Farmers and Craftspeople:

Jenny Blain.
Copyright © J. Blain 2005-08
New findings: My father's family:
  1. Blains in Wigtownshire and Greenock
    1. The Blains: from Wigtownshire to Greenock
    2. Wigtownshire Blains: farming families and change
  2. Philip and Bell: from the Forth to the Clyde
  3. A possible link: Philps in Leith, Cunningham and Couts in Edinburgh
  4. Knaggs, Mushet and Gorrie lines
    1. The Knaggs family and the sea
    2. James Mushet and Helen Gorrie
    3. Mushets in Ayrshire and Perthshire
    4. Perthshire Gorrie connections
Return to table of contents for further sections

My father's family

Mushets in Ayrshire, Muschets in Perthshire

Christina Mushet who married the second George Knaggs was the daughter of James Wallace Mushet and Helen Gorrie. This page traces the Mushet line from Dunblane, then in Perthshire, to Tulliallan and then to Ayrshire, where James Mushet was born in Kilmarnock in 1804. Sections include:

Muschets in Dunblane

The story may begin - as we know it - in Dunblane, then in Perthshire (today in Stirlingshire), an old Cathedral town on the Water of Allan which becomes part of the vast Tay river system. On 17th November 1673 there was a marriage of a George Muschett and Margaret Read. Children of George Muschet were James Muschit, baptised 12th November 1673, and Henrie Muschet baptised 27 Feb 1681. I have not yet seen the birth record for James - there should be further information in the Kirk Session records also, if this is the right couple! The marriage and births were in Dunblane. I have no information about occupations of the parents, of whether they were themselves from that area. Muschet or Muschit, though, is a name associated with the lands around Dunblane.

The History of Dunblane (Barty) [1] gives some tantalising information about property transactions between Muschetts and other landowners in the area. Whether any of the Muschetts named there are related to 'my' Muschets can only be a subject for speculation; but the name is not a usual one.

There were however other Muschets in Dunblane at the time of George. A Thomas Muschet was father of William baptised 15 Feb 1688, John 17 Feb 1698 and Thomas 3 April 1690. A Hary was father of Janet, 26 August 1694 and Issobel, 15 September 1700. It is quite possible that all three families were fairly closely related. There were various other Muschets in the neighbouring parishes of Kincardine-by-Doune (today's Blair Drummond), and Kilmadock (or Doune). Unfortunately many of the early births do not give the mother's name.

James Muschet married Agnes McEnzie. She too may have been of a Dunblane family. An Agnes was baptised on 3rd March 1667 in Dunblane, her parents Jon McKenzie and Agnas Michell having been married there on 30th May 1663. (They also had a son John McKenzie baptised on 2 April 1671.) I have not found a record of a marriage between Agnes McEnzie and James Muschet, but it may have been in Dunblane. A James Muschet, son of a James, was baptised on 10th July 1703, and may have been their eldest child. Subsequent children whose registrations have been found, with both parents' names given, are:

Henry 29 Jan 1710
James 13 July 1711
Janet 22 Feb 1713
Elizabeth 7 Nov 1714

These baptisms were in Tulliallan, then in Perthshire. This is sufficiently close to Dunblane for a move, based on work. Unfortunately the record states only that 'James Muschit & Agnes McEnzie had a child baptised called Henry', with no other details. The record for Elizabeth's birth in 1714 is similar.

There may have been other children in the years before 1710, though these may have been registered in either parish or indeed in a different one. Some caution is needed here, however. If this Agnes McEnzie was the one born in Dunblane in 1667, then she was aged 43 when Henry was born. While this alone would be quite possible, the closely-spaced births in 1711, 1713 and 1714 would seem to indicate a younger mother rather than one approaching menopause, as she would be 51 at Elizabeth's birth.

So there is some doubt here as to who Agnes McEnzie (or McKenzie) was, and possibly doubt about James too. The James, son of George in 1673 is the only likely one with a birth entry, but there may have been other Jameses whose births we do not have, because of missing registers or missing entries. For instance, Kincardine-by-Doune entries do not start until 1691. If these are a younger James and Agnes, with Henry as the eldest son, Henry or Harie may be also the name of James's father. There was a Harie Muschet married to Jonet Monteith in Dunblane (2 November 1688). However we are unlikely to find a certain parentage of James Muschet, and anything here must be speculation.

However, the only Muschets in the Tulliallan records are those of this family, which may indicate that they have moved into the area - as the Tullialan records do go back to 1673. A link back to the area of Dunblane, Doune and Blair Drummond, with a high concentration of Mushets, seems very possible. And in Tulliallan, Culross and the barony of Kincardine-on-Forth there would have been work - whether farming, gardening, metal-working, shipbuilding and shipping or just possibly salt-making or mining the 'coal in the sea' at Culross, though there are indications that the mining and associated salt-making ceased in the late 17th century [3] and did not restart until later than the time of James Muschet.

Henry Mushet: Tulliallan to Ayrshire

Henry Muschet moved rather further than had his parents. His marriage to Janet Denivan is recorded on 10th December 1734 in Logie, Perthshire, nearby to Dunblane and close to Stirling town. Their children were however born in Ayrshire.

Name Baptism or birth date Place Death Place
Janet Mushet 9 Nov 1735 Ochiltree

Agnes Muschet 2 March 1738 Tarbolton 3 Jun 1742 Kilmarnock
Agnes 15 July 1744 Kilmarnock

William 22 Aug 1747 Kilmarnock

James 28 Nov 1750 Kilmarnock

The registration of Janet's birth gives only her father's name, Henry Mushet. (The name appears with no 'c' in these Ayrshire records.) However this birth indicates a possible reason for the family's move. The record states:

Mushet. Janet Mushet lawful daughter to Henry Mushet servitor to mr Cochrane of Ochiltree was baptized Novr. 9th 1735

"Mr Cochrane of Ochiltree" is discussed briefly in the History of the County of Ayr by James Peterson, available online. In 1735 this would have been Charles Cochrane, son of William Cochrane of Ochiltree and of Lady Mary Bruce, eldest daughter of Alexander Bruce, Earl of Kincardine - the association here is with Kincardine-on-Forth[2], next door to Tulliallan, the older Tulliallan castle (not the present-day house of that name) and the nearby Culross parish, two miles away, with its palace built up by this family [3]. Somehow, young Henry appears (in Tulliallan or another part of the Kincardine estates) to have become a servant to Charles, grandson of the earl, and gone with him back to Ayrshire, to the Dundonald estates.

Where Henry met Janet Denovan isn't known, though it's quite possible that she was also in service. Several Janet Denovans were born in the 1710s, in Stirlingshire - but it is unfortunate that there is one child's name missing from the record of those of Janet and Henry, as this might have given a clue to her parentage. There is a Janet Denivan from Kippen born in 1712, parents James Denivan and Elspat Harvie, with a brother William, a Janet Denovan from St Ninians, Stirling in 1715, parents John Denovan and Agnes Galbraith, another from St Ninians in 1717 with parents William Denovan and Margaret Stevenson, A Jannet Denovan from Dunipace, 1716, parents Andrew Denovan and Agnes Spittel, and of course others whose details have gone. In all these, one parent's name does appear in the list of the children of Janet and Henry, but all else is guesswork currently.

Henry does not appear to have remained long in the service of Charles Cochrane. The baptism record of Agnes on 2 March 1738 states:

Henry Mushet in Braehead of Crawford (p) his Daughter Agnis was baptised the same D(ay).

(The edge of the page is worn away and there is a possible letter 'p' (for Parish?) after 'Crawford'. This record does not give the mother's name, but is connected with Henry and Agnes through the lack of other Mushets in that area at the time and through the record in Kilmarnock of the death of a daughter Agnes of the right age to be this one. Baptism registrations of the remaining three children, in Kilmarnock, name both parents, and also give the birth number. Agnes baptised in 1744 was child number four - there is therefore one child for whom no information is available. Henry in this record is 'Indweller' in Kilmarnock, indicating not only that he lives there but that he is not a 'freeman' artisan or a journeyman..

Kilmarnock Mushets

Henry Mushet's descendents remained in Kilmarnock for several generations. There may be Mushets still there today. In particular, his sons James and William married and had large families there.

James married Janet Adam around 1771. While I have not found a marriage record, a relative indicates that the Kirk Sessions hold records of their being charged with 'ante-nuptial fornication', implying that their eldest child was born rather too soon after the wedding. Their children included:

Henry 13 Jan 1772
A child with no registration record (as birth numbers are given)
James 20 7 1778 (shown as the 3rd child)
Isobel 21 Jun 1778
William 23 Apr 1780
Archibald 14 Jul 1782
John (father of James Mushet b. 1804) b 22 bap 26 Dec 1784
Helen 8 Apr 1787
Agnes 13 Dec 1788
Henrietta 22 Jul 1792
Jean 14 Feb 1796

All births were in Kilmarnock, with James Mushet identified as a nailer.

James' brother William Mushet, a shoemaker, married Jean Murdoch and their children included:

30/08/1772 Henry
12/01/1781 James
10/11/1782 Jean
30/06/1778 William

Records from the Kirk Session from 1771 to 1773 show this William apparently involved with another women, Margaret Steel.

In 1813, a daughter Hannah was born to William Mushet (possibly the son of either James or William) and Jean Hanna, registered as their fourth child. Another James Mushet, possibly the son of James, married Isobel Primrose and their children were James (25/03/1799), John (04/03/1802), Jean (08/12/1803), Henry (19/12/1805), Janet (07/01/1808), Archibald (17/02/1810) and Isabella (26/04/1812).

John Mushet, son of James, followed his father as a nailer though later was described as engine fitter. He was married on 29 August 1802 to Jean Hamilton, in Kilmarnock. The only child for whom I have information is James Wallace Mushet, born 21 April 1804 in Kilmarnock. James, engineer journeyman, went to Glasgow, then Greenock, and married twice. His story is in another page on this site.

In general the Kilmarnock Mushets seem all to be descended from Henry Mushet and Janet Denivan or Deniveen. They were associated with trades including metalworking (as nailers) and shoemaking. They are likely to have moved between artisan and labourer classes, never well off, at times quite probably living hand-to-mouth, but gradually making their way in the difficult circumstances of the later 18th century.

There continued to be Mushets in Kilmarnock until at least the late 19th century, though James, son of John, left for Paisley, then Greenock, around 1820.


[1] The History of Dunblane by Alexander B. Barty. 1994. Published Eneas MacKay, Stirling (1944), 1994 Edition Stirling District Libraries. This has various pieces about the Muschett land transactions, including the following.

The property of Cambushinnie, forming part of the Cromlix, was acquired from William Muschet, a family which owned much land in the neighbourhood of Doune and Thornhill (p. 119).
Half the lands of Wester Cambushinnie were obtained in 1571 by James Chishom and Jean Drummond his wife from William Muschet in exchange for Wester Spittalton of Cessintully (p.120).

In 1651 David Muschett, the owner of Glassingall... gave an obligation to Adam Muschett, Burgess of Edinburgh for Robert Muschett of Craighead, and two years earlier he gave another obligation to David Muschet of Calziechat and David Muschett of Spittalton. David Muschett of Glassingall was succeeded by his son, Robert Muschett, who completed a title to Glasssingall in 1659, the Superior of the lands being Stirling of Keir. Robert Muschett again was succeeded by his brother George who completed his title in 1714 and conveyed the property to William Muschett, his nephew, who was the eldest son of his brother, James. This was in 1715. William Muschett did not retain his patrimony long as he sold it in 1726 to Alexander Stewart, writer in Stirling, who was the great-great-grandson of Alexander Stewart, the first owner of Annat, who had bought the estate from a Muschett in 1621. William had previously sold Wester Ashfold to Stirling of Kippendavie. (p.158)

[2]Kincardine on Forth is the town within of Tulliallan parish - previously counted in Perthshire, now in Fife. Don't confuse it with Kincardine-by-Doune, north-west of Stirling, now usually referred to as Blair Drummond, which is close to Kilmadock (Doune) and Dunblane parishes.

[3] For a discussion of the Bruce family and the sea-coal of Culross, see

Adamson, Donald. 2008. A Coal Mine in the Sea: Culross and the Moat Pit. Scottish Archaeological Journal. Volume 30, Page 161-199 DOI 10.3366/E1471576709000400, ISSN 1471-5767, Available Online October 2008 at

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