The 1696 Poll Book for the parish of Auchterless lists no Robbs. This means that the first recorded mention that we have of a Robb in Auchterless is in 1740, when Alexander at Mains of Badenscoth had a son Peter. 

In 1696 George Gordon was the laird of Badenscoth (he was also one of the commissioners appointed to take up the poll, the others being William Medlrum of Haltoun and Patrick Meldrum of Templand). There is no separate tenant listed for Mains of Badenscoth, suggesting that Gordon and his family farmed it themselves: he had three adult sons, Alexander, George and William, together with various grassmen and grasswomen, millers, gardeners and servants, all living at Badenscoth. The tenancies associated with Badenscoth are Newtoune (Logie Newton?), Bruckles (Bruckhills), Ridhill (Redhill), Darley, Backehill or Baukiehill, Bogs, Scotakesfoord, Newbigging and Woodhead. The names of the tenants are as follows:

Newton – Patrick Low, Adam Durnie, George Smart, James Lamb, James Cruickshank

Bruckhills – George Norrie, George Hutcheon

Redhill – William Gerard, John Evine or Even, James Allan

Darley – Alxander Philip, Robert Gordon, John Wilsone, George Low, William Niven

Backehill – John Duncan

Bogs – Alexander Raeburne, Janet Steven, Janet Cumming

Scotackesfoord – Robert Cruickshank

Newbigging – James Allardyce

Woodhead – John Low

The Alexander Raeburn at Bogs is probably identical with the father of Mary and Barbara Raeburn, who married Alexander and James Robb of Mains of Badenscoth, in 1743 and 1750 respectively.

It’s interesting to see a Cruickshank (James) farming at ‘Newtoune’, if this is in fact Logie Newton, suggesting an unbroken line of Cruickshanks there down to the present day. The Robert Cruickshank at Scotackesfoord is probably a relative.

The tenancies associated with William Meldrum, laird of Haltoun, include ‘Haltouns portion of Fisherfoord’, but again there are no Robbs there. Confusingly, the laird of Blackford, Alexander Gellie, also had tenants at ‘Bakiehill’, ‘Reidhill’ and ‘Bruckles’, while at least one tenant in Fisherford is listed under ‘Bailie Smytoun’. There are also separate tenancies (I’m not sure who owned them) for ‘Logieoltoune’, ‘Hassewells’ and ‘Ladieboge’ (which included Bilbo). This all suggests that landowners did not own clear, geographically-defined territories, but that their properties could be scattered over a wide area. We know, for example, that George Gordon’s grandfather was a keen purchaser of properties.

Here’s a photograph of farm buildings at Mains of Badenscoth (via Geograph)

Mains of Badenscoth

© Copyright Anne Burgess and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence