Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/361

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1326 A.D.]



the Bishop of St. Andrews came to inspect the works there was an outlay of 2s. 2d. for birchen boughs to strew their chambers withal.[1]

In addition to building operations undertaken for the defence of his kingdom, King Robert busied himself in providing a country house, and in the usual pursuits of a country gentleman, such as yachting, hunting, and farming. Instead of settling at his paternal mansion of Turnberry, he chose a spot in the district of the Lennox, which he ever held in affection because of its association with his early adventures. But the chief cause for fixing his residence on the Clyde, rather than in his native Carrick, was doubtless the easier access thence to Perth, at that time virtually the capital of Scotland. In 1326, then, the King of Scots gave his lands of Old Montrose to Sir David Graham, receiving in exchange some ground at Cardross, near Dunbarton, and the islands of Inchcailleach and Inchfad in Loch Lomond. By a further exchange of half the lands of Leckie in Stirlingshire, he obtained from his ancient ally, Malcolm, Earl of Lennox, two additional ploughgates of land at Cardross.[2] It was here, in this quiet recess on the riverside, that the King spent such leisure as he could snatch from business in his declining years, amid surroundings very different from the scene of

  1. Exchequer Rolls, i., 52 et passim.
  2. Much confusion existed in the ancient land measures. Under the Anglian system prevailing in Northumbria and the Lothians, a ploughgate consisted of 104 modern acres of arable land. But in the west the Celtic system survived for an indefinite time, and in the neighbourhood of Cardross the ploughgate may be supposed to correspond with the Gaelic arachor of 160 acres.