Clan Hunter

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Clan Hunter
Clann an t-Sealgair (clan), Mac an t-Sealgair (surname)
Motto Cursum perficio (Latin) - I have completed the course[1]
Region Lowlands
District Ayrshire
File:Hunter of Hunterton arms female.svg
Pauline Natalie Mullen Hunter of Hunterston,[2]
Chief of the Name and Arms of Hunter and 30th Laird of Hunterston.[2]
Seat Trearddur Bay.[3]
Historic seat Hunterston Castle.

Clan Hunter is a Scottish clan.[1][4]


Origins of the clan

A traditional ancestor of the Hunters was with Rollo, a Viking, at the sack of Paris in 896.[4] He was appointed as a huntsman to one of Rollo's descendants.[4] The Hunters later followed Matilda, queen of William the Conqueror, to England and as a result their name is not included amongst those who accompanied William.[4]

It is likely that the Hunters came to Scotland with David I of Scotland upon his invitation and were given lands named Hunter's Toune.[4]

In 1296 Aylmer le Hunter of the county of Ayr appears on the Ragman Rolls submitting to Edward I of England.[4]

A charter signed by Robert II of Scotland on 2 May 1374 has survived that confirmed a grant of land to William Hunter for his faithful service rendered and to be rendered to us in return for a silver penny payable to the Sovereign at Hunterston on the Feast of Pentecost.[4] To this day the Laird of Hunterston, chief of Clan Hunter keeps silver pennies, minted in the reigns of Robert II and George V in case of a royal visit on the day appointed for payment of his rent.[4] The William Hunter who received this charter is reckoned to have been the tenth Hunter of Hunterston.[4] In earlier records both William Hunter and Norman Hunter appear using the Latin form of the name, Venator.[4]

15th and 16th centuries

The Hunters were hereditary keepers of the royal forests of Arran and Little Cumbrae by the fifteenth century.[4] The family appear to have held this office from an early date and also claim a long descent from people who held similar offices in England and Normandy before they came to Scotland.[4]

During the sixteenth century the Hunters rendered chiefly military service.[4] John Hunter, the fourteenth Laird was killed with his king at the Battle of Flodden in 1513.[4] His son was Robert who was trublit with sikness and infirmity and was excused from military service in 1542 by James V of Scotland, providing that he sent his eldest son in his place.[4] His son was Mungo who was killed at the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh in 1547.[4]

17th century

File:Hunterston castle.jpg
Hunterston Castle, historic seat of the chiefs of Clan Hunter

Successive generations of Hunters were more peaceful Lairds and tended to their estates and looked after their tenants.[4] Robert Hunter who was a son of the twentieth Laird graduated at the University of Glasgow in 1643 and was minister of West Kilbride.[4] He bought lands and founded the Hunters of Kirkland branch of the clan.[4]

A grandson of the twentieth Laird was another Robert Hunter who served under Marlborough and was Governor of Virginia and later Governor of New York.[4]

18th and 19th centuries

The family suffered from financial problems in the early eighteenth century.[4] These problems were resolved by yet another Robert Hunter, a younger son of the twenty second Laird who succeeded to the estate and managed it well.[4] He was succeeded by his daughter, Eleanora, who married her cousin, Robert Caldwell.[4] He assumed the name Hunter and together they improved the estate and built the present Hunterston House.[4] Their son had two daughters: Jane Hunter who married Gould Weston and Eleanor who married Robert William Cochran-Patrick.[4]

20th century

Jane Hunter-Weston died in 1911 and was succeeded by her son, Lieutenant General Sir Aylmer Hunter-Weston who served on Kitchener's staff during the Egyption War of 1896.[4] He also served in the Boer Wars and also as a divisional officer of the British Expeditionary Force in World War I.[4] Also during that war her served during the Gallipoli landings and later commanded the 8th Army on the Western Front.[4]

Post Clan Activity

As times became more settled the Hunters devoted more time to farming their extensive lands, although they still produced soldiers of distinction over the generations. Gould Hunter-Weston, husband of Jane Hunter-Weston (26th Laird) fought in India at Lucknow in 1857 and their eldest son, Aylmer (27th Laird) was a well-known general in the First World War. He later became Member of Parliament for North Ayrshire. During her tenure as Clan Chief, Eleanora (28th Laird) fought in the courts, but lost, a compulsory purchase order for land at Hunterston to build a nuclear power station.

The last Clan Chief, Neil Hunter of Hunterston and of that Ilk, along with his wife Sonia, Madam Hunter of Hunterston, continued the fight against industrialization. He was well known for his sailing prowess and represented the United Kingdom in two Olympic Games, winning a silver medal at Melbourne in 1956. Like many Hunters before him he was in true tradition an expert in archery.

The present Clan Chief, Madam Pauline Hunter of Hunterston and of that Ilk and 30th Laird and Chief of Clan Hunter.

Clan Seat & Castle

The seat of the chief of Clan Hunter has been at Hunterston Castle for over 800 years.

See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 Clan Hunter Profile Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Hunter
  3. Hunter
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 4.17 4.18 4.19 4.20 4.21 4.22 4.23 4.24 4.25 4.26 4.27 Way, George and Squire, Romily. Collins Scottish Clan & Family Encyclopedia. (Foreword by The Rt Hon. The Earl of Elgin KT, Convenor, The Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs). Published in 1994. Pages 172 - 173.