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(About 1530-)


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GARTSCHOIR ALIAS GALFURD, Johnne of Gartschoir 1

  • Born: About 1530
  • Marriage (1): Unknown

   Other names for Johnne were GARTSCHOIR, Johnne alias Galfurd of Gartschoir,2 GARTSCHOIR ALIAS GOLFURD, John of Gartschoir 3 and GARTSHORE, John Galfurd.4

  General Notes:

"GARTSHORE HOUSE, Dumbartonshire.
This mansion is situated near Kirkintilloch. It is a plain structure (Fig. 1397 see original text for image), and probably dates from the seventeenth century. As will be seen from the View, it is a "double tenement," divided by a central wall, so that the rooms do not seemingly extend from side to side, as in the more ancient edifices. There is no information to be had as to the building of the house, but the following facts regarding the owners of the property are obtained from the Register of the Great Seal. In 1553 (21st December) James Lord Flemying confirmed a charter by which James, Duke of Chatelherault, Earl of Arran, sold to his eldest daughter, Barbary Hamilton, the liferent of Easter and Wester Gartshore and others; and from the Privy Council Register, 22nd October 1579, there is caution for John Gartschoir, alias Golfurd, of Gartschoir; and again, on 20th June 1594, John Gartscho of that Ilk becomes surety for certain burgesses of Kirkintilloch. According to Hamilton of Wishaw,* Gartshore, or " Gartshire," as he calls it, at the time he wrote\emdash early in last century\emdash belonged to Stark of Auchenvole (see Vol. iii. p. 474). The Laird of Gartshore appears in the Records of Parliament as a Commissioner on Loans and Taxes in 1643; on the Committee of War, 1647-48; as Member of Parliament for Dumbartonshire, 1685-86 ; and as a Commissioner of Supply down till 1690."

from Castellated and Domestic Architecture

Note: The highlighted text regarding the caution of the Privy Council probably refers to this "John Gartschoir". The text from the Register of the privy Council of King James VI actually reads:

'Acta 1579-1581
Sederunt: Jacobus, Comes de Mortoun; Archibaldus, Comus Angusie; Colinus, Comes de Ergadie; Jacobus, Comes de Lennox; Joannes, Comes de Montrois; Andreas, Comes de Rothes; Joannes Comes de Mar; Patricius, Dominus Lyndesay; Andreas, Dominus Uchiltrie; Allanus, Dominus Cathcart

Holyrood-house 22d October
(It begins
Caution for the Laird of Gartshore which is the modern paragraph heading in the margin)

"Caution by Robert Grahame of Knockdoliane, in £200, for Johnne Gartschoir alias Galfurd of Gartschoir, that he will not harm Bessie Thomsoun." '

Note: 1570 ~ Robert Graham is recorded as the first owner of Knockdolian Castle, now a ruined rectangular tower house situated near the River Stinchar, east of the B7044 and west of Colmonell in south Ayrshire.
3 5 6 7

  Research Notes:


PART 1 12th and 13th centuries

In "Kirkintilloch: Town and Parish" the author Thomas Watson states that

'Gartshore is a place of great antiquity, the family of Gartshore of that Ilk - as they were called - being in possession of a charter so far back as the reign of Alexander II.
"William Cumin, Count of Buchan: To all men and his friends who may see or hear this charter, Greeting. Let them know now and in all time coming that I have given in Excambion, granted, and by this charter confirmed to John son of Galfred (in exchange) for a half of [blank] and for a [blank] toft and croft of ground which is situated in the town of Donnyberryn, That [blank] of the land of Gartshore, with its proper divisions, boundaries, and with all its just pertinents. Which [blank] of ground Cristin Crumachetts bought. To be holden and had of me, and my heirs in Feu and heritage freely and quietly. Paying me and my heirs a half Mary (Mark) of silver at two terms : viz. at Pentecost 40 pence, and at Martinmas 40 pence for all service and exaction : And the [blank] service of the Lord the King. Witnesses Robert Winiter, Robert of Limolne, Rodolph Pontiloft, John of St. Clair."
The charter is not dated, but is certain to have been granted between 1211 and 1231, during the reign of Alexander II.'

The Charter:
The author Thomas Watson is quoting here from a charter of excambion, which, in Scots Law, is an exchange of heritable land.

The exchange seems to be taking place, under the authority of William Cumin, Count of Buchan, between "John son of Galfred" and "Cristin Crumachetts", an unusual surname, possibly a medieval version of Scrimgeour.

William Cumin states he has authorised an exchange of land situated in "Donnyberryn" for "the land of Gartshore". "Cristin Crumachetts" appears to have originally purchased the Gartshore land, and is exchanging that land for land in "Donnyberrin", probably Dumbarton, (Dłn Breatainn, which means "the fortress of the Britons"). The land in Dumbarton belongs to "John son of Galfred". The land is to be held in feu, and William Cumin is the feu lord, that is an annual payment is owing to Cumin bi-annually. William Cumin, in turn, was the vassal of the King of Scots.

William Cumin:
William Cumin or Comyn lived from 1163 to 1233. he was a hugely important Scottish nobleman, holding many administrative offices and gaining enormous wealth. Among these he was lord of Kirkintilloch and Lenzie by c.1200. In fact Kirkintilloch became a burgh of barony in 1211; William Cumin, as tenant-in-chief, held his estates from the crown and this grant from the king enabled him to develop and increase the wealth and prosperity of the area, for example establishing a weekly market.

"On 2 October 1211, King William the Lion granted the liberty of a burgh at Kirkintilloch to William Comyn. The Comyn family established a castle in central Kirkintilloch at Peel Park, with a parish church to the south (at the locality now occupied by the Old Aisle Cemetery).... The original charter has long been lost, but a sixteenth century notarial copy survives. " (EDLC)

It was vitally important that the king and his heirs rewarded those loyal to him at that time; Dunbartonshire was of vital importance strategically, as much of the west of Scotland was under the control of the King of Norway, including Arran and Bute in the Clyde Estuary.

William Cumin married twice and became Earl of Buchan through marriage to his second wife Marjory, daughter of Fergus, Mormaer or Earl of Buchan. Thus in this charter, where William Cumin is named as Count of Buchan, we have a clue to when the charter was granted.

The charter is undated and Thomas Watson suggests it was drawn up in the reign of Alexander II of Scots. Alexander lived between 1198 and 1249. He came to the throne in 1214. By that year it seems that William Cumin was already married to Marjory and her father had died. That gives us some cause to say with some certainty that the charter was drawn up between 1214 and 1233 when William Cumin died.

John son of Galfred:
Medieval names had not yet developed our modern pattern of a given name (John) followed by a fixed surname (Smith).
The name of the man who received the land of Gartshore takes a typical medieval form: a given name (John) followed by a personal byname (son of Galfred). It is an example of a relational name of the patronymic type. It tells us who his father was. The new recipient of Gartshore was named John; his father had been named Galfred. Galfred, or more typically Galfrid, is an Anglo-Norman variant of Geoffrey, which later provides the modern surname Godfrey or Jeffries; in Wales it has become the surname Griffith or, in the USA, Jefferson.

Other examples from the 13th century are:
a] Galfridus (fl. 1203\endash 1209), Abbot of Dryburgh and later of Alnwick Abbey, England; a.k.a. Geoffrey
b] Geoffrey de Liberatione (fl. 1219 \endash 1249), a Scottish bishop; a.k.a. Galfredus or Galfred de Libertione

The charter does not tell us any more about who John or Galfrid were. We do know there was a Galfrid in the Comyn family:
c] Galfrid de Mowbray[ (fl. c. 1250), a son-in-law of John I Comyn, Lord of Badenoch in Scotland.
John I Comyn Lord of Badenoch was the grandson of William Comyn, Earl of Buchan, through his son Richard.

The form of this name is important. Just as we recognise that 'John Robertson' might originally have been written 'John son of Robert', so the form of 'John son of Galfred' indicates that his name later might have become 'John Galfredson', or abbreviated 'John Galfreds'. 'Gartshore' is the place name. Many people in medieval times, like the Gordons, also had surnames that came from the locality where they originally lived or had land.

This is confirmed for the Gartshores by a later quotation from a text on Gartshore House:

"from the Privy Council Register, 22nd October 1579, there is caution for John Gartschoir, alias Golfurd, of Gartschoir"
Notice the form: not 'John alias Golfurd' but 'John Gartschoir alias Golfurd'. At that time his two surnames were interchangeable: John Gartschoir or John Golfurd.

Since the charter was drawn up between about 1212 and 1233, we can say that 'John son of Galfred' was probably born in the late 12th or early 13th century; his father, Galfred, would therefore have been born about 30 years before that. So the earliest we can assign to the family who became the Gartshore family, probably later taking their personal byname from the name of their residence, is around the third or fourth quarter of the 12th century.

As a postscript to this section, it is worth drawing attention to a PhD thesis of 2014, An analysis of toponyms and toponymic
patterns in eight parishes of the upper Kelvin basin
, written by Peter Drummond, and submitted to the University of Glasgow. In the section on Gaelic place names, in particular those names beginning with 'Gart', [6.1.d Gart-names], the author states:

"Gartshore KTL (Kirkintilloch), as well as having a House and affixes, was the source of the family surname".

The authority for this statement is noted as "Black (1946, 290)", referring to "Black, George F., 1946 The Surnames of Scotland, Their Origin, Meaning and History (New York)", found in the Bibliography and Sources list of the thesis.

Drummond makes the point that not all 'Gart', "primarily meaning 'field' (arable or pasture)", names indicate an area of poor land. He goes on to say:

"... this is especially true for those (thirteen) recorded by 1550. 4 of these118 later became the site of fine Houses, while at least 4
developed affixes119: Gartshore KTL, as well as having a House and affixes, was the source of the family surname120; the Laird of Garturk OMO (Old Monkland) was the 'principal estate' in the Coatbridge area in the late 16th century."

Thus it is clear, given the context of his statement about Gartshore, that Gartshore is principally a name associated with a particular area of land, and whatever might be developed on that land; later it becomes the name of the family who hold, or work, the land.

In the variations and etymology that Drummond gives later for Gartshore in Kirkintilloch parish (Part Three. Parish Surveys, pages 301-302 ), he adds:

"One of the earliest recorded gart-names in the AOS (Area of Study), and one of the more important, having given rise to a family name: Black (1946) says that the Gartshores of that Ilk 'are said to have held the lands since the reign of Alexander II', i.e. two centuries before the first record. Along with Gartsherrie it is one of the few gart-names on Roy's 1755 map, and is shown as enclosed land, an indication of its wealth; it is one of the few working farms in this part of the parish today."

PART 2 13th to 15th centuries

The Comyns, having been an enormously important and powerful family in Scotland, lost their power and importance with the rise and success of Robert Bruce, whose kingship destroyed the status of the Comyns and John Balliol whom they had supported.

"With the triumph of the Bruce the power of the Comyns was effectually broken, and grants of the whole barony were bestowed upon Sir Malcolm Fleming...The destruction of castles was a fundamental principle of Bruce's policy, and no less than 137 of these strongholds were demolished by his orders. Rising on the ashes of the Comyns as the Flemings did, the obliteration of all that was calculated to remind the world of a fallen race was essential to guarantee the greatness of its supplanter. Cumbernauld, in default of Biggar, became the second seat of the Flemings, and the wreck of Kirkintilloch Castle would, in the natural course of events, be left to the untender mercies of a population who doubtless regarded it as invested with associations of sinister character." (from "Kirkintilloch by selected contributors")

The Gartshore family clearly survived the wars of independence; we can speculate that they may have been adversely affected by the defeat of the Comyns by Bruce, or that their allegiance was to the Bruce cause, but we do not know. The Comyn power in the north was seriously depleted, from which other families loyal to Bruce benefited. The Gartshore family survived in the Lowlands, though how that came about requires further research. We know that the Gartshores had some links with the Fleming family, who were originally connected with Biggar in South Lanarkshire and had a major interest, from the 13th century, in Dunbartonshire, and in the parish of Lenzie, incorporating Cumbernauld, too. The wikipedia article on Clan Fleming, depending a good deal on "Collins Scottish Clan & Family Encyclopedia", neatly sums up the loyalties of the Flemings at a crucial time in Scottish history:

"Wars of Scottish Independence
In 1296 nine Flemings signed the Ragman Rolls swearing fealty to Edward I of England. However, one of the signatories was Sir Robert Fleming who was one of the first people to join Robert the Bruce after the death of the Comyn in 1306.
In 1342 Sir Malcolm Fleming of Cumbernauld was created Earl of Wigtown by David II of Scotland for helping to keep him safe from Edward Balliol and the English. In 1371 Sir Malcolm's grandson, Thomas Fleming, sold the earldom to Archibald Douglas, Lord of Galloway and this was confirmed by Robert II of Scotland."

In "Kirkintilloch by select contributors" the same story emerges:
"Upon the downfall of the Comyn family, to whom the various grantors enumerated in this account of the Old Aisle belonged, the barony passed into the hands of Robert Fleming who died in 1314.
Amongst other manifestations of his royal favour, Robert I confirmed the charter to his faithful adherent, Malcolm, son of Robert, of the 'who barony of Kirkintilloch with its pertinents which formerly belonged to John Comyn. Afterwards the estate is described in the title deeds of the Fleming family as the Barony of Lenzie.' "

15th century
A later Sir Malcolm Fleming of Biggar and Cumbernauld was knighted by Robert III of Scotland. In 1423 he was one of the hostages used for the release of James I of Scotland from the captivity of the English."

Thus the Flemings negotiated their way from the pre-Comyn to the post-Comyn politics of Scotland. We could make the assumption that the Gartshores, on a lower social scale, did the same. Through the Muirheads they became linked to the Flemings by marriage.

PART 3 16th century

There is increasing documentary evidence of the Gartshore family from the mid-1500s on, and some of it indicates social links with other Scottish families.

Thomas Watson in "Kirkintilloch: Town and Parish" quotes what has also been cited in other publications, a charter that makes mention of the land in Easter and Wester Gartshore:

"On 21st December, 1553, James, Lord Fleming, confirmed a charter by which James, Duke of Chatelherault, Earl of Arran, sold to his eldest daughter, Barbary Hamilton, the liferent of Easter and Wester Gartshore and others..."

James 4th Lord Fleming (c1534-1558) married Barbara Hamilton, the widow of Alexander Gordon son of George Gordon 4th earl of Huntly, and daughter of James Hamilton, 2nd Earl of of Arran and Duke of Chatelherault (1515-1574), at some date after 22 December 1553. The Scottish land Law Dictionary states that
"A liferent is a right to enjoy the use and benefit of another's land for the lifetime of the beneficiary..."

So this transaction, very probably linked to the 1553 marriage contract, was operating within the power structure of the Scottish feudal system. In this, land was held in a kind of pyramid-shaped form, with the king at the top and his barons, knights and peasants at each level down. Those below the king owed allegiance or service to the level above, including the payment of taxes and rents to use the land. Thus the work of those at the bottom levels generated wealth for those above them.

In this particular situation, by her marriage, Barbara Hamilton would gain, only for her lifetime, the rents of Easter and Wester Gartshore which her father, as feudal Lord, had a right to collect. She, or her husband for her benefit, would in turn exact payment for those individuals or families below their feudal level, probably those who worked and administered the Gartshore estate. This arrangement was being confirmed in law by her husband-to-be, James Lord Fleming.

In that same year in October, James Fleming's sister, "Agnes Fleming of Cumbernauld" married William Livingstone, 6th Lord Livingstone. 3 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23

Johnne married.


1, Scotland, The Register of The Privy Council of Scotland, 1545-1632 James VI Page 232.

2 Internet Site,

3 e-books, The Castellated and Domestic Architecture of Scotland from the twelfth to the eighteenth century by David McGibbon and Thomas Ross volume five 1892.

4 Internet Site,

5, Scotland, The Register of The Privy Council of Scotland, 1545-1632 James VI Pages 231- 232.

6 Internet Site,

7 Internet Site,

8 Thomas Watson, Kirkintilloch Town and Parish (1894), page 97 and following, Gartshore.

9 Internet Site,

10 Internet Site,

11 Internet Site,

12 Internet Site,

13 Internet Site,

14 Internet Site, Kikintilloch Burgh Granting of Charter.

15 Internet Site,

16 Internet Site, Collins Scottish Clan & Family Encyclopedia.

17 Thomas Watson, Kirkintilloch Town and Parish (1894), page 97 Gartshore.

18 Internet Site,

19 Internet Site,

20 ed. John Horne, Kirkintilloch by select contributors (1910), Antiquities by T. Dalrymple Duncan pages 34-35.

21 Internet Site,

22 Internet Site, pp 57-60.

23 Internet Site, pp301-302.

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