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.
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