Brownlee Estate & Brownlee House
Law in Scots means hill, and at Law is situated the village of Brownlee and Brownlee House. On a lovely sunny Saturday afternoon in 1960, my wife and I drove up to the door of Brownlee House and introduced ourselves as people of this name. We said that we were visiting from Australia and enquired whether perhaps there might be some association between the name of the Estate and the origin of the family name.
We were invited into this lovely old manor style house by a most gracious lady, Mrs Harvie, who explained that the seat had been in possession of her family for over 150 years. She was a descendant of Thomas Robertson, Surgeon Admiral, Royal Navy, to Lord Nelson. Many of the rooms were no longer occupied, and we were taken into the small chapel with stained glass windows.
Mrs Harvie explained that this chapel had recently been rededicated. She showed us the old “Breeches” bible on the carved lectern and the small bats which had been in use for generations to teach the children at Sunday School to read and write. These were something like table tennis bats, on one side was written the Lord’s Prayer in beautiful copperplate handwriting, and on the other the p’s, b’s and ‘pot hooks’ to teach children the elements of writing longhand.
On the walls of the large entrance hall of the house were pieces of rusted armour, breastplates, claymores and helms etc., which had been ploughed up in the fields of the estate. Mrs. Harvie explained that the estate was entailed to ensure that inheritance has been through the female line. Her hospitality was welcomed by two weary travellers who had spent that morning recording details of Brownlees buried in the Carluke Cemetery from tombstone inscriptions. We continued to correspond with Mrs Harvie, mainly by Christmas card.
A check on the Charter concerning this Estate gives no indication that it was ever in possession of people named Brownlee a study of the earlier references to Maudeslie charters will give a fuller history of the changes in ownership. There is speculation that our forefathers may have taken their name from this Estate.
There is also another village called Brownlee near Dundonald in Ayrshire, Scotland, but the I have not been able to contact anyone who can throw light on the reason why this village was so named.
Allan Lindsay Arnold Brownlee c1970.
|Map at left shows Brownlee House between The River Clyde and Mauldslie Road. Note the strip of green extending from the number 141 at top right of map, down to Mauldslie Road. You will see this strip on the Google Map above and Brownlee House is in a direct line between the Road and the river.
On the map below you will see Brownlee Cottage and West Brownlee to the right. Further along Mauldslie Road, you will see East Brownlee and below that Bowmanhurst (Farm). Brownlee Cottage, if on the map on left, would appear midway between the numbers 53 and 93. There is a junction in the road forming a triangular shape. Brownlee Cottage would be approximately positioned just below the bottom right of that triangular shape.