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Clan Dalrymple is a Scottish kin group or family who do not have a recognised chief and are therefore considered an armigerous clan.


Dalrymple is a place in Ayrshire which takes its name from the Gaelic dal cruim poll- meaning 'crooked stream'. <ref>David Dorward, Scottish Surnames, 64</ref> It is now part of the parish of Kyle. <ref>George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, 379</ref> Plean and Squire consider that the Gaelic origin for the word is unlikely as Gaelic was never spoken in the area, but this is contentious. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 379</ref> There is an origin myth that the name comes from 'dal-ry-mole' or 'valley of the slaughter of kings' as there is a tradition that two kings in the pre-christian era fought in the area and were killed.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 379</ref> Despite all of this the most likely origin of the name is from the old Saxon 'dahl hyrmpel' meaning 'rumpled' or 'puckered'.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 379</ref>

Middle Ages

The earliest documentary evidence for someone with this name is from a charter of Robert II in 1371.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 379</ref> In 1371 the barony of Dalrymple was held by Malcolm and Hugh Dalrympill. <ref>Dorward, Surnames, 64</ref> In 1540 Hugh de Dalrymple acquired the lands of Stair Montgomery in Ayrshire through marriage to an heiress, Agnes Kennedy.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 379</ref>

Sixteenth Century

The family fought at the Battle of Langside against Mary, Queen of Scots in 1568.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 379</ref>

Seventeenth Century

James Dalrymple of Stair (1616-1695) became a noted lawyer and statesman, being appointed Viscount Stair and Lord President of the Court of Session.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 379</ref> His main work on Scots law became a cornerstone of modern Scottish civil law. His son, Sir John Dalrymple, Master of Stair, planned the notorious Massacre of Glencoe in 1692 and was protected from punishment by King William III.

He was rewarded by being created Earl of Stair in 1703 and further tarnished his posthumous reputation by preparing the Act of Union of 1707 and securing its passage though the Scottish Parliament. <ref>Dorward, Surnames, 64</ref>

Eighteenth Century

The second Earl of Stair was an army officer and ambassador to the French court. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 379</ref>