Bill's Genealogy Blog

Bill Buchanan is a long-time genealogy enthusiast, living in Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada. This blog will describe my experiences as I research my family history and help others.

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Location: Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada

I am a retired online school teacher. I love family history. Since 2007, I have spent much of my time providing part-time support for the world's largest free family history site This is very rewarding. I have helped others with the Family Tree and related FamilySearch products.
Since April 2010, I have served in the Edmonton Riverbend Family History Centre. I have a FHC blog at Bill's Family History Center Blog For information the Latter-day Saints and family history click

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Kingdom of Kippen

While searching for something else, I came across this book online. I have long been familiar with the curious story of the "Kingdom of Kippen", a parish on the border of Stirlingshire and Perthshire Scotland, but this has a lot more information. Among other things, it tells how the Buchanans of Arnprior became known as the "Kings of Kippen".


THIS facetious "kingdom" was constituted in the reign of James IV, and came about in the following manner. Sir Duncan Forrester of Garden was comptroller of the King's household under James IV.
The Menzies were then proprietors of great part of the parish of Kippen, and of some part of that of Killearn.

Menzies of Arnprior, in that part of the former which is included in Perthshire, had a quarrel with Forrester of Garden, who, as Menzies was childless, insisted that he should either settle his estate upon him by testament, or instantly withdraw from it. Menzies applied to [clan chief] Walter Buchanan of Buchanan, and offered to leave Arnprior to one of his sons if he would defend him from Forrester.

Buchanan accepted the offer, and sent his second son, John, with a dry nurse, to live with his adoptive father.
On hearing this, Forrester came to Arnprior, in Menzies' absence, and ordered the nurse to carry back the child, otherwise he would burn the Castle of Arnprior about their ears. The woman, however, setting him at defiance,and threatening him with her master's vengeance, intimidated him, and he did not make good his word.


John Buchanan became proprietor of Amprior, and afterwards the noted "King of Kippen," a phrase which originated in the whimsical episode between himself and James V, who, it may be explained, was fond of travelling in disguise under the title of "The Guid Man o' Ballengeich," after the steep path leading down from the Castle of Stirling.

The story has been variously put. It is shortly this : — The King, with his nobles, was residing in Stirling Castle, and having sent a party for some deer to the hills in the neighbourhood of Gartmore, on their return to Stirling with the venison they passed through Arnprior, where they were attacked by the chief, and relieved of their burden. On expostulating with Buchanan for so ruthlessly taking from them what belonged to the King, Buchanan replied that if James was King in Scotland, he was King of Kippen.

The messengers reporting the circumstance to the King, he, relishing a joke, resolved to wait on his neighbouring majesty of Kippen, and rode out one day with a small retinue from Stirling. Demanding admittance at the palace of Arnprior, he was refused by a fierce-looking warrior standing at the gate with a battle-axe sloped on his shoulder, who told him there was no admission, as his chief was at dinner with a large company, and could not be disturbed at that time.

"Tell your master," said James, " 'the Guidman of Ballengeich' humbly requests an audience of the King of Kippen."

Buchanan, guessing the quality of his guest, received His Majesty with the appropriate honours, and became so great a favourite that he had leave to draw upon the carrier as often as he pleased, and was invited, as "King of Kippen," to visit his brother sovereign at Stirling.


In my mind's eye, I can vividly see the tough old nurse, telling-off the bullying nobleman and evicting him from the castle!

If I remember correctly, Sir Walter Scott's telling of the hijacked venison incident is a little more colorful, but it is an amusing story regardless who is telling it.

The "Kingdom" as seen today

Merry Christmas, and may you have joy and success in 2015. 


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