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The Clephane Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: UT SIM PARATIOR (that I may be the more ready)

Let me share with you the historical background of your family name, Clephane. It is believed that the Clephanes originated from an ancient family in England, tracing their name back to Clapham in Sussex, where they settled shortly after the Norman Conquest. The Scottish branch of your family is said to have been established by Aluns de Clephane, who arrived in Lauderdale during the reign of William the Lion. He witnessed a charter around 1200 and was referred to as ‘Alans de Clephane, Vicecom. de Lawder’ in a donation to the Monastery of Kelso. The Clephanes acquired the lands of Carslogie in Fife, which became their main residence. According to Anderson, Alan Clephane of Carslogie fought alongside Robert the Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, where he reportedly lost his right hand. He had a steel hand crafted to replace it, equipped with springs to enable him to wield his sword. The last member of your family to reside at Carslogie was Major General William McLean Douglas Clephane, who sold the family castle and barony lands before his passing in 1804.

The eldest daughter of Major Clephane married the Marquis of Northampton, and the renowned steel hand was believed to be in the possession of that family. Another surviving relic, known as the Clephane horn, is a carved elephant horn currently housed in the British Museum. Sir Walter Scott mentioned that it was used to sound alarms from the castle battlements. The horn is thought to have been at the Castle of Carslogie since the Middle Ages, which is supported by the British Museum’s assertion that it dates back to the eleventh century and originates from Southern Italy. It is likely that the museum acquired the horn from the Marquesses of Northampton, who inherited it from their Clephane ancestors.

John Clephane, a physician and tutor, passed away in 1758. He was probably the eldest son of Colonel William Clephane and Elizabeth Crammond, and his father had fled Scotland after being implicated in the 1715 Jacobite rising. John Clephane graduated from the University of St. Andrews and practiced medicine in London. Another notable figure in your family’s history is James Ogilvie Clephane, born in 1842, an American court reporter and venture capitalist. He played a role in the improvement, promotion, and support of several inventions of his time, including the typewriter, the gramophone, and the Linotype machine. Unfortunately, Carslogie Castle stands in ruins today.

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Family Crest Motto: UT SIM PARATIOR (that I may be the more ready)

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