For everyone with an interest in the town, people and parish of Shotts

Bertram De Shotts

History Of Shotts


A poem written by Robert Dangster in 1922 about the infamous outlaw Bertram De Shotts, which it is commonly considered as where Shotts District derived it’s name.
I  will try and do a translation soon   ha ha.

The Legend Of Bertram De Shotts


Now her is a tale o’ the bold Bartram Shotts

Wha robbit the Lairds o’ their sheep and their stotts

Wha rived frae the rich a’ the gear they could spare

To feed, claithe and gledden, the needy and puir

He first saw the light in the year thirteen ten

Awa mang the hills in a wild lanrick glen

Wi’ natures’ ain music the soun in his ears

To lull him to sleep in his tenderest years

Bread weel tae the chase we the arrow and spear

Nane bolder when huntin the wild boar and deer

He kent every haunt whaur they drank frae the rills

That cannily wimpled amang the Shotts hills

Although ca’d a robber he lookit weel faurt

As shy as a lassock but no easy scaurt

He stood in his shoon mair six feet and ten

And great was the pith o’ this wall o’ big men

The lassies a’ looed him when inbye at hame

And hearts dunted sair when they spake o’ his fame

But oot on the mainland or spielen a hill

The creatures were frichted he’d dae them some ill

Had they but a kent. a’ their fash was in vain

For deil hae’t a value was Bartram he tae’n

At maist, he’d hae stou’n frae their mou’s a bit kiss

A thing he thocht muck o’ an’ they ne’er could miss

Then Robbie the King pit a price on his head

Tae be played tae wha’d bring him in leevin or deid

The price was a hawksflight o’guid lanrick land

Tae be gifted tae them frae King Robbie’s hand

Ae day to the east o’ the bonny lade knowe

The bridle path there, was the scene o’ a row

For Bartram met in wi’ the Laird o’ Muirheid

Took frae him his siller and left him for deid

But Muirhead was made o’ that gude solid stuff

The mair ye lay on tilt, the mair it grows tough

So shakin his neive at Bartram the foe

He swore by St. Katie he’d yet lay him low

The laird he was canny and laid his plans weel

For Bartram he kent was a desperate deil

So kennin that Bartram came o’er by the hirst

Tae drink at the burnie, and slochen his thirst

The laird coupit heather, whaur heather ne’er grew

At a part o’ the glen whaur the burnie ran thro’

Neist day there cam Bartram as aye was his wont

Tae tak his cool draught at the clear rinnin font

He saw the strange birn, but thocht withoot fear

T’was some huntin chiels thicket, tae hide frae the deer

He stood for a moment, sae prood o’ his strength

Then stoopit fu’ laigh, till he steekit his length

He took his cool draught frae the burn rinnin clear

And thocht na o’ danger was near

For oot frae the heather whar he hid lain low

Sprang Muirheid the crafty and dealt him a blow

Fu’ thrice wi his braidsword, he struck micht and main

Till baith Bertrams legs were maist severed in twain

Ae deep throated groan Bertram gaed in despair

For weel kent the lad, that he ne’er could walk mair

Then throwin his body, till hauf turned roon

He lookit we scorn at his foe up and doon

“Man Muirhead” quo he “yer braidsword is keen”

Tis sharper than mine, tho a doot no sae clean

For never was mine we sic treachery drawn

It has aye faced a foe wi a blade in his haun

I look for no mercy for nane can I trace

Then saying this Bertram lauched up in his face

This arrogant speech played the deil we the laird

He swore by St. Katie and pu’d at his beard

“Lauch up in the face o’ a Muirheid” quo he

Tis the last look and lauch up ye ever will gie

Then roon swung his braidsword, wi lichtnin like speed

Clean thro Bertram’s neck bane, and aff rowed his heid

Twas thus that a hawksflicht o’ guid lanrick lan

Came gifted tae Muirheid frae King Robbie’s haun

The laird ca’d it laudhope, a sign o’ his grace

For brave was the loon, that lauched up in his face

And Bertram De Shotts has for lang been the name

O’ the place in braid lanrick that gaed him sic fame




Here is information supplied by Clan Muirhead, which in some ways support our famous tale

Muirhead History


Over the past nine hundred years, the Muirheads of Bothwell, Cumbernauld, Lauchope and Bredisholm, and their descendants, have served their deity and their fellow man with devotion, courage and humility.  Our surname, Muirhead, like many others, came from the place where our ancestors lived – from the muirs, or moors, of Scotland. More particularly from the head, or edge of the moor.


In his highly authoritative book, “The Surnames of Scotland, Their Origin, Meaning, and History”, first printed by the New York Public Library in 1946, Dr. Black had this to say about our surname:


“MUIRHEAD, Morehead. From one or other of the many localities of the name in the southern counties, perhaps from Muirhead in the barony of Bothwell.  The lands and town of Mureheid in the diocese of Ross are mentioned in 1578 (RPC.), but the surname is not likely to have originated there. The first of the name on record is said to have been Sir William Muirhead of Lachope, end of the fourteenth century. Probably the same person as William de Murehede who witnessed a charter in lands of Cranshaws in 1401. (Swinton, p. xvii). Andrew Morheid was assizer in Lanark in 1432 (RAA., II, 65), David de Murhed, cleric in diocese of Glasgow, is recorded in 1471 (REG., 395), Ricardus Mwreheid, canon of Dunkeld, 1484 (RAA., II, p.211) may be Richard Murhede, dean of Glasgow in 1491 (AAPS., II, p. 270), Wilyame of Murehede is recorded in 1484 (Peebles, 31), and Thomas Murhede was parson of Lyne in 1504 (Trials, I, p*43). Thomas Murehead, quarryman at Dunkeld, 1505-15, appears in record as Moirhed, Moirheid, and Mored (Rent, Dunk.), David Muirheyd was assizer in Gowane (Govan) in 1527 (Pollock, I, p. 268) and David Mourheid was merchant burgess of Dumfries, 1668 (Inquis., 938). In common speech pronounced Murheed, Mooreheid 1624, Morheid 1691, Mureheid 1620, Muirhed 1513, Murehed 1503, Muyrheid 1498, Mwirheid 1577, Mwreheid 1484, Mwrhed 1493, Mwrheid, Mwrhied, and Mwrheyd 1522.”


The above information was recently corroborated by Lieutenant Colonel Howard C. Paterson, TD, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquities of Scotland, in a letter to our Clan President, Raymond Lee Morehead, Esq.


As can be seen from the paragraph above, the pronunciation and spelling of our surname was changed, in some cases, to Muirheid, Morehead, Moorhead. These changes occurred as the descendents of the family moved to other locales, e.g., to the southwest of Scotland, to Ireland, and as in the case of James and John Muirhead-banished, in 1685, to the English colonies in North America because they refused to swear allegiance to King Charles II, an avowed Papist, and had fought against the British crown for their religious freedom as Covenanters at the Battle of Bothwell Bridge [1679].


In his book, “A System of Heraldry”, Nisbet states, “The first charter I have seen of any note concerning the ancient family is a deed granted by Archibald, Comte de Douglas Galovidiac et Bothwell ,dicto soutiforo, Sieur Willielmo deMuirhead in Baronia de Bothwell in 1393, being a gentleman of mettle and spirit, he had the honour of Knighthood conferred on him by King Robert III.”

Legend tells us that the king knighted William Muirhead and awarded him the lands of Lauchope as a reward for having brought him the head of one Bertram deShotts, a ferocious killer who had terrorized the region for years.  The king had issued a proclamation which said that whoever rid the area of this killer would be rewarded. Muirhead cut and stacked a large pile of heather near the spot where Bertram used to go to get a drink of water. As time passed, Bertram, initially wary of the heather pile, became accustomed to its presence. William Muirhead, with his big, two handled sword, hid in the pile of heather, and as Bertram lay on the bank of the stream to get a drink of water, Muirhead quickly advanced upon him and with his sword, slashed Bertram’s hamstrings – behind his knees, so the mad giant was helpless. Bertram laughed at Muirhead, who is reported to have said to him before he beheaded him with his sword, “Lauch up, for its yer last laugh!” . Thus we get the name of Lauchope.

Lauchope House, a tower house noted for its extremely thick walls, gave refuge to Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh, brother of Janet Hamilton, wife of James Muirhead, of Lauchope[1510- ?], as Hamilton fled after slaying the Regent of Scotland, the Earl of Moray, half-brother of Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1570 at Linlithgow. The House was set ablaze by those who sought to revenge the killing of the Regent and many important papers were lost in the blaze. In 1799, part of the house fell, and in 1956, the present owners, the Roberton family, one of the oldest, untitled families in Lanarkshire, had the property demolished.



Again, according to Nisbet, “The family of Muirhead of Lauchope has always been reputed one of the most ancient families in all the shire of Lanark..”


Walter Grosset, of Logie, a large estate, owned by the Grosset family from 1711 to 1760, in the village of Crossford, near Dunfermline, in his volume, ‘An Account of the Family of the Muirheads of Lachop..”

n/d., circa 1740, in similar fashion, outlined the Muirhead family history and the inter-familial connections with the Grosset family of Logie.


Walter’s mother, Euphemia Muirhead,also known as Lady Logie, the eldest of the six children born to James Muirhead and Helen Stewart, of Bredisholm, married Archibald Grosset, of Logie, circa 1707. When her four brothers failed to produce any heirs, the Muirhead line of descent then followed the female line, and one of her sons, James Grosset, a merchant prince of Lisbon, Portugal, in 1754 purchased the Bredisholm estate from his uncle, John Muirhead of Bredisholm [1676-1762] ,

and assumed the Muirhead surname and its coat of arms, for himself ‘and his posterity’. Among the descendants of John Grosset Muirhead is Dr. James Steuart Muirhead-Gould, one of the current elders of the clan. [Logie has been in the possession of the Hunt family since 1788]

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