LANDS AT CERES 1400 - 1438.

Ceres is the name of a small town in the parish of that name in Fifeshire, two-and-a-half miles south-east of Cupar - the country town - and it is worthy of note that the burial vault of the earls of Crawford is in Ceres town, and that Pitscottie, in Ceres parish, was owned during the earlier half of the 16th century by Robert Lindsay, a cadet of the noble family of Lindsay, and author of "Chronicles of Scotland" known by his name, Crawford Priory also, although now only the name of the modern castellated seat of the Earl of Glasgow, is but three o s four miles west of the town.

About the year 1400, not long after the death of Carncors at Gasklune, in the so-called Raid of Angus, Robert III granted a charter of the lands of Ceres, which were John Menzies', to Robert Cairncross. This charter is lost, but finds a place in "Robertson's Index of Missing Charters", where the word Feres is an evident misprint for Ceres or Seres, as it was spelled in olden times.

Again, in 1410, Robert de Carncors delivered up personally at Perth to Robert, Duke of Albany, governor of Scotland, one-third part of the baronies of Balcaly and Kyngerrok, in the barony of Seres, which land belonged to Robert de Carncors heritably.

In 1438 there is a charter-by John de Carncors of Balmachenare and Alexander de Carncors, his son and heir, to James Kymont of that Ilk, knight of three parts of the lands of Seres, Craighall, Calange, and Wester Pitscottie, in the barony of Seres, in exchange for the lands of Balcormo, which lie between Seres and Largo, though nearer Largo.


From this charter, which was confirmed by Robert, Duke of Albany, the governor in 1440, it is clear that the Cairncrosses were the owners of Balmashanner and these lands at Ceres at one and the same time. Indeed, Crawford, in his "Officers of State", says that the Cairncross family was in possession of Balmashanner as early as the reign of Robert II, and, as a matter of fact, on October 28th, 1371, Robert granted a charter of Balmashanner and Turbeg to John, the son of William, and his spouse Christiana.

As there is no subsequent charter of these places to anyone, we conclude that William, the father of this John, was a cadet of the de Carncors, and that up to this time, 1371, "de Carncors" was merely a surname belonging only to the actual owner of the place or land, and to no other. It had not become a hereditary family name, though by the year 1438, as we see above, it had been adopted as such, descending from father to sons and daughters.

So far as dates are concerned, John, the son of William, could have been the father of Robert de Carncors who obtained a charter of Ceres lands about 1400, and the grandfather of John de Carncors of Balmashanner, Thus in 1371 John the son of William may have been - probably was- about thirty years of age, and may have had a son Robert, five years of' age, who in the course of time may have married, about the year 1391, the heiress of' lands at Ceres, obtaining other lands there by charter about 1400. In 1395 Robert could have had a son John, who in 1417 could have had a son Alexander. Then in 1438 John de Carncors of Balmashanner would have been forty-three years of age, his son Alexander twenty-one, and his father Robert, if alive, seventy-two.

A glance at a large-scale map of Ceres district will show that Robert de Carncors must have had rather extensive properties there. There is no record that he remained for any length of time the owner of Balcormo, if indeed he ever took possession of it. Those Fife properties may have been found troublesome to manage, and they may have been delivered up in order to strengthen the position of the family at Balmashanner.

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