Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Houston Castle

Hugh de Pad'inan is the progenitor of the Houston clan*.

Painting done by Alexandar MacMillan

  After Hugh was knighted by Malcom the IV, King of Scotland, he built a castle near Edinburgh in Renfrewshire.  He also built a small village near the castle.  The natives called it Hugh's Town.  

When it became necessary to take on a surname, his son just took on the name of the town.  And that was how the Houston family was born.  

Hugh's Town --> Houstoun-->Houston

During the reign of Alexander III (1249-1286) the castle was considered one of the strongest fortresses in the country.

Maybe that's because it had a hidden staircase and a mile-long underground tunnel leading to another castle.  I think it would have made a great setting for a Scooby Doo episode.

The castle stayed in the family for 600 years.  In 1722, Sir John Houstoun the 3rd died leaving the estate in debt that would have been $283, 330 in U.S. money.  A baron whose estate is in debt?  Where have I heard that before?

So the castle was sold to the late John Houstoun's brother-in-law, John Schaw.  Who sold it to a guy from Jamaica, Sir James Campbell, who sold it to Mr. James Macrae.  James Macrae didn't like the village so close to the castle.  His solution?  Tear down three-quarters of the castle.  The walls were so thick it took gunpowder to get them to come down.

In 1782 Lady Ann Spiers bought what was left of the castle and built a home attached to it called the Houston House.

Now it looks like this.

I wonder if it still has that hidden staircase.

*Most of this information for this story is from a book "Ancestors and Descendants of James Houston and Margaret Crawford" written by Elaine Houston McPhie, published in 1987.

This post features:

Hugh de Pad'inan (1133-1189)

my 25th great grandfather

me-->Ruth Rasmussen Buchanan-->Alice Houston Rasmussen-->John Cooper Houston-->James Houston, Jr.-->James Houston, Sr.-->John Houston-->John Houston-->Gavin Houston-->William Houston-->Patrick Houston IV-->Ludovic Houston-->Sir John Houston--> Sir Patrick Houston III of that Ilk-->Sir John Houstoun II-->Knight Patrick Houstoun II-->Peter Houstoun-->John Houstoun I-->Patrick Houstoun I-->John de Houstoun-->John de Houstoun-->Robert de Houstoun-->Sir de Houstoun-->Finlay de Houstoun-->Sir de Houstoun of Houstoun Castle-->Sir Alexander Houstoun-->Hugh de Houstoun-->Reginald de Houstoun-->Hugh De Pad'inan


  1. We're distant cousins ... Very cool. My family goes all the way back to this line as well.

  2. Sir John is my 10th Grandfather.

  3. I am a great-great-great grandson of Sam Houston, and actually visited the estate and the house back in 1986. I have pictures from that trip still at my home in Virginia.

    1. I am a descendant of Gen Sam Houston also and if there was a Archibald Houston in his family would love to hear from you .b,

    2. I'm also a descendant of General Sam Houston

    3. I am also a Houston in Northern Virginia.

  4. Trying to find connection to Archibald Houston of Scotland decedents.. Wondering if any connection Gen Sam Houston also.

  5. Mcrae tore down 3/4 of the castle? Grrrrrr....

  6. James and margaret are my great grandparents. Add me on facebook if you'd like to chat: alice houston houston

  7. I am also a descendant of James Houston. However, the James I am related to, was a Presbyterian Minister who made the trip to the Colonies in the early 1700's, and in 1733, was the clerk for the Presbyterian Church in North America, based out of Philadelphia. The family made it to New York, and settled there.