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THE GALLOWAY MACKAYS

The Galloway McEths are divided into two main branches, the M'Ghies of Balmaghie and the M'Kies of Larg, of which the former may be the older, but the latter has the more numerous offshoots. They are one and the same family originally, although the names appear slightly different in script - a difference which was at first very much a matter of taste, but which custom petrified to some extent. The striking affinity between the arms of the two branches also indicates a close relationship. The arms of Balmaghie are blazoned by Sir George Mackenzie, "Sable, three leopards' heads erased, argent". The crest consists of a leopard's head erased, langued, proper, with the motto Quae Sursum Volo. Corresponding to the leopards (Scots, lions) of M'Ghie, the M'Kies of Larg carry a lion in chief. Thus both branches bore the lion with a difference.

THE BALMAGHIE M'GHIES

Balmaghie, i.e., the Town of Mackay, Kirkcudbrightshire, was the seat of the family from very early times. Chamber's Caledonia, the Statistical Account, M'Kerlie's Galloway, etc., record a tradition that the lands and church derived their name from a Celtic chieftain, who settled there in the distant past. But in the Cart. of St. Cross the church of Kirkandrew, Balmakethe, is mentioned among various other benefices granted in the 12th century by Fergus of Galloway to the Abbey of Holyrood. The MacEths must, therefore, have been settled in that quarter before that date. Gilmyhel MacEth signed the Ragman Roll in 1296, and in 1339 a Michael Maege submitted to Edward III (Rotuli Scotiæ). In the Reg.Mag.Sig., 1426, Gilbert M'Gy is styled lord "of Balmage", and from him the descent can be traced for some generations.

I. Gilbert M'Gy, Lord of Balmage, appears in the Exchequer Rolls of 1460. He was succeeded by William.

II. William M'Gye, had sasine of Slogarie in 1471, and on the 16 Aug 1482, had a charter under the Great Seal of Balmage and Slogarie. As this charter bears, he married Blanch de Levenax, widow of Fergus Macdowell of Spottis. This document is witnessed by a William Makgye of Pluntoun, who had a charter of the lands of Pluntoun, 14 Aug 1484. William of Balmage had a son Nicholas.

III. Nicholas, married Elizabeth Maxwell, who bore him two sons: - Gilbert; and William, who succeeded

Gilbert, who predeceased his father, left two daughters (Register of Acts and Decreets 149, 315): -

  1. Marion, married John Redick of Balharro
  2. Janet, married Robert Charteris of Kelwood
IV. William, had a charter under the Great Seal of Balmage and Torris, 18 Mar 1527. He had two sons: -
  1. Alexander, who succeeded
  2. James (Privy Council Register, 10 Mar and 7 Apr 1597), married Jonet, daughter of William M'Ghie, burgess, Kirkcudbright
V. Alexander of Balmage, had a son Robert (Register of Acts and Decreets, 439, 210)

VI. Robert, married Grissel, daughter of John Charteris of Annisfield, and by her had

  1. a son John
  2. a daughter Marie (Register of Acts and Decreets, 492, 155), who married William Gordon of Airds.
VII. John, for whom his grand-uncle James acted as tutor 1629-37. John, who greatly extended his estate and was knighted, is first on record as Sir John in a sasine of 21 May 1655 (Dumfries Sasine)
He married Barbara, daughter of Robert Anderson, burgess, Dumfries, by whom he had a son
Alexander.

VIII. Alexander, married first, Margaret, daughter of Archibald M'Kie of Myretoun-M'Kie, now Merton Hall, but had no issue by her.
He married secondly, Elizabeth Stewart, by whom he had a son and two daughters: -

  1. William
  2. Elizabeth, married John, eldest son of Robert Ferguson of Craigdarroch (Dumfries Sasine, 1682);
  3. Florence, married first, Roger, son of John Gordon of Airds, secondly, James, son of Robert Charteris of Kelwood, and thirdly, Thomas M'Lellan of Balmangan
IX. William (Dumfries Sasine, 10 Jul 1693). He married Anna Ballantyne, who bore him two sons: -
  1. John, who succeeded
  2. Alexander, a surgeon, bailie of the burgh of New Galloway, who had three daughters (Elizabeth, married J. M'Cournty of Furnistoun; Mary, married Robert Macmillan in Barlow; and Margaret).
X. John McGhie, had sasine of Balinaghie, 10 May, 1704. He married Isobel Gordon (Dumfries Sets., 17 May, 1712), youngest daughter of Alexander, Viscount Kenmure, by his third wife, Lady Grissel, daughter of James, Earl of Galloway. He had by her Alexander and William.

XI. Alexander, succeeded in 1732, and left a son, John.

XII. John, succeeded in 1739, and had a son Alexander, who predeceased him.
Alexander, however, married Grissel, daughter of Alexander, Viscount Kenmure, and had a daughter Grissel, who married Captain James Anderson of the Marines, without issue.

William M'Ghie, merchant in Edinburgh, and his wife Eleanor M'Dowall had sasine of the estate of Balmaghie on 6 May 1761, but in 1786 it was sold to Thomas Gordon.

THE M'GHIES OF AIRIE AND AIRDS

The M'Ghies of Airie and Airds sprang from Balmaghie, but we cannot say at what date. The following James of Airie is the first whom we have been able to trace.

I. James M'Ghie, had sasine of Airie and Culquhassan in Dec 1642.
He married first, Janet Gordon, and secondly, Anna Kennethie, by the latter of whom he had Alexander, who succeeded.

II. Alexander, married first, Anna Fullarton, and secondly, Florence Maxwell (Dumfries Sasine, 29 Dec 1703, and 15 Nov 1705).
By the second wife he had Alexander, who succeeded.

III. Alexander, bought the estate of Airds 24 May 1744, and was afterwards known as of Airds. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Gordon of Airds, and widow of Hugh Cairns of Lochhill (Dumfries Sasine, 29 Sep 1724), issue one son Alexander.

IV. Alexander, married first, Elizabeth, daughter of Mr. Todd, banker, London, with issue: -

  1. John
  2. Mary, married Mr. Maclellan, and died in 1817
  3. Jessie, married David Blair of Borgue
Alexander, married secondly, Agnes M'Kie, and by her had Nathaniel

V. John of Castlehill, married Jane, daughter of the Rev. William Donaldson, Parton, by whom he had six daughters: - Mary; Isabella; Elizabeth; Jane; Wilhelmina; and Anne.
The eldest, Mary, married Rev. James Anderson, Stoneykirk, to whom she bore one surviving child, Jeanie (now (1905) Mrs. Captain Webster, Heathfield, Helensburgh).

THE LARG ETC. M'KIES

This branch dates back to the time of king Robert Bruce. According to Barbour's Metrical History of Bruce, the hunted king, escaping from the beagles of John of Lorn, made his way on foot and alone to an appointed trysting place near Loch Dee in Galloway, where he was hospitably entertained by widow Anabel and her three sons, M'Kie, M'Clurg, and Muiredach. During the night the king was joined by his brother and Sir James Douglas with about 150 men, and next morning the widow's sons gave an exhibition of their prowess with the bow which greatly delighted the Bruce; M'Kie with an arrow transfixed a brace of ravens perched upon a rock, while his brother Muiredach brought down the third corbie on the wing.

This incident is supposed to account for the brace of pierced ravens which find a place on the shield of M'Kie. The arms of M'Kie of Larg were never recorded in Lyon Register, but they are described in the Heraldic MSS. of Sir James Balfour, and may be blazoned as follows: - Argent, two ravens pendent from an arrow fessways piercing their necks proper, on a shield azure a lion passant. The crest and motto, are respectively a raven proper and Labora. These arms are now borne by M'Kie of Bargaly, within a bordure componee of the first and second.

When the king came to his own he did not forget the loyal widow and her gallant sons, who had fought for him so well. He bestowed upon the family "the hassock of land 'tween Palnure and Penkill", to wit, the thirty pound land of Cumloden in the parish of Minnigaff and stewartry of Kirkcudbright. It lies between the burns of Palnure and Penkill which flow into the River Cree, and measures about ten miles by three. It was divided into three ten pound lands, which were known as Cumloden-M'Kie, Cumloden-Murdoch, and Cumloden-M'Clurg.

Sir Patrick M'Kie and his successors heavily mortgaged the barony of Larg in the interest of the Solemn League and Covenant, and had their lands eventually forfeited. During the religious persecutions which followed three leading M'Kies, John of Larg, Anthony of Glencaird, and Alexander of Drambuie, were condemned to death. They all escaped, however, but with the loss of their lands, which went to pay the cruel fines imposed. The only family that weathered the storm was M'Kie of Palgown, from which descended the present M'Kies of Bargaly, a family that has religiously striven with a great measure of success for more than a century now to repurchase the old M'Kie lands in Galloway. Long may their tree flourish.

The first notice of the lands of Cumloden is the following in Robertson's Index: - "Carta Gilberti, fil. Nigelli, terrain partem terre de Cameleden, in vie. de Dumfries", which may be translated, charter of Gilbert, son of Neil, of the third part of the lands of Cumloden, in the sheriffdom of Dumfries - "terrain partem terre" being probably intended for "tertiam partem terre". According to the Exchequer Rolls, Cuthbert M'Makay paid £3 13s. 4d. for relief of lands in the county of Wigton, 1330.

I. Malcolm M'Kie of Cumloden, is the first, however, from whom a direct descent can be traced. He had two sons: - Patrick and Gilbert, married Marion de Keth, by whom he got the third part of the barony of Craichlaw, Longaster, and Barmagachrie, c 1450 (Reg.Mag.Sig. v, 69).

II. Patrick, had sasine in 1471 of the lands of Cumloden-M'Kie, Fynataloch, Cloncert, Barnrower, and Baryarrak. He married Marion Makmakene, by whom he got the lands of Drumnagarne (Reg.Mag.Sig., VII., 302), and had a son Patrick.

III. Patrick Makge of Larg, married Janet, daughter of Uchtred Macdowall of Garthland, and widow of Alexander Adair of Kinhilt, as a charter under the Great Seal shows, dated 1529.
An interesting relic of this couple, a monumental stone built into the wall of the old kirk of Minnigaff, bears the inscription: - "Hic jacet _ Patricus M'Kc de Caloda me fieri fecit" (Here lies _ Patrick M'Ke of Camloden caused me to be made).
The known issue of Patrick was two sons: -

  1. Patrick
  2. Archibald of Stranord who had three children: -
    1. Alexander
    2. Patrick of Craignyne
    3. Margaret, married Patrick Heron of Kironghtree
IV. Patrick of Larg, married in 1550 Margaret, daughter of Alexander Stewart of Garlies, and by her had issue: -
  1. Alexander
  2. Duncan of Palgown
  3. Patrick
V. Alexander (who predeceased his father in 1591, and whose widow married secondly, Alexander Gordon of Clanyard),
married Katherine, daughter of Sir Patrick Agnew of Lochnaw, hereditary sheriff of Wigton, contract dated 8 Oct 1575, with issue: -
  1. Patrick
  2. a son who had three sons
    1. Alexander
    2. Patrick, who succeeded to Larg, 1646
    3. James of Crosbie, who had a son Robert, whose son John in 1691 succeeded to Larg and Palgown
VI. Patrick, had a charter under the Great Seal, 4 Mar 1598, as Patrick Makkie, eldest son of the late Alexander Makkie, son and heir apparent of Patrick Makkie of Larg, of the lands of Camloden, Barrawer, Calcathane, Biach, Camden, Fyntillach with the isle in the loch thereof, Clonlouchagach, Garser, Baryarrock, Barjargane, all in Wigtonshire, and Clonquhard in Kirkcudbrightshire, now created into the free barony of Larg with the fortalice of Culgour as chief messuage.

Patrick, who was knighted before 1610, joined the regiment raised by Sir Donald Mackie of Strathnaver for service under the King of Denmark, and was wounded at the battle of Oldenburgh. He returned from the Continent in 1628, and that year became M.P. for the stewartry of Kirkcudbright, a position which he filled till 1639. Sir Patrick, an ardent Covenanter, was chosen president of the first meeting of Kirkcudbright stewartry War Committee on 27 Jun 1640, and soon afterwards commanded a regiment of Galloway horse at the battle of Newburn, in which his only son Alexander fell after capturing a standard from the enemy. Zachary Boyd in a long poem entitled "Newburn Book" thus deplores the fall of young M'Kie: -

"In this conflict, which was a great pitie,
We lost the son of Sir Patrick M'Ghie."

Sir Patrick married first, Susanna, 3rd daughter of Sir Thomas Kennedy of Culzean, no issue. He married secondly, Mary, daughter of Sir Uchtred Macdowall of Garthland, issue five: -

  1. Alexander, killed at Newburn in 1640
  2. Jean, married John Houston of Drumastane, by whom she had a son Patrick
  3. a daughter m Alexander Murdoch of Cumloden
  4. Agnes, married George, son of John Gordon of Airds
  5. Grizel
He married thirdly, Isobel Kerr, Lady Greenheid, who survived him.
Sir Patrick died in 1645, and was succeeded by his nephew,
Patrick M'Kie, bailie in Minnigaff

VII. Patrick in Minnigaff, married Agnes (Bargaly Charters, under Craignell), issue one son Patrick

VIII. Patrick, was infeft in Larg in 1662, and had a son John (Galloway Charters), who married Margaret, youngest daughter of Andrew Heron of Kiroughtree.
The son predeceased the father, and his widow married secondly, James Lidderdale of St. Mary's Isle.
Patrick and John, father and son, were fined for their Covenanting principles, forfeiting their estate in 1680, which came into the administration of the Duke of Queensberry. After the Revolution the estate was restored to
John of Penninghame, great-great-grandson of Alexander, and thus of the 9th generation. Of him follows.

IX. John in Penninghame, had sasine of Larg and Palgown, 2 Jun 1691. He found the estate of Larg too encumbered to recover, and it passed to the Herons of Kiroughtree.
He married Elizabeth, daughter of Patrick Dunbar of Machermore (Galloway Charters), who on his death married secondly, Andrew Heron of Bargaly. The issue of John's marriage was: -

  1. Alexander
  2. Anthony of Glencaird
  3. Margaret, married Patrick Heron, younger of Heron, and had issue
X. Alexander, served heir to his father in 1699 and became M.P. for the Stewartry in 1706. He married first, an Helene, issue three: -
  1. John
  2. James, Judge-Advocate for Scotland, no issue
  3. Catherine, married William Ramsay, M.D.
Alexander married secondly, Mrs. Christian Douglas, daughter of Sir James Dunbar of Mochrum,
by whom he had a son Alexander.

XI. John, succeeded his father to Palgown in 1752, and eleven years after sold it to John, Lord Garlies.
He married the Hon. Jane Ross, daughter of George, 12th Lord Ross, no issue. On his married he took the name of Ross, and was afterwards known as John Ross-M'Kie.
He was an advocate of the Scottish Bar, M.P. for the burgh of Lanark, 1741-6, and for the Stewartry 1747-68, paymaster for the Board of Ordnance, and afterwards receiver-general of Stamp Duties. He died in London 1797.

Xa. Anthony M'Kie of Glencaird, second son of John IX, married Grizel Eccles, issue three: - William; John; and Agnes. He had also by another wife, Isobel M'Kie, a son John

XIa. John, an extensive farmer along the water of Minoch, in 1777 held 13,000 acres from the Earl of Cassilis and 1400 acres from Lord Galloway.
He married first, Margaret Machutcheon, by whom he had issue: -
James and Mary.
He married secondly, Jane M'William, issue: - William; and twins, John and Isobel.
He died in 1783.

XIIa. James M'Kie, purchased the estate of Bargaly 10 May 1794, bought Craignell and Brochloch in 1801, and later on bought Drambuie.
He married Ann, daughter of William M'Caa, issue: -
John and Elizabeth.

XIIIa. John of Bargaly, who died 1858, M.P. for the Stewartry, married Ann, daughter of Peter Lawrie of Ernespie, issue: -

  1. James
  2. Peter, died at Melbourne in 1842
  3. John, died in the East Indies in 1846
  4. Ann, died at Carlingwark in 1841
XlVa. James of Bargaly, who died 1867, M.P. for the Stewartry 1857-67, married in 1853 Jane Wilson, only daughter of Archibald Home of Balvarran and Inverchroskie, Perth, issue nine: -
  1. John
  2. Peter Lawrie, died 8 Jul 1896, married Annie, daughter of James Hamilton Kennedy (issue, Angela);
  3. James Archibald
  4. William Murray, married Mary, eldest daughter of John Fildes (issue, John);
  5. Annie Lawrie
  6. Agnes, married John William Hutchison of Edingham and Lauriston Hall, with issue;
  7. Margaret Preston, married Andrew Johnston of Halleaths, with issue;
  8. Eliza Nina, married John Gladstone Mackie of Auchencaion;
  9. Ellen Stormonth, married Charles L. Johnstone, with issue.
XVa. Lieut.-Col. John of Bargaly, J.P. and D.L. of the Stewartry, commanded the 3rd Bat. King's Own Scottish Borderers during the late South African War, and wears the D.S.O. for distinguished conduct in the field.

That the families of Strathnaver and Galloway were related through Martin of Strathnaver was evidently accepted by Sir Robert Gordon, the northern historian. With Sir Donald Mackay of Strathnaver, his nephew, Gordon was intimately acquainted, and very probably had a personal acquaintance with Sir Patrick Mackie of Larg, so that he very likely gathered information from both. The Blackcastle MS., which is based upon an older family genealogical account, also says that a Martin of Stratlmaver settled in Galloway, and we have already shown that he must have flourished circa 1260. Thus the Blk. MS. to some extent confirms Gordon. When Mackay of Strathnaver raised his regiment in 1626, so abundant was the supply of recruits that the object was accomplished in a few weeks. In the circumstances he would naturally select his own friends as far as possible. But one of his captains was Sir Patrick Mackie from distant Galloway. When he could get plenty men nearer home why go so far afield ? May it not be that he looked upon Sir Patrick as a distant cousin ?

That the argument from similarity of armorial bearings is a treacherous one goes without saying, but the similarity in this case is very striking. Both branches of the Galloway family carry the lion on their shield, which is also the emblem of the Aberach Mackays. In our account of the Aberach Mackay banner we showed that the left hand with extended fingers was anciently inscribed upon the armorial shield of the Strathnaver Mackays. But in the gable of Glencaird House, an old M'Kie seat and now the property of Col. John M'Kie of Bargaly, may be seen a carved stone bearing the date 1694, the letters J. Mk., and A.H., two ravens, and also a left hand with extended fingers exactly as found in Strathnaver. Thus like the Strathnaver men, the Galloway Mackays bore the sinister hand appaume as well as the lion.

[Footnote: In the preparation of this account we have been generously assisted by Dr. Norman J. M'Kie, Newton Stewart, who has put at our disposal his own notes based upon a recent elaborate search of the Public Records.]

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