The spelling, Erslington, now being more in line with present usage, will help to distinguish father, James of Yrsyltoun, from son. He married Katherine daughter of his father's friend, the treasurer, Richardson, and her dowry was St. Mary's Isle with Grange, Torrs and Little Galtway with a 19 years lease or track of the spiritual property of the Priory. This included the stipends, lying idle, whilst there were no incumbents, of the parish churches of Galtway; Annoth and Kirkmadine, the last Church was in Wigtonshire, and included the tithes of the Priory lands.
On the 30th March 1551 Robert Richardson was raised to be Treasurer and Master of the Mint. According to M'Kerlie his ambitions were to accumulate money and to found a family, in which he succeeded. He purchased a great deal of land and left it to his two sons, Sir James of Smeaton, and Sir Robert of Pencaitland and to his daughter Katherine, her dowry when she married James Lidderdale.
In one of the manuscripts of the Maitland Club, Edinburgh this is recorded, "on the 7th July 1571, Mr. Robert Richardson, commendator of St. Mary's Isle, James Richardson, his son naturall, James Lidderdale, feuar of St. Mary's Isle and several others, the list being headed by Lord Glammis, had lands forfeited." It is natural to ruminate over this unexplained reverse and to wonder what caused it. Jealousy, justice or was it just a corrective?
We are all descended from him. He must have been an able, virile man of affairs or he would not have filled the important posts he held. Mary, Queen of Scots, having fled, had abdicated and her son, James VI, was an infant in the care of a Regency under Murray. It was in such circumstances that a charter, giving James possession of the Isle, was granted on the 4th August 1572, and was confirmed by the King on the 4th November 1573.
He was made a freeman and burgess of Kirkcudbright in 1580.
Evidently a staunch Reformer, for when Gordan of Lochinvar and Thomas McClellan were appointed Commissioners in 1580, within the Stewartry, to put into execution the new Ante Papal laws, James Lidderdale of the Isle was appointed to act with them. The laws were passed to combat the influence of the Jesuits and Priests at Court. The three named also called on inhabitants to subscribe to the Protestant National Bond and to the Confession of Faith. This explains the marriage and with it the possession of Church lands. He had three sons Thomas, Alexander, and John. The order in seniority of the last two is unknown.
Source: Robert Halliday Lidderdale, An Account of the Lowland Scots Family of Lidderdale, 1950.
On the 30th March 1558, [Robert Richardson] was raised to be Lord Treasurer, and Master of the Mint. His progenitors for several generations were citizens of Edinburgh. His ambition was to accumulate money, and found a family, in which he succeeded. He purchased a great deal of land, and left it to his two sons, Sir James Richardson of Smeaton, and Sir Robert of Pencaitland, and his daughter Katherine, who married James Lidderdale.
[On the 7th July 1571, Mr Robert Richardson, commendatore of Sanct Marie Yle; James Richardsone, his sone naturall; James Lidderdiall, feuar of Sanct Marie, and several others, the list being headed by John, Lord Glammis, had lands, &c., forfeited. - (MS. Maitland Club, Edinburgh, 1833).]
We next learn that, on the 4th August 1572, the lands belonging to the priory were granted by charter to James Lidderdale, and Thomas his son in fee farm, by Robert Richardson, described as usufructuar, and William Rutherfurd, perpetual commendator, which the king confirmed on the 4th November 1573. The first of this family to be found was Andrew Lidderdale, abbot of Dryburgh, A.D. 1489 to 1506. The next found was James Lydderdayll of Yrsyltoune (Berwick) in 1535. He was succeeded by James Lidderdail of Erslingtoun. He married Katherine, daughter of Robert Richardson, commendator, etc., of St Mary's Isle. From this marriage it would appear their connection with Galloway commenced. It is stated, however, in the Report of the Historical MSS. Commission on the St Mary Isle Papers, that the earliest charter is one dated by Robert Richardson in favour of Stephen Lidderdail, A.D. 1558.
It is not improbable that the surname was derived from the water of Leader in Berwickshire, from which is Lauderdale. The land then comprised the two and a-half merk land of St Mary's Isle, with the manor, wood, and fish yare of the same; the ten merk land of Grange, the ten merk land of Torrs, and seven and a-half merk land of Little Galtway, reserving from the last, eight acres for the minister of Galtway. There were also mills attached to the land. From Whitsunday 1574, the Lidderdales also received a lease for nineteen years of the tithes, revenues, and lands that appertained to the priory. The parish churches which belonged to it were Galtway (Gata), Anwoth, and Kirkmaiden, in Wigtonshire. The revenue was £307, 11s. 4d.
We next learn that, on the 25th October 1621, and 11th October 1627, Thomas Lidderdale, styled of St Mary, son of James Lidderdale, styled of Isle, had retour of Middle or Meikill Galtway.
On the 11th June 1586 Thomas Maclellan of Balmae borrowed three hundred merks from James Lidderdale of Isle (St Mary's), and infefted him in the six merk land of balmae (Meikle).
Source: P.H. McKerlie, History of the Lands and Their Owners in Galloway, 1878.
The Prior of St. Mary's Isle, like other priors, had a seat in Parliament. Robert Strivelin was the last prior, and after his death Robert Richardson, who also held the offices of Lord Treasurer and Master of the Mint, was presented to the Priory on 30th March 1538. He sat as Commendator in the Parliament of 1560. In 1572, Mr. Robert Richardson, Usufructuary, and William Rutherford, Commendator, granted to James Lidderdale, and Thomas, his son, the lands which belonged to the Priory. This grant was confirmed by a charter from the king, dated the 4th November 1573.
Source: M. McL., Harper, Rambles in Galloway, Chapter 6 - Dundrennan to Kirkcudbright, 1876.
There is one old volume of the Records of the Burgh Court [of Kirkcudbright], in which are a good many notices of interest. It contains the record of suits before the baillies, as well as copies of documents recorded for preservation.
The first entry of the ordinary proceedings of the Court, on 17th December 1576, is as follows:-' The quhilk day Barnard M'Cawel acclamis Elizabeth Hendersoun in certane cravings, contenit in ane acelame, quhilk he referris to hir aith at the next Court.' Then follows entries of proceedings at the instance of James Lidderdaill of (Isle St. Mary's Isle) against various persons on whom he made claims.
Source: M. McL., Harper, Rambles in Galloway, Chapter 7 - Kirkcudbright and Environs (Part 1), 1876.