Knabbygates Lobbans

Knabbygates Lobbans (R-BY98993)

William Loban (married Issobell Adam) was one of three brothers at the Ternemny farm in Rothiemay at the turn of the 18th century, and in 1704 signed a tenancy agreement for Knabbygates farm, apparently newly established immediately to the south of Ternemny.  His descendants continued the tenancy until about 1894, that is 6 generations over nearly 200 years. The lands are still farmed but are now part of consolidated holdings, and the buildings were last used as farmhouse and farm buildings about 1965. The story of Knabbygates and the Lobbans who lived there can be found in this pdf. These include the webmaster’s direct ancestors.

Knabbygates, c. 1960. Courtesy of Peter Riddoch.


Synopsis: William Loban (b. 1680) and Issobell Adam (b. 1675) had one child we know of for sure, Alexander Loban (b. 1702); we have deduced a second son William, and there are most likely more for whom we have no records. Alan Rudge followed our ancestral line back through the records to Alexander (b. ca 1730 — during the records gap), and deduced the connection to Alexander-1702 from the fact that they were both at Knabbygates. Again, there are likely to be other brothers and sisters in the lost records. There are hints of these in the witnesses to christenings in the 1750s, but we cannot connect any with certainty. The wife of Alexander-1702 is also unknown.

Map of the Knabbygates and Ternemny properties, drawn by Alan Rudge, who noted “names added from farm plan dated 1813”
Tenancy agreement for Knabbygates, transcribed by Alan Rudge.
Copy of original agreement for Knabbygates. Courtesy of Alan Rudge

Alexander-1730 married Janet Deason or Dawson and the records show two girls and a boy born between 1766 and 1771. Again, there may have been others but we do not have death dates for Alex or Janet.  The boy, William (1771-1851) married Isobel Reid (1781-1840) and they had nine children from 1807 to 1826. Of these, William (1815-1899) is notable as the father of John Hay Lobban (1871-1939), who became an academic in England and married Lilian Quiller-Couch (1866-1941). Two of William and Isobel’s children died very young within a month of each other during the bitterly cold winter of 1823. Their oldest son, Alexander (1809-1872) took over the tenancy of the farm; he married Janet (Jessie) Wilson (1822-1877).

The memorial stone on the right was erected by William for his two young children. Rothiemay church. (Photo by Jim Hendry, text from ANESFHS.)

Of Alexander and Janet’s eight children, the youngest daughter Isabella (1856-1930) married William Howatt (1842-1920) and they emigrated to Wabasha, Minnesota, USA. The oldest son, William (1846-1884) married late and died young, when his son was only 5, so that his widow remarried and left Knabbygates (see essay on the property – pdf).

James (1846–1918) became a draper, eventually partnering in a shop on Low Street, Banff, Lobban and Crichton, Lobban & Crichton, “once a Banff shopping institution,” that continued in business well after James’ death. He married Mary Garrow from Aberlour in 1881; she died in 1900, and in 1902 he married Annie Dick (1860–1932).  Both his marriage to Annie and his death 22 Nov. 1918 took place in the house at 4, Water Path, Banff, which still stands (and thanks to the current resident, for putting me on to this photo). James had one son, with Annie, James Wilson Lobban (1904–1985), who earned an MD and DPH from Aberdeen University and became Deputy Medical Officer of Health in Chester, England in 1930, later Chief Medial Officer for Cheshire. (Obit., apparently, in British Medical Journal 291: 491, 17 Aug 1985).

Drapers shop in Banff. Undated photo but the gas lamps suggest it may be pre-1918 and if so the two gents in hats are likely James Lobban and Andrew Crichton.

Alexander (1847-1903) went to Aberdeen University and studied Arts and Theology. He lived in Scotland with his first wife, but after her death from tuberculosis he emigrated to England. He became minister in the Presbyterian church in Hebburn, Durham, where there was a shipbuilding community of Scots who had followed Andrew Leslie to Tyneside. Leslie built the Presbyterian church and Alexander became minister just ten years after it opened. He led the congregation for 21 years and was able to acquire an organ and a manse for the church. He was well-respected by the community and a plaque remembering him is still present in the church, which is now a protected historic building, though no longer a church.

Photo courtesy of Norman Dunn,


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Page by Chris Lobban, published 16 July 2018, last updated 5 May 2021.