Agnew

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Clan Agnew is a Lowland Scottish chiefly family

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Origins

Based in Wigtownshire and Galloway, the Agnew family have their origins in the fourteenth century. <ref> George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, pp64-65</ref>The origin of the name is disputed but is assumed to have Norman origins, first appearing in Liddlesdale in Scotland at the end of the twelfth century. <ref> George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, pp64-65</ref>

A separate Celtic origin has been suggested through the Ulster sept of O'Gnimh, hereditary bards to the O'Neils of Antrim, which later became O'Gnyw and then O'Gnew, which would give the Agnews common descent with other great names such as MacDonald from Somerled, the twelfth century King of the Isles. <ref> George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, pp64-65</ref>

The origin of the name is disputed but is assumed to have Norman origins, first appearing in Liddlesdale in Scotland at the end of the twelfth century. <ref> George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, pp64-65</ref> The Agnew eagle crest may echo the similar device which appears on the shield of the descendants of Somerled. <ref> George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, pp64-65</ref>

History

The earliest record of the family is from the twelfth century when Sir John de Courcy was accompanied by Agneau, an Anglo-Norman knight who was witness to a borders charter between Ranulf de Soulis and Jedburgh Abbey. <ref>http://www.scotclans.com/scottish_clans/clan_agnew/history.html</ref> The Agnews of Lochnaw were appointed sheriffs of Galloway by David II In 1363 and rose to power in this area. <ref>http://www.scotclans.com/scottish_clans/clan_agnew/history.html</ref> In 1426 Andrew Agnew of Lochnaw was granted the lands of Lochnaw Castle and was appointed hereditary sheriff of Wigtown in 1451. <ref> George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, pp64</ref>

A later member of the family, another Andrew Agnew of Lochnaw was killed at the Battle of Pinkie in 1547, <ref> George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, pp64</ref> while during the seventeenth century the Agnews were MPs for Wigtownshire. <ref> George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, pp64</ref> Patrick Agnew of Lochnaw was created a Baronet by Charles I in 1629. <ref> George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, pp64</ref> During the early eighteenth century a member of the family married the notorious 'hanging judge' Lord Braxfield. <ref> George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, pp65</ref>

The fifth baronet, Sir Andrew, married a relation and fathered twenty one children, also finding time to command a regiment at the Battle of Dettingen in 1743, the last time in which a British monarch commanded troops in battle in person. <ref> George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, pp65</ref> Sir Andrew later held Blair Castle against the Jacobites in 1746, during which the garrison was nearly starved to death by the Jacobite commander Lord George Murray. <ref> George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, pp65</ref>

During the Victorian era the seventh baronet, who had suceeded to the title aged sixteen, rebuilt Lochnaw Castle and improved the estates, as well as being the local MP and a strong advocate of sabbitarianism. <ref> George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, pp65</ref> Less exalted members of the family emigrated to the Americas and in particular Pennsylvania.

The family lost possession of Lochnaw Castle in the late nineteenth century. <ref>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lochnaw_Castle</ref>The family regained the Castle in 1957 when Adeline Grant (née Agnew), a descendant of a branch of the family which had been in Australia for several generations, repurchased the castle but it was sold again in 2002. The present owners have undertaken a major restoration and built a small extension to the castle, in keeping with the style of the original tower house. <ref>http://landedfamilies.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/57-agnew-of-lochnaw-castle-baronets.html</ref>

Lochnaw Castle

Today

The current chief is Sir Crispin Agnew of Lochnaw (b.1944). After a military career Sir Crispin became a barrister and also one of Scotland's leading heraldic experts and Rothesay Herald at the Court of the Lord Lyon. He is the only son of Sir Fulque Agnew, 10th Baronet and his wife Swanzie Erskine, latterly Professor of Geography at the University of Malawi. He succeeded his father in the baronetcy in 1975.

He was educated at Uppingham School and RMA Sandhurst, before being commissioned into the Royal Highland Fusiliers in 1964. He served in Germany, Cyprus, Northern Ireland and the UK. As an active climber and mountaineer and member of the Alpine Club he was involved with the army's policy of developing adventurous training for soldiers of all ranks. He took part in or led a number of expeditions. <ref>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_Crispin_Agnew,_11th_Baronet</ref>

Agnew is a Queen's Counsel in practice at the Scottish Bar and is a member of Westwater Advocates. He specialises in Rural Property, Environmental and Public law. He is the author of legal text books on Agricultural Law, Crofting Law, Discharge and Variation of Land Obligations and Liquor Licensing. He serves as a part time Judge of the Upper Tribunal and was part time Legal Chairman of the Pension Appeal Tribunal (2002 - 2012).<ref>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_Crispin_Agnew,_11th_Baronet</ref>

His heraldic career began in 1978 when he was appointed Slains Pursuivant of Arms to the Chief of the Name and Arms of Hay, the Earl of Erroll, Lord High Constable of Scotland. In 1981, he was appointed Unicorn Pursuivant of Arms in Ordinary at the Court of the Lord Lyon in Edinburgh. In 1986, he was appointed Rothesay Herald of Arms in Ordinary and he currently holds this position. The heir to the chiefship of the Agnews and the baronetcy is his son, Douglas Agnew. <ref>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_Crispin_Agnew,_11th_Baronet</ref>

A tartan was designed in the later twentieth century to further a sense of collective identity amongst Agnews around the world. <ref> George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, pp65</ref>

References

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