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Torfoot portion of Glengavill

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Date: 29 Dec 1658 [unknown]
Location: Avondale, Lanarkshire, Scotlandmap
Surname/tag: Brownlee, Hamilton
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The Scottish families of Brownlee and Hamilton are associated with "Torfoot." This is a portion of the Duke of Hamilton's lands which was portioned after the Duke's death by his relative, Anne, who married the Earl of Selkirk, William Douglas. Below are the notices of 'sasines' that have been found so far. NOTE: According to Wikipedia:

Sasine in Scots law is the delivery of feudal property, typically land. Feudal property means immovable property, and includes everything that naturally goes with the property. For land, that would include such things as buildings, trees, and underground minerals.

This land is called an 8/4 portion, meaning 8 shillings, 4 pennies, half of the total 16/8 portion of Glengavill, the ducal lands. This 8/4 portion can be used to trace the descendants of John Brownlee, the original grantee until the time of the Scottish clearances, when heritable farms were taken from their owners and "cleared."


Largely taken from Torfoot Project. I assume they were from official Scotland sources, but do not know which or where.

1547-John and William Brounlie are listed among the tenants on the lands of Glengvill which includes Torfoot, as are John and Andrew Hamilton. (Register of the Great Seal of Scotland, 1547)

29 December 1658 - Sasene proceeding upon a charter of Feu Form was granted by Anne Duchess of Hamilton (1632-1716) with consent of Lord William Douglas, Earl of Selkirk (1634-1694), her spouse, in favour of Thomas Hamilton in Torfitt (sic), his heirs and assignees, of 8/4th land of that 16/8th land of the lands of Torfitt which is one part of the lands of Glengavill with houses, biggins etc., all presently possessed and occupied by the said Thomas Hamilton and John Brownlie (? 1st Laird of Torfoot) in the barony of Avondale and Shire of Lanark. Dated at Hamilton Palace 29 December 1658.

NOTE: Lady Anne was the daughter of James Hamilton, 2nd Duke of Hamilton. The lands devolved to her on the death of her uncle William who had inherited the title when James died. William had surviving daughters only, so the title and lands went back to the offspring of William's older brother, James. James and William were sons of James, 1st marquis of Hamilton.[1] citing [2] I do not yet know her relationship to Thomas Hamilton.

Sasine given on 14 January 1659 in presence of John and Thomas Brownlie in Torfitt, and others.

Sasine proceeding from original Feu (Torfitt) 21 January 1659 P.R. Vol II F.345. 1659-1654

20 January 1659 - John Brownlie in Torfitt and Thomas Brownlie his son are Witnesses to Sasine of John Young of Syde of Glengivell 14th January 1659.

22 January 1659 - Sasin on Charter of Feu Ferme by Anna, Duchess of Hamilton with consent of William, Earl of Selkirk her spouse, in favour of John Brownlie in Tortitt in liferent, and Thomas Brownlie (? 2nd Laird of Torfoot) his lawful son heritably and in fee of all and whole an eight shilling fourpenny land Torfitt which is one part of the lands of Glengevill (sic) with houses, biggins, yards, crofts, etc., currently possessed by the said John Brownlie, and Thomas Hamilton lying in the Barony of Avondale and the Shire of Lanark, together with tiend sheet and other tiends great and small, both Parsonage and Vicarage of the said 8/4th land included in Charter dated at Hamilton Palace 29th December 1658. James and John Carbarnes, writers in Hamilton, are witnesses.

Sasine on letters oblegatour, by Thomas Hamilton, portioner of Torfitt in favour of Heleine Brownlie his spouse of all and whole the third part of his eight shilling fourpenny land of the lands of Tortitt (sic) with houses etc., in the Barony iof Avondale and Shire of Lanark with the tiends, parsonage an Vicarage of the same dated at Strathaven 8th January 1659 and Sasine on 14th June 1659. Robert Hamilton, brother of the said Thomas Hamilton, is a witness.

22nd January 1659 Vol II

12 December 1692 - John Brownlee, (third Laird of Torfoot) born cl670 and died 1747. Married 12 December 1692 to Janet Hamilton (daughter of Robert Hamilton in Burn) born cl670 and died 1757. (see Sasine 4 January 1693)

4 January 1693 - Sasine John Brownlie in Torfoot and Janet Hamilton (his spouse), daughter of Robert Hamilton in Burn, in the eight shilling fourpenny land in Torfoot, the two just parts yr (sic, each?) of houses, yards and all pertinents and the other third part of yr (sic) thereof to said Janet Hamilton liferent and conjunct fee reserving the liferent of Thomas Brownlie of Torfoot, (father of the said John Brownlie) and Janet Young, his spouse (this would be Thomas’ wife) on contract matrimonial (marriage settlement) of date the 12th day of December 1692, betwixt the said Thomas Brownlie, his son on the one part, and the said Robert Hamilton and Janet Hamilton, his daughter.

4th January 1693 9/489

1773 May 20-the Brownlee portion of Torfoot passes to James Brownlee, eldest son and heir of Thomas Brownlee.

Other Research

This website is dedicated to the study of Torfoot: Torfoot pages.

A member of familysearch.org created a page on the history of Torfoot farm here.

A YouTube video shows a recent trip by a Brownlee descendant to Edinburgh and then to the Torfoot farm here.


If you have further information and/or access to 17th Century Scottish records, I'd appreciate any contribution you can make here. I'm not an expert in Scottish law nor custom, so further clarification would be helpful. If I've made mistakes, please let me know, here or with a message. Thanks.

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