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This page contains an edited extract from the following book. You are advised to read the original publication if you are seriously researching the content.

MEMORIALS OF ANGUS AND THE MEARNS by ANDREW JERVISE F.S.A.

PAGES 111 - 113

THE NAPIERS AND THE AGHLEKS OF AGHLEK.

The Napiers and the Afflecks of Affleck - Affleck Castle.

The Napiers make their first appearance in Scottish records in the year 1296, when John le Napier, of the county of Dumbarton, and another person of the name, from Peebles, together with ‘MATHEU le NAPIER de AGHELEK’, who is designed of the shire of Forfar, took the oaths of allegiance to King Edward I, while he sojourned at Berwick-upon-Tweed.  It is from John of Dumbarton that the noble family of the name and title of Napier of Merchiston claims descent, but, beyond the facts above stated, nothing is known regarding the Forfarshire baron or his family.

Aghelek, Affleck, or Auchenleck, as the name is variously written, is a property in the parish of Monikie, and soon after the appearance of this Matheu le Napier de Aghelek, a family assumed the surname; for, on 15th March 1306 ‘JOHN de AGHELEK’ did homage to King Edward for lands in the county of Forfar.  Except for the occasional appearance of the Afflecks as witnesses to local charters, there is little trace of them, although it is said that they held the property until about the middle of the seventeenth century, and were vassals and hereditary armour-bearers to the Earls of Crawford.  Several of the name were respectable burgesses in Dundee, and some of the old tombstones in the (Dundee) Howff bear their armorial bearings with quaint mottoes.  Of these inscriptions, the following, from the tomb of Archibald Auchinleck and his wife, dated 1647, may be quoted -

"Heir lyis entomb'd, who sprung of worthie race,
Match'd with the Prouest's dochter of this plaice;
Lived long in heimen's knot, though fates decried
For thame no chyld, yet heauens this want supplied
By good Balmanno, him brother, rether sonne,
Who honors nou his asshes with this tombe."

The Auchinlecks were followed in their property in Monikie by a family named Reid, one of whom was attainted in the year 1746 for his adherence to the House of Stuart.  The lands were afterwards bought by Mr. Yeaman, a bailie of Dundee, and by one of his descendants they were sold to Graham of Kincaldrum.  Latterly they became the property of Mr. Mitchell, railway contractor, by whose trustees they were sold in 1884.

The old Tower or Castle of Auchinleck, which was occupied by the Reids, is still in tolerably good preservation, and stands upon a rising ground to the westward of the Monikie Reservoir of the Dundee Water Commissioners: it is within a short distance of the Railway Station, and commands an extensive view.  It is a square building of four stories, exclusive of the flag-tower and cape-house, and has much the resemblance of a Border peel.  The hall and other chambers have vaulted roofs of stone, but the old ‘iron yett’ or grated door, said to have been of the same type as that at Invermark (Castle), has been lost sight of within the last fifty years.  The building is of ashlar, and seems to belong to the end of the fifteenth or beginning of the sixteenth century.  The chief apartment is on the third story.  Opening from it are two bed-closets, and an oratory, all in the thickness of the wall. In the oratory, which measures seven feet six inches by six feet two inches, a holy water-stoup, a piscina, and an ambry still remain, along with some architectural ornaments, which include a shield charged with three lozenges.  Mr. Ochterlony describes Auchinleck as "ane old high tower house, which is seen at a great distance at sea, and is used for a landmark by those that come in the river Tay."  It is surrounded by some venerable trees, and the walls are partly covered with ivy. The present mansion-house stands a very short distance south-east of the tower.

The Gaelic words "Auch-an-leac," signifying the field of the stone slabs or discs, may point to the nature of the free-stone in the parish.

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This page was updated - 09 December, 2014