Glassford Glassford / Glass Connections to Scotland's Clans.
Support for William’s Story

From correspondence with a “Glass” family researcher I am able to get some correlation of William’s story, but no confirmation of any connection of Glassford to the “Glass of Ascog”

Though I have been through upwards of 1000 Scottish historical sources I have yet to find the specific reference to the traditional story of Glass rounding up a party of Brandanes to retake Rothesay Castle for the King. I know that it exists somewhere - perhaps in Lord Hailes early history or in Glassfords 1830 family history neither of which I have yet had access to.

Certainly such an event - or more properly, events - did take place but the identities of the supporting players are not revealed in any of the accounts of the early chroniclers all of which I have gone through in detail including the latest (1998) 9 volume complete revision of Bower by the medieval history team at Aberdeen University.

What is known is that Rothesay Castle was retaken by Robert Bruce in his guerrilla campaign in 1311/1313 and again in 1333 when a party of Brandanes ousted Balliols forces, executed his captain and provided a safehaven for Robert Steward.

My gut feeling is that it was the second event for which Glass was rewarded with the lands of Ascog in wardship (i.e. held directly of the King in return for military service and, in this instance -though it did not necessarily follow in all cases - for an annual rent as well).

This arrangement was first documented for the year 1436 in the earliest surviving Chamberlain's Report for Buteshire but had clearly been in place long before this time.

All the surviving evidence related to the ancestry of the family points to a single Glass ancestor and a direct line of descent to near the end of the 15th Century. The first known Glas (the spelling in use to about 1680) - my 15x ggrandfather - died prior to 1459 survived by his wife. His son whose forename is also unknown died prior to 1506. The latter's son, John Glas the elder, who held the lands of Ascog, Kerecrusach and Birgdalnock, died in 1525. He had four sons:John Glas the younger (c1480-1564). He held the lands of Ardnahoe and Barmore in his own right and gained Ascog (in 1510) and Kerecrusach (in 1517) from his father. Alexander Glas (c1483-fl 1 my 1547). He held half the lands of Barnauld and Langilculcreich in his own right and received Birgdalknock upon his father’s death. He appears to have died without issue and sold all his lands outright to Robert Stewart of Kilchattan in 1547. Robert Glas (c1485-1563). He held the lands of Gallachan. Augustus Glas (fl 1546). He did not appear to hold any lands in his own right.

Ascog, the main family seat was sub-divided among various portioners over many generations. Descendants were spread out from Bogany to the north to the border with the Marquess of Bute's estate of Mount Stewart to the south. The last Baron Glass of Ascog was Archibald (1789-1863). He had no male heirs, only two daughters.

I have the family fairly well documented from the beginning of the written record to the early 1600s; in reasonably complete family groups from the 1650s-1750s and my own Glass ancestry complete from the 1680s. Also notes on many others mainly descendants of the Ardnahoe and Gallachan families who were farmers and herring fishermen. Most eventually emigrated from Bute and the remaining family was thinned out drastically by an extraordinary high percentage of daughters. A large southern (US) family is descended from Elizabeth Glass (b1670).

Having said all this I have found absolutely nothing in my research that ties the Glas/Glass family in any way to Glassford (and its variants). I have been through most of the extant Public Records including the charters, sasines, Exchequer Rolls, Books of Session and Testaments up to 1800 -over 45,000 pages of documents.

While there are other Glas/Glass families elsewhere in Scotland there are no missing members of the Bute family or internal migrants from whom a new surname could have developed in the recorded era. This does not preclude such an event prior to 1436 however.

All the evidence I uncovered in my searches indicated Glassford as being derived from the Lanark Parish of this name. There is a wealth of data in all the public records on Glassford which should prove very rewarding. There are also two folders covering the Glassford and Glassfurd families in The Society of Genealogists Library in London. Both are part of the MacLeod Collection - a) vol 23 and b) 'B' series 32:box 65.

1 - There was in fact one Glassford in Bute: John Glasfuird who was a bailie of Rothesay died prior to 8 Feb 1654 and his testament was proved in the Commissariat Court of Glasgow.

2 - The evolution of Glassford is noted as follows:

GLASFUIRD 1605 – 1686; GLASFURD 1611 – 1661; GLASFOORD 1646 – 1755; GLASFORD 1676 - 1739

Individual family spellings gelled in each of these eras and are evidenced throughout the records. A couple interesting examples...

Glass of Ascog

Surnames of Scotland - Their Origin, Meaning and History” by George F. Black identifies “Glass of Ascog in Bute existed as one family locally called Barons from the 15th century till recently [5th printing of the book was in 1979]. In 1506 there is a record of as grant of lands of Langilculcreich in Bute to Alexander Glass.” These records appear to validate William’s account of the existence of a Glass of Ascog although not the tie to the Glassfords and the dates would appear to extend back to the 14th century not just 15th.


What is Glass’ relationship to Scotland? Glass is a Sept of the Stuarts of Bute. Clan Septs comprise those who were descended from the Clan Chief through the female line and consequently bore a different surname. Anyone who has an ancestor bearing a Sept name, or the Clan name itself, has the privilege of wearing or displaying the Crest Badge and the tartan of the clan. The Stuarts of Brute are one of the branches of the Stuart Clan. The beautiful Isle of Bute formed part of the domain of Walter, the first High Steward, and remained a Stewart possession except for a brief Norse occupation. But only after 1385 did a family branch become established there; when Sir John Stewart a son of King Robert II was appointed hereditary Sheriff of Bute and Arran; and his descendants still hold the Marquisate of Bute.

Writing Variation of the Name

In addition to the spelling versions of Glassford identified by William and Mr. Black, one will also find Glafsford. Glafsford is actually not a spelling variation but a writing habit. Often prior to the 20th century, when writing in English, a word that required a long ‘s’ sound made by a double “ss” such as in the word glass afs” or “ff” was written. When looking at the script, the bottom loop of the “f” is to the left for the long s and to the right for an f.

Badges and Tartans of the Stuart

There are 2 badges and a tartan related to the Stuarts that have meaning to the Glass.

These include:


         A pelican Argent, winged Or, in her nest feeding her young. (Principal Stuart Badge)

Stuart of Bute Tartan - Red with Green

A demi-lion rampant Gules, armed and langues Azure for Stuart of Bute. (a copy of this badge is not available)

 Principal Stuart Badge

Our rights as a member of a Sept of Stuart of Bute give us the ability to ware that tartan and Badge of Stuart of Bute as well as the principal Stuart Badge


Tartans of Strathaven

The resurgence of Scottish heritage and the associated desire to have every family associate with a tartan has caused the establishment of district or regional tartans and many of these have been assigned to individual families as their tartan. In many books and reference documents dealing with tartans, Glassford has been assigned the Strathaven tartan. This does not preclude a family member from wearing any tartan they desire or associating themselves with a clan that the family has been connected with via marriage.

Return, Home