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[ Land deed dated 31 Oct 1632 for the post-marital transfer of Cassellis House Castle ]

page 63

The influence of Douglas was now paramount. Three of his brothers were raised to the peerage, and the chief offices in the administration were filled with his creatures. Bishop Kennedy, of St. Andrews, a prelate of great wisdom and integrity, set himself to thwart the designs of the Earl on the independence of the Crown, and in consequence his estates were laid waste with fire and sword by the partisans of the Earl. A treasonable league was formed between Douglas and the Earl of Crawford and Alexander Ross, Lord of the Isles, which menaced both the safety of the King and the peace of the country. The signal service which was rendered at this period by Hugh, Earl of Ormond, a brother of Douglas, in defeating, at Sark, a powerful English army which had invaded Scotland, tended not a little to strengthen the interest of the house. But the arrogant and lawless behaviour of its head gradually alienated the confidence and regard of the King. Indignant at the diminution of his influence, the Earl resolved to retire from the country for a season, and went to the Jubilee at Rome, in 1450, 'as his enemies did interpret it,' says Godscroft, 'to show his greatness to foreign princes and nations. There went with him in company a great number of noblemen and gentlemen, such as the Lord Hamilton, Gray, Salton, Seton, Oliphant, and Forbes; also Calder, Urquhart, Campbell, Fraser, Lauders of Cromarty, Philorth, and Bass, knights, with many other gentlemen of great account.' At Paris the Earl was joined by his brother James, his successor in the earldom, who appears to have been at this time prosecuting his studies at the University there. He was received by the French Court with the respect due to his rank and the eminent services to France of his grandfather and his uncle Earl Archibald; and even at Rome his reputation and ostentatious magnificence seem to have attracted no small notice. During his absence the turbulent conduct of his vassals disturbed the peace of the country and drew down upon them the vengeance of the Government. The King marched in person to the Borders, demolished Crag Douglas, a fortalice on the Yarrow, and inflicted summary punishment on the offenders. On his return the Earl sent a submissive message to the King, expressing his displeasure with the conduct of his vassals during his absence, and his resolution to observe the laws and to maintain order among his dependents. He was on this received into favour; but there is good reason to believe that he speedily resumed his treasonable designs, and that, while engaged as one of the Commissioners in negotiating a truce with England, he entered into a secret intrigue with the Yorkist faction against the authority of his sovereign.

page 66

In this emergency James had recourse for advice to his old and sagacious counsellor, Bishop Kennedy, of St. Andrews. According to Lindsay of Pitscottie, the prelate first of all passed to his oratory and prayed to God for the King and the commonwealth of the realm while James was taking some refreshment. He then directed his Majesty to retire and pray 'that God would grant him the upper hand of the Earl of Douglas and his complices.' These devotions being finished, the Bishop brought the King into his study and by the familiar process of breaking singly each one in succession of a bundle of arrows which, combined, resisted his utmost efforts, impressed upon James the policy that he should follow in breaking up the combination of great nobles and barons arrayed against him. James followed this judicious advice and by liberal promises detached a number of the most powerful supporters of the Earl from his cause, and induced them to repair to the banner of their sovereign. He succeeded also in raising a numerous and well-appointed army, with which, after ravaging the estates of Douglas and Lord Hamilton, he laid siege to the strong castle of Abercorn, on the Firth of Forth,  belonging to the Douglases. The Earl, with his kinsman and ally, Lord Hamilton, marched to the relief of the beleaguered fortress, and a decisive battle seemed to be imminent. But the Bishop of St. Andrews had meanwhile opened secret negotiations with the allies and vassals of Douglas, and his representations had produced a strong impression upon their minds, especially on Lord Hamilton, his most powerful supporter. The two armies were drawn up in battle array, waiting the signal to engage, when Douglas resolved to defer the engagement till next day, and led his troops back into the camp. Lord Hamilton expostulated with him on the impolicy of this step, and inquired whether it was the Earl's intention to fight or not. Douglas answered contemptuously, 'If you are tired you may depart when you please.' Hamilton immediately took him at his word, and that night passed over to the King, with all the troops under his command. His example was so generally followed by the other insurgent leaders, that before morning the camp of Douglas was almost entirely deserted. The unfortunate noble, thus abandoned by his friends, broke up his encampment and fled to the wilds of Annandale.
page 210

The heads of the Hamilton family continued faithful in their adherence to the heir of Robert Bruce and the Stewarts. The immediate successors of Walter fought at the disastrous battles of Halidon Hill and Durham, and took some part, though by no means a very prominent one, in the affairs of the kingdom and court. The member of the family to whom their greatness is mainly owing was SIR JAMES HAMILTON, the fifth knight and first baron, who was raised to the peerage in 1445 under the title of Lord Hamilton of Cadzow (pronounced Cadyow). He was noted both for his energy and his sagacity, which gave great weight to his opinion in the national council and among his brother barons. The vicinity of his estates to the principal seat of the Douglases, as well as kinsmanship with that family, probably led him at first to enrol himself in the ranks of their followers. He accompanied the Earl of Douglas in his celebrated visit to Rome in 1450; and, in the following year, went with him on a pilgrimage to the tomb of Thomas à Becket at Canterbury. As might have been expected, Hamilton joined the confederacy which Douglas formed with the Earls of Crawford and Ross against the Crown, and narrowly escaped the fate of the formidable chief of the league when he was assassinated by the King (James II.) in Stirling Castle. When Sir James Douglas, the successor of the murdered baron and the last of the old stock, took the field against his sovereign at the head of forty thousand men, Lord Hamilton was one of his most powerful and trusted supporters. The insurgents encamped on the south bank of the Carron, about three miles from the Torwood, so famous in the history of Sir William Wallace. James, who was well aware of his danger, advanced from Stirling to meet this formidable array with an army considerably inferior in numbers, but with 'the King's name as a tower of strength, which they upon the adverse faction lacked.' A battle seemed imminent, which should decide whether the house of Stewart or of Douglas was henceforth to reign in Scotland. But at this critical juncture, art did more than arms for the royal cause. Acting under the advice of the patriotic and sagacious Bishop Kennedy, James made overtures to Lord Hamilton and other allies of the Earl of Douglas, representing the danger which threatened not only the independence of the Crown, but the welfare of the country and their own interests, from the ambition and overgrown power of the Douglas family, and making liberal promises if, in this hour of extremity, they would abandon the cause of the insurgent baron. These representations produced a deep impression on the mind of Lord Hamilton, and taking advantage of the contemptuous reply made by the Earl to his remonstrances against the proposal to postpone till next day an attack on the royal army— 'If you are afraid or tired, you may depart when you please'—the politic noble took Douglas at his word, and that very night passed over to the King with all his retainers. The other insurgent leaders, who had a high opinion of Lord Hamilton's prudence and sagacity, so generally followed his example that, before morning, the rebel camp was almost deserted. The complete overthrow of the formidable house of Douglas speedily followed: their vast estates were distributed among the supporters of the royal cause; and Lord Hamilton, whose timely desertion of the 'Black Douglases' had mainly contributed to their destruction, was rewarded with a large share of their forfeited possessions. He became thenceforth one of the most trusted councillors of his grateful sovereign, was frequently employed by him on important embassies to England, and, in 1474, he obtained the hand of the Princess Mary, the King's sister, through whom his descendants became next heirs to the crown after the Stewarts. Besides his legitimate offspring, Lord Hamilton left several natural sons, one of whom, SIR JAMES HAMILTON, of Kincavel, became the father of Patrick Hamilton, the protomartyr of the Scottish Protestant Church, and was himself killed in the celebrated fight between the Douglases and the Hamiltons in the High Street of Edinburgh, in 1520.
page 367

Lord Lauderdale was undoubtedly a man of great ability and extensive acquirements, and, but for his violent temper and want of judgment, might have attained high rank as a statesman. Sir Walter Scott, who disliked him both on public and private grounds, speaks in strong terms of Lauderdale's 'violent temper, irritated by long disappointed ambition and ancient feud with all his brother nobles.' The Earl does not appear to have been a much greater favourite with the Whig party even when he was a prominent member of it. After his desertion of the Whigs he became the leader of the Scottish Tory nobles, and managed the election of the sixteen representative peers in the House of Lords. Lord Cockburn ascribes the election of twelve of their number hostile to the Reform Bill of 1831 as due to the skilful manoeuvring of that 'cunning old recreant, Lauderdale;' and, in a letter to Kennedy of Dunure, written about the same time, he says, 'Lauderdale has been in Edinburgh, and I always like him to be against my side, for I never knew him right.' Lord Lauderdale was the author of numerous treatises: three on financial subjects—'Thoughts on Finance,' 'An Inquiry into the Nature and Origin of Public Wealth,' 'Thoughts on the Alarming State of the Currency, and the Means of Redressing the Pecuniary Grievances of Ireland;' 'Hints to the Manufacturers of Great Britain on the consequences of the Irish Union;' 'An Inquiry into the Practical Merits of the System of Government in India under the Board of Control;' 'Letters on the Corn Laws,' &c., &c. He left a family of four sons and four daughters; but all his sons died unmarried. The two eldest held in succession the family titles and estates.

page 92

The Drummonds were not only a brave and energetic race, but they were conspicuous for their handsome persons and gallant bearing. Good looks ran in their blood, and the ladies of the family were famous for their personal beauty, which no doubt led to the great marriages made by them, generation after generation, with the Douglases, Gordons, Grahams, Crawfords, Kers, and other powerful families, which greatly increased the influence and possessions of their house. Margaret, daughter of Malcolm, Lord Drummond, and widow of Sir John Logie, became the second wife of David II., who seems to have been familiar with her during her husband's lifetime. The Drummonds gave a second queen to Scotland in the person of Annabella, the saintly wife of Robert III., and mother of the unfortunate David, Duke of Rothesay, and of James I., whose 'depth of sagacity and firmness of mind' contributed not a little to the good government of the kingdom. They had nearly given another royal consort to share the throne of James IV., who was devotedly attached to Margaret, eldest daughter of the first Lord Drummond, a lady of great beauty. The entries in the Lord High Treasurer's accounts respecting the frequent rich presents lavished on a certain Lady Margaret, which have been adduced as proofs of the relation in which Lady Margaret Drummond stood to James, have been proved to refer to Lady Margaret Stewart, the King's aunt. James, indeed, was a mere boy when those sums were paid; his connection with Margaret Drummond did not commence until the summer of 1496.* But that king's purpose to marry her was frustrated by her death, in consequence of poison administered by some of the nobles, who were envious of the honour which was a third time about to be conferred on her family. Her two younger sisters, who accidentally partook of the poisoned dish, shared her fate. The historian of the Drummonds states that James was 'affianced to Lady Margaret, and meant to make her his queen without consulting his council. He was opposed by those nobles who wished him to wed Margaret Tudor. His clergy likewise protested against his marriage as within the prohibited degrees. Before the King could receive the dispensation, his wife (the Lady Margaret) was poisoned at breakfast at Drummond Castle, with her two sisters. Suspicion fell on the Kennedys—a rival house, a member of which, Lady Janet Kennedy, daughter of John, Lord Kennedy, had borne a son to the King.' A slightly different account is given in 'Morreri's Dictionary,' on the authority of a manuscript history of the family of Drummond, composed in 1689. It is there stated that Lady Margaret, daughter of the first Lord Drummond, 'was so much beloved by James IV. that he wished to marry her, but as they were connected by blood, and a dispensation from the Pope was required, the impatient monarch concluded a private marriage, from which clandestine union sprang a daughter, who became the wife of the Earl of Huntly. The dispensation having arrived, the King determined to celebrate his nuptials publicly; but the jealousy of some of the nobles against the house of Drummond suggested to them the cruel project of taking off Margaret by poison, in order that her family might not enjoy the glory of giving two queens to Scotland.' The three young ladies thus 'foully done to death' were buried in a vault, covered with three blue marble stones, in the choir of the cathedral of Dunblane.
page 145

The elder son of Sir William Graham by his first wife predeceased him, leaving two sons. By his second wife, the Princess Mary Stewart, daughter of Robert II., Sir William had five sons, from the eldest of whom descended the Grahams of Fintry, of Claverhouse, and of Duntrune, and the third was the ancestor of the gallant Sir Thomas Graham, Lord Lynedoch. Patrick Graham, Sir William's second son, by the Princess Mary, was consecrated Bishop of Brechin in 1463, and was translated to St. Andrews in 1466. He was a learned and virtuous prelate, worthy to succeed the illustrious Bishop Kennedy, his near relative—a model bishop. Anxious to vindicate the independence of the Scottish Church, over which the Archbishop of York claimed jurisdiction, he visited Rome, and procured from the Pope a bull erecting his see into an archbishopric, and appointing him metropolitan, papal nuncio, and legate a latere, in Scotland for three years. On his return home the Archbishop was assailed with vindictive malignity by his ecclesiastical rivals. The inferior clergy rejoiced in his advancement; but the dignitaries of the Church, through envy and dread of the reforms which he was prepared to inaugurate, became his inveterate enemies. By bribing the King, James III., they succeeded in obtaining the degradation and imprisonment of the unfortunate prelate, on the plea that he had infringed the royal prerogative by applying to the papal court without the King's license. It is alleged, in a report recently found in the Roman archives, that Graham had proclaimed himself divinely appointed to reform ecclesiastical abuses, and had revoked indulgences granted at Rome, appointed legates, and had committed other similar illegal acts. There is reason to believe that the persecution which the Archbishop underwent had affected his mind. Schevez, an able, but unprincipled and profligate ecclesiastic, who succeeded Graham in the primacy, and was the leader of the hostile party, had him declared insane, and procured the custody of his person. He was confined first in Inchcolm, and afterwards in the castle of Loch Leven, where he died in 1478.


Auction of the land deed dated 31 Oct 1632 for the post-marital transfer of Cassellis House Castle, in March 2002 by ebay.com

Scotland Scot Castle Kennedy Clan 1632 Burns
Item # 1080481337

This is a once in a lifetime chance to own an authentic and rare piece of Scottish History ! This is an original land deed dated 31 Oct 1632 for the post-marital transfer of Cassellis House Castle, situated in Maybole in the heart of Burn’s country - home of the Kennedy Clan. Hand written in Latin on animal skin the document is a charter of resignation and novodamus by John Kennedy, earl of Cassillis, in favour of Robert Cathcart, second Son of James Cathcart of Balneill and Elizabeth Kennedy, Wife of Robert, in conjunct ferffment, and to their heirs in tail of the 40s. land of Drumuskane, in Kirkoswald parish. It is dated 31 Oct. 1632. The lands are described as formerly pertaining to George Corrie of Kelwood, who disponed them to Gilbert Kennedy of Dinevin, formerly of Monontcheoun, and others in April and May 1615. Gilbert disponed them to James Cathcart of Balneill, and they subsequently formed part of a marriage contract between James Cathcart and Robert his Son on the one part and George Kennedy of Knockdaw and Elizabeth Kennedy his daughter, now Wife of Robert. The Earl confirms this as feudal superior of the lands. A transcript of the pertinent points is provided with this document as is a letter of authenticity. The document is in near mint condition and comes folded in the required style of the time. It really is a truly rare and historic document and an important part of the Kennedy Clan’s history. Also included are several Scottish letters relating to poor laws etc. as a piece of general Scottish history and the Handbook of Conveyancing Practice in Scotland by John H. Sinclair, second edition. This modern day law book details the ancient laws of land ownership and transfer. There is no reserve on this item ! The item is great but my photography is not ! For more details on anything please mail me your questions ! PAYPAL is cool ! Good Luck bidding ! Cheers !



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