COWAN-L ArchivesArchiver > COWAN > 2000-08 > 0965584622
Subject: [COWAN-L] History of the Cowans continued
Date: Sun, 6 Aug 2000 13:57:02 EDT
Let me try to briefly sort out the genealogy of our first John Cowane,
merchant to the Royal family at Stirling Castle.
His name last appears in the Council records on 21st October, 1555, when he
alleged an irregularity in the appointment of the Dean of the Gild. On 25th
July, 1556, again appears the name of Jonet Tennent, probably now a widow,
suing Alexander Murray for a debt. John Cowane married Jonet Tennant 1539,
Notes for Jonet Tennant:
Sold goods on her own account. In 1523 she is known as a seller of ale. In
1549 Malcolm Kinross was ordered to pay her for cloth he had purchased 8
years previously on behalf of Queen Margaret.
Children of John Cowane: among others
Andrew Cowane married 1. Isabella Alexander
2. Elene Synclar
Notes for Andrew Cowane:
Eldest son and heir of John Cowane, merchant of Stirling. In 1563 he was the
occupant of"a tenement in the Mary Wynd" This is the first description of
the site of Queen Mary's Palace. Showed it belonged to the grandfather of
the founder of Cowane's hospital.
He was a member of the Town council in 1564 and was elected Dean of Guild.
Walter Cowane married 1. Mariota Chrystison 2. Janet Alexander
Notes for Walter Cowane:
Walter Cowane, younger son of John Cowane by Jonet Tennant, became a most
important citizen of Stirling. Town Councillor, Dean of Guild, Bailie,
Commissioner for Burghs, Commissioner to Parliment, he was perhaps the most
important public man of his time.
JOHN COWANE son of Andrew Cowane and Isabella Alexander was the founder of
Cowane's hospital, Stirling and is said to have been born on the lands of
Sauchie, in the parish of St. Ninians. He was one of the Guild Merchants of
the burg, and bought and sold commodities; Dean of the Guild from 1624 to
1629, and again from 1632 to 1633, and died in 1633. A mural tablet on the
outside wall of the Hospital which bears his name, declares "This Hospital
was erected and largely endowed by John Cowane, Dean of Guild...."
This hospital is still standing and by 1724 the building was known in records
as the Guildhall, and so it has remained since, though its uses have been
varied, including a dancing school, a theatre, a church, and a cholera
hospital. The bowling green(one of the oldest surviving in Scotland) remains
a peaceful corner of old Stirling.
John Giacoletti and his daughter went to the 2000 gathering of the Colquhoun
clan at Luss during the July 19th festivities and the group was making a side
trip to the Guildhall at Stirling. He and his daughter are involved in
Scottish Country dancing and I expect he brought back many great pictures of
Stirling Castle, the Colquhoun Castle, and the John Cowane Hospital, now
Guildhall which I cant wait to see.
That is a brief history of the Cowanes in Stirling up to and through the
1630's. What I want to impart to the reader is not so much the genealogy of
each particular Cowane but the occupation of every one of these guys and
gals. They were MERCHANTS and this becomes important when we look next at
the Cowans in Londonderry.
In 1998 John sent me an e-mail which at the time was just thinking out loud
but now in retrospect seems almost visionary. I will type the e-mail in its
"My research interest is the origins of the Cowan name in Ulster, Ireland.
My last post noted several Cowans who were named in the Muster Roll of the
Scottish Army in 1642, all of whom of course predated the earliest known
(published) reference, to John Cowan in county Down in 1653. The Cowans on
the Muster Roll were concentrated in Raphoe Parish, County Donegal close to
Londonderry, and I suggested that one of them would be the ancestor of John
Cowan of St. Johnstown, Gent. who was later a defender of Derry and the High
Sheriff of Londonderry.
Additional Donegal research has uncovered an even earlier Cowan in Ireland
than those on the 1642 listing, and there is enough evidence to engage in the
tantalizing speculation of the Cowans immediate preceeding origins in
Scotland. I dont believe that this will or could ever be proved conclusively
but only a supporteed and reasonable case or argument made.
THE MUSTER ROLL OF THE COUNTY OF DONNAGALL 1630 A.D. shows that Walter Cowene
AND Robert Cowene were armed men with swords in the service of "The Lo:
Chichester" in the Barony de Eneshone, now Inishowen, which is continuous to
and immediately north of Raphoe Barony and Taughboyne Parish where the 1642
Cowans were. Thus we have pushed back the arrival date to before 1630, 12
years earlier than the Scottish Army Muster Roll and 23 years earlier than
the reference to the John Cowan in County Down.
What I find of speculative interest is that the "Lord Duke of Lynox" of
Stirling was one of the chief undertakers of the Ulster Plantation, and of
course John Cowane of Stirling was a respected Stirling merchant of the era,
the founder of the Stirling Guild Hospital. It is not unreasonable to assume
that there was a business purpose involved in having members of the Cowan
merchant family relocate to Ulster and establish additional business
connections there between Londonderry and Stirling, just as the Colquhoun
family of Dumbarton, also subordinated to the Duke of Lennox, established a
plantation of 1500 acres in Raphoe.
Another tantalizing bit of evidence is the well-known Cowans of Stirling
provided two members to the Scottish Parliment, John Cowan, sitting in 1625
and in 1651, whom I persume to be the son of Walter Cowan of Stirling who sat
in 1588, 1596, and 1597. Is it merely fortuitous coincidence that one of the
Cowans in Donegal is a "Walter Cowan?" I would think that there is a
probable relationship (grandson) between the Walter Cowan of Stirling and
this "Walter Cowene in Donegal
You got that right John