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CHALMERS of Balnacraig - from Scottish Nation


"The Scottish Nation" - Chalmers of Balnacraig

The following extract was taken from "The Scottish Nation" (1874) by William Anderson


"The family of Chalmers of Balnacraig, in Aberdeenshire, is considered by all Scottish genealogists as springing from the Clan Cameron, and a totally different family from that of Gadgirth, although of the same surname. This is instructed by the difference in their coats of arms, for there is not one figure in the arms of the one that corresponds with those of the other; and antiquaries generally allow that the origin and ancient descent of families are better ascertained by armorial bearings than by surnames, arms being of greater antiquity. It is supposed that the ancestors of the family of Balnacraig were settled at an early period in the north of Scotland, but the first that can be fixed upon with any certainty was Robert Chalmers of Kintore, who married Helen Garviehaugh or Garioch, sister of Sir James Garviehaugh, knight, a gentleman of good descent, who had from Sir Thomas Randolph, the great earl of Moray, tenant of Duncan, Earl of Fife in the estate of Lumphanan, a charter of the lands of Balnacraig, Belode (Beltie), Claychock (Cloak), and Talanschyn (Tillyching), with their patents, &c. This Robert Chalmers of Kintore received, jointly with his wife, from her nephew, Andrew Garviehaugh of Caskieben, the son of the above knight, a charter of the lands named, dated at Aberdeen, 8th. August, 1357, to be holden of the earl of Moray and his heirs, for a pair of white gloves rendered yearly to at the manor of Caskieben, if asked for, and became the founder of the house which flourished for more than four hundred years. This charter was confirmed by Isabel Randolph, daughter and heiress of the said earl of Moray, lord of Annandale and Man. Robert and Helen Chalmers left a son, William Chalmers or de Camera, as the name was then spelled, who was several times provost of Aberdeen from 1392 until 1404. He seems to have had a son, or brother, Thomas Chalmers, who was also provost of that city in 1412. Alexander Chalmers, probably his son, was provost in 1443, and for several different years thereafter, down to 1495, when he is designed as of Murthill. In the public registers is a charter granted by Alexander Chalmers of Balnacraig to Henry Forbes, of the lands of Thmaston and Fullarton, with an annual rent of of five shillings out of the king's lands of Kinkell and Dyce, in the thanage of Kintore and shire of Aberdeen, dated 7th. April, and confirmed at St. Andrews 1st. March, 1535. In the eighteenth century the estate of Balnacraig passed into the possession of the Farquharsons of Finzean, and Patrick Chalmers, Esq. of Auldbar in Forfarshire, is believed to be the representative of the Balnacraig family

In 1746, while a party of military were preparing to burn the old mansion-house of Balnacraig, in the parish of Aboyne, one of the soldiers thrust his head into a jar of honey, and could only by extracted by a portion of the mouth of the jar eing broken off, which was done amid the jeers of his comrades. During this scene a counter order to save the house arrived. The honey-jar, with its broken lip, was in consequence preserved at the house as the cause of its preservation


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This page was updated 18-Mar-2001