Agnew Of Lochnaw
hereditary Sheriffs of Galloway
Tribes of Clans had developed which were a law unto themselves. In 1246 AD twelve Scottish and
twelve English Chiefs met and agreed a code of law for the border territories. The agreed code took into
consideration traditional life styles and patterns which had historically developed in the evolvement of
border life. The agreed code was unlike any law for the rest of Britain. Hence, it was a far greater offence
to refuse assistance to help the owner recover his sheep, than it was to steal them in the first place.
In 1368 the Lochnaw family of Agnews were appointed hereditary sheriffs of Galloway by King David
2nd of Scotland.
In 1603, the uniting of the Scottish and English Crowns was effected when King James VI of Scotland
also become King James 1st of England. At this time it was expedient to take definite steps to disperse
the ‘unruly border clan’. Which had been established may centuries before. Notable amongst the ‘unruly’
clans were the Kerrs, the Douglasses, Scotts, Johnstons, Maxwells and Moffats, to name but a few. These
names had been associated with the very same ‘border law’ which each successive King of Scotland had
subscribed to and agreed. For the next fifty years they were moved sometimes forcibly to England, to
northern Scotland, Ireland , and of course, to the Colonies.
Meanwhile, Clansmen continued to play an active and important role in the politics of Scotland as the
country moved forwards parliamentary unity with England in 1707 AD. With the merging of the
English and Scottish Crowns in 1603 James VI of Scotland had become James1st of England, but there
had continued in Scotland, the right to exercise parliamentary government.
During this period and particular, many noted Scottish parliamentarians made important contributions
to the Scottish way of life. Among these were: Sir Andrew of Lochnaw represented the parish and Clan in
1644, 1645, 1646 and intermittently through to 1670. His son Sir Andrew, represented the parish from
1685 to 1700 and Sir Patrick, before migrating to Ireland represented from 1628 to 1633.
Captains William and John Agnew were stationed at Island Magee in the County of Antrim in 1689, and
Captain Sir Robert Agnew was stationed to Braid in Antrim. Captains Patrick and Francis Agnew were
at Glenarm Barony in Antrim. In all 39 families of Agnew we transferred and 26 of those families settled
Life in Ireland became little improved over what the clansmen had left on the Border. Lands were granted
and then lost overnight by some careless, or sometimes a well conceived act which had gone politically
astray. Economic survival was made difficult by severe rules of conduct and obligations. They turned their
attention towards the New World, with its democratic way of life. They sailed aboard the armada of tall
sailing ships which plied the North Atlantic for the next three centuries. They were known as the ‘White
Sails’, small ships, rotting at the seams, of which the Rambler, the Hector, the Sarah and the Dove were but
a few of many.
In the New World, the Clansmen became the hardy pioneer stock who contributed greatly to the cultural,
political and social ideas and development of their new homelands. Sir Patrick Agnew, who was created a
Baronet of Nova Scotia, was one of these people.
Hayes Agnew undoubtedly was one of North America’s most famous surgeons,
and could be considered one of the world’s foremost medical men of all times.