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Rowallan Castle is an ancient castle located near Kilmaurs, at NS 4347 4242, about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) north of Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, Scotland. The castle stands on the banks of the Carmel Water, which may at one time have run much closer to the low eminence upon which the original castle stood. The castle and barony has been owned or held by the medieval Mure family, the (Boyle) Earls of Glasgow, the (Campbell) Earls of Loudoun, the (Corbett) Barons Rowallan, and by Historic Scotland. It is said that the earliest piece of Lute music was written at Rowallan. It is said to have been visited by the unfortunate King James I of Scotland when on his way from Edinburgh to England. The first Mure holder, Sir J. Gilchrist Mure was buried in the Mure Aisle at Kilmarnock The original castle is thought to date back into the 13th century. Rowallan was said to be the birth place of Elizabeth Mure(Muir), first wife of Robert, the High Steward, later Robert II of Scotland. She was mother to the Duke of Albany, and the Earls of Carrick, Fife and Buchanan. In 1513 the Rowallan Estate took its present day form. In about 1690 the estate was home to the Campbells of Loudoun, who held it into the 19th century
Row Allan, row!
A tale is told of one Allan of Stewarton
who was rowing a Scottish
chief off the Ayrshire coast.
The weather made a turn for
the worse and the chief became
anxious. The chief in his fear of
the ocean said to Allan, Row, Allan row! Bear me to safety and you will have the
rich lands of Carmelside,
wuth silver to build yourself
a castle. Hill and valley and
rivers of fish will be yours …. but just row, Allan, row!
Allan won his prize and named
the estate ‘Rowallan’ after his
adventure. The same story is
told in the form of a poem written
by the Rev. George Paxton from
Kilmaurs, pastor of a Secession Church from 1789 – 1807
…David de More, of the house of Polkelly, Renfrewshire, appears as a witness to a charter of Alexander II. Willielmi de Mora and Laurentii de Mora also occur in two charters granted by Robert the Bruce.The first on record of the family is stated to have been the above-named David de More. His successor is supposed to have been Sir Gilchrist More, the first of the name mentioned in the family ‘Historie.’
In the beginning of the reign of Alexander III., Sir Walter Cumyn took forcible possession of the house and living of Rowallan, “the owner thereof, Gilchrist More, being redacted for his safety to keep close in his castle of Pokellie.”The latter distinguished himself at the battle of Largs in 1263, and for his bravery was knighted. “At which time,” says the ‘Historie,’ “Sir Gilchrist was reponed to his whole inheritance, and gifted with the lands belonging to Sir Walter Cuming before mentioned, a man not of the meanest of that powerful tribe, which for might and number have scarcelie to this day been equaled in this land.”
He married Isobel, daughter and heiress of the said Sir Walter Cumyn, and in the death of his father-in-law, he found himself secured not only in the title and full possession of his old inheritance, but also in the border lands wherein he succeeded to Sir Walter Cuming, within the sheriffdom of Roxburgh. Sir Gilchrist “disponed to his kinsman Ranald More, who had come purposlie from Ireland for his assistance: in the time of his troubles, and also at the battle of Largs, the lands of Polkellie, which appear to have been the original inheritance of the family.
He died “about the year 1280, near the 80 year of his age,” and was buried “with his forfathers in his own buriell place in the Mures Isle at Kilmarnock.”
He had a son, Archibald, and two daughters, Elizabeth, the wife of Sir Godfrey Ross, and Anicia, married to Richard Boyle of Kelburne, ancestor of the earls of Glasgow.In the Ragman Roll, among those barons who swore fealty to Edward I. in 1296, we find the names of Gilchrist More of Craig and Reginald More de Craig, that is, the Craig of Rowallan. The former is stated to have been the ancestor of the Mures of Polkellie, who, Nisbet thinks, were “the stem of the Mures, and an ancienter family than the Rowallan.” The latter was in 1329 chamberlain of Scotland.
William More, the son and successor of Archibald, married a daughter of the house of Craigie, then Lindsay, and with two daughters, had a son, Adam, who succeeded him. Of William honourable mention is made in an indenture of truce with England in the nonage of King David, wherein he is designated Sir William.
He died about the time when King David was taken prisoner at the battle of Durham, fought 17th October 1346. There is supposed to have been an older son than Adam, named Reynold. The editor of the ‘Historie,’ on the authority of Crawford’s Officers of State, (vol. i. p. 290), says in a note: Reynold, son and heir of Sir William More, was one of the hostages left in England at David’s redemption.
This is certainly the same Sir William mentioned above, but whether of Rowallan seems still doubtful; If so, he must have lived long after 1348. There is a William More, Miles, mentioned in M’Farlane’s MS., as living in 1363. Supposing this Sir William More to have been of Rowallan, Reynold probably never returned from England, and thus the estate may have fallen to Sir Adam, a younger son. During the long protracted payment of the king’s ransom, many of the hostages died in confinement.
Sir Adam More, who, “in his father’s auld age,” had the management of all his affairs, both private and public, considerably enlarged and improved the estate. He married, in his younger years, Janet Mure, heiress of Polkellie, granddaughter of Ranald More, and thus restored that estate to the family. By this marriage he had two sons, Sir Adam, his successor, and Andrew, and a daughter, Elizabeth, married in 1348, to Robert, the high steward, afterwards King Robert II.
She was a lady of great beauty and rare virtues, and attracted the high steward’s regard in his younger years when living in concealment about Dundonald castle during Edward Baliol’s usurpation.
There was long considerable doubt as to this marriage, and Buchanan and earlier historians were of opinion that none had ever taken place. The fact of her marriage, however, is now set beyond all question, and the author of the ‘Historie’ says, “Mr. John Learmonth, chaplain to Alexander, archbishop of St. Andrews, hath left upon record, in a deduction of the descent of the house of Rowallan, collected by him at command of the said archbishop, that Robert, great steward of Scotland, having taken away the said Elizabeth, drew to Sir Adam her father ane instrument that he should take her to his lawful wife, which myself have seen, saith the collector, as also ane testimonie, written in Latin by Roger M’Adam, priest of our Ladie Marie’s chapel, (‘Our Lady’s Kirk of Kyle,’ in the parish of Monktown,) that the said Roger married Robert and Elizabeth foresaids.”
The editor of the ‘Historie’ remarks in a note: “Mr. Lewis Innes, principal of the Scots college at Paris, first completely proved the fallacy of Buchanan’s account of King Robert’s marriages, by publishing in 1694, a charter granted by him in 1364, which charter showed that Elizabeth More was the first wife of Robert, and made reference to a dispensation granted by the pope for the marriage. That dispensation was long sought for in vain, but was at length discovered in 1789, at which time a dispensation for the marriage with Euphemia Ross was also found. These discoveries have decided the question. The dispensation for the marriage with Elizabeth More is dated in December, in the sixth year of the pontificate of Clement VI. He was elected pope in 1342; this dispensation must therefore have been granted in December 1347. The dispensation for the marriage with Euphemia Ross is dated in the third year of the pontificate of Innocent VI. He was elected pope in 1352; this dispensation must therefore have been given in 1355.”
Sir Adam, the eldest son, had on his own resignation, a new charger from Robert III., of the barony of Rowallan and whole lands holden of the crown, as also of the barony of Polkellie, &c., with very ample privileg4es, the designation given him by the king being ‘consanguineus.’
He married Joan, daughter of Danielston of that ilk, and by her had three sons. “Caried away,” says the ‘Historie,’ “as appears with emptie surmises and hopes founded on court favors, he made unawares a new rent in his estate and provided his second son, Alexander, to the barronie of Pokellie, together with the lands of Limflare and Lowdonehill, wherein his lady was infeft in liferent, and wer given out by him, now the second time, to the great damage and prejudice of his house and posteritie. However, at that time the court seemed to smile upon him, his proper estate considerable, his friendship strong, and of the greatest of these times. He gave a quartered coat of the arms of Mure and cumin.
The hoarseness and asperitie of the Irish pronunciation of his title and lands is forgot, and Rigallane is now Rowallane, Pothkellath is now Pokellie, &c., and More is now Mure by the court dialect.
Elizabeth Mure (1320 – 1355)
Elizabeth Mure (died before May 1355) was mistress and then wife of Robert, High Steward of Scotland, and Guardian of Scotland (1338 – 1341 and from October 1346), who later became King Robert II of Scotland.
Elizabeth Mure (Muir) was said to be born at Rowallan Castle. Her parents were Sir Adam Mure of Rowallan and Joan Cunningham.
She initially became the Steward’s mistress. He married her in 1336 but the marriage was criticised as uncanonical, so he remarried her in 1349 following a papal dispensation dated at Avignon 22 November 1347.
She died before her husband inherited the crown at the rather advanced age of 54, and he married again (Papal Dispensation dated 2 May 1355), so she was never queen of Scotland.
On 27 March 1371, “–The Lord John (who later took the title of King Robert III, changing his name because of what he saw as John de Baliol’s unpatriotic desecration of the name John), Earl of Carrick and Steward of Scotland, first-born son of King Robert II–” was declared heir to the Crown by Parliament in Scone Abbey.
They had at least ten children – some accounts say thirteen. Doubts about the validity of her marriage led to family disputes over her children’s right to the crown.
* Robert III, born John Stewart, Earl of Carrick
* Walter Stewart, Lord of Fife
* Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany
* Andrew Stewart, Earl of Buchan
* Margaret Stewart, married John of Islay, Lord of the Isles
* Marjorie Stewart, married (1), John Dunbar, 5th Earl of Moray, and (2), Alexander Keith
* Johanna Stewart, married (1), Sir John Keith, (2), Sir John Lyon, and (3) in 1384, Sir James Sandilands.
* Isabella Stewart, married (1), James Douglas, 2nd Earl of Douglas, and (2), David Edmonstone
* Katherine Stewart, married Sir Robert Logan of Grugar and Restalrig, Lord High Admiral of Scotland
* Elizabeth Stewart, married Sir Thomas Hay, Lord High Constable of Scotland
Thats a nice castle. I have friends who are scottish muirs
wonder if they are related!