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The Colquhoun Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: SI JE PUIS (I will if I can)

Let me share with you the historical background of your family name, Colquhoun. The lands of Colquhoun, from which your family takes its name, are situated along the shores of Loch Lomond in Dunbartonshire. The name itself carries the meaning of ‘narrow corner’ or ‘narrow wood’. The earliest mention of the name can be traced back to Umphredus de Kilpatrick, who received a charter from Malduin, Earl of Lennox, confirming his possessions, including Colquhoun, Auchentorily, and Dumbuck, during the reign of Alexander II in the early thirteenth century. It is believed that Umphredus’ eldest son inherited Kilpatrick and adopted it as his surname (as evidenced by the mention of Stephen of Kilpatrick in 1296), while a younger son took possession of the newly acquired lands. This explains the appearance of Robert of Colquhoun in 1259, who may either be the same man or possibly the father of Sir Robert of Colquhoun, who was active between 1271 and 1300. Another notable figure, Humphrey of Colquhoun, is recorded as submitting to Edward I of England in 1296, as documented in the Ragman Roll. He is mentioned again in 1309, when he witnessed a charter of the Bishop of Glasgow. The chiefly line of your family, and indeed most Colquhouns around the world, will trace their ancestry back to these individuals.

The early stronghold of your family’s chiefs was Dunglas Castle, located near Kilpatrick. Perched on a rocky promontory above the River Clyde, it stood in proximity to the royal castle of Dumbarton, once the residence of the Kings of Strathclyde. Later chiefs of Colquhoun were appointed as governors and keepers of Dumbarton Castle. The barony of Luss, which now serves as the territorial designation for your family chiefs, came into the possession of the Colquhouns through marriage. Sir Robert of Colquhoun married the heiress of the Lord of Luss around 1368, solidifying the connection.

In more recent history, Sir John Colquhoun faced accusations in 1632 of eloping with Lady Catherine Graham, his wife’s sister and daughter of the Earl of Montrose. It was alleged that he employed witchcraft and sorcery to facilitate their affair. Rather than returning to address the charges, Sir John chose to remain a fugitive, resulting in his excommunication and the forfeiture of his estates. However, his eldest son successfully negotiated the recovery of the family’s estates. Sir Humphrey Colquhoun, the fifth Baronet, represented Dunbartonshire in the final session of the old Scottish Parliament in 1703 and vehemently opposed the Treaty of Union. Another noteworthy figure, Sir Ian Colquhoun, your grandfather, received mention in dispatches on five occasions during the First World War and sustained two wounds. Later in life, he played a prominent role in the preservation of Scotland’s ancient monuments and countryside.

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The Family Crest

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Family Crest Motto: SI JE PUIS (I will if I can)

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