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Clan Graham

Clan Graham

Legend has it that the first Graham was one Gramus who forced a breach in the Roman Antonine wall known as Graeme's Dyke in 420 A.D. However, historians generally believe that the Grahams were of Norman descent. The first record of the name was William de Graham who received the lands of Aberdeen and Dalkeith from David 1 in 1127. From him descend all the Grahams of Montrose. They became numerous in Liddesdale and the Borders and later obtained lands in Strathearn and Lower Perthshi re, the area with which the clan is now associated. The main line of Graham chiefs were long and loyal supporters of the Scottish cause. Sir John Graham of Dundaff, a friend and follower of Wallace was killed at the Battle of Falkirk in 1298. His son Sir David received the lands of Montrose for faithful service to King Robert the Bruce. The 3rd Lord Graham was created earl in 1504 and fell at Flodden in 1513. James, the 5th earl was created Marquis of Montrose. Two of Scotlands greatest generals have been provided by the Grahams of Montrose. James Graham, 1st Marquis led the war in Scotland on behalf of Charles I and John Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee (Bonnie Dundee), led the highly successful campaign for James VII during which time he managed to organise the Highlanders into a strong single force and gain great victories, notably the Battles of Inverlochy and Killicrankie. He was so unreplaceable that the campaign collapsed without him. It was the Marquis of Graham, later, Duke of Montrose who moved the motion in parliament to repeal the Act of Proscription of the Highland Dress passed in 1782. Scholars have long debated whence came the people and name Graham. Some say the Grahams are descendants of the Graeme who commanded the armies of Fergus II in 404 AD. Others are equally convinced that they are of Norman descent, while yet others claim a Flemish or even Danish descent.

There is a legend that the Roman Antonine Wall across Scotland was first breached by a Graham and due to this it is sometimes referred to as "Graeme's Dyke". More certainly, the Grahams can be traced back to the 12th century when William de Graham was granted lands of Abercorn and Dalkeith by King David I. The name may have derived from the English town of Grantham which was spelt Graham in the Domesday Book. The Grahams had numerous branches in Menteith, Drymen, Angus and the Borders.

Sir John Graham of Dundaff was described as the "richt hand" of William Wallace and was killed at the Battle of Falkirk in 1298 (His gravestone and effigy can still be found in Falkirk Old Parish Church). The 3rd Lord Graham was created Earl of Montrose by James IV and fell at the Battle of Flodden in 1513. The 5th Earl was made Marquis of Montrose in 1644. A brilliant military tactician, he campaigned in support of King Charles I.
John Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee, gained the title of both "Bloody Clavers" and "Bonnie Dundee" depending on whether you were a Covenanter or not, as he fought to crush them. In 1689 at the Battle of Killiecrankie he led a force of Jacobite Highlanders to victory over the forces of King William of Orange. But Viscount Dundee was killed leading the charge.
It was due to the efforts of the Marquis of Graham that the 1747 Act prohibiting or proscription of wearing tartan was repealed in 1782.

Graham was the 30th most frequent surname at the General Register Office in 1995.

The clan motto is "Ne oublié" ("Never forget").

The Bonar, Bontine, Haddon and MacGrime families are septs (sub-branches) of Graham.

The Clan Motto
"ne oublie" (do not forget)

The Clan Flower
Laurus Nobilis Laurel

Septs of Clan Graham
Airth Buchlyrie Grim Monteith Allardyce Buntain (Grimes) Monzie Auchinloick Bunting Hadden Orchille {Kilpatrich} Conyers Haldane Pitcairn Ballewen Drumaguhassle Lingo Pyatt Blair Duchray MacGibbon Pye Bonar Dugalston MacGilvern Pyott Bonnar Esbank MacGilvernoel Rednock Bonner Glenny MacIlvern Sirowan Bontein Graeme MacShille Sterling Bontine Grahame Menteith.

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