Skullduggery at Crossbasket

James Baillie of Park’s grandson, John Kincaid, the son of Mr. Francis Kincaid, master of the grammar school of Glasgow, and his wife, Margaret Baillie, inherited these lands under the terms of a deed of entail executed by his grandfather and was afterwards known as John Kincaid, “The Laird of Crossbasket”.

1661 – John Kincaid, a lawyer inherits Crossbasket lands and the tower, for by this time James Baillie’s surviving sons had died, childless. Skipping a generation, John had inherited it from his grandfather.

However, skullduggery was afoot, as this had been done by devious means. Kincaid of Crossbasket had tried to circumvent his grandfather’s legacy at a time when elderly James Baillie was unfit to acknowledge what he was writing. A lawyer with knowledge as to how to go about this, John Kincaid sought out to fleece this massive land legacy from the rightful heirs on his wife’s side of the family. This was done in order to exclude cousins from inheriting these considerable lands after his death. It is noted at this time, this was an estate of many hundreds of acres.

1685 – He is almost certainly the Laird of Crossbasket mentioned as an officer in a local militia, which had been formed in order to combat the Covenanters and relieve pressure on the regular troops in 1685. Kincaid had signed the Test Act and was obviously a government man, rather than a Covenanter.

1689 – The Parliamentary register of 27th April 1689 shows Kincaid still at Crossbasket and being one of the most prominent land owners in the Shire of Lanark.

1690 – The Parliamentary register of 7th June 1690 shows Kincaid still at Crossbasket and it is known by this time, there were orchards to the northwest of the tower on a sloping, riverside field.

To right this ‘inherited’ wrong, a lengthy legal challenge was made in the Court of Session during the mid 1690’s against John Kincaid retrospectively contesting his ownership of Crossbasket. The result surprised everybody, no less John Kincaid himself. For the Sherrif declared that all should recognise the rights of Margaret Scott and Matthew Cumming, Kincaid’s cousins, recognizing them as the rightful heirs-portioners of James Baillie of Park.

Despite appeal, Crossbasket was forcibly and legally removed from John Kincaid, thirty five years or so after he “acquired it”, the act, ruining him. It is unknown if Scott and Cumming left or gave anything at all to Kincaid, but unlikely given the determined nature of the challenge.

Extract from “The History of Crossbasket Castle” by P Veverka (c)

Update: Kincaid was still at Crossbasket in 1897, and it would appear that he left shortly after that time.


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