Galbraiths of the Lennox

(Downloadable document - see links at bottom of page)
Compiled by Col. T. L. Galloway of Auchendrane in 1944

Reprinted 1994 - A note about this reprinting:

The "last copy" of a small book, author unknown, was trustingly loaned to me in the spring of 1994 by Arthur Haslam, whose family owns and operates the ancestral Galbraith home, Culcreuch Castle. I have scanned it, faithfully edited it, and tried to "reprint" it so other may have copies as well.

The original "last copy" is back at Culcreuch, as seems proper. I highly recommend Culcreuch Castle Hotel for its pleasant atmosphere and exquisite dining. (See: Scotland the best !, by Peter Irvine, Mainstream Publishing, p. 50, which lists Culcreuch as one of the best hotels in the area surrounding Glasgow.)

I am pleased to offer this book to the Clan Galbraith website for others to enjoy.

Bruce W. Galbraith
1634 Winding Willow Drive
Trinity, FL 34655
Phone: Permanent Mobile (239) 777-5800
Permanent E-mail :


Ab Obice Suavior


In many modern notices of the Galbraiths, a great deal of ambiguity has crept in owing to inaccuracy in statements made about the early members of the family, e.g. in the Memoirs of the House of Hamilton, by John Anderson, Arthur, the father of William and Arthur, the son of Maurice seem to be taken as the same person, and there are other misstatements in the same book.

The purpose of this inquiry is mainly to try to place in proper order the ancient ancestors of the Galbraiths so far as this can be done from the study of the charters in which the name appears, particularly the Cartularium Comitatus de Levenax.

Some attempt will also be made to bridge, or at least to narrow, the gap separating the original families of Galbraith from the Culcreuch family, whose head became the chief of the Galbraiths about 1400, when Galbraith of Gartconnel died without leaving any male heir to succeed him. If this gap could be successfully bridged it would appear that some Galbraiths of the present day could show a line of generations, always bearing the same name, which few families in Scotland could rival. This does not mean that there are not other families who can show ancestors of greater antiquity, but, owing to the early system of patronymics, very few can claim ancestors, of the same surname, of greater antiquity.

It is strange that in more modern times the Galbraiths have never been recognized as a separate clan. In lists of clans they are usually known as septs or dependents of other clans, e.g. of the Macfarlanes and the Macdonalds. But in the year 1489, Thomas Galbraith of Culcreuch, who was hanged for taking part in a rising headed by the Earl of Lennox, Lord Lyle and others is called Chieffe of the Galbraiths by Sir James Balfour in his Annals of Scotland. And in the Acts of the Scottish Parliament of 1587 and 1594, the Galbraiths are mentioned as a clan, along with many others, whose brokin men are accused of being wickit thevis and lyrnmaris. (Vide, Historical Geography of the Clans of Scotland, by T. B. Johnston and Col. James R. Robertson, 3rd Edition 1899.) But they do not seem to have emerged as a later clan, like the other numerous clans of Scotland, including the Colquhouns and Buchanans, among whom they lived and with whom they intermarried.

It is not the place of a writer of a short family history such as this to dwell at any length on the more general aspects of Scottish history which can be found in other places. It is only necessary to indicate very briefly the state of the country as it was when the first persons to be dealt with appear upon the scene. For those who are interested in the history of the Lennox and the origin of the first Earls of that name it is only necessary for reference to be made to Sir William Fraser's book, The Lennox. There the story will be found of the Lennox from Roman times and also details of the supposed origin of the Earls of Lennox. Fraser traces them from a Northumbrian noble, Archill by name, who was driven out from his country by William the Conqueror, and took refuge with Malcolm Canmore, who received him well, his descendant, Alwyn, becoming Earl of Lennox, about the middle of the 12th century. Fraser is careful to state that there were other opinions as to the descent of the first Earl--Skene holding that he had a Celtic and not a Saxon origin.

This Alwyn, the first Earl, is a very shadowy figure, and the date when he received the Earldom is uncertain. It is known that David of Huntingdon, brother of King William (the Lion), held the Earldom for some time about the year 1166, for at this date he granted the Church of Campsie to the Monks of Kelso. Earl Akvyn II, at a later date, granted Campsie to the Church of Glasgow, and these conflicting claims were the subject of an amicable settlement in 1221 (see Registrum Episc. Glas. p. 100). But whether Alwyn I held the Earldom before David of Huntingdon is not known. It is clear, however, that Alwyn, 2nd Earl, son and heir of Alwyn, 1st Earl, was in possession before 1199, as will be shown later from a charter confirming certain lands to the Church of Kilpatrick.

By the time of King Malcolm III (Canmore) the Kingdom of the Picts, the Kingdom of the Scots, and the Cumbrian or Clydesdale Kingdom had been more or less welded into a single Kingdom of Scotland. Many English customs were brought to Scotland by Margaret, Malcolm's English Queen, and the country was being divided up into feudal Earldoms governed by feudal laws in place of old Celtic laws or customs. But, of course, the central government was not omnipotent, and great power was in the hands of the feudal Earls to use or misuse.

It was in the old Cumbrian, or Clydesdale Kingdom, that the Earldom of Levenax was situated. Roughly, the boundaries were from the Clyde at Dumbarton to Arrochar in the North, and from the shores of the Gareloch to Fintry, including Kilpatrick and Baldernock. Loch Lomond and the banks of the Leven may be taken as the centre of the Earldom. It is here, then, in this interesting and beautiful part of Scotland that we can first trace the origin of the name Galbraith.

The first Galbraiths who can be definitely found mentioned in any charter were the brothers Gillespie and Roderick Galbraith.

As witnesses in several charters they are called the nephews of Alwyn II, Earl of Lennox. Now, these brothers might be called nephews of Alwyn from various circumstances. They might be the sons of a brother of Alwyn. That Alwyn the first Earl had another son, Eth, is indicated in an Ayrshire Charter, dated 1193. (Liber de Melrose vol. I, p. 22.) But it would seem unlikely that sons of this Eth would be named Galbraith, and there is no evidence to show that he left any children.

Again the brothers might be sons of a daughter of Alwyn I and sister of Alwyn II married to a Galbraith. Or, again, Alwyn II might have married a lady of the Galbraith family, and Gillespie and Roderick be sons of a brother of that Countess.

Whichever way we take it, this seems certain, that the Galbraiths were of the old Lennox inhabitants and that they early intermarried with the family of Alwyn the 1st Earl of Lennox.

At this early period in Scotland, not many family names had become fixed and the system of patronymics was largely in use. Thus we find Gillemichel Mac Edolf, Malcolm Mac Absolon, and the like. And so it is difficult to gather all the members of a family under one family name. For example, in a charter by the Earl of Lennox, Gillemichel, Gillemartin and Gillecondad, the three sons of Gillemychel are granted the lands of Bannarad and others. These sons are presumed to have belonged to the Galbraith family, but the relationship with Gillespie and Roderick Galbraith has never been explained.

But whatever the origin or meaning of the name may be, Galbraith seems to have early become a fixed family name. This would appear from a charter granting lands to Willielmus filius Arthuri filii Galbrat.

Galbrat was considered the head or fountain of this line, and his immediate descendants became known as Galbraiths, generally with the de prefixed, e.g. Arthurus de Galbraith, William de Galbraith, and so on. It should be borne in mind that the de does not denote that Galbraith was a place name but only that the person using it was considered to belong to the chief family descended from the original Galbraith.

In this connection, it may be interesting to quote from the House of Hamilton, by John Anderson, 1825, or rather from a supplement to this book published in 1828 called a Reply to the Misstatements of Dr. Hamilton of Bardowie. On page 22 of this Reply, it is stated:--

The Heads of the Galbraiths anciently, are patronymically designed the sons of Galbrat from their first great and well connected ancestor, yet Dr. Hamilton maintains that Galbrat here is not a family appellation, or derived 'from an ancestor' but expressive of land, while it is indisputable no such place has ever been discovered. Agreeably then to this argument, Arthur, 'son of Galbrat,' with whom the Doctor is so eager to connect himself, must have been even less than de plebe, and rather strangely indeed, though literally, the son of a 'clod.' But his jarring assertion at the same time, that the Galbraiths, if using a patronymic, would have been designed, as they actually were, by the very epithet of 'filii Galbrat,' precipitates the whole proposition into such a pitch of contradiction, as well as absurdity, as cannot be equaled in any controversy.

(There is a note suffixed.)--

He (the Doctor) indeed founds upon 'de' being eventually prefixed to Galbraith but this as is well known is immaterial. De did not always imply territoriality, in support of which we may only refer to the Scoto-Anglo Race of 'la Zouche' or 'la Souche' which surname is quite personal, properly meaning the principal stock; yet on innumerable occasions the Family are style ' De la Zouche.'


Let us now come to the old charters in which Gillespie and Roderick Galbraith are mentioned.

The earliest is a charter by Alwyn II confirming certain lands to the Church of Kilpatrick. This is undated but was executed some time about 1190, being sealed in presence of Jocelyn, Bishop of Glasgow, who was dead by the year 1199. The lands confirmed were as follows:-- Cochinach, Edenanernan, Baccan, Finbealach, Drumcreue, Graguentalach, Monachkenneran, Drumtechglunan, Cuiltebut and Dallenenach; with the lands at Cateconnan (Gartconnel) added as a new gift from Alwyn II.

The original Charter, or at least a previous confirmation, was granted probably about the year 1170, but by whom is not clear--perhaps by Alwyn, the 1st Earl, or by David of Huntingdon who is said to have held the Earldom about this time.

With reference to this Charter, many years later, in 1233, legal proceedings or inquisitions were conducted under Papal authority to prove that the lands mentioned rightly belonged to the Church of Kilpatrick. The number of witnesses called and the evidence brought forward are matters of the greatest interest in throwing light on early Scottish procedure (see Reg. de Passelet, p. 164, et seq.).

The Charter of 1190 (Reg. de Passelet, p. 157) was sealed by Alwyn, Earl of Lennox before numerous witnesses, including Maldoven and Malcolm, his sons, and Rodarcus, his nephew (nepos).

Another Charter by Alwyn, Earl of Lennox, conveying the Church of Campsie to Glasgow is witnessed by Gillescop Galbrad (nepote nostro). This Charter is confirmed at the same time by Maldoven, son and heir of Alwyn, younger, Earl of Levenax, son and heir of Alwyn, elder, Earl of Levanax, Gillespie Galbraith again being a witness.

Two other later Charters (Reg. de Passelet, pp. 213, 217), by Maldoven, 3rd Earl, show Gillespie and Roderick Galbraith to be brothers.

There is also another Charter (Cart. de Levenax, p. 25), by Maldoven granting the lands of Colquhoun to Humphrey Kilpatrick in which Gillespie Galbraith is a witness.

From the foregoing, it is clearly established that Gillespie and Roderick were born about the year 1170, and that they were closely related to the Earls of Lennox. It is not known whether Roderick had any descendants, but it will be shown that Gillespie was the ancestor of a large and important clan which held many lands in Lennox and later spread its branches over Scotland and Ireland, and now has representatives all over the world.

There is no record of any lands being granted to Gillespie and Roderick by Charter; in all likelihood they were in possession of lands in the Lennox from of old.

But in the year 1238 (Cart. de Levenax, p. 30), Maldoven, 3rd Earl (cousin of Gillespie) granted a Charter of lands in Buthernock (Baldernock) and Kyncath to William, son of Arthur, son of Galbrath one of the witnesses being Maurice, son of Galbrath. The same Earl somewhat later granted Cartonvenach to Maurice, son of Galbraith, and also the lands of Auchincloich to Maurice, son of Gillespie Galbrath, and to Arthur his (Maurice's) son and to the heirs of Arthur.

From these Charters we, therefore, gather that Gillespie Galbraith had two sons, Arthur and Maurice--that Arthur had a son, William of Buthernock, and that Maurice of Cartonvenach had a son, Arthur.

We will first follow the senior branch of Buthernock until we find these lands passing from Galbraith hands through an heiress.

It seems probable that the Charter of 1238 only confirmed in William's hands the lands of Buthernock already held by his father, Arthur, son of Gillespie Galbraith; but there is no further mention of Arthur except in this Charter. He was probably born about the year 1195, and his son, William, about 1215-20.

William de Galbraith of Buthernock became a man of some importance in Scotland. As has been stated, he had his lands confirmed to him in 1238. He is said to have married a daughter of Sir John Comyn, Justiciar of Galloway, who gave the lands of Dalserf to Sir William de Galbrath in frank marriage with his daughter.

When Scotland was ruled by a Regency in 1255, during the minority of Alexander III, King of Scotland, William Galbraith was one of the fifteen barons appointed and given protection by Henry III of England, the father of Margaret, King Alexander's wife. This is shown in Rymer's Foedera Angliae (quoted in Registrum de Panmure pp. 208-213). A.D. 1255; 39 Hen. III De potestate admittendi quosdam barones Scotiae in protectionem Regis.

The following are the barons mentioned:--Patricius Comes de Dunbar, Malis comes Straern, Nigellus comes de Karrike, Robertus de Brus, Alexander Senescallus Scotiae, Alanus Hostiarius, David de Lindes, Willielmus de Brethun, Walterus de Murrenya, Robertus de Mesneres, Hugo Giffard, Walter le Senescallus, Johannis de Crauford, Hugo de Crauford, Willielmus Kalebrath (or Calbrah).

William de Galbraith was dead before 1280, as is indicated in a Charter (Lennox Vol. II., p. 16), conveying the lands of Drumloch in Buthernoc and Drumfode to Sir Patrick de Grahame, where Wilelmus Galbrath is described as defunctus.

There is another Charter (Stirling of Keir, by Fraser, p. 205) by Malcolm, 4th Earl, in the year 1278, granting Kyrkmychell and Drummade to William de Galbrath, Knight; but he must have died shortly after this leaving his son, William, who succeeded to Buthernock and other estates. The year of this William's birth, as so often is the case when treating of these early times, is not accurately known, but it was probably about 1240. In The Parish of Campsie, by John Cameron (Kirkintilloch 1892) p. 186, there is mention of a Charter about the year 1285 by William Galbraith to Sir Patrick de Grahame granting him the mill of Kincade.

In the Scots Peerage, under Earl of Douglas, it is stated that Willelma, daughter of Sir William Douglas (Longleg) married William of Galbraith, son of Sir William Galbraithe by a daughter of Sir John Comyn of Badenoch. They had issue, four daughters, of whom the eldest, Joanna, married--de Cathe (Kethe or Keith). It is not known whom the other three daughters married, but it is clear that through one of these heiresses the lands of Buthernock descended to David de Hamilton and Jonetta de Keith, who it will be seen later, confirmed as feudal superiors a gift of certain lands in Buthernock and Kincaid by William Galbraith of Gartconnel to his son James in 1381. From David de Hamilton and Jonetta Keith the superiorities of Buthernock descended to their youngest son, John Hamilton of Bardowie.

William Galbraith of Buthernock was probably dead before 1296, the year when so many of the Scottish nobles, clergy, landowners and burgesses swore allegiance to Edward I of England. His name at least does not appear in the Ragman Rolls. There is, however, a Gilbert of Buthernock among the other landowners from the County of Stirling. This Gilbert may have married one of William Galbraith's daughters and may have held the lands of Buthernock in right of his wife. However that may be, it is clear that the estates of Buthernock and others passed from Galbraith hands owing to the failure of an heir-male to William Galbraith and Willelma Douglas.

It seems possible that William Galbraith may have had a younger brother, Arthur. In the Ragman Rolls of 1296, there appears the name, Arthur de Galbraith from the County of Wigtown. He is named on the same roll with many well known names from the Lennox. The designation from the County of Wigtown would definitely preclude Arthur de Galbraith, the son of Maurice Galbraith, who held Cartonvenach, Auchincloich and other lands in the Lennox, although it might be that Arthur Galbraith of the Ragman Rolls was a son of Arthur Galbraith, the son of Maurice. But it will he remembered that Sir William Galbraith of Buthernock had married a daughter of John Comyn of Badenoch, who was Justiciar of Galloway. John Comyn was a very active participator in the government of Scotland during the middle of the 13th century. Sir William Galbraith was also a man in public affairs and was one of the regency commission of fifteen barons appointed in 1255. It would, therefore, he very natural that a younger son of Sir William Galbraith should be given land or a position in Wigtownshire, of which his grandfather had been Justiciar and in which, presumably, he had many interests. But there is undoubtedly some dubiety as to the identity of this Arthur Galbraith, from the County of Wigtown.


As already stated, Maurice, the second son of Gillespie Galbraith, had a Charter of Cartonvenach from Maldoven, 3rd Earl of Lennox. The date of this Charter is placed about 1250. Cartonvenach is granted to Maurice, son of Galbraith, and to his heirs begotten with his wife Katherine, daughter of Colpatrick or Gillepatrick. (There is as a witness to this grant of Cartonvenach to Maurice a person named Gillepatrick de Malbryde, and Katherine may possibly have been his daughter.)

Maurice Galbraith was a witness in the Charter of Buthernock and Kyncath to William de Galbraith, his nephew, in 1238. That he also held certain lands in Kyncath is shown by a Charter to David de Grahame in 1253. (Lennox Vol. II., p. 14.) There Mauricius Filius Galbrathe is mentioned as having made a gift of land in the territory of Kincathe to the said David.

In another Charter (Lennox Vol. II, p. 404) by Malcolm, son of Maldoven, the Earl, about the year 1248, concerning the lands of Dallenoter, Mauricius filius Galbraith is a witness. By a Charter granted by Maldoven, the Earl of Lennox, Mauritius filius Gillaspie Galbraith, along with his son Arthur, received one quarter of land in Auchincloich in exchange for the two lands of Thombethy and Letyrmolyn, which appear to have been granted earlier to Maurice by the Earl without any legal right or title. This part of Auchencloich would seem to include Balvey and Mains to the north of East Kilpatrick in Dumbartonshire, the other parts of Lower Auchincloich, which were conveyed later to Sir Patrick de Grahame, being rather to the south-west, near Edinbarnet. Maurice, son of Galbraith is mentioned again in an Inquisition regarding the lands (Killearn) of Stephen do Blantthyre, when he is called the Seneshal; and for greater security he, along with others, appended his seal.

Sir Arthur Galbraith succeeded his father, Maurice, and thereafter his name appears frequently in Charters. Malcolm, the 4th Earl of Lennox, granted him the lands of Buchmonyn (Balfunning) and the lands of Gilgirinane near the lands of Cartonewene, and, at the same date, he had a Charter relaxing certain feudal services due from various lands he held. The lands named in this Charter are Banchorane, Keangerloch, Fynnard, Kilgerintyn, and Auchincloich. He was also given the right of holding a court on his lands and punishing robbers. He was witness to a Charter conveying three quarters of a carucate of land in Auchincloich to Patrick de Grahame about the year 1271, and he is also mentioned as a witness in a Charter by Walter of Ros to Sir Patrick Grahame (Lennox Vol. II., p. 17).

He again appears in a Charter by Malcolm, 5th Earl of Lennox, to Sir John Colquhoun of Luss about 1308, and in several other Charters. In a Charter of Resignation by Simon Crok of the lands of Brengrouchan (Circa 1272), the seals of Arthur Galbraith and Malcolm de Drinneth are affixed along with the seal of Simon Crok, because Simon's seal Non est notum. (Lennox Vol. II, p. I6.)

From all these Charters it is seen that Arthur de Galbraith had large possessions and was a man of considerable importance in the Lennox. He was created a Knight, as the title miles appears frequently after his name. Though he was probably too old to fight at the battle of Bannockburn, there is small doubt that he would be engaged during the troubled years leading up to that battle on the side of Bruce, for his feudal superior, Malcolm the 5th Earl of Lennox, was one of Bruce's loyal supporters.

So far, the descents of the various Galbraiths from Gillespie Galbraith have been quite clear and vouched for by Charters. But now we come to a slight hitch, for although it appears certain that William de Galbraith of Gartconnel, who died without male heirs about 1390, was a grandson of Arthur de Galbraith, and great grandson of Maurice, there is some doubt as to who his father was.

Sir Arthur de Galbraith probably died about 1310-15. Now, about this time, there were alive in the Lennox, two Galbraiths whose names appear frequently in Charters either as receiving grants of land or as witnesses, viz., Maurice Galbraith and Patrick Galbraith.

Maurice is a witness about 1316 to a grant of the land of Glyne to Malcolm of Luss. He is again a witness, this time along with Malcolm of Luss, to a grant of Balecarrage in Kincaid, to Patrick Galbraith. In another Charter by Malcolm, 5th Earl of Lennox, to Patrick de Lindsay, Maurice Galbraith and Patrick Galbraith both are present as witnesses.

Patrick Galbraith is witness in 1330 to a Charter by Malcolm, 5th Earl, ratifying lands to the monks of Paisley. He was granted the lands of Camkell (or Camquhill) and Balecarrage by the same Earl (Maurice Galbraith being a witness). He is a witness along with Malcolm of Luss, to a grant to Gilbert de Carric, by Malcolm, 5th Earl, and again he is a witness in a grant of Blarechos; and, as already stated, he appears along with Maurice Galbraith in the Charter to Patrick de Lindsay. He is called Patricius de Galbraith, Seneschallus de Levenax in a Charter to John de Lany.

From the close association of the names in these Charters, it is apparent that Maurice Galbraith and Patrick Galbraith were closely related, and it may be assumed they were brothers. That they were sons of Arthur de Galbraith (Knight) and that one of them was father of William de Galbraith of Gartconnel may also he assumed from the following evidence:

Mauritius (son of Gillespie) had from Maldoven, the 3rd Earl, the lands of Cartonvenach. This has been identified as Gartconnel, near the church of East Kilpatrick. The name appears in many forms, owing to the misreading of the letters by transcribers of old deeds. Some of the spellings are:--Cateconnan, Cartonewene, Katconvall, Kachconnen, and others.

Arthur de Galbraith succeeded his father, Maurice, and, in addition became possessed of the lands of Banchorane (identified as Bannachra), Keangerloch, Fynnard, Buchmonyn (Balfunning), Kilgerintyn (or Gilgirinane) and part of Auchincloich.

Patrick Galbraith acquired the lands of Camquhill (near Ballindalloch) and Balecarrage (in Kincath).

William de Galbraith of Gartconnel, as well as inheriting estates, acquired in addition Achrefmoltoune in Strathblane, which is presumed to be the modern Arlehaven (see Guthrie Smith's Strathblane, p. 76). His lands were divided up between his co-heiress, one of whom married a Douglas and became possessed of Mains, and other lands; and the other heiress married a Logan and inherited Gartconnel and other lands. What these other lands were may become apparent if we look at the Retour in 1680 of Charles II as heir to the Earldom of Lennox. The following places are included in the Retour:--The 20 mark land of Balvey, Fergustoune, Gartconnell, Ledcamroch, Bannochtoune, Camron, Camquhill and Balquhinings Logans; and the 12 pound lands of Maynes, Little Balvey, Ledcamroch, Camron, Camquhill, Balquhining and Harleheavin Douglas. (Finnart also seems to have passed to the Douglasses as, in 1501, William Douglas of Ledcamcroch sold these lands to John Colquhoun of Luss.) From these names we can gather that William Galbraith of Gartconnel, the father of the co-heiresses, had inherited (i.) Gartconnel (Cartonvenach) from Maurice (son of Gillespie); (ii.) Buchmonyn (Balfunning) from Arthur de Galbraith, and (iii.) Camquhill from Patrick Galbraith.

All this evidence leads us to the fairly safe conjecture that William Galbraith of Gartcolmel was the son of Patrick Galbraith, the son of Arthur.

We may, therefore, with little hesitation, continue the line and place Patrick and Maurice Galbraith as sons of Sir Arthur de Galbraith, and William Galbraith of Gartconnel as son of Patrick Galbraith the Senescallus of Levenax.

We have already given all the information that can be gathered of Patrick and Maurice, and so now come to William Galbraith of Gartconnel.

Born about 1310-15, he acquired Achrefmoltoune in Strathblane from Donald, 6th Earl of Lennox. This must have been later than the year 1342, as Malcolm, Earl of Wygtoun, is a witness, and he did not become Earl until that year.

In the Parish of Campsie, by John Cameron, p. 213, mention is made of a marriage of a female Kincade to a Galbraith of Craigmaddie Castle, when one fourth part of Kyncade, which lies near the Kelvin, was her marriage portion. This may be meant to refer to William Galbraith of Gartconnel, who is known to have gifted to his son James, in 1381, one fourth part of Kyncade which lies near the Kelvin with other subjects. However, no proof is given of the marriage, and the other reference to the Galbraiths in this book are inaccurate.

But it is known that William Galbraith was married and had one son and at least two daughters. In 1381 he granted a Charter to his son, James, of the lands of Easterbuthernock and Westerbuthernock and one fourth part of Kyncade. But it was only as a vassal that he held those lands, the superiority (or rather the mid-superiority) being in the hands of David de Hamilton and Jonetta Keith, who, in accordance with feudal custom, confirmed this Charter of 1381. These lands had come into the possession of David de Hamilton through one of the heiresses of William Galbraith of Buthernock.

William Galbraith of Gartconnel's son, James, did not survive long, but died before his father. The two daughters thus became co-heiresses. Janet Galbraith married Nicolas Douglas in 1373, and so founded the family of Douglas of Mains. The other daughter married Alexander Logan and succeeded to Gartconnel. James, the son of William Galbraith of Gartconnel, may have left a daughter, who would thus be a co-heiress along with her aunts. This may be the Galbraith heiress who is said to have married Patrick Buchanan, the 14th Laird of Buchanan.

In this way the lands of Cartonvenach passed out of the hands of the Galbraiths through heiresses of William of Gartconnel, even as the Buthernock lands had been carried away by the heiresses of William of Buthernock and Willelma Douglas.


No attempt will be made here to follow all the various scions of the Galbraiths family who left the Lennox and at an early date spread over Scotland.

There is, for example, an entry in the Chamberlain's Rolls for 1342 referring to a Hugo de Galbraith in Aberdeen, but of what family he came it is not known.

Again, there is a Malcolm Galbraith, who is said to have founded the family of Galbraith of Greenock about the end of the 14th century. Then there is the Galbraith, who, about 1425, fled to Ireland with Lord James Stuart, and is said to be the ancestor of the Galbraiths of Gigha and Kintyre. All these, and many others, are obviously of the old Lennox Clan, but evidence is lacking to place them accurately.

Mr. Guthrie Smith, in his book Strathendrick, passes over the early Galbraiths of Culcreuch very briefly. Unfortunately, this most interesting and useful book was not ready for the press when the author died, and so there are several inaccuracies and errors which would have probably been amended on revisal. One of these errors is on page 165, where Bannerad, which was granted to the three sons of Gilmychel, is confused with Bannachra. It is then stated that owing to the sale of Culcreuch, now nearly three hundred years ago, and the loss of Charters or other family writs, it is impossible to make a connected pedigree of the earlier Galbraiths, and Andrew Galbraith (1472) is the first-mentioned member of this family.

In spite of this, an effort will now be made to throw some light on the origin of the family of Culcreuch, which after 1400 seems to have become the chief of the name and continued to reside in the Lennox for many years.

When there is no direct evidence as to the descent of a family-- no actual writ stating that B was the son of A--it is necessary to look for other secondary evidence from which inferences call be drawn. In this respect much valuable information can be gathered by following the descent of ownership of land. Certain lands may early appear in the hands of a family and then, for a period of a generation or two, there may be no notices regarding these lands. If later they re-appear as belonging to persons of the same original name there is a strong presumption that the later family is descended from the older. We have in this way already seen that the lands of Cartonvenach (Gartconnel), Buchmonyn, Auchincloich and Camquhill, which had belonged to Maurice, Sir Arthur and Patrick Galbraith all descended to William Galbraith of Gartconnel, and so to the families of his daughters.

Other sources of information are Topography and the noting of witnesses to Charters. The transference of lands in the olden days was a much more elaborate ceremony than it is now. There were no registers of Sasines kept in Edinburgh, and the Charter itself was of great importance as showing a right to land. Charters were, therefore, witnessed by numerous people, relatives of the granter, friends or relatives of the person to whom the lands were being conveyed, and usually by owners of contiguous lands, as it was to their interests to see what was actually being transferred and also because they would likely be available on the spot to attend as witnesses. And so, if we see a witness repeatedly appearing in Charters affecting lands in a certain part of a county, we may often reasonably draw an inference that this witness also has land bordering on the lands in question, or, at least, near at hand.

To revert to the Charter (Cart. de Levenax, p. 29) naming some of the possessions of Arthur de Galbraith, viz., Banchorane, Keangerloch, Fynnard, Buchmonyn, Kilgerintyn (or Gilgirinane) and Auchincloich, it was seen that most of these lands descended to the heiresses of William Galbraith of Gartconnel.

But there is one estate appearing in Arthur de Galbraith's Charter which does not appear ever to have descended either to the Logans of Gartconnel or to the Douglases of Mains, and that is Banchorane, or Bannachra. These lands lay near Glenfruin, contiguous to the lands of the Kilbrides in Dumbartonshire.

Now, there is a name on record at this time which may be an aid to us in solving the mystery of the origin of the Culcreuch family.

Appearing in the Ragman Rolls of 1296, is the name Dovenal Galbraith of Kilbride, from the County of Dumbarton. His name is in the midst of many well known Lennox names from Dumbartonshire and Stirlingshire, evidently all submitting to Edward I at the same time.

Donald is also seen as a witness in a Charter by Malcolm, 5th Earl, to the daughters of John de Drummond (before 1315), Arthur de Galbraith, Knight, being present as first witness. The mere fact that Sir Arthur de Galbraith and Donald Galbraith appear as witnesses in the same charter may seem too slight evidence for the assumption that Donald was the son of Arthur de Galbraith, but when it is shown that the lands of Bannachra and Kilbride are at a later date in the hands of the Galbraiths of Culcreuch the evidence for this assumption becomes stronger; for Bannachra and the Kilbrides are known to have belonged to Andrew Galbraith of Culcreuch about 1456.

The argument put forward is this:--After the failure of an heir to carry on the line of Baldernock, the line of Gartconnel became the chief of the Galbraiths, and after the failure of an heir to carry on the Gartconnel branch, another cadet family became the chief of the name, namely Culcreuch, who possessed (i.) the lands of Bannachra which had belonged to Sir Arthur de Galbraith, and (ii.), the lands of Kilbride, which belonged to Donald Galbraith in 1296, thus indicating that these lands had descended to Andrew Galbraith by inheritance from Arthur de Galbraith and Donald Galbraith of Kilbride.

We have thus shown the probability of Maurice, Patrick and Donald Galbraith being the sons of Sir Arthur Galbraith. The descent of Camquhill to the heiresses of William Galbraith of Gartconnel points to Patrick being of the Gartconnel line, while the descent of Kilbride to Andrew Galbraith of Culcreuch (1456) points to Donald (1296) being an ancestor of the Culcreuch family. The position of Maurice is not clear, but he would seem to have been connected with the Culcreuch lands. These lands lay near Fintry in the easter part of Strathendrick. Fintry was, at an early date, one of the strong holds of the Earls of Lennox, and some early charters were granted there. Bordering on Culcreuch, to the north-east, lay the lands of Glyne (Glins). When Glyne was granted by Malcolm, 5th Earl of Lennox, to Malcolm of Luss (circa 1320) Maurice Galbraith was one of the witnesses, in this way indicating he had some association with lands in the immediate neighbourhood.

Also bordering on Culcreuch, this time to the north-west, are the lands of Balgair, Kilfassets and Ballindalloch, stretching along the Endrick to Balfron. These lands were in the possession of the Cunninghams until l613, having been erected into a free barony in 1599. Now, when the lands of Kilfassets and Ballindalloch (which had been forfeited by Duncan of Luss) were first granted to Andrew Cunningham by Malcolm Fleming about 1342, there appears an Arthur de Galbraith as one of the witnesses to the charter; from which fact the inference is drawn that he was connected with some neighbouring lands. This Arthur de Galbraith appears also as a witness in a charter to Nigel Macblare of the lands of Finnick, which is also in the district, a little to the South-west of Ballindalloch.

Although Glyne belonged to the Colquhouns, and Balgair, Kilfassets and Ballindalloch to the Cunninghams, yet from an early date these lands were occupied by Galbraith families, cadets of Culcreuch. The earliest date at which they were so occupied is not known, but at least before 1534, Balgair was tenanted by a John Galbraith, and during that century there were Galbraiths in Glyne (or Glins), Kilfassets, Ballocharne, and many other places around.

And so, although we can find no original charter of Culcreuch, yet from all these premises, we are led to infer that from an early time the lands of Culcreuch were in the possession of the Galbraiths, Maurice Galbraith (circa 1320) being interested in the transference of some lands (Glyne) marching with Culcreuch on the north-east and Arthur Galbraith (circa 1342) being interested in the transference of lands (Kilfassets, etc.), bordering Culcreuch on the north-west. It would appear that Arthur Galbraith was of a younger generation and inherited Culcreuch, Bannachra and Kilbride from Maurice and Donald Galbraith (one being father and the other an uncle), the rest of the Galbraith estates devolving on William Galbraith of Gartconnel, through Patrick, the other son of Sir Arthur Galbraith.

Let us refer again to Andrew Galbraith of Culcreuch, who is mentioned in 1456 and died in 1476, and try to work backwards to join up with Maurice and Donald Galbraith.

Andrew Galbraith succeeded to the lands of Culcreuch, Milligs, Bannachra, Kilbrides, etc. Now, in the Dundonald Charter Chest, under the date 1453, there is mention made of James Galbraith of Kilcreuch. This was the predecessor of Andrew Galbraith in the lands of Culcreuch, but whether he was Andrew's father is not clear. There is a Thomas Galbraith of Millig on record in 1441. As it is known that Andrew Galbraith succeeded to Millig as well as to the Culcreuch estates it is quite probable that Andrew was the son of this Thomas, and was heir to his uncle's estate of Culcreuch as well as to his father's lands of Millig. One slight bit of evidence in favour of this is that Andrew's eldest son was called Thomas and his second son James; for there is often a presumption that the eldest son was called after his grandfather. It is, at least, a safe conjecture that James Galbraith of Culcreuch and Thomas Galbraith of Millig were brothers, and that Andrew was the son of one of them and inherited the property of both.

The next mention of Culcreuch in a retrograde order, is of an Alexander Galbraith of Culcreuch; but here the evidence is not contemporaneous. This Alexander only appears in a Memoir by Robert Colquhoun of Camstraddon, written in 1760 (see Fraser's Chiefs of Colquhoun, vol. 2, p. 181). Mary Galbraith, who was wife of John Colquhoun of Camstraddon, is said in the Memoir to have been daughter of Alexander Galbraith of Culcreuch. As this John Colquhoun lived about 1380-1441, it would seem that Alexander Galbraith's daughter, Mary, would be born about 1390, and that Alexander Galbraith himself would be born about 1350. But it must be remembered that the designation of Culcreuch might be used in the Memoir in a loose sense, and Alexander may only have been of the family of Culcreuch. However, it can be used as evidence that there were Galbraiths known as of Culcreuch, at least towards the end of the 14th century.

One more step backwards brings us to Arthur Galbraith, whom we have placed as heir of Maurice (presumably of Culcreuch) and of Donald of Kilbride; and in this way a direct line of descent from the original Gillespie Galbraith has been indicated for the Culcreuch family.

It is necessary here to mention a William de Galbraith, who was alive about the same time as William Galbraith of Gartconnel (circa 1310-90). This William de Galbraith, in David II's reign (circa 1360), had a Charter of the lands of Portnellan in Dumbartonshire, and Buchany in Strathearn. There are several charters in the Cartularium de Levenax witnessed by William Galbraith, and this is confusing, as it is impossible to be certain whether William of Gartconnell or William of Portnellan is referred to.

Gilbert Galbraith succeeded William Galbraith to the lands of Portnellan, appearing frequently in charters between 1393 and 1429; and the family of Portnellan survived for many generations (see The Cartulary of Colquhoun, by Wm. Fraser, 1873). That they were cadets of the Culcreuch line is indicated by a deed before the year 1478, which shows that John Galbraith of Portnellan held the lands of Kilbride from Andrew Galbraith of Culcreuch as superior. It is probable that William Galbraith, who had the Charter of Portnellan in 1350, was a brother of Arthur Galbraith (circa 1342), and son of Maurice or Donald Galbraith. If it can he taken that this William de Galbraith was the witness appearing in the Charter by Donald, Earl of Lennox, granting Ballinkinrain to Cilestine MacAlowne between 1333 and 1364 (see Guthrie Smith's Strathendrick, p. 191), and that it was the same William who was witness in the Charter to Andrew Cunningham (circa 1345), of the lands of Eschend, Garcher and others around Balfron, this, from the situation of these lands, would support the supposition that he was brother of Arthur Galbraith, who had witnessed the Charter to Andrew Cunningham of the lands of Kilfasset and Ballindalloch (circa 1342).

Perhaps this pedigree of the Culcreuch family between Sir Arthur de Galbraith (circa 1250-1315) and James Galbraith of Kilcreuch (Dundonald Charter Chest, 1453) may be criticised as being insufficiently supported by evidence; but it is claimed that a reasonable structure has been formed which may call for criticism indeed, but which is at least better than a complete blank against which criticism cannot even be made. And in addition, should any further evidence come to light in the future, there is now a plan to which this new evidence can be referred either to support or to alter.


As previously stated, James Galbraith of Kilcreuch is mentioned in the Dundonald Charter Chest (1453), and Thomas Galbraith of Millig was probably his brother. This Thomas appears in a deed dated 1441 by Alexander Napar of Edinburgh. In this deed, John Napar of Kilmahew and Thomas Galbraith are called dearest kinsmen, (consanguineos meos carissimos) by Alexander, but what the exact relationship was is not known. This is all the information that call be found regarding James Galbraith of Kilcreuch and Thomas Galbraith of Millig, but Andrew Galbraith succeeded to both Culcreuch and Millig, and was evidently the son of one of them and the heir of both.

We now come to surer ground, for Andrew Galbraith of Culcreuch appears frequently in writs between 1456 and 1476. Guthrie Smith in his book Strathendrick gives a good sketch of the Culcreuch family from Andrew Galbraith until Robert Galbraith sold Culcreuch in 1630, and it is not proposed to repeat all that can be found there. There are, however, one or two omissions which may he filled in.

In 1456, Andrew Galbraith had a Charter from the Crown of Over Johnstone in Renfrewshire (Exchequer Rolls of Scotland). In 1466, he is mentioned as one of the heirs of entail in Lord Lyle's Entail, on the condition of taking the name and arms of Lyle. As in this deed he comes immediately after Lord Lyle's various children, it is presumed that the relationship must have been close. It seems probable that Lord Lyle's mother and Andrew Galbraith's mother were sisters; and it may be from this connection that Over Johnstone in Renfrewshire came into the family.

Andrew, before the year 1478, confirmed as superior a Charter of the lands of Kilbride in Dumbartonshire to John Galbraith of Portnellan (Cartulary of Colquhoun). He was still alive in 1475-76. (Protocol Book of Stirling.)

The next laird of Culcreuch was Thomas Galbraith, who was almost certainly son of the abovementioned Andrew. He appears along with Andrew Galbraith, of Culcreuch, in the Retour of John, Lord Darnley, in 1473. Then, in 1484, he had sasine from the Crown of Over Johnstone. He took part in the rising headed by the Earl of Lennox and Robert, 2nd Lord Lyle, in 1489, and was taken at Talla Moss in Stirlingshire and hanged. Sir James Balfour, in his Annals of Scotland, calls him Chieffe of the Galbraiths. His lands of Culcreuch, Mulig, Bannachar and others were forfeited, but were soon restored to his successor, James Galbraith, who was without doubt his brother. James Galbraith had evidently taken part in the rising which had such serious consequences for Thomas Galbraith; but he escaped, and his name appears in the Remission, dated 12th February, 1489-90, to Matthew Stewart, son of John, Earl of Lennox, and many others; and in the following June, 1490, he appears as James Galbraith of Culcreuch in a sasine to Matthew Stewart of the Earldom of Lennox, the Lordship of Darnley, and the lands of Galston; and, again, in a sasine to the same Matthew in the year 1511. He is included as one of the heirs of entail in a Royal Charter to Robert, 3rd Lord Lyle, in 1495, which would seem to prove that he was son of Andrew Galbraith, who was in the entail of Robert, 1st Lord Lyle, and, therefore, brother of Thomas Galbraith, who was hanged in 1489.

James Galbraith had legal proceedings with Agnes Cunningham, widow of Thomas Galbraith, in 1493. She claimed certain rents from the lands of Over Johnstone, but the matter seems to have been amicably settled (Act. Dom. Concil). In 1501, he had a fine remitted for not entering suit for Over Johnstone. He is said to have married Agnes Colquhoun, daughter of Humrhrey Colquhoun of Luss; this Agnes marrying secondly the 4th Lord Somerville. (The Chiefs of Colquhoun. vol. I., p. 70.)

James Galbraith's eldest son was Andrew, and, in 1509, there was an infeftment of Andrew Galbraith and Margaret Stirling, his spouse, in the lands of Johnstone in Renfrewshire, which belonged to James Galbraith, father of the said Andrew.

This must have been given to Andrew on his marriage, and when his father was living, since we know that James Galbraith was alive after 1512.

James Galbraith had other children---

Humphrey, who was at Glasgow University in 1513. He appears to have been guilty of the slaughter of William Stirling of Glorat in 1534. He is called Tutor of Culcreuch.

Walter (Reg. Sec. Sig. 1542).

Robert, married Janet Seyton, 1548, said to be the ancestor of Galbraith of Balgair.

Janet, who had a charter from Humphrey Colquhoun of Luss in 1536 of the lands of Garshake.

Andrew Galbraith succeeded his father, James. He took part in the Battle of Linlithgow in 1526, but had a respett in 1527 for his actions. His son was James, but Guthrie Smith (p. 167) is in error in stating that John and Andrew were also his sons. Andrew Galbraith of Culcreuch died before 1534, as in that year his brother Humphrey is called Tutor, or legal guardian, to James Galbraith, who was a minor when his father Andrew died.

James Galbraith of Culcreuch married Katherine Barclay and had a Charter of Confirmation in 1547 of the lands of Over Johnston to himself and his spouse, having previously had sasine of the same lands in 1545.

Guthrie Smith (Strathendrick. p. 168) is mistaken in stating that this James married secondly Margaret Crawford. He describes the early life of James as being violent but that a transformation took place in his later year-that the leopard changed his spots. Actually, this James was dead before 1573, as is shown by a deed of that date concerning the lands of Kilbride (Cartulary of Colquhoun, p. 259). It is his son, James Galbraith of Culcreuch, who married Margaret Crawford and had sasine of Over Johnston in 1575. John Galbraith in Boquhan and Andrew Galbraith in Gonachan were brothers of this younger James of Culcreuch.

James Galbraith died about 1590 and left a successor, Robert Galbraith, whose rather turbulent life is described in Strathendrick. He was always in financial difficulties, and, finally, in 1630, had to part with his paternal estates and sold Culcreuch to Alexander Seton of Gargunnock. He is said to have gone to Ireland, where he died. He left a very large family, but it is not known who is the senior representative of this old race.


When Robert Galbraith sold Culcreuch in 1630 and departed to Ireland, the Lennox, which had for so many centuries seen the Galbraiths as possessors of large tracts of land, was now bereft of any landowner of that name. This does not mean that there were no Galbraiths left in the district; there were many cadets of the old family, but they were tacksmen or long lease holders, or else small proprietors. And so it remained for nearly fifty years, until in 1687 James Galbraith, writer in Edinburgh, bought the lands of Balgair, adjacent to Culcreuch and part of the old barony of Ballindalloch, which had belonged for so long to the Cunninghams.

It will, therefore, be interesting to inquire how this James Galbraith was connected with the old Galbraiths of the district.

In doing this it will, unfortunately, be necessary to differ in some respects from the views of the author of Strathendrick.

Guthrie Smith, when writing of the Culcreuch family, states that the Galbraiths of Balgair probably had as ancestor Robert Galbraith, a brother of Andrew Galbraith of Culcreuch, and who, in 1548, made a contract of marriage with Janet Seyton. But in the Chapter relating to Balgair the Galbraiths in Hill of Balgair are taken as being descended from this Robert, and no clear descent is deduced for James Galbraith who bought Balgair in 1687. The view now taken is that James Galbraith of Balgair (1687) was descended from Robert Galbraith, brother of Andrew Galbraith of Culcreuch, and that the Galbraiths in Hill of Balgair were descended from John Galbraith in Balgair before 1534, who was an earlier cadet of Culcreuch (probably a son of Humphrey, a younger brother of Thomas who was hanged in 1489, and of James Galbraith of Culcreuch, 1490).

James Galbraith, writer in Edinburgh, having bought the lands of Balgair, proceeded to make an entail of these lands. The substitutes of entail were eight in number, beginning with the two sons of his cousin, George Galbraith, merchant in Edinburgh, and ending with his far-out kinsmen, John and George Galbraith, who had a joint lease for 133 years from 1693 of the Hill of Balgair, or Middle Balgair. The deed of entail was registered in the Register of Entails in 1706.

George Galbraith, merchant in Edinburgh, was a son of Mr. John Galbraith, minister in Bothkennar. Mr. John Galbraith and his wife, Katherine Norvell, had a large family, viz.:--James (also writer in Edinburgh,'' before 1670 when he died), John, George, Michael, Humphrey (minister at Dollar), and two daughters; but, by the time of the entail, only the children of George survived. And so we see that James Galbraith, the entailer, had an uncle, Mr. John Galbraith. He had also another uncle, Andrew Galbraith, a half-brother of Mr. John, and father of Hugh Galbraith, the third substitute of entail.

Now, in 1654, Mr. John Galbraith and his spouse had a tack of Balgair from John Buchanan for all the years of their lives. The tack was registered in the Register of Deeds in 1663, after the death of John Galbraith. It is gathered from this lease that Balgair had been the home of himself and his predecessors for many years.

Since we know that Balgair was occupied by James Galbraith from before 1593 till 1628 and as we see John Galbraith in 1654 getting a new tack of his old family home for the rest of his life, there seems to be little doubt that John Galbraith was the son of James Galbraith in Balgair (1593). And it therefore follows that the father of James Galbraith, the entailer, was also a son of James Galbraith in Balgair (1593), and was, evidently, the Robert Galbraith in Hilton of Balgair, mentioned indeed on page 231 of Strathendrick as a son of James Galbraith in Balgair, but there given, erroneously, as an ancestor of the Galbraiths in Hill of Balgair. (It should be noted that Hilton, or Haltoun, was a part of Easter Balgair and not to be confused with Hill of Balgair. Strathendrick, p. 30.)

James Galbraith in Balgair (1593) is said, probably, to be a son of Robert Galbraith, brother german of the late Andrew Galbraith of Gylcruuch. This is evidently correct, and is supported by the following evidence. James Galbraith in Balgair and Andrew Galbraith in Tomdarroch are mentioned many times together. They both appear as being implicated along with others in the slaughter of Robert Lindsay (1533-94) (vide, Strathendrick, p. 232); and again in the Register of the Privy Council there is this entry:--Caution in £2,000 by Robert Galbraith of Culcreuch as principal and Alexander Seyton of Gargunnok as surety for him (that he would not intercommune with any of the surname of Buchanan, Macgregor or Macfarlane, fugitives from the laws for criminal causes). The bond was presented for registration by Francis Galbraith, Panniter to his Majesty, as procurator for the parties and subscribed at Gargunnok, 18th May, 1593, before James Galbraith in Bolgair, Andro Galbraith in Tomdarroch, William Galbraith, Steward in Culcreuch, and George Auld, minister and notary public.

Andrew Galbraith married Isabell Cunningham, widow of Humphrey Galbraith in Balgair, who had died in 1578 (Testament).

Humphrey Galbraith left a brother, William, in Wester Balgair, but his own two sons, James and John, were minors, and when his widow married Andrew Galbraith in Tomdarroch, the occupancy of Balgair (or Easter Balgair) was given to James Galbraith, who for many years after was known as James Galbraith in Balgair.

All this points to the fact that James and Andrew were brothers. But Andrew was son of Robert Galbraith in Tomdarroch, the brother of Andrew Galbraith, the laird of Culcreuch, and, therefore, James Galbraith in Balgair was also son of Robert Galbraith.

To sum up the evidence, it seems clear that the beneficial occupancy of Balgair, which from before 1534 had been with John Galbraith in Balgair, and thereafter with his son Humphrey Galbraith until 1578, passed after that date to James Galbraith, the brother of Andrew Galbraith in Tomdarroch who married Humphrey's widow, and who was a son of Robert Galbraith, a brother of the laird of Culcreuch.

Andrew in Tomdarroch and James in Balgair had probably at least one other brother--William Galbraith in Frew. In 1614, there is a summons at the instance of William Galbraith in Frew against James Galbraith in Balgair for debt.

James Galbraith was alive on 11th January, 1628, as, on that date, there is a summons by James Galbraith in Balgair against Andrew Cunningham and others. But, in 1629, in the Register of Sasines for Stirlingshire, there is mentioned a William Galbraith in Frew, son and heir of William Galbraith in Balgair. So it seems that James Galbraith in Balgair must have died about this time, and that his brother William took over the occupation of Balgair.

It is not known exactly when Mr. John Galbraith had his first tack of Balgair but as noted above he had his tack renewed in 1654.

It is clear, therefore, that James Galbraith, writer in Edinburgh, was closely connected with the lands of Balgair, and was a descendant of the Galbraiths of Culcreuch, and that when he bought this portion of the old barony of Ballindalloch in 1687, he did not come to the district as a stranger.

James Galbraith the entailer of Balgair died in 1707 leaving no children, and John Galbraith, the first substitute of entail, succeeded; but he died soon afterwards in Flanders in July 1707, and James Galbraith his brother, a younger son of George Galbraith merchant in Edinburgh, took up the estate of Balgair as second substitute.

He it was who built the mansion house of Balgair in 1720; but this house was hardly ever occupied, as it soon fell into disrepair and then into ruins.

The estate of Balgair remained with the descendants of John Galbraith until his grandson, James Galbraith, a son of Rear-Admiral James Galbraith, died at sea in 1794 leaving no family; and thus the line of the second substitute of entail came to an end.

Advertisements were then inserted in the newspapers for heirs, and, finally, Richard Galbraith from County Galway, Ireland, was served as heir to Hugh Galbraith the third substitute of entail, and was duly infeft, in the lands of Balgair. His claim, though not contested at the time, was not quite clear, and led to a case being raised in the courts, which finally was taken to the House of Lords by a descendant of John Galbraith in Hill of Balgair, the seventh substitute of entail. He, however, was unsuccessful in having the service reduced and Balgair remained in the possession of the descendants of Richard Galbraith until it was sold by James Galbraith of Manitoba, Canada, on 22nd April, 1914.


This old Strathendrick family is clearly descended from John Galbraith in Balgair, born about 1496, and who was, without doubt, a cadet of Culcreuch; and an attempt will be made to throw some light on his actual relationship with the chief family.

In the Remission granted in 1489 to Matthew Stuart and many others, for taking part in the rising headed by the Earl of Lennox and Lord Lyle, there are several Galbraiths named. First there is James Galbraith, a brother of Thomas Galbraith who was hanged earlier in 1489. This James succeeded to the forfeited estates the following year. Then there are the names of John Galbraith of Bankell and John Galbraith of Garscadden, whose connection with Culcreuch has not been ascertained. In addition, there are two Humphreys and one John Galbraith mentioned without any designation. This does not help us very much in the meantime, but one thing we can gather is that there was a Humphrey Galbraith alive at this period, who had taken part in this rising along with the Galbraiths of Culcreuch, who were kinsmen of Lord Lyle, one of the chief leaders.

Now to go back and examine all the information we can find about John Galbraith in Balgair. He is shown in Pitcairn's Criminal Trials as being absent from an Assise in February, 1534, along with Humphrey Galbraith, Tutor of Culcreuch, a brother of the deceased Andrew Galbraith of Culcreuch.

Buchanan of Auchmar mentions a Bond of one hundred merks due to John Lennox of Branshogle by Grahame of Fintry, Cunningham of Glengarnock and Galbraith of (in) Balgair (1537). This is, evidently, the same John Galbraith in Balgair.

Again, in Pitcairn's Criminal Trials (Vol. I, part I, p. 386) we find James Galbraith of Culcreuch, Walter his brother; James Galbraith in Ballocharne, James Galbraith, his servant; Humphrey, son of James Galbraith in Balgair; Humphrey Galbraith in the Glenne; Humphrey Galbraith in Edinbellie, and thirty-seven others finding caution to stand their trial at Dumbarton for oppression done to John Lyle in Wester Kilfasset, by coming to his house in July, 1554, and invading him for his slaughter. Here we have the Laird of Culcreuch in a clan raid, surrounded by his brother and the Galbraiths in Ballocharne, Balgair, Glenne (or Glins) and Edinbellie, all places in the immediate vicinity of Culcreuch, and thus showing that the tacksmen of Ballocharne, Balgair, Glenne and Edinbellie were all closely related to the head of the clan. Taking into consideration the foregoing, it is suggested as a probability that John Galbraith in Balgair, James Galbraith in Ballocharne, and Humphrey Galbraith in Glenne were brothers, and sons of one of the Humphrey Galbraiths appearing in the Remission of 1489; and it is also probable that Humphrey Galbraith in Edinbellie was a son of James Galbraith in Ballocharne. The reasons in support of these statements are:--(1) In July, 1554, the house of Humphrey Galbraith at Easter Glenne was attacked by a party of Cunninghams. On 10th August, Humphrey Galbraith in Edinbellie, James Galbraith in Ballocharne, and several others of the Galbraith clan, by way of reprisal, made a counterattack on the Cunninghams, in which affray Cuthbert Cunningham lost his thumb. (2) In the excerpt from Pitcairn's Criminal Trials, mentioned above, relating to the slaughter of John Lyle in Wester Kilfasset, the names of James Galbraith in Ballocharne. Humphrey, son of John Galbraith in Balgair, Humphrey Galbraith in the Glenne, and Humphrey Galbraith in Edinbellie are closely associated, and it will be seen that the Christian names are very suggestive of relationship. (3) This is further supported when we examine the will of Humphrey Galbraith in Balgair, who died in 1578. The will was signed at his house of Easter Balgair before witnesses, William Buchanan in Ballat, William Buchanan in Fynnick (probably uncle and cousin on his mother's side), James Galbraith in Ballocharne and William Galbraith in Wester Balgair, brother of the testator. The executors appointed were Isobell Cunningham, his spouse, James Galbraith, his eldest son, William Galbraith, his brother, and Humphrey Galbraith in Edinbellie, with Walter Buchanan of Drumakill and James Galbraith in Ballocharne as oversmen and overseers, to see that all things were dealt with justly. This suggests that the executors appointed were the testator's wife, son, brother, and a cousin, Humphrey in Edinbellie, with an uncle, James in Ballocharne, as one of the overseers. Later we find that the eldest son of Humphrey in Edinbellie was James Galbraith in Wester Edinbellie (Acts and Decreets, 1595, vol. 158, folio 318), which is a further pointer that Humphrey in Edinbellie was son of James Galbraith in Ballocharne.

Here, then, we have John Galbraith in Balgair with a son, Humphrey, James Galbraith in Ballocharne with a son Humphrey in Edinbellie, and Humphrey Galbraith in the Glenne, all in such close association with each other at various times that the inference may be safely drawn that John in Balgair, James in Ballocharne, and Humphrey in the Glenne were all brothers, and sons of Humphrey Galbraith mentioned in the Remission of 1489; Humphrey, son of John in Balgair, and Humphrey, son of James in Ballocharne, both being called after their grandfather in the approved Scottish fashion. And, further, the close connection seen at various times between John in Balgair, James in Ballocharne, Humphrey, Tutor of Culcreuch, and James Galbraith, Laird of Culcreuch, tends to show that the Humphrey Galbraith in the Remission of 1489 (taken as the father of John in Balgair, James in Ballocharne, and Humphrey in the Glenne) was of the Culcreuch family.

As shown above, there is not very much known of John in Balgair. His association with Humphrey Galbraith, Tutor of Culcreuch, in 1534, points to his having been one of the accomplices in the slaughter of William Stirling of Glorat, keeper of the Castle of Dumbarton. However, he was evidently at peace with the law in 1537, as Auchmar mentions him as being one of the principals in a bond for 100 merks. He was, probably, alive in 1554, when Humphrey Galbraith is mentioned as his son, but he was certainly dead before 1578. He left two sons, Humphrey in Easter Balgair and William in Wester Balgair, and one daughter, Helen. (Testament confirmed 25th January, 1584.)

Humphrey Galbraith in Balgair, the eldest son, as already stated, had been implicated in the slaughter of John Lyle in 1554. His wife was Isobell Cunningham, and they had two sons, James and John.

James is said to have married Mary Buchanan of Ibert about 1593, and was, for a time, designated in Ballocharne.

Isobell Cunningham, the widow of Humphrey in Balgair, after 1578 married Andrew Galbraith in Thomdarroch, and James Galbraith, brother of Andrew, took over the tack of Balgair, as noted above.

William Galbraith, the younger son of John in Balgair, appears only in the testament of his brother Humphrey. He is designated William in Wester Balgair. It would appear that, about this time, Hill of Balgair emerged as a separate holding. It is also called Middle Balgair, and, as the name signifies, was situated between Easter and Wester Balgair. William Galbraith in Wester Balgair was confirmed as one of his brother's executors in 1584. It is not known who his wife was, but it seems clear that he had a family. In 1593-94, John Galbraith in Hill of Balgair is mentioned along with James, Robert, William and Humphrey, his brothers (Strathendrick, p. 232). In 1598, there is a Remission to John Galbraith in Middle Balgair; and, again, in 1607, James Galbraith in Balgair and John Galbraith in Hill of Balgair both appear as Cautioners for Thomas Naper of Ballikinrain (Gen. Reg. of Inhibitions, vol. 25). There seems to be no doubt whatever that John Galbraith in the Hill of Balgair was a son of William Galbraith in Wester Balgair, William, the father, occupying Wester Balgair himself, and putting his son on a holding next to his own farm, and Easter Balgair being occupied by James Galbraith, the brother of Andrew Galbraith in Thomdarroch.

The next occupant of the Hill of Balgair was William Galbraith in the Hill, taken as son of John in the Hill, and called after his grandfather, William in Wester Balgair. This William in the Hill was executor-dative to William Galbraith in Balglass (Testament, 1661), who was one of the five brothers (John in the Hill, James, Robert, William and Humphrey) mentioned in 1593-94, and this points strongly to the fact that William in the Hill was the eldest nephew of William in Balglass and son of John in the Hill of Balgair.

William Galbraith in the Hill was twice married. The testament of Jean Buchanan, spouse of William Galbraith in Balgair, is recorded in 1665. She had died in 1660. This was, evidently, the first wife of William Galbraith in Hill of Balgair, but whether William was tacksman of Balgair in 1665 or whether this is merely an inaccurate designation is not clear. In Strathendrick, the violent end of William in the Hill is related--how he was attacked by robbers near Polmont while returning home from Edinburgh, and died from his injuries in 1686. By his first wife he had two sons--John and George. These brothers had a joint tack for 133 years from 1693 of Hill of Balgair, or Middle Balgair, and of Westertown of Easter Balgair, called Harviestown. They probably rebuilt the farm about this time, as above the lintel of the door at the present day is a stone with the date 1693.

John Galbraith in the Hill was the 7th substitute in the entail of Balgair, made by James Galbraith, writer in Edinburgh, in 1706, and it was his descendant, James Galbraith, who claimed the estate and tried to reduce the title of Richard Galbraith, who had been served heir of entail of Balgair in 1806. The appeal went to the house of Lords in 1820, but the claimant was unsuccessful.

The other son, George Galbraith in the Hill of Balgair, was the 8th substitute in the entail of Balgair. He was an elder in the Church of Balfron, elected in 1697 (Minute Book of Kirk-Session of Balfron). His name appears frequently in the Baron Court Book of Balgair (MS. in Historical Record Office, Edinburgh), where his signature is appended to a writ in which he makes a declaration on Oath. He married Janet Harvie in Courthill of Balgair and had a large family.

The three sons who left issue were William, Walter and Robert. William, born 1678, married Agnes Harvie, and they had a son, William Galbraith of Blackhouse. But he died childless, and his property passed to a son of his cousin, William Galbraith of Wester Edinbelly, whose widow he had married.

Walter, the second son, and Robert, the third son, both married and had families, many of whose descendants at the present day can trace back their descent to this old Strathendrick race.

This very sketchy survey of the Galbraiths of the Lennox has been brought down to the beginning of the 18th century. It does not profess to be a full record of all the cadets of the various chief families. There were Galbraiths in Glins, Galbraiths in Gargunnock, Galbraiths in Aber and Galbraiths in numerous other places in the Lennox, many of whose descendants can probably trace back to the original stock. During the 18th century the Parish Records of Balfron and Kippen, to mention only two places, were crowded with references to different Galbraiths. With the coming of the industrial revolution, many of these families gradually migrated into the large cities or sought fortunes abroad, so that now the name is not so concentrated in the Lennox.

It is hoped that this little genealogical study will be of some interest to those of the name, and that it may induce someone to undertake a fuller history of the Clan Galbraith.


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