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chamberlain at a spot between Doune and Dunblane, on Whitsunday, 1543, and foully murdered him, and also certain that were with him. If Sir William Edmonstone did not lose his life for this violent conduct, he was still severely punished. He had for a time to go into hiding, and his appointment as Steward of Menteith was annulled. In 1547, there was an Act passed under the Great Seal granting him remission for the part he had taken in the murder. He was a strong Presbyterian, and was a member of the General Assembly of 1567, when he signed the Church's Testimony against Popery. He died some time before the middle of the year 1578.
Sir William was twice married, first to a daughter of the house of Lennox, by whom he had one son, of unsound mind, who was passed over in the succession, and secondly to Margaret, daughter of Sir James Campbell of Lawers, who bore him seven of a family. The eldest was Sir James Edmonstone, sixth of Duntreath. Being a man of considerable acumen, he was employed in various legal affairs. He formed one of the court of six jurors who found relevant the indictment against the Earl of Gowrie for the part he had taken in the famous Raid of Ruthven. Strange to say, it was in the mesh of circumstances which followed the trial and execution of Gowrie that Sir James Edmonstone got himself inextricably involved.
After the flight of the “Banished Lords "--Angus, Mar, and others-into England, Arran determined to make the severest example of some of their friends. One Robert Hamilton of Inchmanchan having pretended that he had discovered a conspiracy against the King, Arran, then master in Scotland, took the fullest advantage of his position. He apprehended Sir James Edmonstone, John Cunningham of Easter Mugdock, and Malcolm
Douglas of Harlehame, all of the parish of Strathblane, and clapped them in Edinburgh prison on the charge of plotting against the King's life. It is extraordinary that we should so soon have found one of the judges of the Gowrie trial placed at the bar charged with a like crime. The charge against the Strathblane proprietors was that they had entered into a scheme for taking possession of the King's person whilst he was hunting, detaining him in one of the “ Illis of Lochlowmunt in the Leuuenax," till the return of the “Banished Lords," when he should be handed over to their tender mercies.
Cunningham and Douglas were as ignorant of the crime as the babe unborn. Instead of plotting against the King, they were the victims of a plot which Arran had concocted for their destruction. Sir James Edmonstone was charged along with Cunningham and Douglas, because he was known to be the intimate friend of both, and because Arran, having negotiated with him to confess his guilt, had arranged that when at the trial this confession was made, he would be immediately pardoned. When the trial came on, Sir James Edmonstone, according to the stipulation with Arran, made no defence, he confessed his part in the conspiracy, and threw himself on the clemency of the King. Cunningham and Douglas resolutely protested their participation in, and ignorance of, so base a plot, but were found guilty, and hung. But how came it about that Sir James Edmonstone had lent himself as so debased and unworthy a tool to the furtherance of this foul conspiracy of Arran ? After the fall of the treacherous earl, Sir James made show of making a clean breast of it. He swore on soul and conscience that his only reason for confessing his guilt, and inculpating the “ Banished Lords” and his neighbour proprietors, was because Arran had threatened to take his life if he did not accede to his wishes. The reason may or may not be true. Granting it is true, it is no vindication whatsoever of his action. Sir James was a blackguard. When the truth came to be known, the fury of the people of Killearn and Strathblane knew no bounds. The Earl of Montrose had to become caution to the extent of £1000, that a large number of men of these parishes would do no injury to Sir James Edmonstone. On one occasion, Sir James came to Duntreath when his daughter-in-law was there alone, and stole a large sum of his son's money, which was then in the house. It is evident the Edmonstones are no exception to the rule laid down by Sir George Mackenzie, that it is the sign of an ancient and considerable kindred to have had a criminal or two in the family! Sir James injured his estate by mortgages. On the 17th February, 1614, he entered into a contract of wadsett with his son-in-law, Sir William Graham. On the 14th October of the same year, Sir William Graham transferred the whole lands of Duntreath to Sir William Livingston of Kilsyth, the lands being redeemable at a fixed sum. Sir James' first wife was Helen, daughter of Sir James Stirling of Keir, by whom he had one son, William, and three daughters. His second wife was Margaret, daughter of Sir John Colquhoun of Luss, by whom he had one son and four daughters.
Having mortgaged his estates, lost his public appointments, and become an object of odium in the neighbourhood where he lived, we can easily understand that when the scheme was matured for the “plantation of Ulster,” Sir James very gladly availed himself of the inducements then held out to Scotsmen of moderate means to settle in that part of Ireland. In 1609, the estate of Broadisland, in the county of Antrim was obtained on the usual terms by Sir James in name of his eldest son, William. This William was the seventh of Duntreath, and strongly attached to the Presbyterian cause. On his new estate he built a mansion house, erected a church and provided it with a Presbyterian minister. Having married Isobel, daughter of John Haldane of Gleneagles, he settled down on his property, made Ireland his home, and died about 1629.
Archibald Edmonstone, eighth of Duntreath, was entirely destitute of his father's love for Ireland. On his succession he made the redemption of Duntreath his first concern. After two years negotiation, on the 28th July, 1632, King Charles I. granted a charter in his favour of the lands of Duntreath, upon the resignation by William Livingston of all his interest in them. He was a member of Parliament for the county of Stirling in 1633, an ardent Presbyterian, and deeply interested in the exciting questions pertaining to Church and State then current. His wife was Jean, daughter of the staunch Presbyterian family of Halcraig, in Lanarkshire. This lady bore him two sons and two daughters. Dying in 1637, he did not long enjoy the ancient possessions of his fathers.
William, the eldest of Sir Archibald's two sons, was born deaf and dumb. His brother Archibald consequently became the ninth of Duntreath. If the “Dumb Laird” had his failings, he was not without his accomplishments, and various incidents have been brought forward to establish his claim to the second sight, or to more than common shrewdness of observation. The career of Sir Archibald was brief and brilliant. He continued the strong Presbyterian traditions of his ancestors, and by holding conventicles, shared the troubles of those who patronised those illegal assemblies. Into the Irish Rebellion of 1688, he threw himself with ardour, raising a regiment and stoutly defending the Protestant cause. While gallantly defending a position near Coleraine, he suffered from the effects of the cold and exposure, and died in 1689. By his request, he was buried in Strathblane Church, in the same grave with the Princess Mary. His son Archibald, tenth of Duntreath, resided for the most part in Ireland, and was for many years a member of the Irish Parliament. Duntreath Castle having fallen into a ruinous state, he was living at Auchentorlie, in Dumbartonshire, when his son Archibald was born on the Ioth October, 1717. The mother of this son was his second wife, Anne, daughter of John Campbell of Mamore, second son of the ninth Earl of Argyll. Sir Archibald Edmonstone, the eleventh of Duntreath, abandoned the family connection with Ireland and the Whig principles which had hitherto held sway in his family. He cast himself with energy into Scottish political life, and sat for many years as Tory member for Dumbartonshire, and also for some time as member for the Ayr burghs. He did a profitable stroke of business when, in 1783, he parted with his Irish possessions, and bought with the money the estate of Kilsyth. From that time to the restoration of Duntreath, Colzium House became the chief residence of the Edmonstones. In recognition of his public services, on the 3rd May, 1774, Archibald Edmonstone was created a baronet. His first wife was Susanna Mary Harenc, a French lady of noble family. She bore him five sons and four daughters. A man of great energy and foresight, his country, his family, and his tenantry and estates were all benefited by his labours. He died in July, 1807, at the long age of 89 years.