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General History - Proprietors

The earliest mention of a landowner in Stonehouse Parish dates to around 1220. Between 1214-1249, Sir William the Fleming of Stanhus appears as witness to a charter by William Purveys of Mospennoc, with Sir Archibald Douglas.

In 1937 the Statistical Accounts of Stonehouse suggest that the Douglas family descended from Theobaldus Flamaticus (the Fleming). Around 1150, he is said to have received from Arnald, Abbot of Kelso, land in Douglas Water and Douglas and Theobald’s son William became owner of Stonehouse in accordance with Chalmer’s, ‘Caledonia’.

An early mention of the barony of Stonehouse is recorded in the Acts of Parliament, when in 1259, an inquest was held in Dunbarton as to the lands of Polnegulan. Among the baronies represented was ‘Stanus’.

An account of Stonehouse in 1904 records the forbearers of the Lockharts settling in Lanarkshire about the 12th Century. The author suggests that Simon Lockard and Stephen Lockard were the first of the family to have any connection with this parish. At the least, they were ancestors of the Lockards, proprietors of Castlehill, which formed part of the barony of Stonehouse.

Chalmers’ ‘Caledonia’ states the patronage of the parish of Stonehouse belonged to the proprietor of the barony of Stonehouse until the reign of Robert III (1390), when the church with its lands and ‘tithes’ (one tenth of one’s income or produce paid to the church as a tax) were annexed to the collegiate church of Bothwell by the founder Archibald Douglas, Lord of Bothwell and Galloway and the Earl of Douglas, who was the then patron of the Church of Stonehouse.

The right of patronage of the Church of Stonehouse was vested in Lockhart of Lee about 1667, and thence to Lockhart of Castlehill, who later became a prominent advocate, and thereon became Lord of Castlehill, and one time representative of the county in Parliament. The barony and patronage of the church were said to have been passed from Lockhart of Lee to John Lockhart of Castlehill, though Robert Naismith questions this, stating Sir James Lockhart of Lee appeared to annex the barony of Symington to Stonehouse in 1694, and his son Sir William Lockhart of Lee inherited the barony of Stonehouse and the lands of Symington (patronage in this context is the right by law to appoint the local minister). The following landowners held such powers:
1649 Duke of Hamilton
1667 Sir James Lockhart of Lee
1669 John Lockhart of Castlehill
1702 Duke of Hamilton
1759 John Lockhart of Castlehill
1806 James Lockhart of Castlehill
1822 Robert Lockhart of Castlehill
1861 James Lockhart of Castlehill

A direct descendant of Lord Castlehill obtained the designation of Castlehill, Cambusnethan and Stonehouse. Cambusnethan appears to have been acquired by the Lockharts after the death of Sir John Harper, Sheriff -depute of Lanark, sometime after 1683. The Sinclair-Lockhart family followed in succession to the estates to the late Sir Graeme Sinclair-Lockhart of Castlehill, who died in 1904.

It is believed that the Hamilton family settled in Scotland at the end of the 13th century. The family is thought to have originated from Homolden in Northumberland, from a Norman family who for a time held the Earldom of Angus. They later acquired the Isle of Arran by marriage, when in 1474, the Earl of Arran was stripped of his title and his wife forced by James III to marry Lord James Hamilton.

The Hamiltons can be traced as far back as 1294, as landowners in Lanarkshire. They rose to prominence in 1315, when Sir Walter fitzGilbert, son of Gilbert de Hamilton was given lands including the estate of Cadzow for his support to King Robert the Bruce at Bannockburn the previous year. The estate of Cadzow later became known as Hamilton.

In 1406 John Mowat of ‘Stenhous’ was in the service of Sir Thomas de Sommerville, as heir to his father, Sir John; and in 1435 Sir John Mowat of Stannas settled the fourth part of his estate on his daughter Janet, who was married to Lord William Sommerville. The estate continued in this family for several generations.

The greater part of Stonehouse parish appears to have been in the possession of four different branches of the House of Hamilton, namely Kincavel, Raploch, Cander and Silvertonhill. The Hamilton family also acquired lands in 1455, when Lord Hamilton was given half of the barony of Stonehouse at the forfeiture of the Douglases, for their support to King James II. The ongoing family feud was to carry on many years. In the ‘Cleansing of the Causeway’ in 1520, a street battle between the Hamilton’s and the Douglas’s resulted in the Hamilton’s being chased out of Edinburgh, with casualties on both sides.

In writing ‘Wha’s like us?’, I intimated that the historical crest shown was that of Patrick Hamilton. This information was incorrect as the crest is, in fact, the armorial bearings of Hamilton of Raploch. The crest was formerly situated above the entrance door of Patrickholm House, later removed to the safety of St. Ninian’s vestibule, where it can be viewed by the public. A brief description of Patrick Hamilton’s life is detailed in ‘Wha’s like us?’ but a couple of points of interest in relation to his death can be found in St. Andrew’s. At St. Salvador’s University, the letters PH can be seen on the spot where he was burned at the stake during the reformation. It is also said that you can see his face appear on the wall of the adjacent building.

The former parish of Stonehouse on the North side of the Avon (Kittymuir), according to Robert Naismith was not part of the barony of Stonehouse, despite being attached long before the Reformation. The lands in question were in the ownership of Godfrey de Ross. Andrew, son of Godfrey acknowledged the sovereignty of Edward I; this may have been the reason for the change in lands in Stonehouse.

In 1362 David II granted, by charter, the lands of Kittymuir to Alexander Elphystone. Alexander Elphystone thence had a charter, confirmed by David II, to Alexander, son of Sir Adam More of the whole lands of Kythumbre (Kittymuir) in exchange for land in Erthbeg. David II also granted to William, son of Maurice Murray, the forfeiture of Godfrey de Ross within the barony of Stonehouse. Kittymuir later became the endowment of one of the prebends of Bothwell. Another prebendary possessed the revenues of ‘Hesildene’. Around 1513, a charter was granted to Robert Dalziel of the lands of Kittymyre.

In 1887, documents were located in the Hamilton Chamberlain’s office which recorded the following extract, stating the significance of Cat (Cot) Castle to the Hamilton family. The document reads; In a charter granted by himself “Alexander Hamilton of Cat castell passed to the one-mark land of Woodland and the half-merk land of Brownland, lying in the barony of Stanehouse and sheriffdom of Lanark and there gave sasine of these lands with his own hands to James Wynzet, his heirs and assignees in usual form 29th January, 1511-12”.

In 1710, an account of the parish states, the barony of the parish anciently belonged to the Earls of Douglas; and after their forfeiture, one half came to Lord Hamilton and the other half to the Laird of Stonehouse, Hamilton. The lands of Stonehouse were later purchased by Lord Lee and then by his son Lord Castlehill. The Statistical Account further records, that in 1710 the lands belonged to Martha ‘Lochhart’, Lord Castlehill’s daughter and John Sinclair her husband, of Stevenson. The Lockharts purchased Cambusnethan House after 1695 when Castlehill fell into ruin. The Commissioner of Supply in 1724 states there were 20 different landowners on the land valuation roll, each making payments on Whitsunday, Lammas day, Martinmas and Candlemas depending on the vaultion of their property. In 1791 the Lockharts are recorded as owning fifty percent of the land, with the remainder owned by 18 various proprietors. This can be supported by the 1836 Statistical Account by Rev. Hugh Dewar which states the principal landowners in the parish as, Robert Lockhart Esq. of Castlehill, the proprietor of more than one half of the parish; His Grace the Duke of Hamilton; Mr McNeil of Raploch; and Mr Rowat of Bonnanhill, of which none resided in the parish.Gradually, throughout the 19th century the ownership of lands was disposed to mansion owners, occupant farmers and local councils.

An interesting point of note from the 19th century states the Sinclair-Lockharts, or their predecessors, inserted restrictive clauses in their sale of land, designed specifically to discourage the erection of factories. This is also the case with respect to the lands on which the hospital is now situated whereby the deeds clearly restrict particular types of building. These deeds record a feu charter from Robert L. Alston to the County Council of Lanark in 1915, transferring lands to the ownership of the said council with detailed conditions of trust whereby Mr Alston states “...I or my foresaids shall have right to remove the said County Council or their foresaids and enter into possession and levy the rents of the said subjects in all time coming” should they breach the agreed
conditions of transfer.

Whilst researching the proprietors of the parish, I have found conflicting information and opinions on the ancestral relationship of family descendants. In compiling the various families associated with Stonehouse, I have attempted to interpret the various sources, translating them into the form of family trees. Although not entirely accurate, they provide an interesting account of the prominent families connected with the parish.


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