MACLELLAN’s of Kirkcudbright from Burke’s Peerages

As extracted from Burke’s Peerages, dated 1866, traces the MACLELLAN’s of Kirkcudbright from around 1600 until the title fell dormant in 1832.


By Letters Patent, dated 25 May, 1633.


The Maclellans were anciently sheriffs of Galloway and Barons of Bombie ; but

Sir Patrick Maclellan, nephew, maternally, of the Lord Gray, happening to side with his kinsman, Lord Herries, against the Earl of Douglas, was besieged by that nobleman in his castle of Raeberry, and put to death ; whereupon the Maclellans, without warrant or authority, making reprisal on the lands of Douglas, in Galloway, the office of sheriff and Barony of Bombie became forfeited to the crown ; but tho latter was recovered, and tradition assigns the following circumstance as the cause :— In the reign of James II., of Scotland, a troop of gipsies, coming from Ireland, so infested the county of Galloway, that a royal proclamation issued, offering the Barony of Bombie to any person who should bring the captain, dead or alive, before the king, an exploit which was accomplished by the Laird of Bombie’s son, who carried the marauder’s head upon the point of his sword to his Majesty; whence, to perpetuate the affair, he assumed that figure for his crest, with the motto of “Think on.”

Thomas Maclellan, of Bomby, the direct ancestor of the Lords Kirkcudbright, m. Agnes, dau. of Sir James Dunbar, of Mochrum, and d. about 1604, having had three sons,

I. William, of whom presently,
II. Gilbert, of whom hereafter.
III. John of Auchlean, whose male line becoming extinct his estate returned to the family.

The eldest son,

Sir William Maclellan, of Bombie, fell at the battle of Flodden, 9 September, 1513, leaving by Elizabeth Mure, his wife, a son and successor,

Thomas Maclellan, of Bombie, who was killed in the high street of Edinburgh, 11 July. 1526, by the Barons of Drumlanrig, and Lochinvar, leaving a son,

Sir Thomas Maclellan, of Bombie, who m. Helen, dau. of Sir James Gordon, of Lochinvar, by whom he had a son,

Sir Thomas Maclellan, of Bombie, who d. in July, 1597, and was buried in the church of Kirkcudbright. He m. Grisel Maxwell, dau. of John Lord Herries, and had three sons,

I. Robert (Sir), his heir.
II. William, of Glenshonnock, father of Thomas, 2nd Baron.
III. John, of Bourg, father of John, 3rd Baron, and of William of Auchlean.

The eldest son,

Sir Robert Maclellan, knight, gentleman of the bedchamber to the two first English sovereigns of the house of Stuart, was created, 25 May, 1633, Baron Kirkcudbright, with remainder to his heirs male bearing his name and arms. His lordship m. Margaret, dau. of Sir Matthew Campbell, of Loudoun, by whom he had an only dau. Anne, m. to Sir Robert Maxwell, of Orchardtoun. The Baron m. 2ndly, Mary, dau. of Hugh, Viscount Airds; but d. in 1641, without male issue, when the Barony devolved according to the limitation of the patent, upon his nephew,

Thomas Maclellan, 2nd Baron; who m. Janet, dau. of William, 1st Earl of Queensberry : but dying s. p. in 1647, was s. by his 1st cousin,

John Maclellan, 3rd Baron. This nobleman raised a regiment of foot, at his own charge, for the service of King Charles II., whose train he helped to support at his Majesty’s coronation, at Scone, in 1651. His lordship m. Anne, dau. of Sir Robert Maxwell ; and dying in 1664, was s. by his son,

William Maclellan, 4th Baron; who d. in minority, in 1669, when the whole estate was carried off by his father’s creditors, so that when the succession opened to the deceased lord’s cousin, John Maclellan, there being nothing left to support the dignity, the said John never assumed it, nor did his brother James who succeeded him, whereby the Lords Kirkcudbright do not appear as sitting in parliament from the time of John, the 3rd lord. But the right of the collateral male heir was so indisputably known and acknowledged, that at the Union, this peerage was considered as a subsisting one, and as such preserved in the roll.

James Maclellan, son of William Maclellan, Df Auchlean, and nephew of John, 3rd lord, b. in 1661, did not assume the title of Baron Kirkcudbright until the great struggle for a representative of the Scottish peerage between the Earls of Eglinton and Aberdeen, in 1721, and then his right of voting was protested against; but he voted at all elections subsequently, until 1729, when he was served nearest and lawful male heir to his uncle. Lord Kirkcudbright. His lordship d. in 1730, leaving three daus. only (viz., 1 Margaret, m. to Samuel Brown of Mollance, 2 Mary, d. unm., and 3 Janet, m. to William Maxwell, of Milton), whereupon the Barony passed to the next male heir.

William Maclellan, of Bourness, who experienced great difficulty in establishing his right ; and at the general election, of 1741, himself and his competitor, James, eldest son of the deceased Sir Samuel Maclellan, provost of Edinburgh, voted as Lords Kirkcudbright; nor was it confirmed during his life time; his lordship left by Margaret Murray, his wife, a son,

John Maclellan, Esq., a colonel in the army, who, following up his deceased father’s proceedings, had his right as 7th Baron Kirkcudbright, confirmed by the House of Lords, 3 May, 1773. His lordship m. Miss Banister, of the Isle of Wight, by whom he had issue,

Sholto-Henry, his heir.
Camden-Gray, 9th Baron.
Elizabeth, m. in 1795, to Finlay Ferguson, Esq.

His lordship d, 24 December, 1801, in his seventy-third year, and was s. by his eldest son,

Sholto-Henry Maclellan, 8th Baron, b. 1771, who m. in 1820, Miss Cantes; but d.s.p., 16 April, 1827, when the title devolved upon his brother.

Camden-Gray Maclellan, 9th Lord Kirkcudbright, b. 20 April, 1774 ; who m. Sarah, dau. of the late Colonel Thomas Gorges, and had an only dau. and heir,

Camden-Elizabeth, m. in 1832, to James-Staunton Lambert, Esq., of Creg Clare, Cî. Galway, M.P. for that shire, and has Issue,


Walter Maclellan, captain 41st regiment, b. 81 August,1833,
Charles-James, b. 11 October, 1837 ; d. 6 February, 1855,
Thomas Camden, b. 6 October, 1841, an officer 29th regiment.
Robert, b. 4 February, 1844.
James-Henry, b. 6 September, 1851.
Sarah-Eliziibeth, m. 2 October, 1858, to Charles-Edward Lewis, Esq., of St. Pierre, Monmouthshire.
Harriette, m. 2 October, 1856, Somerset-Molyneux Clarke, Esq., captain 93rd Highlanders. Katherine-Isabella, b. 21 September, 1839 ; d. 4 December 1854.

Lord Kirkcudbright d. at Bruges, 19 April, 1832, and since his decease the title has remained Dormant.

Arm — Arg., two chevrons, sa.


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    Craig mclelland

    Interested in my family names history

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    William Webster

    Following my mothers side here the McClellands of Co Tyrone N.Ireland I find what I’m reading amazing to say the least.I would add that this Clan should have way more written history about it on its contribution to Scottish history.Seemingly once they came out of the Highlands to settle it the Lowlands they just prospered.I believe they run with William Wallace,Robert the Bruce took on Clans way bigger than themselves and stood for loyalty and honour seldom wavering from tasks they set themselves…

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    Graham mcClelland

    Busy reading about the Plantation of Ireland and our very own Sir Robert McClelland who was given Plantation Lands over on the Emerald Isle by King James…….No doubt my poor McClelland Ancestors were dragged across to help him with the Plantation as I have found my Ancestors who left County Down in Northern Ireland in 1868 after over 200 years in Ireland, ending up not like many with our colonial cousin but unfortunately in England!!. AAaargh!!

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