Clan Cathcart

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The Clan Cathcart originated in the area of Paisley /Renfrewshire (southwest of Glasgow). The lands of Cathcart take their name from the River Cart in Renfrewshire where they had Cathcart Castle built.

William de Cathcart was one of the Scottish Barons who submitted to Edward I of England in 1296. He was succeeded by Sir Alan de Cathcart who was a staunch supporter of Robert the Bruce in the struggle to regain the independence of Scotland in the early 1300s.

Sir Allan Cathcart’s wife was the sister of Sir Duncan Wallace of Sundrum Castle by Ayr. The death of Sir Duncan Wallace without leaving an heir led to Bruce awarding Sundrum Castle to Sir Allan Cathcart.

Sundrum Castle image

His grandson, Sir Alan de Cathcart extended their land by obtaining several estates in Carrick (south of Ayr). In 1447, he was made Lord Cathcart with which he obtained more lands in Ayrshire, including the estate of Auchencruive (northeast of Ayr).

Alan, son of the second Lord Cathcart, along with his two half-brothers, Robert and John, was killed at the Battle of Flodden 1513 along with the Scottish king James 1V (Stuart).

The third Lord Cathcart moved the main seat of the family to Auchencruive 4 miles northeast of Ayr. He was killed at the Battle of Pinkie (Edinburgh) September 1547 as Scotland fought off the English who were trying to force the marriage of Mary Queen of Scots to Edward V1.

Alan, fourth Lord Cathcart, was a fervent Protestant and promoter of the Reformation, particularly in the west of Scotland where his influence was greatest. At the Battle of Langside 1568, he fought with his men on the side of the Regent Moray against the army of Mary Queen of Scots.

Killochan Castle image

1586, Johne Cathcart of Carlton began building Killochan Castle 3 miles north of Girvan /Ayrshire. Cathcart designed Killochan Castle to almost the same dimensions as that of his brother in law John Kennedy’s Baltersan Castle eight miles north at Maybole.

The 8th Lord, Charles Cathcart, born around 1686 had a distinguished military career rising to the rank of colonel. At the outbreak of the Jacobite rising of 1715, he commanded troops loyal to the Hanoverians.
The 9th Lord Cathcart also opposed the restoration of the Stuart monarchy. He was wounded at the Battle of Culloden/Inverness.

The 10th Lord William Cathcart as lieutenant general was credited with capturing a Danish fleet of over sixty vessels in 1807. The daring mission was carried out, as Napoleon’s troops were about to take control of Denmark. Lord Cathcart’s reward was the titles of Viscount Cathcart of Cathcart and Baron Greenock. He received the title Earl Cathcart in 1814.

The second Earl served throughout the Peninsular War and at the Battle of Waterloo 1815. He was commander of the army in Scotland and governor of Edinburgh Castle from 1837 to 1842.

Cathcart Castle fell into ruin in the 1700s. The Glasgow Corporation took control of the ruin in 1927. Cathcart Castle was demolished amid protests in 1980 as the corporation claimed it had become a danger to its many visitors.

Sundrum Castle was sold by the Cathcart’s in 1753. It was owned by the Hamilton’s for some time before being used as a hotel. Sundrum Castle has since been converted to accommodation apartments, some of which can be rented for holidays.

Killochan Castle has changed ownership many times over the years with all keeping the castle & estate strictly private.

Auchencruive is now a centre for agricultural research.

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