THE estate of Mount Vernon is situated in the parish of Old Monkland, near the village of Baillieston, about five miles eastwards from Glasgow. The ancient name was "Windy-edge," which it retained till about 1756, in which year the lands were acquired by George Buchanan, merchant in Glasgow, who built the oldest portion of the existing mansion, and gave it, and the estate, the present appellation. In 1827 wings were added, and the interior altered and modernised. The house commands an extensive prospect of the Vale of Clyde.
George Buchanan was the second son of Provost Andrew Buchanan of Drumpellier, one of the famous "Virginia Dons." The eldest son, James, was Provost of Glasgow twice, viz., in 1768 and 1774. These gentlemen had large plantations in Virginia, then under the British Crown, from which province came the greatest proportion of the tobacco so largely imported by the merchants of Glasgow, for continental, as well as British, consumption, and in which business many of them made princely fortunes.
Mount Vernon was the country residence of Mr. George Buchanan. (1) He espoused a daughter of James Dunlop of Garnkirk, a very old family. Soon after, Mr. Buchanan built a spacious town mansion at the head of Virginia Street, which had been opened by his father through his urban property. It was one of the most splendid private residences then in Glasgow, and was designated the "Virginia Mansion." It faced south. The Union Bank now occupies the site, but in Mr. Buchanan's day the house stood quite on the outskirts of the city, Virginia Street being then the street farthest west, while Ingram Street was a narrow drove-road, between hedges, uncausewayed, leading from the High Street to the country, and known as "The Back Cow Lane," along which the town herd took the cows of the old burgesses out to pasture at the Cowcaddens.
A full description of the Virginia Mansion and the general locality may be seen in Volume II. of "Glasgow Past and Present."
Mr. George Buchanan did not live long to enjoy his properties, urban and rural. He died on Tuesday, 20th July, 1762, at the early age of thirty-four. His portrait is preserved in Drumpellier House, beside that of his father.
The Virginia Mansion was sold in 1770 to Alexander Spiers of Elderslie, another of the Virginia Dons. But Mount Vernon House and estate are still in the possession of Mr. Buchanan's descendants. The present proprietor is his great-grandson, Colonel Carrick Buchanan of Drumpellier.
Mount Vernon has been for many years the residence of our able and respected townsman Charles Gairdner, head of the Union Bank of Scotland. A portion of the lands adjoining the highway to Bothwell, has, within these few years, been laid off for the erection of villas, and a number of handsome houses have been built. The first of these was constructed in 1860, by Mr. George Fyffe Christie, writer, Glasgow, and this new suburb of Mount Vernon is of easy access, a railway station being in the immediate vicinity.
The Buchanans of Drumpellier and Mount Vernon are among the legacies bequeathed to Glasgow by the Virginia trade of last century.
ANDREW BUCHANAN of Gartacharan, near Drymen, the representative of a branch of the ancient and distinguished families of Buchanan of that Ilk and of Leny, had two sons: Alexander, who succeeded, and who is represented by Alexander Buchanan, now of Gartacharan, and George, who came to push his fortunes in Glasgow, and who is represented now by the three good families of Buchanans, Drumpellier, Auchintorlie, and Craigend.
GEORGE BUCHANAN (George I.), Maltster, Visitor of the Maltmen in 1694, Deacon Convener in 1706. He was a staunch covenanter, who fought at Bothwell Bridge, and had a reward set on his head. He married Mary, daughter of Gabriel Maxwell, merchant in Glasgow, and left four sons, George, Andrew, Archibald, and Neil, and one daughter. Mary. Mary married, 1731, George Buchanan of Moss and Auchintoshan, and is represented here by her great-great-granddaughter, Mrs. Christie of Bedlay, daughter of the late John Cross Buchanan of Moss and Auchintoshan. The four sons were founders, in 1725, of the Buchanan Society, the oldest charitable society in Glasgow except Hutcheson's Hospital. George, the eldest son, followed his father's business. The other three are named among M'Ure's "Sea Adventurers": they were great Virginia merchants.
I. GEORGE BUCHANAN, eldest son of George I., Maltster, born 1685, died 1773, Visitor of the Maltmen 1719, City Treasurer 1726, Bailie 1732 and 1738. George II. built himself a fine mansion on the north side of Argyle Street, which till 1828 occupied the site of the Argyle Street portion of Fraser Sons & Co.'s warehouse. He owned all the ground fronting Argyle Street from this house as far east as "Bailie King's close" (a clay lane which ran north from Argyle Street, about where the Arcade now is). This ground formed part of "Palzean's Croft," the westmost section of the Langcroft. By his wife, Cecilia Forbes, George II. left, with four daughters (2) and three other sons, a son,
ANDREW BUCHANAN, Virginia merchant, born 1725, died about 1783.
He forsook the paternal malt for the tobacco that had enriched his three uncles - an unlucky choice. He was head of two great Virginia houses Buchanan Hastie & Co., and Andrew Buchanan & Co., and in 1777, in the crash of the American revolt, both fell, and he was utterly ruined. He was rich yet, if he could have discounted one of his assets, which Gilbert Hamilton, his trustee, would have let him have back on easy terms. He owned (except one small patch) all the westmost block of "Palzean's Croft." There were four acres of it, stretching from his father's house as far east as St. Enoch's burn (say Mitchell and West Nile Streets), and from Argyle Street as far north as the Meadowflat March (about 30 yards north of Gordon Street). These four acres comprise the best part of Buchanan Street, which is so named after Andrew Buchanan. Here, in happier times, when the Colonies were as loyal as Lanarkshire, he had built himself a house, on whose site the south-east corner of Stewart & Macdonald's warehouse now stands, (3) and just before the crash he had built the three-storied tenement still standing at the south-east corner of Buchanan Street.
Andrew Buchanan died about 1783, leaving (with other children) a daughter Mary Buchanan, who was born the year of the crash, and was living two years ago, a last link between these old Virginia days and our own. She died at Godmanchester in 1876, aged 98. Her brother George, merchant and planter in Jamaica, born 1758, died at Sherborne in 1826, leaving a son Andrew Buchanan, born in Jamaica in 1807, now a surgeon in London
II. PROVOST ANDREW BUCHANAN, second son of George I., Virginia merchant, born 1690, died 1759. One of the foremost citizens of his day. Besides his own business, he was partner in King's Street Sugar House, and he was one of the six founders of the famous old Ship Bank. He was Dean of Guild in 1728, and Provost in 1740.
In the troubles of 1745 he did good service both to the country and to Glasgow. After Prestonpans, when "Squire Hay," the Pretender's quartermaster, rode through from Edinbro' with a peremptory levy of £15,000 on the defenceless whig town, Andrew Buchanan and five others were chosen Commissioners to treat with Hay, and succeeded in securing a great abatement. (4) In December, Glasgow, which had been conspicuous for its active loyalty, was occupied by the rebel army on their melancholy march back from Derby, and was again severely requisitioned. Andrew Buchanan had made himself especially obnoxious, and had the honour of a separate levy on him of £500 under threat of plundering his house. "Let them plunder away," was the reply, "I won't pay a farthing." After all, nothing came of it. They were a thowless lot, those rebels, and would have had a short shrift if the Government had shown half the spirit of Glasgow. (5) This worthy citizen died in 1759, and lies in the shadow of the Ramshorn Tower.
By his wife, Marion Montgomery, Provost Andrew left two sons, James and George, and five daughters, of whom Mary married William Stirling, founder of the famous firm of William Stirling & Sons (see Drumpellier). Provost Andrew left land to each of his sons. Drumpellier, which he had bought in 1735 from David Colquhoun of London, went to the eldest son, James. George had a plot in the Lang Croft, lying just west of the Shawfield mansion. There was about two acres of it, (6) and it was worth about £500. Yet it may be doubted if Drumpellier, much as it has grown in value, is worth as much to-day as these two acres; for they comprise the solum of Virginia Street from Argyll Street to Ingram Street.
(I.) JAMES BUCHANAN of Drumpellier, elder son of Provost Andrew, Virginia merchant, born [blank], died 1786, Dean of Guild 1772, and twice Provost, 1768 and 1774. He was unfortunately a partner with his cousin Andrew in Buchanan Hastie & Co., and was ruined in 1777. (7) In that year his trustee sold Drumpellier to Provost James's nephew, Andrew Stirling, eldest son of William Stirling and Mary Buchanan. Provost James was afterwards a Commissioner of Customs, and died at Edinburgh without male issue. By his wife, Margaret Hamilton (daughter of the Hon. John Hamilton, son to the sixth Earl of Haddington, and sister to the Countess of Morton and the Countess of Selkirk) he had one boy Andrew, who died the year before the crash. A daughter, Helen, married her cousin, Admiral Sir George Home of Blackadder, whose son, Sir James Home, married his cousin, Anna Stirling of Drumpellier, and was father of Sir George Home, now Sheriff at Inveraray.
(II.) GEORGE BUCHANAN of Mount Vernon, younger son of Provost Andrew, Virginia merchant, born 1728, died 1762.
We can see from what he did what the profits of the Virginia trade were like in its palmy days. In 1758, when not thirty, he was able to buy Mount Vernon from Adam Fairholm, and to build and plant and lay out there; and before his death in his thirty-fourth year, he had built himself on the two acres on the Lang Croft a town house, only equalled by the Shawfield mansion. This was the famous Virginia mansion, which was only removed in 1842 by the Union Bank. (8) George Buchanan married Lilias Dunlop of Garnkirk, sister of Provost Colin Dunlop of Carmyle. By her he had a daughter Marion (the wife of her cousin, James Dunlop first of Tollcross, Carmyle's eldest son, and the mother of Colin Dunlop, M.P., and grandmother of James Dunlop, now of Tollcross), and two sons, Andrew and David.
(1.) ANDREW BUCHANAN of Mount Vernon, Virginia merchant, born 1755, died 1795. The Virginia mansion was sold in 1770 to Alexander Speirs of Elderslie (whose wife was daughter of Archibald Buchanan of Auchintorlie), and Andrew Buchanan long lived in more modest quarters, in the second flat of Adam's Court, south side Argyle Street. He died without issue in 1795, and the line was carried on by his brother David.
(2.) DAVID BUCHANAN, afterwards David Carrick Buchanan, Virginia merchant, born 1760, died 1827.
The second founder of the family : to him they owe it that they have to-day either Drumpellier or Mount Vernon : he saved the one, and he recovered the other. Things had gone badly with his brother Andrew Buchanan of Mount Vernon, and he had been put under trust. Later on, his cousin, Andrew Stirling of Drumpellier, in a different business, had been equally unfortunate, and had conveyed all his property to John More, the banker, as trustee for his creditors. (9) Meantime, David Buchanan had been long out in Virginia, and had laboured there, in spite of the times, to such good purpose that he was able to buy in Mount Vernon in 1801, and to buy back Drumpellier in 1808. One can envy him (as one can envy Warren Hastings when Daylesford was at last his), and the long years of exile must have seemed to him but a few days for the power they had given him to save the old lands.
But the family fortunes were further recruited by a great windfall. Provost Andrew and his brothers had been brought up, according to the custom of the day, at home under a divinity student, Mr. Robert Carrick. Afterwards, the family got the parish of Houston for their old tutor, and, when the minister's son, Robert, born in the Manse of Houston, was fourteen, the Provost gave him a stool in the old Ship Bank in Bridgegate. (10) The lad showed singular industry and shrewdness, and rose to be the head of the Bank and of various other concerns, and as "Robin Carrick" was for many a day among the most notable figures here. His concerns throve, one and all, and he saved and saved; and when he died on 20th June 1821, in his old house above the Bank, he was one of the richest men Glasgow had seen. He was a cold hard man, not given to sentiment or generosity. But something of these he would seem to have had, for he left the bulk of his fortune (11) to David Buchanan, the heir of his father's old pupil and of his own old patron.
David Buchanan (who was also a partner with Robin in the Ship Bank, then designated Carrick Brown & Co.) after the Carrick inheritance took the name of Carrick Buchanan. He died at Drumpellier in 1827, aged sixty-seven. He had married in Virginia a wife from one of the Virginian F.F.'s (or First Families), Elizabeth Gilliam, daughter of James Gilliam of Mount Alta, and he left two sons, Robert Carrick Buchanan, of Drumpellier and Mount Vernon, born 1797, died 1841, and Andrew Buchanan, long resident at Mount Vernon, born 1799, and living now.
Robert Carrick Buchanan married Sarah, daughter of Sir Joseph Hoare, Bart., and niece to the Marquis of Thomond, and left (with two younger sons, who both died without issue)
DAVID CARRICK ROBERT CARRICK BUCHANAN, now of Drumpellier and Mount Vernon, born 1825, married Frances Lefroy, granddaughter of the late well-known Chief Justice of Ireland. He is Lieutenant-Colonel of the 2nd Royal Lanark Militia, and master of the Lanark and Renfrew Hunt. He has added to the old family properties the fine estates of Finlayston in Renfrewshire, the ancient seat of the Glencairns, and Carradale and Torrisdale in Cantyre.
(III.) Archibald Buchanan, third son of George I., Virginia merchant, and a partner in the Glasgow Arms Bank, born [blank], died 1761. He owned Auchintorlie in Dumbartonshire (which had been his brother Andrew's) (12) and Hillington in Renfrewshire (which had been his brother Neil's). He married Martha, daughter of Provost Peter Murdoch and Mary Luke of Claythorn, and left with a daughter, Mary, three sons, Peter, George, and Andrew, (13) all merchants in Glasgow. Mary married Alexander Speirs, the great Virginian, and was ancestress of the Speirs of Elderslie and of Culcreuch. She was a benefactress to the Merchants' House, who have portraits of her and her husband : hers is a very fine face. Of the sons, Peter and George died without issue. The line was carried on by the third son,
ANDREW BUCHANAN of Ardenconnal, merchant in Glasgow, born 1745, died 1835, married, 1769, Jane Dennistoun of Colgrain, and (with two daughters, Jesse, wife of James Monteith of Craighead, and Martha, wife of George Murdoch Yuille, and mother of Andrew Buchanan Yuille of Darleith) had two sons, Archibald and James. It is to Andrew Buchanan of Ardenconnal that we owe that valuable addition to the history of Glasgow and of the Rebellion of 1745, the "Cochrane Correspondence." It was he who suggested its publication to the late accomplished James Dennistoun of Dennistoun. Ardenconnal lived to be ninety, a fresh kindly old man, esteemed by all that knew him. His eldest son,
1. ARCHIBALD BUCHANAN, merchant in Glasgow, succeeded his uncle George Buchanan, in Auchintorlie and Hillington, and died in 1832, leaving by his wife, Mary Dennistoun of Kelvingrove (with another son, Richard Dennistoun, late 72nd Highlanders),
ANDREW BUCHANAN, now of Auchintorlie. (Hillington he sold some years ago to the adjoining proprietor, the late Mr. Richardson of Ralston). Mr. Buchanan married Mary, daughter, and his sister, Georgina, married George, son, of the late Sir James Ferguson of Kilkerran. Ardenconnal's second son,
2. JAMES BUCHANAN of Blair Vadick, a merchant in Glasgow, married Janet, daughter of twelfth Earl of Caithness, and died 1860, leaving, with five daughters, one son,
The Right Hon. SIR ANDREW BUCHANAN, a distinguished diplomatist, long ambassador at St. Petersburg and other courts: a member of the Privy Council and G.C.B. He has bought the estate of Craigend. (14) He married first, Frances Katherine Mellish, daughter of the Dean of Hereford, and second, Hon. Georgiana Stuart, a sister of Lord Blantyre's.
IV. NEIL BUCHANAN, fourth son of George I., Virginia merchant, and M.P. for the Glasgow Burghs 1741 - 1747. He owned the estate of Hillington, which passed to his brother, Archibald of Auchintorlie, whose great-grandson, the present Auchintorlie, was the last Buchanan owner of it. Neil Buchanan died at Glasgow in 1777, leaving one son and three daughters, none of whom have living descendants.
(1) It is worth noticing that Mr. Buchanan's plantations adjoined that of the elder brother of George Washington, on the beautiful banks of the Potomac, in Virginia. The original name of Laurence Washington's estate there was "Huntingcreek," but, like Mr. Buchanan, he changed it to "Mount Vernon," in compliment to the brave old British Admiral on the American station, under whom he had served in the unlucky expedition against Carthagena, so graphically described by Smollett, in "Roderick Random." Admiral Vernon was a general favourite, and probably known to Mr. Buchanan.
(2) Of the daughters, Cecilia, her mother's namesake, married John Douglas, son of William Douglas of Leith, and Katherine Dunlop (see "Garnkirk"), and had, with seven sons, one daughter, the late Mrs. Cecilia Douglas of Orbiston. Mrs. Douglas rivalled the vitality of her cousin Mary. She was the longest liver of the subscribers to the Glasgow Tontine, and so came in for that valuable property. It is worth noting that she only won by a neck from another cousin, old Miss Speirs of Elderslie. These two offshoots of the same tough stock had for some time had the race to themselves. Mrs. Douglas died at Orbiston (which see) in 1862, aged ninety-one. One of her brothers was Sir Neil Douglas. The other six were well known West India merchants. Thomas Dunlop Douglas of Dunlop was the last survivor of the family : he died in 1869, aged ninety-four.
(3) Stuart (Views and Notices, p. 108) gives a sketch of both Andrew's house and his father's, as they were in 1793. Part of Andrew's had by this time been cut away to widen the entry to Buchanan Street, which had only been 30 feet wide. The street floor and cellars of the "three-storied tenement" were sold in 1779 to Robert Bogle & Co. for £700. In 1801 they were sold for £1,300, and in 1821 for £1,950. What are they worth now?
(4) The Requisition to the Six Commissioners is interesting: the names are a roll-call of the Notables of the day. It is to be found in fac-simile, signatures and all, in the Cochrane Correspondence.
Glasgow, Sept., 1745.
Whereas the City of Glasgow is in danger of being attacked by a force which they are in no Condition to resist and the inhabitants and their Trade may be exposed to many inconveniences. These are therefor Beseeching you Andrew Aiton Andrew Buchanan Lawrence Dinwoodie and Richard Oswald merchants in Glasgow Allan Dreghorn wright and James Smith weaver in Glasgow. In case any such force shall approach the city and require to be Lodged therein That you meet with the Leaders of the said force and make the best terms you possibly can for saving the City and its Trade and Inhabitants.
The £15,000 was five times the town's income. The Commissioners succeeded in reducing this to £5,000 in cash and £500 in goods, and no small trouble it cost the Provost to raise the £5,000: £3,500 in small sums from the citizens, and £1,500 in ban from the Earl of Glencairn.
Hay, the "Scourge and Persecutor," has a Glasgow connection. He was son to Hay of Huntingdon, and brother to Mrs. Patrick Craigie. Her daughter, Patrick, married John Alston of the Thistle Bank, and was mother of Anne Alston, first wife of the first John Gordon of Aikenhead.
(5) We may well be proud of the bearing of the Magistrates and people of Glasgow throughout the Rebellion. They submitted from necessity to Squire Hay's exactions. But they took lightly the spoiling of their goods, and his horses' tails had hardly whisked down the Gallowgate, when Provost Cochrane was offering the town's services to the Government : they raised a regiment of Volunteers who stood their ground at Falkirk after the Dragoons and Line had broken : they stoutly withstood a second requisition by a party of rebel Horse : and they held King George's birth-day with "extra illuminations, bonefires, and ringing of bells," and drank all the usual and some new and loyal healths at the Town Hall. "What the consequence of this may be I know not" - (writes the Provost to the Duke of Argyll) - "we judged it our duty to give this publick acknowlt. of our loyalty to our Sovereign, however dangerous at present it may be. If Marshall Wade does not very soon arrive, no doubt we shall feel the effects of there resentment." Marshall Wade, of course, did not arrive, but the rebels did, on Christmas Day, on their melancholy return from Derby, and punished Glasgow more severely than any town in the country. Squire Hay undertook again to be "their scourge and persecutor," and no abatement could this time be had of his exorbitant requisitions. "What contributed to this," the Provost again writes to the Duke, "was the steadiness of our whole inhabitants. This Prince appeared four times publicly in our streets without the smallest respect being paid him: no bells rung, no huzzas, nor did the meanest inhabitants so much as take off their hats. It was hinted that, by the Magistrates and principal Burgesses waiting on him, a mitigation might be procured. This they declined. Yea, our ladys had not the curiosity to go near him, or to a ball held by some of the leaders. This no doubt fretted." Well might Provost Cochrane afterwards write, "I thank God my Magistracy is ended without reproach." As much cannot be said for the Government. When the Rebellion was over, the town asked simply to be reimbursed for their actual war contributions. It is painful to read with what trouble, years afterwards, they obtained a grudging and partial repayment.
(6) Less two stances that the old Provost had sold to his brother Archibald. These stances were on the east side of the street which the Provost had partially opened up. For l½ acres he had paid £322. So the £500 is a fair estimate of the value of the whole two acres.
(7) The advertisement of Mr. James Buchanan of Drumpellier's town house, shows a curious difference in the things people choose to spend money on. Here it is from the Glasgow Mercury of 12th February 1778 - "For sale, that dwelling-house in King's street, belonging to James Buchanan of Drumpellier, eight fire rooms, a kitchen, laundry, cellars, and every convenience for lodging a large family. In the yard are stable, with four stalls, hay loft, chaise house, and room for men-servants." Now-a-days, a man living in a house of eight rooms and a kitchen would hardly be having a carriage and several horses and men-servants.
(8) George Buchanan had his tobacco cellars behind Robertson's Land, the large block still standing at the south-west corner of Virginia Street.
(9) Mr. Stirling in his conveyance of Drumpellier retained the nominal superiority, and the title of Stirling of Drumpellier.
(10) The Ship was the first Glasgow Bank. It was founded in 1750, and after a prosperous course of eighty-six years, was amalgamated in 1836 with the Glasgow Bank, which had been founded in 1809, the last of our private banks. The joint concern was merged in 1843 in the Union Bank, which has swallowed up so many of our old Scotch Banks.
(11) The rest of it went mainly to James Moore, son to Zeluco, and brother to Sir John Moore, and father to John Carrick Moore, now of Corsewall. The small estate of Burnhead went to his nephew, Thomas Carrick, failing male heirs of whom it has under Robin's settlement fallen into Drumpellier. So little does the old man seem to have known of his relations that in his settlement he gave wrong Christian names both to his nephew and to his brother, the nephew's father. After his death the mistake was corrected with some difficulty.
(12) Andrew Buchanan had bought Auchintorlie, near Bowling, from Mungo Buchanan, W.S., in 1737, and afterwards sold it to Archibald. The lands of Auchintorlie lie to the north east of the mansion of Auchintorlie. The beautiful wooded bank on which this stands is part of the lands of Silverbanks.
(13) The houses of the three brothers are worth noting. Peter's was on the east side of Virginia Street, on the present site of the City Bank. It had been built by his father, Archibald, in 1753, and was the oldest house in Virginia Street. Its site is the oldest banking site in Scotland, having now been so occupied for 112 years. The Thistle Bank bought the house from Peter in 1766, and occupied it for 70 years, till their amalgamation in 1836 with the Union Bank. The Union Bank pulled the old house down, and built for themselves the premises now occupied by the City Bank. These the Union Bank occupied till 1842, when they removed to the top of the street, to the finer premises which they had built themselves on the site of the Virginia Mansion. Their old premises they then sold to the abortive Glasgow Bank of 1844, from whom they passed to the Western Bank. Finally the Western Bank sold them to the City Bank, who have occupied them ever since. Both they and the new Union Bank were thought very spacious and splendid buildings. But both are now being largely extended and ornamented.
George Buchanan was an original feuar in Jamaica Street, and built there in 1761 a house hardly inferior to the Shawfield and Virginia mansions. It was afterwards the property of Duncan Campbell, collector of excise, and then of John Black of Clairmont, father of Philip Black, now resident here, and grandfather of Professor John Black Cowan. After it ceased to be a mansion, it was long the shipping office of the well known firm of Thomson & M'Connell. It was taken down about thirty years ago, and Arnott's warehouse built on its site.
Ardenconnal's house, which was built in 1800, is still standing at the south-west corner of Montrose Street. It was long the office of the Glasgow Bank, and afterwards the office of the Amalgamated Glasgow and Ship Bank. After this Bank in its turn had been swallowed up by the voracious Union, Ardenconnal's house was for several years occupied by the School of Design. It is now the headquarters of Dr. Russell, the able head of our sanitary staff.
(14) See Craigend.
NOTES: Updated for 1st March, 2010.
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