Clan Carruthers

CLAN CARRUTHERS: Bannockburn House

Bannockburn House is one of the finest houses of this ilk open to the public in Scotland today.  Its historical and architectural value is a delight for all those interested in Scotland’s rich past, and well worth the visit.

Bannockburn House is a 17th Century A-listed mansion house, which has survived largely unchanged, apart from an added Victorian extension.  The original part of the house was completed around 1675 by Sir Hugh Paterson, although it is believed it may be built on an earlier building called Drummonds’ Hall.

Sir John Drummond was granted the Barony of Bannockburn in 1567 by Mary Queen of Scots and his Grandson, built Drummonds’ Hall.  The lands of Bannockburn then came into the hands of the Rollo family in 1636 with King Charles II granting the Baronetcy to Sir Andrew Rollo in 1651. He had supported Charles I during the English Civil war.

Sir Hugh Paterson purchased the lands in 1672 and the house was completed around 1675.  Described by a specialist as a “rare survivor” of its time with many interesting architectural features. The main ones being the “Laigh Hall” and “Blue Room” ceilings reputed to be the work of Houlbert and Dunsterfield, two highly skilled craftsmen who had been commissioned by Charles II to produce ornate ceilings within Holyrood Palace. Sir Hugh’s son, Hugh, as a staunch royalist, became the first Baronet of Bannockburn, the title given by James VII of Scotland, II of England.

Clementina Walkinshaw

It was in this very building that Bonnie Prince Charlie (1720-1788), met his mistress Clementina Walkinshaw (1720-1802).  Clementina was the youngest of the ten daughters of John Walkinshaw of Barrowhill (1671–1731) and his wife Katherine Paterson. Her father had become a wealthy  Glasgow merchant and was also a staunch Episcopalian and a Jacobite, who had fought for the Prince’s father in the rising of 1715. He was captured at the Battle of Sheriffmuir, before escaping from Stirling Castle and fleeing to Europe. In 1717, he had been pardoned by the British Government and returned to Glasgow, where his youngest daughter was born probably at Camlachie. However, Clementina was largely educated on the Continent, and later converted to Roman Catholicism. In 1746, she was living at the home of her uncle, Sir Hugh Patterson 2nd Baronet, at Bannockburn near Stirling.

The Prince came to Sir Hugh’s home in early January 1746 after the battle of Culloden, where he first met Clementina, and he returned later that month to be nursed by her from what appears to have been a cold. Given that she was living under her uncle’s protection, it is not thought the two were lovers at this time. Clementina eventually moved to France to be with Charlie and although the relationship was turbulent at best, they had a daughter Charlotte, who wasn not legitimised until 1783.

Old Photo of Bannockburn House

Ongoing History of the House

When the house passed to the 2nd Baronets daughter, Mary, in 1787, she sold the property to William Ramsey of Barnton and Sauchie. The house stayed in the Ramsey Family until it came to Sir James Ramsey Gibson-Maitland, who sold it to Alexander Wilson in 1883. Alexander was a member of the famous Bannockburn weaving family of Wilson. William Wilson and Sons were remarkable in that they were weaving tartan during the period of the Proscription of .the Highland Garb Act, 1746 – 1782. The company had a large civilian trade which eventually sent tartan to North and South America, the West Indies Europe and the Indian continent and it supplied tartans to many of the Highland regiments from the last quarter of the l8th century until the end of the 19th. The majority of the pre-1850 patterns bearing clan names can only be traced back to the early 19th century and to the famous weaving firm itself, the popularity of whuch was assisted by the works of Sir Walter Scott, which romaticised all things Scottish

1825 Letter to William Wilsons & Son of Bannockburn ordering a length of ‘LESLIE, HUNTING’ tartan
© National Museums of Scotland

The two-pronged trade in tartan may therefore be the reason why William Wilson and Son has been ‘credited with’ or ‘blamed for’ the invention of clan and family tartans in the 18th century. A vast quantity of their records survived when the firm was liquidated in the 1920’s and they are preserved in the National Library of Scotland and in various other museums.

Alexander made many additions and changes to Bannockburn House, including a new porch entrance and extension to the library and office, and above the main doorway a recess to accommodate a coat of arms which now is empty. The house then moved into the hands of the Mitchell family in 1910. James Mitchell was a Banker and Sheriff Substitute for Stirling. The family were from Airdrie, having prominent connections there through his wife Annie Rankin and major interests in Coal mining. in 1960 the house again changed hands and this time to the Pickard family in 1962.  Albert Ernest Pickard was a well-known but eccentric millionaire and businessman. He was a self-made man who made his fortune from property and had owned many Music Halls in Glasgow including the famous Britannia Panopticon. Mr Pickard never lived in the house but a Caretaker and Housekeeper were employed to look after it. Mr Pickard sadly died in 1964 with the house being sold by his family in 1979, to businessman Mr Peter Drake. Mr Drake did not reside in the house and used it mainly for storage, having interests elsewhere. In 2016, Mr Drake put the house and 26 acres of the lands on the market for sale.

Bannockburn House Trust

iu-2Bannockburn House Trust was formed in 2017 to try and raise the funds to purchase the house for the Community. The Trust secured sole rights to buy the house in April 2017 and began fundraising to do so. This was successful in 2017 with the help from public donations and grants through the Scottish Land Fund and Stirling Council. Bannockburn House is now fully in public hands.

The purchase is the biggest community buy out of its kind in the UK. This was only made possible by all the hard work and support of a dedicated band of volunteers who have put their hearts and souls into the project. Some of the information in this post was taken from the trust site and written by Anne Monaghan of the History Society in April 2018. The house is well worth a visit, as it is a mainstay in Scottish History. For further information and to offer support please visit:


Carruthers Clan Badge on Bruce and Red Carruthers Tartans

So is their a Carruthers connection, sadly, and again regarding Carruthers and our support for Bruce at Bannockburn, there is no real proof, other than a strong supposition and family legend, that we as a family were actually represented en masse at the decisive and pivotal battle in Scottish history. Although there is a genuine likelihood that more than a few individual family members were in attendance in the ranks of the border Scots who supported Bruce. Therefore, the fact that we were noted loyal supporters of Bruce is not in question historically, and thus our support would have been given freely.

It is therefore because of this support, rather than any strong family links that we were included as a ‘Sept’ of Bruce in the commercialisation of all things Scottish in the 1800’s. This was rather than being recognised as a clan in our own right, albeit armigerous. Hopefully this is about to be rectified in the early part of 2019.

It is documented that we rewarded for our services by King Robert the Bruce in the year 1320 by reciept of a charter of all the lands of “Musfald et de Appiltrewayt cum pertinenciis“. It is further stated by Bain in the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland in 1888-89, that the Carruthers family were Stewards of Annandale and keepers of Trailtow Preceptory and Guardians of the ‘Old Kirk Ford’ of Hoddam under the Bruce’s. Ths was when they were Lords of Annandale, which suggests our support of them and our recognition by them, was before Bannockburn in 1314.

Isabella MacDuff, Countess of Buchan, crowns Robert the Bruce at Scone in 1306; from a modern tableau at Edinburgh Castle. Photo by Kim Traynor / Wikimedia Commons

The Bruce were Lords of Annandale from 1070 to 1305, when King Edward I of England, who had great sway in Scotland in those days, forfeited the lands of Robert Lord of Carrick and 7th of Annandale. Robert was to become known as ‘the Bruce’ and was crowned King of Scots in 1306 at Scone (pronounced Scoon) Abbey, Scone, Perthshire.

Scone Abbey (originally Scone Priory), established in the early 1100’s was a house of the Order of Augustine, located in the ancient province of Gowrie, which is now the eastern portion of what is Perthshire today.  Many historians also believe that the area always had religious connotations, being the centre of an early medieval Christian cult called the Culdees. Very little is known about them but it is thought that the cult may have been worshiping there as early as 700 A.D. Archaeological surveys taken in 2007 suggest that Scone was therefore a site of real significance, even prior to 841 A.D, when King Kenneth MacAlpin brought the Stone of Destiny, Scotland’s most prized relic and coronation stone, to Scone.

Clan Carruthers Society WP footnote grey

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