On the 17th May 1947 Mrs. Houstoun, through her solicitors, donated to Glasgow Museums two oil paintings by the artist Robert Harvie. The subjects were Lord Provost Arthur Connell of Glasgow (1772-1774) and his wife Magdalen.
Note: to avoid confusion Mrs Houstoun and her birth name Anne Douglas Stirling will always be in bold.
These notes discuss her and her husband’s family background, and hopefully, will show how these paintings came into her possession.
Both she and her husband came from long established landed and titled families whose histories can be traced back to, at least, the 16th Century. She descended from the Stirlings* of Drumpellier through her father and also from the Kippendavie branch through her mother, he from the Lairds of Johnstone. She was not the only daughter of the Stirling family who married a Houstoun, but more of that later.
*Spelling of this surname can also be Sterling.
The Drumpellier Stirlings.
The Drumpellier Stirlings ancestor appears to have been Robert Stirling (d.1537) of Bankeyr and Lettyr. A further seven generations between 1537 and 1777 inherited these estates, this line producing a number of notable individuals including a Lord Provost of Glasgow, John Stirling (1728-1730), who when a Baillie in 1725 was arrested along with other magistrates and the Lord Provost because of the Shawfield riot in Glasgow caused by the imposition of a malt tax, and Walter Stirling, his nephew, (1723-1791) who, on his death in 1791, bequeathed his house in Miller Street, his books, and £1,000 to establish Stirling’s Library, the first free public library in Scotland.
John Stirling’s son William was born in Glasgow on the 29th July 1717. He was a Glasgow merchant, founding the cloth printing company of William Stirling and Sons c.1750, being the first to import Indian cotton printed in London, to Glasgow. By the mid 19thCentury it was the largest of its kind in Scotland. He married Mary Buchanan in 1747, the daughter of Andrew Buchanan of Drumpellier. The Drumpellier estate came into the Stirling’s hands when William’s son Andrew bought it from his mother’s brother James Buchanan in 1777 when the American War of Independence ruined the Buchanan business (Buchanan Hastie and Co.) in the American colonies.
Andrew was born on the 14th February 1751 in Glasgow. He attended the Grammar School of Glasgow between 1760 and 1764. On the 26th May 1778 he married Anna Stirling, daughter of Sir Walter Stirling of Faskine and Dorothy Willing (born in Philadelphia in 1735), in St. George the Martyr, Queen Square, Camden. According to the record of marriage Andrew was already living in the parish.
He and Anna had sixteen children, eight boys and eight girls born between 1779 and 1798. His sons included an admiral of the Royal Navy who became the first Governor of Western Australia.
Initially he was partner in the family business William Stirling and Sons, however in 1792 he left the partnership having set up his own commission house, Stirling, Hunter and Co. in London. The venture was successful for a while however in 1808 he ran into financial difficulties and sold Drumpellier back to the Buchanan family. He and his brother John were also shareholders in the company building the Monkland Canal. Initially James Watt had been involved in supervising the necessary work however it was not completed as planned and the company ran out of money.
In 1782 the company was auctioned off and with others the brothers bought it, the Stirlings owning just under 50%. By 1789 Andrew owned over two thirds. From that date, and as a result of his energy and foresight, the canal was extended eastwards to Calderbank and westwards to Port Dundas. He was also a significant user of the canal, exporting coal mined from his land and bringing in dung and lime by return to support his agricultural activity.
Andrew died at Pirbright Lodge in Surrey and was buried in St. Michaels and All Angels Churchyard in Pirbright on the 5th April 1823. Anna also died at Pirbright and was buried on the 11th June 1830.
His fourth son was Charles Stirling whose granddaughter Anne Douglas Stirling, the donor of the paintings, was in due course to marry into the Houstoun family. He was born on the 16th June 1788 at Drumpellier, and educated at Westminster. He married his cousin Charlotte Dorothea Stirling, the daughter of Admiral Charles Stirling of Woburn in Surrey in 1827. They had seven children the third of whom was General Sir William Stirling. In 1835 Charles bought the estate of Muiravonside in Stirlingshire and developed the agriculture of the estate. In 1826 he was also a partner in the Thistle Bank. He died at Muiravonside House on the 25th August 1867 from heart disease.
Charles’s son William was born on the 4th August 1835. He attended Edinburgh Academy and then the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich. He was appointed to Woolwich in November 1849, age 14 years and three months, passing his probationary examination in December 1850. He progressed through the academy satisfactorily finally being promoted second lieutenant in the Royal Artillery on the 22 June 1853.
He married twice, his first wife being Anne Douglas Sylvester Stirling whom he married in 1864. Her father was Sylvester Douglas Stirling of Glenbervie, and of the Kippendavie Stirling family.
The Kippendavie Stirlings.
The Kippendavie branch of the family was established in 1594 when Archibald Stirling was given the estate of Kippendavie by his father, Sir Archibald Stirling of Keir and Cadder. From this branch of the family came a number of individuals who, along with their Keir cousins were heavily involved in the sugar trade in the West Indies. Patrick and John Stirling, great, great grandsons of Archibald Stirling, in turn, owned a sugar plantation in Jamaica called Content. Patrick had succeeded his father to Kippendavie and lived in Jamaica from about 1753 where he managed the plantation. He died however with no heirs in 1775 and is buried there, his brother John succeeding him to Kippendavie and Content.
John, the father of Sylvester Douglas Stirling, became a senior partner in Stirling Gordon & Co. This company was formed c.1750 by Arthur Connell and James Somervill and was known as Somervill Connell & Co. In 1780, five years after Connell died, it became Somervill Gordon & Co, finally in 1795, Stirling Gordon & Co. It’s clear therefore that there was a business connection between Arthur Connell and the Stirlings of Kippendavie. Later that connection was strengthened through a marriage between the two families.
Between 1835 and 1837 the partners of Stirling Gordon & Co., (including two other sons of John Stirling, Charles and William) were awarded £15,616 as compensation for the loss of their slave labour when slavery was abolished in 1833. The company had four estates or plantations, including Content, with a total of 665 enslaved individuals. At current values the amount awarded would be worth between £1.4m and £57m dependant on the measure used.
Sylvester Douglas Stirling married Anne Craigie Connell in 1830. She was the daughter of David Connell, the son of Arthur and Magdalen Connell, born in 1759 . He died in 1819, his death registration stating that he was buried in “Provost Connell’s lair”. This marriage is the means by which the Connell paintings came into the possession of the Stirlings and ultimately Anne Douglas Stirling.
Sir William and Anne Douglas had two children the eldest of whom was Anne Douglas Stirling, born in Edinburgh in 1865. She was in due course the sole executor and beneficiary of her maternal grandmother’s (Anne Craigie Connell) estate when she died in 1899, which I believe brought the Connell paintings into her ownership. Further evidence of the Stirling/Connell familial ties is given by the 1901 census where Anne Douglas Stirling is registered as living (not visiting) with her cousin Arthur K Connell in Brockenhurst, Hampshire.
Sir William’s military career spanned 52 years during which he saw action in the Crimea, India, China and Afghanistan. Following the Afghan campaign in 1879 he was awarded Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB), and in 1893, whilst Governor and Commandant of the Royal Military Academy he was made a Knight Commander of the Order, (KCB).
He became Lieutenant of the Tower of London in 1900, retiring from that position and the army on half pay in 1902. He died on the 11th April 1906 at Ochiltree, Folkstone and is buried in Cheriton Road Cemetery, Folkstone.
The Houstouns of Johnstone.
Anne Douglas Stirling married the sixth Laird of Johnstone George Ludovic Houstoun at St Peter’s, Eaton Square, London on the 10th November 1903. His family ancestry can be traced back to Sir Ludovic Houstoun of that ilk, whose great-great-great grandfather, Sir Peter Houstoun was killed at Flodden. Sir Ludovic had two sons, the eldest and heir being Patrick, who was created a baronet in 1668. His second son was George, who became the first Laird of Johnstone. It is from George that Anne Douglas Stirling’s husband is descended.
The fourth Laird of Johnstone was another George Houstoun who succeeded his father Ludovic who had succeeded his father, also Ludovic. He was born on the 8th September 1744, his mother being Jane Rankine. He succeeded his father at the age of 14 in 1757 and in 1779 he married Mary McDowall, daughter of William McDowall, M.P. of Garthland. They had two sons, Ludovic and William born in 1780 and 1781 respectively.
During his time as Laird George extended Johnstone Castle, was involved in coal mining at Quarrelton, had lime works at Floor Craig and cotton mills on his estate. He was also a founding partner of the Paisley Union Bank in 1788 along with nine others. In 1838 the bank was taken over by the Union Bank of Scotland. He died on the 31st December 1815 and was succeeded by his son Ludovic. He left estate valued at £29,750, in economic power terms worth over £155 million today.
Ludovic married Ann Stirling, daughter of John Stirling of Kippendavie and Kippenross in 1809. They had one son, another George, more of which later. He carried on with the businesses his father had established and in the 1861 census, when he was 80 years old it was recorded that he farmed 120 acres, employed 55 miners and 12 labourers in his coal works, 14 miners, 14 labourers, 2 joiners and 2 blacksmiths in the lime works and in his three mills 156 males and 276 females. Clearly a major employer in the area.
He was a J.P. for the Abbey Parish in Johnstone and in 1831 he was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Renfrewshire.
His wife Ann’s sister Jane Stirling was a pupil of the pianist Frederic Chopin. She had met him around 1827 in Paris, which she visited annually with another sister Kathrine. She became a close friend of the pianist and in 1844 he dedicated his two Nocturnes Opus 55 to her. In 1848 she and Katherine were instrumental in bringing him to London for a series of concerts. He was subsequently invited to Scotland arriving in Edinburgh in early August, eventually staying in Johnstone Castle as a guest of the Houstoun’s for a couple of days in September.
Ludovic and Ann’s son George was born on the 31st July 1810. He attended Eton and in 1828 matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford. He was an officer in the Renfrew Yeomanry Cavalry and in 1831 was commissioned as Captain. He was a Conservative candidate in the Parliamentary elections in 1835 for the County of Renfrew but lost by 68 votes to Sir Michael Shaw Stewart. Sir Michael died early in 1837 and George won the subsequent by election by 170 votes. Later that year there was a general election and he again won the seat. He remained an M.P. until 1841 when he decided not to stand again in the coming election.
George was the heir apparent to the Lairdship however in 1843 he collapsed and died whilst on a shoot at Invercauld in Aberdeenshire. In the transept of Paisley Abbey there is a plain stone tablet, executed by Mossman, over his grave surmounted by a sand glass which is inscribed “George Houstoun, only child of Ludovic Houston and Ann Stirling of Kippendavie – born 31st July 1810, died 14th September 1843.” 
In addition to his personal business activity Ludovic, as might be expected, was involved in a number of enterprises at various times. He was a director of the West of Scotland, Fire Insurance Company, a director of the Johnstone Coffee and News Room, within the Black Bull Inn, on the management committee of the Glasgow, Paisley and Ardrossan Canal and a founder member of the Flax Growers Society of Scotland. He died on the 3rd October 1862 at Johnstone Castle.
As he had no surviving offspring and as his brother William had died in 1856, his nephew George Ludovic Houstoun became the sixth and last Laird of Johnstone.
William had married Marion Douglas Russell in 1845 at Gargunnock. Her mother was yet another Stirling, Mary Stirling, daughter of John Stirling of Kippendavie and sister of Ludovic’s wife Ann. William was 64 years old at the time of the marriage which was probably prompted by the death of his nephew George in 1843. With no prospect apparently of his brother Ludovic and his wife having more children he was the only option for the continuation of the title. Sadly it was doomed to fail.
His bride, his niece, was c. 23 and they had four children, George Ludovic, born on the 15th October 1846, William James b. 1848 Mary Erskine b. 1850  and Ann Margaret b. 1852. In 1851 the family was living in Cartside House in Johnstone, William described as a cotton spinner employing 532 men and women in his mills and a J.P.
The Last Laird.
George Ludovic Houstoun entered Rugby School on the 31st August 1860. His house was ‘Mayor’ so named after the house master R.B. Mayor. He remained there until 1863, having become Laird the previous October at the age of 16 on the death of his uncle. He matriculated at Queens College, Cambridge in 1866, in due course graduating M.A.
He joined the Renfrewshire Militia also in 1866 as a lieutenant, retaining a military connection until c. 1911 when he joined the Veteran Reserve (Territorial Force Association of Renfrew) having attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and being associated with the 4th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. He was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Renfrewshire in 1873, relinquishing the role in 1922.
He also appears to have had significant political connections and may also have been involved with the Colonial Office between 1877 and c.1900. His papers are lodged in the Mitchell Library in Glasgow and contain a wealth of information in respect of his activities in South Africa and his interest in Cyprus where he had an estate near Kyrenia in northern Cyprus.
It seems he spent some time in South Africa being appointed in 1877 Commissioner for the District of Rustenberg in the Transvaal and as a Justice of the Peace. He was present in Somboti, Swaziland, in 1895, witnessing the King’s signature on a letter to Queen Victoria and in 1900 he was in Bulawayo where he received a letter from Arthur Balfour who corresponded with him often, as did other political figures. He also exchanged letters with General Gordon of Khartoum and also with the writer H. Rider Haggard between 1889 and 1891.
The information in the preceding three paragraphs comes from the Houstoun Family of Johnstone papers in the Glasgow City Archives held in the Mitchell Library. The papers, contained in three boxes, are extensive and date from 1630 to 1912, reference TD263.
In the censuses of 1891 and 1901 he is recorded as staying with his sisters Mary and Ann at Johnstone Castle living on his own means, his brother William James having died in 1866. In may therefore be that his involvement in colonial affairs was sporadic and informal however, in terms of his correspondence, he exchanged information and comments on a number of subjects dealing with the British presence in Africa.
When he married Anne Douglas Stirling in 1903 she brought to the marriage a significant ‘fortune’ having some £13,000 of her own money and the expectation of an inheritance from her mother’s trust fund when her father died, as per her parent’s Marriage Settlement in 1864, and also from him.
They lived for a period at Johnstone Castle until c.1912 when they moved permanently to their estate in Kyrenia, apparently due to Lloyd George’s Land Tax reforms which had begun in 1909.
He had been interested in establishing a Scottish Episcopalian Church in Kyrenia for some time having between 1887 and 1891 began to seek financial support from wealthy friends with the aim of raising £1,000 to do so. He seems to have had a good response, whether he reached his target however is not clear. No action seems to have been taken until 1912 when St Andrews Episcopalian Church was built, the land being donated by Houstoun and the church being built by Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Eldred McDonald, he being the District Commissioner for Kyrenia.
Houstoun was also involved in founding the local hospital and along with a number of other philanthropic activities, trying to improve local farming. In support of this he also established an Agricultural Show.
The Church is still in existence and appears to be very active. Its current vicar is the Reverend Wendy Hough.
Their marriage was childless and as his two sisters Mary Erskine and Ann Margaret died unmarried, Mary in Cannes in 1904 and Ann in Edinburgh in 1925, the Houstoun line begun by George Houstoun in the mid-1600s ended.
 Sterling, Albert Mack. (1909). The Sterling Genealogy. Vol.1 New York: The Grafton Press. pp. 158-162. https://archive.org/stream/sterlinggenealog01ster#page/n1/mode/2up
 Smith, John Guthrie and Mitchell, John Oswald. (1878). The Old Country Houses of the Old Glasgow Gentry. 2nd ed. ‘Drumpellier’ .Glasgow: James Maclehose and Sons. http://gdl.cdlr.strath.ac.uk/smihou/smihou036.htm
 Glasgow Librarian. (1888). Catalogue of Stirling’s and Glasgow Public Library. Glasgow: Robert Maclehose. pp. xiii – xvii. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=nyp.33433089893816;view=1up;seq=1
 Reid, Robert. (1884) Glasgow Past and Present Vol. 3 Glasgow: David Roberson and Co. p. 374.
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 Stapylton, H.E.C. (1884) Eton School Lists 1791 – 1877. London: Simpkin, Marshall & Co. p. 117. https://archive.org/stream/etonschoollistsf00lond#page/116/mode/2up
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 Births. (OPR) Scotland. Abbey, Paisley. 2 April 1852. HOUSTON, Ann Margaret. 559/ 70 488
 Smith, Dr. Jonathan (2018), Archivist at Rugby School: George Ludovic Houstoun at Rugby School. E-mail to George Manzor, 8 March 2018.
 (1886) Rugby School Register 1850-1874. Vol. II. Rugby: A.J. Lawrence. p. 80.
 Houstoun Family of Johnstone Papers. Glasgow City Archives: Mitchell Library TD263
 Houstoun Family of Johnstone Papers. Glasgow City Archives: Mitchell Library TD263.
 Houstoun Family of Johnstone Papers. Glasgow City Archives: Mitchell Library reference TD263.
 Collins, P.C. (1988) A Short History of St. Andrew’s English Church, Kyrenia, Cyprus: 1913 – 1988.
 St. Andrew’s Church, Kyrenia. Our Chaplain. http://www.standrewskyrenia.org/about-us/our-chaplain/
 St. Andrew’s Church. Kyrenia. The Houstoun Cemetery. http://www.standrewskyrenia.org/the-british-cemeteries-committee/the-houstoun-cemetery/