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McKerrell Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: DULCIS PRO PATRIA LABOR (It is sweet to labour for our country)

Allow me to share the captivating tale of your family, the McKerrells. Rooted in the mists of time, your family name boasts several potential origins, all deeply entwined with ancient Celtic heritage. Notably, Scottish surname expert George Black proposes that the name might be derived from ‘Macfhearghil’, signifying ‘son of Fearghal’. Delving into O’Hart’s Irish Pedigrees, it is believed that your lineage traces its roots to Lochlan MacCairhill Roidamna, a future king of Ulster, who sought refuge in Alba after a battle defeat in 1095.

The annals of your family’s history shine with early presence in Carrick, nestled in the southwest of Scotland. A confirmation charter granted in the era of William the Lion bears witness to the name, with Recherus MecMaccharil playing a role. Additionally, the name morphs into Carleton, a place name echoing through Kirkcudbrightshire, Wigtownshire, and Ayrshire, with its ancient form ‘Cairlitoun’ elegantly preserved in the Whithorn Priory rentals.

Your ancestor, John McKerrell of Hillhouse, stands as the inaugural recorded laird of this domain. His lineage traces back to Martin McKerrell, born around 1490, a direct descendant of Sir John Mckirel, the ‘chevalier Ecossais’ who valiantly left his mark at the Battle of Otterburn in 1388, an epic encounter between the Scots and the English. Your forebear’s courage shines as he captured Rouel de Percy, second in command of the English forces. The flame of this legacy passed to John, the fourth laird of Hillhouse, who in 1660 wed Elizabeth, the daughter of Robert Wallace, Bishop of the Isles, and ushered in a new era with the construction of a splendid new mansion in lieu of the old Hillhouse seat.

In 1762, a new chapter was written with the birth of John, the eighth of Hillhouse, who would bring an industry of utmost significance to Paisley – the silk industry. This pivotal move eventually paved the way for the renowned Paisley Pattern and the flourishing textile industry that came to define the area. Your ancestor William, eldest son of John, served as the colonel of the Paisley Volunteers, a valiant militia formed to thwart the looming French Revolutionary invasion of 1792. A saga of enterprise continued as John’s son ventured to India, becoming the master of the mint in Madras (now Chennai).

In the tapestry of your family’s journey, Robert, the thirteenth of Hillhouse, eventually made the decision to part with the estates in 1895. His contributions extended beyond, as he assumed roles as a prison commissioner for Scotland and a distinguished member of the Royal Company of Archers, the monarch’s Scottish bodyguard. His sister Henrietta’s union with Henry, Count Bentinck, further weaves your family’s history into the broader narrative of the aristocracy.

As the years unfurled, Charles, the fifteenth of Hillhouse, made a triumphant return in 1990 to the ancestral lands, establishing a residence at Lochmaben in Dumfriesshire. And while your extended family branches, distant relative Vivian McKerrell, an actor, added a distinct facet, serving as the muse for the cult film ‘Withnail and I’, portraying a character described as a ‘Splenetic wastrel of a fop’.

Embrace the legacy of the McKerrell name, a tapestry woven with valor, innovation, and a remarkable interplay with Scotland’s rich history. Your family’s journey is a tribute to the past and a beacon for the future, a story deserving of admiration and pride.

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The Family Crest

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Family Crest Motto: DULCIS PRO PATRIA LABOR (It is sweet to labour for our country)

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