Got £550,000? Nether Bellyclone, Alexander’s birthplace, is for sale

Many thanks to the reader who sent word that Nether Bellyclone–the Perthshire farm where Alexander McGruder, the Immigrant, was born–was put on the market last September. After poking around online I can confirm that it remained unsold in early February.

The house and farmyard have been severed from the surrounding cropland, and now comprise just over an acre, called by the developer “Lot 1, Nether Bellyclone Steading.” The buildings have fallen into disrepair. In photos, it looks like someone stripped out the interior of the house for renovation, but left the job unfinished.

Permitting has been obtained to renovate the house, convert two of the outbuildings to houses, and knock down the rest to make way for a newly-built house west of the old one. A tract of adjoining farmland, called “Lot 2, Nether Bellyclone”, was put on the market for development.

The realtor’s site has multiple photos and a video tour of the house’s interior. Photo 5 shows a plaque placed on the house by the American Clan Gregor Society in the 1970s, memorializing Alexander’s birthplace. Photo 10 shows an outbuilding that incorporates some of the oldest stonework on the farm.

Alexander McGruder/Magruder was born about 1610, when Belliclone was a small estate in the Drummond family domain. His mother, Margaret Campbell, was the widow of Andrew Drummond, 4th of Belliclone, and held a lifetime right to the estate, after which it would pass to her eldest son.

Sometime before 25 May 1605, she married the elder Alexander McGruder, who served as Chamberlain to James Drummond, brother of the Duke of Perth. James Drummond had been created the first Lord Madderty, and also held the titles Barron of Innerpeffrey and Commendator of Inchaffray Abbey (a secular title–the abbey was long gone). Margaret and Alexander had at least two children, James McGruder, who became Chamberlain to the Duke of Perth, and Alexander, our ancestor.

The elder Alexander McGruder died before 1 May 1617, date of the first reference to Margaret Campbell with her third husband. After his father’s death, we think our Alexander was taken a few miles away, to Craigneich, to be raised by his McGruder family.

In Maryland, Alexander named one of his plantations “Craigneich,” most often recorded as “Craignight.” Knowing that in Scotland “inch” is pronounced “anch,” we can see how “Inchaffray” became in America “Anchaffray Hills,” and then “Anchovie Hills”–the plantation where Alexander was living when he died. A third tract he called “Dunblane,” for the cathedral town where he may have been educated. He called a fourth tract “Alexandria,” after himself, and another simply “Good Luck.” He did not name any property for Belliclone, which he left no later than his seventh year.