Tuesday, 4 August 2020

The Irvine Baronetcy

The family of IRVINE, which ranks amongst the oldest and most eminent in Scotland, acquired by marriage, at a remote period, the lands of Bonshaw, Dumfriesshire.

CHRISTOPHER IRVINE, Laird of Bonshaw, Dumfriesshire, commanded JAMES IV of Scotland's light horsemen at the battle of Flodden, and fell then, together with his son, Christopher, the father of Christopher, next Laird of Bonshaw, who held a command, and was slain at the battle of Solway Moss.

He lies buried in the village of Gretna, with a monument and epitaph.

From him descended the subsequent Lairds of Bonshaw, Stapleton, Robgill and Annan.

From the Lairds of Robgill and Annan sprang

CHRISTOPHER IRVINE, a barrister, who resided in Essex, until he removed to Ulster, upon a grant from JAMES I of a considerable landed property in County Fermanagh, and there erected CASTLE IRVINE.

During the civil wars, Mr Irvine was firm in his devotion to the royal cause, and suffered severely in consequence.

He wedded his cousin Blanch, daughter of Edward Irvine, Laird of Stapleton, by Mary Graham, his wife, of the family of Preston, and had, with several daughters, three sons, namely,
GERARD, his heir;
Christopher (1618-93), physician, of Edinburgh;
William, who fought at Worcester.
The eldest son,

SIR GERARD IRVINE, of Castle Irvine, and Lowtherstown, Lieutenant-Colonel to Sir Arthur Forbes, Earl of Granard, fought for CHARLES II at Worcester, and was some time after taken prisoner in Ireland, and would have been executed for his loyalty to Sir Charles Coote, 2nd Baronet and 1st Earl of Mountrath, then Governor of Derry, under Cromwell, had he not been rescued out of that city by his brother William.

In consideration of these sufferings in the royal cause, and for other eminent services to the house of Stuart, Colonel Irvine was created a baronet by CHARLES II in 1677, designated of Castle Irvine, County Fermanagh.

Sir Gerard married firstly Catherine, daughter of Captain Adam Cathcart, which lady died childless.

He wedded secondly, Mary, daughter of Major William Hamilton, Laird of Blair, by whom (who died at Castle Irvine, in 1685) he had issue,
CHRISTOPHER, b 1654, married though dsp before his father;
Charles, cornet of horse, died unmarried, 1684;
Mary, m John Crichton, of Crom, ancestor of the Earls of Erne.
Sir Gerard died in WILLIAM III's service, in the camp at Dundalk, and was buried in the chancel of the church of that town.

Following his decease, in 1689, the baronetcy expired.


The village of Irvinestown in County Fermanagh was founded during the Plantation in 1618 by Sir Gerard Lowther and named Lowtherstown. Ownership later passed to the Irvines and changed name accordingly.

The Irvines had an extensive estate at Castle Irvine, which they renamed Necarne, as well as further townlands at Killadeas, where a cadet branch of the family was established. Goblusk House was on the Killadeas property.

The following is an article about the 1st Baronet:-


Finding that the overtures made on his behalf to the Enniskillen men were rejected, Sir Gerard went to Dublin and was made Lieutenant-Colonel to the regiment of horse that the Earl of Granard was about to raise in the interest of JAMES II.

Being empowered to raise a troop in Fermanagh, he came down to the town of Cavan with such a number of pistols, carbines, swords, and other necessary equipments for the men whom he was about to enlist, that he alarmed the Protestant inhabitants.

The fact having become known, Daniel French and Henry Williams set out from Belturbet with sixty horse, captured the arms at Cavan, and sent Sir Gerard himself a prisoner to Lord Blayney. His lordship did not retain him, but sent him on as a prisoner to Enniskillen.

He told the Enniskilleners that he never meant to serve JAMES II, and that his journey to Dublin was only a scheme to obtain accoutrements for a troop which he wished to raise in the service of the Prince of Orange. If he spoke the truth about himself, he was a traitor great and mean as Lundy.

As the fortunes of JAMES II waned, he threw himself heartily into the winning side; and after the siege of Derry was raised, he collected a troop of horse, with which he joined General Schomberg and subsequently died, where so many brave men perished, in the camp at Dundalk.

First published in March, 2011

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