The thread about the de Lestalrics and yet more early history of Restalrig and the Logans

This thread was originally written and published in July 2019. It has been lightly edited and corrected as applicable for this post.

de Lastalricke, de Lasalrics, de Lascalrickes, de Lastakic, de Lastakyks, de Lastalrichs, de Lestalrchs, de Lestalriks, de Lestalrikes, de Lastalryks, de Lascalerikes, de Lascalrics.
de Lestalric.

That’s just some of the spellings of the de Lestalric family name (the ancient form of Restalrig) that I have come across.

As a placename, Lastalric, Lastalrik, Lastalrich, Lastalrig, Lestalryk/rich/rig can be found. As can versions starting with R after the 15th century, e.g. Restarycke, Restalrigh. This is how it is written in the 16th century “Petworth Map” of the 1560 siege of Leith and the 17th century Blaeu’s Atlas.

Restaricke Place, as seen on the Petworth House map of the 1560 siege of Leith.
Restaricke Place, as seen on the Petworth House map of the 1560 siege of Leith.
Restalrigh, as seen in the Blaeu atlas of Scotland, 1654. Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland
Restalrigh, as seen in the Blaeu atlas of Scotland, 1654. Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

The accepted toponymy (meaning of a placename) for Restalrig is that it’s an evolution of Lestalric, from Lestal Hrycg, which in a northern dialect of Old English would be “ridge of the miry land”.

The de Lestalrics arrive in Restalrig at the invitation of King David I of Scotland. Brought up as a prisoner in the English court (which was a Norman court), on his return to Scotland to take the crown he instituted Norman feudalism to form a power base. So that Norman knight, Sir Peter de Lestalric, invited by David to take on the lands as Baron, can be thought of as Sir Peter de Boggy Ridge.

Engraving in the "Continental Fashion" of the Great Seal of David I.
Engraving in the “Continental Fashion” of the Great Seal of David I.

I made a list of the Barons of Restalrig once, so here goes with the de Lestalric barons.

  • Starting off, Peter de Lestalric, 1084-1153, 1st Baron of Restalrig. A Norman knight, invited to Scotland by King David I.
  • His son Edward de Lestalric, b.?-1183, 2nd Baron of Restalrig. He starts the construction of the Norman-style church at Restalrig in 1165.
  • His grandson Sir Thomas (I) de Lestalric, 1182 – 1214, 3rd Baron of Restalrig and Sheriff of Edinburgh (from this point on, the Baron of Restalrig was also the Sheriff of Edinburgh). Thomas oversees the completion of the church in 1210.
  • His great grandson Sir John (I) de Lestalric, b.?-1260, 4th Baron of Restalrig.
  • His great, great grandson Sir John (II) de Lestalric, b.?-1285, 5th Baron of Restalrig.
  • His great, great, great grandson Symon de Lestalric, b.?-1293, 6th Baron of Restalrig.
  • His great, great, great, great grandson Thomas (II) de Lestalric, b.? – 1316, 7th Baron of Restalrig.
  • And lastly his great, great, great, great, great grandson Sir John (III) de Lestalric , b.? – 1385, 8th Baron of Restalrig and the last of the de Lestalrics.

There are no illustrations of any of the de Lestalrics, but there is a tantalising description of Edward’s seal:

From the "Descriptive catalogue of Royal, Baronial, Ecclesiastical and Municipal Seals of Scotland" by Henry Laing
From the “Descriptive catalogue of Royal, Baronial, Ecclesiastical and Municipal Seals of Scotland” by Henry Laing

In 1385 on Sir John’s death he had no male heir and so the Barony passed by the marriage of his daughter Katherine to Robert Logan of Grougar (and coincidentally also of Gogar). Their son, Robert, takes the Barony, starting a long association of Robert Logans with Restalrig that spanned 4 centuries. For more on the Logans and Restalric, see this post.

The last Logan of Restalrig, was the great, great, great, great, great grandson of the 1st; Sir Robert Logan (1555-1606). He was the fifth Robert Logan to be Baron of Restalrig; the 16th baron overall, and the last.

Robert was described as , “ane godles, drunkin, deboshit man” squandered his fortune, and sold much of the once extensive Logan lands to cover his debts, causing the Barony of Restalrig to be split between three lairds and therefore ended the line.

Robert was posthumously implicated in the Gowrie House Affair, a supposed plot against James VI. His body was exhumed and subject to a show trial. His corpse was unable to defend itself and found guilty. The remaining lands and titles of the Logans were forfeit to the crown.

An Historical Account of the Conspiracies by the Earls of Gowrie and Robert Logan of Restalrig, against King James VI. of Glorious Memory. etc. by the Earl of Cromarty.

For good measure, Logan’s accuser (who may well have made the whole thing up), George Sprott, was also hanged for having withheld forewarning of an attempt on the King’s life.

And so the House of Logan had fell from grace. They had a good innings though, 4 centuries as Barons of Restalrig and Sheriffs of Edinburgh, generally coming down on the right side of whomever was in charge of the Scottish Crown (even if they paid with their lives at Flodden).

The Logans had been allies of Robert The Bruce. Robert Logan and his brother William were at the side of Sir James Douglas in 1330 at the battle of Teba when the latter famously hurled Bruce’s heart in a silver casket into the battle before fighting to the death. It is for this reason that both the Douglasses and the Logans have a red heart on their coat of arms.

Douglas coat of arms post-1330.
Logan coat of arms, post-1330.

Despite consistently being in the royal good books for so long, the house of Logan and the Barony began to fall into decline and ill repute under the penultimate and fourth Robert Logan. The 4th Robert swithered during the Scottish Reformation and ultimately got it wrong. He initially sided with the protestant Lords of the Congregation against the regency of the catholic Mary of Guise; wife of the late King James V and mother of Queen Mary I (of Scots).

Mary of Guise in 1537 by Corneille de Lyon
Mary of Guise in 1537 by Corneille de Lyon

Despite taking up arms and appearing on the field at Cupar Muir opposing Mary’s French-backed forces, he later switched his allegiance, an unusual choice and one that put him out of step with much of the Scottish nobility.

Mary of Guise was attempting to rule Scotland from a power base in Leith and it was the Robert the 4th that persuaded the town to allow Mary’s French forces to occupy and garrison the it without bloodshed, an occupation that would last 12 years.

Regent Mary compensated her allies in Leith who were displaced by the fortification of the town and bought the Logan lands of South Leith in 1555 (coincidentally, raising it into a Burgh, which many in Leith were overjoyed with at the time if it meant freedom from Edinburgh).

A gentlemen's' disagreement, 16th century style. From "British battles on land and sea" by James Grant.
A gentlemen’s’ disagreement in Scotland, 16th century style. From “British battles on land and sea” by James Grant.

In 1560, the Lords of the Congregation and an English-backed protestant army encamped at Restalrig village to lay siege to Leith. The council of Edinburgh contributed 1,000 Pounds Scots to pay for the upkeep of 400 men of this army to assist in the pacification of Leith.

Mary died shortly thereafter that same year and from then on it was downhill for those opposing the reformers, including the Robert Logan who died the following year. The rot that had started with him became terminal under his son, the fifth and last Robert

The Logans, through their loyalty to Leith independence, had stirred up considerable ill feeling from Edinburgh and their seat at Lochend Castle was apparently sacked in 1586 by the Provost of Edinburgh, William Little of Liberton, in a disagreement about access across the Barony. This was apparently with the blessing of the young King James VI, a right, royal slight.

The burning of Eglinton Castle in 1528, a Scottish tower house which would have been similar to Lochend Castle in 1586.
The burning of Eglinton Castle in 1528, a Scottish tower house which would have been similar to Lochend Castle in 1586.

Financial problems as a result of the Robert’s lifestyle meant he began selling off the family lands to settle his debt. In 1604, the Barony of Restalrig was carved up, with the lands of Craigentinny being partitioned into one and estate bought by the Nisbet family of Edinburgh

The lands of the repaired Lochend Castle went to the Elphingstone family; the Lords Balmerino. They were to pay 18,000 Merks (Scots property transactions of this time were denominated in Merks, a silver coin worth 2/3 of a Pound Scots) but it seems they never ended up paying.

A James VI Half Merk. CC-BY-SA 3.0, Classical Numismatic Group
A James VI Half Merk. CC-BY-SA 3.0, Classical Numismatic Group

The remainder of the lands of the Barony, those around Calton Hill, the “Craigend” (as opposed to the “Lochend”) went to William Purvis of Abbeyhill. The new ruling trinity of Restalrig, the Nisbets, the Lords Balmerino and the Purvis’ were all coincidentally Stewart loyalists to King James VI.

Robert the Last died landless, but with cash still in the bank. Interestingly, his will left “Ane schip with hir armaments in Eyemouth, estimat to the sowme of 500 merkis“; This suggested that he may have been planning to flee the country should he have needed to.

When James VI made forfeit of the titles that Robert had not managed to squander before his death, the family arms were cancelled and stricken from the register. The Logans had given to the Stewarts and the Stewarts had taken away.

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