John, your ancestors have been tenants on this Ayrshire farm for generations. You dont actually "own" Whitehill farm -- you just rent the land. I see that your family has done quite well by the land -- you're worth almost the equivalent of twenty years' wages for a male household servant of a landlord. But, when it comes to providing for your family, you say that there is something much more important than moveable assets such as cattle, horses, grain and valuables? Please explain.
So, reading between the lines, in your late-feudal society, it was believed that very clear possession of the land should assure that the children will eat. I just want to make sure that I understand the term "kindness" in this context of land-holding. Correct me if Im wrong -- the land possession transfer pattern of father to eldest son apparently held for some tenants, through the principal of "kindness", as it did for "owners" (or, more properly, "heritors" or "freeholders"). "Kindness" -- from the word "kin" -- was the claim to customary inheritance on the basis of kinship with the previous holder. The rights to the land generally went first to the eldest son, then to younger sons, and then to an only daughter or daughters jointly. It appears that the "kindly tenants" of the sixteenth century who had a written lease or tack had more security than most others. The principles of kindly tenancy could be upheld in local and Royal Courts.
(1) Scottish Record Office, CC9/7/9, Testament and Inventory of John McCowane, Quhythill, Parish of Cumnock, 1614