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The Dalrymple Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: FIRM

Let me share the historical background of your family name, Dalrymple. Your family took its name from the land it acquired, which is now part of the parish of Kyle in Ayrshire. The name itself has multiple possible origins. Some writers believe it comes from ‘dal-a-chrumpuill’, Gaelic for ‘dale of the crooked pool’, although Gaelic influence was unlikely in that area. The most probable derivation is from the old Saxon term ‘dahl hrympel’, as the land indeed has a rumpled or puckered appearance. The first recorded evidence of a person with the name is found in a charter of Robert II in May 1371.

In 1540, your family acquired the lands of Stair-Montgomery in Ayrshire through William de Dalrymple’s marriage to Agnes Kennedy, who was the granddaughter of Malcolm de Carrick de Stair. This union marked the beginning of the Dalrymple of Stair line. During the sixteenth century, your family played an active role in the Protestant Reformation and participated in the Battle of Langside against Mary, Queen of Scots in 1568.

James Dalrymple of Stair, born in 1619, emerged as one of the most esteemed lawyers and statesmen of his era. He was eventually ennobled as Viscount Stair. James married Margaret Ross, and together they had ten children. Their eldest son, John Dalrymple, became Lord of Session, Secretary of State for Scotland, and the first Earl of Stair. However, he became heavily involved in the infamous Glencoe Massacre. Three other sons pursued careers as advocates, while Sir James Dalrymple of Borthwick became a historian, and Thomas Dalrymple received medical training and became the queen’s physician. The first Earl reportedly died ‘of apoplexy’ after a heated debate concerning the details of the 1707 Act of Union.

John Dalrymple, the second Earl, was born in 1673. He faced a tragic incident in his early years when, at the age of eight, he accidentally shot his elder brother, who died as a result. However, John received a pardon from Charles II. The complex personal life of the seventh Earl of Stair became the subject of a well-known legal dispute. He entered into a clandestine marriage in 1804 but later repudiated it and remarried. The court ultimately recognized the validity of the first marriage and nullified it, while Stair passed away in 1840 without any children. The thirteenth Earl served as captain general of the Royal Company of Archers, which is the monarch’s bodyguard in Scotland.

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Family Crest Motto: FIRM (rock)

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