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Posted: 28-Oct-2006, 06:11 PM
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Background: Tradition says the first Graham was a Caledonian chief called Graym who attacked and burst through the mighty Antoine Wall which divided Scotland in two, and drove the Roman legions back to Hadrian’s Wall on the English border. More likely, the chiefs spring from an Anglo-Norman family who originally came to England with William the Conqueror in 1066, and are recorded in his Doomsday Book as holding the lands of Graegham or Grey Home.

David I, king of Scots, was brought up in England and given a Norman education. He married a Norman heiress and through her acquired vast estates in England. Thus when he succeeded to the Scottish throne in 1124 he brought with him many of his Anglo-Norman friends to help create order in what was then a very primitive and savage land. He granted them large estates in the Lowlands and without exception these barons then intermarried into the local Celtic aristocracy. Within a generation or two they had become totally integrated with the older race and were soon exclusively Scottish.

William de Graham, the first recorded of that name, was granted land around Dalkieth and Abercorn in Midlothian and appears as a witness on David I’s charter of 1128 founding the Abbey of Holyroodhouse. His descendant, Sir David Graham, acquired the lands of Dundaff in Strathcarron in 1237, and built a castle there. This was probably a wooden fortification on a motte or artificial earth mound in the Norman style. The remains of the later stone castle can still be seen. Sir John de Graham of Dundaff was William Wallace’s right hand man and close friend in the first struggle for Scottish independence in the late 13th century. The contemporary poet Blind Harry calls him ‘’Schir Jhone the Grayme’’ and records his brave death at the battle of Falkirk in 1298 when the small, ragged Scottish army was crushed beneath the hooves of the heavy armoured cavalry of the English army of Edward I. Sir John’s gravestone and effigy can be seen today at Falkirk Old Church and bear the inscription ‘"Here lyes Sir John the Grame, baith wight and wise, Ane of the chiefs who rescewit Scotland thrise, Ane better knight not to the world was led, Nor was gude Graham of truth and hardiment".

Variations: Airth, Allardice, Allardyce, Blair, Bonar, Bonnar, Bontein, Bontine, Buntain, Bunten, Buntine, Bunting, Graham, Grahame, Hadden, Haddon, Haldane, Howden, Howe, Howie, MacGibbon, MacGilvernock, MacGrime, Menteith, Monteath, Monteith, Pye, Pyott

More Info: http://heraldry.celticradio.net/search.php?id=58

Discussion of this family is welcomed.


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