No castle, but an island …

Back on the family history front again …

A few days ago I received an email from another Moncur – actually a Moncure – who’d found my blog posts and wondered if we might be related.

The answer, of course, is possibly, but how close is difficult to say – I’m still working on my father’s chain of descent to see who is connected to whom and who the various siblings were.

But one question that came up was whether the Moncur Castle by Inchture was anything to do with us.

Surprisingly, the answer is probably not.

Now I’ve driven past Inchture innumerable times and there used to be a sign for Moncur Pigs, and given our family’s farming connections in the area I kind of assumed we must have some vague connection to a pig farming business in the area.

What I didn’t know as there was actually a castle – or more accurately a ruined renaissance period tower house – called Moncur Castle.

A quick search of the web suggests however that the name is coincidental – the 1860 large scale Ordnance Survey map shows the area quite clearly:

moncur castle 1867 survey map

there’s a farmstead called Moncur, a Moncur burn and a ruined castle Moncur  – all of which kind of suggests that it’s the location that is called Moncur – perhaps after some previous leaseholder who’s dropped out of the historical record. It also means that the pig farm was named after the location and not the owner, and most probably has no family connection.

The Historic Scotland record is quite clear that the house and the land was in the hands of the Kinnaird family, which was still the case in the 1820’s as in this 1819 gazetteer entry for Inchture:

1819 gazateer for Inchture

But there is a Moncur island – actually two islands, East and West Moncoeur Island, first recorded by Lieutenant James Grant of the Royal Navy in 1800.

In his account of the voyage, he is quite clear that he named it for Captain John Moncur of the Royal Navy:

moncur's island

According to the New Jamaica Almancack of 1801, there’s only one John Moncur, listed as a serving naval officer, so I’m guessing that’s our guy.

Irritatingly John Moncur does not turn up in the Royal Navy Service Records held by the UK National Archives, most likely due to the fact that records before 1840 were not maintained systematically, but he has left a long enough tail behind him in other sources to get the rough shape of his career, as well as some evidence he shows up on the various genealogy websites, but if he is a relative, I can say we have an island or two …

About dgm

Former IT professional, previously a digital archiving and repository person, ex research psychologist, blogger, twitterer, and amateur classical medieval and nineteenth century historian ...
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1 Response to No castle, but an island …

  1. Pingback: Captain John Moncur | stuff 'n other stuff

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