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CHALMERS - Notes on the Chalmers Families of South Ayrshire - Gadgirth


"Notes on the Chalmers Families of South Ayrshire" by John G. Wilson

I am indebted to the author of this article, John Wilson of Kilwinnet, for allowing me to use his work. Please visit his own genealogy web-site Wilson of Kilwinnet

I have been informed that this article appeared in "The Scottish Genealogy Magazine" and was sent to me by David R. Chalmers of Stirling, to whom I am also indebted. It seems to be a collection of articles, and extracts relating to the name Chalmers, and is split into two parts "The Chalmers Family of Gadgirth" and "Chalmers of Colmonell Parish."


The Chalmers Family of Gadgirth, Ayrshire

De Camera (or Chalmers of Gadgirth)

This is one of the most ancient families in Ayrshire, and for many centuries held a distinguished rank among the most respectable of its lesser barons.

The name de Camera which it retained down to the reign of James VI is derived from official situation. The first of them on record have exercised the great office of "Camerarius Regis", or Great Chamberlain of Scotland in the reign of David I. "inter 1124 and 1153", and held the same under the preceding king, Alexander I. This was Herbetus Camerarius I, who is witness to several deeds in the reign of David I. Besides his lands in Ayrshire, which remained for longer than 600 years in the family, he had also the Barony of Kinniel, in the county of Linlithgow.

Reginaldus de Camera II: his son was in possession of the lands of Galdgirth in the reign of William, inter 1165 and 1214, and assumed De Camera as a surname in the same manner as the family of the Great Stewards of Scotland have assumed the name Stewart. This Reginald II is a frequent witness to the donations of Walter the High Steward, from his lands in the neighbourhood of Gadgirth, to the monastery of Paisley in 1160.

Willielmus de Camera V among the rest of the barons in Kyle, appears in the Ragman Roll swearing an extorted allegiance to Edward I of England. This William, there is reason to believe, was of Gadgirth, as no other of the family of De Camera are known to have existed in Ayrshire till many ages afterwards.

Reginald de Camera VI, his son took an active part in support of the claims of Robert Bruce to the Scottish throne, and after the battle of Bannockburn, in 1314, he had charter under the Great Seal, of his own lands of Gadgirth.

Willaim de Camera de Galdgirth VII, son of the preceding, took the same active part with David Bruce, King of Scots, as his father dis with Robert.

Reginald de Camera de Galdgirth VIII, succeeded his father in that estate. He also acquired the lands of Auchenfeoch in Renfrewshire, the charter is dated 1375. These lands later called Craigenfeochchalmer remained with the family till 1507 (it belonged to Lord Sempill in 1825).

James de Camera de Galdgirth XV, he had several charters under the Great Seal of different lands both in the counties of Ayr and Wigton in the year 1548. One of his daughters married Thomas Kennedy of Ardmillan.

James Chalmers of Gadgirth VII: his eldest daughter married John Brisbane of Bishopton.

His 3rd daughter married William Wallace of Elderslie

Most recent descendant in Gadgirth line: George Chalmers Esq., of Cheltenham (1825)

Extract from: The story of the Crosshill Churches by J. Crichton:

"Thomas Chalmers, the Free Church leader"

Extract from: Royal Valley: The story of the Aberdeenshire Dee by F. Wyness:

page 55 and 56:

"Their annual value is assessed at a pound of wax. What is probably the last mention of serfdom in the valley occurs in 1386 when the lands of Murtle were conveyed to William de Camera, Provost of Aberdeen, together with its serfs and their issue."

page 76:

"Another Deeside charter was given by David II on 26th March 1362. It confirmed a grant made to William de Camers (Chalmers) by Thomas, 10th. Earl of Mar, of the lands of Easter Ruthven in Cromar"

page 222:

"In a charter dated the 15th December 1535, the lands of Blairs were feued by the Knights Hospitallers to Gilbert Menzies of Findon. Menzies married Marjory, daughter of Alexander Chalmers of Murtle - a neighbouring property lying on the north bank of the River Dee."

Extract from: Ayrshire - The Story of a County by J. Strawhorn:

"A new crisis was developing, and following upon his return to Scotland John Knox in 1566 visited Ayrshire to preach at Bar (Galston), Kinzeancleuch (Mauchline), Carnell, Ochiltree, Gadgirth and Ayr. On his second return to Scotland in 1559, despite attempts by the Queen Regent to check the rising flood, the Ayrshire protestant lords assembled forces at Craigie. Under the leadership of the 5th Earl of Glencairn, Campbell of Loudoun, Boyd of Kilmarnock, Stewart of Ochiltree, Chalmers of Gadgirth, with twelve hundred horse and as many foot, marched to Perth to join the Army of the Congregation which the following year won victory for protestantism."

Extract from: Wigtown Charters:

No 353 1558/9, March 6th page 251:

"James Chalmer and James Douglas of Drumlanrig

No 269 1538/9, February 14th page 217:

a John Chalmer is recorded as a witness

No 285 1542/3, February 21st page 225:

"Thomas Chalmers"

Extract from: History of the Counties of Ayr and Wigton Vol. II - Carrick by J Paterson

page 448:

"Sauchrie is situated three miles north-west of Maybole. Mr James Chalmers of Sauchrie, an immediate branch of the Chalmers of Gadgirth. His name occurs in the testament of John Henderson of Woodstoun in 1618."

Mr John Chalmers of Saucharie was one of the guardians nominated in the latter - will of Hew Kennedy, Provost of Ayr in 1623

Robert Chalmers, "sone lauchfull to Mr John Chalmeris of Sauchrie", is mentioned as head creditor in the testament of Thomas Kennedy of Pinquhirrie in 1644 (Pinquhirrie - Pinwherry)

Allan Chalmers of Sauchrie had sasine of the 43s land os Craigskean, 2nd February 1699. In 1704 (19th Feb.) there is a resignation of an annual rent, "furth of the lands of Craigskean", in favour of Allan Chalmers of Sauchrie (Sauchrie is just west of Craigskean).

Extract from: Ayrshire Collections Vol. 6

page 47:

"Master John Chalmer of Sandifurd, a kinsman of the Boyds of Trochrig and Penkill, was undoubtedly a Caaassillis adherent" (1600's)

Gadgirth dates from the 14th century and nothing remains of its today. Sauchrie dates from the 17th century and nothing also remains today.

Extract from: The Great Seal

"Chalmers of Gadgirth, James Chalmers, Wigton, 1548"

Extract from: History of Galloway Vol II

page 168:

"Robert Chalmers, brother ot Gadgirth, a Rebel, 4th December 1666."

Ayr Register of Sasines 1635 - 1660

List of Chalmerses mentioned: of Bonytoun, of Gaitgirth, of Polquhairne, bailie of Ayr, burgess of Ayr, merchant of Ayr, notary of Ayr, of Hallow Chappell, Saulchrie (Sauchrie), Quhytill

Extract from: History of the counties of Ayr and Wigton, Vol I by Paterson

Parish of Ochiltree page 633:

"Bonnytoun of Wester Polquharn. David Chalmer, heir of John Chalmer in Ballochneil, his father was served in the four merk land of Wester Polquhairne, called Bonnytoun - Polquhairne, namely the two merk land of Bonnytoun, c Aug. 25th 1627A"

In March 1642, John Chalmers, heir of James Chalmer, junior of Polquhairnen, his brother, was served in the eight merk land of Easter Polquhairne, with the mill and granary. And in the month and year: James Chalmers, heir of James chalmers, notary public, burgess of Ayr, his father, had service of the lands of Waterside, Greenside, Richartoun, and certain parts of Wester Polquhairn. These Chalmers were of the Gadgirth family.

Extracts from: Carrick Gallovidian by J.K.McDowell (1947)

page 193:

"Craigskean. A farm, 3 miles N.W. of Maybole; in Carrick. At one time the Mures of Craigskean had a castle there."

"Craigskean is situated on a protruding shoulder of the White Craig, a prominent rocky hill of 800 feet."

page 492:

"Sauchrie. A small esatet and residence, 3 miles N.W. of Maybole, in Carrick."

"Sauchrie is situated below Craigskean, at the S.E. bases of White Craig and Brown Craig - about 1/2 mile west of Otterden House"

Sauchrie in mentioned in Abercrummie's description of Carrick without comment. It is described by Paterson as "occupying a delightful situation and now esteemed one of the pleasantest residencies in Carrick." In 1618, it was owned by James Chalmers of Sauchrie. In 1704, there was recorded as assignation of an annual rent, furth of the lands of Craigskean, in favour of Allan Chalmers of Sauchrie. By 1729, the lands had become possessed by a family named Wallace, merchants in Ayr. In 1834, it beloned to an Archibald Kelso of Sauchrie and later, in 1864, it belonged to Alexander Mitchell, Esq., Advocate.


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This page was updated 16-Sep-2005