Hunter-Blair of Blairquhan
Blairquhan Castle (Ayrshire).
Blairquhan is some thirteen miles from- Ayr, and seven miles from Maybole, and, till the end of the eighteenth century, belonged to the family of Whiteford, who had acquired it in Charles II.'s time from the old possessors, the Kennedys of Blairquhan, a principal branch of the family of Kennedy, Earls of Cassillis, from whom the Hunter-Blairs are maternally descended.
The old castle of Blairquhan appears to have been an irregular building of large size, and at the period when it was erected, a great part about the year 1570, in the reign of Queen Mary, of considerable magnificence. The most ancient part is said by tradition to have been built by the McQuirters, and supposed to be of remote antiquity. All that remained of it. was a square tower, which bore the name of McQuirter's Tower. The building had become a total ruin when removed by Sir David Hunter-Blair, Bart., in 1824-
The present mansion was designed by Mr. William Burn, of Edinburgh, and is a specimen of the architecture of Henry Vll.'s time.
Some curious sculptured stonework, as windows, mouldings, etc., of the ancient castle was preserved, and has been disposed around the inside of the kitchen court with good effect.
The grounds lie beautifully situated on both sides of the river Girvan.
A picture of Blairquhan Castle, drawn by J. P. Neale, and engraved by H. Bond, in 1826, is given in Neale's 'Views of the Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen.'
1. Matriculated, at the Lyon Office, Edinburgh, July 21, 1786, by Sir James Hunter-Blair, first Baronet:
Arms: Quarterly, first and fourth, argent on a chevron gules
between three bugles vert stringed of the second an
annulet or; second and third, argent, a saltire sable with
eight inascles of the field, in chief a star gules; over all
in the centre an escutcheon argent charged with a
sinister hand couped and apaumee gules (for title of
Crest: A boar's head couped proper.
Motto: Virtute et honore.
2. Matriculated at the Lyon Office, Edinburgh, May 8, I827, by Sir David
Hunter-Blair, third Baronet:
Arms Quarterly, first, argent, a chevron gules between three
bugles vert viroled and stringed of the second; second,
argent, on a chevron gules between three cross crosslets
fitched sable a fleur-de-lys or, all within a double
tressure flowered and counter-flowered with
fleur-de-lys of the second; third, argent, on a saltire sable
eight mascles of the field, in chief a star gules; fourth,
argent, a shakefork sable, and in chief a rose gules
surmounted by a mullet of the field, the badge of a
British Baronet being placed in surtout.
Crest A stag's head cabossed proper.
Motto: Vigilantia robur voluptas.
Supporters : On the dexter side, a dog of chase salient argent, and
on the sinister side, an antelope springing proper,
gorged with an open crown and a chain hanging
3- Matriculated at the Lyon Office, Edinburgh, May 18, 185o, by Edward
Hunter-Blair of Dunskey (afterwards fourth Baronet).
Arms Quarterly' first and fourth, argent, a saltire sable, charged
with eight mascles of the field, in 'chief a star gules; second
and third, argent, on a chevron gules, between three
bugles vert, stringed of the second, an amulet or.
Crest: A boar's head couped proper.
Motto: Virtute et honore.
I. John Hunter, of Mainholm and Millquarter, born August 11, 1702, was the third son of James Hunter, the seventh of Abbotshill. He married Anne, daughter and heiress of William Cunninghame, of Brownhill, Ayrshire, by Anne, second daughter and coheiress of Sir Archibald Hamilton, Bart., M.P., of Rosehall, and died at Moffatt in 1755, leaving-
1. William, Lieut.-Colonel, born August 2, 1739, whose commissions bear date: Ensign, 24th Foot,
September 25, 1757; Lieutenant, December 1, 1758; Captain, Independent Companies (afterwards
104th Foot), January 15, I761; Major, 104th Foot, December 20, 1762; on half-pay, 1763; appointed
to 8th Foot, April r9, I765; transferred to 36th Foot, June 24, 1767; on half-pay, 42nd Foot, March
27, 1770; Brevet Lieut.-Colonel, May 25, 1772. Died in London, unmarried, 1792. An etching of him
appears in Kay's ' Portraits,' Vol. i., P. 92.
2. James, created a Baronet.
The second son-
II. Sir James Hunter-Blair, first Baronet, was born February 21, 1741, and was a banker in Edinburgh in partnership with Sir William Forbes, Lord Provost of, and Member of Parliament for, Edinburgh. He married, in December, 1770, Jane, daughter and heiress of John Blair, of Dunskey (she died 1817), by Anne, sister and co-heir of line (with her only sister Lady Cathcart) of David, tenth Earl of Cassillis, and in 1777, upon his wife succeeding to Dunskey, he added Blair to'his patronymic. He was Member of Parliament for Edinburgh, 1781-1784, and Lord Provost of Edinburgh, 1784-1785, and was created a Baronet on June 27, 1786. During his Provostship he carried through various projects for the improvement of the- city of Edinburgh. Kay, in his 'Portraits,' says: 'As a magistrate, he was upright, liberal, and disinterested. His talents were of the highest order-to an unwearied application he united great knowledge of the world, sagacity in business, and soundness of understanding-and he died unusually respected.' Hunter Square and Blair Street in Edinburgh were named after him. , Etchings of him appear in Kay's 'Portraits,' Vol. i., pp. 62 and 251. By his wife (who died February 2, 1817), he had the following issue :
III. Sir John Hunter-Blair, second Baronet, born February 19, 1773, at whose decease, unmarried, May 24, 1800, the title devolved on his next brother-
IV. Sir David Hunter-Blair, third Baronet, born October 3, 1778. He married, firstly, July 2, 1813, Dorothea, second daughter of Edward Hay Mackenzie, of Newhall and Cromartie (brother of George, seventh Marquis of Tweeddale), by the Hon. Maria Murray Mackenzie, eldest daughter of George, sixth Lord Elibank, by whom (who died May 22, 1820) he had issue-
Sir David Hunter-Blair married, secondly, January 15, 1825, Elizabeth, third daughter of Sir John Hay, Bart., of Hayston, Perthshire, by Mary Elizabeth, second daughter of James, sixteenth Lord Forbes, by whom (who died August 3, 1859) he had-
(2) Caroline, married, in 1874, to Walter Morgan, eldest son
of Sir Walter Morgan, Knt., Chief justice of Madras, and has issue.
(3) Elizabeth Montgomery, married, May 25, 1881, to Frank
Napier Thorowgood, and has issue.
Sir David Hunter-Blair was Colonel of the Ayrshire Militia, and Convener and Vice-Lieutenant of Ayrshire. He died December 26, 1857, and was succeeded by, the eldest surviving son-of his first marriage-
V Sir Edward Hunter-Blair, fourth Baronet, born March 24, 1818. He first served in the Royal, Navy, and afterwards was gazetted to the 93rd Highlanders as Ensign on'Sept,ernber 29, 1837; became Lieutenant, May 18, 1841 and retired in 1849- Subsequently, Lieut.-Colonel commanding Ayr andWigton ArtilleryVolunteers. He married, June 4, 1850, Elizabeth, daughter of George Wauchope (of the family of Wauchope, of Niddrie), and had issue-
1. David, fifth Baronet (of whom presently).
2. James, born December 12, 1854- Educated at Harrow School. Died
at Harrow, July 25, 1870-
3. George Wauchope, born. February 14, 1857; died March 8, 1858.
4. Edward, Commander (retired), Royal Navy, J.P. and D.L. for Ayrshire, who succeeded to, the property of Blairquhan on his father's death in 1896. Born March 14, 1858. Educated on H.M.S. Britaititia. Naval Cadet, 1871; Midshipman, 1873; Sub-Lieutenant, 1877; Lieutenant, 1882 ; Commander, 1895 ; retired, 1899. Married, July 6, 1886, Cecilia Dora, daughter of Sir William James Farrcr, Knt., of Sandhurst Lodge, Berkshire, and has-
(i) James, born May 7, 1889.
(2) Gaspard- Patrick, born September 21, 1895-
5. Forbes Cromartie, born September 22, 1859. Educated at Reptoll
School (1873-1877) and Trinity College, Cambridge. B.A., 1881 ; LL.B., 1883- Was a Lieutenant, 4th Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers (Militia).
6. Walter Charles', Colonel,' Royal Artillery. Born September 1, 1860.
Educated at Fettes College, Edinburgh, and the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. Commissions dated: Lieutenant, February 18, 1880; Captain, July 15, 1888; Major, January 29, 1898; BrevetLieut.-Colonel, November 16, 1898. Served in the Nile Expedition in 1898 (mentioned in despatches, Brevet of Lieut.-Colonel, and medal).
Colonel Hunter-Blair married, July 8, 1888, Ethel Mary,
daughter of David Logan, and has-
(i) John, born October 4, 1903-
(2) Alice Dalrymple, born May 15, 1889.
(3) Cicely Mary, born February 11, 1891.
7. Reginald Stanley, Major, Gordon Highlanders, Born September 18,
1861. Educated at Fettes College, Edinburgh. Dates of Commissions: Lieutenant Gordon Highlanders,'October 22, 1881; Captain,
September 1, 1891 ; Major, January 7, 1900; retired March, 1903 He served in the Egyptian War of 1882 with the 1st Battalion Gordon Highlanders, and was present at the Battle of Tel-el-Kebir (medal with clasp and Khedive's Star) ; also served in the Soudan Expedition in 1884 with the 1st Battalion Gordon Highlanders, and was present in, the engagements at El-Teb and Tamai (two clasps). Served in the Nile Expedition in 1884-1885 with the 1st Battalion Gordon Highlanders, and with the River Column under Major General Earle (clasp). Aide-de-Camp to the Governor and Commander-in-Chief, New Zealand, 1892-1894; Adjutant, 3rd Battalion Gordon Highlanders (Royal Aberdeenshire Militia), 1895-1900.
Major R. S. Hunter-Blair married, October 17, 1893, Emily, daughter of Robert Heaton Rhodes, of Christchurch, New Zealand, and has issue-
(I) David Walter, born July 22, 1894-
(2) Alister, born April 26, 1896.
(3) Ronald, born December 23, 1898.
8. John, born July 26, 1865. Educated at Fettes College, Edinburgh, and
Trinity Hall, Cambridge. Married, June 14, 1890, Maude, daughter of Sandford Mills Sandford, of Compton Castle, Somerset, and has-
(i) Colin Edward, born February 13, 1898.
9. Gilbert Wauchope, born October 25, 1868. Educated at Fettes College,
Edinburgh. Married, January 5, 1904, at Holy Trinity Church, Sloane Street, London, Muriel Frances, eldest daughter of Frank Napier Thorowgood, of Wimbledon. Served in the South African War in 1902 with the Ceylon contingent (medal with two clasps).
10. Dorothea Elizabetfi Thomasina, married, July 13, 1873, to David,
seventh Earl of Glasgow (born May 31, 1833), and has issue.
11. Alicia Mary, married, April 7, 1874, to Sir Charles Dalrymple, Bart., M.P.' and died September 2, 1884, leaving issue.
I2. Helen Constance, married, July 12, 1883, to Captain Stair Hathorne
Johnston Stewart, 20th Hussars, of Physgill and Glasserton (who died April 1, 1904)-
I3. Ada Selina, died December 30, 1886.
Sir Edward Hunter-Blair died October 7, 1896, and was succeeded in the title only by his eldest son-
VI. Sir David Hunter-Blair, fifth Baronet, born September 30, 1853. Educated
at Eton College and Magdalen College, Oxford. B.A., 1876; M.A., 1878. Lieutenant, the Prince Regent's Royal Ayrshire Militia, August 3, 1872; Captain, August 8, 1877; resigned, 1879. Was Private Chamberlain of the Sword and Cloak to Pope Pius IX. and Pope Leo XIII. Entered the Benedictine Order, I878;ordained Priest, 1886. Rector of the Abbey' School, Fort Augustus, Inverness-shire, 1890-1895 ; sent on a special mission to Brazil, 1896. Licensed as Master of Hunter-Blair's Hall, Oxford, 1899. Author of 'The Rule of Our Most Holy Father St. Benedict,' 1886 History of the Catholic Church in Scotland' (translated from the German), 4 vols-, 1889-1891 ; 'A Royal and Christian Soul,' 1895 ; 'Jerusalem of Today,' 1901 ; besides numerous articles in magazines and reviews.
This information is reproduced from A History of Peeblesshire by J. W. Buchan and Rev. H. Paton, published in three volumes between 1925-7 by Jackson, Wylie and Co. of Glasgow. The original book includes many refences to the sources of the information, pedigrees and plates.
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