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HISTORICAL TALES AND LEGENDS 0F AYRSHIRE.
THE district of Cuninghame was long the chosen battleground of the rival families of Glencairn and Eglinton. Both were of high renown, both eminent in the service of their country, both produced men who gave their lives to the national cause, and both, at crises in the history of Scotland came nobly to her aid. But for many long, years in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, there ran through their own personal history a deadly and a bitter and a relentless feud, a feud which sent the flames curling from the roof-tree of Eglinton Castle itself, which fired many a homestead and hall besides, and in which scores, if not hundreds, of brave men went down before the exigencies of, family rivalry and pride.
The Montgomeries of Eglinton held court at their castle on the banks of the Lugton. The castellated mansion of to-day, sitting quietly the midst of a beautiful and extensive park, is built upon the spot occupied by at least two of its predecessors, that which was fired by the followers of the Earl of Glencairn in 1528, and to which Sir Hugh de Eglinton bore the pennon of Henry Hotspur from the field of Otterburn, and that which was demolished in the closing years of the eighteenth century to make room for the noble building which now dominates a scene of great beauty and refined taste, but which in the days of three or four centuries agone was too frequently a veritable Aceldama. The Cuninghames hailed from the Parish of Kilmaurs, to which in the latter half of the fifteenth century; Sir William had brought home the co-heiress of many fair lands in Renfrew, Dumbarton, and Midlothian, as well as Glencairn in Dumfries, from which the title to the Earldom was acquired. With growing power came a corresponding growth of rivalry, until the jealousy and mistrust culminated in the series of tragedies which make memorable the story of northern Ayrshire throughout the long years in which they transpired. Both houses were possessed of numerous vassals and retainers, who espoused the rival causes with the intensity invariably begotten of the feud, and no Corsican vendetta was ever more inexorable in its decrees than were the Cuninghames and the Montgomeries in their work of extirpation. The feud passed on from man to man and from generation to generation, and it rolled, practically unchecked, until the power of the Scottish Crown was sufficiently consolidated to cheek the outrages of the rude lords who were a law unto themselves.
To follow the feud in all its devious windings would be an impossibility within anything like compact limits. Let us therefore rather select one or two of its outstanding incidents and endeavour to recall the actors to the scenes in which they played their part. And suffice it to say by way of explanation that it was because the hereditary Bailieship of Cuninghame was transferred from the Glencairn family to that of Eglinton that the strife, which had long been intermittent or smouldering, broke out into active and persistent hostility.
Kerelaw Castle is a picturesque ruin in the Parish of Stevenston, massive in its decay, ivy mantled, stoutly standing up against the inroads of Time and of the elementary warfare which rages around its walls. As long ago as 1488 it stood in all its pride and glory. It was a stronghold of the Cuninghames, and behind its defences its lord could afford to look out with some complacency upon the broad lands and the strengths of the Montgomeries. Eglinton Castle was but a few miles distant in the one direction, and in the other, within easy ken, was the keep of Ardrossan, with its heavy battlements and its solid masonry. Kerelaw, strongly held, might have resisted a siege; and had its walls, been tenanted by the men of Glencairn when the retainers of Eglinton came down upon it, it might have laughed their efforts to scorn. But they chose their own time for coming; and descending upon it when it was at their mercy, they set fire to it and went their way. Up into the blue sky rose the smoke of the burning pile; and when the night came the clouds were reddened with its glare. The fire was slow to take hold, for the floors were oaken and so were the beams and the furniture. But the quaint old wainscotting caught up the conflagration and hastened on the doom of the castle. The fire spread gradually but surely. From basement to turret it crept, peering out of the windows, darting from the loopholes, and accompanied as it rose with the crashing of masonry and the falling in of floors, until finally the flames dominated the keep and proclaimed themselves masters of Kerelaw. The Cuninghames could see the glare and the smoke from more than one of their strongholds; and we can well imagine with what feelings they beheld the destructive handiwork of their foes, and how they resolved on retaliation. The conflagration died away and the walls cooled; but there was no dying away of the wrath in the breast of Glencairn, and no cooling of the ardour for revenge within the vassals of the house of Cuninghame. The Montgomeries had had their day that of the Cuninghames was in the future. Kerelaw was the first keep to blaze; Eglinton Castle was doomed.
But it was not to be fired just yet. The Cuninghames nursed their wrath as the days lengthened out into months, and these again into years. Individual members of both houses were slain by the wayside. Attempt upon attempt was made to wreak vengeance upon the leaders in the feud, the heads of the different families who allied themselves with the rival fortunes of the opposing chiefs. William, Cuninghame of Craigeris was the first of note to feel the heavy hand. He was the King's coroner for the shire of Renfrew, a relative of the lord of Kilmaurs; and in 150,5 he was waylaid and attacked by the Master of Montgomerie.
Cuninghame resisted as stoutly as he was attacked, and succeeded in effecting his escape, though not until he was grievously wounded. He made complaint to the Scottish Parliament of the outrage; but the Master of Montgomerie did not obey the summons, and the affair was forgotten by the State. But not by the Cuninghames. Finding they could not obtain redress save at their own hand, they mustered their followers in January of 1507, and came upon Lord Montgomerie. The latter was not unprepared to receive them, and a hot conflict ensued. Hand to hand was the issue contested, until Lord Montgomerie was wounded, and lives were lost on both sides.
Two years later a temporary peace was patched up, and there was cessation awhile, for the national affairs demanded the energy and the daring, of every patriot within the Scottish realm. But when Flodden had been fought and lost; when Glencairn had recovered from the, temporary eclipse of his fortunes which he suffered for having been concerned in the abortive attempt of Arran, who aspired to the Regency, to depose Albany; and when the Earl of Eglinton and Lord Montgomerie had welcomed the youthful monarch after his escape from Falkland to Stirling in the guise of a yeoman, there was time enough to attend to their own concerns in the west. In the interim, at the period when the country's cause called both Eglinton and the lord of Kilmaurs from local to national strife, Glencairn had still time left to slay three of the followers of the Montgomeries, and to wound the son and heir to the Earl himself; but so little thought of was the affair in the face of the graver events of the period, that no penal consequences of any kind whatever are known to have followed. A second peace was agreed upon on the instigation of Albany; but that neitherside had any intent to abide by its terms was speedily made manifest. The Earl was blessed with a long. memory. For nine years he remembered the attempt on the life of his son and the death of his followers, one of whom, Matthew Montgomerie, was a scion of the house, nor did he cry quits for that event until he and his had taken the life of Edward Cuninghame of Auchenharvie. He was proceeded against according to law; but not only did he escape the consequences of his deed, save by the imposition of a nominal sum for non-appearance, but he followed up the slaughter of the laird of Auchenharvie by that of another Cuninghame, Archibald of Waterstown, whom his dependants slew in pursuance of the blood feud.
Then came the revenge of the Cuninghames. In his abode in the adjacent shire of Renfrew the Master of Glencairn heard tell how the Montgomeries had slain the Laird of Waterstown. Old memories flashed upon him. He called to mind the burning of Kerelaw, and all the misdeeds of the enemy, which he had done since then. He remembered how Eglinton had dispossessed the Cuninghames of the Bailieship of the division, Which was their's by right, and how their bands had roamed. hither and thither, making it all but impossible for the most remote connection of the family of Glencairn to be abroad within sight of one of the castles of the Montgomeries. He had a long score to settle. Hitherto, though the fortunes of the feud had wavered, now inclining to the one side and now to the other, they had on the whole befriended the foe; but the Fates that had frowned or, him might also, must also, be compelled to smile on his enterprise. He planned retribution. Over all his lands in Renfrew he sent his couriers, and he called in his dependants from his estates in North Ayrshire as well. They came gladly. The revenge prompted in the mind of the master was not confined to himself. Every man on his domains had heard tell the story of the unlimited treachery of the Montgomeries; and as the tales spread from hamlet to hamlet, from castle to castle, from mouth to mouth, they were magnified in the telling, untill it seemed a solemn duty to each Cuninghame, and to each individual who followed in the train and fought under the banner of Glencairn, to wipe out in foray, in blood, and in retributory conflagration, the long series of misdeeds of the hated Eglinton. The Master found himself at the head of a large, body of men, trained to arms, fit for troublous times, and for desperate adventure.
They were as eager as he to march into the hart of the enemy's country, and they set forth on their expedition into Ayrshire, resolved. to strike at the very centre of the enemy’s strength. Their destination was the Castle of Eglinton. Their preparations had been made as far as possible in secret. No warning was sent before them, else the Earl have been ready to give them greeting in force.
No sooner had they entered the lands of the Montgomeries than the Master of Glencairn encouraged his followers to slaughter and to depredation. Eglinton estate stretched near and far; it had many fine homesteads, beeves fed on many a field, and the corn was ripe in the fields for the harvest, The farm houses sat peacefully in the autumn sun, their inmates all unconscious of what awaited them. The Cuninghames broke upon the scene with the fury of a winter's torrent, and as they passed on from point to point, and farm to farm, and from corn field to corn field, they left in their track the traces of rapine of ravage. Before them waved the golden corn, or stood up cut by the patient reaper, in the fields. Before them grazed the cattle on the holms and in the meadows, or lay placidly ruminating under the grateful shelter of the autumn-tinted trees. Before them were the houses of the peasantry, their dwellers either innocent of the coming storm, or, warned by the columns of smoke that rose up into the blue, or the glare that reddened the night sky, fleeing for their lives into places of refuge and of security. Before them rose up the Castle of Eglinton, with its stout, heavy walls looking down on the placid. waters of the Lugton, running free from its birthplace in the beautiful little Loch Libo in Renfrewshire. Behind them what a scene! The corn fired in the fields, the staff of life destroyed on its stern; the cattle slaughtered on the grass, and the sheep on the braes; the farm houses afire or smouldering in their ruins; and many a peasant slaughtered beside his once happy home!
The Earl of Eglinton heard the news. He was in his house by the Lugton. Down by the, coast was the Castle of Ardrossan, looking out across the Firth of Clyde to the Cumbraes, to the long stretch of the yellow sands of the Ayrshire coast, to the rugged mountain tops of Arran, and the peaks serrated and riven. and jagged by the omnipotent forces of nature in her earlier and her wilder forms, to the conical summit of Ailsa, and to the gateway by which the waves of the Atlantic roll up to the higher shores of Ayrshire. The chief of the Montgomeries gathered his retainers as many as he could muster around him. He called his wife and family to make haste and tarry not, and without draw of bridle or breathing space he hurried across the few intervening miles, across the flat, level country, to that stronghold by the sea. There was no time to lose. From the turrets of Eglinton he, could trace the coming, the avenging Cuninghames. The rising smoke told him where they were and what they were doing, and he knew that their destination was his abode. As he galloped off he cast one longing, lingering look at the all-unconscious, slum bering keep wherein he dwelt, and he knew that when next he saw it, if ever he saw it again, it would be defaced, blackened, charred, and in ashes.
Nearer and nearer cam, the Master of Glencairn and his men, spreading destruction in their pathway. They were eager to be at the heart of the citadel inflamed in their passions, and all but satiated with their revenge. Ah, but there was still a greater revenge in store for them! Along the way they came where Lugton meanders, and their horsehoofs woke the echoes not unaccustomed to the clattering of irate horsemen, or the tread of men prepared for the battle.
And there, before them at last, was the Castle of Eglinton, the ancestral home of the Montgomeries. They drew rein at its gates. No warder challenged them, no bowmen appeared on its walls, no spearsmell defended its battlements. All was silent and deserted. The birds had flown. The gates were driven in, the entrance was forced, and the Cuninghames ran riot over the Castle. Materials were hastily gathered together with which to ignite the conflagration. The light was applied to them, the flames began to curl and to flicker, and to catch hold and to ascend. The woodwork was ablaze. It was indeed a goodly sicht for Glencairn and his men, and one that was well worth watching. As the smoke filled the castle they retired to the park, amid whose trees it stood, and watched the play of the conflagration.
Here was a glorious revenge for the burning of Kerelaw. Kerelaw never made a blaze like that. The wind fanned the fire; but it needed no fanning. It caught hold wherever there was footing for its scorching couriers. They licked the walls, they crackled on the oaken floors, they caught on the tapestry, on the paintings, on the ornaments, on the furniture. They plunged into recesses where valuables were hidden, and cleared them out as if they had been swept by the besom of destruction. They burst through the windows, and crept up the stairs. They spread from floor to ceiling, and from ceiling to floor. They ransacked the muniment room; and the records of the family of Eglinton back to the very days of the Norman Conquest, and before them, and the Charter to the lands, of Montgomerie, given under the Great Seal, were changed into tinder. Crash went the floors, down fell the intermediate walls, and high above the housetops rose the infernal furnace. It roared in the air. Its heat made Glencairn and his watching followers stand back. And when the darkening came on, the castle glared in its own embers, its walls growing black upon the night, and within them a huddled, charred mass of debris. That was the Cuninghames’ vengeance. Was it not worth their while? Did it not obliterate many a savage memory, and kindle a sense of wrong done to them rectified?
And when the fire had done its work the Master of Glencairn retraced his footsteps; and, plundering, ravaging, burning as he went, he returned into Renfrewshire.
From his Castle of Ardrossan the Earl of Eglinton saw the smoke ascend into the sky. It was his turn to vow vengeance, and vow it verily he did. He took an oath to exact satisfaction against Glencairn, against the Cuninghames, for the day's doings. He promised himself that he would leave no stone unturned; that life would be sacrificed for life, and home for home. If his roof-tree had blazed, so would those of the enemy. if his retainers had fallen, so would those of Glencairn. And his spirit he infused into the retainers, who, by his side, watched. with him the tokens of the revenge of Glencairn.
But the revenge was not to be theirs; for the Earl died, and with him all that generation. Fifty years sped away fifty years of rancour and. of alternating fortunes in the rivalry of the feudalists, and. it was not until the April of 1586 that an act of savagery on the part of the Cuninghames awoke to the full the slumbering fury in the breasts of the Montgomeries. It was another Glencairn, too, by this time, and other Cuninghames, but the blood feud. was the same, passing on, handed down, irrespective of the flight of time and the changes of the actors in the tragedy.
It was in the spring-time of the year that the young Earl of Eglinton set out on a journey to Stirling, where the Scottish Court was sitting. He apprehended no danger. The feud, he knew, still ran; but not for many years, not, indeed, during his lifetime, had it broken out in anything like a virulent form. Scotland. was gradually settling down to a condition of comparative rest and quiet, and the embers of the burning castles and farm-houses had grown cold long ere Earl Hew had entered the scene he was destined to leave that April day that saw him on his way to meet his Sovereign. He was not backed by his men. Nome were with him save his immediate attendants, and when he set forth it was in the confident assurance that he would reach the heights of the City of the Rock, and see the gleaming
Forth as it flowed along to the sea. April month; the vernal influences were upon nature; but, though they coaxed the buds to open and to unfold, they could not coax the malignity and the memory from the revengeful Cuninghames.
The Earl came to the house of Langshaw, and. there he dined. The Lady of Langshaw was a Cuninghame. So was one of her maids. They knew beforehand that the Earl was coming, and they had consulted with David. Cuninghame of Robertland, Alexander Cuninghame of Corsehill, Alexander Cuninghame of Aiket, and. John Cuninghame of Clombeith, a quartette of feudalists sworn by the ties of relationship, and by the remembrance of the past, to pay back upon the Montgomeries the deeds which had eventuated half a century agone. These concealed themselves in proximity to Langshaw, and waited the signal agreed upon between them and their fellow, or sister-conspirators within. To assure them that the Earl was really there, the Lady or her maid was to display a tablecloth from one of the upper windows. They were to accomplish the rest. As soon as they saw the tablecloth flutter, they took their measures accordingly. Gathering around them a band of thirty followers, they rode towards a bridge spanning the Annick burn, in the Parish of Stewarton, and there they concealed themselves.
The Earl suspected. nothing. No kindly monitor warned him that impending fate awaited him by the moorland burn. He bade his host and hostess good-bye, and rode off. It is not easy to comprehend the condition of the lady's mind when Lord Eglinton shook her by the hand and said. farewell. She knew it was a long farewell that he spoke, and that ere the evening sun had set his soul should have gone out into the darkness of the future and the unknown. The party travelled easily, and reached the bridge without incident. Unhappily, danger unforeseen does not mean danger non-existent, and this the Earl found to his cost, for, as he arrived at the spot selected by the conspirators, he was suddenly brought face to face with a company of armed and desperate men. They were behind him, before him, and on either side. The young chief of the Montgomeries did not need to be told that there was danger. He saw it. It encircled him. He would have given his horse the spur, but there was no exit by which he could hope to ride into safety; so, perforce, he had to draw his sword and defend himself. His servants were unable to render him assistance, and those who could do so saved themselves by flight. The Cuninghames Pressed in upon the Earl, striking at him with their swords and endeavouring to unhorse him. He grimly contested for his life, one man against a score. The odds was too powerful. He was wounded and bleeding, and as he reeled in his saddle John Cuninghame of Clonbeith drew his pistol and shot him dead. It was a cruel murder. Having accomplished their purpose, the conspirators and their retainers fled the scene. They had done the deed; they had struck a deadly blow at the House of Montgomerie; and, though they knew that the men of Eglinton would ere long be in the saddle and scouring the country on their mission of vengeance, they were gratified at having wiped out many a bitter memory in the life-blood of the young chief from the banks of the Lugton.
When they bore Earl Hugh lifeless home, dire was the rage that filled the halls of the Montgomeries. The tidings spread like wild-fire. No messenger bearing the fiery cross ever sped faster across the straths and hills of the Highlands to call the clansmen to the battle. The broad lands which looked inwards upon Eglinton rang with the story and with the names of the murderers, and there were hurried consultations and ominous meetings, which boded no good to the Cuninghames. These resulted in a gathering of the heads of the various branches of the house and in the ex change of oaths and of resolutions to do by the foe as the foe had done by them. A life for a life was the order of the day. The war must be pushed to closer quarters than that. Relentlessly, pitilessly, and with the tenacity of the sleuthhound, they must hunt down, not one Cuninghame, but many. Every man who had taken part in the tragic scene by Annick's bridge must be slain; and the false lady who had fluttered the signal in response to which the Cuninghames had awaited the coming of the Earl, must be denied the mercy usually accorded, even by the angriest of angry men, to women. She was the traitress. But for her the Laird of Montgomerie had not been slain. She was the Jael who had indirectly, if not directly, handled the hammer which had driven the nail into the temple of the young chief. And there was recalled many a deed done by the Cuninghames for which no atonement had yet been made. The long roll of their red-handed transactions was gone over, and with stern-set faces the Montgomeries addressed themselves to their task. The Cuninghames heard the tidings and sprang to arms. The Earl of Glencairn denied all knowledge or intent of the murder. He knew nothing of it, and as proof that he spoke in all sincerity he permitted the law to take its own course against his friends. But the law in those days and among the western lairds moved slowly, and its mills did not even grind small when they did grind. Its processes were too sluggish for the Montgomeries, and they preferred to redress their wrongs by the old rough-and-ready methods of their forefathers.
Then was a reign of terror begun in the country of the Cuninghames. No man's life was his own. As, half a century before, they had gathered around the Master of Glencairn and marched across the lands of their rivals, spreading death and destruction whithersoever they turned themselves, so now the Montgomeries were everywhere abroad, and all with the same fateful intent. Their horsemen rode by the waters of Corsehill and Lugton and Glazert: they skirted the Halket Loch and the base of the rocky knolls of Dunlop; they passed by the Annick, burn and by the bridge where the murdered Earl had lain; they crossed the uplands on the borders of Renfrewshire and hasted on their raids upon the strongholds of the foe. Robertland Castle saw them and shut its gates; Langshaw’s warders watched them from the battlements of their tower, but they left the keep behind and went forward on their errand; they skirted grey Corsehill, and the Walls of Auchenharvie gave back the echoes of their horse-hoofs. The command had been given to slay, and to slay utterly; and it was fulfilled to the letter. Houses were fired and their inmates put to the sword; men were killed in the open fields for no other reason than that the fields were those of the Cuninghames; innocent rustics passing along the highways, and unable to satisfy the marauders that they had no connection with Glencairn, were ruthlessly sacrificed. The Cuninghames retaliated as best they could, but so rapidly had the raid been determined upon, and so speedily the resentment put into realisation, that no time was given them for concentration. The most, therefore, they could do was to offer a species of isolated defence, and that availed them little in the face of an enemy who had tasted blood, and who was almost as inexorable in the work of annihilation as were the chosen race when they marched to their heritage amid. a succession of hecatombs. " In the heat of their resentment," says the manuscript history of the Eglinton family, they killed every Cuninghame without distinction that they could come bye, or even so much as met with on the highways, or living peaceably in their own houses." With the aid of the Secret Council, the Earl of Eglinton obtained power to take into his keeping the Castles of Robertland and Aiket, and for the space of five years he retained possession of these houses. All the while the garrisons whom he ordered to hold them. levied supplies from the surrounding country, and wrought their will upon the tenants who had survived the first cruel slaughter. Poor Lady Aiket, the wife of Alexander Cuninghame, complained bitterly of the destruction of her property. Everything was laid in ruins. Her houses were overthrown; her orchards and growing trees were destroyed; doors, windows, locks, were wrenched and broken. And while the Montgomeries were thus wanton, they were rigorous in insisting on the exaction of fines and duties, to suell an extent, indeed, that her ladyship added to her complaint a clause setting forth the grievous wrongs that were done upon the tenants. Nor was her's by any means an isolated case; it only differed from the majority of the others in that her retribution lasted the longer.
The Laird of Corsehill made haste to escape, for the Montgomeries were upon his track. He disappeared from the district and purchased his life at the cost of perpetual banishment from the country of his sires. Cuninghame of Robertland followed his example. Scotland was too small to afford him shelter; and thinking that in whatever part of the British realm he might secrete himself, the tenacious avenger of blood, ever on his track, might find him, he crossed the seas to Denmark, where he found protection at the court of Queen Ann. There he remained until the storm had exhausted itself, nor did he return to Ayrshire until the Danish Queen became the wife of James VI. By her influence his peace was made with the irate lord of Eglinton, and he was permitted to return to Robertland and to spend the evening of his days at home. No such happy issue attended on Cuninghame of Clonbeith. His was a double share of guilt, aye, a treble share, for it was his hand that drew the pistol which put an end to the sufferings of the Earl of Eglinton by the bridge across the Annick. He was the direct murderer of the chief of the Montgomeries, and the Master of Montgomerie took reprisal in his case into his own hands. Collecting a well mounted body of retainers about him he rode to Clonbeith. Cuninghame heard of their coming and escaped. He travelled across the country in the hopes of throwing his pursuers off the scent; but no bloodhound ever more truly followed up a trail than they did his. From Ayrshire to Renfrewshire they tracked his goings, and from Renfrewshire into Lanark. he fled to Hamilton; they pursued him. They were told where he, lay concealed, in a house in that town, and thither they directed their course. The man in whose dwelling he was hidden was naturally anxious to befriend him, and artfully hid him in one of the wide chimneys of the house. The Montgomeries lost no time in making their appearance, and in demanding that he should be handed over to them and to justice. They were informed that he was not there. "In that case," said the Master of Eglinton, " let them search the house and satisfy themselves as to the truth of the assertion."
To this no demur could be offered, the less that the avenging force was strong enough to storm the dwelling, and determined enough to brook no opposition. The door. was accordingly opened, and the Montgomeries made a rigid search of every room and of every corner in which a man might be hidden.
One of the searchers, John Pollock of that. ilk, a connection by marriage with the Cuninghames of Langshaw and yet a sympathiser with the enemy, one of the most determined of the band, was not to be balked. His eye lighted, on the chimney. He examined it and discovered the fugitive. There was no hope for him now. Reaching up, the Montgomeries draged him down to the floor, and without a moment's respite they cut him in pieces on the spot. And then, having obtained the satisfaction they sought, they retraced their march into Ayrshire.
It will be remembered that the presence of the Earl of Eglinton in Langshaw was made known to the Cuninghames by the Lady of the house, and that the fluttering of a tablecloth, waved either by her own hands or by those of her sympathetic maid, was the signal for doom. This was not forgotten by the Montgomeries, and they vowed her death but when they came to put their threats into execution, they found that she had disappeared. Asking her whereabouts they were told that she had fled the country, and this they were forced to believe when they had sought for her and found her not. She had not taken refuge, however, across the seas. In the house of one of her lord's tenants, who remained staunch and true to the most rigid secrecy, she lay concealed for years. She durst not venture abroad by the light of day; and though no doubt, when night fell, she walked amid the scenes of happier days and move pleasurable associations, her wearisome servitude must have proved irksome and depressing. Time passed on, and the animosities of the Montgomeries either were satisfied or died away; and the Lady returned to Langshaw. The Eglinton family heard of it, but they let her live. She remained to the close in comparative seclusion, and never, until the day of her death, did she look a Montgomerie in the face. Another victim to the feud was the Commendator of Kilwinning Alexander Cuninghame of Montgreenan, the Earl of Glencairn's brother, who was shot dead at his own gate; and there were many more of less note who were offered lip on the altar of the Montgomeries' revenge.
With the passing away of the actors in the tragedy, the gradually extending, power of the civil and the criminal authority, and the solidifying of the authority of the Scottish monarch, the great feud of the Montgomeries and the Cuninghames died out. There is still an Earl in Eglinton; but the Earldom of Glencairn has, in the meantime, been allowed to lapse. But the Cuninghames are not extinct; and there is still a hope that the fortunes of Sir William Cuninghame, Bart, of Corsehill, or of his descendants, may culminate in the restoration to them of the once great name of Glencairn.
Source:- HISTORICAL TALES AND LEGENDS OF AYRSHIRE BY WILLIAM ROBERTSON - LONDON: HAMILTON, ADAMS, & CO - GLASGOW: THOMAS D. MORISON 1889
REGISTER OF THE PRIVY COUNCIL OF SCOTLAND. Vol. VIII (1607 - 1610), page 252. February 28, 1609
The feud between James, Earl
of Glencairne, and his friends under written, on the one part--and--Hew,
Earl of Eglintoun, and Robert, Lord Semple, and their friends, on the
other part, having been amicably submitted, in presence of the Council, in
January 1607 to certain neutral friends, the said friends had at last disagreed
anent the nomination of an oversman, and the submission had been given up by
them and allowed to fall in his Majesty's hands, so that now his Majesty is the
only judge and oversman in that matter.