Robert Drummond of Carnock

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Sir Robert Drummond of Carnock (died 1592) was Master of Work to the Crown of Scotland from 1579 to 1583. This was the responsibility for building and repair of palaces and castles. His appointment was made to be "as Sir James Hamilton of Finnart had it."[1]


He was the eldest son of Alexander Drummond, of Carnock and Arnmore (Ermore), and Marjory Bruce of Auchinbowie. Arnmore is a location at Kippen, Stirlingshire, neighbouring Broich, the home of William Schaw. Carnock is to the east of Stirling. Robert's first wife, Agnes (or Margaret), was a sister of Sir William Kirkcaldy of Grange. With Robert's permission, Agnes Kirkcaldy sold a tenement in Dysart called the "Slate House" in 1540.[2] Agnes's sister Elizabeth married John Mowbray grandson of Robert Barton of Over Barnton.[3] Some time after 1542, he married Marjorie Elphinstone, the sister of his neighbour Lord Elphinstone.[4] He was the grandfather of the poet William Drummond of Hawthornden. Robert's children included;

  • Margaret Drummond, daughter of Agnes Kirkcaldy, married Alexander Erskine, Commendator of Cambuskenneth, her daughter Annabella married Sir John Buchanan of that Ilk.
  • Patrick Drummond of Monzie, feuar of Carnock, royal master stabler, married Margaret Scott heiress of Monzie.
  • John Drummond of Slipperfield and Hawthornden, royal usher, married Susanna Fowler, father of the poet
  • William Drummond, a student at St Andrews with disputed appointment as Canon of Alloway in 1571[5]
  • Edward Drummond, son of Marjorie Elphinstone
  • Agnes Drummond, married James Lockhart, younger of Lee


"Dominus Drummond", as he is referred to in the annals of Dunfermline, is said to have been responsible for the repairs to Dunfermline Abbey in 1570.[6] He was knighted as a supporter of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, in 1565, and had fought for Darnley's father, Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox, against Regent Arran at Glasgow Muir in 1544. As an architect his significance lies in the inventory of repairs for royal palaces of May 1583 with its appreciation of the landscape around Stirling Castle.[7] His only certain works are repairs and alterations to roof and parapet at Doune Castle and some repairs at Stirling.[8]

Drummond's own house at Carnock was demolished in 1941. The armorial panel of 1548 with his coat of arms and that of Marjorie Elphinstone can be seen at Sissinghurst Castle Garden, painted ceiling boards and the front door of the house are displayed at Stirling Smith Museum and Art Gallery.[9] Midhope Castle belonged to his brother Alexander.

His son Patrick Drummond of Monzie feuar of Carnock, was involved in the Ruthven Raid, and his son-in-law Adam Erskine, Commendator of Cambuskenneth, was a leader of the Gowrie regime. These connections may have led to Robert's replacement as royal master of work by William Schaw before November 1583, after the fall of the Gowrie Regime.[10] His inventory of repairs of May 1583 makes provision for Mary, Queen of Scots or the potential bride of James VI at Stirling Castle and demonstrates Drummond's involvement with the regime and perhaps, its cynical negotiation with Queen Elizabeth I for the conjoint 'associated rule' of Mary and James VI in the Spring of 1583. The fictional double portrait of Mary and James of 1583 was made for this negotiation.[11]

Robert was witness at the christening in Stirling on 19 October 1589 of Mr William Drummond and Christine Brodie's daughter Janet.[12]


The poet Alexander Montgomerie who flourished at the court of James VI in the same years as Drummond wrote an epitaph to the architect:

All buildings brave bid DRUMMOND nou adeu;
Quhais lyf furthsheu he lude thame by the lave.
Quhair sall we craiv sik policle to haiv?
Quha with him straiv to polish, build or plante?
These giftis, grant, God lent him by the laiv
All buildings brave bid Drummond now adieu,
Whose life demonstrated he loved them more than any other.
Where now shall we seek building and estate improvement?
Who with him strive to adorn, build or plant?
These gifts, I grant, God lent him more than any other.

In Scottish folklore, Drummond's second wife Marjorie Elphinstone has been identified as the subject of the story of the "Lady with the Ring". After the death of his grandson in 1636, Carnock was sold to the Nicolson family who became Barons of Carnock.

Preceded by
(1) William MacDowall (2) John Scrimgeour of Myres
Master of Work to the Crown of Scotland
Succeeded by
William Schaw


  1. ^ Register of the Privy Seal: HM Paton ed., Accounts of the Masters of Work, HMSO (1957), introduction.
  2. ^ Muir, William,. ed., Notices of the Local Records of Dysart, Maitland Club (1853), 6.
  3. ^ Grant, James, Memoirs and adventures of Sir William Kirkaldy of Grange, notes p.366.
  4. ^ The Scottish Antiquary, or, Northern Notes and Queries, vol. 10, no. 39, Edinburgh University Press (1896), 99-100, gives abbreviated family tree.
  5. ^ Rogers, Charles, History of the Chapel Royal, Grampian Club (1882), lxxviii.
  6. ^ Annals of Dunfermline 1501 - 1601 accessed 9 June 2007
  7. ^ Calendar State Papers Scotland: Register Privy Seal: Accounts of the Masters of Work, i, (1957), 310-314, and per indices
  8. ^ Fraser,William ed., The Red Book of Menteith, vol. 2, (1880), 419-421: Mylne, Rev. RS., Master Masons, (1893), 60
  9. ^ Carnock House is described; MacGibbon & Ross,(1887), ii, 490-496; RCAHMS Stirlingshire (1963), ii, 380-1
  10. ^ For Drummond's last payment as master of work and Schaw's first payment 1583 see NAS E22/6 f97r, f133v
  11. ^ James Kirk in Scotland Revisited, ed. Jenny Wormald, (1985).
  12. ^ The Scottish Antiquary: or Northern Notes & Queries, vol.8, no.29 (1893), 36


  • Drummond of Carnock, accessed 9 June 2007.
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