Category Archives: Nicoll

Family of Charlotte Nicoll (1766-1846)

Charlotte Nicoll was my 4x great-grandmother and wife of William Duff Sr.  I knew from her gravestone in the Kirkstyle Cemetery in Perthshire, Scotland that she had been born 20 Sept 1766 and had died at Berryhill, the Duff Family Farm, on 15 May 1846.

Gravestone of William Duff, Charlotte Nicoll, & James Duff

Gravestone of William Duff, Charlotte Nicoll, & James Duff

Today, while doing some web searching, I came across a mention of  “Robert Nicoll’s Monument”, which is very near Berryhill (literally just a walk across a field).  The name obviously caught my attention given the nearness to the Duff family property.  You can see the proximity of the monument to Berryhill in this map:

Berryhill & Tullybelton Map

Berryhill & Tullybelton Map

This is a photo of the monument itself:

Robert Nicoll's Monument, Lanarkshire, Scotland

Robert Nicoll’s Monument, Lanarkshire, Scotland

It’s a 50-foot high stone obelisk that’s to honor Robert Nicoll (1814-1837), who was a poet who grew up on the farm called Tulliebelton (also spelled “Tullybelton”), just down the road from Berryhill.  Given his age and name, I thought there was a very good chance that Robert was a nephew or cousin of my grandmother Charlotte Nicoll.  We know Charlotte’s father was named Robert Nicoll and that she had a sister named Margaret who married Robert Duff (her husband’s brother).  This rather lengthy bio of the poet is very good:

There is also an article about the monument itself here.

I decided to do some looking into the Tulliebelton Nicoll family and found some great results.
From what I have found so far, Robert Nicoll and his wife Jean Chalmers at Tulliebelton had the following children at Tulliebelton:

Elizabeth Nicoll (b 20 May 1768)
Helen Nicoll (b 28 Jan 1770)
James Nicoll (b 2 Feb 1772)
Kathrine Nicoll (b 30 Jan 1773)
Jean Nicoll (b 12 Jan 1777)
Margaret Nicoll (b 1782)

and the big discovery was the attached record for my grandmother Charlotte Nicoll, who was born 20 Sept 1766 at Tulliebelton!

Charlotte Nicoll Birth, 1766

Charlotte Nicoll Birth, 1766

It reads:

20 Sept 1766. To Robert Nicol, miln of Tullibelton (sic), a daughter Charlott (sic).

So we now know that the Charlotte Nicoll lived, literally, on the next farm over from Berryhill, and that she was almost certainly related to the poet.  I’m not sure exactly how yet, but it seems likely he was her nephew.  The birth record for Robert is attached (you can see two children for Robert Duff and Margaret Nicoll are listed there also).

Robert Nicoll Birth, 1814

Robert Nicoll Birth, 1814


The poet Robert Nicoll’s parents were Robert Nicoll and Grace Fenwick, also of Tulliebelton.  I’m guessing there was another boy, Robert, born to Robert and Jean above who is the missing link.  The poet’s father seems to have been born about 1774, so he was perhaps born between Katherine and Jean Nicoll listed above.  Robert and Grace had a son named “Charles Duff Nicoll”, so one can see that the two families were close.

This book of Robert’s poetry contains an interesting tidbit of Nicoll family history:

“[The poet] Robert Nicoll was born on the 7th January 1814 in the farm-house of Little Tulliebeltane, in the parish of Auchtergaven, in Perthshire, which lies nearly half-way between Perth and Dunkeld.  His father, Mr. Robert Nicoll, was at that period a farmer in comfortable circumstances for his station and locality; his mother was Grace Fenwick one of the daughters of that venerable Seceder, “Elder John”, of whom Nicoll speaks so frequently and affectionately in his poems.  Robert [the poet] was the seond son in a family of nine children.  His elder brother died in childhood, and Robert thus became the “eldest son.”  Both the families from which [Robert the poet] immediately sprung had been settled for generations in the same neighborhood, and counted a long pedigree of the kind that is still the proudest boast of rural Scotland, decent, honest, God-fearing people.  By the recollection of his mother [Grace], Robert, when nine months old, could speak as infants speak; at eighteen months he knew his letters; and when five years old he could read the New Testament.  His mother had up to this time, had leisure to be the teacher of her intelligent and lively child: but now, woeful reverse was impending over the family.  Mr. Nicoll [the father] had become security to the amount of five or six hudnred pounds, for a connection by marriage, who failed and absconded; and the utter ruin of his own family was the almost immediate consequence.  He gave up his entire property to satisfy the crditors of this individual; he lost even the lease of his farm, and, with his wife and several young children, left the farm-house and became a day laborer on the fields he had lately rented; with nothing to sustain his wife and himself save the consciousness of unblemished and unblamed integrity.  [The poet] Robert Nicoll was thus, from the date of his earliest recollection, the son of a very poor man, the inmate of a lowly home, the eldest of a struggling family.  Field labor was the daily lot of his father, and at certain seasons of the year, of his mother also, as far as was compatible with the care of her young and increasing family; and the children as soon as they were condidered fit for labor, were one by one, set to work.”

Berryhill Farm Rent Payments (1732-1777)

Berryhill Farm (also spelled “Berriehill”) was the Duff Family farm in Auchtergaven Parish, Perthshire, Scotland.  The farm was said by James Ritchie to have been in the Duff family since a least 1688, probably earlier.  My cousin Noeline has sent me some related documents which were sent to her by by Norman Pannell of Christchurch, NZ. in 1988.  One of these xeroxed documents is a listing of rent payments made on “Berriehill” by John Duff (my 7x great-grandfather) and his son Charles (my 6x great-grandfather).   The payments go from 1732 through 1741.  Charles’s son James Duff Sr., my 5x-great-grandfather, was the oldest Duff for whom I had documentation until receiving this document.

[Click on image to enlarge or download.  Transcription follows.]

Berryhill Rent Payments 1732-1741

Berryhill Rent Payments 1732-1741

John & Charles Duff’s a Quarter 36:-:- [36 pounds, 0 shillings, 0 pennies]

June 13th 1732
Recved from Charles & John Duff twenty nine pound six sh[illings] 8 penn[ies] with which so merchs to be allowed him at Lambas pays this year’s Crop 29:6:8

Jan 1st 1733
Then received allowance of half a year’s Amt of a Board due to Jo[hn] Duff from his son Charles which Boand is now returned & bill given to Jo. Doddicfer Mat value by Iran Faction against them so I allow him my half year amt 3:6:-8

June 23rd 1733
Then received from Charles Duff, sone of Jo[hn] Duff thirty two pound thirteen shilling & four pennies which with an year amt of the two hundred Merchs not for mony allowed him in my book pasy his rent for 1732 & 1733.  32:13:-4   6:13:-4


Nov 9th 1734
Then receved from Charles Duff in Berriehill this Crop ?? thirty four 36:00:00

Jul 20th 1735
Then recved from Charles Duff by Wil. Stewart who gave recept for it 18:00:00

Jan 16th 1736
Then receved from Charles Duff which with a ?? received from him at Nai?? 22nd of Sep: ?735 compleats his rent for 1738  5:08:06   12:12:00


Aug 14th 1735
Then receved from Charles Duff in Berriehill in part of 1736. 24:0:0

Feb ?? 1736
Then receved an ?? from Ch. Duff in ? pays 1736.  12:0:0

Aug 4th 1837
Then receved from Charles Duff his rent for 1737 36:0:0

Jun 30th 1737
Then receved from Ch Duff which pays last crops for rem due & of this crop.  12:0:0

Aug 6th 1738
Receved from Charles Duff by my wife 12 [pounds].

Mar 30th 1739
Receved from Charles Duff three pound which pays all 28 but nine pound ?? shilling scot

Nov 30th 1739
Then taken up a resept of Wil. Reids for 12 [pounds]: 12 and in cash four pound twelve which pays 1739.

Aug 30th 1740
Then receved from Charles Duff 12 pounds 12 of 1740.

Nov 3rd 1741
Then accounted with Charles Duff who owes of 1741 7 [pounds], 3:4.

This document is a rental document for Berryhill in 1777.  You can see Charles Duff’s son James was the proprietor of the farm at that point.  Also mentioned on the same document is Bellstown farm which would later be run by Robert Duff, and Miln of Tulliebelton, which was the farm where the Nicoll family lived.

Berryhill Farm Rental, 1777

Berryhill Farm Rental, 1777