Kennedy of Girvan Mains




Alexander Kennedy, 1st of Girvan Mains, was a son of John, 2nd Lord Kennedy, and his wife, Elizabeth Gordon, Countess of Errol, and is so styled in a charter to him by his father for the lands of Girvan, Forlyng, Bogre and others in the sheriffdom of Ayr, dated 31 July 1481.[1] He had a charter from the King for the barony of Lasswade on 11 March 1487/88[2] which he renounced in favour of his brother David and witnessed a charter by Gilbert, Earl of Cassills, granting an annualrent from the lands of Dunure to Egedia Blair, relict of James Kennedy of Rowe, on 5 January 1515.[3] He died after then and before July 1522.

He married Janet Corry who survived him and had married secondly, by 1 April 1531, to Thomas Kennedy of Knockreoch when she took instruments that whatever was done that day at Ayr sheriff court would be in no way prejudicial to her liferent of the lands of Girvan Mains,[4] and was father of,

  1. Hugh Kennedy of Girvan Mains, (see below).
  2. Alexander Kennedy,
  3. John Kennedy,
  4. George Kennedy, who with his brothers Alexander and George, were included in letters of protection to William, Abbot of Crossraguel, on 8 April 1530.[5]
  5. Katherine Kennedy, was ravished by Thomas Kennedy, son of Thomas Kennedy of Knockreoch, who, on 10 June 1537, was ordered to underly the law at the next justice-air at Ayr.[6]

He also appears to have been father of at least two natural sons;

  1. Alexander Kennedy,
  2. George Kennedy, both of whom had letters of legitimation under the Great Seal on 6 July 1542.[7]

Sir Hugh Kennedy of Girvan Mains, succeeded and had Sasine for the lands of Girvan Mains, MacIlvenestoun and others, on 3 July 1522.[8] He was appointed a gentleman of the king’s house on September 1524[9] but for his “tresonable art, parte and assistence” given to Archibald, Earl of Angus, on 11 June 1529, he was ordered by the king to “pas in Fraunce within twa monethis nixt eftir he be warnyt thareto be our soverane lord and thare remane at his grace plesour”.[10] He was afterwards rehabilitated and appointed Captain of Tantallon Castle in January 1542/43,[11] then joint master of the royal Stables with James Dundas of that Ilk on 14 March following.[12] He had been knighted by 12 December 1552, when he was included in a petition to the Privy Council by Gilbert, Earl of Cassills, and Patrick, Lord Ruthven, for any actions taken against themselves and those of their kinsmen and friends who were about to depart to France to service the king there in any manner he “will imput to thaim”[13]and had the gift of the escheat goods of John MacDowell in Airyes on 29 July 1572[14].

He made out his Will at Glasgow, on 27 January 1577 and died there on 10 February following.[15] He m. firstly, to a woman whose identity has not yet been discovered by whom he was father of,

  1. John Kennedy of Skeldon, who took instruments on 1 April 1531, that what occurred that day at Ayr sheriff court should not prejudice his rights to the lands of Girvan Mains.[16] He was appointed joint-executor with his brother Gilbert to their father in 1577 and had m. by 1 January 1552, to Margaret, daughter and heiress of Quentin Mure of Aird, when a precept of clare constat for their infeftment in the lands of Over Milmoir was issued.[17] He was father of,

1a} Hugh Kennedy of Overlure, was a beneficiary of his paternal grandfather’s Will in 1577. He m. by 13 May 1576, to Besseta Kennedy when a precept was issued for their infeftment in the lands of Kilmoir.[18]

1a} Alexander Kennedy, was also a beneficiary of his grandfather, Sir Hugh Kennedy’s Will in 1577.

He m. secondly, by 13 May 1532, to Janet, daughter of John Stewart, 2nd Earl of Atholl, (she was relict of Alexander Gordon, Master of Sutherland, who had died at Dunrobin, on 15 January 1529[19] and by whom she had issue ; and following her divorce from Hugh Kennedy, she m. thirdly, by 18 February 1547/48, to Henry Stewart, 1st Lord Methven.[20] Also surviving that husband, she m. fourthly, in 1557, as a second wife, Patrick, 3rd Lord Ruthven), when, on his resignation, she was infeft in the lands of Girvan Mains by charter under the Great Seal[21]. They had a further conjunct charter for the lands of Sladonall, Dalniark and Dalwauchlyn, in Wigtonshire, on 29 September 1541[22] but had divorced before 18 February 1547/48,[23] when she was wife of Henry, 1st Lord Methven. By her he had further issue;

  1. Hugh Kennedy, who, on his father’s resignation, had a charter under the Great Seal for the lands of Girvan, with the manor, mills etc., on 12 June 1542 and in which he is styled a son by Janet Stewart.[24] He dsp vita patris.
  2. Gilbert Kennedy of Girvan Mains, (see below).
  3. James Kennedy, who, with his brother Gilbert, was a substitute heir to their elder brother Hugh in the lands of MacGillevenston and Girvan and others on 12 June 1542.[25]
  4. Margaret Kennedy, m. Uchtred MacDowell of Garthland who granted to her, in her virginity, the liferent of his lands of Over Culroy on 12 June 1549.[26] She and that husband received 200 merks by the terms of her father’s Will in 1577.
  5. Helen Kennedy, m. by 22 April 1556, to Laurence Bruce of Cultmalundy,[27] (he survived her and m. secondly, in 1568, to Elizabeth, daughter of Patrick, 4th Lord Gray,[28] by whom he had further issue ; and d. in Shetland, in August 1617[29]), and had issue.
  6. Barbara Kennedy, m. as a second wife, Sir John Bellenden of Auchinoull, (c/m at Edinburgh, on 30 September 1554[30]), and had issue.
  7. Elizabeth Kennedy, m. as a first, wife, to Patrick Vauss of Barnbarroch and had issue.

Gilbert Kennedy of Girvan Mains, who, on his father’s resignation, had a charter for the lands of Sleudonald, Dalniark and Darvauchlye on 26 August 1565[31] and by the terms of his father’s Latterwill he succeeded to those of Girvan Mains in 1577.

He m. by 9 March 1563, to Margaret, daughter of David Kennedy of Culzean, (who survived him and had her liferent reconfirmed to her on 13 January 1598/99), when on her father’s resignation, they were infeft in the lands of Culzean.[32] He d. on 30 October 1587, having made out his Will at Dalquharrane, two days earlier,[33] and had issue;

  1. Hugh Kennedy of Girvan Mains, (see below).
  2. Alexander Kennedy, is styled brother to the Laird of Girvan when included in a Bond of Caution dated 27 November 1592.[34]
  3. Janet Kennedy, to whom her paternal grandfather, Sir Hugh Kennedy, bequeathed the sum of 300 merks in his Testament of 1577.
  4. A daughter, m. before October 1587, to Mr Lambert Kennedy of Kirkmichael.
  5. Margaret Kennedy, m. before October 1587, to Alexander Kennedy, younger of Drumnellane, when the remaining tocher due by the terms of their marriage contract was listed amongst her late father debts.
  6. A daughter, m. before October 1587, to Alexander Campbell.
  7. Agnes Kennedy, is named with her sisters Katherine and Isobel in their father’s Testament and to whom he bequeathed certain sums of money for use as tocher upon their marriages.
  8. Katherine Kennedy,
  9. Isobel Kennedy,

He was also father of a natural daughter;

  1. Jane Kennedy, to whom her paternal grandfather, Sir Hugh Kennedy, bequeathed the sum of £40 in 1577.

Hugh Kennedy of Girvan Mains, succeeded his father and had Sasine of the lands of Girvan Mains and others, as heir to him on 13 January 1598/99.[35] He m. Anna Kennedy and d. in October 1639.[36] He was father of,

  1. Hugh Kennedy of Girvan Mains, (see below).
  2. Thomas Kennedy, was a witness to his brother Hugh’s marriage contract in 1617.
  3. David Kennedy of Balliemor, had settled at Bar and married Janet Kennedy by 30 November 1633, when they had a conjunct charter for the lands of Glenmuck[37] then had acquired the lands of Balliemor by 20 January 1644, when he had a charter from his brother, Hugh Kennedy of Girvan Mains, for the lands of Dalquharnell.[38]
  4. Gilbert Kennedy, was executor to his father in 1639 and is then styled his youngest lawful son.
  5. Margaret Kennedy, m. John Cathcart, eldest son and apparent heir of John Cathcart of Carleton, (c/m 3 June 1617.[39] He d. vita patris in November 1628[40]), and had issue.
  6. Agnes Kennedy,

Hugh Kennedy of Girvan Mains, succeeded to Girvan Mains on his father’s death in 1639. He m. Helen, sister of Thomas Kennedy of Bargany, (c/m 24 September 1617[41]) and d. before May 1662 having had issue;

  1. Gilbert Kennedy of Girvan Mains, (see below).
  2. Dorothy Kennedy, m. Quentin Kennedy of Drumlellane.[42]

Gilbert Kennedy of Girvan Mains, succeeded his father and had special service as heir to him in the lands of Dalquharran and Girvan Mains on 7 May 1662.[43] He m. Marion, daughter of Sir Alexander Kennedy of Culzean,[44] and d. in April 1671[45]with issue;

  1. Margaret Kennedy, m. firstly, John Kennedy of Knockdaw, afterwards Sir John Kennedy, 1st Baronet of Girvan Mains, (c/m 29 September 1669.[46] He d. in 1684), and whom her father infeft in the lands of Girvan Mains in implementation of the terms of their marriage contract. He is styled “of Girvan Mains” and “son and heir of the late David Kennedy of Knockdow” in a writ of 2 February 1674,[47] and was created a Baronet on 4 August 1673, with remainder to the heirs male of his body. Surviving that husband, she m. secondly, at Edinburgh, on 21 March 1686, to Lieutenant Charles Gordon of Bracco.[48] By her first husband, she had issue;

1a} Sir Gilbert Kennedy, 2nd Baronet of Girvan Mains, the only son, and in favour of whom, his mother conveyed the lands of Girvan Mains by Disposition dated 8 April 1695,[49] however, his estate being heavily burdened by debt, he was compelled to dispone it to Thomas Kennedy of Kirkhill. He was afterwards appointed Master Falconer to George I., on 8 January 1714/15[50], which he held up until the time of his death which occurred at Edinburgh in June 1740[51]. He m.Jean, daughter of Sir Archibald Kennedy, 1st Baronet of Culzean, but dying without issue, the baronetcy extinguished.

  1. Agnes Kennedy, m. Sir Godfrey MacCulloch, Baronet, of Myrtoun.[52]
  2. Dorothy Kennedy, m. Alexander MacMillan in Burnside.[53]
  3. Mary Kennedy, m. Patrick Kennedy, merchant in Stranraer.[54]
  4. Jean Kennedy,[55] all of whom were charged by James Lawson, writer in Edinburgh, to enter co-heirs to their late father on 16 April 1685.[56]




[1] C2/9/65. See also: GD25/1/1`35 for the original charter.

[2] C2/10/136.

[3] C2/19/90.

[4] Protocol Book of Gavin Ross, no. 1138.

[5] PS1/8/187.

[6] Pitcairn, Vol. 1, p. 182.

[7] C2/28/28. They may be identical to the two other sons of those forenames, however, there is no indication that they were illegitimate and are, instead, simply styled brothers to Hugh Kennedy of Girvan Mains in writs relating to them.

[8] Ex. Rolls. Vol. 15, p. 599.

[9] PS1/7/91.

[10] PS1/8/53.

[11] PS1/17/2.

[12] PS1/17/36.

[13] RPC First Series, Vol. 1, pp. 135-136.

[14] PS1/40/116r.

[15] CC8/8/6/pp. 464-470.

[16] Protocol Book of Gavin Ross, no. 1139.

[17] GD25/1/549.

[18] GD25/1/844.

[19] Sir Robert Gordon’s MS.

[20] C2/30/216.

[21] C2/24/197.

[22] C2/28/86.

[23] Of Janet Stewart, Countess of Sutherland, Sir Robert Douglas in his MS states that “After his [Hugh’s] daith shoe mareid the Lord Methven” but that is not correct. That Hugh and Janet Stewart had divorced is proved by their both being alive and named as parents to Barbara Kennedy in her marriage contract with John Bellenden in 1554, and in which Janet Stewart is styled Lady Methven.

[24] C2/28/264.

[25] C2/28/192.

[26] C2/30/424.

[27] RD1/3/241. She is then styled daughter to Janet Stewart, Lady Methven.

[28] NRAS4230/4/1/1/6.

[29] Orkney Tests.

[30] HMC Roxburgh MS, Bellenden Papers, No. 98.

[31] C2/32/404.

[32] GD25/1/639.

[33] CC8/8/22/pp. 629-634.

[34] RPC First Series, Vol. 5, p. 574.

[35] Ex. Rolls. Vol. 23, pp. 420-421.

[36] CC9/7/28/pp. 99-101.

[37] C2/54/194.

[38] GD180/40.

[39] GD117/87.

[40] Glasgow Tests.

[41] C2/52/514. See also: GD180/197.

[42] RD3/20/25.

[43] C22/26/243.

[44] RD2/32/384.

[45] CC9/7/39/pp. 76-79.

[46] GD27/7/380. See also: RD4/25/485.

[47] GD180/257. He had been served heir to his father on 30 December 1670 (C22/30/157).

[48] OPR – Edinburgh. See also: GD27/1/272.

[49] GD27/1/307.

[50] GD220/6/1773/12.

[51] Caledonian Mercury, 19th June 1740 edition.

[52] RD2/26/842.

[53] RD4/55/666.

[54] RD4/55/667.

[55] RD4/55/664.

[56] GD27/1/245.