The Seton's of Gargunnock


The Years up to 1675:

     Reminders of "Braveheart" are all around us; to the North of the House, close by River Forth is the "Peel of Gargunnock", a peel tower built to guard the ford over the river, that was captured by the English invaders during the early stages of the War of Scottish Independence. It was soon taken from the English in 1297 by William Wallace who mounted an attack on the stronghold, vanquished the enemy garrison and demolished the peel tower. Immediately to the south of village, in the lee of the Gargunnock Hills, is a rampart known as Kier Hill where Wallace is said to have posted himself during the skirmishes. Wallace advanced eastwards to defeat the English army on 13th December 1297 at the Battle of Stirling Bridge and become ruler of Scotland. This vicinity formed the theatre of some of the most brilliant achievements of William Wallace whose is memorial is the striking pinnacled monument that stands sentinel on Abbey Craig to the north of Stirling Bridge. Legend has it that those who fell in the Battle of Ballochleam, fought to the west of Gargunnock, were buried close by in the grounds of Boquhan Estate, a tale perhaps not without substance as bones and relics were unearthed in the grounds of Boquhan early in the 19th Century.

     It is said that comparatively little is known about Wallace's background and equally intriguing is the lack of detail relating to the early years of Gargunnock Estate. In 1470 the lands of Gargunnock were owned by Alexander Hepburn, but by 1513 the lands had passed to two owners, Alexander Elphinstone and Ninian Seton. The Seton Family, one of Scotland's grandest and oldest Families, are thought to have held their lands for around a hundred years and also held the nearby Touch Estate from 1420 to 1928. However, the "lands of Gargunnock" were held throughout the 16th Century by the Elphinstones, according to the Directory of Retours. This suggests that the late-16th Century L-shaped tower house was constructed by the Elphinstone Family, but this is by no means certain. In 1624 the estate is said to have been granted to the Earl of Mar and, in around 1675, passed to Sir James Campbell, 11th Laird of Ardkinglas, through marriage to Margaret of Gargunnock.


From: The Development of the Gardens
and Design Landscape of Gargunnock House

By, John M. Hammond