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The Cathcart Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: I HOPE TO SPEED

Let me share with you the historical background of your family name, Cathcart. Your family’s roots can be traced back to the lands of Cathcart, named after the River Cart in Renfrewshire. The name ‘Caeth-cart’ itself originates from Brythonic, meaning ‘the Wood on the River Cart’. The earliest mention of this name dates back to 1178 when Rainald de Kethcart witnessed a charter of the king’s steward to Paisley Abbey. Another notable figure in your family’s history is William de Cathcart, recorded on the Ragman Roll of 1296. His son, Sir Alan de Cathcart, was a loyal supporter of Robert the Bruce. He was among a group of fifty knights commanded by the King’s brother, Edward Bruce, who successfully surprised a much larger English force led by Lord St John in Galloway. Despite being outnumbered, Edward’s knights managed to force the English forces to retreat. Sir Alan de Cathcart went on to father a son named Alan, who acquired several estates in Carrick and was later elevated to the peerage as Lord Cathcart. The family’s main seat became Auchencruive in Ayrshire, a position they held until 1718.

Throughout history, your family has seen its share of both triumphs and tragedies. Several members of the Cathcart family perished in the disastrous Battle of Flodden in 1513, while the third Lord Cathcart lost his life in the Battle of Pinkie in 1547. His successor, Alan, the fourth Lord Cathcart, fervently supported the Protestant Reformation in the West of Scotland and fought against the deposed Queen Mary at the Battle of Langside in 1568. Charles, the eighth Lord Cathcart, joined forces with the Duke of Argyll to oppose the Jacobite Rising in 1715. His regiment successfully outflanked the Jacobite troops in the inconclusive Battle of Sheriffmuir. The ninth Lord Cathcart also stood against the Jacobite cause and was wounded at the Battle of Culloden while serving as aide-de-camp to the Duke of Cumberland. Later, as ambassador in St. Petersburg, he earned the nickname ‘Patch Cathcart’ because he wore a patch on his left cheek to conceal a scar reportedly received at the Battle of Fontenoy. He even wore this patch during a sitting with the renowned artist Sir Joshua Reynolds.

Continuing the family’s tradition of military service, the tenth Lord Cathcart, William, entered the British military and commanded forces in Ireland. During the time when Napoleon’s troops were on the verge of taking control of Denmark, Lord Cathcart and Admiral Gambier laid siege to Copenhagen and successfully captured the entire Danish fleet, consisting of more than sixty vessels. In recognition of his achievements, Lord Cathcart was bestowed with numerous titles and eventually elevated to the rank of Earl Cathcart in 1814.

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Family Crest Motto: I HOPE TO SPEED

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