Sir Robert Logan, 7th Baron of Restalrig

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Robert Logan, 7th of Restalrig

Birthplace: Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh, UK
Death: Died in Cannongate, Midlothian, Scotland
Immediate Family:

Son of Robert Logan, 6th of Restalig and Agnes Gray, Lady Lyon
Husband of Janet Ker
Father of John Logan; George Logan; Lord Alexander Logan; Janet Logan and Robert Logan
Half brother of Alexander Home, 1st Earl of Home and Isabel Home

Managed by: Patrick M Stock
Last Updated:

About Sir Robert Logan, 7th Baron of Restalrig

Sir Robert Logan, the 7th Baron of Restalrig, is famous for his supposed involvement in the Gowrie Conspiracy, a plot to assassinate King James VI of Scotland in August 1600.

The Logan family were wealthy landowners who possessed the Barony of Restalrig from the 14th Century and lived in Lochend Castle. Sir Robert's father died while he was young, but he went on to inherit property in Ayrshire, Coldingham (Scottish Borders). He also inherited Fast Castle in the Scottish Borders from his mother who had taken Alexander, 5th Lord Home, as her second husband.

Logan died in 1606 and was buried in his family tomb at South Leith Parish Church. However, some two years later, suspicions were raised that Logan had been involved in the Gowrie Conspiracy. The plot had been foiled and the principal conspirators, John Ruthven, the 3rd Earl of Gowrie and his brother, Alexander, Master of Ruthven, had been killed in Perth and their bodies taken to Edinburgh to be displayed.

In 1609, Sir Robert Logan was summoned to appear in court (despite having been dead for three years) and his body exhumed and laid before the court. With Sir Robert Logan in no position to defend himself, he was found guilty on the flimsiest of evidence and his estates were forfeit.

Notes from The Gazeteer for Scotland:

Sir Robert Logan ? - 1606 Subject of a unique trial for treason. The Logan family were once wealthy landowners, who possessed the Barony of Restalrig from the 14th Century and lived in Lochend Castle. Sir Robert married the daughter of Sir Patrick Home and thus acquired Fast Castle in the Scottish Borders. Logan died in 1606 and was buried in his family tomb at South Leith Parish Church.

However, some two years later, suspicions were raised that Logan had been involved in the 'Gowrie Conspiracy' a plot to assassinate King James VI in 1600. The plot had been foiled and the principal conspirators, John Ruthven, the 3rd Earl of Gowrie and his brother, Alexander, Master of Ruthven, had been killed in Perth and their bodies taken to Edinburgh to be displayed.

In 1609, Logan was summoned to appear in court and his body exhumed and laid before the court. With Logan in no position to defend himself, he was found guilty on the flimsiest of evidence and his estates forfeit.

Notes from

Sir Robert was one of the great men of his time. Besides Restalrig, he owned an estate in Berwickshire with the wild sea eyrie of Fastcastle for its stronghold, held the barony of Abernethy in Strathspey, and lands in the counties of Ayr, Renfrew, Perth, and Aberdeen.

Some of the lairds of Restalrig were sheriffs of the county and some provosts of Edinburgh, but in those times it was no advantage to be the owner of property so near to a great city as Restalrig was to Edinburgh.

Encroachments and quarrels took place between the retainers of the Logans and the city burgesses; fighting even took place on the streets of the capital; and one of the lairds was actually thrown into the Tolbooth on the charge of being ...a turbulent and implacable neighbour,... who had put certain indignities upon the townsmen. At length the Gowrie conspiracy afforded the citizens an opportunity of getting rid altogether of their restraining neighbour and superior. Whether the Gowrie conspiracy was a plot of the Earl of Gowrie against James VI., or of James VI. against the Earl of Gowrie, remains to the present day a debated question, but whatever were the facts the upshot provided James with satisfaction for his old grudge against Gowrie?s father for the Raid of Ruthven, and with ample forfeited estates wherewith to satisfy certain grasping favourites.

That strange and mad affair took place in the year 1600. Sir Robert Logan, the laird of Restalrig of the time, was a dissolute, extravagant, and desperate character.

In 1596 he had been forced to part with his estate of Nether Gogar to Andrew Logan of Coalfield; in 1602 his lands of Fastcastle went to Archibald Douglas; in 1604 his barony of Restalrig itself was disposed of to Lord Balmerino; and in 1605 his lands of Quarrel-holes were sold to another unknown purchaser.

In 1606 he died.

Two years later one George Sprot, a notary public, produced some letters from Logan to the Earl of Gowrie, his brother Alexander Ruthven, and others, from which it appeared that Logan had been deeply concerned in the plot. The letters mention meetings of the conspirators at Restalrig and Fastcastle, and suggest that the plan was to convey the king by sea to the latter stronghold, where, said Logan, ...I have kept my Lord Bothwell in his greatest extremities, say the king and his Council what they would.... On the strength of these letters Logan?s body was exhumed and brought into court to be tried for treason.

At the trial Sprot recanted from his first testimony that the letters, which he said he had purloined, were genuine, but on pressure being brought to bear, and a promise made that his wife and family should be well provided for, he returned to his first statement, whereupon, to prevent further changes of mind, he was promptly hanged.

Regarding Logan the Lords of the Articles, in view of the shady nature of the evidence, were inclined to vote not guilty; but the Earl of Dunbar, who was to get most of the accused man?s remaining estates ...travelled so earnestly to overcome their hard opinions of the process,... that at last they declared themselves convinced. Doom of forfeiture was accordingly pronounced. This was accompanied, as in the case of Clan Gregor a few years previously, by proscription of the name Logan itself, and accordingly many families were thrown into trouble and distress.

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See --Excellent new site with more of the information below:

Notes from> by Stephanie Logan Falls of Plano, Texas USA ........The Gowrie conspiracy, or mystery as some like to call it, (I'll just call it the ...plot...) is quite involved. Dust off your history books and remember that the last half of the 16th century (1550-1600) was very troubled.

Without going into details, what you need to know is that King James was almost always in danger. Bothwell had basically declared his intent to murder the king and was deeply enmeshed in plots to do just that. Logan, the 7th Laird, and Bothwell appeared to be ...bosom buddies....

This brings us to Logan's character. The guy was basically a rat. His alliances were based solely on personal gain, he even betrayed his first cousin by selling secrets to the English. Not a nice guy. No one liked him, but everyone had reverent fear of his power.

Since Restalrig included the port of Leith, Logan controlled huge amounts of commerce, and as a result was VERY wealthy and powerful. This creates more problems because jealousy and hate turn into plots of their own to try and ruin Logan (not that he wasn't doing an adequate job on his own!)

Now we move on to the other principle players in the plot, the Ruthven brothers. The eldest was the Earl of Gowrie, so this is not some inconsequential family. The younger brother appears to have lead the King to his family castle one afternoon with the promise that he had some old Spanish gold to give the King.

Well this really appealed to the King, as Ruthven knew it would. Once there, supposedly the younger Ruthven tried to stab the King, but in turn was stabbed by one of the King's retainers that heard the King's cry of treason. When the eldest Ruthven (Earl Gowrie) went to investigate, he too was struck and left to die.

I doubt there is any debate as to the validity of the King's claim in this cause (though his word was NOT considered reliable most other times) because the Ruthven sons had just returned from exile due to their father's previous attempt on the King's life- the Ruthvens seemed to make a tradition of trying to kill the King.

It seems that the common way to eliminate a ruler those days was to murder them, as long as you had popular support to do so.

As I said before, Logan was not in the area while all these events unfolded, but that does not prove innocence. Logan's reputation supports the claim that he was involved. I believe that Logan had prior knowledge and probably had gone so far as to promise aid and support to commit the deed. I don't think he in any way stood opposed to the murder of the King.

Enter Sprot. Sprot was Logan's secretary at the time of the plot. His testimony is responsible for so many of us Logan descendants migrating to America, Ireland, Canada, and Australia.

Let me back up and nail down some dates.

The plot took place in 1600.

Logan died in 1606.

Sprot was picked up for questioning in 1608.

Logan's bones were dug up from the churchyard and convicted in 1609.

This 8 year lag from event to testimony really casts a dark shadow on the validity of the testimony of Sprot. Also, the fact that Sprot was tortured for his confession leaves one to wonder. Sprot claimed to have prior knowledge of the plot (he probably did) but the kicker is that he produced letters supposedly written by Logan implicating him in the crime.

Now the letters were proven as forgeries by modern experts. When looking for motivation for Sprot to forge Logan's handwriting (not just his name) you must consider that Sprot was poor, living only on the grace of Logan's largess. With Logan dead he was unemployed. I think he planned to blackmail the Logan family, but got caught in his own trap by getting drunk and telling what he knew in a public ale house.

Move on to Logan's trial, or should I say his bone's trial?

Unfortunately this practice of digging up the dead to stand trial was not a rare one. It was used to get around the law that the accused must be present at their own trial- HA! The results of the trial were devastating. Logan's kids were not allowed freedoms or personal liberties (could not own land, hold office...) and of course the near 30,000 pounds (a multi millionaire back then) was taken by the Crown.

As to the Logan name, I really don't see any proof that the name was truly outlawed. Since I do not have a copy of the original forfeiture I am unable to determine if the name was truly outlawed, or if some irate Logan over-exaggerated; but regardless, the name continued in the public registers just like it always had.

One last important note about Logan's trial; the Earl of Dunbar was instrumental in getting Logan's conviction, but one has to wonder why he was allowed to be involved since he owed the Logan estate for the purchase price of the Restalrig estate (no little amount of change there!) and stood to benefit when the forfeiture absolved him from his debts, but he got to keep the land.

Talk about a fixed trial! The whole thing reeks of deceit.

Prior to his death, the 7th Laird, had sold all his lands. Why? we can only speculate. Some thought he was selling so if he were caught in a crime the Crown would have no property to confiscate. Isn't hind-sight great?

Well, my opinion is that is was much simpler that that: Logan was pretty irresponsible in all areas of his life. Why would he bother to maintain many estates when he could sell and have the money to spend on his own pursuits? It fits his character as well as any other hypothesis. Logan was reckless and careless; I think he felt untouchable and would not have bothered to protect those estates.

Well, the ramifications of this nastiness are still affecting us today. Logan's kids were cheated out of their future.

Let's examine this more closely since it explains why so many Logans migrated from Scotland.

Logan, the 7th (and last) Laird, had the following children: Robert, George, John, Jonet, Alexander, and Anna. There might have been others, but these are the commonly accepted. Their fates are as follows: Robert and George, according to Logan Home, went abroad and died without issue. I doubt this, but we can discuss this later. John married an heiress, fathered the Burncastle line, and died young (abt 1626). Jonet married a Stewart of Minto, but nothing else is known. Anna we don't hear from again after 1616.

This brings us to the Reversal of Attainder as follows:

(this is a ...pardon... for the minor children of Logan, reinstating their rights, but not returning their money.) ...James, by the Grace of God, King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland and Defender of the Faith, to all our loyal subjects, to whom the present letters shall come, greeting, know ye, that, understanding that, on account of the process and award of forfeiture made and passed against the late Robert Logan of Restalrig and Alexander, Jonet, and Anna Logan, his lawful children, the said children were rendered incapable of enjoying and possessing any lands, officies or dignities within our Kingdoms, and calling to mind that the said children at the time of their said fathers forfeiture were all minors, and did not at all participate in any of the crimes for which he suffered forfeiture, so that these ought in no way to be imputed to them, or turned to their prejudice, therefore for divers other good causes and considerations of our special grace, favour and clemency, with the advice and consent of the Lord Commissioners for managing our affairs in our absence, we have recapacitated and reinstated, as by these presents we do reinstate, recapacitate, and restore, the foresaid Alexander, Jonet, and Anna Logan to their former good fame, and secular honours and dignities whatsoever, and we have granted, as by these presents we do grant to them our full power to bear testimony in causes, to exercise and use all other lawful acts, as well in judgment as without the same in prosecution of all their actions and causes, to be capable of holding all dignities and officies to enjoy, use, and possess, or in any manner whatever have right to all their own lands, farms, possessions and assedations whatsoever, or which they may in the future happen to acquire (otherwise than by succession to their foresaid late father, to which these presents shall in no way extend), in the same manner and as freely in all respects, as they were able to do before the award of forfeiture was pronounced against their foresaid late father; Likewise, we of our Royal Power and Authority do relieve them and their posterity from all infamy, scandal and ignominy which could be imputed to them by reason of the said forfeiture, so that henceforth these shall in no way be turned to their loss or injury either in judgment or without the same; wherefore We command all our lieges and subjects that none shall dare or presume to injure their good fame by word or deed, by reason of the said forfeiture under every penalty which they could incur against our Royal Majesty in this particular.

In Witness wherefore we have directed our Great Seal to be appended to the presents at Whitehall the second day of April, the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and sixteen and in the forty-ninth and fourteenth years of our reign.... [2 April 1616]

Basically Robert's minor children at the time of forfeiture (one has to wonder if this meant the year Robert's bones were convicted in 1609, or when this supposed murder attempt was made, 5 August 1600) were allowed to live a normal life, with the exception that they could inherit nothing from their father's estate (especially seeing as that the King had already taken the entire estate away!!) This clemency did not extend to the three oldest children, sons: Robert, George, and John.

This means that Logan's children from 1609-1616 had few rights. But examining the children's ages during this period helps put it into perspective. Robert, born about 1577, was 23 at the time of the plot (1600), and 32 at the time of the forfeiture (1609). He should have been making his own way in the world by this point, especially as he was estranged from his father at the time of his father's death in 1606 (Robert would have been 29 at that point.)

As to George and John, I think the birth dates for these two are earlier than Logan Home states.

We know the father married first in 1576 to Elizabeth McGill, they divorced in 1577/78. Then we have a blank period of 8 or 9 years until Logan marries (Jonet Ker) in 1586. Logan Home places the births of George and John as 1587 and 1588, respectively. This wife, Jonet, is apparently mother also to Alexander (1590) and Jonet (bef 1596). Jonet Ker dies in 1596, and it is her tombstone that still exists in the St. Triduana Chapel in Edinburgh (a picture of her stone is on my web page:'rscmf/Triduana.htm>)

Logan is said to have then married Marion Ker (relation to wife Jonet, unknown) who lived to be his widow and was mother to Anna (her birth would be between 1597-1606). I think Logan Home is missing a wife in there. If George and John were not minors in 1600, this would place their births before 1587 and 1588; probably more like 1580 and 1581.

As John married before 1606, I think my hypothesis is the correct one. If Logan Home is correct, John would have been 16 or 17 at the time of his marriage. This is unheard of back then. The average age for a man of wealth to first marry was about 26, the girls first married around 20 or 21 years of age. If John were born about 1581, he would have been 25 at the birth of his first child; this is more likely the case.

Since John's first child was born in May 1606, this is prior to the death of his father and the forfeiture, therefore eliminating the need for John to marry as a teenager.

I discuss this in depth because this is the critical information needed if you are to trace your tree back to the last Laird. I hope you are all still with me at this point . The crux of it is that these kids need sorted out if any of us are going to be able to connect to the Last Laird.

That said, I'll repeat my family history for you: my line supposedly ...descends from the eldest son of the last laird...- this should be Robert (B. 1577) unless there was an illegitimate son and my family historian conveniently forgot to mention that part. I have proof of my Logan line back to a marriage that took place in Aberdeen, SCT in 1635 between John Logan and Margaret Wat.

So obviously I have a gap and have been unable to prove John's parentage. Since I am stuck in trying to move backwards, I have spent years trying to move the last Laird's children forward, hoping my gamble would pay off. Since the eldest two wandered off from Edinburgh it has been very difficult. But I think this is a very important part of the puzzle. One son quite possibly could have wandered off to Ireland......... Regards, Stephanie Plano, TX USA **************

Notes from Logan Clan

Logan Clan Crest: A passion-nail, piercing a man's heart.

Logan Clan Motto: Hoc Majorum Virtus (This is the valour of my ancestors).

Logan Clan History: Two distinct branches of this Family exist, one Highland, usually taking the name MacLennan; the other, Lowland, which descends from Sir Robert Logan of Restalrig who married a daughter of Robert II and, in 1400, became Admiral of Scotland. Over a century earlier, Philippe de Logyn, Burgess of Montrose, and Thurbrand de Logyn of Dumfriesshire had rendered homage to Edward I of England in 1296.

The surname of Logan, however, is thought to have derived from the place name Logan in Ayrshire. Sir Robert and Sir Walter Logan were among the Scottish nobles who in 1329 set off on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with the heart of Robert the Bruce. At the Battle of Teba fought against the Moors in Andalucía in Spain they were both were killed.

In 1600, Sir Robert Logan of Restalrig was implicated in the Gowrie Conspiracy and in the aftermath, his lands became forfeit to the Crown.

John Logan (1748-88) was born at Soutra, Midlothian and was ordained to the Parish of South Leith. He wrote, Ode to a Cuckoo. James Logan (1794-1872) was author of The Scottish Gael. Sir William Logan (1798-1875) was a Scottish geologist. Between 1842 and 1871, he directed the Canadian Geological Survey. Jimmy Logan (1921- 2001) was a much loved Scottish entertainer, theatre owner and actor.

A Clan Logan Society was founded in Glasgow in 1913.

Places of Interest: Drumderfit, Ross and Cromarty. Lands held by Logans before 15th century.

Restalrig, Edinburgh. The lands here belonged to the Lestalric Family and passed by marriage to the Logans in the 14th century. They were confiscated following the Gowrie conspiracy.

The Preceptory of Saint Anthony, Edinburgh. The ruins of a small religious establishment founded in 1430 by Sir Robert Logan of Restalrig can be seen on a level of Arthur's Seat, in sight of the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Fast Castle, Coldingham, East Lothian. Passed by marriage to Sir Robert Logan of Restalrig in 1580. He died here two years later having been outlawed for his part in the Gowrie Conspiracy.

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Sir Robert Logan, 7th Baron of Restalrig's Timeline

Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh, UK
Age 18
May 6, 1590
Age 31
East Lothian, Scotland
Age 31
Age 31
Age 31
July 1606
Age 47
Cannongate, Midlothian, Scotland