Alexander Lindsay (Alexander of Dunrod)

Alexander Lindsay was known to be a wicked man and inherited the estates of Mains and Crossbasket. Power hungry and ruthless, he was more commonly known locally as Alexander of Dunrod to distinguish him from previous generations of the same name who had better character. Artwork by Andy Lee.

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Auld Dunrod, Artwork by Andy Lee

The Lindsay family dwelt at Mains Castle in opulence and splendour until 1619, when Alexander of Dunrod, having “some way or other, become engaged in that dreadful and long- lasting feud between the Cunninghams and Montgomeries, killed (by a shot out of the window of a farmhouse of his own, at Hagton Hill, near Glasgow in 1600), Alexander Leckie of that Ilk, who was brother-in-law to Patrick Maxwell of Newark, a great hero and a very bloody man on the side of the Cunninghams.” The murder was never for a long while known till Dunrod in the decline of his days told and discovered it himself. But as bloodshed always calls for vengeance from heaven, so it fell heavily on this gentle- man who squandered away the family money and in under 20 years, the money spent, a drastic action was required.

1619 – The wickedness and extravagance of Alexander Lindsay of Dunrod almost ruined the family and caused the alienation of the two estates. Mains Castle and Crossbasket Castle were sold separately in 1619 for a “paltry sum” to different buyers.

Alexander was reduced to the depth of poverty by comparison to his previous lifestyle, and died in a barn belonging to one of his former tenants. He is said to have “greatly exceeded all his predecessors in haughtiness, oppression, and every kind of vice;” and numerous stories are told of his cruelties. He latterly, in the character of a warlock, gained a scanty livelihood by consorting with reputed witches in the village of Inverkip, and along with them selling favourable winds and protection from the Evil One (The Devil) to the sailors and fishermen on the coast.

Ballad of Auld Dunrod

The following verse of an old ballad gives an idea of the local feeling cherished in former times towards the last of the old lairds of Mains and Crossbasket:-

“In Auld Kirk the witches ride thick, 
And in Dunrod they dwell;

But the greatest loon amang them a’ 
is auld Dunrod himsel’.

Auld Dunrod was a goustie carle, As ever ye micht see

And gin he was na a warlock wicht, There was nane in the hail countrie.

Auld Dunrod, stack in a pin, A bourtree pin in the wa.

An when he wanted his neighbour’s milk, he just gied the pin a thraw.

But the kirk got wad o Dunrod’s tricks, and the session they took him in hand. And naethin was left but Auld Dunrod, forsooth maun leave the land.

See Auld Dunrod he mounted his stick, His broomstick mounted he,

An he fletcher’t two or three times aboot, and syne through the air did flee.”

In 1619, the Lindsays, suffering terribly financially sold Crossbasket tower and the lands of Crossbasket to Archibald Stewart of Blackhall, prominent land owner. The land was reputed to be over 300 acres. In the same year the Lindsay’s other home, Mains Castle, East Kilbride was sold to the Stewarts of Torrance. Here ended the era of the ‘Lindsays of Crossbasket.’

(c) Words lifted from “The History of Crossbasket Castle” by Paul Veverka

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