MacKay of Ardoch

Tommy MacKay is 21st Laird and 1st Baron (MacKay) of Ardoch.

The ancient Barony of Ardoch is situated on the banks of the River Clyde between Dumbarton and Cardross. The family seat is Ardoch House, an Adam house which dates from the 1780s onwards, replacing former houses within the Barony from the 1300s.

The lands of Ardoch in the parish of Cardross were first granted by royal charter of Robert III to Finlaw Buntyn, 1st laird, in 1398, and Lyon Court has recognised its Baronial status as dating from that time. Ardoch was further elevated as a Royal Barony by Charter of Queen Anne to Nicol Bontine, 11th laird, in 1708, for services rendered to the Union. For almost 600 years, until 1987, Ardoch belonged to the same family. Originally the family of Bontine, it passed by entail to their cousins, the Grahams of Gartmore in 1770, who later took the name Cunninghame Graham.

The Barony covers most of the territory from the West of Dumbarton to the East of Cardross, and extends over some 2,000 acres. It also extends from the foreshore out into the Clyde for as far as a man ‘can ride and throw a spear at low tide’. Since the tide at Ardoch goes out for the best part of a mile from the sandy beach at Ardoch House, this is a considerable distance. It is marked by a small, rocky island visible only at low tide, on which the banner of MacKay of Ardoch flies.

The Barony of Ardoch has played a distinctive and also a distinguished role, not only in the national affairs of Scotland and later of the United Kingdom, but also in relation to Scottish life and character. Many of its Lairds and Barons have distinguished themselves in national life. Three deserve special mention: Robert Graham of GartmoreRobert Bontine Cunninghame Graham (Don Roberto) and Admiral Sir Angus Cunninghame Graham. There is a fourth person whom we must mention, for she is a great favourite of the MacKays of Ardoch, and that is Gabriela Cunninghame Graham. There are many others, not mentioned here, who have made an honourable and distinguished contribution to our Scottish and British way of life, from very diverse standpoints.