Home » A Timeline of Galloway and Northern Ireland

A Timeline of Galloway and Northern Ireland

Understanding the McCullochs in their historical and geographical context.

All dates approximate.

8,500 BC

Cramond Settlement

Archaeological evidence indicates hunter gathers settled near Edinburgh.

Cairnholy and Torhouse Standing Stones

Two 4th millenium BC chambered cairns with standing stones are built in Galloway. Per oral traditions, legendary Briton King Galdus is buried at Cairnholy or the Torhouse Standing Stones.

4th Millenium BC
1000 BC

Eildon Hill

Bronze Age hill fort in Scottish Borders, occupied about 1000 BC.

Pre-Roman britain

Before the Romans, Galloway populated by Britonnic tribes described as Selgovae, Novantae, and possibly Picts. Their Celtic language likely related to modern Welsh.

0 AD
71 AD


Romans invade Caledonia. Around 81, Agricola views Ulster while “crossing into trackless wastes” of Galloway Peninsula.

Mons Grapius

Agricola defeats Briton Calgacus and subdues tribes of Briton.


Hadrian’s wall

Construction of Roman wall along frontier between Roman control and undefeated Northern tribes. Western end of wall reaches Solway Firth.

Antonine Wall

A second Roman wall further north between Firth of Forth and Firth of Clyde.


Sarmatian Auxiliaries

Marcus Aurelius stations 5,500 Sarmatian soldiers in Britain, including some at Drumlanrig, Dumfries and possibly elsewhere in Scotland.


In “Geography,” Ptolemy writes of Rerigonium (a very royal place). The location seems to be near Stranraer western Galloway.

2nd Century
Late 4th Century

Niall of the Nine Hostages

Legendary High King of Ireland, Niall of the Nine Hostages, commences Ui Neill domination of northern Ireland for centuries.

St. Ninian

St. Ninian establishes first church in Scotland at Whithorn, Galloway.


Roman Rule Collapses

Romans leave Britain.

St. Patrick

St. Patrick establishes his first church at Armagh, Ireland.


Rheged of the Old North

The Briton Kingdom of Rheged, part of King Coel’s “Old North” (Hen Ogledd) rules Cumbria, northwest England, and Galloway.

Elmet of the Old North

Upon death of King Urien of Rheged, Briton King Gwallog of Elmet may have led incursions as far north as Galloway and Dumbarton Rock.

5th century to 627
5th to 9th Century

Kingdom of Dal Riata

The Gael kingdom of Dal Riata expands from northern Ireland to Argyle (north of Galloway).


Vikings, Angles, and Dal Riatan Gaels are settled in Argyle to the north of Galloway. Presumably some Gaelic settlement in Galloway occurred. Here the Gaels are also known as “Scotti.”


Spread of Christianity among Britons

Ceretic, Briton King of Alt Clut at Dumbarton Rock corresponds with St. Patrick and appears to be a Christian.

Sub Roman Hen Ogledd

Four Celtic Briton Kingdoms dominate northwest England and southern Scotland, including Alt Clut, Rheged, Goddodin, and Elmet.


St. Columba

St. Columba begins Christian missions in Scotland, then establishes abbey at Iona.

Trusty’s Hill

Located a mile from Gatehouse of Fleet, this hill fort appears to have been an important Rheged stronghold. Later it is vitrified. The site has Briton or Pictish stone carvings.


The angles are coming! The angles are coming!

Angle King Aethelfrith of Bernicia defeats Dal Riatans. Angle rule extends to parts of Galloway.

Battle of Chester

King Aethelfrith of Northumbria defeats Britons. This loss may have severed The Old North from the Britons in Wales, Cumbria, and Cornwall.


Battle of StrathCarron

King Owain of the Alt Clut Britons defeats and kills King Domnall Brecc of the Dal Riatan Gaels. Later Dal Riata becomes client of Northumbria.

Picts Defeat Dal Riatans

Pictish leader Unust defeats Dal Riatans, sending Dal Riata into further demise.


Kenneth Mac Alpin

Dal Riatan King Kenneth mac Alpin conquers Pictland, unites the two kingdoms, and becomes progenitor of Kingdom of Alba.

Vikings sack Dumbarton Rock

Norse Gael Vikings invade Alt Clut and sack Dumbarton Rock, beginning a Norse Gael settlement in the region.

9th-10th Century

Gaelicisation of galloway

Galloway, commonly accepted to refer to Gaels living among foreignors (or foreign Gaels), is Gaelicised by settlement of Gaels and Norse Gaels.

Kingdom of Strathclyde

Despite the sacking of Dumbarton Rock, the Briton Kingdom of Strathclyde (formerly known as Alt Clut) reaches its peak in the mid 10th century. Cumbric (p Celtic) remains in use possibly as late as the 13th century.


Brian Boru

Brian Boru becomes High King of Ireland.

Suibne mac Cináeda

The first Lord of the Gall Gaidheil (Norse Gaels). This term term is first recorded in the mid 9th century and is the origin of the name “Galloway.” Suibne’s name may indicate he descended from the House of Alpin.

Before 1034

“Scots” Defeat Kingdom of Strathclyde

The Picts and Dal Riatan Gaels joint forces of the Kingdom of Alba defeat the Kingdom of Strathclyde and bring it under Scot rule.

Echmarcach mac Ragnaill

The second “Lord of Galloway” who at times ruled Dublin, the Isles, and the Rhinns of Galloway.

Before 1065

Norman Invasion of Britain

William the Conquerer, Duke of Normandy, conquers Britain.

THe Brus Arrival

Robert de Brus, later 1st lord of Annandale, arrives in Scotland along with King David I (Prince of Cumbria, then King of Scots) following King David’s exile in England. David was son of Malcolm III, King of Scots, and Saint Margaret of Scotland (English Princess Margaret of Wessex).


Battle of the Standard

Prince Ulgric of the Strathclyde Britons killed leading undisciplined contingent of Galwegian soldiers in King David I’s attempt to gain lands in Northumberland.

“Scots” Language

The “Scots” Germanic language diverges from “English.” Scots placenames indicate Scots language was in use in Galloway by end of 13th century. Later Scots was the language of the Scottish Reformation.

mid 12th Century

Fergus, Lord of Galloway

Fergus, 1st Lord of Galloway dies. Fergus’ origins are unknown. His wife was believed to be a daughter of English King Henry I. In 1136, Fergus witnessed a charter of King David I.

William the Lion, King of Scots

William I, Earl of Northumbria and Earl of Huntington, then King of Scots, was the second longest ruling Scot king (behind James VI). Grandson of King David I, son of Anglo-Norman Ana de Warenne (wife of Prince Henry of Scotland; great granddaughter of Henry I of France).


Norman Invasion of Ireland

England declares lordship over Ireland.

Treaty of Falaise

William the Lion captured following invasion of Northumbria. Forced to sign treaty by his cousin, King Henry II of England recognizing English dominion over Scotland. Later, the treaty prompts rebellion against William in Galloway.


Lord of Galloway Succession

Gille Brigte mac Fergus brutally murdered his brother Uchtred mac Fergus. Uchtred was a close ally of the Kingdom of Scotland, but Gille Brigte favored English rule in Galloway.

1st Earl of Ulster

King Henry II names Norman John de Courcy 1st Earl of Ulster.


William the Lion Subdues Galloway

William the Lion subdues the revolt in Galloway regarding the Treaty of Falaise (after consultation with King Henry II).

LochlanN, Lord of Galloway

Lochlann mac Uchtred (Roland fitz Uhtred) was son Uchtred and his wife of Anglo-Saxon noble Gunhilda of Dunbar. He married Norman noblewoman Helena de Morville. Lochlann supported English and French colonization in eastern Galloway. Andrew McCulloch speculates that some McCulloch lands were granted by Lochlann in return for their service.


Alan, Lord of Galloway

Alan fitz Roland becomes Lord of Galloway and Constable of Scotland. Alan participated in English colonization of Ulster, and aided Scottish king in pacification of southwestern and northern Scotland.

Thomas of Galloway Adventures in Ireland

Thomas, son of Lochlann of Galloway (and ally of King John of England) accompanied sons of Somerled with 76 ships to sack the city of Derry. He was conscripted by King John to conquer Ulster in exchange for lands in Antrim, Londonderry, and Tyrone.


Thomas of Galloway and the end of Independent Galloway

Upon the death of his older brother Alan of Galloway, the “Community of Galloway” supported Thomas (illegitimate son of Uchtred) as Lord of Galloway, to ensure Galloway remained independent. Thomas’ father’s father in law, Hugh de Lacy, Earl of Ulster provided some support to Thomas. The latter’s supporters revolted against Alexander II, King of Scots for meddling in Galwegian affairs. Alexander prevailed over Thomas and too advantage of the three claims of the husbands of Alan’s daughters to divide then conquer Galloway.

Scottish Interregnum

Following death of Alexander III, King of Scots, the Scottish throne is vacant.


King EDward I Chooses John Balliol

King Edward I of England shrewdly positions self to choose the next King of Scots. He selects John Balliol, son of Gaelic princess Lady Devorghuilla of Galloway (daughter of Alan of Galloway). Due to local allegiance, McCullochs back John Balliol’s bid for the Scottish throne.

First War for Scottish Independence

The war for Scottish Independence begins with King Edward I sacking Berwick-on-Tweed, then a Scottish town.


McUlaghs Sign Ragman Rolls

The earliest known written record of the name that becomes McCulloch is the signing by Thomas, Michael, and William McUlagh of the Ragman Rolls, wherein landed gentry and nobles pledge their fealty to Edward I.

Battle of Stirling Bridge

Andrew Moray and William Wallace lead Scots in the defeat of the English forces at Stirling Bridge.


Sheriff of Wigton

Sir Thomas McUlagh is appointed Sheriff of Wigton. According to George Black, his seal bears the image of a squirrel.

Rise of Bruce

Robert de Brus murders his rival John Comyn, then quickly seizes the Scottish crown.


Battle of Bannockburn

The army of Robert the Bruce defeats the forces of King Edward II of England in a pivotal battle.

Balliol Exile

Sir Patrick McCulloch, a loyal ally of Edward Balliol (pretender to the Scottish throne), joins Balliol in exile in England.

Early 14th century

Declaration of Arbroath

Supporters of Bruce sign the Declaration of Arbroath, which sets out mythical history of the Scots, and makes the case for Scottish Independence.

Balliol Service

William McCulloch serves in Edward Balliol’s army in Balliol’s attempts to gain the Scottish throne.


In The Service of the English King

Sir Patrick McCulloch, first recorded owner of Myretoun, begins receiving a series of financial payments for his service to King Edward III of England. These payments continue through as late as 1362.

Myretoun Forfeited

Sir Patrick McCulloch’s Myretoun lands are forfeited due to English service. Patrick receives ongoing financial compensation for the loss of his lands until they are later restored.


More McCullochs in English Service

Gilbert McCulloch, valet of Edward III, received a daily stipend until his forfeited Scottish lands were restored. Similarly, English records indicate Thomas and Michael McUlagh were to receive daily financial support until their lands were restored.

mcCullochs At Durham

Sir Patrick, sons John, Patrick, and Christopher, fight alongside the English against the Scots at the Battle of Durham. At the Battle of Neville’s Cross, David II, King of Scots is captured by forces of King Edward III.


Balliol Land Grant

Edward Balliol grants some lands in Galloway to Sir Patrick McCulloch, but these were later forfeited as Bruce forces reclaimed Galloway.

Lands Restored

After King David II is released from captivity and the death of Edward Balliol, Sir Patrick McCulloch entered the Scottish king’s peace, then returns to Scotland. Sir Patrick, Gilbert, and Thomas negotiate for the restoration of their lands. It is likely one half of such lands were restored, and the other half were escheated to the Scottish crown.


The Douglas Lords of Galloway; Gaelic Decline

King David II appoints Archibald the Grim Douglas to be Lord of Galloway to secure the region under Scottish control. The Black Douglases build Thrieve castle near Castle Douglas. This begins the ascendancy of the Douglases in Galloway. The McCullochs eventually become allies of the Douglases. Gaelic begins its decline as “Scots” speakers settle in Galloway.

CardOness Castle

The McCullochs purchase Cardoness Castle. Later, Cardoness Castle is constructed in the 15th century.

15th Century


Normond McCulloch grants lands at Ardwell (on the Rhinns of Galloway) to Archibald McCulloch.


Sir Thomas McCulloch witnesses a Douglas charter, indicating the McCullochs are on favorable terms with the Black Douglases.


Margaret Stewart

Margaret Stewart, Countess of Douglas, Duchess of Touraine, begins rule over Galloway. She names her chancellor, John McCulloch, provost of Lincluden.

Lord of the Isles grants Highland land to Alexander McCulloch

Alexander, Lord of the Isles and Earl of Ross, grants Alexander McCulloch lands in Scarvie, Plaidis and other lands in Tain.


Burning of Dunskey Castle

Alexander McCulloch of Myretoun, acting as sheriff depute of Galloway, burned Dunskey Castle, pillaged Archibald McCulloch’s Ardwell Castle, and stole Archibald’s cattle. Later Archibald McCulloch was murdered by Patrick McCulloch, who in turn was then murdered.

Royal Confirmation of McCulloch Lands

King James IV confirms the McCulloch ownership of lands in Wigtonshire which had originally been granted by King James III.


Symon McCulloch Land Grant

Symon McCulloch received a 6½ merk land of Kerinwalkok in Wigtownshire in return for service to the King.

A Royal Visitor to Myretoun

Alexander McCulloch, Laird of Myretoun, led a procession “carrying the Host” when King James IV made a pilgrimage to Whithorn.


Myretoun, Burgh of Barony

King James IV makes Myretoun a burgh of barony in appreciation of Alexander’s hospitality toward the King on his visits at Myretoun on the King’s pilgrimages to Whithorn.

Sir Alexander McCulloch of Myretoun

Sir Alexander McCulloch of Myretoun, also known as the “Cutlar” was knighted. Alexander was a favorite of King James IV, and was his personal falconer, as well as the captain of Linlithgow palace. Alexander was also briefly the Sheriff of Wigton. Later he was awarded the royal badge, “Unicorn Pursuivant.”


The Cutlar

Cutlar McCulloch engages in several raids on the Isle of Man in retaliation for the raid on Kirkudbright by Thomas, Lord of Man.

The Rough Wooing

The “Rough Wooing” by Henry VIII to force Mary Queen of Scots to marry his son, Edward.


Mary Queen of Scots

Mary Queen of Scots returns to Scotland following exile in France. The McCullochs were leading supporters in Galloway.

McCulloch Supporters of John Knox

Despite the McCullochs of Myretoun support of Mary Queen of Scots, the McCullochs of Barholm appear to have had different allegiances. After applauding murder of a confidant of Mary Queen of Scots, John Knox believed to have taken refuge at the McCulloch of Barholm estate.


Myretoun & Cardoness Combined

William McCulloch inherits Myretoun. Then in 1584 he marries Marie McCulloch, heiress of Cardoness, thus doubling his land holdings. Nevertheless, he suffers financial disaster, perhaps through mismanagement.

Ulster Rebellion to English Rule

Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone, leads a rebellion against re-energized attempts by Tudor monarchs to subjugate Ulster.


Ardwell Combined with Myretoun/Cardoness

John McCulloch of Ardwell then of Myretoun became the largest landowner in Wigtonshire.

Ulster Plantation Begins

The Protestant colonization of Ulster begins. Around 1609, James McCulloch of Drummorrell takes up 2,000 acres in Donegal. About this same time, Alexander McCulloch of Myreton settles in County Antrim.


FLight of the Earls

Following the defeat at the Battle of Kinsdale, Hugh O’Neill, 2nd Earl of Tyrone, and Rory O’Donnell, 2nd Earl of Tyrconnel, along with about 90 followers went into exile in hopes of raising an army to expel English forces from Ireland. This marked the end of the Gaelic political and social order in Ulster.

Royal Physicians

Brothers, Dr. John McCulloch and Dr. James McCulloch, each of Myretoun, served as physicians to King James I. Previously, Dr. John McCulloch had been physician to Rudolf the Holy Roman Emperor.


The Origins of an Antrim Line

Laird Alexander McCulloch of Myretoun sells the barony of Cardoness, then leaves Myretoun in care of John McCulloch of Ardwell and Alexander’s sister (John’s wife) Elizabeth McCulloch. Alexander moves to Antrim and is the progenitor of the McCulloch Antrim line.


The McCulloch clan chief of Myretoun was elevated to the rank of Baronet.



Alexander McCulloch and his wife Anna Ferguson are arrested for participating in a Covenanter disruption of a Presbyterian service at Stoneykirk. Alexander is later fined for his participation, but is not believed to have been an ardent covenanter. (This church is believed to have been founded in the 12th century by support of the McCullochs of Ardwell).

Cromwell Fortifies St. John The Baptist Church, Ayr

Oliver Cromwell seized then fortified St. John the Baptist Church (built by 1233). McCullochs of Drummorrell then Ayr were baptised in this church for about a century.


McCulloughs of Ireland

According to the 1659 Irish census, the names McCullough, M(a)cCullagh and M(a)cCullough are among the most common surnames in the baronies of Antrim, Belfast, Carrickfergus and Toome in County Antrim, and Lower Iveagh in County Down.

Baron of Nova Scotia

Alexander McCulloch of Myretoun purchases the title of Baron of Nova Scotia.


Major John McCulloch and the Pentland Rising

Covenanter Major John McCulloch of Barholm was condemned to death and executed for his involvement in the Pentland Rising.

Galloway Cattle

Gattleway cattle breed originated, the most famous of which is the Belted Galloway.

17th Century

The Killing Time

Conflict between Presbyterian Covenanters and Kings Charles II and James VII.

Sir Godfrey McCulloch administers the Test oath

Sir Godfrey McCulloch, an anti-covenantor, is appointed Sheriff depute of Stranraer and was commissioned to administer the anti-covenanter “Test Oath” throughout Wigton pledging loyalty to King Charles and the “Protestant religion and Confession of Faith.”


Godfrey’s Financial troubles

Sir Godfrey McCulloch of Myretoun, Baron of Nova Scotia, sells Myretoun barony to Sir William Maxwell. Six years later he sells the Ardwell barony.

The Murder of William Gordon

Godfrey McCulloch kills his neighbor and creditor William Gordon during a fracas stemming from Godfrey’s cattle wandering onto Gordon’s land.


The Glorious Revolution

King James II, king of England, Scotland and Ireland, deposed in Glorious Revolution.

Siege of Derry

Supporters of King James II, called Jacobites, attempt to regain control of Ireland. This leads to the unsuccessful Jacobite Siege of Derry.


Battle of the Boyne

The forces of William and Mary, King and Queen of England, defeat the Jacobite supporters of deposed King James II.

Sir Godfrey meets the Maiden

Sir Godfrey McCulloch was the last person executed on the Scottish guillotine called the Maiden. The story was romanticized in Sir Walter Scott’s “Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border” published in 1802. Godfrey’s remaining personal property was escheated to the Crown. Godfrey’s financial ruin spread to his McCulloch cousins, many of whom were his personal guarantors.


Darien Scheme

Beginnings of the disastrous Darien scheme, an investment in proposed the New Caledonia real estate development in Panama, which led to the depletion of much of the wealth of lowland Scotland.

The last chief

Sir Gilbert McCulloch of Ardwall, son of Sir Godfrey McCulloch, dies in Flanders. Gilbert was the last chief of Clan McCulloch. The McCullochs are recognized now as an armigerous clan, having no current chief.


Act of Union

The crowns and governments of Scotland and England are formally united. The Act finds little popular support in Scotland.

Jacobite Rising

The woefully unsuccessful attempt by James Francis Edward Stewart to regain the thrones of Scotland, Ireland, and England.


Battle of Culloden

The devastating defeat of the Highland Jacobite supporters of Prince Charles Edward Stuart (“Bonnie Prince Charlie”) and his bid for restoration of the Stewart monarchy.

Highland Clearances

Exacerbating the collapse of Highland clan society following the disaster at Culloden, Highland landlords cleared their lands of unprofitable tenants to make way for more profitable sheep husbandry.

18th-19th Century
18th-19th Century

Lowland Clearances

Lowland landlords, like their Highland counterparts, evicted tenants in order to raise sheep and cattle. This came on the heels of the Act of Union and the English Crown’s attempt to stamp out the Border Reiver culture of the Debateable Lands along the Scottish Borders.


John McCulloch of Barholm founds the planned village of Creetown, which became of burgh of barony.


David McCulloch and his Literary Friends

David McCulloch of Ardwell befriended and corresponded with Robert Burns. David was also a “favorite” acquaintance of Sir Walter Scott and visitor to Abbotsford.


Elizabeth McCulloch, daughter of David McCulloch, married Thomas Scott, brother of Sir Walter Scott.


John MacCulloch, Geologist

The Scottish government commissions John MacCulloch to prepare a geological map of Scotland.

John Ramsay MCCulloch, Economist

John Ramsay McCulloch of Auchengool appointed the first professor of political economy at University College London. Formerly an editor of the “Scotsman” newspaper. Later in 1838, appointed by Lord Melbourne, to the Comptrollership of the Stationery Office.


Horatio McCullloch, RSA, Famed Landscape Artist

Landscape artist Horatio McCulloch, RSA, exhibits with Royal Scottish Academy.


The Court of Lord Lyon granted Major General, Sir Andrew Jameson McCulloch , all rights to use a coat of arms associated with the title of Lord of Ardwell. Sir Andrew was the “13th Lord Ardwall, inheriting the title from his mother’s uncle. In 1892, Jameson assumed the surname McCulloch in accordance with the original “entail.”


NOrthern Ireland Created

Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom, was created in 1921 with the partition of Ireland by the Government of Ireland Act.


“Galloway: A Land Apart,” Andrew McCulloch

“The Galloway Family of the McCullochs,” Walter Jameson McCulloch


“Whose Afraid of the Big Bad Bruce? “Balliol Scots” and “English Scots” in the Second War for Scottish Independence,” Ian MacInnis


“The Decline in Gaelic in Galloway,” Alistair Livingston