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Guthrie Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: STO PRO VERITATE (I stand for the truth)

Let me share with you the captivating history of your family, the Guthries, passed down through generations. Your family’s roots can be traced back to the lands of Guthrie in Angus, making it one of the oldest families in the region. There is a fable that attributes the naming of the lands to a fisherman who “gut three” fish to serve to a hungry king, but a more likely theory suggests that it comes from the Gaelic term ‘gaothraich,’ meaning ‘windy place.’ King William the Lion granted the lands to the Abbey of Arbroath around 1178. Your family, who were royal falconers, later acquired these lands.

In 1299, the Laird of Guthrie was sent to France to invite Sir William Wallace to return to Scotland. The embassy was successful, and Guthrie accompanied Wallace when he landed at Montrose.

The early charters of your family have been lost, but it is believed that the family obtained the Barony of Guthrie through a charter from David II. Sir David Guthrie of Guthrie served as the armor bearer to the king and captain of the guard. In 1461, he was appointed Lord Treasurer of Scotland. In 1468, he obtained a charter under the great seal to build Guthrie Castle, which remained the residence of the chiefs for many years. He also founded a collegiate church at Guthrie and significantly expanded the family’s estates. His eldest son, Sir Alexander Guthrie, met his demise at the Battle of Flodden Field in September 1513. Another Alexander Guthrie served as one of the twenty-five gentlemen in an early ceremonial bodyguard to the monarch.

The Guthrie estate passed through cousins until, in 1636, John Guthrie, Bishop of Moray, became the eleventh chief. He was consecrated as Bishop of Moray in 1623 and resided at Spynie Castle, the bishopric palace. The attempts by the king to alter the style of worship in the Scottish Church led to hostilities, and in 1640, the bishop was forced to surrender Spynie Castle to Colonel Monroe’s forces. He retired to his estates in Guthrie, where he passed away in June 1643. His third son, Andrew Guthrie, fought alongside the great Montrose and was captured at the Battle of Philiphaugh in 1646. He was subsequently beheaded later that same year. However, his daughter, Bethia, secured the continuity of the title within the family by marrying Francis Guthrie of Gagie, a kinsman.

The origins of the surname Guthrie can be traced to the Barony of Guthrie in Angus, although it has also been suggested that it stems from Guthrum, a 9th-century Scandinavian prince. The earliest recorded mention of the surname dates back to 1299, when the Laird of Guthrie accompanied Sir William Wallace back to Scotland from France. In 1348, Adam de Guthrie appeared as a witness in Dundee.

During the 15th century, Alexander Guthrie of Guthrie witnessed a charter between Alexander Seton, Lord Gordon, and Lord Keith. Sir David Guthrie, who served as King’s Treasurer, built Guthrie Castle in 1468 near Friockheim, Angus. He was appointed Lord Chief Justice of Scotland in 1473 and established a Collegiate Church at Guthrie. The current Guthrie House was constructed around 1760 and connected to the original tower in 1848.

Sir David’s eldest son, Sir Alexander Guthrie, met his fate at the Battle of Flodden in 1513. In the mid-sixteenth century, a feud erupted between Clan Guthrie and their neighbors, the Gardynes, resulting in the assassination of Alexander Guthrie. The Guthries retaliated, but they were granted a Royal Pardon in 1618.

In 1636, John Guthrie, Bishop of Moray, assumed the role of the eleventh Chief of the Guthrie family. His younger son Andrew, a supporter of the Marquis of Montrose, was executed in Edinburgh after being taken prisoner at the Battle of Philiphaugh. However, the bishop’s daughter married her cousin Francis Guthrie of Gagie, ensuring the continuation of the Guthrie estate within the family.

Your family has produced notable individuals throughout history. Lieutenant Colonel Ivan Guthrie of Guthrie, the 20th Chief of the Guthries, commanded the 4th Battalion of the Black Watch. Upon his passing in 1964, he was succeeded as Chief by his daughter Moyra, who passed away in 1984. In 2000, Alexander Ivan Bedini-Jacobini Guthrie was recognized as the 22nd Chief of the Clan by the Lord Lyon. Sadly, the last chief passed away from Covid-19 in March 2020 at the age of 52. While Guthrie Castle is no longer owned by the family, it currently serves as a venue for weddings and events.

Additionally, the Guthrie family has produced notable figures in various fields. Thomas Guthrie (1803-1873) was a prominent minister and author known for his work advocating for ragged schools. Sir James Guthrie (1859-1930) was a renowned painter who specialized in landscapes and figure studies.

Torosay Castle on the Isle of Mull was acquired in 1865 by Arbuthnot Charles Guthrie, the prosperous younger son of a co-founder of Chalmers Guthrie, a small merchant bank based in Dundee and London. The castle was later inherited by David Guthrie-James, who had a seafaring background and served as a Member of Parliament for North Dorset. It is currently the residence of his son Christopher James.

These are the rich stories and achievements of your family, the Guthries, shaped by ancient lands, noble titles, influential figures, and enduring legacies.


The Family Crest

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Family Crest Motto: STO PRO VERITATE (I stand for the truth)



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