter, by his first wife, of the Rev. John Hay, minister of Peebles, and died, aged seventy-five, at Marchfield, near Cramond, January, 1781, leaving issue
1. John, W.S., of Edinburgh, who died unmarried in 1799.
2. Anne,~ b. 1744; in. (1st) James (called Count) Leslie, of Deanhaugh, and (2nd) Sir Henry Raeburn, and had issue by her first husband a son and two daughters, and by her second,
1. Peter, ob. inf.
(2) Henry, m. Charlotte, daughter of John White, of Kellerstain and Howden, and left issue.
3 Margaret m. John Tait of Edinburgh and had issue -
(1) George, Advocate and Sheriff Sub. of Edinburgh; ob. unmarried
(2) Alexander, Commander, R N. died unmarried in 1866, leaving his fortune of £80,000 to his cousins, the Archbishop of Canterbury and his brothers.
(3) John, W.S., ob. unmarried.; two daughters, ob. unmarried.
4. Jessie, m. - Oliphant, and had issue.
5. Susan, m. - Dickie, and had issue.
6. Helen, m. Henry Inglis, adv. of Edinburgh, and had issue-
(1) Richmond, m. Cochrane of Belretiro (Lochlomond)
(2) A daughter, m. Rev. A. Gordon and other children.
These were the children of
Helen Edgar and Henry David Inglis a popular writer (better known as Derwent
EDGARS IN NITHSDALE AND ANNANDALE AND GALLOWAY
In the Chartulary of Kelso the baptismal name of Edgar occurs amongst the descendants of the ancient lords of Nithsdale, supposed to have been related to the lords of Galloway and kings of Man, but must not be confounded with the surname.
The Earls of Dunbar, from whom the Edgar’s are understood to be descended, seem to have parted with their lands in Nithsdale before 1453. The latter continued till long after that period to be one of the most numerous clans (if this word may be used) in the district.
The origin of the family of Edgar with its numerous branches in the south-west of Scotland is probably attributable to the marriage of Richard Edgar in the time of Robert the Bruce with the co-heiress of Ros of Sanquhar, and also to Donald, son of the former. Some younger branches in the royal household may likewise have been settled by the Bruce on the lands about Lochmaben along with other servitors. Probably Edward, eldest of Richard Edgar's four sons, and who renounced his succession to Wedderlie, was progenitor of tile various lairds of the name.
The following passage in Chalmers “Caledonia” confirms these suppositions:
During the reign of Robert Bruce, Richard Edgar possessed the castle and half of the barony of Sanquhar in Upper Nithsdale. Edgar also held the lands of Ellioc in the same district, and the lands of Bartmonade and of Lobri, of Slochan, of Glenabenkan, and part of the lands of Kilpatric in the same shire, of all which he obtained charters from Robert Bruce. He also obtained of the same king the barony of Kirkandrews. Donald Edgar (Richard's Son) acquired from King David II. The captainship of the clan MacGowan in Nithsdale. In the reign of David I. the territory of Sanchar formed a part of the extensive demesnes of Dougal of Stranill, from whom it descended to his son Duvenald, and from him to his son Edgar, whose progeny appear to have assumed the surname of Edgar. During the reign of Robert Bruce the barony was divided between Richard Edgar and William de Crichton, who held the other half in right of his wife Isabella de Ros.
During the reign of Queen Mary, lands in Nithsdale were granted by royal charter to Quintin the son of Ninian Edgar. In the Act in favour of John Maxwell, Earl of Morton (10th December, 1585), although many Edgar’s are mentioned, no notice occurs of the family of Inglistoun (Irongray); and, yet so far back as 1453, in the retour of Robert Lord Maxwell as heir of Herbert, Lord Maxwell, his father, besides Richard Edgar of Garnsallacht, there was on the inquest John Edgar of Ingliston. In 1664 (March 22), John Edzare of Inglistoune was absent from an assize for the trial of certain persons in the stewartry of Kirkcudbright; and in 1598 a John Edzer of Inglistoune was denounced as a rebel for his share in the "slaughter " of Patrick Maxwell of Dalquheon.
A James Edgar, in Kirkpatrick Irongray, died early in the eighteenth century, but it is very doubtful whether he could reasonably be accounted an impoverished descendant of the house of Inglistoun.
There were Edgar’s, lairds of Bombie, Kirkcudbrightshire, before the days of the McLennans; and we find the name in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries at Cornetown, Shireinton. Gilichtoun Kerringarroch, Correghe, Creoquhane, (otherwise Creaken) Doublahill, Kenter's Isle, Furd, Gullishill, Kirkland of Irongray, Loclikindeloch, Blackshaw, Elsieshiells, &c. To the last-named place Thomas Edgar, Provost of Dumfries, in 1730 bequeathed an annuity Of £40 for the education of the poor.
In the seventeenth century an uninterrupted intercourse appears to have subsisted between the Edgar’s of Dumfries and those who had taken up their abode in Edinburgh and its environs.
The baronies of Holywood and Caerlaverock were largely inhabited by Edgar’s, the gradual subdivision of property in pastoral districts tending to perpetuate a patriarchal system. The Edgar’s of Bowhouse of Caerlaverock settled in Edinburgh and Fife. Those of Sheirinton, probably a branch of the Blackshaw family, betook themselves to commercial pursuits, and formed a connection with Edinburgh; they also acquired property in Forfarshire. The Edgar’s of Kirkblane seem to have been identical with those of Bowhouse, and it is not improbable that the Chrystenhill Edgar’s were closely related to the Inglestoun family.
From Nithsdale, the Edgar’s
strayed into Ayrshire, and Lanarkshire, in which latter county, during the
earlier portion of last century, a farm called Blackbird, was held by an
Alexander Edgar. In Ayrshire before 1699, the heiress of one of the branches of
Edgar of Edinburgh married a Mr. Rome of Cluden.
EDGARS OF INCHGALL, FIFE, AND EDINBURGH
In the Act of the Scottish Parliament passed in 1585, in favour of Lord Maxwell, designed Earl of Morton, many Edgar’s are mentioned, among others Thomas Edgar of Bowhouse, and his sons John and Clement. Thomas Edgar was probably the father of Edward Edgar, by whom was purchased, in 1604, the barony of Inchgall, in Fife, an acquisition soon lost.
This branch of the Dumfriesshire family was powerful in Edinburgh, and had lands in other parts of the country ; and the common origin of these branches is indicated on a tombstone in the churchyard of Holywood, which represents the arms of Maxwell of Cowhill impaled with those of Edgar of Wedderlie: the deceased is styled the husband of Barbara Maxwell.
The barony of Lochore was formerly called Inchgall or Inchgaw; that barony or the western part of it formed the parish of Ballingry. In the reign of Charles 1. this barony reverted to the Wardlaws, who then parted with it, and about fifty years later it came into the possession of a family named Malcolm; it is now the property of Lady Scott, relict of Colonel Sir Walter Scott; Bart., son of the great novelist. The old tower is in part remaining, but the lake which surrounded it has been drained.
Robert, Duke of Albany, when Regent of Scotland, granted a Confirmation Charter of the lands of Trakeware (Traquair), in Peebleshire, to Watson of Cranystoun, dated Apud Inchegall," September 27, 1407. (Reg. Mag. Sigill, f. 213 )
Notices of this barony will
be found in Inquisitiones Speciales. Under Fife " (No 389, May 23, 1627) the
services of one of the heirs runs thus: In terris et baronia de
Lochirschyre-Wester alias nuncupatis Inchegall; terris nuncupatis Flockhous et
Bowhous de Inch-all, cum lacu de Inchgall et jure patronatus Capellae de
EDGAR OF MIDLOCHARWOODS, DUMFRIES
JOHN EDGAR, holding with others, a pendicle, or small division of land, at Rimdale, died in 1801 at the advanced age of 100 years. He had a kiln for drying corn for the neighbouring farmers, which, notwithstanding its dangerous construction, is supposed to have produced meal of a better flavour than any since invented. His son, Robert Edgar, born in Caerlaverock in 1776, died in June, 1863. He served in the Yeomanry Cavalry during the French war. He kept greyhounds and coursed with them after he was fourscore. He shipped great quantities of grain from Glencaple to Glasgow and other ports, when the Nith was much more used for shipping than it is now ; and was also the first to establish a bone mill, and introduce that description of manure among the farmers of Nithsdale and Annandale.
John Edgar, his son, born in
Caerlaverock in 1801, was an eminent engineer. He was in business in Dumfries
from 1828 to 1852, and took much interest in draining, and the manufacture of
peat. He was proprietor of Midlocharwoods, and had a son, the Rev. Robert Edgar,
born in Dumfries in 1835.
EDGAR OF KEITHOCK, FORFARSHIRE
The estate of Kethick or Keithock, Forfarshire, a portion of the ancient possessions of the noble house of Lindsay, came into the Edgar family early, in the seventeenth century. In January, 1613, Edgar of Keithock appears in the tax-roll of the sheriffdom of Forfar, at £44 10s. 4d. The name Edgar is found in the locality at an early period, viz., from 1202 to 1218, when the signatures of Robert and Thomas Edgar were attached to charters of the Bishop of Brechin, in favour of the Abbey of Arbroath.
There were two separate families of Edgar, successively lairds of Keithock, in the seventeenth century. The second family purchased the estate from the former about the year 1680, and there upon procured a grant of coat armour. The representative of the ex-laird, forty years afterwards, followed their example: he is accordingly styled in the Lyon register as of “Dantzig in Poland,” and eldest son of Keithock that is, of the dispossessed laird.
David Edgar of Keithock, who bought that property from Thomas, father of John of Poland, had a large family, of whom were John and James, who were prominent in the Rebellion of 1715. The former died a prisoner in Stirling Castle, and the latter, escaping to Italy, became private secretary to the Chevalier St. George. A brief sketch of this remarkable person may not be unacceptable. James Edgar was a younger son of David Edgar of Keithock, by his wife Katherine Forester, and was born at Keithock on the 13th July 1688. Of his boyhood nothing is known; nor does it appear how he happened to enter the service of the Chevalier, but lie must have done so earls, as he occupied his post of assistant secretary for the long period of fifty years. On his demise he was succeeded by Andrew Lumsden, whose letters, incorporated in the Memoirs of Sir Robert Strange, contain frequent notices of his predecessor; and afford, in a few graphic touches, a remarkably clear idea of the placid and enduring old Jacobite, and his somewhat unrefined partiality for certain comestibles.
On the suppression of the civil war Of 1715 James Edgar made his way to Keithock, and there applied to a tenant farmer named Bell, for the loan of a suit of labourer's clothes. In this disguise he succeeded in reaching the Continent, subsequently returning the borrowed apparel, which the worthy farmer preserved as a memorial of the adventure. Under similar circumstances, the suit was again called into requisition, thirty years later, by John Edgar, the secretary's favourite nephew, and also a stanch Jacobite.
It is only from casual observations by contemporaries, and his own letters, that we discover the little that is known of James Edgar. During his exile in Rome, he appears to have been in straitened circumstances ; but his poverty was honourable, in as much as it was due in a great measure to his scruples, which, as a Protestant, incapacitated him from holding such remunerative situations, under the Pontifical government, as his master might otherwise have obtained for him. Andrew Lumsden tells us, that lie had himself served as assistant secretary under James Edgar, before he succeeded the latter, but on so small a salary, that it was only with the addition of a French pension he was secured from actual want.
He farther informs us, that the English gentlemen whom he found in attendance on the prince were six in number, namely, his principal secretary, the titular Lord Lismore, whose wife resided in France, and who died in 1757; Mr. James Edgar, acting secretary, who managed the more important correspondence; and four others.
Field sports seem to have been among the pastimes of these exiles, for Lumsden says, writing in 1753, “Last week we were four days at Montefortin, with an intention to hunt. The company consisted of Messrs. Edgar,” &c.
The assistant secretary's convivial habits are likewise indicated by the observation, on his keeping the festival of the national saint of Scotland. “Pray, how have you celebrated St. Andrew ? asks Mr. Lumsden of Captain Edgar. Edgar, replies the latter, “I does great justice to the good saint.”
The following anecdote confirms the secretary's reputation for fidelity. Some considerable time after “the fifteen” (as it was a fashion to style that eventful period), the British Government having reason to believe that another attempt for the restoration of the exiled family was about to be made, Sir Robert Walpole sent spies to discover in which of his attendants the Chevalier reposed the greatest confidence. In due course it was reported to the minister that the prince chiefly trusted his private secretary, the younger son of a poor Scottish laird, who, on a small salary, nevertheless indulged a hospitable disposition in entertaining his countrymen at Rome.
An offer of a handsome sum was made to the secretary, to induce him to betray the intentions of his master; but the former indignantly put the letter into the fire, and returned no answer. Several other offers, gradually increasing in amount, followed, but met the same fate ; until at length, Sir Robert, imagining that he had not yet come up to the secretary 's price, wrote to the latter, informing him, that £10,000 had been placed to his credit in the Bank of Venice; at the same time abstaining from any reference to his previous offers. Hereupon the secretary consulted his master, and after a brief interval replied ; and while thanking Sir Robert for the money-which he had lost no time in drawing from the bank informed him, that lie had just " laid it at the feet of his royal master, who had the best title to gold that came, as this had done, from his own dominions."
The Chevalier was deeply moved by this unexpected and kindly service, and, in token of his gratitude, presented his faithful adherent with a richly chased gold snuff-box. The gift was, of course, deeply prized by the devoted secretary, and it has been with equal care preserved by his representatives. It is now in the possession of J. D. Edgar, Esq., Toronto, head of the House of Keithock.
Secretary Edgar's duties seem to have been onerous, for his successor observes, on announcing his death, “You may easily believe what a real affliction, as well as additional fatigue, this must give me; it obliges me to execute both his own, and my own branch of trade.”
George the Second ascended the throne without opposition, and, under the rule of Walpole, the authority of the Court triumphed over what was called the Country party. Public morality was at the lowest ebb; a spirit of avarice seemed to infect every rank of life ; and it was even asserted in the House of Lords that the forfeited estates, instead of being applied to the service of the public, had become the reward of venality. The ill success of the ministers Tobacco Bill increased the unpopularity of the Government, till at length the unfortunate reverse at Carthagena led to the disgrace of Walpole, whose official fall was dignified with the coronet of Orford. The infraction of the pragmatic sanction, in 1740, had involved Europe in a general war, in which the king, with his usual predilection for thrusting himself into the political affairs of the Continent, had joined ; and Dettingen and Fontenoy were the consequence.
Meanwhile, the French projected the invasion of England, and Charles Edward Stuart hastened from Rome to Paris in the disguise of a courier, and entering into the designs of the French king embarked for Scotland. The prince was unequal to the enterprise. The fatal indolence which characterized his proceedings after the victory of Prestonpans turned the scale of fortune against him, and the decisive battle of Culloden extinguished for ever the hopes of his dynasty.
It was immediately after this crushing defeat, that John Edgar, nephew of the secretary, arrived, a fugitive, at Keithock; and by a curious coincidence sought the protection and aid of the same farmer who, thirty years before, had facilitated the escape of his uncle. To his surprise he was told that lie should be accommodated with the identical clothes in which his relative had found safety; and a kind-hearted Presbyterian minister, who was proceeding to Edinburgh, generously allowed the fugitive to ride behind him as his servant. On the way Edgar narrowly escaped detection by a party of soldiers, who recognised a gentleman, even in the mean garb of a rustic, but who were at length persuaded by the clergyman of their mistake.
Arrived at Edinburgh, John Edgar, under the name of Mr. Willoughby called on a family to whom he was related. Directed to admit the uncouth visitor, the servant had her suspicions, and leaving the parlour door ajar, she watched the interview. The ladies of the family, believing themselves unobserved, embraced the fugitive ; and this at once confirming the suspicions of the servant, she immediately hurried off to the nearest military post to give information ; and the rebel only escaped, by five minutes, a party of soldiers which came to arrest him. The officer and his men searched the house, but finding no male rebel, fancied that one of the ladies, who was of a tall stature, must be a rebel in disguise, and would have carried her to prison, had not her brother, by removing the kerchief from her neck, satisfied him of his mistake. Later in the day the family reproached the servant for her treachery, but she excused herself by saying that, on the previous Sunday, her minister had preached that, “any one who concealed a rebel, would go to perdition.”
After this adventure John Edgar was attending a female cousin on horseback, as her groom, and being unobserved, as he thought, rode up to her side, when suddenly a troop of horse made its appearance, and the sergeant in command beckoned to him. For a moment lie hesitated, but on second thoughts he approached the sergeant, who, to his great relief, asked him to convey a message to his landlady in the neighbouring town, that he had been suddenly ordered away and could not return probably to pay his bill.
At length the fugitive succeeded in reaching London, where he had several introductions to persons of that numerous class who, though well disposed to a cause, do not commit themselves until success be assured. These good friends, however, must have been indiscreet, for they were suspected, and, consequently, Edgar had some difficulty in delivering his letters. But he seems to have been a physiognomist and as it was impossible to avoid a certain amount of risk, he generally satisfied himself of a stranger's expression of countenance before accosting him to ask his way through the strange town. One day, to his inquiry, the gentleman addressed, after a pause, replied, “Follow me” Edgar did so, but, at length, was surprised at the distance they had gone; when his guide stopped and showed him the house lie sought for. The following day he went to deliver a letter to a Mr. Falconer, and recognised in him his acquaintance of the previous day.
“How could you,” said Edgar, “show such kindness to a common looking countryman ?”
“I saw at once”, replied the other, “that you were one of those unfortunate gentlemen now in hiding, and I was afraid of your falling into bad hands.”
After many unsuccessful attempts the fugitive gave up the idea of escaping to the Continent, as all the ports were strictly watched, and vessels bound for the opposite coasts were subjected to a rigid search. He therefore determined on joining his uncle Thomas, who had emigrated to New jersey, in 1725, and accordingly, without difficulty, embarked for America. But, unfortunately, the captain of the vessel was a native of Montrose, with a wife in that town; and, in order to pay her a farewell visit, he put the ship about, and steered the unusual course round Cape Wrath touching at Montrose, where for a week, his unfortunate passenger lay concealed in the hold, as, owing to Keithock being in the neighbourhood, many persons there would certainly have recognised him. At length the skipper made up his mind to continue the voyage, but they were scarcely halfway across the Atlantic, when they were chased by a French privateer. Anxiously as every one else on board hoped to escape, the fugitive Jacobite had other thoughts ; and when they were ultimately captured, on discovering himself to his captors his property was restored. On being carried into a French port he proceeded at once to Paris, where he found many of his Forfar neighbours, and obtained a commission in Lord Ogilvy's regiment of the Scottish Brigade. Afterwards, he joined his uncle at Rome; and in 1756, after the publication of the Act of Indemnity he returned to Scotland, and married, in 1762, Catherine Ogilvy, a ward of Ogilvy of Inshewan. By the secretary he was recommended to visit Ipswich, where, at the Red house resided an ancient and wealthy family of his name; but the advice was ignored or forgotten.
Secretary Edgar's long declining health had excited the fears of his assistant ever since his return from Germany; after a few days of severe illness he expired on the 24th of September, 1764. In announcing the event to his nephew John Edgar of Keithock, Mr. Lumsden writes:- “When I informed his master of his death, he expressed an uncommon and real concern for the loss of so old and faithful a servant, and whose worth he perfectly knew ; and he desired me to condole with you sincerely, in his name, on this mournful occasion. . . . As to myself, I have lost one who bore me all the tenderness of a father and the warmth of a friend. The many obligations with which he loaded me will make his memory ever precious. To Prince Charles, under the alias of Mr. John Douglas, Lumsden on the 29th September following wrote thus :- “Last week I had the honour to inform you of Mr. Willoughby's (i.e. Edgar's) indisposition, and it is with the utmost affliction I am now obliged to tell you that he died on the 24th inst. He had been in a bad state of health, but endeavoured all he could to conceal it. In him you have lost a most faithful, zealous servant, and one who loved you from the bottom of his heart.”
Secretary Edgar's nephew, John, survived him until the year 1788, when he died, leaving a numerous issue. But the estate of Keithock, which had been the Paramount object of his life's solicitude, passed from his posterity, and is now in the possession of strangers.
One of the sons of David Edgar, of Keithock, emigrated to, America, and there purchased an estate near the city of Elizabeth, State of New jersey. The estate he styled Edgartown, after his family name ; it is still possessed by the family. Of his numerous descendants, several have attained great opulence and influential positions in the States of New jersey and New York.
The circumstances attending the death of John Edgar are sufficiently characteristic to claim a passing notice. When the news reached England of the death of Prince Charles Edward, he desired Catherine, his eldest daughter, to assist him up-stairs to his bedroom. “My royal master is dead” said he, “and his old servant will not be long of following him.” Nature was probably exhausted, and the coincidence aptly closed so loyal a career.
An anecdote of John Edgar and the prince is related by Mr Edgar's granddaughter. Edgar was Postmaster-General to the prince, during his brief occupation of Edinburgh. One of his duties was to examine all letters leaving the town. In a letter from a young lady to a friend in the country she mentioned that the rebels were in the town 1,000 strong. This being nearly the truth, Edgar asked the prince whether the letter might be forwarded.
Add an "o" was his reply, " and let it go."
Cardinal York appreciated the unobtrusive services of the Edgar’s, and in the family of the latter are still preserved many of the personal effects of his father and brother, including miniatures of the two princes, and of Mary, Queen of Scots; besides other valuable relics of the Stuart family, the bequests of the cardinal to Mr Edgar. The personal effects of Secretary Edgar never reached his relatives in Scotland; and an absurd story was brought home by an Aberdeen skipper that they had been lost during the great earthquake at Lisbon The truth seems to be that the skipper appropriated them to his own use; for, many years afterwards, a portrait known to have belonged to Secretary Edgar was accidentally discovered in Scotland, by his relatives, under circumstances of suspicion.
There are two portraits of James Edgar extant; and one of his father David, the second of that name who possessed Keithock.
Secretary Edgar's eldest brother, Alexander, succeeded to the estate of Keithock. He married the eldest daughter of Peter Turnbull of Smiddyhill, Forfarshire, by his wife, Euphemia Henderson, daughter of William Henderson of Hallyards. His youngest daughter, Jane, married Alexander Wise of Lunan and Alexander Edgar of Keithock is one of the witnesses to the contract of marriage.
A younger brother, Henry, was third and last Bishop of Fife, and for thirty six years pastor of the Episcopal church in Arbroath, where he died (as intimated by his tombstone in the abbey burial ground) on the 21st of August, 1765, in the seventy first year of his age.
Keithock was sold in 1790,
two years after the death of John Edgar, the Secretary's nephew. In the
representation of the family, this gentleman was succeeded by Thomas, his eldest
son, born in March, 1775. Thomas (lied in 1831, and was succeeded by his younger
brother James, born 4th April, 1777. This gentleman married Barbara, daughter of
J. Hamilton, Esq, an opulent merchant in Glasgow, by whom lie had a family of
two sons and three daughters. Anne Hamilton, the eldest daughter, married J. G.
Plomer, Esq , of Helstone, Cornwall, and had issue two sons and two daughters.
Catherine, the second daughter, died unmarried, in 1871. Mary Caroline, third
daughter, resides at Aix-la-Chapelle. John, the elder son, embraced the Roman
Catholic faith, and became a monk ; lie died from exposure in the discharge of
his professional duties. James, the younger son, born in 1819 married, in 1840,
Grace, eldest daughter of the Rev. David Fleming, M.A. minister of Carriden,
Linlithgowshire. Proceeding to Canada, lie purchased lands near Sherbrooke, in
the province of Quebec, which lie designated Keithock, after the family estate;
lie died 6th April, 1851 leaving one son and two daughters. Eliza Catherine, the
elder daughter, married W. P. Wilkie, Esq , advocate, Edinburgh, who died in
September, 1872. Grace, the younger daughter, married Richard Thorne, merchant,
Toronto, and has issue. James David, the only son, married Matilda, second
daughter of Thomas Gibbs Ridout, Esq., Toronto, and has issue two sons, James
Frederick, and Oscar Pelham, and a daughter, Maude Caroline. James David Edgar
is a barrister-at law at Toronto, and Member of the Canadian Parliament. He is
head and representative of the house of Keithock.
EDGARS IN ENGLAND
Although no connection appears to exist between the Edgar’s of Ipswich and those derived from Wedderlie, it is curious that in a letter of the Secretary James Edgar to his nephew, he recommends the latter, not to omit visiting his namesake at Ipswich. It is, therefore, evident that must he recognised some common origin If any such origin can be suggested, it must date back to the thirteenth century at the latest.
The Edgar’s of Bristol, in the latter part of the seventeenth, and throughout the eighteenth century, were certainly of Scottish extraction. It has been suggested that they were a branch of the Edgar’s of Dunse, but it is more probable that they sprang from the Edgar’s of Peffermyln.
The following narrative concerning the Edgar’s of Glenham and Ipswich, in the county of Suffolk, is transcribed from the family register of the house, commenced in 1641 by Thomas Edgar, Esq., of North Glenham.
This register, coming to my this 7th day of December, 1734, is a transcript of my mother, Mrs. Mary Edgar, widow, and relict of Thomas Edgar, Esq., my father, Recorder, therein transcribed for perpetuity (sic).
“Philip Powle was born 24th February, 1582, and am 49, if live to the 24th February, 1631.”
“Mary Powle, my wife, was born 2 day of December, 1590 if she lives to the 2nd day of December 1631, she will be 41 years old.”
“Our daughter, Mary Powle, was born 27 December, 1616, if she lives to the 27 December, she will be 15 years old.”
1. Philip Edgar, eldest child of Thomas Edgar Esq. and Mary his wife, was born at Muzell Hill in the parish of Hansey in the county of Middlesex 29 day of July 1636 after 3 in the afternoon, and baptized 5 August in my house. Philip died of a dropsy, 21 June 1654 at 6 at night buried in the Tower Chancel in Ipswich oil Sunday 23 Jan. 1654.
2. Thomas, 2nd son of Thomas and Mary Edgar was born ill St. Thomas the Apostle, London, Monday, 1st October 1638, 1/4 past 7 in the morning. Baptized 10th October, (lied of a consumption 25 May 1641, buried in the parish church of St. Mary Aldermanbury, London.
3. Mary Edgar, 3rd child or eldest daughter born Sept. 19, 1641, 1/4 before 6 at night baptized on the 29th of the same month at St. Mary Tower in Ipswich, she (died of the rickets, May 24 1643, buried in St. 'Mary Tower church 26 May 1643.
4. Elisabeth Edgar, 4th child and 2nd daughter, born Wednesday Feb. 15 1642, at 1/2 past 10 in the morning, baptized last day of Feb 1642, in Tower Church, died of a consumption 8 o'clock at night 19 June 1659. Buried 21 June 1659 in the Tower Church, Ipswich.
5. Thomas Edgar, 5th child and 3rd son, born Wednesday 13 March 1646 at 1/2 past 9 at night in the Tower parish and died at the Red House in St. Margaret's Parish. He was baptized 21 May, 1646, and buried in St. Mary Tower church 6 Dec 1677, of small-pox.
6. Robert Edgar, 6th child, born Saturday 27th April 1650, 1/4 of an hour before 12 at noon, in Tower parish, baptized in my hands in the same church 30 of April 1650, died of small-pox 30 of June.
7. Devereux Edgar, 5th son and 7th child, born Monday Oct. 20 1651 at 11 at noon in Tower parish Ipswich, baptized 28 of same month in Tower Church Ipswich, which said Devereux, by the blessing of Almighty God, is the transcriber of these births and burials, without the assistance of any artificial optics, being in the 84th year of my age.
8. Mary Edgar, 8th child and 3rd daughter, was born on Sunday 21 May 1654, at a 1/4 before 9 at night, and was baptized the next day, being Monday (in my house) the 22nd, and died of a looseness and vomiting 17 April 1661, at 5 in the morning and buried in St Mary Tower chancel 18 April 1661.
9. Katherine Edgar, the 9th child and 4th daughter, was born on Thursday, the 8th of June 1656, at 8 o'clock in the afternoon, and was baptized the same day at my house in Tower parish, by Mr. Frensharn, minister of the same parish ; she died single, 10 November 1718, aged 63, buried in the chancel of the parish of St. Mary Tower, in the vault, there built by my brother, Dev. Edgar, Esq.
10. Frances Edgar, the 10th child, born on Monday 23rd August 1659 at 7 at night, baptized the 26th by Mr. Beek, vicar of St. Margaret's Ipswich. The said Frances was cut for the stone in the bladder 24 December 1667 by Mr. Robert Gouling, chirurgeon, in the presence of the Right Honourable Leicester, Viscount Hereford, and old Dr. Wollaston. The stone when taken from her weighed one ounce and half. She was eight years and four months of age when cut, and lived after cutting all her life after in good health without pain or any stoppage or difficulty of urine, and died at St. Mary Tower parish, in Grimstone House, and buried in a vault in the South East side of the Chancel of the Church of the parish, in the vault which Devereux Edgar Esq. made for a repository or conservatory for the family of the Edgar’s, which said Frances died single, 6th day of April in the 76th year of her age, and was buried the 19th of June."
The Twinlaw Cairns
Not the least of the romantic legends associated with the
Scottish House of Edgar is that of the Twinlaw Cairns, a story told in 20 verses
by some unknown bard about 260 years ago.
Today the twin cairns stand boldly on top of the bleak but wild and picturesque moor land of the Lammermuir Hills - that part of Scotland immortalized by Sir Walter Scott and breathing history from every wind-swept flank.
The tale is said to be common to the folk lore of most countries in some similar form but to an Edgar standing between the two monuments, as sun sinks below the hills, it is not difficult to watch them fade away and to see two misty figures of fine powerful young men take their place, one the beloved adopted son of the old Saxon who had stolen the boy when little more than a babe on a raid some 20 years before, and now had learnt to love him as his own.
What were the old man's thoughts, as on this occasion the two small armies - raiding Saxon and defending Scot- decided to settle the issue by single combat, the honour going on the Saxon side to the old man's adopted son and that of the Scot's to young Edgar, son of the old Scottish chief?
The mist of centuries roll away and we see the two armies of sturdy, fearless men facing each other, the chiefs conferring, the two chosen men stepping forward, each anxious and proud to defend his national honour with his life.
Word is given, the fight begins, blow for blow, parry for parry; save the crash of steel on shield and quick drawn breath no sound is heard. Two armies stand and watch in silence as the two young giants engage to the death.
Blood is flowing now from Saxon and Scot but still they fight on; a murmur runs through the ranks of watching men, men who live be feat of arms.
At last a shout "The Saxon falls!", Still fighting the young Saxon, weak with loss of blood, sinks to his knees, then down; it is the end. The old Saxon, heartbroken hastens forward, "He's dead" he cried, "the bravest youth e'er sprung from Edgar's line".
Aghast, the old Scottish chief now knows the fallen Saxon for his lost son and crying "My son, my son" he falls to rise no more.
Young Edgar, mortally wounded, embraces his father and brother, tears the bandages from his wounds and expires beside their bodies.
The villagers still tell the story and describe how the two armies formed a long line from the scene of battle to a burn and passed from hand to hand the stones for the two cairns.
In recent years the late Lady John Montague Douglas Scott had a cairn removed and an excavation made to learn if any relic lay below, but the search was fruitless and it is doubtless due to her interest that the two re-erected cairns today stand some 75 yards apart, about 10 feet high, uncemented, but well built in the form of a small tower some 6 feet in diameter, recessed to provide a seat for those who would sit and watch while the evening mist creeps up the Lammermuirs and who knows? Two ghostly armies may perhaps be seen passing down the hillside having laid a lasting memorial to the two brave men.
In days of yore, when deeds were rife,
And wars on banks and braes,
And nought but strife on every side,
Which brought on dule and waes,
The Anglo-Saxons restless band
Had crossed the river Tweed;
Up for the hills of Lammermuir,
Their hosts marched on with speed.
Our Scottish warriors on the heath,
In close battalion stood,
Resolved to set their country free,
Or shed their dearest blood.
A chieftain from the Saxon band,
Exulting in his might,
Defied the bravest of the Scots
To come and single fight.
Old Edgar had a youthful son,
Who led the Scottish band;
He with the Saxon did agree
To fight it hand to hand.
The armies stood in deep suspense,
The combat for to view;
While aged Edgar stepped forth,
To bid his son adieu.
Adieu! Adieu! My darling son,
I fear that ye be lost;
For yester night my troubled mind,
With fearful dreams was toss’d.
I dream’d your mother’s parted shade
Between two armies stood,
A lovely youth on either hand,
Their bosoms streaming blood.
My heart will break if you should fall,
My only prop and stay;
Your brother when in infant years,
The Saxons stole away.
Delay it not, young Edgar said
But let the trumpets blow;
You soon shall see me prove your son,
And lay your boaster low.
The trumpets raised with deafening clang,
The fearful onset blew;
And when the chieftain stepped forth,
Their shining swords they drew
Like lions in a furious fight,
Their steeled falchions gleam,
Till from our Scottish warriors side
Fast flowed a crimson stream.
With deafening din the coats of mail
The deadly blows resound;
At last the Saxon warrior
Did breathless press the ground.
As aged Saxon came to view
The body of his chief;
His streaming eyes and downcast look,
Bespoke a heart of grief.
He’s dead, he cried, the bravest youth
E’re sprung from Edgar’s line;
I bore him from the Scottish coast,
And made him pass as mine.
And in the days of youthful prime,
He was my pride and boast;
For oft to victory he has
Led the Saxon host.
Old Edgar heard the Saxon’s moan,
His cheeks grew deadly pale,
A great convulsion shook his frame,
His nerves began to fail.
Frantic he tore his aged locks,
With time and trouble grey;
And faintly crying, My son, my son!
His spirit passed away.
The Scottish chief as his father fell,
He raised his fading eye,
And tore the bandage from his wounds,
To let life’s stream run dry.
He kissed his sire and his brother’s wounds,
That ghastly were and deep;
And closed him in his folding arms,
And fell on his long, long sleep.
At what period and in whose favour this barony was first erected we have no documents to show. In the reign of David I (1124-1153) the parish, along with the whole of Nithsdale, is found in the possession of Dunegal, a Scoto-Irish chieftain, whose family will be spoken of afterwards, so far as the scanty materials of' these early times allow. The barony occupied nearly the whole of the parish, consisting of the following lands, as is shown by the charter of alienation and seisin granted by William,
Earl of Morton, to Sir William Douglas of Coshogle (Drumlanrig Charters). "The mains of Morton with the mill and mill lands, and the castle,, tower, manor, and other pertinents; the lands of Eris-Morton, Whitefauld, Gallow-flat, Hall-gill, Dabton, Carronhill, Drumcork, Broom-rig, Thornhill, Upper and Nether Laught, Gallow Bridge (Gately Brig), Upper Kirkland and Langmyre, with a proportionable part of the common, called Morton Muir, and the other dependencies, all lying in the barony-of Morton, 22nd October, 1608.
A castle must have existed here as early as the beginning of the twelfth century, when the Scoto-lrish chieftain, Dunegal, ruled over the whole of Nithsdale, and had his manor-house at this spot. The present building, however, is evidently of a much later date, from its resemblance to the Norman castles of England. The ornamentation of the principal door, which is still perfect, would induce us to place it in the times of the Edwards. It is a massive structure even in its ruins, and when it was complete must have been able to withstand the imperfect modes of siege of early times. It was defended on all sides, except the south-west, by a loch, which must have been formed by a dam, as it is at the present time. A deep fosse, no doubt crossed by a drawbridge, though now filled up, would protect it on the southwest, and enclosed a piece of ground, which would be used as a garden. It stands on the south side, on the brow of a deep glen, which extends to a considerable distance south-east and north-west.
The south wall of the castle is quite entire, and shows the strength of resistance which had to be overcome by those who attacked it There arc two towers of different sizes, one to the west being 32 feet, and the other to the cast being 28 feet externally; between these towers the outward wall extends 96 feet and is 36 feet in height. This seems to have been nearly its original height, though some, of the top layers of stone may have been displaced. The towers are 8 or 10 feet higher. The walls at the foundation are about 8 feet, in sonic places 10 feet thick.
While there was no doubt an outer fosse to be crossed, the castle had a gateway with a portcullis, which has long disappeared, but the groove along which the portcullis moved cart be traced on the northwest tower. The northern part of the castle has disappeared, except the foundations, which are so evident that an architect could have no difficulty in presenting the precise form of the original building. It was in this direction that there must have been art outer court, which would be entered after passing the gateway; and a stair, of which nothing now remains, led to the upper reception room, of large dimensions. The ornamental doorway still exists.
Passing into the interior, you come upon what must have been a huge kitchen, and possibly dining-hall for the retainers, extending at present, where there are no divisions, 88 feet by 30 The room originally was about 70 feet, as there is a portion cut off in connection with the northwest tower. The huge kitchen grate, of a rude construction, would be at the cast end, and to the right leading into the tower was a narrow entrance, scarcely admitting the passage of one person, where a postern door was placed to admit of safe communication with the outside. The huge stone across this entrance has strange fossil marks, which may yet exercise the ingenuity of geologists. They might be regarded by the ignorant as hieroglyphics, but the neighboring quarry of Morton Mains, from which the stories have been got for building the castle, furnishes such strangely marked stories. Can the marks be what earthworms would make in the sand before it hardened into stone?
Above this lower chamber there was one large reception room, entered by a stair from the outer court, and above this there were garrets. The engraving in “Grose" shows that there were in his time (1790) outer buildings, which no longer exist, and these probably formed the domicile of the family of Archibald Douglas, the chamberlain of Duke William whom we know to have been married here in 1670.
Tile vicissitudes of the castle are unknown. In early times it was regarded as one of the strongholds of the kingdom, and it was one of those castles which David II was suspected of having been willing to come under a secret engagement to dismantle, as the price of his freedom Whether the barons of Dalkeith, to whom it belonged, lived here in later times 1 have seen no records to prove. A cadet branch of that family certainly possessed a considerable portion of land in the parish of Morton towards the end of the sixteenth century, as will be shown hereafter, but the castle and barony of Morton did not belong to them. '.File interior of the castle was cleared under the directions of the Duke of Buccleuch; nothing, however, of importance was found. A cannonball, with pieces of a spear, was turned up, and there was some charred wood, as if the buildings' had been destroyed by fire.
There are place-names in its vicinity which show that the possessor of the barony had the right of pit and gallows. At some little distance on the hill cast of the castle stood all aged thorn, which was uprooted many years ago by a hurricane of wind, but which was known as judgment Thorn, and tile tradition of the country still points out the spot where it grew; while close to the farm-steading of Morton Mains are Gallows Flat and Hangingshaw, where doom of judgment was carried into execution. The approach of all enemy was seen from a hill to the west of the castle, which is still known as Watchman Knowe. When the embankments of the loch had gone to decay, towards the beginning of last century, in the mossy soil at the bottom a boat was dug out, which had been formed, like an Indian canoe, out of one solid piece of wood. A short time after this there was dug out of the same moss a small copper camp-kettle and in the year 1728 there was also found a fine copper tea-pot stroup quite entire Rae's MS.).
The late Miss Clerk-Douglas of Holmhill used to say that her great-grandfather was the last inhabitant of Morton castle, with the exception of an old woman, a servant of the family, who had lived so long within its walls that, when the great-grandfather of Miss Douglas found it necessary to abandon the castle from its ruinous state, she refused to do so, and continued to find shelter there till her death. This would be toward the beginning of last century.
FAMILY OF DUNEGAL OR RANDOLPH
The earliest possessor of this castle of whom we have mention is Dunegal, supposed to be of the race of the Dougalls or M'Dowalls of Galloway, who were of Celtic extraction. This Dunegal of Stranid or Nithisdale occupied the castle as one of the chief seats of his power in the beginning of the twelfth century, during the reign of David I (1124-1153), and his possessions seem to have spread over the whole of Nithisdale as is shown in the following charter of David I, granting Strathannand (Annandale) to Robert de Brus. Charta Davidis regis Scocie Roberto de Brus, totam terram de Estrahanent (Strathannan) a divisa Dunegal de Stranit usque ail divisam Randolphi de Meschines et ut illam teneat cum consuctudinibus quas Randolphus de Meschines unquam habuit in Cardivil (Carlisle) et in terra sua tie Cumberland, illo die quo unquam meliores et liberiores habuit. Testibus, Euslathio filio Johannis, Hugo de Morvill, Alano de Perci et Willelmo de Somerville, de Randolpho de Scales (Soulis ?) Willelmo de Morvil, Henrico filio Warin Edmund de Camera. Apud Sconam. "Charter of David, King of Scotland (grants) to Robert de Brus all the land of Annandale from the boundary of Dunegal of Nithsdale to the boundary of Randolph de Meschines, and that lie should hold it with all rights which Randolph ever held in Carlyle and his land of Cumberland, on the (lay when he held it best and most free, &c At Scone." He was to hold it under the same tenure as Randolph enjoyed his estate.
Dunegal left four sons, and in these early (lays the feudal system does not seem to have prevailed, as his great possessions were divided among his sons, though the eldest Rudolph or Randolph received the largest portion, and became still more powerful by marrying ail heiress called Bethoc, through whom lie got the lands of Bethocrule and Bughchester (Beucastle) in Teviotdale. Randolph and his wife granted to the monks of Jedburgh a carucate (sixty acres) of land with common of pasture in the will of Bughchester and this grant was confirmed by William the Lion (1165-1214). The original charter has been engraved by the munificence of the Duke of Buccleuch. Randolph also granted to the monks of Kelso some lands within Dumfries town, thus showing how extensive his possessions in Dumfriesshire must have been (Chart. Kelso, No. II). Rudolph and his brother Duvenald witnessed several charters of David I. to the see of Glasgow (Chart. Glas., 9, 12, 13, 17). The other sons of Dunegal were Duncan and Gillespie.
The family now assumed the surname of Randolph, and is known from this time by that name though there is a blank here ill their history which we are unable to fill up. In Fordun (1. X., C. 26) we find Thomas Randolph as Sheriff of Roxburgh in 1266, and Chamberlain of Scotland from 1269 to 1278. There seems, however, to be a generation missed between Randolph, son of Dunegal, and this Thomas Besides, it may be doubted whether Thomas Randolph who married lsobel, eldest daughter of the Earl of Carrick, the sister of Robert Bruce, the restorer of the monarchy, may not be the son of the Chamberlain rather than the Chamberlain himself The succession during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries is doubtful. Be this as it may, [lie soil of this Isobel was the celebrated Sir Thomas Randolph of Stranith, "Dominus Vallis de Nith" as lie is called, who obtained from his uncle the earldom of Moray, the lordship of Annandale with the barony of Morton and other estates for his great services. His daughter Agnes carried, through failure of male heirs his property to the Earls of March. In course of time the barony of Morton came into the possession of the Douglases of Dalkeith
We are able also to trace the history of' Duvenald, the second son of Dunegal. He obtained a considerable portion of his father's extensive lands in Nithsdale which lie transmitted to his soil Edgar, who lived under William the Lion and Alexander II. He granted to the monks of Kelso the church of Morton, with a carucate of land, and this grant was confirmed by William the Lion (Chart. Kelso, No. 344, 401). He also granted to the monks of Holyrood house the church of Dalgarnock, a grant which was also confirmed by William the Lion. His daughter Affrica possessed the lands of Dunscore during the reign of Alexander II. She granted to the monastery of Melrose a fourth-part of the territory of Dunscore, and the grant was confirmed by a charter of Alexander II in 12 2 9 (Chart. Mel., No. 103, 104, 1 OS).
The scanty records of these times prevent us from being able to trace the succession of this family, but in the thirteenth century they assumed the surname of Edgar. During the reign of Robert Bruce, Richard Edgar possessed the castle and half of the barony of Sancher (Regist. Mag. Sig., 1. 27). He also held the lands of Ellioc in the parish of Sanquhar, the lands of Bartenonade, Lobri, Slochan, Glenabekan and part of the lands of Kilpatric in the same shire, of all of which lie obtained charters from Robert Bruce (Robertson's Index, 12, 13, 21).
Families of the name of Edgar continued to flourish in the south of Scotland; and an interesting little work, containing a list of such families, and ably edited by Dr. Charles Rogers, 1373, has been published by the Grampian club. They have all probably Dunenald as their common progenitor. The place-name of Edgarstoun in Dunscore hands down to us the site of their manor house.