Some info about Pollok
Pollok is an area south west of Glasgow, near Paisley. It is believed the name was adopted by some Breton knights in the retinue of Walter fitz Alan, Steward of Scotland to David I. Both families came via Shrewsbury, from Dol-de-Bretagne on the Brittany-Normandy border, around 1080, where Alan fitz Flaad was seneschal.
The founder of the dynasty was called Fulbert, a Norman name (in fact the same name as William the Conqueror's father in law, but not the same person). The name 'Pollock' is Celtic from Pollog, "people who live by a pool", and Robert de Steinton (Stenton in East Lothian) and his brother Peter appear to have been given land by the FitzAlan family in return for armed support, and perhaps changed their name and abode to Robert de Pollok, and Peter or Petrus de Pollok. They both have wax seals in the British Museum. Robert's shows a man on a horse with his hunting dog, and Peter's, a boar with an arrow in its left shoulder. Pollock tradition says it was granted by a king for saving his life hunting an old and wily boar that had unseated the king and was about to gore him to death. This boar has become a notable Pollock crest. These two seals are believed to be the earliest family seals (excepting kings and nobles) known in the UK as landed gentry—the Norman French "de" denotes their town of origin.
Sir Walter Scott heard this family legend from a descendant and adopted it for his hero in his novel Quentin Durward, also a name for a Glasgow pub, Quentin Durward pub, established in 1823.
Most descendant Pollocks from Scotland or Ireland (Pollocks of Newry), use this "Boar passant quarterly or and vert, pierced through the sinister shoulder with an arrow passant proper". The family moved from farming to growing flax and becoming merchants, and one branch moved to Northern Ireland around Newry, where Mountaintowns House is still owned by Pollocks. Robert & Peter's names appear as witnesses to charters in Paisley Abbey, so they were men of wealth and importance in the area, vassals of the fitz Alans, precursors of the Dukes of Norfolk and Arundel, and of the royal family of the House of Stewart. Peter de Pollock was also recorded as builder of Rothes castle near Elgin in the Spey valley, before it became the Leslie Clan stronghold. This crest is believed to be the oldest yeoman (ie non noble family crest), denoting loyal followers from an early merchant class.
Pollok was later divided into Upper and Nether Pollok. It is believed that later Pollocks had land confiscated and given to the Maxwell family for supporting Edward I's puppet "Scottish" king, Edward Balliol, against Robert the Bruce. A Pollock castle existed until it was destroyed by a fire at the start of the twentieth century. The little known "Pollock Tartan" (red, green, pale green and white) is similar to the Maxwell tartan and several Pollok daughters married Maxwell clansmen. There is a Clan Pollock Society in the United States, and the 11th President of the United States (1844-1849) was James Polk (1795-1849), descended from Pollok ancestors. A Democrat, Polk served only one term, but is considered to have been one of the more aggressively productive men ever to hold the office, and presided over the Mexican War.
The modern town of Pollok has two secondary schools, Rosshall Academy in the north and St. Paul's High School, which recently gained national coverage for its rise up the league tables. This was attributed to the highly controversial streaming of pupils, introduced by Headteacher Rod O'Donnell. St Paul's High School is recognised as one of the schools of ambition in Scotland. There is also Pollokshields, an area built as a dormitory town for Glasgow.
Pollok House is a Georgian building with many finer paintings, and Pollok Country Park was chosen to house the "Burrell Collection" in a modern contemporary and clean air green space.
Glasgow University Archaeological Research Division (GUARD) undertook work on the Pollok Castle site and history in 2000 and a summary is available at http://www.damstodarnley.org.
The article has numerous references to "Pollock" however the correct spelling is "Pollok", without the "c". There are also some historical inaccuracies which are corrected below.
The castle was originally a tower dating from the 11th Century. The castle was demolished and rebuilt as a large stately house 1686by Sir Robert Pollok. It was completely destroyed by fire in 1882 (after remaining empty for some while) and then rebuilt again shortly after in the Scottish Baronial style, incorporating some of the surviving elements of the earlier structure, by Mrs Ferguson Pollok of that Ilk.
It was finally abandoned in the 1940s and fell in to ruin thereafter. Some of the ruins were dynamited in the 70s and a large prefabricated house erected on the castle foundations by Mr Greer who purchase Pollok Castle Estate from Glasgow council. The gate houses at each end of the estate were also rebuilt along with the gardener’s house and the castle stables and sold on as private residences.
The prefabricated house was removed and the site cleared in the early 1990s and the castle was again rebuilt in 2003, in the Scottish Adam style by Alex Hewitt and renamed Pollok Castle House. Some of the original foundations and castle walls remain, on which the house has been built, notably a portion of the five meter high north moat wall still remains.