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Hopkirk Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: SPERO PROCEDERE (I hope to prosper)

Let me share the captivating history of your family, the Hopkirks. Your family is a Scottish kin-group without a chief, making it an armigerous clan. It is believed that there are currently only around five hundred Hopkirks worldwide. The related families of Hobkirk, Habkirk, and Hopekirk also share variations of this name.

The name Hopkirk originates from the lands of Hopkirk near Hawick in Roxburghshire, situated in the southern region of Scotland on the border with England. The “kirk” element of the name signifies church. It is likely that the name indicates lands given to the church by a man named Hob, a diminutive form of the given name Robert, or a member of the ancient Hopringle family who held lands near Stow in Roxburghshire in the eleventh century. From these lands, a knightly landowner adopted the name “de Hopkirk” or “from Hopkirk,” and it is from this individual that all subsequent Hopkirks are believed to descend. The name Hopkirk is mentioned in various early charters of land in the Borders region, particularly in Roxburghshire. In 1574, a James Hopkirk is recorded as residing in Carrington.

From the Borders, the main line of your family moved to Dalkeith in Midlothian, and later they became lairds of Dalbeath, not far from Glasgow. A branch of the family remained in the Borders, and it was from the Hopkirks of Cavers in Teviotdale that the religious figure James Hopkirk emerged. He was known for his fervent beliefs as a Covenanter, but his dissenting views led him into exile. Unfortunately, he met his demise by drowning off Orkney in 1679.

In the eighteenth century, the Hopkirks experienced great prosperity. Thomas Hopkirk (1716-1781) was among Glasgow’s renowned “tobacco lords” who amassed significant wealth through the Caribbean slave plantations. Utilizing his riches, Thomas invested in various industries, including brewing and banking. He also acquired the lands and an impressive house in Dalbeath. Thomas’s son, James Hopkirk, carried on his father’s successful mercantile endeavors. Furthermore, his son, Thomas Hopkirk (1785-1841), became a pioneering botanist on the West Coast of Scotland. He published numerous books in his lifetime, including “Flora Glottiana: a catalogue of the indigenous plants on the banks of the River Clyde and in the neighborhood of the City of Glasgow.” Additionally, he played a role in establishing Glasgow Botanical Gardens and is commemorated in Glasgow University’s Hopkirk Laboratory.

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Family Crest Motto: SPERO PROCEDERE (I hope to prosper)

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