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What Happened to the McCulloch Estates?

According to Andrew McCulloch writing in “Galloway: A Land Apart,” the modern McCulloch landholdings reached their zenith under John McCulloch of Ardwell in the early 17th century. At that time John McCulloch had become the largest landowner in the county. McCulloch had inherited his family estate at Ardwell in the Rhinns, but then married his cousin Elizabeth McCulloch, heiress of Myretoun through her father William, and heiress of Cardiness through her mother Marie.

Unfortunately, the family was not able to maintain such land holdings. Myretoun was sold in the 1620s (before being reacquired), Cardiness in the following decade. John McCulloch’s son Alexander McCulloch (Baron of Nova Scotia) repurchased some of the Cardiness lands from a nearly bankrupt John Gordon.

Sir Godfrey McCulloch (son of Alexander) amassed great personal debts. He sold Myretoun to Sir William Maxwell, then later disposed of the family estate at Ardwell.

The family landholdings plummeted rapidly from their peak in the early 17th century to complete collapse before the century’s end. In 1690, Sir Godfrey McCulloch shot and killed his neighbor (and creditor) William Gordon after some of Godfrey’s cattle strayed onto Gordon’s land. Godfrey was subsequently convicted and was the last condemnee executed on the Maiden.