Tuesday 22 June 2021

The Dunlops of Greenock

In Inverkip Street Cemetery in Greenock is the gravestone of some members of the Dunlop family who were associated with Greenock.  The gravestone has a lengthy list of those buried there.  It also mentions some revered family elders, thus establishing the Dunlops reputation as one of Greenock’s “first families”.  


The legend on the stone reads -

The burial place of John Dunlop Esq late Tide Surveyor Greenock

At this spot lie the remains of his brother Major Hutchison Dunlop 53 Reg Foot Obit May 1790 Age 45

Mrs Janet Graham wife of his son Alexander Dunlop merchant in Greenock now of Keppoch.  Obit 7th June 1795 age 26

John Dunlop Tide Surveyor Greenock obit 1 Jan 1805 – age 75

Sarah Dunlop his sister - daughter of Alexander Dunlop Professor of Greek in Glasgow University

Son of Principal Dunlop and nephew of Principal Carstairs obit April 1805 age 87

Henry Liston Dunlop son of Alexander Dunlop first mentioned obit 10 May 1808 – age 7

Robina Liston Dunlop daughter of the same obit August 1815 – age 3

Mrs Jean Dunlop or Fisher spouse of John Dunlop above mentioned and daughter of Mr Fisher minister of Maybole obit March 1817 - age 79

An infant son of John Dunlop writer in Greenock son of Alexander Dunlop first mentioned obit 1819

Thomas Dunlop son of John Dunlop last mentioned obit June 1826 – age 1

An infant daughter of John Dunlop last mentioned obit 1829

Margaret Jean Dunlop daughter of John Dunlop last mentioned obit 6 September 1835 – age 16

Mary Janet Dunlop daughter of John Dunlop last mentioned ob 23 Feb 1834 – age 7

(The mural can be found on the north wall adjoining John Galt House of Inverkip Street Cemetery.)

Principal William Dunlop

So, who were these Dunlops and what was their connection with Greenock?  Originally from Ayrshire, the family’s connection with Greenock goes way back to the days of the Covenanters – a  presbyterian religious group persecuted in Scotland in the 17th century because they did not agree with the religious practices being forced on the people of Scotland at the time.  (This is my very simplistic view of “The Killing Times” as it was called.)  For more information the BBC has some interesting information.  The Dunlops were involved in the Covenanting movement – William Dunlop left in a ship called the Carolina Merchant which left from here in 1684 taking 35 prisoners accused of being Covenanters to America as indentured servants to work in the British colony in South Carolina.  You can read my blog post about the event here

WilliamDunlop returned to Scotland and eventually became Principal of Glasgow University.  He was married to Susan Carstairs (died 1733), the sister of William Carstairs.  William Carstairs was also a Covenanter who had been imprisoned and tortured for his beliefs.  Carstairs moved to Holland where he became Court Chaplain to William Prince of Orange and on their return to Scotland he became Principal of Edinburgh University.  That is why they are named on the stone as "Principal Dunlop" and "Principal Carstairs".

Alexander Dunlop (died 1747), Professor of Greek at Glasgow University was the son of  Principal William Dunlop.  He married (second wife) Abigail Mure (died 1762) and their son - John Dunlop (1730-1805) is the first name on the grave marker.  He was Tide Surveyor in Greenock.  Tide Surveyor was an important customs position, especially in a busy port like Greenock.  The Tide Surveyor kept an eye on ships arriving and what was being landed – making sure that customs duties were being paid.  He worked from the West Quay in Greenock.

He lived in Greenock and married Jean Fisher in 1763 in Ayrshire.  Jean Fisher (died 1817) was  the daughter of the Reverend Robert Fisher, minister of Maboyle Church in Ayrshire.  Jean is also buried here in Greenock.  The Tide Surveyor and his family seem to have lived somewhere in the Dellingburn area of Greenock (situated on the main road from Greenock to Crawford’s Dyke).  John was said to have been a very convivial, good humoured man.

Alexander Dunlop of Keppoch (1766-1840), mentioned on the stone is the son of John Dunlop and Jean Fisher.  He was a merchant and banker in Greenock and was involved in the Renfrewshire Bank, set up in Greenock in 1802 by Dunlop and several other merchants.  (You can read my blog post about this by clicking on the link.)  He was also a Senior Magistrate in the town and Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce.  A member of the local Volunteers, Alexander Dunlop was in charge of the Greenock men who were sent to help quell the Riot of 1820.

Alexander's first wife was Janet Graham (also buried here).  She was the daughter of Robert Graham and Mary Hill (of Gairbraid, Glasgow).  On her death in Greenock in 1795 she was buried here at the Inverkip Street Cemetery.  In 1796  Alexander married Margaret Colquhoun (died 1818) (Edinbarnet, Dumbartonshire).  Alexander Dunlop bought the estate of Keppoch (near Cardross in Dumbartonshire where he built Keppoch House).  He died in 1840.  His estate of Keppoch was sold off to pay some of the debts of the Renfrewshire Bank which failed 1842.

Bank House - premises of the Renfrewshire Bank, Greenock

Major Hutchison Dunlop (mentioned on the stone) was the brother of John Dunlop (Tide Surveyor).  He joined the Army at an early age, going on to become Major and fought in America during the French and Indian War (1754-1763) at Ticonderoga.  He was unmarried and retired to Greenock to live with his brother John.  He died in Greenock in 1790.

Some of the other names on the stone are members of the family who died young and were buried here.  The next generation of Dunlops would also be greatly involved in the fascinating history of Greenock.

Check out my YouTube Channel - Greenockian - to see a short presentation on the Dunlop Family of Greenock.

1 comment:

  1. Wonder if any of them are related to the Dunlop who started the rubber company


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