Archiver > GRIERSON > 2004-04 > 1081612060

From: "David Grierson" <>
Subject: Gilbert Grierson, 1st Lord of Lag
Date: Sat, 10 Apr 2004 11:47:56 -0400

Greers West, the web page of the Nathaniel Hunt Greer Family Organization --- This page was last updated on June 1, 1999.

The First Lord of Lag
The first person named Grierson was Gilbert who became prominent in Nithsdale at the end of the 14th century. Although Gilbert's father is traditionally held to have been Malcolm "the Lame Lord" of MacGregor, records suggest his father was one Duncan who might have been a son of the Lame Lord. Family tradition holds that (ca 1353) Gilbert was born Gilbrid MacGregor in the Highlands just north of Loch Lomond, but soon his family moved to where forfeited Lowland land had come available.
The register of rentals of the Lord of Dalkeith records that in 1376 the lands of Laucht in the barony of Tybris were let to Gilbert, son of Duncan. Also, a seal (said to be Gilbert's) attached to a document dated January 8, 1418/19, bears a faint inscription thought to read "Gilbert, son of Duncan."
As early as 1405, the Lag charters listed an undated sale by ...
"John McRath of Lacht to his kinsman, Gilbert Grersoun of Ard ... to the lands of Lag Bardonane with the pertinents, in the sheriffdom of Dumfres; the said Gilbert to perform the due and accustomed [feudal] services to the superior of the lands."
Another undated charter (as early as 1407) lists a transfer ...
"by George de Dunbarre, earl of March, to Gilbert Greresoun of le Lag, for [feudal] service done and to be done, of all his lands of le Ard and Tynnroun, ... Owyrholme of Dalgarnock, ... Colynholme, [all] lying in the barony of Tybrys, sheriffdom of Dumfres; which said lands of le Ard and Tynnroun formerly pertained to the said Gilbert ...; to be held by the said Gilbert Greresoun and Gilbert Greresoun, his son and heir, and the heirs of their body lawfully begotten, whom failing their nearest lawful heirs male whomsoever of the name Greresoun ..."
The above insistence for heirs named Greresoun supports the tradition that Gilbert had to anglicize his name from MacGregor before his ownership would be recognized. It is noteworthy that Gilbert's Christian name is French whereas his father's (Duncan) is Gaelic. This agrees with the assertion that Gilbert's Celtic heritage was being Normanized largely due to the esteem that Robert Bruce held for things French —especially in consequence of Bruce's reliance on Norman knights in the Scots' military triumph over the English.
On December 6, 1408, Gilbert's possession of Lag became official when Earl Henry of Orkney resigned ...
"to his kinsman, Gilbert Greresoun of Ardis, ... all the lands of Lag Bardonane, Bardonane Broachmyherach and ½ merkland of Mains of Melros, within the sheriffdom of Dumfres, which were resigned by the said Gilbert and by Cuthbert McRath; to be held by the said Gilbert, his heirs and assignees, for payment of one pair of gilt spurs at the Castle of Dumfres, as blench ferm [token payment]."
Of interest is the kinship of Gilbert to the McRaths of Lag in the first abstract above, but even more so with Earl Henry [Sinclair] in the last. Although the nature of the kinships are unspecified, it is noteworthy that Gilbert was related to such a powerful man as the earl of Orkney who in that era was almost a sovereign—virtually independent of (and almost as powerful as) the king of Scots. The earl held vast territory extending far beyond the Orkney Islands and included not only land in Nithsdale, but also the barony of Roslin in Midlothian, famous seat of the Sinclairs.
We also note from the foregoing that, whereas Gilbert occupied the lands of Lag as early as 1376, it was many years before he secured ownership. Early on, he was styled "of Ard[e, is]"—thus, it seems that he owned Ard before Lag.
On March 17, 1410/11, Gilbert was still styled of Arde when Robert, duke of Albany, Governor of Scotland, signed ...
"in favor of Gilbert Grersoun of Arde, confirming ... Grant by Sir Patrick de Dunbar, son and heir of Sir David de Dunbar of Cumnok, of [various] lands [in the] barony of Cumnok, sheriffdom of Ayr."
And the earliest record of Gilbert being styled the lord of Lag was July 4, 1413, when William McCorrard resigned to ...
"John de Craufurd, lord of Kyrkandyrs of Purtoun, of the 9 merkland called Purtoun and a 40s. land in the Bordland within the barony of Kirkanderys of Purtoun, and a sasine given ... by the said superior to Gilbert Grerson, lord of Lag, and Gilbert Grerson, his son and heir."
On November 9, 1419, Gilbert the younger secured a wadset (mortgage) on Nithsdale land. The document read in part ...
"Be it kend till all men be thir presentes lettres me Johan Durand lord of Betuix the Wateris till have wedsette all my landis of Glenschynelle ... lyand within the lordschipe of Glencarne in the schirvedome of Drumfres, till Gilboune Greresoune my systersone for four and twenti noblis of gold lent me in my grete myster to my raunsoune. ..."
The abstract above belies the tradition held by such authority as Burke's Peerage that Gilbert the younger was the offspring of Janet Glendenning. It appears from the above that John Durand was the brother-in-law of Gilbert the elder and uncle to Gilbert the younger who was called Durand's systersone (sister's son.) This relationship was again mentioned on September 2, 1440, when Gilbert the younger made out a charter "to his uncle, Thomas Durant ..." There were several Gilbert Griersons and there is no doubt that Janet Glendenning wed one of them, but he was certainly not Gilbert the elder. This can be inferred from her appearance in a document as late as 1481 and from the additional fact of her parentage placing her at too late a date to have been the wife of Gilbert the elder.
The foregoing discussion reveals that earlier accounts mistakenly identified our descent from Robert Bruce (and other notables) through Janet Glendenning. However, we nevertheless descend from the Bruce through a generation some two centuries later—that of Sir William Grierson, 9th lord of Lag.
Gilbert the elder probably survived into the 1420s, but the date of his death is unknown.

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