From the Book of Eminent Burgesses of Dundee 1513 to 1885.

David Kinloch M.D. - 17th February 1602



Dr DAVID KINLOCH was one of that wide circle of literary men that served to give Dundee a very eminent place in the world of letters during the reign Of JAMES VI. He was descended from the Fifeshire family of KINLOCH of that Ilk, and claimed as his ancestor a certain JOHN DE KYNDELOCH, who held lands in Fife circa 1165. His grandfather, SIR GEORGE KYNDELOCH of that Ilk, had four sons, the youngest of whom was bred to the sea, and settled at Dundee about the middle of the sixteenth century. Genealogists have differed as to the name of this youngest son, but the entry on the Burgess Roll affords contemporary evidence on the best authority that he was called JOHN KINLOCH, and not WILLIAM as frequently stated. Dr DAVID KINLOCH seems to have been his only son, and he was born in Dundee in 1559 60. Having studied medicine at St Andrews University he went abroad, like many of the students of his time, to complete his education on the Continent; and he returned to his native land with an established reputation as a physician of exceptional skill. His merits were brought under the notice of the KING, and when he purposed departing on another journey to France he obtained a special letter of introduction from JAMES VI, recommending him to the fostering care of those Monarchs through whose dominions he might pass. That letter is now in the possession of his descendant and representative, COLONEL JOHN KINLOCH of Logie. During his second voyage it was his misfortune to fall into the hands of the Spanish Inquisition, by whom he was condemned to death as a heretic. The consistent tradition still current in the family relates that his execution was delayed for some time, and that when he inquired as to the cause of his protracted imprisonment, he was informed that it had been intended to make him one of the victims of an auto da fe, but that the illness of the Grand Inquisitor had prevented the accomplishment of this purpose. He then disclosed the fact that he was a practitioner of medicine, and discreetly suggested that it might be within his power to bring about the recovery of this high official. As the case was a desperate one, his suggestion was adopted, and, through the exercise of his skill, he was enabled to restore the patient to health. The grateful dignitary not only set KINLOCH at liberty, but also loaded him with marks of special favour, and procured for him one of the Orders reserved for nobles of the higher rank. The portrait of Dr KINLOCH, which is now at Logie House, shows him in his robes as a physician, bearing the decoration which he had thus gained by his ability.

The exact date of Dr KINLOCH'S return to Dundee is not recorded, but there is every likelihood that it was shortly before his admission as Burgess, in 1602. His house stood on the west side of Couttie's Wynd, near the spot where Union Street has been opened up, or, as it is described in some of the Council Minutes, "his foreland lay foreanent the wind mill" at Yeaman Shore. It has been stated that this property belonged to WILLIAM KINLOCH, in 1581, who is described as the father of the Doctor, though the entry in the Burgess Roll contradicts this theory. It is certain, however, that he was in possession of this tenement in 1610, as the Council took proceedings against him at that date for an alleged encroachment upon the public road. He survived till 1617, at which period he was buried in the Howff of Dundee. The remains of what must have been one of the most magnificent tombstones of the time is still preserved there, and bears the following inscription:

"Monumentunz sepulturm, viri
amplissimo honore prceelara
eruditione, & multis in vita exiniiis
virtutibus ornati, D. Davidis Kinloch
ab Aberbothrie, regum magme
Britan┬Čniae Franciae medici peritisissimi;
quorum diplomatis & sigillis gentis
suae & familiae nobilitas lucutenter
testala & comprabata est. Obit decimo
Septembris, anno Salutis humanae 1617.
Aetatis suae 58."
The monument of the tomb of a most honourable man, Doctor DAVID KINMOCH of Aberbothrie, of famous learning, and adorned during his life with many exceptional virtues; a most experienced physician to the Kings of Great Britain and France; 'by whose patents and seals the nobility of his race and family is excellently witnessed and proved. He died 10th September, in the year of Salvation 1617, of his age the fifty eighth year.]

When ROBERT MONTEITH visited the Howff in 1710, for the purpose of transcribing the monumental inscriptions for his Theater of Mortality, he found the following verse upon the tombstone:

Kinnalochi proavos & avitae stemata gentis
Clara inter proceres, haec monumenta probant:
Magnus ab his cui surgit honos : sed major ab arte,
Major ab ingenio gloria parta venit."

[This tombstone clearly proves the illustrious race of ancestors whence KINLOCH sprang: great is the honour which thus arises to him; but greater is the glory which comes from his own skilfulness and art.]

This verse was removed more than a century ago, and an inscription substituted referring to SIR JAMES KINLOCH NEVAY, Bart., great great grandson of Dr KINLOCH, who died in 1776. It was SIR JAMES who took possession of Dundee, and held it for the PRETENDER in the Rebellion of 1745.

The literary fame of Dr KINLOCH rests principally upon a Latin medical poem, which he wrote in two books, entitled De Hominis Procreatione, and De Anatome, et Morbis Internis, and which was published in 1637 by SIR JOHN SCOT of Scotstarvit in the Delitae Poetarum Scotcotorum., beside the works of other three eminent Scottish Latinists PETER GOLDMAN, HERCULES ROLLOCK, and DAVID WEDDERBURN. This poem is useful as showing the physiological theories then accepted by the most eminent scientists. The year before his death Dr KINLOCH acquired the estate of Aberbothrie, and also of Balmyle in Perthshire, which was afterwards called Kinloch, and still gives the territorial title to his descendants. By his marriage with GRIZEL HAY, daughter of HAY of Gourdie, he had two sons and one daughter. The latter was married to THOMAS FOTHRINGHAM of Powrie, and from the two former the KINLOCHS Of Kilry and the KINLOCHS of Gourdie are descended.


Iain D. McIntosh, Friends of Dundee City Archives