The Family History.The Family History and Genealogy of Laura and Elizabeth Henderson.The Family History and Genealogy of Laura and Elizabeth Henderson.
The Family History and Genealogy of Laura and Elizabeth Henderson.The Family History and Genealogy of Laura and Elizabeth Henderson.


Person Sheet

Name Reverend William DUNCAN I
Birth Date 7 Jan 1630
Birth Place Perthshire, Scotland
Birth Memo Near the Firth of Tay. The Firth of Tay is located on the east coast of central Scotland. (Source Darlene Homme gives dob 1627/28)
Death Date abt 1692
Death Place near Glasgow, Lanard, Scotland
Death Memo Many sources say Reverend Wm. was beheaded in Scotland, a religious martyr. [No supporting documentation to date.] One source gives date of death as 1662.
Residence Place Scotland
Residence Memo Probably near Dumfrieshire where he served as a minister.
Occupation Minister, New Kilpatrick, Dumfrieshire, Scotland (See Overview)154
Religion Episcopalian or Presbyterian (see Notes)
Nationality Scottish
Father John DUNCAN
1 Sarah (Susan) HALDANE
Birth Date 29 Aug 1630132
Birth Place Perthshire, Glasgow Scotland
Birth Memo Of the Gleneagles of Perthshire.
Nationality Scottish
Father Richard HALDANE (1609-)
Mother Mary KENNETT/KENNETH (1610-)
Marriage Date 29 Aug 1657152
Marriage Place Gleneagles, Perthshire, Scotland
Children William (1659-1720)
Charles (1662-)
Henry (1664-)
Thomas (1664-)
Mary (1666-)
2 Janet MACARTHUR155
Nationality Scottish
Marriage Memo See Comments
Children William (1659-1720)
Notes for Reverend William DUNCAN I
Was William Episcopalian or Presbyterian? Was he a martyr?
Excerpt from a letter written by J.A.C. Duncan, Local Studies Librarian
Perth & Kinross Council, Leisure & Cultural Services Department, Library & Archives Division
A K Bell Library, 2-8 York Place, Perth PH2 8EP
December 18, 1996

"...we have checked the 'Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae' but could find no mention of a William Duncan ever having been a minister of St. John's in Perth. In fact we checked every volume for the whole of Scotland and came up with only one possibly relevant entry (photocopy enclosed). Although he had no obvious connection with this part of Scotland he certainly died in 1692 and had a son William. The major drawbacks are firstly that there is no mention of him being executed and secondly, having been "outed at the Revolution", he was clearly an Episcopalian. This is at odds with the William Duncan who was martyred in 1692 for his adherence to Presbyterianism, although, having said this, Presbyterianism was the legal form of worship in the Church of Scotland at this time, which suggests that the date of 1692 is wrong."

Reverend William Duncan's ecclesiastical service
[Excerpted from a letter by librarian Helen MacArthur, see footnotes for additional source information]154,155
"To return to William Duncan, I can find no record of him ever having been appointed minister of any church in Perth. The ministers of the Church of Scotland have been thoroughly researched and their details are included in the Fasti Ecclesiastae, which is mentioned in the letter which you enclose. In fact details of only one William Duncan who was licensed as a minister in the Church of Scotland in the whole period were found, but his dates are surprisingly close to the ones which you give, and I suspect that he may be the same man, despite the very different details.

Although the details of appointments to parishes in the Fasti are very accurate, personal details are often incomplete and things like second marriages and the birth of children may not have been discovered. The parish of New Kilpatrick, to which this William Duncan was appointed, is in Dumbartonshire, about forty miles from Perth, but, as you have established that he was a native of that city, he would probably have made extensive visits to his relatives there, as was the custom at that period."

"It might be useful to give an outline of the ecclesiastical situation in Scotland during the seventeenth century. In the sixteenth century, the time of John Knox, Scotland had established a Presbyterian church, with every parish semi-autonomous, but attached to a local Presbytery which sent members to a general assembly in Edinburgh once a year. When King Charles II was restored to the monarchy in 1660 he forcibly imposed an Episcopalian system on the country, with bishops and archbishops over the local ministers. This was very deeply resented and the people of the country got together and signed two Covenants - the National Covenant and the Solemn League and Covenant, in which they set down their beliefs and vowed to adhere to them. They became known as the Covenanters, and the King, who believed that he ruled by divine right, classed them as traitors and instituted an intense persecution to force them to conform."

"In 1688 the ecclesiastical picture changed again. William of Orange overthrew James II and became King. He restored the Presbyterian system in 1689 and ministers who held genuine, rather than enforced Episcopalian views were 'outed', that is, deprived of their parishes and forbidden to preach. This seems to have been what happened to William Duncan, and it makes it clear that he had absolutely no Covenanting sympathies. It would also offer a good explanation of why his family left Scotland. They would have been generally ostracised and probably had strong objections to being forced to give up their particular religious practices, so they sought the freedom of the New World."154
Unconfirmed Relationship
At this point I don't see any solid proof that Reverend William Duncan was the ancestor of the Virginia Duncans. While it could be true, all I've found to support the assertion is family tradition; hardly convincing.

There was a Reverend William Duncan serving the parish of New Kilpatrick in Dumfrieshire
155 in the late 1600's (the only William Duncan in the ministry at the time) but there are no known records to support a marriage between that or any Reverend William Duncan and a Sarah or Susan Haldane (see Notes for Sarah Haldane). The Haldane family was prominant in the area of Perthshire and well documented. It seems unlikely that a Haldane marriage would have been unrecorded.

Nor have I seen any documents to prove that Reverend William Duncan married Janet MacArthur (which is not to say that they don't exist, only that I have not seen them). Information I have found asserts that these same records state that they had a son, William. I will need to see a lot of additional documentation before I would be willing to accept Reverend William Duncan or either of these women as the ancestor of Rawley Duncan of Virginia, my earliest confirmed Duncan ancestor. [LKH]
Family Tradition
(Ubiquitous on the internet and in Duncan books and newsletters)

"William was also known as the Reverend William Duncan. He fell martyr during the religious troubles that afflicted Scotland at the time Charles II was restored to the throne. William refused to take the Jacobite oath. He received his degree in theology from the Kings College at Aberdeen in 1648. When William was ejected from office for informing against members of the resistance to Episcopalianism, his children fled to Virginia where they settled in the region of Northern Neck."152
Comments Notes for Sarah (Susan) (Spouse 1)
Unconfirmed Relationship
Web Post
Susan or Sarah Haldane
by: Father John Date: February 12, 1999 at 05:42:17

The individuals of whom I most often get questions from my web page are Susan (or Sarah) Haldane and William Duncan.

I have searched the Old Parish Records of Scotland, "The Haldanes of Gleneagles" book, and my other records on the Haldane name compiled over 23 years and I have never found them, but I do offer the following information to those interested.

Since there are so few Haldanes with the given name, Richard, there is a possibility that this is an unrecorded line in the following family:

Richard Haldane of Gleneagles, son of James Haldane and Margaret Erskine, was born about 1525 and died November 1606. His wife's name is unknown, but he had 3 children recorded in the Gleneagles book: Ninian, Humphrey, and Agnes.

My notes on this Richard (from the Gleneagles book) are as follows:

"Mr. Richard, matriculated on 21st November 1589 in the College of St. Salvator, University of St. Andrews, graduated in 1541, and was licentiate, termed 'dives,' in the following year. The question of Richard's age is of some importance as giving a clue to the year of the marriage of his father, Sir James Haldane; the contract of which is dated December 1518. According to the canon law, incorporation in a university involved the taking of an oath, and this was forbidden to any one under the age of fourteen years. This would fix his parents' marriage as having taken place not later than 1523, at which time Sir James could have been little more than fifteen years old. It is possible, however, that the marriage of Sir James's father and mother, Sir John and Marjorie, may have taken place earlier than 1508-9.

Richard was a witness on 11th December 1545 to the contract between James Haldane and Stirling of Keir. He was a witness also to the contract of marriage of his nephew, George Haldane, and together with his own brother Robert was concerned in the matrimonial arrangements of another nephew, George's younger brother John. In these arrangements he is referred to, by a reliable and contemporary authority, as 'uncle' of John Haldane. Richard, as Sub-Dean of Dunkeld Cathedral, witnessed numerous documents between 1575 and 1584. While still holding that office he was granted on 1st March 1589 by David Erskine, Commendator of Inchmahome, who had married his niece, a lease of the teinds of various lands in the barony of Cardross. Before this date, on 29th November 1583, he had been given remission for the Raid of Ruthven. On 26th August 1592 he appears in a more militant guise than that of Sub-Dean, being by that date Constable of Stirling Castle, of which stronghold his cousin, John, Earl of Mar, was Keeper. During his tenure of that office the eldest son of James VI and Anne, second daughter of Frederick II of Denmark, was born in the castle, and on 30th August 1594 the christening service, which was attended by numerous foreign representatives, was held there. Richard was also Constable when James was in residence there shortly before he departed from Scotland to take possession of the English crown. He continued to retain that post until his death. In 1597 a contract was signed between him and Mar, to whom he assigned a tack of the teinds of the town and lands of Cowie. In return the earl engaged to pay him 160 Scots, and to 'hald, enterteny and sustein' the said Richard during his lifetime according to his 'accustomet manner and forme of entertenyment that he had had of onie tyme befoir of the said erle.' The contract further sets forth that the earl was to pay 600 merks at the first term after Richard's death in full satisfaction of the assignment made. This sum was eventually paid to Richard's natural daughter. In his will mention is made of the fact that there was due to him the silver duty of a portion of the lands of the sub-deanery of Dunkeld. His death occurred in November 1606, when he would be over eighty years old. It is not known whom he married, but he left lawful issue two sons."

His son, Ninian, is noted only with one son, James. But if he had more sons, it would be possible he named one Richard, after his father. My notes on Ninian:

"Ninian, who was master-porter of Stirling Castle in 1608, and held that post until his death, which occurred before 1662. On 2nd February 1608 he was admitted, gratis, a burgess of the burgh of Stirling at the request of Mr. Patrick Simson, minister, and the rest of the ministers 'quha were laitlie wairdit in the Castell, and the said Niniane maid faith as use is, and actit himself not to exerce the said libertie within the said Castell, under the pane of fourtie pounds toties quoties. These Presbyterian ministers, with others who were warded in Blackness, had attended the Assembly at Aberdeen in 1605, although the Privy Council, at James's instigation, had forbidden all persons to appear at such a meeting. For about one year the disobedient clergymen were detained in the castle by the King. On 23rd August 1618, John Spottswood, Archbishop of Glasgow, wrote from there to the Lord Chancellor (Alexander Seton, first Earl of Dunfermline) to inform him that he had been at Stirling on the previous Sunday, and understood from Mr. Patrick Simson (the same divine who had recommended Ninian to be made a burgess), that sum trouble is su[re] to arryse between the Erle of Mar his servantis and sum of my Lord Lynlithgow his friendis be occasion of ane insolence committet, as they say, be o[ne] Haddon, that is porter of the castil, quho has beatit a sonne of Mr Hary Levingston, minister of St. Ninians. . .' The Archbishop suggested that the parties should be warned to appear before the Chancellor and 'efter tryal, the offender be punischeit, for,' he added, 'I heir the young man thinkis not to complain esteming his remeid wilbe smal that way.' On 1st December 1618 Ninian got sasine of the lands of Mossyde. Before that date he had married Agnes Allen, by whom he had a son."

Of Richard's son, Humphrey, only this is recorded: "Humphrey is mentioned as a witness to a charter dated 1st March 1610, at which time he was a servant of John Anderson, tailor burgess of Stirling. He is named as executor of his father Richard's will."

There are no other Richards in the Haldane tree until 1856, when Richard Burdon Sanderson Haldane was born to Robert Haldane and Mary Elizabeth Burdon-Sanderson. This Richard was the brother of John Scott Haldane, the famous physiologist, who in turn was the father of John Burdon Sanderson (JBS) Haldane.

In the OPR marriage records, I find no Richard Hadden. There is one Richard Haddin who married Helene Sinclair 30 April 1663 in North Berwick, East Lothian. Also a Ritcherd Haddon who married Agnes Hoggone 12 Dec 1654 in Perth. The only Richard Haldane mentioned married Mary Maxwell 13 Feb 1853 in Barony, Lanark. A Richart Halden married Issobel Rudderfourd (probably Rutherford) 21 Dec 1705 in Peebles. And that is all I can find in the Marriage OPR.

In the OPR list I have compiled of children born to Haldane, Halden, Hadden, etc. names, there are 22 children listed with a father named Richard H. None of those children is named Susan or Sarah. But 19 of the births were in the 17th century (the other 3 being early 18th century). Ten of the children born to a Richard H. were born in Perth, four in Peebles, four in North Berwick.

One couple, Richard Haddin (also spelled Haddine) and Eupham Harlaw (Harlay, Harley) had Janett 1671 in Perth, John in 1673 Perth, Margaret 1675 Perth, John in 1678 Linlithgow, Christian in 1682 Stirling, and Patrick in 1686 Perth.

Another couple, perhaps the parents of this Richard and Eupham, were Richard Haddine and Agnes Hoggine (Hogvie) who had 5 children, all in Perth: Ritchard 1656, Agnes 1659, Elspeth 1662, Robert 1664, and James 1666.

None of these people is connected to Gleneagles that I can find.

In the OPR marriage data that I have compiled (no guarantee my data is complete, but it has been compiled from the LDS computer records), there is no one named Susan or Sarah H. married to anyone named Duncan. I also find only one William Duncan married to a Haldane/Hadden, etc., that being Margaret Hadden in 1738, St. Nicholas, Aberdeen.

That is all I can find on this Susan/Sarah Haldane, for whom I receive half a dozen queries a year.

An interesting side point is that the Duncans and Haldanes of Gleneagles did have a relationship in the 18th century. Alexander Duncan of Lundie married Helen Haldane (d, May 1777) and their son, Adam, succeeded to Gleneagles on the death of his cousin, George Augustus Haldane, in about 1799. He was forced to sell a great portion of the estate to pay debts and so the Gleneagles estate, once very large and prominent, fell to the small size remaining today. It eventually passed back to the Haldane descendants where it remains today.

This is the extent of the Haldane/Duncan connection as far as I can tell.

I hope this has been helpful and not too wordy for a note that really provides you with no definitive answers on the Susan or Sarah Haldane and William Duncan so many people seek.
Comments Notes for Janet (Spouse 2)
Unconfirmed Relationship
Last Modified 27 Jul 2004 Created 8 Feb 2007 Laura K. Henderson

Contents * Index * Surnames * Contact * Web Family Card


A subsite of

You can SEARCH THIS SITE using my search engine at

This family history is a work in progress collected and assembled by Laura Henderson. Please take a moment to read about my research to familiarize yourself with important caveats about the information contained on the site. I am continuing to research and add information on a regular basis, so check back frequently. To get the most from your visit, please take a moment to read over How to Browse this Site. If you can add to my information on any of the family lines you find on the site, please send me an email.

In the spirit of sharing the family history, please feel free to download any photos which are attributed to my collection. If you use any of my original writing, I would appreciate a footnote or a link back to my site. If I have failed to acknowledge proprietary research, please let me know where, so that I can add footnotes or remove the material.

This site is dedicated first and foremost to my grandmother Hazel Brooks Corder, and to the memories of Pearl Corder, Zella Corder, and Gladys Reed Montgomery.

Home || What's New || About My Research || Using this Site || Dropping Names || Surname Index


Site Design © 2007, Laura Henderson. Send questions or comments to