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The Anstruther Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: PERIISSEM NI PERIISSEM (I would have perished had I not persisted)

Let me share with you the rich history of your family name, Anstruther. In the early twelfth century, your ancestors received the lands of Anstruther in Fife from King Alexander I. Your family’s origins have been linked to the Normans in Italy, and it is believed that William de Candela, son of Alexander’s grantee, adopted the place name as the family surname. Anstruther derives its meaning from something akin to ‘marshy meadow.’ Your ancestor William de Candela’s generosity extended to Balmerino Abbey, as he gifted the monks the site that now houses the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther. His son, also named William, continued this noble tradition and is known as a benefactor of the abbey. In a charter confirming grants to Balmerino, Henry, the next generation, abandoned the Candela name and is described as ‘Henricus de Aynstrother dominus ejusdem.’

In 1483, Andrew Anstruther of Anstruther secured confirmation of the barony and later fought alongside Scottish nobles at the Battle of Flodden in 1513. He married Christina Sandilands, who descended from Sir James Sandilands of Calder and Princess Jean, daughter of Robert II. David, Andrew’s younger son, displayed his martial prowess by participating in the king of France’s Scots Regiment at the Battle of Pavia in 1520. However, his male descendants ceased to carry on the family line, with the last Baron d’Anstrude passing away in 1928.

Andrew’s eldest son, John, entered into a union with a Douglas of Loch Leven. Their great-grandson, possibly through a connection with the Regent Morton, became a companion of the young King James VI. In 1585, the king appointed him Hereditary Grand Carver, a prestigious position that was later confirmed by Parliament during Queen Anne’s reign. He assumed the role of Master of the Household in 1595. John’s elder son, William, accompanied the king to England following the Union of the Crowns in 1603 and was knighted as a Knight of the Bath during the coronation. His son, Sir Philip, succeeded his uncle as the head of the Anstruther family and fought on the Royalist side during the civil war. After Charles II’s coronation at Scone in 1651, Sir Philip hosted the king at Dreel Castle. However, he was captured at the Battle of Worcester later that year, and his properties were seized until the Restoration. Sir Philip had five distinguished sons, one of whom, John Anstruther, married Lady Margaret Carmichael, daughter of the second Earl of Hyndford. With the passing of the final Earl of Hyndford in 1817, the Carmichael estates came into the possession of the Anstruther family. However, the current chiefs of Clan Carmichael no longer bear the name Anstruther.

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Family Crest Motto: PERIISSEM NI PERIISSEM (I would have perished had I not persisted)

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