Dunbars of Enterkin

Dunbars of Enterkin – were a nationally important family closely associated with the Canmore dynasty. It was they who founded the Priory in the late 13th Century. The Earls of Dunbar were at one time the owners of the lands of Blantyre.

Ancient royal charters reveal that on 25th July 1368 King David II of Scotland granted the Barony of Blantyre, along with other lands at Cumnock, Glenken and Mochrum, to his cousin George Dunbar, the grandson of Thomas Randolph, the 1st Earl of Moray and who himself was nephew of Robert the Bruce.

Born around 1310, George Dunbar became the 10th Earl of Dunbar and 3rd Earl of March in 1368 when he succeeded his father, Sir Patrick Dunbar and was known as one of the most ambitious nobles of his time. He was regarded as a traitor to his country when, for various reasons, he deserted the Scottish cause and embraced that of England, ravaging the Scottish borders with fire and sword and fighting on behalf of the English king at the defeat of the Scottish army at the Battle of Holmildon. He was later reconciled with his country and returned to Scotland where he died in 1420, but was certainly the most treacherous noble ever to own the lands of Blantyre. George disposed of the lands of Blantyre.

George followed the example of his uncle, and transferred his title to the barony to David Dunbar of Enterkin *, who was confirmed by royal charter in the same year. The transaction was given to David de Dunbar of Enterkin on 3rd February 1375, whose descedants would own the Parish for the next 2 Centuries until the reformation and the Barony was sold to Walter Stewart, the Commendator of Blantyre Priory, who would later become the first Lord Blantyre in 1606. This David was a kinsman of the earl. As he did not succeed to the lordship of March, he could not have been heir to the earldom. In all probability he bought the barony. At any rate, his entrance upon the office of baron severed the connection between Cumnock and the titled house of March. From 1375 the possessors of our barony are no longer Earls of March, but are simply known as the Dunbars of Cumnock.’ * the lands of Enterkin are near Tarbolton, Ayrshire. Several references to the Dunbars of Enterkin (William, John, David, Adam, Archibald and Hew) appear in the Register of Sasines from 1602 to 1650.

During the year 1400, a nobleman Thomas Hamilton purchased the farm fields of Blantyre from the Dunbars of Enterkin. Specifically, in this year they purchased “Fermeblantir” which is now more commonly known as Blantyre Ferme (Farm). The road out of Blantyre connecting Uddingston to Blantyre gets its name from the Ferme.

By 1424, David Dunbar was known as Sir David Dunbar Lord of Cumnock. He had no children, but he retained the lands of Blantyre until 24th April 1452 at which time a royal charter gave them to Patr de Dunbar de Bele, nephew of George Dunbar earl of March’s brother.

On 6 May 1421 an announcement was made (subsequently confirmed by James I in a royal confirmation on 24 Nov 1426) within a charter to Patr Dunbar’s son, also called Patrick, noting the lands of Park, Achintibber (Auchentibber) and Drumlochinarch (later Drumlochearnock) were to be given to him. On 31st May 1423, a similar announcement was made (confirmed in the same 1426 charter) that the adjacent lands of the Barony of Blantyre were also to be given to Patrick.

By 1437, Sir Johannes de Dunbar, (John Dunbar), eldest son of Patrick had possession of Blantyre Barony. In 1455, Blantyre sasine was given to another Patrick Dunbar, this time the eldest son of John. On 21 June1474 royal grant to Patrick, Eufamie de Dunbar spouse, Joh de Dunbar, Mergarete de Dunbar spouse, Patr de Dunbar, Jonete de Dunbar spouse daughters, heirs apparent of Patrick de Dunbar de Cumnock in lands of baronies of Cumnock, Mochrum, Blantyre with advocation of kirk of Cumnock newly, personally resigned by Sir Patr de D de Cumnock were to be held proportionally and equally divided, reserving his liferent.

On 31st March 1479, some controversy was caused when a royal charter regranted the Barony of Blantyre to Cuthbert Dunbar, Patrick’s brother. Branches of that family retained baronial control over Blantyre, though much of it had been feued out before Walter Stewart of Minto got his hands on it in the mid to late 16th Century. His eldest son, John Dunbar, succeeded him.

Ending this early history of Blantyre and the end of Dunbars association with Blantyre, by 1576, William Dunbar a relation of John was owner of Blantyre Barony and was followed by Walter Stewart, who would later become first Lord Blantyre.

From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c)2016

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