Clan Carruthers

CLAN CARRUTHERS: George Carruthers, 10th of Holmains, 6th Bar.

George Carruthers 10th of Holmains and 6th Baron, 19th of his line, was born to John 9th and Mary daughter of William Carruthers of Denbie in 1677. It was his father John 9th who registered the Carruthers chief’s arms with the Lord Lyon after the Lyons act of 1672. George was the grandfather of John 12th, who was the last Laird before the chiefship became dormant for 210 years until 2019 and the confirmation by the Lord Lyon of the current chief, Peter Carruthers of Holmains .

George inherited the lands and titles in 1723 and set about to improve the status of the Barony as it had long been the practice for the main estate to bequeath land to those who were not heirs to the majority, thus nibbling away at the estate itself. However in 1699, George was given a ‘Great Seal’ charter in favour of himself and his heirs male, which was ratified in parliament. This stood until the Royal Charter to Holmains of 1755, and John 12th’s Marriage contract, which allowed succession through both male and female lines, a situation that has remained so to this day.

In 1704 George was a Commissioner to the Scottish Parliament for Dumfriesshire, a bit like our Member of Parliament today. The original Parliament of Scotland (or “Estates of Scotland”) was the national law maker of the independent Kingdom of Scotland. It existed from the early 13th century until 1707. This was when the Kingdom of Scotland merged with the Kingdom of England under the Acts of Union 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. Because of this, the Parliament of Scotland was closed and a Parliament of Great Britain was created at Westminster in London. This remained the state of play until 1998 when the new devolved Scottish Parliament was opened.

During this period, he presented a bell to the new Parish Church at Dalton, built in 1704, which sadly is now a roofless shell. The new church was built in the Romanesque style in 1895 and stands next to it. It is in the churchyard of the old kirk, that a late Georgian burial enclosure with a rather ornate classical monument to the Carruthers of Whitecroft can be found. Dalton Kirk is part of the St Mungo (Kentigern) Pilgrim Journey, which runs from St Kentigern’s Episcopal Seat at Hoddom (formally on Carruthers lands) to the tomb in the crypt of Glasgow Cathedral. St Mungo is the Patron Saint of Glasgow.

The bell for the church was cast by John Meikle of Edinburgh who was regarded as eminent in his field as both a maker and tuner of bells. This was one of the last bells he made, as he died that year. It was obviously a work that carried great pride as the inscription bands, which carried the inscription ‘ George Carruthers of Holmains, Patron of the united parishes of Meikle and Little Daltons. Edinburgh 1704‘ being finely crafted and carrying the strawberry – leaf frieze much used by Meikle to mark his work.

The Arms of Holmains, surmounted by helm and mantling with the crest being shown as 6 wings, the upper and lower-most crossed in saltire with an angel’s face in the centre, and the motto ‘Promptus et Fidelis‘ above it, were clearly and again finely engraved on the waist of the bell on both sides. The tinctures of the arms clearly defined, as they were in the day.

Interestingly, in 1698 John Meikle received a contract for supplying a ‘chime’ of bells’ for St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh. The records also show that the Scottish Parliament, on the 15th of June 1686, in support of this contract, passed an “Act in favours of John Meikle founder,” granting him for 19 years the ‘privileges of manufactury‘ for casting bells, cannons and other such useful instruments. It is obvious that having gone to such a prestigious maker, George had obviously managed to raise the financial profile of the barony during his lifetime.

It is on record that a case was taken to court by George to terminate a lease of farmland in Ecclefechan by his father to his tenant. The tenent was William Irving of Kirkconnel, son of Edward Irving of Bonshaw. However it failed, as a clause which stated ‘perpetually and continually as long as the grass groweth up and the water runneth down‘ affected the decision. Even though the tenant himself had died, his successors successfully claimed the rights to the land, much to George’s concern.

It was George who married his cousin in secret, an irregularity which the Church was appalled by and for that he was called to account by the judiciary. According to the Decisions by the Court of Sessions he was ordered to pay his fees and an amount to the poor of the parish. Sadly the records show that the poor actually received very little, if anything at all.

It is known that George had 8 children:

  • John b. 1706 his eldest and heir who was to become John 11th of Holmains, d 1734, he left a son John who was to become 12th of Holmains and a daughter Philidelphia. John 12th was 4 x G Grand father of our current Chief.
  • William b. 1711, who died aged 3,
  • Thomas b. 1709, who became a physician in Cockermouth. he set sail to the colonies, but died by drowning in 1748, en route to the Carolinas. He left 3 sons and one daughter.
  • James b. 1712, died that same year aged 2 weeks old.
  • George, b 1719, died aged 12 years.
  • Helen b. 1705 d.n.d
  • Margaret b. 1713, died aged 6 days old.
  • Ann b. 1716 m. 1749 to John Martin of Dumfries.

George Carruthers 10th of Holmains and 6th Baron died in his 50th year in 1727, having made a difference to the Holmains estate which he passed to his eldest son John.

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