McAdam House of Craigengillan
Andrew McAdam and Marion Grierson, his wife, who dwelled in Auldcrago were
the first known McAdam owners of “Craigengillan” (1578-81 Acts and Decree’s)
How title to the property of Craigengillan was obtained is not known, but Andrew and his wife,
Marion Grierson of Auld Craig held title to “Craigengillan” in 1580. Crago in Balmaclellan Parish belonged
to Roger Gordon who also owned part of Holm of Dalquharne. The title to Craigengillan is confirmed in
1620 in deed of the Earlston lands that names William of Waterhead owner of 6.5 merklands and
William in Auldcraig the owner of 8/ lands of Craigengillan. The old “Craigengillan” lands bordered the
Waterhead property to the south towards the town of St. John of Dalry.
The known sons of Andrew and Marion were:
A.....William of Craigengillan
B... David in Craigengillan
C.... John in Little Auchra had 8/ lands of Bow married — Anderson. He died 10 Nov.1576.
of Dalquharne. Adam/Andro married a daughter, either Jane or Marion, of his uncle, John McAdam and
wife, --- Anderson of Little Auchra.
i. Adam/Andro McAdam was the last in this McAdam line to own the “Craigengillan” property
as title passed to the Waterhead McAdam. The reason for this is not known, but Quintin of Craigengillan,
second son of Gilbert and Margaret McAdam took title to the property and thus “old Craigengillan”became
part of the Waterhead Estate.
allied to theSinclairs of the Glen in some way. Their children were:
i.....David his eldest son get Little Auchray
ii....Thomas, John in St. John’s Clachane as adviser
iii...John, Andrew in Waterhead his adviser, get 8 / lands of Bow.
iv...Janet the eldest daughter
vii....unnamed daughter married Adam/Andrew McAdam in Ye Holm
viii...unnamed daughter married Thomas McCourtie
(It possible that Janet married Adam and Marrion married Thomas).
The orginal McAdam of Craigengillan family did not cease to exist and some members
remained in the area and purchased or leased other property. Others left for Ayr,
Glasgow, Edingburgh, England and Ireland and then slipped quietly into history.
1591. However, his brother, William was the official heir toWaterhead. Their brother,
John used both titles of “Waterhead and Craigengillan” as he had portions of both. James,
a son of John was heir a heir to his uncle, Quintin of Craigengillan in 1662. His younger
brother,William had over sasine of Knockengorroch in 1662. William’s heir was Robert
McAdam who had sasine of 1/2 merkland of Knockengorroch in 1702. This was passed
to his daughter, Jean in 1731.
Quintin of Grimmits, son of Quintin married Marion, the daugher of John Blair, youngr of Ilk
in1656. John Blair was the son of William and wife Lady Margaret Hamilton. The name
Grimmits first appears in a document dated 1665 on the testament of William McAdam
in Gartleffen, Parish of Dalry where he mentions Quintin of Grimmits. He died before 1719
and John, the son of James became heir to the Craigengillan title who was Quintin’s heir.
He also had Nether Smeatonin 1652.
The Knockengorroch, Glenhead, Strathanna, Longford, Woodhead and other estates were
held by the Crawfords, McMillians, William Gordon, David Wright, Alexander Shaw,
John Hamilton, Robert Grierson and others over the next 100 years. However, most were
combined and eventually owned by Quintin McAdam in 1700 who married Kathriene
Montgomery, 29 Jun 1691. Their son was John McAdam.
Quintin died before1730 as John is recorded in the Service of Heir’s Books on this date. John had
sasine and was his heir on 15 July1724. The “Grimmit Estate” went to Quintin son of John
McAdam. The estate eventually encompassed the lands from Stration to Dalmellington, a
distance of about 8 miles.
On 6 Sept. 1779, Quintin, son of John had sasaine. When Quintin died
18 March 1784 the Grimmit property is recorded to being divided between three of his sons,
David of Grimmit, James of Faunstock, and John of Craigengillan. The children of Quintin
and Kathrine Montgomery are:
A... David married Sarha Hair, son Alexander his hier of Grimmits
B..John married Katherine Cunningham
C..James married Mary McCutchon
D...William of Wigtown
E..Gilbert of Craigengilla
From estate records his daughters appear to be:
Margaret, Elizabeth, Jean Logan wife of Gilbert, Agnes McClune, and Janet McClune
were paid off. Daniel Smith is mentioned as an heir.
of Grimmitt. He had sasine of Glenhead, Gortfary, Clayrock, Glenohie, Berleuch, Kilbrenock,
Their children were:
a....Rev. Alexander of Grimmet had sasine of Over and Nether Strangasell married Jane Dick in 1805 in Kirkoswald.
Their children were:
ii....Alexander, son, Alexander, son,James Kennedy, his son, Alexander was last McAdam’s
owner of Craigengillan
b...Quintin of Waterside married Mary Barker 1791
Had at least 2 sons who died in the West Indies.
c....John married Janet Blair, both died in Ayr. Their children:
i....Alexander b. 1805
ii...James b. 1807
iii...Sarah b. 1809
iv.. Susan Anne b. 1812 married James Davidson
d...Susan married W. Johnston - 5 children
e...David, married P. Stair had a son Archibald
f..Quintin, had son David
g..Jean married Capt. Rainkin - 5 children
Crauford who died in 1691.John had used the title of Craigengillan which was a farm
south of Waterhead . He held that title and re-named Berbeth property “Craigengillan”.
The present day Craigengillan estate is located here now. John also purchased the
Waterhead propety in 1778. John McAdam married Katherine Cunningham, daughter
of Sir. William Cunningham of Robert Bart. He had son, Quintin and
daughters, Margaret and Jane who married Mr. Forbs. Quintin McAdam was heir to the
Craigengillan Estate. His only son, Quintin did not marry, but had children by more than
one mistress. The estate was tied up in court for several years and title passed to his
daughter, Jean who died without issue. Title eventually passed out of the McAdam family.
Children of John McAdam of Craigengillan and a writer in Ayr and Katherine Cunninghan:
ii....Jane married Mr. Forbes
iii...Quintin c. 22 Nov. 1769 in Ayr.
!!!!!!!!!C. James McAdam a Merchant in Faunstock may have married Mary McCutchon
26 April 1710
i....Marjory b. 1714
ii. Margaret b. 1719
iiii....James born Ayr 1723 son, c 1 Dec. 1765 James McAdam,a farmer at Auchens and Greenhill plus he was
owner of McAdam and Hodge. He was 1/8 owner of Ship Lady Mary. He married Margaret Allason
in 1789 and died April 1794.
a. Charles, c. 20 July 1765
c. Elizabeth, b. 3 Jan. 1789
Rev. Alex. Brown in 1810 and William McAdam of Wigton had Over-Hazlefield in 1819.
i. Thomas died at Whitehorn
a. William died at Salmakie in 1832 may have married Jean Brown, his son James died in 1853, son
b. Alexander married Janet McCutchon on 8 Oct. 1765, son, William b. 17 Jan. 1767, Janet c. 1765
c. James married Mary McCutchon, son James c. 1765 in Ayr.
ii. John McAdam married Mary Gordon Oct. 1745 in Stranraer, Wigtown.
iii. Jean married James Stewart 28 July 1749 in Wigtown
a. James, b. 1724
Some revised information will be posted soon.
The McAdam of Waterhead dates back to before 1600 and the Craigengillan McAdam’s are referred to as the “younger” branch of the family. John McAdam of Craigengillan became very rich and had large land holding. He made his fortune in cattle, banking, trade, and mining. He accumulated vast land holdings when a general economic depression hit the after the collapse of the Bank of Ayr in 1772, a bank founded by his cousin, James McAdam of Waterhead.
In his old age he became concerned that his only son, Quintin had not married. There appeared to be no McAdam heir to Craigengillan. He deeded property and money to his two daughters, Elizabeth and Jane, but put the first right of secession of Craigengillan to his brother’s sons. John wrote a lengthy 24 page document and detailed trust stating the property must always be called “McAdam of Craigengillan” and only a person with the name McAdam could posses the lands. “Who ever succeed must be obliged to assume and constantly bear the surname, Arms and Designation of McAdam of Craigengillan as their proper surname after their superior proved hereby expressly provided and declared and appointed to be inserted into the Charters and Sessions to follow heron.” He further stated that no one could sell any present lease before they expired in the next 2 to 19 years. He detailed the right of secession giving his son, first right if he had a male heir. His brother, Lt. David McAdam, deceased appears to have been the first son and have first rights to the property. In his place the trust named his son, Alexander McAdam to be first in line of secession if Quintin had no legal male heirs. In the event of no male heirs the property was to revert to John’s daughters, Margaret McAdam, the oldest, then to Jean McAdam. John McAdam died in 1790 and his son, Quintin held the Craigengillan property in trust.
By 1790 John Loudon McAdam had returned to Scotland and began his road building business. Around the turn of the century John Loudon had employed Quintin McAdam of Craigengillan and his cousin Quintin McAdam of Waterside as road trustees. Quintin McAdam of Craigengillan was a Deputy Lt. Col. of a Volunteer Battalion and in his own right somewhat of an expert on road-building. From the letters he wrote we can deduct he furnished financing on several projects.
One such letter written 14 March 1802 to R.A. Oswald, Esq. of Auchencruive states: If you are of the opinion the new line of road from Dalmellington to Casphairn should be made this summer it is time to be looking out for contractors. Mr. McQuiston’s estimate, I think there is a doubt it will be got executed at or below it, is L1,239 including Bridges and Pens in Ayrshire and L480 in Galloway including Bridges and pens. The Bridges will in time recover off the Counties, and perhaps we may get the Galloway people to pay a part of the whole of their part of the road. If you approve of carrying on the road, my opinion is, it will be best for you and I to advance the money, in place of borrowing it, and take the security of the tolls. Most Sincerely your, Quintin McAdam.
Quintin, referred to as “Young Dunaskin’s laird” a title given to him by Robert Burns titled “Mr. McAdam of Craigengillan. Dunastan was one of the estates acquired by his father. Quintin provided political connections that was helpful to the McAdam’s family road building business. He was known to have a remarkably clear and vigorous mind but had a tendency to become very violent and excitable when he drank too much. He had an obsession of extraordinary outbursts of anger especially about poachers on his land, which he had written several letters. At the close of the century he began seeing Elizabeth Walker, a country girl who lived with her brother, a farmer in the neighourhood of the McAdam’s estate. Records suggest that Elizabeth had a son by him before 1800, which was held as a secret until 1823. In any event, Elizabeth left her brother’s house and on the day after Quintin writes to him the following letter:
Berbeth (Quintin did not use the term Craigengillan, but used Berbeth, an ancient name given to the property) dated 21 Feb. 1800.
You will perhaps be surprised when I tell you your sister is come to live with me, but I hope you will not e angry, when I assure you that I mean to behave to her in the most honorable matter. I have already settled sixty guineas on her yearly during her life. I have made her no promise of marriage, but it is very probable it will end in that. She and I would be very happy. You will come over to day, and if there is any further explanation you wish, I shall be glad to make it you. I am, James, yours,
He also wrote to his lawyer the following letter:
I am going to take a girl into keeping; her name is Elizabeth Walker, daughter of the late John Walker, in Knockdon, parish of Stratton. Get two bonds wrote instantly, and be sure to send them by the very first post to Ayr, blinding me and my heirs to pay her sixty guineas yearly so long as she lives. Write them so that if I at any time marry her, that she gets no more jointure, unless provided by a subsequent deed. I mean by that to prevent any claim to a third of the movables. I suppose it can be done, if not, write them as you see best. Be sure that they arrive at Ayr on Wednesday or Thursday at latest, I shall be in Edinburgh the first week of March, and will bring in the will, but is it not better to allow it to remain as it is until we see what this produces?
It is assumed that Quintin intended to marry Miss. Walker in the event of having an heir. He openly stated that he wanted to make sure he had an heir before he would consider marrying her. He also openly stated he would blow out his brains before he ever married Miss Walker. Five years afterwards, on 21 March he wrote to Mr. Smith, his man of business in Edinburgh:
As I intend to marry Miss Walker immediately, come out as soon as you receive this, and bring stamped paper to write the contract, and everything requisite to draw up a deed to have the whole of my landed property that I now have, or may afterwards acquire, strictly entailed. Mention this to no person, not even to your son.
Quintin did have children with Miss Walker but they are not mentioned. It appears they had two daughters. Miss Walker was with child at the time but Quintin may not have known this. In any event, the letter to Mr. Smith was sent to the post office late on the morning of Friday, the 22nd of March. Quintin after walking out before breakfast, came in and told Elizabeth that he wished to declare their marriage immediately, without waiting for Mr. Smith’s arrival. She expressed her willingness, and accordingly, between 10 or 11 in the morning, Quintin summoned George Ramsay a servant, James Richardson, gardener, and Robert Gall, the head groom into the dining room. He then asked Elizabeth to stand up and holding her hand, said, I take you three to witness that this is my lawful married wife, and the children here are lawful children. Elizabeth said nothing, but curtsied in a sign of assent. Quintin afterwards went with his usual walk with his dogs, saw several of the workmen on the estate, whom he told of his marriage and received congratulations. He also called on his factor. He told him of his marriage and asked him to dine with him that day but the factor excused himself on the grounds of a previous engagement. Quintin returned home about 3 o’clock and wrote a codicil to his will containing a bequest to a very close friend, Sir John Maxwell of Pallock. “Maxwell, I leave my chestnut horse and my pointer, Sancho, and Major too if he chooses. The rest are too old. About four o’clock and went upstairs, as his housekeeper supposed, to change as customary before dinner. The report of a pistol was heard, but no notice was taken of it. Quintin had often taken target practice out his bedroom window for his amusement. When dinner was laid, a servant went upstairs to inform him dinner was served but found Quintin lying dead on the top of the staircase with two pistols in his hands, one of which had been discharged into his mouth.
Quintin left a trust deed, executed in 1803, appointing Sir William Cuninghame of Robertland, Sir John Maxwell of Pollok, Alexander Cuninghame of Irvine, Thomas Grierson, and Thomas Smith, one of the principal clerks of Bills, as trustees and tutors and curators, not only to any legitimate children but also his illegitimate children by Elizabeth Walker and another, naming the children. These trustees took possession of the whole property.
(This trust deed has not been located the information confirms that Quintin had children by another besides Elizabeth Walker. All the names are not known but Jean, his daughter acknowledged in her Trust that she had a sister, Katherine who died in 1817 and a brother Quintin who died in 1820. She paid off William McAdam who in his bond says he was the son of Quintin and Elizabeth McAdam, but never acknowledges any relationship to William.)
Rev. Alexander McAdam of Grimmit had sasine of Over and Nether Strangasell on a precept from Chancery. He was the son of Lt. David McAdam and resident of Derry, Ireland died in 1752. Alexander took measures with a view that the heirship of Craigengillan property should be entrusted to him. He was well aware of the John McAdam’s Trust naming him to be served as heir of entail. He understandable by profession did not approve of his uncle taking a mistress. He believed to the day he died 26 Feb. 1823 that the property in Trust was his legal claim to Craigengillan. He never accepted that the children of Elizabeth Walkers were the legal heirs of the property placed in Trust by John McAdam. Upon the death of Quintin, he raised a petition for delivery of the keys, charter chest, titles, and all property.
Various Court proceeding followed, far too numerous to give in detail. A proof was allowed, not only of the marriage, but also of the allegation of the deceased’s insanity at the time of the so-called marriage as incapacitating him from entering into a contract. The evidence was brought that Quintin had told the gardener several weeks before his death, that the day he married Miss. Walker would be the day he would blow out his brains. There was evidence from one medical gentleman that Quintin was liable to a disorder which was a degree of Melancholic insanity but in the opinion of other medical gentlemen it was the disease originated in his stomach. For some years Quintin had shown signs of derangement but this in the opinion of a surgeon,” proceeded entirely from intoxication upon an inimitable temperament, and the disorder yielded at once to the remedies which were administered.” One witness who left the household the day prior to his death said of Quintin “Usual good sense upon different topics of conversation.” The proof is interesting as representing the fashion of the day. Besides the servants, there were doctors, tradesmen, friends which included the Earls of Cassillis and Eglinton, the Lord Lieutenant spoke of Quintin as an excellent magistrate and Deputy Lieutenant. One such person who gave evidence in support of Quintin was Sir Alexander Cathcart. His son, Colonel Frederick Cathcart married Quintin’s daughter in 1827.
The Judges were divided, eight to uphold the marriage and five were against. Lord President, Islay Campbell, was in the minority, and in giving his opinion was insistent that Quintin had no intention in him to make the lady his wife, but on the contrary he meant to make her his widow. An appeal to the House of Lords was dismissed and in giving a very learned and well-reasoned judgment, Lord Eldon, Lord Chancellor, remarked with reference to grounds stated by the President of the Court of Session, “In this part of the island we do not understand how a person can be made a widow without having been previously made a wife.”
The case established the principle that a contract de pressenti, as distinguished from de futuro subsequente copula constitutes a marriage. Consensus non concubitus facit matrimoniam. The simplest form of irregular marriage, which can occur, is that which consists in the mere expression of mutual consent to marry. However, a recent statute has altered the law of marriage in Scotland. There is some reason to feel that the ground which the learned Islay Campbell intended to convey was the fundamental principle on which the case should have been decided. He believed that mere mutual consent not followed by cohabitation is not of itself marriage. The Court, however, decided otherwise. The case was, no doubt, was a scandal. It turned out the Quintin McAdam and Elizabeth Walker was married by accidentally by the insatiable law of Scotland. However, the law has been changed. There were a large number of advocates engaged in this case, which was watched throughout England and Ireland that would rival any famous case in history.
By 1813, John Loudon McAdam and most of his immediate family had moved to away. It may well be that some of the McAdames who migrated to Canada and American between 1805 and 1820 were disassociating themselves from the Craigengillan scandal.
Quintin McAdam, Jr. was born after his father’s death and provided some claim that Quintin had a legitimate male heir. Quintin served as heir to his father on 3 August 1813. On 2 November 1814 the Trustees placed young Quintin in charge of Craigengillan. In 1817 the oldest daughter, Katherine died. In l822 ,William McAdam, the first child by Quintin and Elizabeth now serving in the military, was granted a life-renter estate by the Trustees.
In 1826, just barley out of his teens, Quintin took ill and mysterious died. His sister, the 2’d child, Jean McAdam quickly took control of the Estate, an act that was not known to have been challenged. She then married Col. Frederick Carthcart who changed his name to McAdam-Cathcart to satisfy the Trust of John McAdam requiring title to be held by a person named McAdam. Jean paid off William McAdam as part of the legacy guaranteed by the Trust in the amount of L7,000 but never acknowledges any relationship to him. In 1832, as all but one of the Trustees of the Craigengillan Estate had died off. Jean McAdam Cathcart took the property out of Trust and in 1833 had a deed of trust granted to herself. She states in the title transfer from the Trust that she was the sole heir of the Craigengillan property. She noted her older sister, Katherine died in 1817 and her brother, Quintin who was born after her father’s death, died 19 June 1826. However, there is no record that this action was challenged. However, David McAdam, the 4 th son of Rev. Alexander McAdam and named in rights of succession of John McAdam’s Trust, notes in his will - in the event the rights of succession to the Estate of Craigengillan should be held in the family.
Colonel Cathcart died in 1868 and Jean died in 1878 childless and a widow. Having no heir the property was left to a nephew Augustus Murry Cathcart according to Carol Cathcart. However, the last lard of the McAdam name, Alexander Frederick MacAdam, held the property. He married Charolett Tilke, a widow of Capt. Henry F.G. Coleman of Leicester, England. He died at the age of 36 in the Isle of Wright in 1901. He is buried in the family crypt at Dalmellington. He was remembered for his generosity and above all, for his skill with horses. Tradition records he once raced a train from Ayr with coach and horse. He had the reputation of being the finest amateur four-in-hand driver in all Great Britain. Robert Hetrick, Dalmellington’s blacksmith-poet wrote poem to Alexander but he died before the poem was actually published. The property passed to the Coleman family to Mrs. Coleman who died in 1952. Mr. Gavin was the heir of the “Craigengillan”. The new owner of the estate is Mark Gibson
It will appear evident from the above sketch that on the death of Mrs. Cathcart the present proprietor of Craigengillan without children William McAdam in Gatehouse is her heir to the entailed estate it will be observed however, that Mr. McAdam of Bennan the second cousin of the present William McAdam’s grandfather, had a family of natural children as marked in dotted lines, on the sketch and these had they been legitimate would have succeeded before William.
Indeed it is a son of one of these natural children, who is reported heir to and noticed by Mrs. Cathcart as such. The question of Bennan’s marriage with therefore be satisfactorily set at rest, it is said that Bennan kept the mother of his natural children in a private house in Straitain enquiries must be made there as to this, find out the name of the female, under what name she lived, in that house, and if she paid rent and taxes in her maiden name how she was acknowledged by Bennan and if she served him, what was her position, the session books must be searched to see the entries of the births of the children and whether recorded as illegitimate or not this if found would end the case.
Gatehouse 21 March 1876
In reflecting on you enquires of regarding the Craigengillan line of succession. I remember my father (Your Grandfather) Williamm McAdam, who died at Palnackie. He is mentioned in the lineal sketch that in his young days used to be at Craigengillan and when he left was always loaded with presents. Your grandfather, you will see, is the first of the line then your own father, James McAdam and is next yourself. After that you go back to your own grandfather, Thomas McAdams who was in the Excise in Whithorn, Scotland. He lived and died there a most respectable and married man whom William McAdam, was his eldest son. After him you must trace the lineal line.
I wish you success in your pursuit, as I can say no more on the subject.
I am, Dear Nephew, your affect uncle D. McAdam
Shipping Agent Gatehouse of Fleet now at the age of 94 years.
To Mr. M’Adam of Craigengillan
Sir, ov’er a gill I gat your card,
I trow it made me proud;
“‘See wha takes notice o’ the Bard!
I sap and cried fu’ loud.
Now diel-ma-care about their jaw,
The seseless, gawky million:
I’ll cock my nose aboon them a’
I’m roosed by Craigengillan
“Twas noble, sir: twas like yousel’
to grant your high protection:
A great man’s smile, ye ken fu’ well,
Is aye a blest infection;-
Though, by his banes who in a tub
Matched Macedonian Sandy!
On my ain legs, through dirt and dub
I independent stand aye.
And when those legs to good warm kail,
Wi’ welcome canna bear me,
A lee dike-side, a sybow-tail
And barley-scone, shall cheer me
Heven spare you lang to kiss the breath
O’ many flowery simmers!
And bless your bonny lasses baith--
I’m told they’ve lovesome kimmers!
And God bless youg Danskin’s laird,
The blossom of our gentry,
And may he wear and auld man’s beard,
A credit to his country.