Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Clan Map: Kirkmichael

On March 22nd I outlined the first three generations of the Clan in the Ayrshire village of Kirkmichael. The oldest known member of the third generation was James son of Thomas McIlhaggow baptised in 1653. The five others who were probably his cousins were the offspring of David and Katherin McElhagow. We can deduce from the Hearth Tax records of the 1690s that at some time Thomas and his family moved into a house called Barnhill where he was charged for one fireplace. David and his family were to move into a house called Barndona. The Hearth Tax documentation also shows another occupant of 'Barndona', a John Spears who paid for two fireplaces. Maybe John Spears was in the farmhouse and David was in a croft on the farm. Now, do we know anything of David and Katherin's children?

John the eldest was baptised on 26th August 1666. On a very poor photocopy the two witnesses may be James Gibson and Gilbert McClymont. We will meet James Gibson again. In 1690 John would have been 24 and when the Hearth Tax survey was taken he was probably the John McIlhago who was living with Adam Neiving at Threave where they paid for two hearths, again possibly a farmhouse. Nowadays Threave is the name of a large Estate. Maybe John was employed by Adam. Neiving is a name which occurs several times in nearby houses in the Hearth Tax records. David and Katherin's second son was Thomas, baptised on 24th January 1669. Another poor copy obliterates the name of a witness. The Kirkmichael Old Parish Records (OPRs) do not include any subsequent marriage for either John or Thomas.

The third child of David and Katherine was their first daughter, Jennet, baptised 12th November 1671. Twenty-nine years later 'Jonat' McIlhagow was to marry Thomas Craig 'both in this paroch'. Their banns were called on 25th October and they married on 26th November 1700. The identification of Jennet and Jonet is made probable by the existence of our earliest Scottish Clan Will which pertains to 'Jonat McIlhague' of Maybole, dated 1733. Strictly speaking this legal document is what is known as a Testament, the document which is drawn up in Scotland after a person dies. Its purpose is in part to make an Inventory of goods and partly to appoint an executor. The executor in question was a James Gibson. He states that Jonat's relationship to him was Aunt and that she was sister german (ie blood sister) to Anable (sic). Now Annable was the other, younger daughter of David and Katherin. She was baptised in Kirkmichael on 4th April 1677. At Annable's baptism there was a witness named James Mc[ ] from Dalmellington. We learn from Jonet's Will that Annable married James Gibson (senior) from Sheoch who was probably the son of a third James Gibson , Couper of Ayr, who appears as a witness at several clan baptisms.

From the Will (Testament) we learn that Jonet and her spouse Thomas Craig must have moved from Kirkmichael to Maybole, the chief town of Carrick, but that they had no offspring, at least none who survived them. Incidentally the OPRs have no record of this marriage, which may may have been an omission or may conceivably have taken place in another parish, possibly Maybole. Thomas must have predeceased Jonet who, according to Scottish custom, reverted as a widow to her maiden name. The Testament makes it clear that Thomas had left Jonet a moderately comfortably-off 'relict', to use the old Scottish word for widow.

Between Jennet/Jonet and Annable, David and Katherine had their third son, James, who was baptised on 14th June 1674. The OPR includes as witness David Lockart. Now on 26th January 1673 a James Lockart and a Jennet McElhagow had banns called at Kirkmichael. They married on 11th February in nearby Stuarton. Presumably James Lochart and David Lockart were closely related, perhaps brothers. Clearly Jennet was not the same Jennet whose Testament we have found for she had been born only two years previously in 1671. We must return to her in a subsequent publication but first must complete our reference to her 'Will'. 'Jonet Mcilhague' left 'ye sum of sixty nine pounds eleven shillings and six penneys Scots'. She also left a Chimney Seat, some green racan (a fancy material), a Bible and a pair of old shoes. The value of these items was £70.4.2. Various people, mostly tradesmen in Maybole, are listed as owing to her items worth £140.2.0, though whether this is rather an amount which she owed to tradesmen is somewhat unclear. Reading an early 18th Century document is not the easiest thing!

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