The McMains of Dunbartonshire

The McMains are a sept of Colquhoun and had been loyal servants of the Colquhouns for generations. The origins of the name are from 'son of Magnus '. The spelling of the name, like so many others, changed every time it was written down, although it obviously refers to the same persons.  As early as 1521 we find John McMaines listed among the witnesses to a deed of Sasine to the lands of Tullichintuall to Sir John Colquhoun of Luss. The document, written in Latin, lists the witnesses as Robert Culquhoun, Rector of Dunbar, John Culquhoun, Canone in Glasgow, Archibald Culquhoun, Roberto Culquhoun domino iunger de Camstradone, Murdaco Steward, Andrea Denzelston, and Johannes McMenis seriando (servants). 

ln 1535, like many other parts of Scotland, feuds were rife in the Dumbartonshire area. Humphrey Galbraith and some accomplices killed William Stirling of Glorat, Deputy keeper of Dumbarton Castle. They were 'put to the horn' (declared outlaws) and it was forbidden to give assistance to them. Adam and Patrick Colquhoun, sons of Sir John Colquhoun of Luss, and twenty five others were summoned to appear before the Justice Aire in Dumbarton accused of resetting and supplying, intromitting and assisting Galbraith and his accomplices. On 25th July 1535 some apparently failed to appear but it was noted that "Sir John Colquhoun of Luss and Donald MacManys were proved to be sick 

In the will of Agnes Boyd, second wife and widow of Sir John Colquhoun of Luss dated 1588, among the assessments of her estate in the will is an item owing by John 'McManes '. "item" Awin by John McManes in Schanklane for one boll meill of the foirscoir ane zaeiris crope, the sowme of thrie pundis mane. lt is not certain yet where 'Schanklane' refers to, (perhaps Shantron?) but obviously in the year 1581, he had not paid 'one boll of meal', probably part of his rental which amounted to £3.00. 

After the battle in Glenfruin in 1603, a deposition was taken at Dunglass Castle, from one highlander, Donald MacGlashan, who had bought some stock stolen from the Colquhouns by the victors of Glenfruin. He informed on those who had bought goods and gear from the MacGregors who had stolen it in their murderous attack on the people in Glenfruin. Alexander Colquhoun, the current chief called in a notary public to take the statement in front of witnesses. Once again among the witnesses was one Robert Makmaines, servant to Alexander Colquhoun, Laird of Luss. 

In the town accounts of Dumbarton for l6l9, we find Patrick MacMaines receiving payment for his trade as a 'cowper' (cooper). He made three half barrels to take herring, and received 36 shillings for his work. Other entries occur during the years 1620, I622, 1623 1629 and 1634 showing that he received payment from the burgh council for work undertaken as a cooper, usually the dressing or making of firlots. 

A firlot' was a measure of capacity, being a quarter of a 'boll '. Most readers will have forgotten about 'bushels & pecks', but a firlot' was just over 1 bushel. There was much confusion and diversity in Scottish weights and measures and it was not until1661 that some form of 'standardisation' was imposed. They kept the standards at different towns, the 'linear' measure and weight measure being kept in Edinburgh. The jug' measure for liquids and dry goods was kept at Linlithgow, but still was not standardised. ' A Scots 'gallon' was the equivalent of more thant hree Imperial gallons. 

During the turbulent times of the struggle between King Charles and the people, during the 1640's, a national tax was put on the people to raise money to support the armies. The 'Stent Roll' showed that Patrick Macmains was assessed at £1.7s.Od. Bessie MacMonies was assessed at 12 shillings. In 1644, a 'wappenshaw' was ordered, this meant a review of men and weapons be held in the district. The council had to provide weapons for those who did not possess them. The provost commanded that the sum of £9.00 be paid to Patrick McMaynis for a musket and bandolier. 

ln December 1644 William McMaynis was given 12 shillings for drink money for carrying a letter to Stirling. During this period Dumbarton Castle was held for the General Assembly, but much of the war bypassed the town. The population of the town at that time was less than one thousand, perhaps less than 180 families. The accounts for 1647 show that £1.4s.Od was paid to the son of Patrick McMaines for carrying letters from the town of Dumbarton to the Captain of Carrick in Argyll. 

In 1651 whilst the Parliamentarians were in Scotland, Patrick received £2. 12s.Od for supplying quarters for two men and three horses, providing supper and breakfast. However from February till April 1651, Colonel Campbell's Regiment of Dragoons were quartered on the town, then twelve troopers of Lieutenant Colonel Hamilton's regiment were quartered there, and again a Roll of payment was drawn up listing the amounts due from the inhabitants of the town for the expenses. Patrick M'Mcmus had to pay £4.0s.0d. 

In 1655 he again received money for giving overnight accommodation for a soldier on his way from Stirling to Dumbarton CastIe. From hereon the references in records of McMains seem to disappear, and the older spelling of the name seems to change. 

In the Dumbarton area, the inhabitants seem to have settled on 'McManus' as the standard spelling of the name. There is little trace of these people in this area from the mid 17th century. The name McMains appears in the north of England during the 19th century, but only in isolated cases. lt seems commoner in Ireland by this period and it may well be that the McMains took part in the migration to Ulster during the Plantation or the troubled times between 1660 and 1688. We do still have members of the Society who bear the name in its older form. 

Variations of spelling of the name are listed below. 

McMaines, M'Manus, McMaynis, Macmains, MacManies, McManes, MacManys, McMenis, Makmaines.