Handwritten notes on History of the Armstrong Clan

Media Type:
Handwritten notes on History of the Armstrong Clan. Nine undated pages. Papers measure 25.5 x 21 cm.
From Armstrong family collection.
A detailed history of the Armstrong Clan may be found here: http://www.armstrong.org/

Hume Brown's History of Scotland: https://archive.org/details/historyofscotlan02brow

Register of Scotland: https://www.ros.gov.uk/

National MSS of Scotland : http://www.nls.uk/collections/manuscripts

History of Northumberland: https://archive.org/details/historyofnortpt202hodguoft

Privy Council of Scotland Records: http://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/research/guides/privy-council-records

Many names of counties, shires, estates, towns and lands have changed since 1537 so the spelling may be different now.

The Full Text may not be 100% accurate.
Date Of Event:
4 Jul 1537
Last Name(s):
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Huggins, Jean A. E. (1895-1989)
Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library
Agency street/mail address
10 Anderson Lane P.O. Box 430
Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON L0S 1J0
Full Text

-History of the Armstrong Clan-
The original name was Fairbairn or (Fairchild) changed on the field of battle by a Scotch King who while lying wounded required assistance to mount his horse by Fairbairn who with one hand lifted the King with ease onto his horse whereupon the King Knighted him and changing name to that of Armstrong (so tradition tells us)
     The first record of the name is Alexander Laird of Mangerton in the 11th centuary
     Scotch history or records has the flowwing list of estates owned by four ^ or 5 lairds or chiefs of the Armstrong Clan in the 15th centurary -
Alexander Armstrong Laird of Mangerton
John [Armstrong] " " Gilnockie or Hollows
William [Armstrong] " " Sorbie
Thomas [Armstrong] " " Glendovan
Simon [Armstrong] " " Whithaugh
all the above estates situatied on the Scottish border principally in Liddisdale-
     The clan became very powerful in the 15th centuary it is recorded that in 1527 Simon Armstrong boasted to the Earl of Northumberland that he and this clan had laid waste 60 miles of country and that there was none either in England or Scotland dare remedy the same - On Nov. 29th 1597 to avenge an insult offered by Gentlemen in attendance on Sir John Carmichael then warden of Liddisdale to an Armstrong chief the sons of said chief deliberately took the wardens life -

     In the rebellion leaded by the 9th Earl of Douglas in the year 1455 the Armstrong clan declined to fight against the King nor would they fight against the Douglas Clan although Douglas had an army of 40. 000 he was overthrown -
     The above mentioned Earl of Douglas son of the well known Sir James who married the daughter of King Robert 2nd of Scotland
     In the year 1610 Archibald Armstrong ^ laird of Mangerton was ordered to appear before the Scottish Council in January. He declined to appear and with his branch of the clan made a raid on the lands and Castle of the Earl of Home after much trouble his lands in 1632 were confiscated by the crown and are now in the possession of Scott Duke of Buccleuch
     From 1500 to the year 1530 John Armstrong laird of Gilnochie Castle was well known as the Scottish border King see Keiths History of the S. Borders also Hume Brown history of Scotland on June 8th 1530 James 5th king of Scotland ^ also Lang's history of the Scottish Borders page 189 and 194 wrote inviting Armstrong to meet him on the Borders near Jedburgh accepting the invitation ^ in good faith Armstrong with a number of his followers ^ appeared were trapped and hung on trees, all history: of Scotland record this foul deed also many poems appeared describing this meeting between King James and Armstrong ^ chief. One poet tells us that Scotlands heart was never so sore to see so many good men die

     The following lines enscribed on a fine monument erected in the town of Newcastleton (on the border of Scotland) to the memory of the border poet Dr Armstrong.

Proud of the muse
Which gave to classic fame
Our vale and streams
to song before unknown
We raise this stone
to bear thy deathless name
And tell the world
that Armstrong was our own
     During the invasions of Edward 1st of England and Balliol of Scotland from 1300 to 1346 Liddisdale the home of the Armstrong Clan was overrun by fire and sword see Fordum ed. shene. vol. 2(?) page 358 also Ayseus page 181
     On March 4th 1363 Gilbert Armstrong provost of St. Andrews was one of three commissioners dispatched by the Parliament of Scotland to arrange for a ransom to England for ^ King David 2nd of Scotland then a prisoner in England -
     Also the above Gilbert Armstrong on July 20th 1366 was with ^ three others instructed by the Scotch Parliament then assembled at Scone to arrange a treaty of peace between England and Scotland see National M. S. S. of Scotland Vol. 2 No. 42 }
     On the 16th March 1397 a most important meeting was held on the Scottish borders at the Lochmaben Stone by the Earls of Rothsay and Lancaster where a number of Knights and Squires pledged themselves security for the Earl of Douglas (then in trouble) among whom appear the names of Alexander Armstrong Geffrey Armstrong and David Armstrong -
     In 1374 Adam Armstrong a Knight was traveling in company with the Earl of March on the continent
     A large cross monument ^ at Minholm still marks the Grave of Adam Armstrong a chief of the clan erected in the 13th centuary -

     Although the Armstrong Clan received what was expected to be a death blow in 1530 when James 5th of Scotland treacherously betrayed and hung and number of the clan chiefs especially John Armstrong laird of Gilnochie known as the border King the clan soon recovered because it is recorded that in the year 1588 the Armstrong ^ Clan defied the Earl of Angus head of the Douglas Clan and warder of Liddisdale, because he was a partie with James 5th in sending the letter that traped the laird of Gilnochie causing his death along with a number of the clan in 1530
     In the year 1376 Sir James Douglas who married a daughter of Robt 2nd of Scotland mentions in a list of Squires and landowner a number of Armstrong's this Douglas raided England with a numerous following of the border clans and was killed at the battle of Otterburn also special mentions is given to a John Armstrong who was killed ^ at this battle see History of Northumberland Vol. 2 page 128
     In the year 1482 Nov 2nd Thomas Armstrong of his own free will without force or dear resigned his lands of Mangerton to the Earl of Angus (a Douglas) the said Earl of Angus on Nob. 12th 1482 transferred said lands of Mangerton to David Scott ancestor to the present Duke of Buccleuch see Scotts of Buccleuch Vol. 2 page 77-78-80

     On Feby. 1528 Lord Maxwell the Warden of Liddisdale and one of the most powerful Lords in Scotland took bonds of Manrent from the following list of landed Gentry on the borders of Scotland James Douglas, of Drumlanrig, ancestor of the Dukes of Queensberry, Simon Johnston, of Herthop, John Armstrong, of Gilnochie, Alexander Stewart of Garlies ancestory of the Earls of Galloway, and James Gordon, of Lochinver , ancestor of the Lords Kenmore
      Also David, and Ninian Armstrong, gave bonds to Lord Home, at Home Castle on July 10th 1528
     On Oct. 9th 1586 the town and lands of Whithaugh previously taken ^ wrongfully from Lancilot Armstrong was restored to him by Frances Earl of Bothwell. (a Douglas) and remained in the hands of his descendants untill 1730
     The original ^ charter of Whithaugh to Armstrong having been destroyed by the English see English state papers also Scots of the Privy Council of Scotland
     In an early edition of Burks Landed Gentlemen of England & Scotland dated 1623 he speaks of one family of Armstrongs who resided at Lyonsdale for nine generations
     David Armstrong ^ of Sorby [Sorbie] and Archibald Armstrong were witness to an important notorial instrument dated Nov. 2nd 1456 see History of Scotts of Buccleuch Vol. 2 page 55 & 56

     In the year 1526 a large number of the Armstrong Clan with the followers entered the City of Newcastle attacked the Castle and rescued Sir Wm Lesle and his son also Lord James Stuart one time Earl of Murray ^ son of James 5th of Scotland and Regent of Scotland, besides many others then prisoners in the Castle
     In the year 1623 Scott. and his Clan ancestor to the present Duke of Buccleuch rescued Wiliam Armstrong known as Kenmonth Willie from Carlisle Castle to haveing been taken prisoner by the English it was a bold deed to save an esteemed neighbour Kenmonth Willie Armstrong was owner of Morton tower or Castle at Sark water 10 miles north of Carlisle
     In the year 1745 in the reign of Charles 1st Archibald better known as Archie Armstrong was the last to fight to defend his stronghold ca;;ed Stubholm at the junction of the rivers Wauchope and Esk his Castle was surrounded by English dragons(?) a number of whom were killed by Armstrong during the siege Armstrong escaped to the Continent where he lived for year as a soldier of fortune returning to Scotland with wealth and old age to die in honor at his old home however his wide who assisted in the defence of their home & family died soon after her husband escaped having one son the youngest of 6 his name was Archie he was only 14 years old when the last stand against the English was made but he fought ^ bravely for his rights as all his father had done and later in life he married into the Elliot family

     In the year 1515 the Warden of Liddisdale or the Earl of Angus (a Douglas) received pledges from the Scotts, Elliots, Johnstans, Kerr's, and all border clans except the Armstrong's to keep the peace

     In the year 1526 in the fourth raid or war against the border clans the Armstrongs were forced to submit and give pledges after a great slaughter

     Between 1515 and 1525 the Armstrongs and their followers repulsed on three occasions three raids on their lands by the Earl of Angus (Douglas)
     In the year 1528 the Duke of Northumberland gives evidence that the strength of the Armstrong Cland and their followers was above three thousand horsemen
     The Earl of Surray also gave evidence that the border clans were the boldest and hottest he had ever encountered
     See Scottish register Sir Sig. Vol. 8 page 195 where on July 8th 1530 where several estates belonging to the Armstrong`s was confiscated and transfered to Robert Lord Maxwell, also where on Aug 4th 1525 Lord Maxwell transferred to John Armstrong the following list of estates Dalbetht, Scheld, Dawblane, Stabilgortoun, Langholm, and the lands of Tevioteschelis - and on Feby 16th 1526 the Lands of Mylgill, and Eriswod

     In the year 1328 William Armstrong was paid an account due him by the Kings Chamberlin
     In the year 1343 the Kings Chamberlin paid Richard Armstrong forty pounds on account also ^ paid an account due Armstrong for 1342 -
     In the year 1362 also 1363 Wm Armstrong received from the King of Scotland letters of safe conduct to London for himself and two servants
     In the year 1373 Gilbert Armstrong a churchman of distinction received letters of safe conduct to attend Oxford University
     In the year 1541 a Real roll of the Lordship of Liddisdale was prepaired and where it is recorded that the following list of estates belonged and were in the name of Alexander Armstrong Laird of Mangerton Hall in free Heritage - Regarth half of Regarthe, Sorbie, Sorbietrees, Howthorsyde, Mangerton, Mylneholm, Langland -
     In the year 1525 John Armstrong laird of Gilnochie Castle (or Tower) signed a bond of manrent to Lord Maxwell warden of Liddisdale and received from that nobleman a grant of the following towns and estates in Liddisdale namely Dalbetht, Scheld, Dawblane, Stabilgortoun, Langholm, and the lands of Tevioteschelis - and on Feby 16th 1526 the Lands of Mylgill, and Eriswod -
Gilnochie Tower was a strong fortress five feet and half ^ thick solid masonry

Abstract _ Charter by Robert Lord Maxwell Lord of the lands of Weisdale and Eskdale in favor of Ninian Armstrong in Arkilton, and his heirs, of all and whole the lands of Arkilton, extending to a ten pound land of old extent, with the pertinents, lying in the lordship of Eskdale, within the bounds of Ewisdale, and the shire of Dumfries:
     Which lands of Arkilton belonged before in heritage to William Johnston of Gretna, and were by him resigned in due form in the hands of the said Lord Maxwell as superior; to hold to the said Ninian Armstrong of the grantor and his heirs, in fee and heritage for ever, by all their past marches, as they lie in length and breadth, in houses, biggings, woods, plains, muirs etc, mills multures, and their sequels ; fowlings, huntings and fishings : peats, divots, coals ' rabbits, rabbit warrens, pigeon cots, etc, quarries of stone and lime ; with courts and their issues, fines, etx ; with all other liberties and advantages ^ which mostly belong to the said lands -
     Sealed and subscribed by the said Lord Maxwell at
Edinburgh 4th July 1537

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Handwritten notes on History of the Armstrong Clan

Handwritten notes on History of the Armstrong Clan. Nine undated pages. Papers measure 25.5 x 21 cm.
From Armstrong family collection.