History of the Clan Ramsay

The origins of the Clan

n the 11th century, a legendary origin of the name is that it comes from the seal of the Huntingdon Abbey and that it represented a ram in the sea; A ram saying « Ram » and sea « sea » … In 1124, David of Scotland, Count (Earl in English, the equivalent of Earl) of Huntingdon surrounded himself with many young noble Normans; among them a certain Symon of Ramesie to whom David of Scotland attributed lands in the Midlothian (Part situated under Edinburgh, in the Lowlands). Ramesie’s Symon also witnessed the chartering to the monks of Holyrood Abbey in 1140.

The 13th century marked a turning point in the Ramsay Clan which split into 5 branches:
- The Ramsay of Dalhousie (Midlothian) ,
- The Ramsay of Auchterhouse,
- The Ramsay of Banff,
- The Ramsay of Forfarand
- The Ramsay of Clatto.

In 1255, during the youth of King Alexander III of Scotland, William Ramsay of Dalhousie was one of the members of the King’s Council.

The Scottish wars of independence.

During the wars for the independence of Scotland, William Ramsay appears on the roll of Ragman in 1296, bending to Edward I of England. However, Ramsay joined Robert Bruce and was even one of the co-signers of the Declaration of Arbroath. Ramsay had two sons: William (Guillaume in French) and Alexandre. The latter was armed Knight and in 1342 and he was appointed Sheriff of Teviotdale. However, this function was claimed by the Douglas who became jealous. Wiliam Douglas, Lord of Liddesdale captured Alexander Ramsay with many of his men and imprisoned him at the Hermitage castle where he remained until his death. Alexander’s brother William Ramsay was captured by the British at the Battle of Neville’s Cross. He was kept alive and he could tell their stories.

In 1400, another Alexander Ramsay had to face the British siege at Dalhousie Castle. The English had to retreat as the Ramsay’s resistance was strong.

Other branches of the Clan have also produced important people of high rank. Alexander Ramsay, the youngest son of Arthur Georges Maule Ramsay, 14th Earl of Dalhousie, married Princess Patricia of Connaught who was the granddaughter of Queen Victoria. Their son was Alexandre Ramsay de Mar and his wife, Lady Saltoun, Chief of Clan Fraser, were members of the royal family, on the personal wish of the Queen.

Sir John Ramsay of Balmain was created Lord Bothwell in 1485. However, this title was usurped by his betrayal in 1488 and he was later reassigned to Clan Hepburn. The Ramsay Balmain covered their fortunes having been made Baronets in 1625 and then in 1806.

The 16th century and the Anglo-Scottish wars.

In 1513 during the wars between the English and the Scots, the descendant of Sir Alexander – another Alexander Ramsay – was killed during the Battle of Flodden. Dalhousie’s property was transferred to his son Nicolas, who was an admirer and supporter of Mary, Queen of Scotland. After the fall of Mary, the Ramsay recognized her son as James VI of Scotland. Later, the Ramsay were rewarded for saving the life of the Monarch.

One of Nicolas’ grandchildren was John Ramsay, who killed in 1600 both Ruthven, the Earl of Gowrie, and his brother as they tried to kidnap the King. This event is known as the Gowrie Conspiracy. For saving the King, John Ramsay was created Count of Holderness.

The 17th century and the civil war.

In 1618, the brother of the Count of Holderness, George Ramsay, was created Lord Ramsay. His eldest son, William Ramsay, opposed the religious policy of Charles I of England. During the Civil War, William raised a Cavalry regiment that fought during the Battle of Marston Moor. He was also part of the forces of Sir David Leslie during the Battle of Philiphaugh during which the Marquis de Montrose was defeated. Ramsay was made Earl of Dalhousie in 1633.

In 1666, Sir Gilbert Ramsay of Bamff, descendant of Neis of Ramsay, physicist at the Court of Alexander II of Scotland around 1232, was created Baronet of Nova Scotia.

The 18th and 19th centuries

Ramsay served in all major 18th and 19th century campaigns in Europe, Canada and India. George Ramsay, 9th Earl of Dalhousie was Governor General of British North America from 1819 to 1828. He was also Commander-in-Chief of the Indies from 1829 to 1832. His son was James Bourn-Ramsay, 1st Marquess of Dalhousie who also served as General Governor of the Indies from 1847 to 1856. In 1849 he was created Marquess of Dalhousie but his title died with him in 1860. However the property (the domain, the County) was passed to a cousin whom the present Earl down.

Other branches of the Clan have also produced important people of high rank. Alexander Ramsay, the youngest son of Arthur George Maule Ramsay, 14th Earl of Dalhousie, married Princess Patricia of Connaught who was the grand-daughter of Queen Victoria. Their son was Alexandre Ramsay of Mar and his wife, Lady Saltoun, Chief of Clan Fraser, were members of the royal family, on the personal wish of the Queen.

Other achievements

War was not the only talent of the members of the Clan; the Chevalier de Ramsay left Scotland for France in 1708. His academic excellence was quickly recognized and he became the mentor of the Prince de Turenne. The King of France made him Knight of the Order of Saint Lazarus and during a period of his life, he was even the tutor of two Jacobite Princes namely Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) and Henri Benoit Stuart.

Allan Ramsay, a well-known 18th century poet, and his son, the portrait painter, came from the Cocker Clan Lairds, Cadets of the House of Chiefs (We are in a Clan System).

Raymond Ramsay is a renowned historian of the 20th century. He was born in the province of Manitoba (Canada) and is the author of books and articles on the great explorers of America that were the Normans. Raymond Ramsay wrote on Vinland and Norumbega etc.

In 1972 Castle of Dalhousie was transformed into a hotel. The headquarters of the Clan were moved to Angus (Lowlands part, on the east coast of Scotland), at Brechin Castle.

The current Chief of the Clan is James Ramsay, 17th Earl of Dalhousie.

 

Our clan seat

Castle of Brechin

Demeure de Lord Dalhousie