INGLIS is the old Scots form of the word ‘English.’ As a surname it does not denote a clan claiming a common ancestry, but it is a record of the fact that many Englishmen settled in the border counties of Scotland towards the end of the thirteenth century, and founded families which came to be known as Inglis (English).

While ‘Inglis’ has long been the accepted way of spelling the name, it seems to have been always pronounced ‘Ingles,’ for many old documents spell it in that way, and sometimes as ‘Ingels’ or ‘Ingls.’

The Inglises of Auchindinny and Redhall claim descent from the Inglises of Murdostoun in Lanarkshire. The connec­tion cannot be proved, and if the claim is correct they must have separated from the parent stock before 1542, for by that time they were settled as an independent family at the farm of Langbyres next to Murdostoun.

The eighteenth-century writer of the article on ‘Inglis of Inglistarvit’ in Chalmers’s genealogical collections 1 gives some support to the family tradition ; he says Inglis of Loch­byres (sic) . . . was a son of Manners, and being the letter2 caddet, then Eastshiel of the house of Manner, I suppose is the heir male of this antient family. . . . But I understand that whoever are their representators are the heirs of the antient house of Branxholm, Murdeston and Manner, who

1 Vol. iii. (Advocates’ Library MSS.).                                    2 i.e. later.




were always repute the principal family of the name of Inglis.’


A brief sketch of the Murdostoun family may be given, but it must be taken only as a provisional contribution to the history of the Langbyres, Auchindinny and Redhall branch.

Their earliest home was at Branxholm on the Teviot in Roxburghshire, and their founder was Sir William Inghis, who at a Border foray in 1395 answered the challenge of an English champion, Sir Thomas Struthers, and killed hini in single combat.1 The scene of this exploit was Rulehaugh on the Rule Water, half-way between Jedburgh and Hawick. As a. reward for his prowess King Robert 111. made his cousin,’ Sir William Inglis, a grant of the barony of Manor or lVlennar,2 which seems to have included the whole Manor Valley, a glen running south from the Tweed about three miles west of Peebles, and known to readers of Sir Walter Scott as the scene of The Black Dwarf.

Branxholm, which had been acquired by the Inglises some time after 1335, lies about three miles south-west of Hawick, and is also celebrated by Sir Walter Scott in The Lay of the Last Minstrel. It was held of the Earls of Douglas, the superiors of the barony of Hawick, and Nisbet says ~ that the three stars-in-chief, which appear in the Murdostoun and Manor coats-of-arms, are arms of patronage, signifying that the family were under vassalage to the Douglases.

Not long after the affair of Rulehaugh the Inglises seized opportunities of getting rid of Branxholm. On January 31, 1420 John Inglis of Manor, son of Sir William, granted a charter 4 conveying half of Branxholm to Sir Robert Scott of Murdostoun in Lanarkshire, who already owned an extensive domain in Ettrick Forest and Teviotdale.


1 Fordoun’s Chronicle (ed. Goodall), ii. 420; Liber Pluscardensis, i. 332.

2 R. M. S., 1306-1424, App. 2, No. 1723.

3 Heraldry, ed. 1816, i. 83.  4 Scotis of Boccleach, Sir Win. Fraser, ii. 22.


THE INGLISES OF MURDOSTOUN                         3


Thomas Inglis, John’s eldest son, found the frequent incursions of the English cattle-raiders a source of annoyance; accordingly he arranged with Sir Walter Scott, Sir Robert’s successor, to exchange the rest of Branxholm with the Scott lands in Lanarkshire, and on July 23, 1446 the bargain was embodied in a charter of excambion. 1 Sir Walter thereupon remarked significantly that the Cumberland cattle were as good as those of Teviotdale.

The Scotts settled at Branxholm, which forms part of the Buccleuch estates to this day; while Thomas Inglis removed to Lanarkshire. On his death Murdostoun went to his eldest son, Thomas, and his heirs, who also held for a time the superiority of Manor. The property of Manor went to John, the second son, but in time it became restricted to Manorhead, a farm at the top of the glen, which remained in the younger branch of the family till 1709, when it was sold.2

Murdostoun lies on the South Calder Water in the parish of Shotts, and is an oasis in the midst of a coal and iron field.

The old stock of Inghises ended with Thomas Inglis of Murdostoun, who succeeded about 1696, and sold the estate to Alexander Inglis, merchant in Edinburgh,3 second son of David Inglis of Fingask, and a descendant of the Inglises of Inglistarvit, Fife.

The new laird had no family, but he entailed the estate in 1719 in favour of his grand-nephew, Alexander Hamilton, a son of Gavin Hamilton of Cleland, and Alexander’s three sons succeeded in turn. The eldest, Alexander Inglis-Hamil­ton, died on April 27, 1783; the second, Gavin Hamilton (1730-97), was the historical painter and archeologist at Rome; the youngest, Major-General James Inglis-Hamilton, distinguished himself in the American War, and died on July 27, 1803. He re-entailed Murdostoun on his adopted son, James Anderson, who took the surname ‘Inglis-Hamilton,’


1 Scotts of Buccleuch, Sir William Fraser, i. 32, ii. 33 (facsimile of charter).

2 Douglas, Baronage, p. 199. 3 W. Grossart, Historic Notices of shotts, pp. 134-44.




and rose to the command of the General’s old regiment, the Scots Greys.’ He was killed at Waterloo.

Murdostoun then passed to a distant cousin of the old General, Admiral Sir Alexander Inglis-Cochrane, tenth son of the eighth Earl of Dundonald, and his grandson, the first Lord Lamington, sold it for £55,000 to Mr. Robert Stewart, ex-Lord Provost of Glasgow, and father of the present proprietor.

1 Reminiscences of Glasgow, Peter Mackenzie, i. 553-610.