The Family of Birnie

Home Origins Lord Hamilton Nordic Roots ? Birnie Arms The Kirk Kirk Photos Kirk Restoration The Parish Palace of Birnie Village of Birnie Data Information Sample Trees F.A.Q.'s Contact

John Birnie, Lord Hamilton

Read Below

The Birnie History

According to John Birnie, Lord Hamilton

Remaining Gate to BroomHill Castle

Account of the Families


Birnie and Hamilton of Broomhill


John Birnie, Esquire

Edited by W.B.D.D. Turnbull, Esq. Advocate

F.S. Scott, Edinburgh

Printed for Private Distribution.

M.DCCC.XXXVXXX.  (A transcribed excerpt :  K.W. Birnie M.A.)


The Family of Birnie of that Ilk



The Hamiltons' of Broomhill


   ED. This is the document presented to support the claim of John Birnie. Interesting name origin story, however, somewhat suspect until we find supporting documentation.

The origin of Birnie Parish south of Elgin might have a grain of truth, although the family history after achieving his Lordship is well documented.

     There is in wrytt a tradition in the familie, that in the year of God 838, or thereby, Alpin, King of Scots, with many of his prime men, being taken prisoners in battle by Picts, and therefore murdered in cold blood, and the King's head in a base manner sett on a pole in one of their chieff cities, Kenneth the second, his son, a brave prince, soon raise'd ane armie to be revenged on the actors of so barbarous a murder. All his followers were desperate and resolute, and had many conflicts several days together, amongst whom was one BIRNIE, Irish, and in English Bright, then called because of his glittering armour, and his two sons, who having several tymes signalized themselves, yet one evening pressing furiously into the thickest of the Picts, were all three, with several others, surrounded and made prisoners. Night by this tyme putting ane end to the fight, they had each of them one leg put fast in a pair of stocks to prevent their escape, till the Picts had more leisure to put them to date.

The father knowing very well what would become of them, advysed the cutting off of each of their legs; which done, they made a shift to return to their own men, and, at the next battle fatal to the Picts, they were observed to behaue themselves with a new courage, where with the losse of their legs had animate them. The fortune of the Scots at length prevailing, this King Kenneth, in his just revenge, laid not asyde his arms until he had extirpated the whole nation of the Picts; their possessions he divyded amongst his men, as they most deserved, and upon Birnie he bestowed a baronie of the land near Elgin in the shyre of Murray, yet bearing his name, and which his prosperity enjoyed for a long tyme thereafter, and gave them for their arms Gules, in resemblance of the late bloody battle, a Faesse, the mark of honour betwixt the bow and arrow in full draught, the most ancient arms then in use, and the three legs couped at the thigh, in perpetual remembrance of their valour.

William Birnie of that Ilk.

This estate was still in their possession till about the latter end of the Civil Wars, In the minority of King James the 6, in which its proprietors, throw their loyalty, were reduced to almost nothing, the last thereof was the above William, whose picture wee have. He married Margaret Fraser, a daughter of the Laird of Philorth's, now Lord Salton, (she was one of Queen Mary's maids) dyed about the thirty-fourth year of h

The above Margaret, after Birnie's death, was maid by Queen Mary Mistresse of the Mint-House, and then she married John Aitcheson, goldsmith, Say-Master to the Mint, after Sir John.  He coined the 8d pieces called Aitchesons; to whom she had several children, and of whom are come by the males some good families in England and Ireland; and by the females, the Neilsons of Craigcassie, and master Thomas Kennedy of Denure, present Baron of Exchequer, and several others. Margaret"s mother, daughter to John Abernethie, Lord Saltoun, and Margaret Stewart. Second daughter to John, Earle of Athole, who married Mary Gordon, a daughter of George, Earle of Huntly.

   MR WILLIAM BIRNIE. Minister at Air, was born at Edinburgh, 1563. He was naturally addicted to learning, and carefully educate by his above mother. William having, partly by the revision of his father's estate, and partly by his mother's goodwill, twenty thousand marks off partimony, was advysed by his friends to merchandize; but in a few years, by considerable losses at sea, his stock was so diminished, that he resolved to betake himself to his book again, and for that end went over to Leiden, where he continued for three years, applyeing himself to the studie of divinity, and from thence returning to his native country, he was admitted minister at Lanark, by a letter of presentation from King James 6, dated at Edinburgh the 28th of December 1597, where he married Elizabeth Lindsay, Daughter to John Lindsay, parson of Carstairs, a brother of Covingtoun's and his mother a daughter of Carmichael of that Ilk. The parson's wife was Isabel Wilkie, a daughter of Provensyde's.

    Att his comeing here, there were several feids among his parishioners, as in other places at that tyme, and frequently the quarrels began soon after sermons on Sunday; but as he was a great peacemaker, so he was a stout man, and upon his appearance with sword in hand, he had always the happieness, by his authority, to dissipate to contending parties without manslaughter, and for the most part, without blood.

    Here at the desire of his bretheren of the ministry, and to obviat the too frequent abuse of churches at that tyme, by the burial of the meaner sort of people in them, he published a pamphlet, very wel done, considering the barrennesse of the subject, called The Blame of Kirk-Burial  and dedicat it to James, marquis of Hamilton, &c, printed anno 1606, in our librarie .

    In the year 1611, being invited by the magistrats and parish of Air, he removed thither, and continued minister dureing the last seven years of his life. Here he also wrote a Tractat of Chronolgie, in our lirarie, wherein he manifests ane uncommon skill in the learned languages. This piece he dedicat and presented to King James 6, with whom he had honour to be well acquainted from his younger years, being, as we word it, in the same classe at schools.

    The King recommending this piece of work to be revised by Dr Bancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury, and some other English Bishops, they judged it at that tyme unfitt to be printed, as mentaining ane opinion anent Christmas-day repugnant to the usage of the Church of England; not that he was of a perswasion different from them in the matter of church government, for the contrarie appears in the reguard the Scottish Bishops had for him, when sending up one of their number to court, anno 1609, with a memorial to the King, he is desyred, among other things, to move the King for a grant of the tieths of Lanark to Mr William, and to procure his Majesties letter for that effect. Calderwood, History, page 604.

    But he was also a member of both the Courts of High Commission, granted by the King to the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and others therein named, dureing his lyftime, as the same Calderwood, pages 617 and 652.

    This his MS. After his death falling into carelesse hands, suffered some detriment by the losse of his son Mr Robert, who was but young at his father's death, he caused it to be transcribed.

    Master William, whose picture wee have, was of a good personage, and so agile, that, preferable to many in those dayes, he would leap the salmond's leap, by streaching himself upon the grasse, leaping to his feet, and again throwing them over his head. He was also pleasant, pious, and charitable even above his estate, and God was pleased to call him, in some sort of manner of Moses, osculo oris, as the Hebrew doctors express it, by ane easie and gentle death, anno 1619, and the 56 of his age.

    Some few hours before his death, he gave his blessing to his fyue children, with clear insinuations of their future condition, and that they should attain more ample fortunes than he could give them, whereof three were sons. His eldest, JOHN, then about 19, should merchandize, sustean many losses, but happiely surmount them; and his second, JAMES, should go to Polland, and there attain both riches and honour, that his third, ROBERT, then but eleven, should be a minister, and a raiser of his familie, all which came to passe. His eldest daughter, Elizabeth, married Dr Steinsion, a physician at Air.

    And MARGARET, Williams youngest daughter, married Hew Harper, brother to Sir John Harper of Cambrynethen, and had issue John Harper of Hartwoodhill, of whom after, who left issue, by  ________ Inglis, a daughter of Murdiestoil's, John, now of Hartwoodhill, unmarried, and Bethia, married to Robert Houston, chirurgeon at Glasgow, now at London, with issue.

    The above Hew Harper had also two daughters; Jean married Archibald Barnes, ane officer abroad, whose only daughter, Margaret. Married John Bailie of Woodyde, clerk to the regality of Hamilton, with ishue. The present John Bailie of Woodsyde married Margaret Marshall, daughter to William Marshall, merchant at Glasgow, with issue.

    The eldest daughter, Jean, married Robert Innes, merchant in Edinburgh, with issue.

    Old Woodsyd's second daughter, Janet, married David Cleiland, merchant in Edinburgh, with ishue.

    And his youngest daughter, Margaret, married, first James Brown, wryter in Hamilton, and after, John Cunieson, clerk there.     No issue.

    Margaret, Hew Harper's other daughter, married Robert Innes, wryter in Edinburgh, whose only child, Jean, first married Mr Robert Chambers, a son of Gogar's,     and  his only daughter and child, Margaret, married James Gordon, a brother of General    Gordon of Auchintoul's, with issue.

   Jean Innes married again Mr Robert Sanders, wryter in Edinburgh, also with issue.

    Because of the distance of time, I shall insert the following epitaph composed upon the above Mr William, by the then famous Mr James Bonner, minister of Maybole.

            Now Mr Birnie's gone, let's still admire

               His worth, and that he came to settle here,

            Being born and bred in Edinburgh, where he past

               All poynts of solid learning there profest.

            From thence to Leiden, where with Junius,

               With Joseph Scaliger, and Lipsius,

            He liv'd three years; this was his special scope

               To follow usefull learning to the tope

            Not without ample fruit, for truely he

               Attain'd into a very large degree

            In learned languages, and ev'ry art:

               The Holy Scriptures were his choicest part,

            And namely in abstruse chronologie,

               The golden chain of all divinitie;

            He waited on his charge with care and pains,

               At Air, on litle hopes, and smaller gains.

            He liv'd and dy'd under that sacred yok,

               Most dear to all, his brethern, and his flock.

There is also among his papers a gift under Privie Seal to him, to be master of the hospital of St Leonards, dated 4th August 1603.

    JOHN BIRNIE, merchant at Air, was the above Mr William's eldest son, and lived at Air. He Married _______ Smith, sister to Alderman Smith, Merchant in Londonarie, and he had issue 4 daughters: Elizabeth married Mr John Cruikshanks, one of the regents of the Colledge of St Andrews, and the first man that unfortunately fell as a Presbyterian preacher, in the revolution against King Charles the 2d, at Pentland Hills. His only son, John Cruikshanks, since the Union, has been controller in this kingdom to the commissioners of our customes, married in England to _________.

    This Mr John Birnie, when about 12 years of age, with two or three more of his commerads, went into a fisher boat at Air to diuert themselues, as some tymes they used: but the boat being old and laikie, and a good gale of wind aryseing, the boys were driven to sea, before any of their parents had notice; they could doe nothing, but, by John's order, threw the water with their hats out of the boat. Atlast, by the providence of God and the wind, they came in syght of the boats at Greenock, who went to their releiff, and found all the children almost dead, suae the said John, as hard at work as euer with his hat and water. The children were taken care of, recouered, and in a few days brought home to their parents. The schoolmaster, it seems, had a son with them, the blame whereof lay upon the said John: Hoeweuer, John was not to be punished, euery one takeing his part for acting so manfully; but the master had a way of causeing the children reduce some Latin sentances to our Scots proverbs; and when any of the children had occasion to meet with Siculas pervenit ad Oras, or such another, then was the cry and laugh, Skipper Birnie with his crew landed at Greenock; which proved a great reproof to him.

      JANET BIRNIE, his second daughter, married James Fisher, merchant in Londonerrie.

      JEAN BIRNIE, his third daughter, married Commissioner John Ferguson of Castlehill at Air. No issue.

      JAMES BIRNIE, merchant at Samuscha, Secretarie to the King of Poland.

   The above James, Mr Williams second son, went to Poland very young, and there, as his father told, attained great riches and honour; he was the prime favourite of two of their kings, and of John Sobieskie, the then Crown General, and afterwards King.

    He first married a daughter of ane Auchterlonie, a merchant in Dantzick, had issue one son, John, who dyed a litle after his father, without issue, and left all his estate there to his uncle Mr Robert, to whom after, in lyferent, and to his son Mr John in fie, tho' none of them thought fit to seek after it, because of the troubles in that kingdome.

The aboue James, married for a second tyme, Elizabeth Innes, the daughter of a superior officer there. No ishue aliue; but more of him after.

MR ROBERT BIRNIE, minister at Lanark, was aboue Mr William's third and youngest son, born at Lanark the 27th of March 1608, Easter day. Being abiut eleuen years of age at his father's death, his pious and learned uncle, Mr John Lindsay, parson at Carstairs, Haueing no child of his own, made him his care; and at the age of fifteen, sent him to University of St. Andrews, where he continued a sedulous student for eight years. In the year 1632, he became minister at the Shots, and in anno 1634 was transported and collated minister of Houston, by his cossen Patrick Lindsay, Archbishop of Glasgow, upon a presentation from Claud, Lord Strabane, brother and commissioner to James, Earl Abercorn, patron of the said paroch, with the consent of Sir John Maxwell of Netherpollock, and Thomas Boyd of Bondshaw, dated third of November 1633, and there married Christine Melvine, second daughter of Dr Patrick Melvine, Professor of the Oriental Language in the New Colledge of St Andrews, a brother's son of the familie of Raith, whose wife was Elizabeth Oliphant, of the familie of Kellie.

    This doctor having four daughters, taught each of them a learned language, to wit, Latin, Hebrew, Greek, and Syriack. The Hebrew falling to Christian's share, she became so good a proficient therein, that she was able to read the English euery where, from the Hebrew text, throwout the Old Testiment, and had the first fifty or fifty-one psalms of the Hebrew Psalter by heart. Her Bible in four parts, with her Psalter, are in our librarie. Upon the 23d nouember 1643, he was collated minister at Lanark, upon a presentation by King Charles I. To him dated at Oxfoord, the 18th of March 1643, where he continued a painfull minister for forty-eight years, untill his death, which happened the 21st of January 1691, about the eighty-third year of his age, and of his ministry the 59th. His picture, well done we haue .

    He was a pious and learned man, well seen in the Oriental tongues, very diuerting and facetious, accounts whereof seueral of the old people in that town still haue. I shall instance one. There happened after the building of a new church, a strong contest betwix the taylors and shoemakers, ament there preference to a loft in the church: Agree they would not, tho' the heretors of the paroch, with the magistrats and decons, used all means possible. At last they yielded to the above Mr Robert his determination, bewhat it would, and sent their commissioners accordingly. Mr Robert wrote them a letter with some smart reprooffs for their behavior the Sundays before, and the following lines:

             "?" Gentlemen,

            It is well kend throw out our toun,

            Wee draw on our hose before our shoon."

Upon which the shoemakers yielded. He was also very charitable to the poor, whereby he left a fragrant memorie of himself behind him. He wrote a MS. Called his "Opera Poetica", in 4to, of three hundred and twenty-four pages, in our librarie. He left also of ishue one son, Mr John, of whom after; and two daughters, the eldest, ELIZABETH, was upon the second of January, married to Mr Thomas Kirkcaldie, Presbeterian minister at Carnwath, a brother of Kirkcaldie of Grange, barronet, After the Restoration he was indulg'd minister at Dalserf, where he dyed; and left of ishue one son, Mr Thomas at London, unmarried. His eldest daughter, Elizabeth, married Dr Thomas Alston of Athelwood, and Phisitian, who had issue Dr Charles Alston, King's Professor of Bottanie at Edinburgh, who married Rebecca Lockhart, only child of Captian Lockhart of Lee.

     His sister Ann (   blank  )

    Elizabeth, married to Mr James M'Garvoch, presbyterian minister at  Esdalemuir. With ishue.

    And Joan Alston  (blank)

   Mr Kirk caldie's other daughter, Jean married Mr Alexander Findlater, Presbeterian minister at Hamilton, with abundance of issue. Their eldest son, Mr Alexander, is one of the masters of the High School at Edinburgh.

    Mr Thomas, the second, is Presbeterian minister at Lintoun.

Mr Robert Birnie's second daughter JANET, upon the 8th December 1668 married Mr John Irvine, minister at Kilmalcom, in the west: thereafter at Petercoulter, in the north. He purchased the lands of Saphock, and has ishue Mr Alexander Irvine, now in Saphock, advocat, who married Barbara, eldest daughter of _______ Dundas of that Ilk, and has ishue.

    Mr John Irvine's daughter___________, married Forbes of Barnes, with ishue.

    The aboue Mr Alexander Irvine of Saphock, advocate, who has now also purchased lands of Knapperna, hath erected them and Saphock in a barronie called the barronie of Irvine, is the true heir-male of Irvine of Drum, and wears the arms as chief accordingly. Amongst the said Mr Robert his papers, there is a letter from his before spoken of brother James to him, dated at Dantzick the 18th of June 1658, wherein he wryts of the account he had got of his mothers death, and regrets his not seeing her. He wryts also of the trouble in Poland, but that God had preserued him and his from all trouble. He complains of his newphew John harper's goeing to leaue his service, upon his sham excuses of his getting great airships from his uncle Sir John: wryts of his only child John, by his first wife, of his second marriage, and the death of her children. He commends himself to all friends, and to his worthie friend and god-father James, Lord Carmichael, and his subscriues, "Your very loveing brother till death, James Birnie, Secretarie to his Majestie in Poland. " This king must be Jo. Caesimer, who resigned the croun.

There is another letter from him to his said brother, dated at Samusyia the 3rd July 1664, a little before his death; wherein he guies particular injunction to his said brother, anent his aboue son John, then at Lanark, to let him want for nothing, and to hasten him ouer to France, because that language was becoming fashionable at their court. He also asks again kindly for all his relations, particularly for the aboue John Harper, his old servant and newphew, to come ouer to him; and subscriues, " Your deir and loueing brother teil death, James Birnie, Secretary to his Majesty of Poland". These letters are addressed, "For my honorat and louing brother, Mr Robert Birnie, minister at Lendreick, this loveingly to him at Lendreick."

    They being a little torn and difficult to read, as seueral other papers in the chest are, I haue placed each of them in a coppie; and they are seal'd with the same coat of arms as on the sgnet seal he sent his brother, yet in our custodie, with this difference, that about it is engrauen, " Mr Robert Birnie" and bearing with three garbs and a fork, crest a dexter hand holding a sword, all well done upon bloodston, sett in massie gold.

    The way how he came by this coat of arms, and not these of the familie, was that he went away young, knowning nothing of the matter; but after attaining to riches and honour in Poland, he fell uneasie with the grandees and gentry there, as being bred a merchant, so he wrot ouer to his brother for his birth breiff. Mr Robert, minding more divinity than herauldry, wrote to ane agent at Edinburgh, who did, indeed, expede it before the Privie Council, with the best quality, relations, and the aboue coat of arms, tho' not ours.

    The said John Harper, being with the aboue father and son at their deaths, the father's nephew, and many years his servant, must be the only person wee could trust to here, anent the account of his effects; and he told that besydes his rich furnished house, fyne gardens and parks at Samuchaha, he had a good part of the lordship thereof; and also, besydes his profits of copartnery at Dantzick, he had about 2000 L. sterling, our money, in the hands of John Sobieskie, croun General, money ion the hands of Michael Witznowiskie, more among seueral others of the nobility; which wee know by the complaint made in his last letter to his brother and Sir John Harper, upon their bargaining for him, anent the estate of Mauldsley. Yet John Harper brought home nothing. All that my father Mr John, got from him was very small, and that by present too, for rings sent over by his own confession, not delivered. He has also seueral tymes told, that had he brought home the buttons upon his upper Polonian coat, being diamonds sett in gold, they had made the produce of 1000 L. sterling.

JOHN BIRNIE, only child to the aboue James; he outlived his fathe a very short tyme, and was aboue his uncle, Mr Robert, at Lanark, when his father died. He dyed unmarried and by his disposition and assignation, dated 30th may 1665, left all his effects, heritable and moveable, to the said Mr. Robert in lyferent, and to an only son, John, my father, in fee as already wryt.

Mr JOHN BIRNIE, the aboue Mr Robert's only son, having married a daughter of James Hamilton of Broomhill, Bishop of Galloway, and purchased the same lands, I think it propper to place him after his brother-in-law John, the last of the Hamiltons thereof.

This first section consisted of pages 1 to 13 of the ACCOUNT.

      For brevity we omitted the history of the Hamilton Family and continued with pages 66 through 75 as they referred specifically to John Birnie of Broomhill.


   The said Mr John Birnie, as before told, was the only son of Mr. Robert Birnie, minister at Lanark, from whom he had ane handsome patrimony: was born at Houston the 17th of February 1643, and was carefully educated at school and college until anno 1661. In May 1663, he was sent by his father to the University of St Andrews, where he applied himself to the study of divinity, and in the year 1665 past his tryals before the Presbitry of Lanark, who haue him ane ample reccommendation to Alexander Burnet, Archbishop of Glasgow.

    The Archbishop not only granted him a licence to preach, but also offered a presentation to the church of Cambusnethan, which he thought not fitt, at that tyme, to accept off.

In the beginning of the year 1666, he was presented to the church of Carowk, with the consent of the most considerable heretors there, and upon the 29th of march thereafter, was ordained presbiter in the cathedral church of Glasgow by the said archbishop, and upon the 9th of May was instituted minister at Carlowk, in the presbitry of Lannark. When here, upon the 4th day of February 1668, he married, as before told, jean the second daughter to James Hamilton of Broomtail, Lord Bishop of Galloway, then not sixteen years of age. Upon the 22nd of March he was presented to the church of Carlaverock, in the Presbitry of Dunfries, by John, Earle of Nithsdale; and upon the 20th of April thereafter, by William, Earle of Queensberrie, and upon these collated by Robert Leighton, Archbishop of Glasgow, where he and his family resyded untill the Revolutuion; and then being obleidged to lay asyde his ministeriall function, he and his family went to Edinburgh in the year 1690.

   In the summer of 1686, Alexander Cairncrosse, Archbishop of Glasgow, was, by the Earle of Melfort, then Secretary for Scotland to King James the seventh, desyred up to London, and to bring alongst with him the aboue Mr John, (because of the great familiarity and intimacie betwixt them, it seems that the King still continued his design of rescinding the penal statuts, and of new to propose the same to them as was done a little before in the parliament held by the Earle of Murray). The archbishop in that parliament, tho' but faintly, spoke against the act, by which the court entertained yet some hopes, especially upon the promotion of the aboue Mr John. That might be brought off, the archbishop, with very great dificultie, got his aboue friend alongst with him, for he was afraid, as he hath told me, that the rash measure then used by the court could not misse in bringing the King's affairs into confusion. The court they went, and the third day after were more than two hours closeted with the aboue Earle.

    All their discourse terminated chieffly upon their going into the repealing of the acts, and if so, it was proposed that Mr John should haue it in his option either to be Bishop of Dunkeld or Galloway as he pleased, with a wonder how his Lordship could think of the tourning out of such two worthie prelates. After much reasoning, hot eneugh upon the Earle's syde, they both were, upon their positive refusal, dismissed. They were attach'd for a second tyme, but with the same event, so both retourned to Scotland, and the effect thereof was, that the good honest archbishop was laid asyde, and John Paterson, Bishop of Edinburgh, put in his room.

The aboue Mr John retoured to his charge, tho' the resentment against him ran so, that in September and October 1688 his manse was not only twice severely searched by a partie of dragoons under the command of a Popish officer, a part of a dale floor lifted, but some stones in his church, with the ground of the pulpit also rais'd and searched for arms and ammunition, said there to be conceal'd. They found none, and all this upon the information of a certain Popish gentleman thereabout. In December he received, early in the morning, a visit from a quyt opposite partie, tho' of the same spirit, a Presbiterian rable of about fourty men, well arm'd. His wyfe chanced to be up, and haue her cloaths on, and upon their hard rapping opened the door, but being a strong well hearted woman, clasp'd her hands on each syde of it, and would let none of them enter until farther communing.

    The commander did indeed order his men to retear, and then she told him that was he not ashamed as the head of so many men. Pretending so much zeal for the Protestant religion, to come with a design to spoyle and search their house, as the Papists, with a partie of dragoons, had twice so very lately done: He seem'd a little confus'd, but gaue her his hand that no manner of harm should be done to her husband or any about her. By this tyme Mr John had got on his cloaths, came and welcomed them very kindly, gaue them sufficiently of meat and drink, and they went off, with this promise, that with due convenience he should flitt from the manse, which he very shortly did to a gentleman's house in the parock, then empty.

   Mr John, by his good management and virtue, having attained to ane handsome stock in mony, resolved to place his name and family again in a land estate; and, accordingly, upon the 14th March 1688, he purchased from Robert Maxwell of Kirkhouse the little lordship and regalitie of Almernes, being a 10 pound land of old extent, in the Stewartrie of Kirkcudbright: and upon the 22nd of March he purchased the lands of Broomhill and Floors from his brother-in-law, John, at a tyme when William, Duke of Hamilton had more claims against the estate than it was worth.

   In the year 1693, he went from Edinburgh with his wyfe and sex children to the house in Broomhill, no better than ruious, tho' with much mony and pains he repaired, and here he lived in good respect, both with gentry and commons, judgeing themselves happie in his advyce, till his death, which happened upon the 17th of May 1716, and in the 74th year of his age. Jean, his aboue spouse, dailie languishing. Lived but about seven months after, and dyed also at Broomhill of a sinking of the spirits, the 11th of December 1717. She was eleven years younger than her husband. They both lye in the church of Dalserf, and their pictures, very well done by old Scougall, anno 1693, are in the family.

    William, his second son, bred ane chirurgeon, and infirm, being dead at Almernes, and Robert and James, the first chirurgeon, also the other, ane sea apprentice, being also dead in the Indies; he left ishue aliue JOHN, who succeeds him. Mr ALEXANDER, ane advocat, who, anno 1720, went up to London, most opposite to his elder brother's will, to that infamous South Sea work, broke, and there married, God knows whom; but no ishue.

His picture, done very well by Robert Lindsay, wee haue, and that in pawnd of 25,000 merks of patrimonie giuen by his father to him, which sume, by promise to his said father upon death bed, he was to restore, in case of no children of his own body, back to the familie.

    Mr John left one daughter, Isobel, married to George Muirhead of Whytcastle, or Perielands; also without ishue; she dyed 19th January 1733.

The aboue Mr John was a man of good learning, well seen in divinity, law, physick, and historie, exemplarie, pious, and virteous, of a comely stature, tall, fair and beutifull, and very charitable, so that, many years before his death, he allotted the tenth part of all his yearly income for the use of the poor; and notwithstanding of the deprivation of his good benefice, by reason of the Revolution, and preferments in the church, which he could not readiely misse, and the great losse of his uncle James his estates in Poland. Yet he allotted to his wyfe not only a good joynter, but ane handsome complement in money.

She was a stately, comely and hearty woman, a most affectionat wyfe, and kind mother, mighty well beloued by all about her, neither behind her husband in charity, for whyle the minister's wyfe, she had daily her cloath made with other things for covering the poor, and when lady, she not only did these, and support others of a better station, but with successe by her own hands administered medicines, as many a cripple orphant, in the dear years, throrow hunger and cold, and maids put from service, and sent begging by diseases, now in good condition can testifie.

   He left also to his eldest son, John, ane ordinary estate, and to the aboue Mr Alexander twenty-five thousand merks, and to his daughter, Isobell, ten thousand, all in good bonds besyde him. There is of his doeing, four practicall essays, divine and moral, a MS. In our librarie.

    Anno 1695, he builded the kitchen jamb from top to bottom, brought up the turnpyke, which was but one storie high, the first room in it being still called the stair-room; he in part boxed that and the high dying room as it stands, with a new entry to it, and box'd the room aboue the kitchen. He also biulded the outter court, and made a new entry to the house, he took doun the old tower or castle being very crasie and hazardous, but preserv'd the good vault, and built a milk house above it; he builded the kiln and wash-house, with the hen-house and byer, but not being well timbered, they fell in his own tyme. He made that uglie brae towards the Raplock a good yeard and orchyeard, planted the good hedge, but now enlarged by his aboue son John. He was born 17th February 1643, and dyed at Broomhill; 17th May 1716; buried in the church at Dalserf.

John Birnie of Bromhill

   Upon the 21st of March 1720, there is a precept of clare constat, Elizabeth, Dutches of Hamilton and Brandon, and Charles, Earle of Selkirk, John, Earle of Ruglen, Mr James Hamiton of Pencaitland, one of the Senators of the College of Justice, Sir James Hamilton of Rosehall, James Hamilton of Dalziel, and Mr James Graham of Airth, advocate, commissionars for James Duke of Hamilton, Brandon, and Chastlerault, &c. to the said John Birnie, as air retoured to his said father in the abue lands.

     Next is his tailzie of the lands of Almernes, Broomhill, and Floors, dated the first of March 1727, registered in the proper register 5th July after.

     Resignation, the said John of Bromhill and Floors, as holding of the aboue Duke, in the hands of his commissioners, dated 15th August 1728.

   Charter upon the said tailzie and resignation, John Marquis of Twedsdale, Charles Earle of Selkirk, William Earle of Aberdeen, John Earle of Ruglen, Mr James Hamiltom of Pencaitland, one of the Senators of the Colledge of Justice, Sir James Hamilton of Rosehall, Mr James Graham of Airth, Mr Archibald Hamilton of Dalserf, Mr Robert Dundas of Arniston, advocat, Alexander Hamilton of Dechmont (now Pencaitland), and John Hamilton, a son of Arshaw's, wrytters to the signet, commissioners for the aboue Duke, to the also adoue John in lyferent, and to John Birnie, his eldest son, if fee, as heir of the tailzie therein mentioned, dated 15th August 1728. Seasin thereon registered in the general register, 18th September thereafter.

    Then special retour, the said John Birnie to the said Mr. John, his father, in the said land of Almernes, principal and warrandice, dated 15th July 1727. Precept furth of the Chancerie theron, dated 22nd  July 1729. Season thereon, registered general register 4th September after, John Maxwell clerk of Kircudbright, notar. Instrument of resignation of the aboue lands in favour of the said John, lyferent and fee, dated 12th February 1730. Charter under the great seal, dated the same day. Seasine thereon, registered general registered general register 24th August 1730. John Somervil of Barnhourie, notar.

    The aboue John was born at Carkaverock the29th of December 1674: and upon Hansel Monday was baptised by Mr Alexander Cairncross, then minister at Dunfries, thereafter Archbishop of Glasgow, and after the revolution dyed, Bishop of Rapho, in Ireland. John was well educated by his father at school and colledge, till September 1693, that he was bound apprentice to the befor Lord Pencaitland, then wrytter to the signet. Upon the 3rd of July 1702, he married, with the consent of his father, Elizabeth Frogg, daughter to the decast Alexander Frogg, merchant in Edinburgh, and oye of Rosebank, with the consent of Bethia Dundas, his mother, then relict of Robert Innes, wrytter in Edinburgh. She was daughter to George Dundas of Lantoun, brother and male-air of Newliston, from whom he got ane handsome patrimonie. They lived together in Edinburgh very comfortably until her death, which happened there by a decay, the 2nd of june 1716, and in her 39th year of her age; and December thereafter his mother. Elizabeth's picture, wery well done by old Scougall, and the said John's and her mother's by Richard Wait, are in the family. She left ishue three sons and two daughters.

JOHN the eldest, was born in Edinburgh, 24th May 1703, and albeit no kind of masters were spared his education, yet he could never apply himself, so that, anno 1721, he went to the sea service, and was a midshipman a board of a man of war for about three years. Upon the 4th October, he married, without his father's consent, Mary, daughter to Captain William Preston of Gortoun, and she dyed in child-bed the 1st of July 1730: no ishue aliue.

    Her picture, very well done by Mr Marshall, wee haue. John again could not settle, but, in June 1732, he went to London, and from thence to Flanders, where coming back at Ostend, to embark for England, upon the 11th of October 1732, our style, about midnight going aboard the sloop, he unluckily mist his step, and fell down betwixt the key and the sloop, and with great difficulty got up, but bruised within, so that upon the 13th he dyrd, and upon the 14th was buried in part of the churchyeard at Ostend allowed to the English. He was born 24th May 1703.

       ALEXANDER past his apprenticeship with George Young, chirurgeon at Edinburgh, who, after his going thorow with several professors here in that art, in 1732, went for his farther improvement to France. He was born 11th June 1708 at Edinburgh.

       WILLIAM, his third son, is ane apprentice to Mr Peters, a wright at Edinburgh. He dyed in the tyme of his apprenticeship, the 26th October 1733: was born at Edinburgh, 3rd November 1714.

       Jean, the aboue John Birnie of Bromhill his eldest daughter, married, with her father's consent, upon the 7th day of December 1732, Alexander Chancellour of Shieldhill.  She was born in Edinburgh, 10th July 1705.

      BETHA BIRNIE, his second daughter, born at Edinburgh, 13th of October 1706.

    Upon the 6th of June 1717, the aboue John Birnie married for the second tyme his before spoken off cussen, Margaret, only daughter of Alexander Miln, one of the ministers of Glasgow, and Anne Hamilton, youngest daughter to the also before James, Bishop of Galloway. They lived at Edinburgh till May 1721, that they came to Broomhill. Here he laid the floors of the laigh dyning room closet and drawing room, plaistered their roof, boxed all, and planted them with good pictures. clock and baromiter: struck out a new window in the new drawing room, sashed and enlarged all the rest round about, and made several new entries and boxes in the walls, new chimney concaves, new glasses and sconces, with a bed, and covenient big presses for linning in the laigh dying room, all within the boxing. In the stair-head room he enlarged, sashed, and boxed the big window, helped several other places, put in new doors, a concave chimney, new grate and glasses, with several little good pictures. He sashed and enlarged the three windows in the high dyning room, put up the glass chimney piece, pannel, glasses, and sconces. Pictures of his setting there and helping are. That fyne large picture of his two sons, John and Alexander, a hounting, the fyne pictures of my Lord and Lady Beilhauen by Sir Anthonie Van Dyke, his oun, Mrs Innes, his mother-in-law's, his first wyfe, and Mary Preston's. In anno 1701, he painted this room with his own hand, he enlarged the closet door and windows of it, boxed and sashed it, made propper standishes whereon are two handsome globes, a book of maps, a large compas, with a good pictue of Cleopatra.

    The room above the kitchen he sashed and enlarged its windows, set in it ane handsome chimney and grate, a fyne chimney glass, and handles, with four very good pictures, a bed and painted it all with his own hand.                                                     

    He made unsquared culm'd garret, now called the blew room, fifteen foot square, and nine feet high without a culm, by giving it new floors, false balking and plastering it, boxing it twice, and in it about thirty doors, whereby it is become most convenient for a librarie: Besyde the thron bed, there is one ane other in the boxing, and a dry place hewed out of the ston gruell, and box'd for the charter chest, a handsome new concave chimney and grate, with three sash windows, and it's little closet furnished conform. In this librarie the books and pamphets added by him are knowen by the vowel O placed before each volumn in the catalogue.

    He somewhat amended the lasses' room, floored and put in a window in the top garrets, and placed some were good pictures upon the staircase. He builded the whole office houses in the closse, except the ground vault of the old tower: He threw down the foir part of the paterre, lowered to a due proportion its enty pillars, put in the new gate and vistos. He builded a stable, the old in the closse being fallen, and gaue a new roof to the dove-coat.

    He rebuilded the bake-house, byer, kilm, and wash-house, timbered them all well, and placed the severall convenient necessaries in them, and also rebuilded all the houses in Milnheugh belonging to him.

    Upon the 23rd March 1729, it pleased God also to remove, by a waisting of the solids, his aboue second wyfe, Margaret Miln, about the 39th year of age. She dyed at Edinburgh, and left of ishue JAMES,  born at Edinburgh, 10th August 1710.

ANN, born at Broomhill the 23rd June 1722.

The End of Excerpt

 NOTE: In 1756, Margaret Hamilton of Dalserf married her neighbour Captain James Birnie Hamilton of Broomhill. At that time, marrying distant cousins was considered quite acceptable and was not at all uncommon. Captain James Hamilton lived nearby, in a tower house called Broomhill, on the Avon River. After he married Margaret Hamilton, the family lived at Dalserf House. The captain may have been referred to as the laird of Dalserf, but ownership of the estate remained with Margaret Hamilton. As in medieval times, her ­direct descendant, not her husband, would inherit the estate.