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Gordon Crest on Kenmure Castle
Gordon Crest on Kenmure Castle

William Gordon of Kenmure
Laird of Lochinvar

[The Ballad of Young Lochinvar]
[History of Kenmure Castle]

Lochinvar Hotel Homepage

The Gordons of Kenmure

Did Young Lochinvar Exist ... ?

The real 'Young Lochinvar' was said to be the Laird of Lochinvar, William de Gordon of Kenmure.

Unfortunately, there is no evidence to support the story. Sir William Gordon of Lochinvar was laird of Lochinvar and Kenmure, his eldest son being John of Lochinvar, but the name of his wife is not known. William may have died in 1455, having passed a charter of lands (a will) to his family in 1450. A descendant, Robert Gordon of Muirfad, was buried in Glenluce Abbey after his death on 26th April 1548; the illegible gravestone is wrongly attributed to a Robert Gordon of Lochinvar, or even to William de Gordon himself.

The Gordons of Kenmure were a cadet branch of the Aberdeenshire family, possibly descended from the 14th century Sir Adam Gordon. They became the most powerful family in the GlenKens (Valley of Loch Ken and the River Dee). The lands of Lochinvar may not have had any house on the property, which was part of their main estate of Kenmure. Kenmure Castle went through at least one demolition, possibly two, before the existing now-ruined house was built.

Sadly, the lairdship was declared dormant in 1847, the McEwan family then owning the estate. The contents of Kenmure Castle were sold on the American market, in 1900. The Ewart Library in Katherine Street, Dumfries, holds some documents from 1507 to 1858 as the only other local evidence of the vanished Gordons of Lochinvar.

The writer is attempting to assemble more information on Young Lochinvar, so the site can be expected to grow.

Elopement could mean Death ...

If William Gordon had eloped with a mythical Ellen Graeme of Netherby Hall, he would have been regarded by the people on the Netherby side of the Esk as a Scots reiver. This was important, because the Kings of Scotland and England discouraged cross-border marriages as fraternising between their potential armies. One unhappy couple (not William and Ellen) were actually hanged in Haltwhistle marketplace in Northumberland, handed back by the Scottish Warden of the Middle Marches to his English counterpart; the worst part is that the unhappy bride had produced a baby. The bride's English father had denounced the couple, possibly as much to save his own neck, as to avenge himself for a flouting of his parental authority. It is worth remembering that the Scots grandfather of the baby had been prepared to recognise the match, so one can only hope that the babe survived.


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Added to Dalbeattie Domain Server on 3rd July 2000.
last updated 3rd July 2000.

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3rd July 2000.