Exploring the early events that led up to the first possession of Crossbasket Castle. The following is an extract from my book, using my own research and words.
“Our historical account begins with the first written record of Kilbride Parish when its lands were gifted by William the Lion, The Scottish King at the end of the 12th Century. They were given to an Anglo Norman Knight called Roger de Valoins, whom along with his elder brother Philip, were amongst the Kings favorite and trusted men. Roger was given Kilbride, Philip given Panmure and Bervie in Angus. Roger had residence at the Castle of Kilbride, which stood close to the site of the later Mains Castle, East Kilbride.
Information of this period is scarce and only the succession of prominent seats and landholders is noted, with no major event of any National importance taking place until the seat at Kilbride was passed to the Comyn family. (Isabella de Valoins married David Comyn early in the 13th Century). Approximately two thirds of the lands of Kilbride were to remain in the hands of the Comyn family throughout the entire 1200’s.
However, in the first few years of the 14th Century, something was to happen that would have consequence for the Comyns and would pave the way for the beginnings of Crossbasket. The story needs to be told as it sets the scene for later events.
Robert the Bruce and Red Comyn
The noble Comyn family were bitter enemies of Robert the Bruce. The “Red Comyn” and Bruce both being rivals for the vacant Scottish Crown. Sides were taken. A story is told where Bruce and the Red Comyn became involved in a heated argument in the Church of the Minorities at Dumfries which resulted in Bruce, suspecting Comyn of being in allegiance with the English, stabbed him. This was during the year 1306. Shocked by his own actions and where it had taken place, Bruce staggered out of the Church and met Sir James Lindsay and Roger Kirkpatrick at the door.
Seeing Bruce so obviously shaken, they asked what had happened. Bruce told them that he thought he had just killed the Red Comyn. Lindsay and Kirkpatrick being loyal Bruce devotees decided to make sure and entered the Church, finding Red Comyn still alive. Dragging him up to the high alter, they eventually finished him off, committing gross sacrilege. The body of the slaughtered Comyn was watched through the night by the Franciscans with the usual rights of the Church, but at midnight the whole religious company fell into a deep sleep, with the exception of one aged monk, who heard with terror and surprise a voice like that of a wailing infant exclaiming “How long ‘o lord shall vengeance be deferred?” It was answered in an awful tone “Endure with patience until the Anniversary of this day shall return for the fifty second time.”
Bruce was now on a fight or flee path and he chose to fight. For the crown. This meant gathering support and taking his fight publicly with the King of England. In support of the Scottish Church, and perhaps to avoid Church allegations of sacrilege, he had himself crowed “King of Scots”. However Edward I, King of England moved fast to crush the “upstart king”, capturing several members of the Bruce family having them killed or imprisoned. The Bruce’s wife was taken captive and he was hunted, fleeing to the Western Isles, setting him on a course for a later victory at Bannockburn in 1314.
Interestingly, and coincidently, The Bruce gave Sir Thomas Randolph, (his nephew and one of his generals at Bannockburn), the Barony of Blantyre as a ‘thank you’, at the time a small parcel of largely uninhabited land only.
The Bruce died in 1329 allegedly from contracting leprosy. A young Prince David became King of Scots upon the death of his father on 7 June 1329, aged 5 years, 3 months, and 3 days. Scotland, desperate for a monarch acted fast. King David and his Queen were crowned at Scone on 24 November 1331. David was aged 7.
In the year 1357, exactly fifty two years after the Comyn murder, James de Lindsay was being entertained in the Castle of Caerlaverock in Dumfrieshire belonging to Roger Kirkpatrick (younger). These were the sons of the two Comyn murderers. For an unknown reason Lindsay rose in the night and stabbed Roger Kirkpatrick (younger) whilst he slept. He then fled by horse, but guilt and fear so grabbed his senses, he rested after riding all night and was duly caught upon. He was taken back to a place not just 3 miles from Caerlaverock and was sentenced to be executed by order of King David for the betrayal of a family friend.
Going back a little, when Red Comyn was killed, Bruce used his new power to strip the Comyn family of all their remaining power by confiscating their lands, including the barony of Kilbride. It was then given to his daughter Marjory as a wedding present/dowry when she married Walter the Steward, a marriage which founded the powerful Stewart family of Scottish Kings. Walter the Steward, divided the lands amongst his trusted men and underlords and in 1382, Robert II confirmed by charter the granting of Kilbride to John Lindsay of Dunrod, the younger brother of James De Lindsay and son of James Lindsay who murdered Red Comyn. The family of this murderer had prevailed to be gifted vast swathes of land.
The House of Dunrod retained a high station in the West of Scotland for a long time but were ultimately doomed to succumb. The “Curse of Caerlaverock” seems to have pursued them for Centuries, their sun set, as it rose, steeped in blood and murder.
The original residence of the ‘Lindsays of Dunrod’ was the Castle of Dunrod in Renfrewshire, (now gone) but they afterwards removed to Mains Castle, where the Mains of Kilbride had been their possession ever since 1382. It is likely they were the constructors of Mains Castle in the 15th Century.”
(c) Words taken from “The History of Crossbasket Castle” by Paul Veverka