Kirkpatrick are a Scottish kin-group without a chief, therefore considered an armigerous clan.
Kirkpatrick is a common name in Dumfriesshire. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 410</ref> It derives from a chapel in the parish of Closeburn.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 410</ref> Roger de Kirkpatrick held lands in Annandale and the family are held by tradition to have been associated with the area since the ninth century. <ref>David Dorward, Dictionary of Scottish Surnames, 174</ref><ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 410</ref>
In the twelfth century Ivone de Kirkpatrick witnessed a charter of the Bruce family. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 410</ref>Roger de Kirkpatrick was an attendant to Robert Bruce during the time when Bruce murdered Red Comyn. Kirkpatrick legend has it that the chiefly motto is derived from Roger Kirkpatrick's killing of Sir John (Red) Comyn.
Upon meeting Comyn in the church of the Greyfriars at Dumfries, Bruce confronted Comyn with accusations of his treachery. A scuffle broke out; during which Bruce stabbed Comyn with his dagger. Horrified, Bruce fled from the church to his escorts and told them, "I doubt I have slain the Comyn." Kirkpatrick cried, "Sire, You doubtest so? I'll mak sikkar!" ("I'll make sure"), whereupon he rushed the church and finished off the wounded Comyn.
Sir Roger Kirkpatrick hid with Robert Bruce for three nights to escape retribution from Comyn's family. This event is memorialized in the clan's crest, which contains a hand holding a bloody dagger; and the shield: three pillows on a saltire shield with the Scotland colours, or the St Andrews Cross, reversed (i.e. Kirkpatrick wears a blue saltire on a white ground). It is also memorialized in the Clan's motto, "I Mak Sikkar", or the modernized version "I Make Sure." <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 410</ref>
The family was later pardoned by the Pope for their part in Comyn's death, who reasoned that Bruce's blow against Comyn was likely mortal.
In 1246, during the reign of Alexander II, a Humphrey de Kilpatrick obtained a charter of the lands of Colquhoun from the Earl of Lennox, and that Humphrey's son Ingram was the first to assume the name Colquhoun.
It may be remarked that both Humphrey and Ivan are popular names with Colquhouns, and that a Humphrey de Kilpatrick appears in charters relating to the Lennox, and others relating to Dumfries-shire - all of similar date. Geographically, the name 'Kilpatrick' is now most closely associated with the Lennox, while places named 'Kirkpatrick' are largely confined to Dumfries-shire, and it is quite probable that many who now bear the name had origin in these places, and may or may not have links, other than the 'kinship of a name', with the family who held Closeburn.
In 1314 the Kirkpatricks were rewarded the lands of Redburgh. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 410</ref>
In 1355, Sir Roger Kirkpatrick took Caerlaverock Castle and Dalwinston Castle from English forces. Two years later, in 1357, Sir Roger Kirkpatrick was murdered by Sir James Lindsay in an argument. The title passed from Roger to his Nephew, Sir Thomas Kirkpatrick, who had a charter for the lands of Closeburn and Redburgh from Robert Stewart, 1st Duke of Albany in 1409. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 410</ref>
Sir Thomas Kirkpatrick was taken prisoner at the Battle of Solway Moss in 1542.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 410</ref>
In 1685 Thomas Kirkpatrick of Closeburn purchased a baronetcy of Nova Scotia <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 410</ref> Later, his mansion was destroyed by fire.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 410</ref>
Sir James Kirkpatrick sold the Closeburn estate.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 410</ref>
At the end of the 18th century William Kirkpatrick of Conheath became a wine merchant in Malaga and married Dona Francesca, daughter of Baron de Grivegnee. Their daughter, Eugénie de Montijo, married Emperor Napoleon III and became the last Empress of France. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 410</ref>
Major General Charles Kirkpatrick, grandson of the 2nd son of the 4th Baronet in his "Records of the Closeburn Kirkpatrick's" published originally in 1953 and republished in 2003 by the family, gives a good accounting of the Kirkpatrick Family in Dumfriesshire.
He points out that the family residing in Closeburn and the cadet family at Kirkmichael were always known as "Kirkpatrick" and that the further western branch of the family that was aligned with the Lennox were known more by "Kilpatrick", that Humphrey de Kilpatrick was a 'cousin'. Further, there is no record in the Court of the Lord Lyon that the name "Kilpatrick" was ever associated with the Dumfriesshire estates and holdings.