Galbraith

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Galbraith are a Scottish family or kin-group which does not have a chief recognised by the Lord Lyon and is therefore considered an armigerous clan. In Gaelic the clan were known as 'Clann a'Bhreatannaich'. <ref>George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, 392</ref>

Galbraith.jpg


Origins

The surname is said to derive from the Gaelic for 'strange or foreign Briton'. <ref>Plean Squire, Encyclopedia, 392</ref> The original Galbraith appears to have been a person from the south who fled to live among the Gaels of Strathclyde. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 392</ref> The heraldist Iain Moncreiffe of that Ilk speculated that the Arms of the Galbraiths —which bore three bears' heads— may allude to the British name Arthur that is thought by some to mean "bear". <ref> Iain Moncreiffe of that Ilk, The Highland Clans, 84.</ref>

Middle Ages

Inch Galbraith Island and remains of Castle

Gillescop Galbrath witnessed a charter by Malduin, Earl of Lennox, around 1208.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 392</ref> At the beginning of the reign of Alexander II further charters were witnessed and William, son of Galbrat received land in Lennox at Buthernockis and Kincaith.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 392</ref>

Around this time other Galbraiths were harpers in Galloway. <ref>Dorward, Dictionary of Scottish Surnames, 106</ref>The Galbraiths of Bathernock, later Baldernock, became the main family with this name.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 392</ref>There is some evidence that the Galbraiths were related to the Earls of Lennox- in one charter Alwin, Earl of Lennox refers to a Gillespie Galbraith as 'our nephew'.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 392</ref> The early Galbraiths held lands in the Lennox, in the area of Loch Lomond, north of Dumbarton. The stronghold of these early Galbraiths was on the island of Inchgalbraith which is located on west side of Loch Lomond about 2 miles south-east of Luss. <ref> Iain Moncreiffe of that Ilk, The Highland Clans, 84.</ref>

Middle Ages

The fourth chief, Sir William Galbraith of Buthernock, married a sister of "Black Comyn" who was head of the most powerful family in Scotland at the time.<ref> Iain Moncreiffe of that Ilk, The Highland Clans, 84.</ref> Sir William, however, sided against the Comyns when he had a part in the rescue of the boy king Alexander III from Comyn's control.<ref> Iain Moncreiffe of that Ilk, The Highland Clans, 84.</ref>

Ultimately Sir William rose in power to become one of the co-Regents of Scotland in 1255.<ref> Iain Moncreiffe of that Ilk, The Highland Clans, 84.</ref>

Sir William's son, the fifth chief of the clan, Sir Arthur, supported Robert the Bruce, and also married a sister of Sir James Douglas.<ref> Iain Moncreiffe of that Ilk, The Highland Clans, 84.</ref> A branch of the Galbraiths held Culcreuch in Strathendrick in 1320, and before the end of that century had inherited the leadership of the clan.<ref> Iain Moncreiffe of that Ilk, The Highland Clans, 84.</ref>

In the 1340s High de Galbrath was Provost of Aberdeen. <ref>Dorward, Surnames, 106</ref>

In 1425 the ninth chief James Galbraith of Culcreuch joined the rebellion of James Mor Stewart against King James I of Scotland, in support of the overthrown regent Murdoch Stewart, Duke of Albany. As many as 600 members of the clan were forced to flee after the failure of the revolt, exiled to Kintyre and the Isle of Gigha, where they adopted the new name of MacBhreatneaich of M'Vretny ("son of the Briton"). <ref> Iain Moncreiffe of that Ilk, The Highland Clans, 84.</ref>

In 1489 the twelfth chief, Thomas Galbraith of Culcreuch, was captured by James IV and hanged for his role in a rebellion. <ref>http://www.electricscotland.com/webclans/dtog/galbrai2.html</ref><ref>Iain Moncreiffe of that Ilk, The Highland Clans, 84.</ref>

Decline and Fall

The 17th chief of Clan Galbraith, Robert Galbraith of Culcreuch, brought ruin to the clan. Sometime before 1593 Culcreuch's widowed mother married, against his wishes, the chief of the Clan MacAulay, Aulay MacAulay of Ardincaple. Culcreuch's animosity towards Ardincaple was so much that Culcreuch was said to have "gevin vp kindnes, and denunceit his euill-will to him [Ardincaple] with solempne vowis of revenge". <ref>Robert Pitcairn, Criminal Trials In Scotland: From A.D. MCCCCLXXXVIII to A.D. MDCXXIV 1.2. Edinburgh: William Tait, 290</ref>

In spring of 1593, Culcreuch purchased a commission of Justiciary, (a commission of fire and sword), to pursue the Clan Gregor and "their ressetters and assisters". Both the MacAulays and Colquhouns were suspicious of Galbraith's real intentions, and on May 3, 1593 the lairds of the two clans complained that Culcreuch had only purchased the commission under counsel from George Buchanan and that Culcreuch had no intentions of actually harassing the MacGregors.

It seemed more likely that the Galbraiths, allied with the Buchanans would direct their vengeance against the MacAulays and Colquhouns, under the guise of hunting and clearing the Clan Gregor from the Lennox. <ref> Amelia Georgiana Murray MacGregor, (1898). History Of The Clan Gregor, From Public Records And Private Collections; Compiled At The Request Of The Clan Gregor Society 1. William Brown, 234</ref>

In 1622, Robert Galbraith, Laird of Culcreuch, was in debt to his brother-in-law (whom he attempted to assassinate), was denounced as a rebel, and forced to give up Culcreuch Castle.<ref> Iain Moncreiffe of that Ilk, The Highland Clans, 84.</ref>

Galbraith then fled Scotland for Ireland where he died ten years later. His son, James, the eighteenth, was the last traceable chief. <ref>http://www.electricscotland.com/webclans/dtog/galbrai2.html</ref>

Sixteenth Century

An advocate and cleric, Robert Galbraith (d.1544) was the son of David Galbraith of Kimmerghame in Berwickshire. <ref>John Finlay, ‘College of justice, procurators of the (act. 1532)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 22 May 2014</ref> A graduate of the University of Paris, he lectured and published on logic. In 1528 Galbraith became treasurer of the Chapel Royal in Stirling, having earlier worked as queen's advocate for Margaret Tudor. <ref>John Finlay, ‘College of justice, procurators of the (act. 1532)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 22 May 2014</ref>

In 1544 Galbraith was murdered in Greyfriars kirkyard, Edinburgh, for unknown reasons.<ref>John Finlay, ‘College of justice, procurators of the (act. 1532)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 22 May 2014</ref>

James Galbraith was deacon of the tailors in Edinburgh's Canongate in 1554. <ref>Dorward, Surnames, 106</ref>

References

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