BALLANCLEROCH, also known as Kirktown, is in the parish of Campsie, twelve miles from Glasgow.

The McFarlans of Ballancleroch are descended from M'Farlan of M'Farlan, or Arrochar, whose ancestor, Gilchrist, son of the Earl of Lennox, obtained the lands of Arrochar about the year 1200.

Sir John McFarlan of that Ilk was succeeded in the reign of James V. by Andrew, whose son Duncan, Laird of McFarlan, was one of the first of any account who made open profession of the Protestant religion in Scotland. He was slain fighting in the battle of Pinkie, 1547, leaving as his successor, by Anne, his wife, daughter of Sir J. Colquhoun of Luss, a son Andrew. He was, like his father, a zealous Protestant, and on hearing of Queen Mary's escape from Loch Leven raised no less than 500 of his own name and dependents, with whom he joined the Regent Murray, and was present when he encountered Queen Mary's force at the village of Langside, May, 1568. The McFarlans displayed great valour in the battle which ensued, and were rewarded for their signal services by the honorable crest and motto, still borne by the clan, viz., "a demi-savage, proper, holding in his dexter hand a sheaf of arrows, and pointing with his sinister to an Imperial crown." Motto - "This I'll defend."

The McFarlans of Kirktown, or Ballancleroch, are descendants of George McFarlan, younger son of Andrew, proprietor of the estate of Merkinch in Aberdeenshire. The lands of Ballancleroch were bought by Patrick McFarlan in the year 1620 from the Government of the day, having been confiscated lands of the Church, and called, as the name signifies, "the town of the clergy." James McFarlan, a subsequent laird, married Mary Keith, daughter of the Earl Marischal, and at this time, 1665, the house was built. A curious old stone, over what at one time was the front door, bears the quartered arms of the Keiths and McFarlans, and the initials J. M. and M. K.

Anne, daughter of the next laird Hugh, by his wife Elizabeth Doig, heiress of Ballingrew, succeeded her brother William as proprietor of Ballancleroch and Dalgowrie in Berwickshire. She had previously married John Warden, minister of the parish of Campsie, who was son of John Warden, minister of Gargunnock, in Stirlingshire, in 1685, and one of the Marrowmen. He was translated from Campsie to Perth, and from Perth to the parish of Canongate in Edinburgh in 1755, and he died in 1764.

His only son, John Warden, succeeded him as Minister of Canongate in 1765, and inherited from his mother the lands of Ballancleroch, and, as possessor thereof, he assumed the name of McFarlan. He married Helen McDowal, daughter of James McDowal of Canonmills, and died in 1788. He left, besides other children, a son John, born in 1767, who succeeded him as Laird of Ballancleroch, and Patrick, a distinguished minister of the Church of Scotland, successively in the parishes of Kippen, Polmont, St. John's, and St. Enoch's, Glasgow, and the West Church, Greenock. He took a leading part in the Non-intrusion controversy in the Church, and seceded in 1843. (1)

John became an advocate, and practised some years at the Bar in Edinburgh. He was distinguished among the Whigs at the end of the last and beginning of the present century, and was the friend of Brougham, Jeffrey, Horner, and others. He died in 1846 and was buried in the old churchyard at the Clachan of Campsie.

The next laird was his eldest son, John McFarlan, a surgeon in Edinburgh. He married Janet Buchanan Ewing, daughter of Robert Ewing, merchant in Glasgow, and Isabella Leckie, of the old family of Leckies of Croy Leckie and Broich in the county of Stirling, and he died in 1852. (2)

The present proprietor is Captain John Warden McFarlan, of H.M. 9th Lancers, son of John McFarlan, surgeon, Edinburgh, who, following the profession of a soldier, has been almost constantly on foreign service since he succeeded to the property in 1852. He married Elizabeth Gibb, daughter of Duncan Gibb, Esq., merchant, Liverpool. His younger brother, the Rev. William Leckie McFarlan, is minister of the parish of Cupar-Fife, and married his cousin Isabella, daughter of William Leckie Ewing of Arngomery. Of other branches of the family, David McFarlan, of the Indian Civil Service, and the Rev. James M'Farlan, late minister of Muiravonside, Stirlingshire, (3) were younger sons of John McFarlan, advocate. David McFarlan died in 1854, leaving, besides other children, two sons who are well known in India, Lieutenant-Colonel David McFarlan, of the Royal Artillery, who went through the Indian Mutiny and was wounded at Lucknow, and John McFarlan, of the Bombay Civil Service and now Postmaster-General of Bengal. They married sisters, daughters of the late James Macnair of Auchineck, Stirlingshire.

(1) In 1834 he was Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and in 1845 Moderator of the General Assembly of the Free Church.

(2) The family connection was further strengthened by the marriage of John McFarlan's eldest sister Eleanora to William Leckie Ewing of Arngomery in the county of Stirling, and who more than once occupied the mansion house and shootings of Ballancleroch for a considerable time.

Mr. Leckie Ewing was a well known Glasgow merchant, a member of the old firm of Stirling Gordon & Co., and for many years, in connection with his partners, John Gordon of Aikenhead, Charles Stirling of Cadder, and Charles Stirling of Gargunnock, took a leading part in the politics of Glasgow and the West of Scotland on the Tory or Conservative side. He formed one of the deputation who went to Drayton Manor to invite Sir Robert Peel to a public banquet in Glasgow in 1837 on the occasion of his installation as Lord Rector of the University. He died in 1866. His eldest daughter married Archibald Robertson, cashier of the Royal Bank in Glasgow, and another daughter is the wife of Michael Connal, a very well known and esteemed citizen of Glasgow.

(3) The Rev. Mr. McFarlan of Muiravonside married Matilda Morehead Christie.

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