« PreviousContinue »
and, after serving with distinction in America, was appointed major in the Argyll or Western Fencibles when hostilities broke out with France in 1778. Six years later, when known as Hugh of Skelmorlie, his father living at Coilsfield till 1783, he succeeded Sir Adam Fergusson of Kilkerran, in the representation of Ayrshire, and sat till 1789, when, on being appointed inspector of military roads, he was succeeded in turn by Sir Adam. Hugh Montgomerie again entered the Commons for a few months in 1796, but on succeeding to the Earldom that year as heirmale, the seat was won by Colonel Fullerton of Fullerton. Earl Hugh had some years before this been appointed Lieut.-Governor of Edinburgh Castle, in room of Lord Elphinstone, and Colonel of the Western Fencibles, a Lowland regiment noticeable for having worn the Highland dress. A representative Peer from 1798 to 1806, Earl Hugh was in the last-mentioned year raised to the British Peerage as Baron Ardrossan. He was now becoming known as one of the most munificent, patriotic, and enterprising noblemen of his time, carrying out as he did valuable improvements on the estate, especially in the neighbourhood of Kilwinning, commenced, so far as planting was concerned, by a predecessor, Alexander, tenth Earl. Between 1797 and 1800 Earl Hugh also rebuilt Eglinton Castle, from designs by Paterson, on a scale of princely magnificence, worthy at once of his own long-descended house, and of the beautiful site it occupies on the banks of the Lugton. But even this was to be surpassed by his noble ambition to construct a grand harbour at Ardrossan for the purpose of making that place a principal port of Glasgow, with which it was to be connected by a canal passing through Johnstone and Paisley. Only a portion of this latter scheme was carried out, the application of steam to purposes of navigation, as well as to the conveyance of goods by land, coming to supersede the original scheme contemplated by the Earl. Commenced in 1806, the works at Ardrossan were brought to a standstill in 1815, when, although £100,000 had been expended, the Engineers, Telford and Rennie, indicated the likelihood of £300,000 more being required. The works were resumed in 1833, when Archibald William, thirteenth Earl, came of age, and then completed on a reduced scale, but not
before the entire expenditure was found to have reached £200,000. This lavish expenditure on public projects, without any return in his day, began to exhaust even Earl Hugh's rent-roll, and various properties were sold to meet pressing obligations. Now, it is thought, also commenced the burdening of that wide Eaglesham estate, sold outright to Mr. Gilmour about 1840 by Earl Archibald, after having been in possession of the Montgomery family for over five hundred years. A brave soldier, but a strict disciplinarian, his easiness of access to tenantry, and an unbounded hospitality, suggesting more of the ancient baron than the modern nobleman, made Earl Hugh extremely popular among all classes in the West Country. An enthusiast in music, even to the extent of keeping a family piper, the Earl had no great taste or desire for public speaking. In his “Earnest Cry and Prayer," Burns describes his patron as
"Sodger Hugh, my watchman stented,
If bardies ere are represented,
Ye'd lend your hand ;
Ye're at a stand."
Earl Hugh died 15th December, 1819, having had by his wife Elenora, daughter of Robert Hamilton of Bourtreehill, two sons and two daughters. The elder son, Archibald, Lord Montgomery, a Major-General in the army, predeceased his father, leaving two sons, Hugh, who died young, and is commemorated by a marble column erected by his grandfather in a retired part of Eglinton woods, and Archibald William, who became thirteenth Earl.
Born at Palermo in 1812, Earl Archibald had a long minority, not unfavourable to the nursing of his estate, and which enabled him, as has been mentioned, to complete some of Earl Hugh's schemes in a moderate way. A leading patron
a in all manly sports, Lord Eglinton was much liked in the hunting-field as well as on the race-course, where a fair measure of luck fell to horses he had trained
or purchased, the fame of Flying Dutchman, and the match with Lord Zetland's Voltigeur at York Spring Meeting in 1851 being still a landmark in turf annals. An attempt, sadly marred by the weather, was made by his Lordship in August, 1839, to recall even the by-gone splendour of the Tournament by a display within Eglinton grounds which kept society in talk for months, and drew countless visitors from all parts of the kingdom, and many from the Continent. The hospitality at the castle far surpassed anything ever seen in the best days of Earl Hugh, but at a cost which touched heavily on the well-gathered savings made in by-gone years for the young Earl. Served heir to the attainted title of Winton in 1840, the Earl of Eglinton twice filled, with an acceptance amounting to enthusiasm, the office of Irish Viceroy in the Ministry of Lord Derby-1852-58. As early as 1842 he was appointed Lord-Lieutenant of Ayrshire, and in 1852 Earl Archibald William was elected Lord Rector of Glasgow University, the Order of the Thistle being conferred upon his Lordship the following year. High-born, Lord Eglinton was also high-minded, and, with a handsome figure, allied to fascinating manners, all Scotland may be said to have felt proud of her son, whether he was discharging public duties at home, improving the holdings of his tenantry and promoting education among them, or smoothing down the asperities of Irish life by his winning courtesy at Dublin Castle—a courtesy, it is but right to say, manifested equally to all, of whatever creed or political profession. His death occurred with startling suddenness in the house of his friend, Mr. Whyte Melville, St. Andrews, 4th October, 1861. By his first marriage with Theresa Newcomen, widow of Commander R. H. Cockerell, R.N., Earl Archibald left two sons, the eldest being Archibald William, present Earl, born 3rd December, 1841, and married Lady Sophia, only daughter of second Earl of Yarborough, with issue four daughters. At present, therefore, the heir-presumptive to this ancient house is his Lordship's brother, Hugh Seton-Montolieu, late lieutenant in Scots Fusilier Guards, born 1846, and married 1870, with issue one daughter, deceased.
THE EARLDOM OF CARRICK.
Less in size than many of the northern earldoms, none of them-not even Angus, Fife, or Huntly, not Strathearn itself, the patrimony of the mighty Malise-can be made to render up a more romantic or interesting story than is connected with that Carrick division of south Ayrshire, lying between the Doon and the northern boundary of those princely feudatories in Galloway who more than once held the Crown in check. The Carrick district makes up only about a third part in the area of one county, and that only seventh in size among the counties in Scotland. From Bridge of Ness, Loch Doon, following the river course north-west to the sea or Ayr Bay, the distance is about sixteen miles; from the mouth of Doon, mostly southward, but tending a little west, to Galloway Burn, Glenapp, the distance is not much, if anything, over forty-five miles. Carrick district first comes under the notice of historians about the middle of the twelfth century, when it was held by a succession of Uchtreds and Gilberts as part of the lordship of Galloway. Towards the close of the same century Carrick was erected into an independent Earldom, and granted by William the Lion to Duncan, held to have founded the Abbey of Crossraguel about 1240. Following Duncan came a son, Nigel, or Neil, second Earl of Carrick, one of the Regents and Guardians of Alexander III., who died in 1256, leaving by his wife Margaret, daughter of Walter, High Stewart of Scotland, an only child, a daughter, named also Margaret, or Marjory, who became Countess of Carrick in her own right. Legend and tradition now get mixed up with anything that ever was historical in the early history of the Earldom. The Norman, or rather the Yorkshire, Bruces had acquired the Lordship of Annandale from David I. as early, it is thought, as 1140, the honours of the family being held when Marjory succeeded to Carrick by Robert de Bruce, fifth Lord, who came to be known in after years as the Competitor, in virtue of being heir nearest the Crown in degree through his grandmother, Isabella, second daughter of the Earl of Huntingdon, younger brother of
William the Lion. John Baliol claimed as great grandson of the eldest daughter Margaret. The Competitor's eldest son, also Robert, accompanied Edward I. of England (then Prince Edward) in his crusade to Palestine (1270–72), where he is presumed to have fought along side of an Adam de Kilkonath, husband of Marjory of Carrick, but slain on the field when charging the infidel hosts of the Sultan. Returning to Scotland with the shattered remnant of Prince Edward's expedition, young Bruce is reported to have been riding on one occasion near the Carrick fortress of Turnberry, when the widowed Countess was out hunting with a retinue of squires and fair dames. Struck, so the story goes by the nobility of his appearance, Countess Marjory invited the young knight to join her in the chase and be her guest for a time in that family stronghold, the ruins of which still overlook the sea from Turnberry Point. Aware of the peril incurred by paying undue attention to a King's ward, as the Countess then was, Bruce courteously evaded the invitation, but the gallant lady's wish was not to be so easily put aside, and on a signal, given, it has been recorded, by herself, the retinue closed in around him, while the Countess seized his bridal reins, and led him off with gentle violence to her castle. Within a fortnight they were married, and King Alexander soon afterwards was induced to overlook the youthful indiscretion on payment of a heavy fine. The second Robert Bruce thus became Earl of Carrick in right of his wife, and she became mother of that still more famous third Robert Bruce, the hero of Bannockburn and restorer of Scottish independence, born 11th July, 1274.
It was within the walls of Turnberry that the most powerful Scottish and English barons met on the death of King Alexander III., 1286, to subscribe that bond declaring that they would henceforth adhere to and take part with one another, on all occasions, and against all persons, “saving their allegiance to the King of England, and also their allegiance to him who should gain the kingdom of Scotland by right of descent." The Countess Marjory died some time before 1292, as in November of that year Bruce, then in full possession, to avoid homage to Baliol, resigned the Earldom of Carrick into the hands of his son Robert, then seventeen, and afterwards retired to his English estates. Besides Robert, King of Scots,