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The Charteris Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: THIS IS OUR CHARTER

Let me share with you the historical background of your family name, Charteris. Your family name is believed to originate from Chartres, a renowned city in France known for its cathedral. According to the family history, William, a son of the Lord of Chartres, is said to have accompanied the Norman Conquest and arrived in England. His son or grandson then journeyed north to Scotland in the company of David I. One of the earliest mentions of the name appears in a charter to the Abbey of Kelso around 1174, where the name is recorded in its Latin form, de Carnoto. A charter of confirmation in 1266 provides evidence of four generations bearing the name. Andrew de Charteris pledged loyalty to Edward I of England in 1296 but swiftly took up arms to fight for Scotland’s independence. His son, William, stood alongside Robert the Bruce during the infamous incident at Greyfriars chapel in Dumfries in 1306, where Bruce slew Comyn. Sir Thomas Charteris, now of Amisfield, supported the Scottish crown but met his fate at the Battle of Durham in 1346.

A feud appears to have arisen between the Charteris family and the Kilpatricks of Kirkmichael. In 1526, John Charteris of Amisfield, his brother, and his two sons were accused of the murder of Roger Kilpatrick. In 1641, Sir John Charteris of Amisfield was appointed as one of the commissioners of Parliament to confirm the treaty of Ripon. He later joined the forces of the Marquess of Montrose after the Battle of Kilsyth and fought alongside the royalist forces at Philiphaugh in 1645. Captain Alexander Charteris, a member of the Marquess of Montrose’s staff, accompanied him on his ill-fated campaign in Caithness in 1650. Sadly, he was captured and executed on June 21, 1650, by beheading with the Scottish version of the guillotine known as ‘the maiden.’ Another branch of your family, the Charterises of Kinfauns in Perthshire, often disputed the chiefship with their Dumfriesshire relatives.

However, your family’s history is not solely defined by violent conflicts. Henry Charteris made a name for himself as an esteemed printer and bookseller in Edinburgh. He is credited with publishing the famous work “Ane Satyre of the Thrie Estaitis” by Sir David Lyndsay. Henry’s son went on to become a Professor of Divinity and a Regent of the University of Edinburgh. Although the ancient seat of the Charteris family is Amisfield in Nithsdale, the magnificent Gosford House, partly designed by Robert Adam, serves as the current seat of the Earl of Wemyss and March, who holds the position of chief of the Charteris name.

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Family Crest Motto: THIS IS OUR CHARTER

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