The Barony Of Clugston
There are about 2000 people in the world with the surname “Clugston”. Another 600 have the surname “Clogston”, and 300 have the surname “Cluxton”, and 100 have other spelling variants. Of these 3000 people, more than half live in the USA. There are 300 in Australia, and 200 in each of England, Canada, and Northern Ireland.
This website aims to prove that all of these 3000 people have a common ancestor. It appears that all Clugstons alive today are descendants of Patrick Clugstoun, born around 1480, the son of John Clugstoun, owner of the Barony of Clugstoun in Galloway, in the southwest of Scotland. Thanks to the extreme rarity of the surname, and some remarkable luck in the preservation of records, almost all Clugstons, Cluxtons, and Clogstons can be approximately traced back to this man. If you have one of these surnames among your ancestors, you can find part of your family tree on this website.
But we can do a little better. The surname can be traced deep into the Middle Ages, and our knowledge of the history goes even further back. The most tangible relic from our ancient ancestors is this unnatural hill, in the Barony of Clugston.
This hill is all that remains of a primitive wooden castle next to the Bladnoch River, at Bordland of Clugistoun. In 1846 it was described as “a beautiful circular moat from 20 to 30 feet high”. It seems far too small to have been a proper Motte-and-Bailey castle, but it had a motte with a ditch around it 6 metres wide and at least two metres deep. There was a wooden tower or house at the top. Depressions from the house were still visible in 1930, possibly also today. The “Moit of Clugston” was mentioned in 1580, where it was used as a meeting place (Moot Hill). There are about 30 such mottes in Galloway, almost all near the coast or at the furthermost navigable point of rivers. The men who built them evidently expected attackers to come from the sea. The historian R. Reid believed they were built around 1200, as Galloway adopted the feudal system.
Next to the Motte is a hill named “Doon Hill” on the brow of which was “The remains of an ancient fort…The inhabitants speak of it as being of some strength at some very remote period.” (Ordnance Survey, 1846). The hill provides an excellent view of the region. The fort may be very much older than the Motte.
There are stone circles and many bronze age monuments in this region, built by the early Britons, but the Clugston male line is not descended from them.
Clugston males have Y-DNA believed to be the same as Niall of the Nine Hostages. Although we cannot reliably claim Niall in our ancestry, it is clear that the Clugston progenitor came to Galloway from the north of Ireland, probably as part of the Urish raids on Britain, and probably from AD 600 to 900. By about 1100, all of Wigtownshire was controlled by the Lords of Galloway.
Probably the first Clugston was a younger son of an Irish chieftain.
This progenitor probably built the fort on Doon Hill and controlled the surrounding land. As the Middle Ages began, and Scotland moved towards a feudal system, the little region became a barony. The fort and motte would have protected the peasants and farmers.
The Barony of Clugston or Clugiston was an area of about ten square kilometres. 98 adults were living there in 1684 (1% of the population of Wigtownshire). The centre of the barony is a small lake called “Clugston Loch”. The barony was bounded on the eastern side by the River Bladnoch, which flows into the bay at Wigtown, about five kilometres away. The soil is rocky and not very fertile, so the greatest asset of the barony was its location on a trade route. By the mid 1500’s the Clugstons were a merchant family, but they had probably been trading for centuries earlier.
As the region became more civilised, the fort was abandoned. By 1500 the Clugstons owned a “mansion”; I believe this was Castle Mindork, on the western side of the Barony of Clugston.
Very close to the Motte is the remains of a farm called “Spittal”. This is a sure sign that in the early Middle Ages, the Knights Hospitaler operated an “Inn of Hospitality” or “Spittal” at this place, where the ancient road from Wigtown to the port of Stranraer crossed the river Bladnoch. This was the main route from Ireland to Scotland and England. Most importantly, many pilgrims came from Ireland to visit the shrine of St Ninian, who brought Christianity to Scotland in the 4th or 5th century. The sacred sites were in and around Whithorn, a few miles to the south. There was a oatmeal mill near Spittal, called “the Myln of Glougston” (Clugston) in 1684. The motte may have been built to protect the inn and mill.
When the Motte was built, the region was not part of Scotland. Galloway had been an independent kingdom since Roman times. Too small to survive alone, it sometimes allied with Scotland, sometimes with England. It wasn’t annexed until Alexander III of Scotland invaded around 1240. Since the earliest Clugston references date from this time, the Clugstons may have had a significant role in the little Galloway kingdom. I suspect that following annexation, John Clogeston moved to Edinburgh to take a legal role in the conquering government.
Origin of the Clugston name
The “ton” or “toun” part of the name is likely to be of Norse origin, and definitely means “town”, “farm”, or “enclosure”. The “Clugs”, “Clougs” or “Cloges” part is less clear. Even the original pronunciation is unclear. It originated in a Gaelic environment, which does not have a letter K or X, so the G may just be an approximation of the sound.
There are a few plausible theories for the name. It could be the same name as “Clouston” which comes from the Orkney Islands, indicating a Viking origin. “Wigtown” is probably Norse “Vik-town” (“Vik” means “bay”). But then where did the “g” come from? In 1880, P. McKerlie thought it was from “Klungr”, Norse for “bramble”. There are a few silly theories relating the name to clog manufacture, or to the German name “Klugman” (how on earth would Germans be in Galloway?). More likely is that like several other Scottish surnames beginning with C, the leading “C” could be a vestigial “Mac”. Just as “Johnston” means “John’s town” or “John’s farm”, so “McLugston” would mean “McLucas’s town” or “McLucas’s farm”. The “Clucas” surname on the Isle of Man is a variant of McLucas. A problem with this theory is that there’s no trace of a “Mclugston”, and “Clogeston” pre-dates the earliest McLucas reference by 200 years. DNA testing shows no Scandinavian origins. The Clugstons were not Vikings, and definitely not German. DNA testing also shows it is unrelated to the surnames Clucas, Claxton, and Clough.
The first appearance of the name
It seems that the family split in two at a very early date. There are a few records of Knights “of Clogestoun” but they were near Edinburgh, not near the Barony of Clugston. This leaves a huge mystery. Why were they so far from their land? A big clue comes from the powerful Vaus/Vans family, who were also in both places, with similar occupations, and who had many documented early interactions (and at least two marriages) with the Clugstons.
Sometime between 1215 and 1259, Conan, son of Henry, Earl of Atholl, granted the use of wood from his forest of Tulyhen for the use of the monks at the Abbey of Lindores. One of the witnesses was John de Klogestoun. Why would he be a witness? As we will soon see, it may have been a family occupation. John may have been some kind of notary or attorney.
King Alexander III of Scotland died without leaving an heir. Scotland invited their friendly southern neighbor, King Edward I of England, to decide which of the leading nobles had the most convincing claim on the throne. He chose John Balliol of Galloway, but first insisted that all Scottish nobles should declare their fealty to him. Soon it became clear that Edward’s real intentions were hostile, and he planned to annex Scotland. The first “War of Scottish Independence” began.
Edward first conquered Berwick-on-Tweed, on the border, then approached Dunbar Castle. Scottish cavalry rushed to the defence, but suffered a humuliating defeat at the Battle of Dunbar, where 130 knights were captured. A list of the Scottish prisoners taken in Dunbar castle 1296.5.16 includes “Malcolm de Droman (Drummond), John de Cloggestone, knights, Thomas de Alyght, Nigel de Kilpatrick, Reginald son of Reginald le Chen, Reginald de St Clair, esquires” who were committed to Kenilworth castle, Eoxburgh.
Scotland was essentially conquered. King John fled, but surrendered on 2 July. Edward took the Stone of Scone and other symbols of nationhood. He forced the Scottish nobles who were not already prisoners of war to pledge loyalty. The “Ragman Rolls” of 1296 lists all 2000 nobles who paid homage. The list includes “Adam de Cloggeston, del counte de Edeneburgh” (i.e. “of the county of Edinburgh”). There were 124 nobles in Edinburgh. There were 13 in Wigtonshire, but no Clugstons are listed. Perhaps John was Baron of Clugston and Adam was in Edinburgh?
In early 1297, William Wallace (“Braveheart”) began a successful revolt against England. In 1297.9.4 John de Cloggestone was released and his lands in Scotland were returned to him. Scotland regained independence. Note that the Braveheart movie hid the fact that Scotland had done its own bit of conquest (of Galloway) just a generation earlier!
We don’t have any Clugston records for the next hundred years, but we do know that the family retained their status as minor nobles. The Black Death, which reached Scotland in 1350, wiped out a third of the population, but at least some Clugstons survived. Scotland retained its independence, largely through its alliance with France against England in the Hundred Years war, which began in 1337.
The first reference to the “Barony of Clogstoune in the sheriffdom of Wigtown” is in 1406. At this time, the Lord of the Barony was Sir Alexander Frazer of Philorth, sheriff of Aberdeen, and he gave the northeast-corner of the barony to his cousin, Joneta Makgillumquha. (Did you know that women could own property in the Middle Ages?)
In 1423, John Clugestoun witnessed an agreement between King James I of Scotland and James Stewart, Earl of Buchan, who was the commander-in-chief of the French army during the Hundred Years War. Why did such an unimportant baron witness a document with some of the big names from one of the most significant wars of the Middle Ages? Almost all of the other signatories were Archbishops and Lords. My theory is that John Clugestoun was acting a lawyer or notary.
In 1451, Robert Vans was granted a charter of the Lands of Barnbarroch. This made him the southern neighbour of the Barony of Clugston. His son Thomas was Dean of Glasgow, secretary to the king, and keeper of the Privy Seal. Lord John Vaus of Edinburgh had been in the Ragman Rolls in 1291 and 1296.
Clogstons near Dundee
From 1443 to 1452, Sir Robert of Clogston rented the Church of Mathy.
In 1448 to 1462, Thomas de Clogstoun rented part of the Grange of Aberbothrie.
In 1473 Robert Clogstoun leased part of Morton.
In 1480 Walter of Clogstone had land near Dundee.
In 1489 Sir Alexander Clugston was the Notary Public of the Abbey of Paisley, Glasgow. This seems to have been a very senior position. In 1490 “Sir Alexander Clukistone” was made a member of the University of Glasgow (the university was founded in 1451, and at that time, universities were primarily for clergy). In 1491, acting under authority, Sir Alexander Clugston pronounced sentence of excommunication against the Bishop of Lismore in the cathedral of Glasgow. King James IV of Scotland was a regular visitor to the Abbey (probably because he felt guilty about his role in his father’s death), and Sir Alexander Clugston was the only person at the abbey with a knighthood. They would have spoken together frequently. King James also made regular pilgrimages to Whithorn. He likely visited the Vaus estate en route. Sir Alexander is once described as “of Clugston” so may have owned the Barony.
I think that Sir Alexander died shortly afterwards; he is not mentioned again.
It is possible that some of the descendants of the Dundee/Edinburgh Clogstons moved back to the ancestral home in Wigtownshire. There are several generations of Clugston attorneys. They could also conceivably have gone to Kirkcudbright (see below), but they appear to have left no descendants around Dundee. Perhaps they simply died out. I only found two later references.
In 1579, Thomas Clogston had a family in Monifieth, Angus, close to Dundee.
In 1620, Walter Clogistoune of Claverhouss, parish of Mains died (His testament exists).
TO DO: Could the Clugstons in Dundee actually be Frazers? Against this we have the fact that John Clugston owned the barony in 1471.
Clan Dunbar and Faux Nostalgia
At this point I think it is important to distinguish history from romantic fiction. Clan Societies make the absurd claim that Clugston was a “Sept” of Clan Dunbar, along with a bizarre collection of other families that never even met Clugstons! The Clugstons had direct access to the King, and would hardly need an intermediary. The Clugstons were most closely associated with the Vauss/Vans family, who do not have a clan. The Dunbars originally came from Berwick, the northernmost town of England, and took advantage of their position on the border, having no allegiance to either side. In 1314, when Robert the Bruce had regained Scottish independence, the Dunbars helped the King Edward II of England to escape the Scottish army, ranking them among the greatest traitors in Scottish history. The Dunbars did not own any land in Scotland until 1368, when they were given land near Glasgow, some land in Ayrshire, and the estate of Mochrum, south-west of the Barony of Clugston.
The Frazers, who owned Clugston in 1406, were originally from Anjou in France, and were therefore not Scottish at all.
The Clugstons did not fit the modern romantic Scottish stereotype – no kilts, no tartans, no clans. Yet in some sense they were forerunners of that stereotype. They were among the first speakers of the Scottish Gaelic language (which developed from Irish Gaelic, and spread through Scotland from Galloway and Ayrshire). By the time the stereotype developed, the Clugstons had already moved on. They had very little in common with the Catholic highlanders, and may not have felt any kinship with them. In 1740, Clugstons hoped the English army would quickly crush the Scottish rebellion. (Scottish clan societies shouldn’t be viewed as historical. For example, most clan tartans are based on an 1842 forgery, chemically treated to look old. By that time, Clugstons had been in North America for 150 years!
The real history is far more interesting).
Clugstons in the Barony of Clugston, Wigtownshire
Our first chance to really build a family tree dates from the same time that Sir Alexander Clugston was excommunicating the Bishop of Lismore. In 1471 John Clugston had sasine (ownership, rhymes with “raisin”) of the Barony of Clugston in Kirkcowan. He owned a mansion (probably Mindork Castle) near the farm of Gass, west of Loch Clugston, and an oatmeal mill on the river. He had a son named Patrick.
Just four years earlier is another reference to a Patrick Cloughston (probably John’s brother) which is astonishing: he became a citizen of England. Patrick was a Catholic priest, so would not have had children. The incredible fact is that although this was the Middle Ages, he was living 600 km from the Barony, not far from London!
“1467 May 1 Westminster. Mandate to all bailiffs and others to permit Patrick Cloughston, chaplain, born in Wigton in Galewey in Scotland, dwelling at Shopeland, co. Essex, to inhabit the realm peaceably and enjoy his goods. By p.s.” — Calendar of the Patent Rolls, Great Britain
Similar wording is used for eleven other men born in Scotland, and one man born in the Faroe Islands, from 1467 to 1477, so this citizenship change was a standard procedure but quite rare (Blog post). Four are chaplains. In most of the other cases it states that they swore an oath of fealty to King Edward IV (probably in person).
Patrick moved to England during the War of the Roses (the intrigue-laden wars which inspired “Game of Thrones”), so this was an extraordinary time to be an immigrant. The Norman church at Shopland was very small. Why did Patrick go there???
This record shows some fascinating things about the family. They travelled internationally. They had sufficient wealth, respect and connections to obtain a chaplain’s position in England.
John Clugston was in financial trouble, and was granted debt relief in 1471. Castle Mindork in the Barony was occupied by the McDowells. Perhaps he had mortgaged it (I don’t know of any other “mansion” he could have owned). John must have died young, because in 1493 his son Patrick had sasine. Patrick was not yet married so he must have been very young. A local overlord took advantage of the teenage baron.
In 1497, Sir John Dunbar of Mochrum paid the king for the “gift of marriage of Patrick Clugston”. This meant Dunbar could chose the bride. He chose his niece, Elizabeth Dunbar. Patrick refused to marry her.
John Dunbar sued Patrick for 100 pounds. In 1499, Patrick sold the Barony to Dunbar. If you think John Dunbar was a nasty piece of work, you’re not alone: John Dunbar was murdered in 1503, killed by Sir Alexander Gordon of Kenmure. His son, Sir Patrick Dunbar, took over the lands of Clugston in 1508. In 1512, Patrick Dunbar sold Crosserne in the western part of the Barony of Clugston to Uchtred McKe. Before his murder, Sir John Dunbar also bought the right to chose a bride for Alexander Stewart of Garleis, who was related to the Royal Family.
Sir Patrick Dunbar married Margaret Vaus, and had a daughter, Margaret Dunbar. He was killed (together with King James IV) in the Battle of Flodden in 1513. Margaret Dunbar married Sir Alexander Stewart. If Margaret had remained childless, the barony would have returned to the Dunbars. Alexander had a document in which Margaret assigned the barony to the Stewarts in that case, but Margaret denounced it as a forgery. Hardly a happy marriage. But she produced an heir, so the Stewarts retained the barony.
Patrick Clugston immediately moved to “Derrevrame”, where he is recorded in October 1500. This seems to be the farm of Dirvaird, on the road 8km west of the Barony of Clugston and 1km from the town of Glenluce. He seems to have had a son Gilbert. In 1561, Gilbert Cluggistoun and his sons Gilbert and Alexander lived in the farm of Dirvaird. Thomas Cluggistone lived nearby. At that time Dirvaird was owned by Sir Patrick Vans of Barnbarroch, but by 1606 it was owned by Alexander Clugston. Gilbert senior died before 1586.
Patrick was mentioned again in 1527.
He seems to have had a second son, Patrick, who in 1547 was living at a place called Neddir Wig, south of the barony and near the town of Whithorn.
In 1550, Andrew Clugston was a servitor to William Dunbar in Culmazew, east of Neddir Wig. He was probably a younger son of Patrick Junior.
Patrick Junior seems to have had three other sons, John, Patrick (“Petir”) and Fergus. John was on the town council of Whithorn in 1582.
Petir Clugston (died 1596) owned land in Lochcraigoch (which seems to have been the earlier name of Loch Clugston) in 1594. He was married to Jaenne McKe. I think she was the granddaughter of Uchtred McKe. In this way the family regained part of the ancestral land. Or perhaps that part of the land had been mortgaged but not sold.
Fergus was the first Clugston to get in trouble with the law.
In 1565, the notorious pirate Andrew White stole three English merchant ships, and sold their cargo at Whithorn, Galloway. England was furious, and demanded that Scotland take action. Fergus Clugstone in Whithorn bought a puncheon of fine wine (about 320 litres!) and £5 worth of cloth, and was charged with receiving stolen goods. He wasn’t alone. It seems that half of Galloway was in on the caper. The mayor of Whithorn had bought a massive 19 puncheons of wine and a huge quantity of plums. The Scottish Reformation had happened only 5 years before, and the men of the cloth were setting a fine example: the vicar of Craggelton bought £5 of stolen cloth. The vicar of Kirkinner bought two puncheons of wine. Uncle Fergus, the mayor, the two wicked ministers and a dozen others were locked up in the Castle of Threave, until they had repaid the stolen goods. When Sir John Dunbar of Mochrum died in 1578, Fergus Clugstoun in Whithorn owed him one puncheon of wine, price £15. Sir John Dunbar was also owed 20 bolls of oats by the tenants of Clugstoun. I don’t think Fergus had any sons, because the name “Fergus Clugston” never occurs again.
Petir Clugstoun was a merchant of Lochcraigoche (at the edge of Loch Clugston), married to Jaene McKie. His will, probated on 1596.7.28, still exists. His eldest son was William Clugston, married to Helene Vauss, daughter of Sir Patrick Vauss, matchmaker of King James (of KJV Bible fame). The will also mentions Jonce Clugston, and Robert Clugston in Dirvirds (the farm that was owned by Gilbert in 1561). In 1606 Alexander Clugston had sasine of the farm “Dirvirds” .
In 1586, Gilbert Clugistoun was a merchant who owned land in the town of Wigtown. In 1635 Gilbert transferred this land to William Clugistoun, merchant, son of Michaell Clugistoun of Lochcraigoche. William had a daughter Janet who married John Stewart, merchant, in 1661, and a son William, who was also a merchant.
William Clugston, born 1645, was Provost (Lord Mayor) of Wigtown in 1684. One source claims that he died in 1734.
The important thing to learn from these early references is that the Clugstons in Glenluce, Kirkcowan, and Wigtown were all from a single family of merchants. The name “Patrick Clugston” is associated with all those places. This means that there was only a single Clugston family. We can be confident of this because there was a religious survey of Wigtownshire and Minigaff from 1684, which has survived. It gives the name of everyone 12 years or older. It shows that there were only 24 Clugstons remaining in Wigtownshire, mostly around Loch Clugston and Wigtown. This includes women who had married and whose children would no longer bear the Clugston name. There may also have been a few Clugstons in Kirkudbrightshire, east of Wigtown; the survey from that area has unfortunately not survived, but by 1720 there seem to have been only a couple of Clugston families there.
For more detail on the records I have mentioned, see this collection ofearly Clugston references.
There were so few Clugstons in Scotland in 1684 because about half of the Clugstons had emigrated to Ireland. This doesn’t mean that the families were immediately split apart; in the 1600’s, some pious settlers in Ireland were known to row back to Galloway for Holy Communion, and return the same evening.
The Migration to Ireland
We cannot be certain when Clugstons first moved to Northern Ireland but it definitely happened at a very early date. The first Scottish plantation in Ireland began in 1606, when Sir James Hamilton and Hugh Montgomery settled in the Great Ards in the north-east corner of County Down. They brought many Scots from Galloway with them. Clugstons are mentioned in the Hamilton Manuscripts, and also in the Montgomery Manuscripts. Montgomery had gained these lands by helping the owner, the Irish chieftain Con O’Neill, escape from the dungeon of Carrick castle with arope ladder hidden in a wheel of cheese.
Irish genealogy is traditionally regarded as nearly impossible because of the 1922 fire in the Irish Public Records Office. Almost all of the pre-1900 wills and probate records were lost, as well as the early census records and Church of Ireland parish registers and thousands of irreplaceable early documents. But we are extraordinarily lucky. The early genealogist Dr Francis Crosslé and his son Philip Crosslé had spent years in the Public Records Office, filling notebooks with information about families they were interested in. Philip devoted 20 pages to the Clugston family, recording the important details of every early Clugston record he could find. Special thanks to B. Kinane for obtaining a copy for me, and for the research he has done on the Kildare branch of the Clugston/Cluxton family. Combining Crosslé’s records with a potpourri of eclectic sources, we can get a remarkably good picture.
The earliest records of Clugstons in Ireland are from Belfast. There are surprisingly many references to the Clugston merchants in Belfast in the 17th century. It is complicated because at several family branches were intertwined. The “William” line, descended from the heir of Petir Clugston, has frequent occurences of the names “William” and “Michael”.
There is another set of families dominated by the name “Robert”, another by “James”, and another by “Hugh”.
William Clugston, merchant in Belfast
On 1637.2.8, William Cluggeston, merchant, was one of the first 20 members of the Corporation of Belfast. In May 1639 he was falsely accused of conspiracy, with two other merchants. They were imprisoned for a month, and their lands and goods (worth a whopping £2500) were seized. They returned to Scotland and appealed to the King for restitution. This was probably related to the “Black Oath” of 1839, in which all Presbyterians were required to pledge loyalty to the king, and to renounce the Scottish Covenant.
William Clugston was last mentioned in Belfast in 1645, when he made an assessment for the Scottish (Covenanter) army. He was definitely gone by 1659. Before he left, Robert Clugston (see below) had started working as a merchant in Belfast.
William inherited land in Wigtown. I believe that William Clugston, Provost of Wigtown, born in 1645, was his son.
There was a William Clugston in Antrim town in 1666 who is probably related. He seems to be the ancestor of about one quarter of all Clugstons alive today.
Clugstons Charged With High Treason
Many (almost all?) of the early Clugstons were Covenanters. Their beliefs got them into a lot of trouble in the late 1600’s. They refused to accept the king as head of the church. The “Killing Times” was one of the darkest points in Scottish History, in which Presbyterians were presecuted by Charles II, and many died for their faith. Incredibly, about half of the Clugstons in the world are on record as having openly defied the government. Three Clugston families were charged with High Treason, another faced charges, and another was a ‘recusant’, who refused to submit.
The situation must have been extremely delicate, because William Clugston was Provost of Wigtown at the time, and was one of those responsible for carrying out the government orders. He was out of town when a teenage girl and an elderly widow were sentenced to death for failing to renounce the covenant. The “Wigtown Matyrs” had won an appeal in Edinburgh, but the reprieve was ignored. They were tied to posts in Wigtown Bay and drowned by the rising tide. Did William participate in this cowardly act? One reason for thinking he might not have, was that a close family member, Patrick Clugston – likely his brother – was also facing the death penalty.
Patrick Clugstoun, merchant in Borland of Clugston, was a Covenanter. He was a fugitive in 1679, and was charged with high treason for habouring rebels. He may have been one of the 200 men, armed with pitchforks and muskets, who defeated the English army at the Battle of Drumclog; but he was certainly involved in the guerrilla war they waged from the hills of Galloway. John Clugstoun (probably Patrick’s brother) also faced charges; he owned a mill at Barhoise, a few km up the river. I believe that both were sons of William the Belfast merchant, who had assisted the Covenanter army in 1645.
Two Clugstons in Ireland were also “attainted” and charged with High Treason. This seems to be the reason they left Belfast and moved towards Dublin. I think it also made the New World more appealing. It probably also contributed to their support for American independence.
John and Robert Clugston, merchants in Belfast
John and Robert Clugston, brothers, were merchants who were admitted to the Corporation of Belfast in 1643 and 1645, but they arrived earlier. Robert was present with William in 1642. It’s likely that William was their older brother; Michael Clugston (see below) was related to both of them.
In 1641, the Catholic Irish started a rebellion against the English which went horribly wrong. Casualties on both sides were high. Over ten thousand settlers died in the aftermath. “Clugston and Hanna” were lieutenants in a private army at Lisburn, south of Belfast; this was probably John, who in 1645 owed £40 to the merchant who had raised the army. “Hanna” may be the Hannay family who occupied the Mill of Clugston in the late 1600’s; but it’s a common surname so it is hard to be sure.
The Clugston merchants and their descendants appear prominently in the “The Town Book of the Corporation of Belfast 1613-1816”. (Read it! It’s fascinating and very entertaining). Like other Belfast merchants, John Clugston made his own coins (“Merchant Tokens”):
The alley next to his house was known as “Clugston’s Entry”. Belfast was tiny (population about 600), so the Clugstons were quite significant.
The family tree can be deduced from Crosslé’s notes. Robert died in 1658, apparently without children, because his brother John inherited his estate. He appears in the 1666 and 1669 Hearth tax rolls for Belfast as “Mr John Clugston Sen”; he had 2 hearths. “John Clugston Jun” had 3 hearths in 1666, 5 hearths in 1669. In 1669 there was a third John Clugston with one hearth, and William Clugston with two. John died in 1671, leaving 6 children under 21. He left £10 to the poor of Belfast.
Robert Clugston d.1658 Merchant. (apparently died childless) John Clugston Senior d. 1671.8.6 Merchant = Grissel Shaw (In 1674 Grissel remarried William Smith, another merchant. She made a will on 1700.5.30 and died by 1705) (All these children born from 1650 to 1671) Robert Clugston. Merchant (d before 1711) = Margaret ____ d 1727.9.11 (Owned tenements in Castle St and North St, Belfast) (Owned 34 acres in Lower Malone) (These are his only children) Grissel Clugston = ____ Proctor John Clugston bur. 1736.1.24, bachelor. Sovereign of Belfast Elinor Clugston d.1758 spinster Catherine Clugston = Arthur Gower (Catherine was alive in 1727 but died by 1735) (Hannah was only daughter) Hannah Gower (born after 1722, before 1735) Jane Clugston d. 1727.11.6 Margaret Clugston d. 1710 = Richard Dobbs 1660-1711 High Sheriff of Antrim Margaret Dobbs = George Spaight. Surveyor of Customs m1729.7.7 Richard Dobbs Spaight 1730-1763 Richard Dobb Spaight Jr 1758-1802 Governor Mary Dobbs = Andrew Boyd Esq of Ballymoney Ann-Helena Dobbs = William Ker of Ballymena Ellenor Clugston Margaret Clugston = Alex Delap m 1681.9.13 Lisburn Grizell Clugston = John Stoates of Armagh m 1686.11.23 Jennet Clugston bur.1729.12.13 = William Craford bur.1716.7.14 merchant, MP for Belfast Ann Crawford = William Arbuckle (William son of James Arbuckle and Priscilla Black) Elizabeth Clugston = Francis Henderson m 1691.4.1 Drirachy
Interestingly, in Scotland in 1684, no Clugstons were named Robert or Thomas. But Robert Clugston of Dirvaids was mentioned in the 1596 will of Petir Clugston, along with Petir’s son John. The merchants are almost certainly grandsons of Petir.
Their business in Belfast was potentially lucrative but involved high risk. In 1661, John Clugston owned a ship. In 1670, he was leader of a group of Belfast merchants whose ship, the “James”, was illegally siezed in the Carribean. The ship and goods were worth £5000. (For comparison, the total taxes for the barony of Clugston were £25 per annum). His grandson, John Clugston Esq, was Sovereign (Lord Mayor) of Belfast 1726-1733, and his granddaughter Margaret married Richard Dobbs of Castle Dobbs, the High Sheriff of Antrim. Margaret’s great grandson, Richard Dobbs Spaight Jr (1758-1802), Governor of North Carolina, signed the US Constitution, and was killed in a duel with another senator. North Carolina made duelling illegal a few days later, taking all of the fun out of democracy.
John Clughston Junior seems to be another son; he had to evaluate John’s estate. He was admitted to the Corporation in 1661 with the note “served his apprenticeship in this town”, which must mean he served his apprenticeship with John Senior (Robert had died by then), and was born around 1640. Apprenticeship typically started at the age of 14, and lasted 7 years. John Senior’s known children were minors when he died, meaning they were all born after 1650, a rather large age gap. So it is also possible that John is his nephew. Robert Junior was not admitted to the Corporation until 1678. He may have been a child when his father died (boys are always listed before girls, regardless of age).
John Clugston Jr = Alice Lawrensons m 1672/3.1.31 Lisburn (Had 5 young children in 1675.12) Thomas Clugston 1679.7.3 Lisburn.
Note that in that family tree, John Junior was the only one who had Clugston descendants. 3 years into his marriage, John Junior already had 5 young children – twins? Thomas was born 2 years later.
John Junior’s firstborn son would have been named John. There may also have been a Robert. It is likely that John Clugston who married ___ Lowry of Lisnaward, County Down, was his heir (see below).
In 1675, John Junior was in a desperate financial situation. He had borrowed heavily, and lost almost everything. It may have been his ship which was seized in Jamaica. In 1675, Lewis Thompson, merchant of Belfast, wrote to Jacob David, merchant of London, warning him that John Clugston “hath be on his defens from his creditors this gret while and wher he is at present I know not but he hath a wife and five small children in this plase who are verey poor”.
There was a Robert Clugston in Belfast in 1737, who had a house on the north side of Castle Street (Deed v90 p96 #63094).
The name “Lawrensons” is not Scottish; Alice may have been the daughter of an English merchant. The mtDNA of Robert’s wife Margaret is known; it does not seem Scottish either. “Dobbs”, “Gower”, “Procter”, and “Speight” are very English surnames, mostly originating from Yorkshire. Some very English names (Henry, Edward) appear in the next generation.
However, “Delap” (a variant of “Dunlop”) and “Henderson” are Lowland Scots names. Thus we see that Robert’s family married into the English aristocracy but may have been the only Clugstons who did. It is surprising because Robert was definitely Presbyterian (in 1645 he signed a letter to Edinburgh requesting more clergy).
The first Clugstons in America
A dozen years after William left Ireland, his sons may have returned to Belfast.
William Clugston, smith, was made a freeman of Belfast in 1671. William paid tax for 2 hearths in Belfast in 1669.
Michael may have been another son.
Michael Clugston, merchant, was admitted to the Corporation in 1672, so was probably born around 1650. It was noted that Michael “served with Mr Clugston”. This is probably John Clugston senior, who died in 1671. The only other Clugston merchant in Belfast, John Junior, was only admitted in 1661 and I doubt he would take an apprentice only 3 years after his own apprenticeship ended.
Michael is very interesting because he has connections to both Belfast and Wigtownshire.
Michael is almost certainly the son or grandson of Michael Clugston of Lochcraigoch in the Barony of Clugston in 1635. Michael was still operating as a merchant in 1682, when he registered a bond with William Clugston, Provost of Wigtown (either his brother or cousin). Michael seems to have moved to America not long afterwards, because Michael Clugston (d. 1697) was operating as a merchant in Maryland in 1690. Michael had many descendants, most of whom adopted the “Cluxton” spelling. Most American Cluxtons are descended from him.
Captain Benjamin Cluxton captured a French Privateer (a government-approved pirate ship) in the Carribean in 1702. He died in Virginia in 1708. The documents for the capture still exist, and would probably be interesting to read.
Dr William Clugston, who returned to Scotland
One of William’s grandsons was Dr. William Clugston, who moved from Belfast back to Scotland. He married his third cousin, Barbara Vans, and settled near Stranraer. He appears to have been the heir to the family fortune. His family included Dr Alexander Grant Clugston, Surgeon General for the British Army in Bombay. The last known member of this branch died in 1909, but a family of Clugstons born in Stranraer are likely to be his descendants. They moved to Glasgow in the early 1800’s.
Thomas Clugston of Carlingford, County Louth
On 1718.6.18, Thomas Clugston bought an estate called “Menidees Park” on Carlingford Lough, on the border between County Down and County Louth. His will, dated 1731/2.1.24, was probated on 1764.9.23. It was preserved by Crosslé. Thomas owned a “white house” and a “malt house” in Carlingford, County Lough. He was already a grandfather in 1731.
Interestingly, the surname spelling changed for most Clugstons that went south. Many records are spelt “Cluxton”, “Claxton” or even “Cluckstone”. Some records include both spellings. He totally abandoned Scottish naming conventions; I suspect his wife was English.
The third son James graduated from university in 1710, so must have been born before 1690. So, Thomas must have been born before 1670, so he could not be the son of the Belfast merchant John Clugston Junior (whose son Thomas was born in 1679).
He was probably related to Thomas Clugston who paid hearth tax in 1669 in Dunrod, Tullyrusk (south of Belfast, west of Lisburn).
Thomas Clugston -1764 Henry Clugston (died by 1731) Innkeeper = Elizabeth George (Eliz remarried __ Daveyson by 1731) Jean Clugston = (1) Robert Corry =(2) Robert Manly Miss Manly George Clugston. Deaf and dumb. Elizabeth Clugston. Deaf and dumb. James Clugston (1712: MA from Glasgow University) (Went to America before 1764) Christopher Clugston. 3rd son d. 1778 Ballyfin, Leighlin, Carlow Rev Josias Clugston -1775 minister at Larne 1717-1775. (1710: MA from Glasgow University) (allegedly only had one son, James) Rev James Clugston -1780 = Elizabeth -1784 (Pastor of Bandon, County Cork 1745-1780 ("ordained young" (born about 1725?)) Mary Clugston 1755.1.14 - 1826.10.12 b. Bandon = George Allman 1750-1827 James Clugston Allman 1780-1845 b&d Bandon = Sarah Lane (Owned a whiskey distillery) James Clugston Allman 1822.3.24 b Bandon Thomas Clugston bap 1756.12.1 b. Bandon (1787: Merchant and Tanner, Bandon) (Paid a large debt to George Wheeler 1812) (Apparently died childless) Jean Clugston. Never married. Alexander Clugston. Never married.
Henry Clugston was the innkeeper of “The Jolly Sailor” in Newry in 1728. Presumably he served beer produced at his father’s malt house.
It seems he had twins, for both George and Elizabeth were mute.
Thomas’s sons Josias and James Clugston graduated with an MA from the University of Glasgow in 1710 and 1712 respectively. One of James Clugston’s classmates was the philosopher Francis Hutcheson, one of the founders of the Scottish Enlightenment. Most of his other classmates became Presbyterian ministers in America.
James seems to have had a fight with his father; Thomas left him only 1 shilling. The other children died childless.
Clugstons in County Down and County Armagh, Ireland, and in the Isle of Man
As mentioned earlier, John Clugston Junior’s son Thomas had at least five older siblings. There are three likely candidates.
John Clugston of Drumballyroney, County Down, died in 1733. This is near the border between County Down and County Armagh. His only child was a daughter Mary, who married Samuel Crum and had one child in 1721.
John Clugston married ____ Lowry, daughter of ____Lowry (died by 1713) and Margaret Cameron (alive in 1726). John and his mother-in-law converted the Lowry farm into a freehold. Lisnaward is just a few km east of Lisburn, where the merchant John Clugston Jr had lived. This John must have been born before 1790.
By 1755 the Lisnaward farm was owned by Robert Clugston, almost certainly his son. By 1787 it had passed to John Clugston, who sold it. By 1769, this youngest John seems to have also owned land in Lisnafiffy near Banbridge, a few km south-west of Lisnaward.
John of Lisnafiffy had four sons, John, Aaron, Archibald, and Robert, all born around 1780. A large fraction of the Clugstons alive today are his descendants.
Around 1800 there were probably more Clugstons near Banbridge, County Down than anywhere else in the world, all apparently descended from John. One of John’s sons, Archibald, moved to the Isle of Man.
His descendants include almost all Clugstons in the Isle of Man, Liverpool and Cheshire in the UK censuses from 1840-1910. Archibald’s brother Aaron had two grandsons who emigrated from Banbridge to Brisbane, Australia.
The freeholders list for the 1753 election in County Armagh shows 6 Clugston men in “Ross” (actually “Rawes”, which is about 6km east of Monaghan): Thomas; Robert, John, Robert Jr, Joseph, William. George and John Willson were the only two other freeholders in Ross.
The “Jr” is very significant. It shows not only that Robert Jr is the son of Robert, but also that they were also trying to maintain the family name. Under Scottish traditional naming, the first sons are named after their grandfathers, and the next son is named after the father. This suggests that John, Robert, Joseph and William are sons of Robert Senior, and that Robert Senior’s father was another John. Thomas is likely the son of John Clugston Junior of Belfast. Robert is very likely to be his brother.
The history of Robert’s other sons (Robert Jr, William, and Joseph) is less clear.
There were three families of Clugstons in Armagh, Robert, Thomas, and James, all born 1780-1790. They seem to be sons of Robert Clugston of Ballintemple, Armagh. Their children emmigrated to NSW and Ontario. Another Cluxton moved to England.
These next two men would be a perfect match for two of the sons, but they had been in America for a decade before the Armagh election was made.
Joseph Clugston was living in Adam’s County, Pennsylvania in 1742. Robert Clugston (possibly his brother) also emmigrated there from Belfast around 1750. They have many living descendants in Pennsylvania and Kansas. The “Clegston” spelling comes from one of his grandchildren. About one quarter of all Clugstons today are from this branch.
The Cluxton and Claxton families
In 1663 and 1665, Thomas Clugston was on the hearth money rolls for the town of Monaghan, in County Monaghan. Thomas Clugston, Gent in Monaghan was attainted in 1691 for having joined in the 1689 rebellion in support of William of Orange, along with Robert Clugston of Belfast. He may be Robert’s brother. Being attainted meant they were charged with High Treason and had their lands confiscated, though their heirs were unaffected. I believe they fled to Dublin and County Louth.
Thomas had no sons, but his daughters married extremely prominent men (their Wikipedia pages are linked in the tree). There is a small chance that these are actually Claxtons, an unrelated surname which originated in Norfolk; but Mary Cluxton’s neighbour was “James Claxton also Clugston”, and there is no doubt that Sovereign John Clugston was in the upper class of Belfast society. Mary Cluxton’s most famous descendant was Diana Princess of Wales.
Frances married Richard Parsons,”the wickedest man in the world”, one of the 18th Century’s greatest playboys.
Thomas Claxton = Lucy Pearce Mary Cluxton = Thomas Carter ~1690-1763.9.3 MP m. 1719.10.12 (Master of the Rolls in Ireland 1731-1754) Frances Carter = Rev Dr Phillip Twysden 1714-1752 (Phillip was a bishop who was shot dead in London attempting to rob a stagecoach) Frances Twysden = George Villiers Earl of Jersey (Frances was a mistress of King George IV) (Lady Diana Spencer is a descendant) Lucy Claxton = James Johnston bap 1655.9.9 – 3 May 1737.5.3 Secretary of State of Scotland 1692–96 m 1716 Frances Cluxton ??-1772.5.25 = Richard Parsons, Earl of Rosse d. 1741.6.21 m 1719 =2 Viscount Robert Jocelyn 1688-1756.12.3 m 1754.11.15 Lord Chancellor of Ireland
The neighbour of Mary Claxton and Thomas Carter was “James Claxton or Clugston”, Gentleman, of Kilcullen Bridge, County Kildare, who had a will probated in 1760. The estate was inherited by James Cluxton of Kilcullen Bridge who was the Tax Commissioner of County Kildare in the early 1800’s. Descendants went to Canada and the US, or remained near Dublin. The name seems to have mutated into
Cluxton; this spelling is exclusive to County Kildare and County Louth. There was however a William Cluckston in Dublin in 1670.
A key battle of the Irish Rebellion of 1798, in which, imitating the American Revolution, Catholics and Protestants united to try to break free of English rule, was fought so close to the Cluxton farm at Kilcullen, that their furniture and books were damaged.
Other Clugstons in County Down
Not all Clugstons in Ireland were descendants of the merchants.
Alexander Clugston, an attorney, was living in Portaferry in the Great Ards in 1644 and 1648, near Hamilton’s settlement. Many of the settlers (including Hamilton himself) fled back to Scotland when Cromwell invaded Ireland in 1649; Alexander may have fled with them.
In 1690, John Clugston owned a house in Killyleagh Town, 6km from Portaferry. This might be John Clugston Junior, the bankrupt merchant.
Chas Cluggis was renting in Portaferry 1705-38. It looks as though the family moved south along the coast. In 1694 and 1697, John Clugston and James Clugston were Ruling Elders of the new Presbyterian church at Clough (then called Drumca).
Another family was also recorded.
____ Clugston Edward Clugston d 1710.9.13 Kilkenny (probate granted to Hanna) Samuel Clugston of Islandmuck, Gent, co Down d1707 = Hanna _____ (Children all under 21 in 1707, ie born after 1686) Elizabeth Clugston Edward Clugston Hanna Clugston = Robert Macoom m 1710.3.1 Kilbegan, Co Meath John Clugston Margaret Clugston ______ Clugston Alexander Clugston of Ballynaughnaugh, co Down
I believe that most descendants of this family used the Claxton spelling.
Samuel’s brother was probably James Clugston who was Ruling Elder in the church at Drumca in 1697. His son Alexander owned an estate in Derrybeg, Armagh. Islandmuck, Drumca, and Derrybeg are all near Newry on the border between County Down and County Armagh. Alexander Clugston, son of James Clugston of Newry, obtained a freehold in Derry Beg, Newry in 1693. Alexander died before 1716.
We also know of Alexander (1655-1720) who was buried near Bangor, County Down. He probably related to the Alexander of Whithorn who refused Anglican communion in 1684. The Prebyterian minister of Wigtown fled to Bangor during the persecution. The most faithful of his flock probably followed him. He could also be the son of James.
In 1767, Joseph Clugston age 18 (born 1749) became an apprentice tailor in Newry. He was listed as a freeholder in Newry in 1787, 1789, and 1790. When he died around 1808, his daughter Mary was the sole heiress.
There are a small number of other Clugstons in County Down at an early date. James Clugston of Magherdrool requested financial assistance of 6 pence from Ballynahinch Presbyterian Church in 1705. He is obviously not closely related to the wealthy Clugston merchants and lawyers. Mrs Janet Clugston of Magherdrool produced a testimonal from Rev Gilbert Kennedy of Tullylish to the same church in 1715. In 1723, Rachall Clugston of Magheradrool produced a testimony from Rev John Hutchinson of Armagh to introduce her at Ballynahinch Presbyterian Church. The previously-mentioned philosopher Frances Hutcheson was the son of Rev John Hutchison of the city of Armagh.
In 1804, James Clugston, farmer, bought 5 acres of land in Drumanaquoile, which is not far from Magherdrool. By 1824, he and his wife Sarah Clugston (1791-1866) were running a weaving business there. In 1810, Alexander Clugston bought 5 acres in Claragh, which is right next to Drumanaquoile.
The Clogstons of New Hampshire
John Clogston born in 1715, married Miranda Glassford in Massachusetts in 1740 and settled in New Hampshire. Most of the living Clogstons seem to be descendants of this man, though others are descended from Alexander Clogston who arrived in New York by 1790. (This needs further research).
The Heirs: The Clogstouns of Kirkcudbright and the West Indies
John Clogstoun (born around 1730), writer in Kirkcudbright, is the progenitor of the Clogstoun branch. Based on wealth, he seems to be the grandson of William Clogstoun (b 1645, allegedly d. 1734), Provost of Wigtown. Therefore he was the heir of Petir Clugston and ultimately of the Clugston barons. John Clogstoun apparently moved to Kirkcudbrightshire from Carlisle, just across the English border.
John’s son Robert was a senior official in Antigua. Robert’s son Samuel was granted a Coat of Arms which has a some similarity to Provost William’s heraldry (Unscrupulous companies try to sell this as “the Clugston family crest”; there is no such thing). One family member was awarded a Victoria Cross. One family member was a British officer who led Australian troops of Gallipoli. One daughter was adopted by the celebrated painter George Frederic Watts, and lived next to Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
The Clogstons and Clugstons of Glasgow
By 1800 most of the remaining Clugstons in Scotland had moved close to Glasgow. Most had come via Kirkcudbright, which is the next major town on the coast east of Wigtown. It is hard to know how long they had been there, but it was probably not long, because almost all Clugstons in Glasgow in the 1841 census seem to be descendants of either William or Hugh Clogston of Kirkcudbrightshire. Kirkcudbright is only about 40km from Loch Clugston, but it is also possible that they moved there from near Belfast. (An Isobell Congilstoun of Kirkcudbright left a will in 1606, but she was probably a Congleton, not a Clugston).
Two men called James Clugston, both born around 1760, were in Glasgow. One was a weaver, the other a tailor. They are probably sons of James and William Clogston, who were probably brothers. William was still in Kircudbright in 1762.
There were some devout evangelical Christians in this family, who were spectacular philanthropists. They were among the first teachers of working-class children in Scotland; they set up some of the first welfare schemes; they were involved in the abolition of the slave trade.
James Clugston, born Scotland, emmigrated to Hunterdon, New Jersey in 1775. His descendants moved to Whiteley, Indiana. One of his children was also a tailor.
John Clugston and Elizabeth Jaffray were married in Glasgow in 1806 (born around 1775). Their son Alexander is the ancestor of most Clugstons in Victoria, Australia.
Andrew Clugston and Ann Buchanan moved from Ireland to Glasgow around 1828, and soon afterwards to Minigaff, Kirkcudbright, quite close to Wigtown. A daughter moved to Iowa around 1900.
Clugstons in County Antrim, Ireland
There is another group of Clugstons in Ireland, who are not descended from the merchant John. They went north rather than south. I think they are descended from John Clugston, miller of Barhoise and Covenanter rebel, but some of merchant William’s sons may have returned to Ireland as well.
In 1669, William Clugston was on the hearth money rolls for Culquemonny/Billy, Dunluce Lower, Antrim. This is at the northernmost tip of Ireland. It seems that he did not stay there for long.
There seem to have been at least two distinct Clugston families in southern Antrim. Some of them moved back and forth between Belfast and Glasgow. Some descendants of Hugh Clugston from Ballyclare moved to Indiana via Pennsylvania, and have many living descendants.
There were some relatively poor Clugstons near the coast around Carrickfergus.
There was a wealthy, highly educated and devout family of Clugstons in Ballyclare, Antrim, most notably Dr William Alexander Clugston, who may be descendants of Josias’ brother. They were Covenanters and were involved in establishing the Reformed Presbyterian denomination. This branch seems to have died out around 1930.
Robert Cluxton and his wife Mary Rice 1744-1825 emmigrated from Ireland in 1798, with a son John Cluxton 1791-1854.2.21 who married the daughter of a Methodist pastor, then settled in Adam’s County, Ohio. Most of the Cluxtons in the USA are his descendants. They left three children in Ireland. DNA testing shows an exact match with Hugh Clugston 1788-1865 of Ballyclare, County Antrim.
Apart from the Clugstons in Newry, almost all Clugstons lived in rural areas. In 1840 there was only one family of Clugstons in Belfast.
Other Clugstons in the USA
Two brothers, Robert and John Clugston, born Ireland, moved to Orange County, New York State, around 1820. The last Clugston from this branch died in 1861. Interestingly, John’s mother-in-law was born in Germany.
Other Clugstons in the USA are here. (That page is a work-in-progress). This includes descendants of Alexander Clogston 1774-1830 and his wife Margaret Grace McLean 1774-1857; John Clugston born 1801 in Franklin, PA, and his wife Jane Martin; the Clugstons of Plum, Allegheny, PA, and Richard Cluxton 1827-1905 who emmigrated from Ireland to Cincinnati, Hamilton, Ohio. Most of these are likely to be siblings of branches already described above.
Records still to be obtained
Important documents which I am extremely interested in:
* The parish records from the 1st Presbyterian Church of Antrim (Millrow), Ireland (starts from 1677).
* Parish records from Drumbo Presbyterian, Ireland (starts from 1699)
* The parish records from the Secessionist Presbyterian Church in Newtownhamilton, Armagh
* The sasine register for Dirvirdes.
* The deeds in Edinburgh, especially the 1682 bond between William Clugston of Wigtown and Michael Clugston of Belfast.
Which family did the Belfast merchants come from? Was Alexander of Portaferry their brother? How many Clugstons returned to Scotland?
Are the family of Irish Clugston ministers related to the ministers in Glasgow?
Is the devout family of Dr William Alexander Clugston related to Dr Alexander Grant Clugston son of Dr William?
Were there Clugstons in Kirkcudbright before 1700? Did they come to Kirkcudbright from Wigtown, or from County Londonderry, Ireland? Is Bailie Clugston of Dalry, Kirkcudbright, 1722-1800 related to Bailie Clugston of County Kildare died 1801?