Robert Masterton of Parkmill(c 1580-1648)

Robert Masterton (c 1580-1648)

Tenant of Parkmill

Robert Masterton appears in the Privy Council records in a dispute over access and use of lands for which he held the tenancy from the Earl of Mar. The turn of events seems to have gone beyond the usual means of resolving such disputes, and Robert and his men seem to have incurred the massed opposition of the entire town of Clackmannan, and certain members of the influential Bruce family. Presumably this occurred at a time when relations between the Earl of Mar and the Bruce family were somewhat strained. These tangled rivalries are all the more intriguing through Robert Masterton's mother being Marjorie Bruce, daughter of Robert Bruce of Lynmill.

In 1620, Robert is denounced as being "wilfully unrelaxed from the horn" - meaning he has not paid his debts despite being found liable. The curiosity is that his creditor is another Robert Masterton, burgess of Culross, possibly a relative, but not, clearly, on friendly enough terms to avoid the dispute.


Robert Masterton was a son of Ranald Masterton and Marjorie Bruce. He married Agnes Douglas, and inherited the tenancy of the lands of Parkmill Fuller details of Robert's extended family can be found at this link.

Register of the Privy Council of Scotland

First Series, Vol X. 1613-1616.

18 September 1616, Edinburgh

Complaint by Johnne, Earl of Mar, Lord Erskene and Garioche, Robert Maistertoun, his tenant in the Park Mylne of Alloway, Johnne and William Horn, his millers there, as follows :- The said Earl has heritable possession of the said mill and pertinents, together with right to take earth and stone from the lands of Eist Park, south of the said mill on the water of Litle Doven, for upholding the same; and Sir Robert Bruce of Clakmannane and his predecessors have been expressly bound not to interfere with the said possession and right.

Yet, on 3rd September instant, Archibald Bruce, officer of the said Sir Robert, William Melvill, alias Gairdner, James Quhyte, and George Bruce, all in Clakmannane, came, by direction of the said Robert (as they affirmed), with great staffs in their hands, to the said land of Eist Park, where Robert Maistertoun and his said millers were “casting faill and aird” for upholding the said mill, dam, lade, and house thereof; threatened them, saying “how durst thay knovis, for thair hangingis and luggis, come and cast ony faill or aird in that boundis”; and assaulted them. They struck John Horne on the head with staffs, and struggled with them for a long time.

Pursuers, seeing a great number of people coming from the town of Clakmannane to assist their opponents, then fled for their lives. Again, on the morning of the 4th , the said officer, Robert Kerie in Clakmannane, Robert Bruce there, Robert Quhyte there, and Alexander Douglas there, with convocation of the whole town of Clakmannane, returned, by direction of the said Sir Robert, to the fields at Eist Park, where pursuers were at work, and stopped their labours.

They cut the fuel in pieces with staffs and “heukis”; attacked pursuers by taking them by their throats and necks; and swore that they would have their lives. Further, on 6th September, the said officer, Robert Kerie, James Dasoun, Johnne Davidsoun, Robert Quhyte, William Melvill, Johnne Quhyte, William Hutoun, and Archibald Lamb, “assistit and fortifeit with the hail toun of Clakmannane,” renewed the assault at the same place on Johnne and William Horne, and also attacked James Duchall, whom they threw to the ground; and thereafter took away their spades by force. – The Earl of Mar and Robert Maistertoun appearing personally in name of pursuers, and Sir Robert Bruce, George Bruce, Archibald Bruce, Alexander Douglas, Robert Kerie, William Huttoun, Robert Quhyte, James Dasoun, and Archibald Lamb, also appearing, but the other defenders not being present, the Lords find the charge of assault on 6th September to be proven, and order the said Archibald Bruce to be detained in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh at his own expense during their pleasure. After hearing denial on oath, they assoilzie him from the other charges, and likewise the other defenders from all the charges..

The Register of the Privy Council of Scotland
D Masson(ed)
First Series, Vol X, 1613-1616
pp 627-8
HM General Register House
Edinburgh, 1891

Register of the Privy Council of Scotland

Vol XII, Second Series. 1619-1622.

13 January 1620, Edinburgh

Complaint by John, Earl of Mar, High Treasurer, Sir Gideon Mury of Elibank, Sir William Oliphant, King's Advocate, that the following persons remain wilfully unrelaxed from the horn:....Robert Mastertoun of Parkmylne in Alloway....
A horning having been produced against Robert Maistertun of Parkmylne for not paying 100 merks to Robert Maistertoun, burgess of Culross, the Lords order him to relax himself before the said first of March....

The Register of the Privy Council of Scotland
D Masson(ed)
Vol XII, 1619-1622
HM General Register House
Edinburgh, 1895