The earliest Levage so far.
The following comes from research into the Levage surname. This surname has mainly been found in Angus in the 1700s, where it was largely replaced, within the same on-going families, with Livingston, Livingstone, Leviston etc. The reasons for this are unknown, as is the meaning of the surname Levage. In Scots the word can refer to the herb Lovage, but perhaps most promising is that there was a place of this name, modern Strathgroy, in the parish of Atholl, which is in the highlands of northern Perthshire. This place was within the territory of the Robertsons of the Barony of Lude.
The earliest records seem to be more from Perthshire, not Angus, for example in Caputh, but in 2010 we found evidence of a highland line of this family, from around the area of the Parish of Dull, "Appin of Dull", who possibly also changed their name to Livingstone later. There were Livingstons of this area in the 1600s and 1700s who also used the patronymic based surname McPhetie.
1. Document 1.
The online Catalogue of the National Archives of Scotland has one entry for Levage. It is amongst records for the courts held by Campbell of Glenurquhy in the 1500s.
GD112 contains papers of the Campbell Family, Earls of Breadalbane (Breadalbane Muniments) from 1306 until the 20th century
GD112/17 within this has more specifically local court papers from 1498-1823
GD112/17/1/1 within this has miscellaneous loose papers from 1498-1609
Following is a more full transcription by me, Andrew Lancaster (please write me if you want to contribute more to this research):
Instinare ball[mains] doñini &
des[c]heor et byer
tenta apud Caudmoir Primo die mensis augusti anno
dñi millesimo quingentesimo octuagesimo per egregiñ virum
gregoriñ makeane duȝ vekgregour constabul arm~ de glen
urquhay ballmñ deputatem nobilis viri colmi campbell de
glen urquhay ballini principalis eiusdem vigore cõmissionis dicti
colmi de data ball[s] xxvijjd ie mensis Julii elaps [S]ec[es]
vocatis curia affirmata
The quhilk day the said gregorie acceptit the commissionn in and upone him and being s[ ]
maid faith that he s[uld] us (use) the office lelelie and treulie according to the tennor of the said commission
And siclike James Bowines @ L[arglomã] maid faith to us the office of demp-
star lelelie and treulie
John makind[e]aora officar of the said bailliere creat (appoints)
Item ȝe the said David ar indytit for art and p~rt of the thiftius steiling [erased: “undir silence of nyt”]
[allnnpartyrt] Wt allaster menȝeis sone to johne menȝeis of morinche
srvand to the lairde of Weme Johne robertsone broder to the Lairde of Strowane and
domestik srvand to the Laird of Weme Johne Mcfinlay VcInvally in [thomintalt] his
tennent Fergus mak@gis vekfergus his houshall man and srvand Robert Mc@gis
Vcfergus in Kynaldie his tennent Duncane dow McEan bann in Donaquhillie
his tennent alsua (also) and [braggãn] [McCarmonthis] sone upone the xx day of Julij
lastbpast undir silence of nyt out of the landis of cranduyt [erased: "pleing to the laird"]
of xxx heid of kȝ perteining to Johne roy Mcinstalker and Duncane Mc[arthe]
and uthe[r]s tennentis of Cranduyt The said David grantis this clame and that
the persones forsaides wer in company wt him the tyme forsaid
Item ȝe are indytit that eftir ȝe and the persones had thiftiuslie stollin and tane
away the said kȝ tua myles and mair fra the lands of Cranduyt ȝe wer art and
p~t of the unnaturall hoching (hamstringing) and slaying of xx heid of the saids kȝ upone the
month the said da xx day of July lastbipast undir silence of nyt to [the] [pert] [oppression]
of [oure] [soueraine] lardis liegis and in tackin heirof the said Johne roy Makin
stalkar apprenhendit ȝaw upone [the] month efter the deid doing Wt ane lochabir ax
in ȝour hand all bludie be the unnaturrill hocheing and slaying of the said kȝ [ ]
The said david grantit him [to be] art and prt Wt the persones forsaidies in hocheing and
slaying of the said kȝ and that Wt the ax sylk wes aprhendit in his hand and he and [th ]
wer direct south (truth or south?) to this effect. be Johne Mcandro [vcean] quha (who) hes takis and [possession ]
of the landis of [...psalie] of the laird of Weme. In the said lairds name and command
And further the said [inserted: David] [ed]sess[it] that he duellis in Mowan as cottar to robert makconil [or makcouil]
Vcrobert Menzeis in tullotcro payand ȝerlie xx @ [make] the werk of ane hors and [shering]
in [hervist] and hes remaint undir him as cottar in the saides landis [thru] tua ȝer bigane
Item ȝe ar indytit [to be] ane commone theif and [recept (harbourer)] [th of (thereof)]
Item ȝe ar indytit [to be] ane commone [sornar (extortionist)] and oppressar of the [Linges Maters Lew] lieges.
The baillie depute forsaid putting the said mater to the [Luanlegr] of [ e] saidis
assis~ and being remoin[ ] and thaneftir being at [leath] [adnisith] [eirin] ffindis the
said david giltie of the thiftious steilling of the kȝ foresaid and unnaturall hoching
and slaying of thame In respect of his awin confessans above speas[ ] Thairfor
ad...s and deteins the said david to be hangit Wt ane Widdie upoñ the gallows
of [Glenaraith] quill he leif the [Lyfe] Extractit [ ] of the comt buik
of the said baill ] be me givine [ ] [ ] notar publict clerk [ ] witness[ ]
[ ] my signe and ....
Notes concerning persons and places in the above transcription.
Gregorie MacEan, constable of Glenurquhy, worked for Colin Campbell of Glenurquhy and appears in other records of the time, as seen in the Book of Taymouth. He appears to have been a keeper of the castle of Glenurquhy itself.
John MacIndeora or MacIndewar also appears as a witness in numerous Campbell records of this period in the Black Book of Taymouth. He apparently dwelt in Portbane in Eddergoll. A 1597 document has him committing to foster a grandson of Colin Campbell. The surname may have eventually become simply "Dewar" and seems to have survived in the area a long time.
Lurglomand is also in Eddergoll on the south side of Loch Tay (near Acharn).
Colin Campbell of Glenurquhy needs little introduction and was a major figure of this period. This was his court, and he was a very ambitious man with a network of servants and allies. The Campbells and MacGregors represent two clans who had moved into the area from the west, from Argyll, and such movements were leading to enormous problems in the 1500s, because clansmen who still knew they had chiefs elsewhere were therefore now living under lords who they do not see as their true lords. The Campbell solution was to try to re-arrange allegiances, for example asking MacGregors to state in writing that they would be owe higher allegiance to their Campbell lord than to their clan chief. This appealed to some in the central Scottish government, but on the other hand the Campbells also used this strategy not just to stabilize things, but to try to expand their possessions beyond what they were, using conquest by paperwork in quite an extreme manner. This led to many bloody conflicts, and the introduction of aggressive laws and policies, such as that 1587.
Morenich is modern Morenish. Directly east of it was Kiltyrie, and east of Kiltyrie was Carwhin. It seems the Menzies of Weem controlled all or most of this parish in the 1500s, but there was a recognized and violent feud in progress in precisely the period under discussion. (In its early stages it was a breaking point between the MacGregors, who lived in Wester Morinsh under Weem, and the Campbells, who wished the MacGregors to change overlord.) Glenurquhy purchased it from them in 1602 however, and it has been suggested that the Campbells may finally have prevailed due to their willingness or ability to obey a new ordinance of 1587 which demanded that a surety be paid on known trouble-making clansmen (such as the MacGregors, in the terminology of the time these were the "broken men") who might be settled under them. Morenish contained Edramucky, Tomocrocher, and other divisions which no longer appear on Ordnance Survey maps. That the sons of John Menzies of Morinche were related to the Menzies lords of Weem seems clear from an important 1586 document concerning the wardship of the chief's heir, wherein a Patrick Menzies, also a son of John Menzies of Morinche, was a witness. This Patrick was apparently then a brother to Robert who was on this cattle raid.
The Laird of Weem at this time was James Menzies.
Strowane is modern Struan. The laird was indeed a Robertson at this time, named William, and technically he was a "servant" under the Laird of Weem. This John is therefore apparently the same one who researcher Gordon MacGregor identifies as acting "as executor to his brother William Robertson, of Struan, following his death in 1588". (So he was not hung.) In 1649 there was apparently at least one Robertson in the parish of Dull. The Robertsons did not always work with the Menzies, but during the period in question the violence between Menzies and Campbell was particularly bad according to government records, and the Robertsons actually appear to have played a role by eventually negotiating a compromise whereby the Campbells kept a conditional lease on the western part of Morenish, which was clearly a major goal of the Campbells during the period of this particular cattle raid upon them.
Thomintalt appears to be modern Tominteold, an upland farmstead above Menzies castle, close to Belmore, and probably close to the original position of Moan.
Kynaldie is modern Kinnell, which was once part of McNab territory, but at the period concerned probably belonged to Weem with Campbell of Glenurquhy once again looming over it. (Menzies had it in 1512 it seems.)
Duncane dow McEan bann (Dark Duncan the son of fair John) in Donaquhillie. Neither the person nor the place has been identified. There was a John bann McNab in Aucharn in this period, who appears in Campbell records, but that is not much of a lead. Concerning the place, in 1623 in the Black Book of Taymouth we find Duncan Leitch living in Dunnoquheill, but similar spellings have not so far been found, at least not close by. (Colin Ferguson has pointed out to me that there was a place called Donacuil (1783), Donacoul (1867) further north towards Atholl.) On the other hand, the place may be modern Donafuil, because in the Red and White book of Menzies we find Donald Leitche in Donafoull in 1609. This would put this man in Dull parish near several of his fellow cattle raiders, but at this stage this remains very uncertain.
Cranduyt is later Crannich, and this was between Carwhin (probably still under control of a Robertson family at this time, but later under Campbell of Glenurquhy control) and Lawers (already under a separate branch of Campbells for some time during this period). It was therefore close to Morenish along the north of Loch Tay. It included such modern places as Balnasuim, Balnahanaid, Cragganester, Craggantoul and Tombreck.
John Roy MacInstalkar of Cranduycht can be identified in Campbell records from this period, along with what appear to be family members, as seen in the Black Book of Taymouth. He appears as a witness several times there and appears to be someone trusted by the Campbells. There were still MacInstalkars in Crannycht in the 1600s. A few decades earlier an apparent member of this family, James Mac an Stalkair VcPhatrik, also known as Robertson, murdered several members of the Clan Gregor, apparently on behalf of Campbell, and was eventually put to death himself in 1565. One book describes him as a "fierce enemy of the clan [Gregor] employed at this time by Glenorchy".
Mowan and Tullotcro are now spelled Moan and Tullicro, in the parish of Dull. Tullicro is still a farmstead between the village of Dull, and Camserney farm. Moan, once often spelt Mewan, is long uninhabited and therefore its exact position is harder to trace but it was apparently an area upland which was used for summer pasturing of cattle from Dull and Tullicro. We know from a charter of 1603 that Nether Mewan was at that time one of the two parts of the Appin of Dull territory that was not owned by the Menzies themselves, but rather by "the late Donald McQuoill". Note the the landlord of David Levage was "Robert Makcouil (or Makconil?) VcRobert Menzeis". There seems to have been a special local "MQuoill" way of pronouncing and/or spelling what is basically a variant of MacDonald, and this has been the subject of quite some discussion, but similar forms appear in this parish over a long period. It would seem most simple to assume that this man is simply Robert Menzies, son of Donald, grandson of Robert. It would actually not make all that much difference whether the writing says Makconil or Makcouil by this account, because both can mean "son of Donald". Perhaps these McQuoills were therefore a cadet branch of the Menzies family?
The following describes the same period, and people under the same two lords. It comes from a Menzies source, the Red and White Book of Menzies:
About 1576 Campbell sent his son with about 40 men, under cover of dark, on to the Menzies' lands of " Kinaldie," and stole from there 24 head of cattle, with a number of sheep and goats. Colin also laid hold of a defenceless tenant of the Menzies' in Morenish, and imprisoned him until he found caution to pay £40. Some of the messengers sent to deliver a summons of the king upon Glenurchy were received with great fury — he went on shouting and boasting, and, having had their arms snatched from them by his men, then menaced them with death. Another act of Glenurchy's was to offer money and land to a John Stewart to go on to the lands of the Menzies' and kill some of the cattle, but this he manfully declined. Campbell seems to have taxed his crafty brain to find cowardly ways and means to injure the Menzies'. He also got some servants of Stewart of Grantully to steal 4 horses from the poor crofters at "Tullichdoule," and these Glenurchy resetted and put in his own stable. Not content with this mean theft, he got three different bands of men to go to three places on the Menzies' estates, under cover of night, and there killed over 20 head of cattle. But worse still, a defenceless tailor from the Menzies' having fallen into his clutches, he imprisoned him for several days. When the chief heard of this he despatched a message to the king, asking him to order Glenurchy to release him. On the arrival of the king's message, Glenurchy had him secretly hanged. The chief, therefore, made application to the Crown for redress and " compensation for the iniquitous " deeds.
The parallel with the events described in the document above are remarkable.
2. Document 2.
Our report of the next incident which we can find concerning what is apparently the same family can be found in the Red and White Book of Menzies. It involves a case where the act of parliament of 1587 (mentioned above as the possible reason the Campbells could take over Morinshe from the Menzies) was used so as to effectively punish people who might be associated for thefts performed by "broken men" of particular clans, in this case Clan Cameron:-
A raid made by Clan Cameron upon the lands of Glen Almond, where they swept the whole district of its cattle, was followed by the Government and those who had lost their herds tracing their stock to where they had been sold. In one case of this kind Sir Alexander was induced to become cautioner. This led to him being summoned before the Privy Council, which is thus recorded : —
"1600, Holyroodhouse, 11 March, Action at the instance of Margaret Scott, Lady Carnoch, .... Grahame of Inchebrakie, now her spouse, for his intrest, and Andro Malloch of Cairneis, as follows: — Upon the 13th July 1595, Allane M'Intuatour Camroun, and Johnne M'intuatour Cameron, ' with a graite nowmer of thair compliceis, all thevis, broken men, and sornaris of the Clan Chamroun,' came to the lands of Glenalmond and stole furth thereof from the said Margaret 44 kye, and from the said Andro 36 kye. And, because the said could get no restitution of the same goods by order of justice, they, therefore, according to the power granted by the Act of Parliament to subjects sustaining loss by the 'disordourit theivs and lymmaris of the Hielandis and Bordouris ' (1587 c. 16, iii. 218) to intromit with the goods of any others of the same clan, arrested in the hands of the persons underwritten the sums and goods following, belonging to certan of the Clan Chamroun ; — (i) They arrested in the hands of Alexander Leitch the sum of £80, for the price of five kye pertaining to the said Clan Chamroun, for payment of which to the complainers Patrick Drummond of Milnnab became cautioner. (2) They arrested in the hands of Duncan Dow M'Nab and Donald M'Naves twelve 'grite ky' belonging to the same clan, which were sold for 200 merks — James Campbell, apparent of Laweris, becoming surety upon 28th Oct. last for making the same forthcoming to the said complainers. (3) Upon 30th November last they arrested, by David Drummond, messenger, in the hands of Patrik Levage, the sum of £160, as the price of certain kye belonging to the said clan, Sir Alexander Menzies of Weyme, upon the day foresaid, becoming surety to the same effect. (4) Upon 18th August last, the said David Drummond, by virtue of His Majesty's letters, arrested in the hands of Johnne Ventoun, skinner, in Perth, 13 horse-load of White Plaids and yarn, and 13 horses and mares, estimated at 20 merks each, belonging to the said clan, especially to ... . Camroun, Laird of Glenevais, whose servants were at the taking of the said complainer's gear. But, although none of the said clan has offered to make to the complainers any redress for their said goods stolen by them in manner foresaid, and therefore the sums of money and goods abovewritten, arrested as said is, pertain to the complainers according to the said Act of Parliament, yet the aforesaid principals and cautioners refuse to deliver the same to them unless compelled. The pursuers appearing by Charles Grahame, their procurator ; but the defenders, — viz., Sir Alexander Menzies, Campbell, Ventoun, and the Laird of Minab, failing to appear, the King and Council decern and ordain the said defenders to pay and deliver to the pursuers the sums and goods abovewritten, arrested in their hands." — Reg. Prv. Col. Scot., p. 92, 3, vol. vi.
The repetition of names and areas seems to make it clear this is one of the same Levages as discussed above, but at least one generation later. The obvious question is whether we should assume the Levages were considered to be part of Clan Cameron, but this does not appear to be a warranted assumption. Patrik Levage was apparently holding money which was a price of cattle belonging to the clan. The wording makes it sound like he was not personally in the clan. Just exactly how this law could work in any reasonable way is unclear, but clearly it was considered a desperate solution for a very big problem.
The document does not name the exact residence or lord of Patrik Levage.