By Rick Gwynallen

Bavelaw Castle Gates

Bavelaw Castle Gates

Sir Lawrence Scott of Harpig
1570 – 1637
Elizabeth Pringle
1574 – 1666
Relationship to Fawn: 12th great grandparents

This is not a family line that I plan to spend much time on, but I was attracted to it because it is centered in Edinburgh, and no other lines have been.  Both sides, Scott and Pringle, represent an urban centered family with urban careers.  The Scott side represents the part of Edinburgh society rooted in legal and government, or civil service, work. (What do you know? I have a lawyer in the family. 17th century of course, but a lawyer.) The Pringles are rooted in the merchant and tradesman world of Edinburgh.

Lastly, as a family they lived in a time of great change in Scotland.  Lawrence and Elizabeth were born and grew to maturity in the time of Mary Queen of Scots and of the reign of James VI of Scotland.  They saw James VI become James I of England after the death of Elizabeth I.  They were comfortable, respected members of Edinburgh society when James VI & I died and a time of conflict over the power of the monarchy began, which included the English Civil War between Charles I and the Parliamentarians, the execution of Charles I in 1649 and the rise of the Commonwealth of England under the power of Cromwell’s New Model Army, and the restoration of Charles II in 1660.

The Scotts and Pringles seem to have been Royalists, but they appear to have survived the era with only minor changes in the status of their family’s position.

Who Was Lawrence Scott?

Lawrence Scott of Harprig was the son of James Scott of Scotsloch, Irvine. He married Elizabeth Pringle in 1592.

The Scotts of Malleny, Midlothian, branched off from the house of Murdieston, before the ancestor of the Buccleuchs exchanged that estate for half the barony of Branxholm. Lawrence’s father, James Scott of Scotsloch, and apparently the heir of the Malleny lands, was the first of the family to settle in Midlothian, during the reign of Queen Mary.

Lawrence seemed to have had a quite stable legal and government career.  Though I don’t have firm years for these roles, he is in several documents identified as a Clerk to the Privy Council.  The Privacy Council advised the king, being more or less independent depending on the politics of the times, and those changed regularly in 16th and 17th century Scotland.  The Clerk was a civil servant who headed the Privy Council Office.

Lawrence was also a Clerk of Session, the Court of Session being the supreme civil court in Scotland, and a Clerk of the Scottish Parliament.

He was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates on 6 January 1607.   The Faculty of Advocates is essentially the bar association in Scotland.  Its members are lawyers who have been admitted to practice as advocates before the courts of Scotland.

His signature was found as a witness on documents for Hugh 5th Earl of Eglinton from 1610.

In most genealogies I’ve seen that both he and his father have “Sir” before their name.  Under what circumstances they were knighted I don’t know.  However, William Scott, the son of Lawrence and Elizabeth was knighted by Charles I in November 1641.  Presumably Lawrence was knighted by James I or Charles I.  William followed in his father’s footsteps and later became a Clerk of Session, but in June 1649, following passage of the Act of Classes, William was appointed an ordinary lord of session with the title of Lord Clerkington.   The Act of Classes was passed by the Parliament of Scotland on 23 January 1649. It banned Royalists from holding public office including positions in the army.  While we don’t know if any of the family actually fought in the army for Charles I, it seems they were considered Royalists.


William Scott, Lord Clerkington

Who was Elizabeth Pringle?

While there was little I could find on Elizabeth herself, she was the daughter of William Pringle and Alison Wallace.  The name “Pringle” evolved from the name “Hoppringill” and were used interchangeably in th late 16th and early 17th centuries in Scotland.  William appears in a Midlothian, Edinburgh Parish Record on 27 February 1589 as a tailor; then again in a 1612 Midlothian, Edinburgh Probate Record at the time of his death as a litster [a dyer of cloth] and Burgess of Edinburgh.  There are several entries in the National Archives of Scotland regarding the Pringles or , including that “In 1580 William Hoppringill, litster, and five others are commissioned by the Town Council to examine a piece of cloth about 20 ells long belonging to a merchant, suspected of being lifted with false colours, and report thereon, the cloth being in the meantime arrested (Charters, Edin.).”

Cloth dyers - 1

In Scotland it was necessary to join a guild of craftsmen or merchants. Only those admitted to a guild could trade as merchants or as craftsmen.  Once a guild member, one could gain a burgess ticket as a freeman of the burgh. The rolls listed those admitted as a burgess and entitled to vote in local elections.  

Bavelaw Castle

Bavelaw Castle

Bavelaw Castle sometime before 1929 restoration

Lawrence and Elizabeth’s success in building a prosperous and respected position in Edinburgh seems to have climaxed in 1628 with the purchase of a country property.  In 1628, Lawrence and Elizabeth acquired Bavelaw Castle from a Dundas family with a grant of land “with the town and manor place.” (Lothian, Except Edinburgh by Colin McWilliam)  As an interesting side note, we also have a Dundas family line.

The website, describes Bavelaw Castle as:

A fine laird’s house built around a 16th century L-plan tower-house, Bavelaw Castle is located on the northwest slopes of Hare Hill in the Pentlands, above Threipmuir Reservoir, 4 miles (7 km) west of Penicuik. Comprising two storeys, an attic and a basement, the original tower was probably the work of the Dundas family, and both Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-87), and King James VI (1566 – 1625) stayed here. It then became the property of the Scotts of Harperrig, but was later abandoned. Sir Robert Lorimer (1864 – 1929) restored and extended the house around 1900 by linking the former out-buildings to become part of the main house, adding larger windows and a turret to increase the space in the attic, and converting the basement. It remains a private residence.

Lothian, Except Edinburgh offers a similar description. 

Bavelaw Castle - Distant View

View of Bavelaw Castle at a distance

Of the children of Lawrence and Elizabeth their younger son Lawrence seems to have inherited Bavelaw and became the ancestor of the Scotts of Bavelaw.  William, the eldest and heir, whom I introduced previously, inherited the lands and Barony of Malleny, which passed to his son John and which became the chief title of this branch of the Scott family.

I haven’t discovered when the Scott family abandoned the property, but they apparently still held it in 1763 because that year a Charles Scott sold part of the property though not the house itself.

Connecting Lawrence and Elizabeth to our Modern Family

It might be useful just to mention how this family enters the rest of our family lines.

We are descended from a daughter of Lawrence and Elizabeth, Marion, who marries Thomas Watt.  The Watt line had evolved from a Buchannan family.  Seven generations later that Watt line enters the family of Boyd, introduced in previous essays along with McCullochs, Milligans, and Sloans, then ultimately the Murdocks with Minnie Murdock becoming my paternal great-grandmother.  And there we are! Just like that!

A Parting Story

I ran across this interesting story in History of the Scott Family by Henry Lee (1919) and thought it might make an enjoyable closing.

Sir Walter Scott was created Baron Scott of Buccleuch in 1606 and Robert, ancestor of the Scotts of Scotstarvit.

Tradition gives the following romantic origin of the name Buccleuch, which name had, long prior to the creation of the title, been closely associated with the name of Scott.

Two brothers, banished from Galloway, came to Ettrick Forest where they were gladly received by Brydone, the keeper of the forest, on account of their skill in forestry and the chase; the hunting horn formerly borne in the field of the Buccleuch arms alluding to this fact.

Kenneth MacAlpine, King of Scotland (844-860), coming to hunt in Ettrick Forest and pursuing a buck from Ettrick Heugh to a glen, afterwards known as Buckscleugh, found the stag at bay. The King and his companions of the chase following on horseback were thrown out by the steepness of the hill, and John, one of the Galloway brothers, following the stag on foot, seized the buck by the horns, threw him on his back and carrying him up the hill, laid the buck at the feet of the King.

This incident is told in Watt’s Bellenden, after describing

the killing and “curee’ing” of the deer:

“The King did wash into a dish

And Galloway John he wot;

He said “Thy name now after this

Shall ever be called John Scott.”

“And for the buck thou stoutly brought

To us up that steep heugh

Thy designation ever shall

Be John Scott in Buckscleugh.”

Their name and style the book doth say

John gained them both into one day.”

Additional Information about the name Buccleuch

The first Baron Scott of Buccleuch died 1611, being succeeded by his son Walter, whose title was raised to Earl of Buccleuch in 1619. He was followed by his son Francis, referred to by Sir Walter Scott in “The Lay of the Last Minstrel” as “The Good Earl Francis dead and gone.” His death occurred in 1651, leaving two daughters, Mary and Anne. Mary, Countess of Buccleuch, married Walter Scott of Highchester, a scion of the house of Harden, who was granted the life title of Earl of Tarras. Mary died without issue and was succeeded in the title by her sister Anne, Countess of Buccleuch. Anne had been brought up in the massive square tower on the banks of the Yarrow known as Newark Castle, which was chosen by Sir Walter Scott as the “stately tower” wherein the wandering harper recited to her the story told in “The Lay of the Last MinstreL”

Anne married James, Duke of Monmouth, natural son of Charles II and on their marriage they were created Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch. The Duke of Monmouth was beheaded in 1685. He had two sons, James, Earl of Dalkeith, and Henry, who in 1706 was created Earl of Deloraine. The title Deloraine came from the lands of Deloraine which marched with those of Buccleuch in Ettrick Forest and had from time immemorial been in possession of the Scotts of Buccleuch, and granted by them to kinsmen for Border services rendered.