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George Buchanan's Geni Profile

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George Buchanan

Also Known As: "George Buchanan of that Ilk"
Birthdate: (76)
Birthplace: Moss, Killearn, Stirlingshire, Scotland
Death: September 28, 1582 (76)
Edinburgh, Midlothian, , Scotland
Place of Burial: Edinburgh, Scotland
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas Buchanan, third of Drummikill and Moss and Agnes Buchanan
Brother of Robert Buchanan, fourth Laird of Drumikil; Thomas Buchanan, fifth of Drummikill and Moss; Patrick Buchanan; Knohdory Buchanan; Bonell Buchanan and 6 others

Occupation: Buchannan, of that Ilk,
Managed by: Sharon Lee Doubell
Last Updated:

About George Buchanan

Please see Discussion for re-configurement of his parents, erroneously presented as Patrick and Margaret. [Sharon June 2013]


Notes on Buchanan's Ancestry.

Biographers 1 claim for Buchanan descent from Sir Walter Buchanan of that Ilk who, they say, married a daughter of Murdoch, Duke of Albany, by his wife Isobel the co-heir of her father, the last Earl of Lennox of the old creation. To this relationship some have ascribed the historian's approbation of the conduct of the Regent Lennox, his sympathy with Darnley, and his antagonism to the rival house of Hamilton. The claim, however, to the royal and Lennox descent made by his bio- graphers for George Buchanan is not supported by anything he himself wrote, and is erroneous.

Murdoch, Duke of Albany, married Isobel, the eldest of the three daughters of Duncan, Earl of Lennox. The Duke and his father-in-law, the Earl of Lennox, were suspected by James I. of treason, and were executed in Stirling in 1425. The widowed Duchess died about thirty years later, and on her death, the Lennox was partitioned between the descendants of her two sisters. It is plain from the record of the partition that the Duchess left no legitimate grandchildren. If she had a daughter who had been married to Buchanan of that Ilk, that daughter must have predeceased her mother without issue. Patrick, the son and heir of Sir Walter Buchanan, did not claim to be one of the co-heirs of the Earldom of Lennox : it was not suggested that he was the grandson of the Duchess of Albany. It is therefore right that George Buchanan should be absolved from the charge of having been actuated by the pride and prejudice of family when he fearlessly and honestly took the side of the Earl of Lennox and exposed the crime of the murderers of Darnley.

In the middle of the fifteenth century a Thomas Buchanan a brother of Patrick Buchanan of that Ilk, who was the grandson of Sir Walter bought a considerable number of estates in Stirlingshire and Perthshire. Guthrie Smith says, 1 ' a charter in his favour, granted by Patrick Buchanan of that ilk of the lands of Gartincaber .... is dated at Buchanan 1461.' He had also a charter dated at Torphichen, 3rd Feby., 1461-62, of the Temple Lands of Letter. On the 2nd October, 1472 . . . the bailie of Halden of Gleneagles gave sasine to ' Thomas Buchanan and Robert Makcalpyn of the lands of Ballvol and Camquhele.' In 1476 he purchased from Haldane of Gleneagles the lands of ' Kepdory, Carbeth, Ballawoul,' etc. In 1482 he conveyed Carbeth to his son Thomas, ' Ballyvow ' to his son Walter, and Kepdory to Robert his eldest son and heir apparent. In 1477 he acquired the Temple lands of Ballikinrain, in 1484 he had a charter from William, Lord Graham of Middle Ledlewan (the Moss). Besides these lands he bought Drum- ikil, half of which he gave to his son Robert in 1496. These charters and others prove that Thomas Buchanan was a success-ful money-making man.

Though he was a brother of the Laird of Buchanan, there is some reason for believing that he was illegitimate. There is a Crown charter of 1463 2 confirming an entail of the lands of Buchanan on Patrick Buchanan of that Ilk and on Patrick's son, Walter, whom failing, on the Buchanan of Leny and his six sons in succession, failing all of whom, on the brother of Buchanan of Leny. Thomas Buchanan (though the brother of Patrick, the laird of Buchanan) is not mentioned. If legitimate, he would have been the next heir after Patrick's issue, but he was passed over in favour of Buchanan of Leny, a cousin. The inference that Thomas was illegitimate is, I think, irresistible. Robert Buchanan, to whom his father gave Kepdory, half of Drurnikil, and probably Middle Ledlewan, was extravagant and insolvent. His son Thomas lived at the Moss, married Agnes Heriot, but died while still a young man, leaving a family of five sons and three daughters. The famous George Buchanan was the fifth son. He says he was born about the 1st of February, 1506. The year then began on the 25th March, and the 1st of February, 1506, corresponds to 1st February, 1507. Perhaps the quarter-centenary should not have been held until next year.

Agnes Heriot, George Buchanan's mother, is said by all his biographers but on slight authority -to have been a daughter of Heriot of Trabroun, East Lothian, and so related to George Heriot who is well-known as the founder of Heriot's Hospital in Edinburgh. On her husband's death she left the Moss, and in 1513 she took a lease of a farm in Menteith making all her boys (including George, not yet eight years old) joint tenants. The year in which they got that lease in Menteith was the fatal year of Flodden, when most of the great men of the Lennox fell. Mathew, Earl of Lennox, William, Earl of Moutrose, Edmondstone of Duntreath, one of the Buchanans of Leny, Napier, one of the co-heirs of Lennox, and others were killed, and a new generation, who had not known George Buchanan's father, succeeded to their titles and estates. A few years afterwards George Buchanan went to France. Though as " Magister Georgius " he appears in 1531 as a joint tenant with his mother and brothers of the Perthshire farm, his connection with the Lennox ceased so early in his life that he could impartially estimate the worth of the Earl of Lennox and others who played great parts in the history which Buchanan afterwards wrote.

It may seem invidious and ungracious to say that there is no evidence that the great historian was descended from the royal house of Stewart and the old Earls of Lennox, and still more ungracious to throw doubt on the legitimacy of his great-grand- father, but George Buchanan would have disdained to be credited with a false pedigree, and it is right to try to be accurate, even in such matters.

GEORGE BUCHANAN: A MEMORIAL 1506-1906. Contributions by various writers, compiled and edited by D. A. MILLAR


From: Stirnet

  • Thomas Buchanan of Gartincaber, Drummikill and Carbeth (a 1495)
    • 1. Robert Buchanan, 2nd of Drummikill and Moss (d c.1518)
    • m. (c1472) Margaret Hay of Dillievardis
      • A. Thomas Buchanan, younger of Drummikill and Moss (dvp)
      • m. Agnes Heriot (dau. of Andrew Heriot of Trabroun)
        • i. Robert Buchanan of Drummikill and Moss (d before 29.08.1525)
        • m. Catherine Napier (dau of Archibald Napier, 4th of Merchiston)
        • ii. Thomas Buchanan of Drummikill and Moss
        • m. Giles Cunningham (dau of Cunningham of Drumquhastle)
        • iii. Alexander Buchanan of Ibert (d 11.1574)
        • m. Janet Weir
        • ' iv. George Buchanan (b 02.1506, author, poet, statesman)
        • v.+ other issue - Patrick, 3 daughters
  • ________________________
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George Buchanan's Timeline

February 1506
Killearn, Stirlingshire, Scotland
September 28, 1582
Age 76
Edinburgh, Midlothian, , Scotland
Edinburgh, Scotland