The Cant Family and the Strathmartine Trust

This posting is a continuation of our series on identifying Scottish families with possible Flemish roots.  According to George Black the Cant family had Flemish origins.  The first reference to the Cants is found in the 14th century but the name appears frequently thereafter in Scotland. A notable member of the family in the 20th century was Ronald Cant who spent much of his life in St. Andrews.  He taught history at the University for many years until his death in 1999. A gift of books from his estate enabled the establishment of the Strathmartine Trust.

William Cant and Sithow Cant were, according to Black1, tenants under the Douglases in Telny in the barony of Aberdoure, Fife, in 1376.  The name occurs in the Exchequer Rolls in the fifteen century. According to this source the family, by trade dealers in cloth, supplied the king’s household.  They were evidently Flemings and are mentioned (in the Rolls) in connection with Flanders.  They obtained land at Masterton near Dunfermline.  A family of the name attained prominence in Edinburgh, where the name was common, in the 15th and 16th centuries. An Adam Cant was bailie there (in 1403) and James Cant was chosen dean of guild in 1413.  Alexander Cant was provost of Montrose in 1430.  An Allan Cant was rector of the Hospital of Soltre and chancellor of St. Andrews (in 1461).  Henry Cant represented Edinburgh is the Scottish Parliament from 1473 – 1493.   Cants can also be found in documents in later years.  A Robert Cant was a tenant under the Bishop of Moray (1565) and Andrew Cant was Minister at Pitsligo (1634).  Richard Kant, the grandfather of Immanuel Kant, the philosopher, was an inn keeper in Heydekrug (in today’s Lithuania) but was a native of Scotland.

The Cant family has been long associated with the region around the Tay river.  Perhaps the most well known member of this family in recent times was Ronald Cant whose family came originally from the Auchterhouse and Strathmartine area of Angus. Ronald was born in 1908 and as a young man studied at St. Andrews and Oxford universities. After a stint undertaking research in Edinburgh he returned to St. Andrews in 1935 as a lecturer in Medieval History.  He joined the Scottish History Department in 1948 and became reader in 1954.  One of his best-known publications was The University of St. Andrews – A short history2

Cant died in 1999.  His vast collection of books was used to help establish the Strathmartine Trust (the name reflects Ronald’s affection for the Strathmartine area of Angus).  The Strathmartine Centre, that comprises a library, study facilities, meeting rooms and accommodation for visiting history scholars is situated in the heart of St. Andrews.  It offers a range of grants and awards.  It also hosts regular lectures on Scottish history themes.

Most recently, the Strathmartine Trust contributed to the 600th anniversary of the founding of the University of St Andrews by leading a project and raising the funds to commission a statue of the founder, Bishop Henry Wardlaw.  The scope of work undertaken by the Strathmartine Trust can be gleaned from its website at:

John Irvine
April 2015

John Irvine is a member of the project team for the “Scotland and the Flemish People Project”.  He is a genealogist and local historian and is currently Chairman of the Local History Forum. He has written articles for local history journals on a wide range of topics. He has also published widely in the genealogy field and has researched the genealogy of both illustrious Dundee locals and the common man.




  1. Black, George. The Surnames of Scotland, 1946, p.132.
  2. Cant, Ronald C.  The University of St. Andrews – A short history, Scottish Academic Press, 1970.
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The Stranger Churches and their Link with Scotland

This post explores, following the Reformation, the many connections between Scotland and the Low Countries via networks of Flemish exiles in England. It examines the topic from the perspective of the refugees in England and the sources they left us. In London, as well as in certain other English towns, thousands of refugees from France and the Low Countries flocked together in exile communities in the second half of the 16th century. Edward VI first granted a charter, which Elizabeth I renewed, that protected and privileged the Reformed churches around which their communities grew. Here Silke Muylaert draws on her own research on the London Stranger Churches to provide examples of the connections between Scotland, the English exile churches, and the Continent.

Flemish Emigration

The success of Protestantism led to significant persecutions in many regions in Europe and set in motion large migratory streams from the sixteenth century onwards. In the Low Countries too problems arose between citizens with Protestant opinions and a government under the rule of the Catholic kings Charles V and Philip II of Spain. This was especially the case in Flanders, perhaps due to its proximity to France and its trading links with Antwerp, a city in the Low Countries which formed a cross road for ideas, books, and trade in Europe. Initially these refugees went into exile to reside in some of the large Protestant cities such as Geneva or Zürich, but they also found an ally in the English King Edward VI. In 1550 he established London as a place of refuge for Calvinists from the Low Countries and France by giving them a chance to gather and celebrate their beliefs in their own language and according to their own customs, in the so-called Stranger Churches. Yet in 1553 Edward died and his Catholic sister Mary ascended the throne. She ordered the Protestant immigrants to leave the country, but she too died after a short reign, namely in 1558.

In January 1559 the influential Protestant theologian Petrus Martyr Vermigli proclaimed his happiness about the accession of Elizabeth to the English throne in a letter to Johannes Utenhove, a Flemish aristocrat and leading figure in the formation of the Reformed Stranger Churches in England. Elizabeth’s accession incited Martyr’s hope that she would continue her half-brother Edward VI’s diligence in reforming the English Church and denounce Catholicism. Being optimistic about Elizabeth’s intentions concerning religion, Martyr decided to dedicate one of his forthcoming books to her.[1] Elizabeth indeed allowed the re-establishment of the Stranger Churches in England in 1560 and thus Protestant immigrants soon flocked to England again. The churches initially served as outposts of Continental Reformation movements in London.[2] The consistories, which made up the organisational committee of the churches, constructed links between England and the Continental Calvinists, but also formed part of a network with Scottish Protestants, as we will see.

These outposts soon came to be a popular place for refugees from the Low Countries to settle in. In the Low Countries any form of Protestantism was still illegal in 1559, yet in the same year there was speculation on whether or not Philip II of Spain would establish religious freedom in the Low Countries. In the same letter Martyr reported rumours that Philip had announced that ‘nobody shall suffer death for the sake of religion’ at Valladolid and that the same would shortly be proclaimed in Flanders.[3] Such a declaration promised a halt to the persecution of religious dissenters and to their migration to more tolerant countries such as England. However this optimistic promise was to be unfulfilled, since religious tolerance was not generally proclaimed in the Low Countries. Instead, the persecution of religious dissenters turned thousands of refugees towards the English Stranger Churches and some towards Scotland. Hard evidence relating to religious migration to Scotland is difficult to find but the sources of English refugee churches do shed some light on the issue. The Stranger Churches consisted of a Dutch or Flemish church, a French or Walloon church, and an Italian church. Several smaller communities found a residence in smaller towns such as Rye (French/Walloon), Sandwich (Flemish), Maidstone (Flemish), Canterbury (Walloon), Norwich (Flemish and Walloon), Southampton (French), and Colchester (Dutch).

The exile churches in England consisted of a few influential figures who developed a network, through an exchange of letters, with Calvinists on the Continent. They maintained regular contacts with Reformed scholars or immigrants in Scotland too and tried to form a Flemish church in Scotland. In this way they formed a link in an information chain with the Continent. Although some Flemish and Walloon Protestants travelled from London and perhaps Norwich to settle in Scotland, this stream of migration remained small.[4] Yet there seems to have been regular contact between refugees from the Low Countries in England and Scotland. One clear example is found in the consistory records of the Walloon Church of Canterbury in 1577. This example indicates that the Scottish churches had sent money to London for the ‘needful’ refugees in England. It is not clear if this money came from the Kirk of Scotland in general or from a sub-set of them. The congregation at Canterbury received the large sum of ten pounds.[5] In the London Dutch Church’s letter collection we find regular mention of Scotland and its Reformation through the letters of Continental Calvinists writing to Flemish refugees in London.

The Archives of the Dutch Church in London

The London Dutch Church’s Archives provide a source of information on the Scottish Reformation and Flemish migration to Scotland. Dutch in this case stands for the Dutch-speaking part of the Low Countries, yet the church is also often called Flemish.[6]

The Dutch church’s letter collection sheds some light on the migration of Flemish Calvinists from England to Scotland. That there was a movement of Flemish migrants between Edinburgh and London is shown through the warm welcome which the London Dutch Church appears to have given to a Flemish ambassador in Edinburgh and the recurrent theme of travelling between both places in his letter. This Flemish Calvinist, and ambassador of the Dutch States General to the Court of James VI and I, Hadrianus Damman, visited London and the Stranger Churches in 1605, but presumably had also done so earlier. Although it is not clear what the occasion for his visit was, he did write about his departure back to Edinburgh from the London Dutch Church, which he himself calls the Flemish church. He recommended his daughter to the church and maintained networks between the Flemish in Edinburgh and in London.[7]

It is well known that entrepreneurs and governmental authorities regularly attempted to lure Flemish and Walloon weavers and other craftsmen to Scotland and England throughout the later Middle Ages and the Tudor times, but authorities in England also instigated the migration of Netherlands’ Calvinists indirectly from England to Scotland regularly. In these letters we also find evidence that clearly points out the role of the Stranger Church in England in influencing the migration from Flanders to Scotland. Thus some push factors for Flemish migration to Scotland came from within England. In 1586 Francis Walsingham, secretary to Elizabeth, sent a letter to the Stranger Churches asking them to accomplish several things, one of which was to establish a community in Scotland.[8] Even before that, in 1561, there is evidence that the Dutch Church considered sending Flemish weavers from England and Flanders to Scotland.[9] Moreover, throughout the first two decades of Elizabeth’s reign migrants came to London in large groups. One of the reasons why the first exile communities outside London were established was because of the perceived necessity of the dispersion of these migrants throughout the country to avoid the danger of xenophobic mobs.[10] The earliest settlement after London was the one in Sandwich, where by 1565 one third of the population was Flemish, with a minority of Walloons and other inhabitants of the Low Countries.[11] Hence one reason for Walsingham’s demand to establish a community in Scotland was to foster the spread of both religious ideas and people.

There was also a large pull for Flemish and Walloon immigration coming from Scotland. Again the role that the Stranger Churches played in fostering this migration stream is noteworthy. In 1603 James I declared in a letter to the London Stranger Churches that he had formerly attempted to draw the Reformed migrants to Scotland but failed in doing so because of geographical difficulties.[12] In that respect London was well-located to serve as a staging point via which migrants who initially settled in England would more easily be able to travel to Scotland. We do not know which attempt James himself was referring to in this letter from 1603, but it is likely that he was thinking of the endeavour to bring Flemish and Walloon weavers and looms from Norwich to Edinburgh in 1601 by some citizens. Moens believes that the commissioners of the Royal Burghs of Scotland contacted the Norwich communities with the hope of introducing their weaving techniques and looms into Scotland. This attempt was not entirely successful as, according to Moens, most masters were very protective of the secrets of their crafts, yet a few journeymen took advantage of the opportunity.[13]

Throughout Elizabeth’s reign there were regular attempts to attract Flemish migrants, especially those who could offer new skills and bring economic advantages. Another example of the Scottish pursuit of Flemish weavers through the London Stranger Churches which is documented in the Dutch Church’s letter collection is very explicit about the Scottish aims and London’s involvement. In 1586 a certain Gualterus Balcanquellus wrote to the Dutch Church in London about bringing ‘Belgian’ weavers over to Scotland.[14] He explicitly mentions that one Edinburgh citizen thought of sending a servant to ‘Belgium’ in an effort to induce the weavers to settle in Scotland. The name Belgium already existed to denominate the area of the Low Countries. Yet Gualterus, afraid of ‘importing’ ‘papist or wicked persons’, rather advised this citizen to contact the London Dutch Church to select some of its members, or refugees from other exile centres in England, to migrate to Scotland.[15]

A second aspect characteristic of references to Scotland in the archival sources of the London Dutch Church is their interest in the development of the Scottish Reformation. Protestants on the Continent were very keen to hear news about the Reformation in Scotland and regularly asked the Stranger Churches to keep them informed. Theodore Beza, a disciple of Calvin and influential scholar in his own right, showed a particular interest in Scotland in the 1580s. He regularly wrote to representatives of the French churches in order to keep himself updated about affairs in England and Scotland, and to send his regards to Walsingham and a few Scotsmen who he does not call by name.[16] Similarly Henry Bullinger kept in touch from Zürich with Jan Utenhove about the affairs in Scotland as early as 1559, around the time of the resettlement of the Stranger Churches.[17] He was presumably looking for more outposts for Swiss Calvinism. Some of the English clergy had been in exile in Switzerland during the reign of Mary and a few of the strangers such as Utenhove and Micronius held Swiss Calvinist views. The same Utenhove also received letters from the Peter Martyr, as mentioned before. The latter talked about his happiness on the preaching of the Gospel and the public administration of the Sacraments in Scotland, notwithstanding its illegality. According to him, this was the will of the people and these people were slowly turning rebellious against the Catholic Queen Regent, perhaps seeking to unite with England.[18] These mentions do not only indicate an interest in Scotland from the side of the Protestant movement on the Continent, but also show the importance of the London Stranger Churches as a link with Scotland for the circulation of news.

Trade links between Scotland and the Low Countries were important during the 16th century. There are no specific references to this in the letter collection, however we can assume that trading connections stimulated marriages, migration, and cultural exchange between Scotland and Flanders. In 1576 the consistory of the Reformed Church of Veere in the Northern Netherlands wrote to the London Dutch Church concerning the marriage of a woman from their congregation to a Scotsman who had previously resided in London. The letter was seeking information about his conduct in the city and the rumour that he still had a wife there.[19] The networks established by the wool trade encouraged migration to Scotland. It is thus not surprising that according to Hallen many Flemish came to Scotland via Veere, the staple market for Scottish wool.[20] Hallen rightfully asserts that although evidence is sparse, it seems clear that there was a relatively large presence of Flemish and Walloon Calvinist and Anabaptists in Scotland in the 16th century, which would decline in the following centuries.[21]

The extracts springing from the London Dutch Church’s archival material discussed above demonstrate that Scotland, England and Flanders were connected through networks of refugees. The material aids in the understanding of relations between the Scottish Reformation and the Continent’s Calvinist movements. Moreover these sources provide new information and a different lens through which to investigate Flemish migration to Scotland in the Elizabethan period and the early reign of James I. The presence of Flemish and Walloon migrant communities in England, and especially the ones in London, led to them functioning as gateways for negotiation, migration, and the exchange of information between Flanders and Scotland.

Silke Muylaert
April 2015

Silke Muylaert is currently undertaking a PhD at the University of Kent on the topic of the Elizabethan exile communities and their connections to the Dutch Revolt. Coming originally from Ghent University in Flanders, she has found the topic of Flemish migration into England and Scotland in both the medieval and the early modern periods an intriguing field for research.


[1] Petrus Martyr (Vermigli) to Johannes Utenhovius, (Zurich, 7 Jan., 1559), published in Johannes H. Hessels (ed.), Ecclesiae Londino-Batavae Archivum. Tomus Secundus. Epistulae et tractatus cum reformationis tum ecclesiae Londino-Batavae historiam illustrantes (1544-1622). Ex autographis mandante ecclesia Londino-Batava (Cambridge, 1889), pp. 107-109.
[2] Edward VI first formally established these by granting the Reformed strangers in London a royal charter in 1550. See Andrew Pettegree, Foreign Protestant Communities in Sixteenth-Century London (Oxford, 1986), pp. 23-45.
[3] Petrus Martyr (Vermigli) to Johannes Utenhovius, (Zürich, 7 Jan. 1559), published in Ecclesiae Londino-Batavae Archivum. Tomus Secundus, pp. 107-109.
[4] See David Dobson’s blogpost ‘Flemish Migration to Scotland in the Early Modern Period – Preliminary Research Findings’ from 17 January 2014 on this website.
[5] CCA U47/A1, fol. 49.
[6] More about the terms ‘Dutch’ and ‘Flemish’ and their use can be found in Alastair Duke, ‘The elusive Netherlands. The Question of National Identity in the Early Modern Low Countries on the eve of the Revolt’, in Alastair Duke, Judith Pollman and Andrew Spicer (eds.), Dissident identities in the Early Modern Low Countries (Ashgate, 2009), pp. 10-39.
[7] Johannes H. Hessels (ed.), Ecclesiae Londino-Batavae Archivum. Tomi Tertii Pars Prima. Epistulae et Tractatus cum Reformationis tum Ecclesiae Londino-Batavae Historiam Illustrantes, ex autographis mandante ecclesia Londino-Batava (Cambridge, 1897), pp. 1157-1158.
[8] Ecclesiae Londino-Batavae Archivum. Tomus Secundus, pp. 794-796.
[9] Aart A. van Schelven (ed.), Kerkeraads-protocollen der Nederduitsche vluchtelingen-kerk te London. 1560-1563 (Amsterdam, 1921), p. 237.
[10] Lionel Williams, ‘The crown and the provincial immigrant communities in Elizabethan England’, in Harry Hearder and Henry Royston (eds.), British government and administration. Studies presented to S.B. Chrimes (Cardiff, 1974), pp. 117-131 (pp. 118-122).
[11] Marcel Backhouse, The Flemish and Walloon communities at Sandwich during the Reign of Elizabeth I (1561-1603) (Wetteren, 1995), p. 32.
[12] Ecclesiae Londino-Batavae Archivum. Tomus Secundus, pp. 922-923.
[13] William J.C. Moens, The Walloons and their church at Norwich, 1565-1832 (Lymington: Proceedings of the Huguenot Society of London, 1888), p. 85.
[14] His identity is uncertain. Perhaps he is the father of another Walter (=Gualterus) Balcanquell, who was a Scottish clergyman and royal chaplain to James I. He is the only namesake that I could identify which might be related to him, via Clergy of the Church of England database (CCEd), ‘Balcanquall, Walter’, [last accessed 31/03/2015].
[15] Ecclesiae Londino-Batavae Archivum. Tomus Secundus, pp. 841-842.
[16] Ibid., pp. 771-772.
[17] Ibid., pp. 113-115.
[18] Ibid., pp. 88-89, 107-109.
[19] Ecclesiae Londino-Batavae Archivum. Tomi Tertii Pars Prima, pp. 268-269.
[20] A. W. Cornelius Hallen, ‘Huguenots in Scotland’, Proceedings of the Huguenot Society of London 2 (1887-1888), 166-181 (p. 174).
[21] Ibid., p. 169.

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The Frame Family: ‘Weavers from Flanders’

This is a continuation of our series of postings that focus on Scottish families that may have Flemish roots. In this posting Julie Frame Falk explores the possibility of a Flemish origin for the Frame family.  She brings together a range of documentary evidence with the results of DNA analysis to develop a case for a Flemish origin for her family.


Research for the Frame/Freame/Fremault DNA Project is focused on the time of established surnames. In the past, there have been many disparate views as to the origins of both the Frame surname and the clan. Two of the traditions passed down are that the Frames were ‘weavers from Flanders’ and that they had ‘fled religious persecution’.  George Black (The Surnames of Scotland) made no attempt to define or classify Frame; instead, only listing several early individuals. [i]   As will be illustrated, the Scottish Fram/Frame, the English Freme/Freame/Frame and the French Fremault/Fremaux families share a surname etymology and similar family profiles.  Given their artisan skills, where they lived and who they associated with, a case can be made to support the tradition that the ancestors of these families were ‘Weavers from Flanders’ – whether Flemish or Walloon.

DNA Test Results

Since 2006, Y-DNA testing has been utilised along with traditional research in an attempt to gain more insight into the wider Frame clan.  What began as the Frame DNA Project in 2006 is now known as the Frame / Freame / Fremault DNA Project.  The Project website is Here.

As yet, no participants with French surname variants have joined the DNA project; however, DNA test results soon lent strong support to another family tradition – that ‘all Frames are related’.  Y-DNA proved that the majority of men in the Project, random testers from, or with ancestry traced to England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, all share a common progenitor. DNA evidence suggests that some of these lines may have branched apart 800 or more years ago.  This group is classified as being Haplogroup I1, subclade I-L803. The SNP mutation L803 that defines them has thus far only been found in lines stemming from the United Kingdom but that may change over time with future testing (see below).

Haplogroup I1 is the most common I subclade in northern Europe. It is found mostly in Scandinavia and Finland, where it typically represents over 35% of the male Y-chromosomes. Associated with the Norse ethnicity, I1 is found in all places invaded by ancient Germanic tribes and the Vikings. Other parts of Europe speaking Germanic languages come next in frequency. Germany, Austria, the Low Countries, England and the Scottish Lowlands all have between 10% and 20% of I1 lineages.

Surname Etymology

The word ‘fram’ is Proto-Germanic – a preposition (from, by, due to) and an adverb (forth, forward, away, further).  The word ‘frame’ is a noun and a verb.  ‘Fram’ was also used as a first name: Fræna / Fráni = Fram.  For example, Framland wapentake in Leicestershire was said to have its name derived from the Scandinavian personal name Fræna and lundr, meaning ‘Fræna’s grove’ – with variants of the name including Frandone, Franelun, Franelund, Franland, Franlund and Framelund.  Note that the letters ‘n’ and ‘m’ were interchangeable during those early times, presenting a further complication for those researching the Frame surname.  Clearly, some families might have their surnames derived from a patronym, toponym or various nicknames; however, due to research into the possible Continental ancestral homeland of the British Frame/Freame clan, and the Y-DNA haplogroup designation of the largest project group (I1), which provides a reasonable geographical correlation, the Project presently favours Förstemann’s findings:  framea – spear.

In The Teutonic Name-System Applied to the Family Names of France, England, & Germany,  [ii] Robert Ferguson writes that there are probably as many names taken from the weapons that warriors used than from all other sources put together. The details provided on the name Fram are shown below.

Tacitus tells us that the Germans were generally armed with a short spear, adapted either for close or distant fighting, and which was called in their language framea. From this word, apparently allied to the Modern German pfriem, Förstemann derives the following ancient names, which are mostly Frankish.

FRAM. Spear.


English:         FRAME, FREEM.

French:         FRÉMY, FREMEAUX, FROMMÉ, FORME…  [iii]

With the French pronunciation emphasising the first syllable and the second syllable falling away, it is not difficult to envisage a gradual transmutation from the French variant Fremeaux to the anglicised Frame, Freme etc.

Based on this etymology, a search was made for examples of these surname variants (or possible spelling deviations), in relevant locations on the Continent.  In Britain, the surname first appears in England, not Scotland, so a search was then made in English records for occurrences up to 1700. The surnames shown below either match, or are phonetically similar to, the French and English variants derived by Förstemann:

Continental Europe

Netherlands:   Fraam, Fraismet, Fram, Frame, Framey, Freem, Freeme, Frem, Frema, Fremau, Fremay, Fremaux, Fremeaux, Freem, Freeme,  Fremme, Fremi, Fremmi, Fremou, Freummau, Frima, Froem, Fromeau, Fromi, Fromie, Fromy, Froumi, Froumy, Fruhm, Frummau, Frumo.

Belgium:  Frahm, Frama, Frame, Freimaux, Fremau, Fremaux, Frémaux, Fremeaux, Frémiau, Fremi, Fremy, Friem, Fremie, Fremmy, Fromy, Froumy, Frumy.

France:  Frame, Fremault, Fremaux, Freme, Frème, Fremé, Frémé, Fremy.

England: up to 1700

ffram, Fraim, Fraime, Fram, Frame, Framm, Fream, Freame, Frem, Frema, Freham, Freeham, Freem, Freema, Freeme,  Freima,  Frieme, Fremau, Fremaux, Freme, Fremou, Fremow, Frewme, Freumau, Fremault, Fremaut, Frim, Frime, Fryam, Fryme, Frymhe, Froama, Froiam, Fromow, Froum, Froume, Frowme, Fryme. 

Migration to England

See a map of surname distribution in England up to c.1700: Here   [iv]

The Freme/Freame/Frame surname began to appear in England in the early 14th century during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). For instance, Walter Freme and Robert Freme were recorded at Wick and Nursteed in the Wiltshire Tax List of 1332. [v]

Edward III encouraged Flemish weavers–see below–to settle in England, promising that they would be amply supplied with wool and provided with ready markets for all the cloth they could manufacture.

The Flemish cloth-workers, as they came over, had special districts assigned to them, with special liberties and privileges. They were planted all over England,—in London, in Kent, in Somerset, in Norfolk, in Nottinghamshire, in Yorkshire, in Lancashire, and as far north as Kendal in Westmoreland…

Other Flemings planted themselves in the West of England, and in course of time their fulling-mills were busily at work along the streams of Wiltshire, Somerset, and South Gloucester, where the manufacture of cloth still continues to flourish. Bath and Bristol also shared in the prosperity which followed the introduction of this new branch of trade... [vi]

Frame/Freame/Freme families were found in almost all of those locations by 1700; however, the major expansion was in Gloucestershire, especially in the valleys around Stroud where there was easy access to high quality wool, abundant supplies of fuller’s earth and water of sufficient quantity to drive the mills. Nearby Bristol was an outlet for the finished product. Numerous small valley hamlets developed into towns serving the cloth industry.  Settlements such as Chalford, Nailsworth and Stroud developed from the later 14th century, spreading along the sides of the river valleys and clustering around the mills. In 1656, Thomas Freame, a cloth worker, had his fulling-mill at Nailsworth  [vii] and John (Jn.) Freame of Chalford was a clothier in 1662. [viii]  The number of Freame/Freme etc. families working in the textile industry in Stroud and Bisley are too numerous to detail in this article; however, a map of their distribution throughout Gloucestershire up to 1700 can be viewed:  Here.

By the 1881 census of England only about 25 individuals with apparent French variants remained. They were surnamed:  Fremaux, Frimma, Framey, Frumey and Frumie. This suggests that most of the early families with the French variants had either fully assimilated and their surnames had become anglicised; that they had left England; or, that most of their male lines had become extinct – a less likely scenario.

A fuller coverage of the migration to England can be found at:

Migration to Scotland

Immigrants from Flanders settled in Scotland between the 11th and 17th centuries. It is not until the late 15th century that we first notice the Fram/Frame surname in Scottish records and there were only two individuals mentioned in this period:  Chaplain Sir Adam Frame and James Frame.

Adam Frame is first noted as a witness to an Instrument in the Midlothian Protocol Book of James Young 1488/9. [ix]  Later, on 9 Jul 1495 he was mentioned in this abstract:

Notarial Instrument on the Proclamation of the Brieve of Chancery for the Service of Margaret Boyd, widow of Alexander Lord Forbes, at the market-cross of Lanark, by John Hamiltoun, serjeant in that part, citing the barons and lieutenants of the shire of Lanark to appear for that purpose in the court-house of Edinburgh, on Monday the 27th of July following.

…Acta erant hec ad prescriptum crucem foralem antedicti burgi, hora nona ante meridiem, vel eo circa, sub anno, die, mense, indictione et pontificatu quibus supra presentibus ibidem, providis et discretis  viris, videlicet Thoma Weir, Johanna Mowat, ballivis dicti burgi, Andrea Williamsone, Johanne Doby, Willelmo Pursell, Willelmo Dikesone, Roberto Pedecrw, Thoma Lumisdaill, Thoma Bannathyne, Johanne Madar, et domino Adam Frame, capellano, testibus ad premissa, vocatis, pariter et requisitis.  

Et ego Johannes Stephani presbiter Glasguensis, etc. (in communi forma).’ [x]

James Frame in Musselburgh was deceased by 13 June 1495. Musselburgh was another sea port town through which the Dutch and Flemish traded.  As shown below James Frame was noted in the Midlothian Protocol Book of James Young (1493-1497).

‘09. 13 Jun 1495. William Malis, indweller in Smethton, resigned in the hands of William Fausid, bailie of Mussilburgh, an annualrent of sixteen shillings from the land of the deceased James Frame, lying in the burgh of Mussilburgh, on the east side of the street called Neubiggin, between the lands of Simon Cass on the south and north, the common of Mussilburgh on the east and a common passage on the west…’

A distribution map showing Frame families present in Scotland by 1700 can be viewed:  Here

The census of 1881 clearly shows that Lanarkshire had become the British ‘hotspot’ for the Frame surname. [xi]  1,540 Frames were enumerated in Scotland with 1,184 of them in Lanarkshire. Similarly with Fram – there were 58 counted with 31 being in Lanarkshire.

Like their namesakes in England, many of the early Frames in Scotland are known to have had strong ties to the textile industry as merchants, burgesses and artisans including many weavers.  The places we find them had been settled by Flemings; however, no documentary evidence has been found to indicate that they were among the Flemish people who travelled up to Scotland in the train of David I.  Considering the date the Fram/Freame surname first appears in Scotland, perhaps the most plausible period for the earliest migration would be after 1424, during the reign of James I of Scotland (reigned 1406-1437), when he returned after having been held in England for 18 years by Henry IV and Henry V.  See below.

‘One possible exception may be noticed in this matter. James I. of Scotland spent his youth at the English Court, and returned to his own land imbued with English ideas. He may well have been struck with the results of the industrial policy of Edward III., and he gets credit for sending for craftsmen out of England, France, and Flanders, and planting them in Scotland …’  [xii]

When Scotland became a Protestant country in 1560 it was a haven for Calvinists /Reformists from the Continent.  Some early Frames in the Edinburgh environs are found in the Canongate, Linlithgow and Uphall and introduced first names such as Daniel, Michael and Harri – names not previously seen in early Scottish Frame families.  Some examples in this eastern cluster are William Frame (sp. Helen Fleming) who was a Burgess in Edinburgh in 1592; John Frame, son to John Frame was apprenticed to James Hutson, Hatmaker in 1593 and in 1618 was a Hatmaker, Burgess; Daniel Frame was a Burgess/Merchant in Edinburgh in 1642; Michael Frame was a Wobster (weaver) in 1625 and Joseph Frame was a Burgess in Linlithgow before 1623.

From various Scottish records in the mid-16th century including Wills/Testaments we begin to find Frames scattered throughout the Lowlands of Scotland, especially Lanarkshire. Some examples are Arthur Fram in Kilcadzow near Carluke, Lanarkshire (1551); Robert Frame (sp. Margaret Abercorne), Cardross, Dunbartonshire (1564); Andrew Frame, Blackburn, East Kilbride, Lanarkshire (1583); James Frame, Edelwood Chapel beside Hamilton, Lanarkshire (1587); William Frame, Merchant/Burgess in Edinburgh (1592); John Fram, Dalserf, Lanarkshire (1593).

Arthur Fram was mentioned in George Black’s Surnames of Scotland.  In 1551 he witnessed a document for John Maxwell, laird of Calderwood:

89. DUNLOP    21 September, 1551, 11 a.m.

John Maxuell, laird of Calderuod, and of the barony of Mauldslie appeared on the ground of his five pound lands of old extent of Kynkaidzowlaw, lying within the barony of Mauldislie, sheriffdom of Lanark, and upper ward of Clydisdaile, and there, for a sum of money paid to him by Andrew Dunlop, gave sasine of the said five pound lands to the said Andrew Dunlop and Christine Coittis, his spouse, conform to the tenor of a charter to that effect.

Witnesses: Sir James Flemyng, chaplain, Thomas Clerksoun, William Caidzow, James Symsoune, James Gillerissoun, Arthur Fram, tillers and inhabitants of the said lands.’  [Glasgow (Scotland) – Robert Renwick, ABSTRACTS OF PROTOCOLS OF THE TOWN CLERKS OF GLASGOW, p.32]

A John Frame in Kilcadzow who died 10 Jan 1606 was almost certainly a near relative.  John Frame left a testament dated 2 Jan 1606. The sum of his inventory was £536 and included quantities of unwaulked cloth and linen which suggests that he may have been a weaver or merchant.  Other artisan Frames in the Carluke environs were mentioned in Poll Tax records.  For instance, in 1695 there were two records for Walter Frame in ‘Wigetshaw’ (Waygateshaw), one a weaver and the other a coater – perhaps they were father and son.  We also find Frames in Scotland described as sheriff, provost, writer, farmer, shoemaker, stocking maker, wright, mason etc.

Larkhall in Dalserf parish was known as a weavers’ town; however, Larkhall did not develop as a town until about 1770. The Statistical Accounts of Scotland (1791-99) states that Larkhall had about 100 houses at that time, which were principally occupied by weavers; many new incomers to the area. The old established Dalserf Frame families, however, were known to have been involved in weaving almost 200 years before the expansion of the weaving industry in Larkhall. The evidence is in the 1610 Will of Jonet Hamilton, first wife of John Frame in Marlage:  ‘Item to James Fram, wobster [weaver] in corsolloch [Cornsilloch], £12, part thereof borrowed silver and part for work.’  [xiii]  It is clear from his 1622 Will that John Frame in Marlage was reasonably well-off for those times.  The sum of his inventory and the monies owed to him was £869 10s. After his debts were paid his three children received £762 17s 8d divided between them.  This John Frame had a brother James Frame who was a merchant in Dalserf.  There are numerous Wills/Testaments for Frames in the late 16th and 17th centuries but only four in the 18th century. Perhaps Frame family fortunes took a downward spiral during this period.  From the 19th century onwards, the volume is what one would expect given the number of Frames in census records.

Alexander McLeod notes in The Book of Old Darvel [Ayrshire] and Some of Its Famous Sons:

There is a tradition that both Dutch and Huguenot immigrants settled in the Irvine Valley, and this tradition is supported by such surnames as Gebbie, Scade, Frame and Howie.  A colony of Flemings also established themselves in the neighbouring town of Strathaven [in Lanarkshire], which is still called Flemington. [xiv]

The OPR records of the Frames in Strathaven and other parts of Avondale parish provide ample evidence of ‘Flemishness’ in their occupations:  John Frame and James Frame, weavers in Strathaven; John, James and William Frame, weavers in Threestanes;  Robert Frame, weaver in Brownmuir; John Frame, mason in Strathaven; James Frame, brewer in Strathaven, Robert Frame, merchant in Strathaven.  On 5 May 1684, James Frame, weaver in Strathaven was on a list of fugitives published by the Privy Council in Edinburgh, ‘Against rebels lately in arms in the West…They will be prosecuted and brought to punishment. All subjects are to aprehend them.’ S2567. [xv] Several other Frames have been identified as ‘Covenanters’.

Given the large genetic distances between some related Frame participants in the DNA project it is evident that their lines branched apart many centuries ago.  One of these ‘outlier’ lineages has ancestry traced to Durham, England in the late 16th century.   Their family tradition is that their Frames ‘came down from Berwick’ – a port that once saw wool from Scotland shipped directly to the markets of Flanders.  Another is from Lanarkshire where numerous Flemish families settled.


There is significant evidence to support the long-held tradition that the Frames in Scotland were descendants of ‘weavers from Flanders’, so too, those in England. Moreover, if genetic kinship between the English and Scottish Frame/Freame families and the Fremault/Fremaux families is ever confirmed by Y-DNA testing – a goal of the Project – then it would be a discovery of great importance.

Julie Frame Falk

April 2015

Julie Frame Falk is a Director of an Australian family company and the Lead Administrator of the Frame/Freame/Fremault DNA Project.  She has been interested in genealogy for decades and has authored and self-published six family history books. In 2006 she became a ‘genetic genealogist’ after testing the Y-DNA of her brother – the first Frame to participate in the Project.  Her goal was to discover more about the wider Frame family – who they were – what they were – and where they came from.


[i]  George Black, The Surnames of Scotland, 1946, p.278

[ii] Robert Ferguson, The Teutonic Name-System Applied to the Family Names of France, England, & Germany, 1864, p.161.

[iii] Ibid. p.215

[iv] These samples were collated from birth records at Family Search and other sources. It is not a complete set of records. The number of records per pin is in brackets following surnames.

[v] Wiltshire Record Society, edited by D.A. Crowley, The Wiltshire Tax List of 1332, 1989, pp.129-30

[vi]  Samuel Smiles, The Huguenots, their Settlements, Churches and Industries in England and Ireland, 1869, pp.5-9

[vii]  ‘Nailsworth: Economic history’, A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 11: Bisley and Longtree Hundreds (1976), pp. 211-215]

[viii] Gloucestershire Archives, Reference: D444/T56

[ix] Midlothian Protocol Book of James Young, 1485-1489; 1584-1515 Vol.2

[x] Archæological and Historical Collections Relating to Ayrshire & Galloway, Volume 3, 1882 – Architecture, pp.146-147

[xi] Archer Software, British 19th Century Surname Atlas.

[xii] W. Cunningham, Alien Immigrants to England, 1867, pp. 129-131

[xiii] National Records of Scotland ref. CC10/5/2

[xiv] The Book of Old Darvel and Some of its Famous Sons, edited by Alexander G. McLeod, 1953

[xv] Crawford.bib Ryl Tudor V2, pp.400-1

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The Barony of Kerdale and its Links with some Key Moray Families

Freskyn de Moravia, believed to be a Fleming, was the progenitor of two major Scottish families: the Sutherlands and the Murrays. Freskyn de Kerdale and his sister Margaret were directly descended from Freskyn de Moravia down a separate line. Through marriage there were close links between this line and the Douglas and Stirling families. In this blog posting that builds on an earlier one dated 21st of November 2014, James Sutherland and Mark Sutherland-Fisher report on their research on the Barony of Kerdale and these family linkages.

Freskyn de Moravia (Fresechinus fillius Ollec), who was believed to be a Fleming, was influential in Scotland during the early medieval period. New information discovered recently shows that Freskyn had settled initially in Pembroke in Wales with other Flemings, including Witsonis Flandrensis.[1] He later accompanied King David I to Scotland and was given lands in Strathbroc, West Lothian. Subsequently he helped put down an insurrection in 1130 in Moray. He was given lands in Duffus and built a fortress there.

The De Moravia family has genealogical significance for Scotland. The senior line of the family became Earls of Sutherland. A separate branch of that line contains the important Murray Earls and Dukes of Atholl. See the genealogical diagram below. Along a separate line arose the De Kerdale family, which developed links with two other significant Scottish families, Stirling and Douglas. Both of these families are believed to have Flemish roots. These family linkages are the subjects of this blog posting.

The Stivelyn or Stirling family was settled at an early date in the neighbourhood of Dunmaglas in Strathnairn in the north of Scotland (see map below). By 1234 Sir Alexander Stirling of Moray had married Marjorie de Moravia, daughter of Freskyn de Kerdale, who, as noted above, was descended from Freskyn de Moravia.

The Stirling family is one of great antiquity, having been descended from Walter de Strivelyn, who appears as a witness in a charter of Prince Henry, son of King David I of Scotland, of a grant of the church of Sprouston by John Bishop of Glasgow to the Abbey of Kelso in 1144.[2]

Freskyn de Kerdale was a patron of the church at Daviot, which was the mensal church of Bishop Bricius de Douglas, son of William de Douglas Lord of Douglasdale. At the insistence of Freskyn de Kerdale the tithes of Daviot were granted for the fabric of the Cathedral Church at Spynie, which is situated a little to the north of Elgin.[3] Hence Freskyn de Kerdale was supportive of the bishop, and therefore also the Douglas family.

When Bricius died in 1223 his successor Andrew de Moravia confirmed the previous grant, and in 1234 land at Daviot was subject to an agreement between the chaplain of Moray and Sir Alexander Stirling of Moray. Freskyn de Kerdale was avuncular noster (our uncle) to Bishop Brice. In other words, Freskyn de Kerdale was related to Bishop Bricius and his brothers.

The De Moravia family also held Petty and the lands of Croy, Kilravock and Cantray, which were distributed as marriage portions to the daughters of the family. All that remains now of the association between the De Moravia family and the area is Cantray-Freskyn. Marjorie de Moravia, widow of Sir Alexander Stirling, granted to her daughter, Isobel, the lands of Cantray-Freskin. The witness was Archibald, Bishop of Moray, who held his see during the period 1253-1258. The Murrays of Petty male line ended in a daughter, Joan, who married Lord Archibald Douglas (Archibald the Grim), Lord of Galloway, Lord of Bothwell, and Earl of Wigtown, who became 3rd Earl of Douglas.

There are several pieces of evidence to suggest a presence of the Kerdale family in Scotland some two centuries later. A James of Kerdale witnessed a charter granted at Castle Urquhart in 1342, and a Nicholissa of Kerdale in 1414 was one of the superiors of Dunmaglas in the Barony of Kerdale, which was held by Donald, Thane of Cawdor.[4]

Interestingly, the Macgillvrays of Dunmaglas were the first clan to join the Confederacy of Clan Chattan (the Confederacy allowed greater protection for its constituent clans). Petty was the original home of the Mackintoshes, chiefs of Clan Chattan. In early history the Macintoshes were Tosheachs or Chamberlains of Petty.[5]

Recent research by this author on the family tree of the Douglas/Hamilton family shows William de Douglas as being married to a sister of Freskyn de Kerdale, Margaret de Kerdale. They had six sons: Brice de Douglas, Alexander de Douglas, Archibald Lord Douglas, Henry de Douglas, Hugh de Douglas, and Freskyn de Douglas.

After its forfeiture by Archibald Douglas, Earl of Moray, in 1455, the land of Strathnairn was for some time in the hands of the crown. Then it was owned by the Ogilvies of Banff and later was sold to Sir John Campbell of Cawdor in about 1535.

Archibald Douglas, the eldest son of William de Douglas, possessed Hailes in Midlothian (before 1198). This was close to the Freskyns in Strathbroc in West Lothian. Moreover, the ecclesiastical rank held by Douglas’ brother Brice as prior of Lesmahagow (near Douglasdale) suggests a residence in the south of Scotland before the move of Freskyn and the Douglas brothers to Moray.

The evidence to date points to the fact that Freskyn of Kerdale was a Laird in Moray and that he was a near relation of the Douglas family. Several seals, belonging to persons of the name of Stirling, are appended to the Deeds of Homage commonly called The Ragman Rolls, which were exacted by King Edward I of England (1272-1307) from the Scottish barons in 1292 and 1296 and are preserved in the Chapter House, Westminster. The box below discusses Sir John Stirling and the nature of his seals.


The seals of Sir John Stirling, around the year 1296, are quite different from those depicted on the traditional Stirling family shields and arms, and carry many of the hallmarks of both the Douglas and Moray shields. This extract from the book Stirlings of Keir elaborates further on Sir John Stirling and his seals.

“His estates lay in Moray; he might therefore have naturally assumed that Three Stars of Moray as arms of dependence, but why should he add to these the three stars of Douglas, unless they were arms of alliance, and through the female line he claimed a common ancestry? That common ancestry, so far as known, could only be through Freskyn de Kerdale, who was, on the one hand, the uncle of Bishop Bricius de Douglas, and on the other, the father in law of Sir Alexander Stirling, the progenitor of Sir John Stirling. The testimony of Sir John Stirling’s seal may therefore be added in support of what was formally stated in reference to Marjorie de Moravia, widow of Sir Alexander Stirling, being also the daughter of Freskyn de Kerdale, and strengthening the probability that he was a member of the De Moravia family, perhaps a grandson of the first Freskyn (Fresechinus fillius Ollec), who migrated from Pembroke in 1130 to Strathbrock in West Lothian and then to Duffus in Moray.

The Seal of Sir John Stirling of Moray, attached to the Ragman Roll of 1296, figured in The Stirlings of Keir by William Fraser. His seal differs from all other Stirling seals and the arms of the Stirlings of Calder. These are a black bar of three Buckles on a white shield that shows a Flemish influence to Alost”.

Shields of the the Stirlings of Keir and the Stirlings of Cadder

Source: Taken from the Folio of the Heraldic Manuscript of Lord Lyon Sir David Lindsay, Folio Copy of his manuscript of the Stirlings of Keir and the Stirlings of Cadder.

Shield of John Stirling of Moray

Source: Taken from a woodcut of Sir John Stirling of Moray that shows the three Douglas stars on the top of the shield and the three Moray stars on the bottom.[6]

The seals of Sir John Stirling of Moray (Johannes de Strivelyn) bear six mullets, three, two, and one, as appears from an annexed woodcut. Alexander de Striveling acquired lands in Moray before 1234 by marriage with a daughter of Freskyn de Kerdale, a near relative of the family de Moravia. Sir John was the son of that marriage. The mullets borne by him were the arms of the Moray family, and either through the intermarriage of his father, or from his being a vassal of that family, he assumed the mullets as arms of alliance or dependence. Thus there are three mullets (stars) for Douglas along the top of the woodcut and the three mullets (stars) of Moray below.

Research by the author suggests that the Barony of Kerdale covered an area from Dunmaglas (modern day Dunmaglass), stretching as far as Daviot and taking in Strathnairn. The shaded area in the map below represents the likely extent of the Barony of Kerdale.

James B. Sutherland and J. Mark Sutherland-Fisher
March 2015

James B. Sutherland is a retired Company Director and local family genealogist. He is a project member of the Sutherland DNA Project and has compiled articles, both historical and genealogical, for the Clan Sutherland Magazine. J. Mark Sutherland-Fisher is a Company Director and Clan Sutherland Genealogist. He is also a project member of the Sutherland DNA Project and is engaged in upgrading and revising the original Genealogy of Clan Sutherland.


[1] Pipe Roll Henry I, Michaelmas 1130 (Loughborough, 2012), pp. 107, 136.
[2] Archibald C. Lawrie (ed.), Early Scottish Charters, prior to A.D. 1153 (1905), p. 137, CLXXV Liber de Calchou, no. 382. Bannatyne Club Edition, p. 307.
[3] Charter 1206-1223: Episcopus ad instantian Freskini de Kerdal cocedit ecclefiam de Deventh(Daviot) ad fabrican ecclefie Cathedralis.
[4] William Fraser, The Douglas Book (Edinburgh, 1885), and The Thanes of Cawder (Spalding Club), p. 5.
[5] George Bain, The Lordship of Petty (1925), ch. III, p. 18.
[6] A copy of this woodcut is shown in William Fraser, Book of The Stirlings of Keir (Edinburgh, 1859), p. 14.

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The Fleming Family Charter Collection

This posting discusses the recent discovery of a set of medieval charters relating to the Fleming family of Biggar and Cumbernauld. It is hoped that these charters will in due course shed new light on this Fleming family and its influence in Scotland.


The Fleming family charter collection was donated to the University of Toronto’s Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library in 2014. Eric Robertson, the donor, is a private individual who is a collector, particularly of Scottish material. The charters have been in his possession for many decades. He acquired them as a young man from an Edinburgh bookseller.

The charter collection pertains to the Fleming family associated with Biggar and Cumbernauld. Readers of this blog will be familiar with this particular family as it has had a noteworthy influence on Scotland’s history. Blog postings authored by Charles Rigg, dated the 5th and 12th of December, examine the relationship between two members of this family — Mary Fleming and John, 5th Lord Fleming — and Mary, Queen of Scots. An earlier posting by Charles Rigg, dated the 24th of March 2014, highlights the involvement of these Flemings in the Biggar area in the 12th century.

Subsequently the family moved to Cumbernauld Castle during the 14th century, and continued to be associated with that area until Oliver Cromwell destroyed the castle in 1650. This was the subject of a blog posting written by Adam Smith and dated the 19th of May 2014.

The Nature and Significance of the Charters

The collection comprises 60 charters, written in Latin, that date from the 14th to the 17th century. Little is know about the exact content of the charters at this point. This will only become clear once they have been digitised and examined.

The documents are believed to be, for the most part, land charters that would have governed the change of ownership of land. The charters had been created in a range of different places. Edinburgh is the main location but others include Glasgow, Aberdeen, Scone, Biggar, Cumbernauld Castle, and even Paris.

The parties to the charters also vary widely. Almost all of the charters have, as one of the principal parties, a member of the Fleming family. The other parties are wide-ranging but include royalty such as David II, Robert III, James III, James IV, Charles II, and Mary, Queen of Scots. A copy of one of the charters is shown below.

Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto.

Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto.

There is interest among academic and local historians in the content of the charters. Such charters could not only potentially shed light on issues of land ownership, but also on the relationships between the principal parties to the agreements. Even the red wax seal pendants attached to the charters can provide information of interest to historians.

Just how significant this find may be for Scottish historical research is difficult to assess at present but moves are afoot to make their content more broadly available.

Next Steps

The Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library plans to digitise the charters over the coming months. They will then be made available to the St Andrews Institute of Scottish Historical Research. How these documents will be translated, examined, and made available to researchers and the public at large is currently under discussion.

Anne Dondertman and Alex Fleming
March 2015

Anne Dondertman is Associate Librarian for Special Collections and Director of the University of Toronto’s Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library.
Alex Fleming is a sponsor of, and researcher in, the Scotland and the Flemish People Project. He is also the editor of the project blog.

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Aberdeen and the Fleming: Part Two

This week’s post is the second and final instalment of PhD student Amy Eberlin’s look at the trade relationship between Aberdeen and Flanders in the Middle Ages.

The thirteenth century was a period of economic conservatism for Aberdeen. Unlike other Scottish burghs, Aberdeen’s economy was primarily dominated by the Low Countries. While Dundee and Leith diversified their commercial contacts, Aberdeen remained reliant upon trade with the cloth-producing Low Countries, particularly Flanders and Artois, for the continued success of their export trade. David Ditchburn and Marjory Harper argue that this was due to the importance of wool to Aberdeen’s trade: “Wool remained a much more important element in Aberdeen’s trade than it did in the trade of other towns and the main market for wool remained the cloth-producing towns of the Netherlands. And it was still in the Low Countries that Aberdonians acquired most of their imports.”[1] The importance of the Low Countries to Aberdonian trade, and to that of Scotland more widely, did not diminish after the thirteenth century.

David II’s capture at the Battle of Neville’s Cross in 1346 greatly impacted the ways in which Scotland dealt with both England and Flanders. Yet, it was this same situation which pushed Scotland’s merchants to the forefront of political life. Much of the revenue intended to pay off David II’s ransom came from the export duties of staple goods, such as wool, woolfells, and hides. This meant that the merchants of Scotland, the primary contacts in the exportation and importation of goods, gained an increased level of influence. “In 1357 the representatives of seventeen burghs met to choose delegates to discuss the ransom with the English. John Crabbe and William de Leith of Aberdeen were among those selected. In a parliament of 1367, when a small committee was chosen to carry on parliamentary business while the rest of the members returned home, men from Aberdeen were among those who remained.”[2] It is unsurprising that these Aberdonian merchants chose to remain, as Aberdeen had particularly strong trading links with continental Europe. Its rural hinterland produced wool, woolfells, and hides, while the burgh provided fish, particularly salmon, for export.[3] Fourteenth century burgh statutes from Aberdeen reflect this interest in maintaining a successful economy based upon trade. The majority of these statutes dealt with the strict regulation of burgh trade, in turn protecting the considerable economic interests of the burgh in their trading.[4] The restrictions governed the quantity, quality, and selling of goods in the market. Goods had to be brought to the market on the same day, the proper tolls paid, and publicly displayed to give the townspeople an equal opportunity to purchase the goods.[5] The membership of Aberdeen’s merchant guild also reflected the importance of overseas trading to the burgh. By the fourteenth century, the guild became focussed upon international trade. Its membership was restricted to those who exported the staple goods of wool, woolfells, and hides, and excluded craftsmen from its ranks.[6] Scottish overseas merchants and traders emerged as major players in local and national politics during the fourteenth century. In Aberdeen, they were loath to become any less significant over the following centuries.

The fifteenth century saw piracy greatly threaten the success of Scotland’s export trade. This was not a new threat and had impacted the exportation of Scottish goods to continental Europe for centuries. The threat of piracy was as much of a danger to trade as actual pirates. Scottish merchant vessels would take refuge in friendly ports to escape having their ships and goods seized and plundered by pirates.

An Early Example: 7 September 1326

“Commission of inquiry into the case of John de Wygemore, Archibald de Craberry, and other Scottish merchants, who, when they with some scholars and merchandise in a Flemish vessel bound to Flanders, through fear of pirates, were brought for safety into Scarborough by William Punche, an English mariner, along | with John Stuffe of Aberdeen, another Scottish merchant who had likewise taken refuge there from the pirates from another vessel, were all arrested by the sheriff of York and the guardians of Scarborough, and put in prison.” (CDS, iii, pp. 161-162)

As David Ditchburn has argued, the “condemnatory thrust of historical argument” about Scottish piracy overlooks the vulnerability of Scotland’s export trade, as most of it was imported or exported by sea.[7] This made Aberdeen and its trade particularly vulnerable to the dangers of piracy. References to Aberdonian merchants seeking restitution from the English crown for the illegal seizure of goods bound for Flanders can be found throughout the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.[8] The Scots were, by no means, innocent of their own acts of piracy. “… Scottish piracy led not only to the long-running dispute with the Hansa, but also to protracted, though never simultaneous, interruptions in Scottish trade with the three Netherlandish counties of Holland, Zeeland and Flanders between 1409 and 1427.”[9] The fifteenth century, and its first decade in particular, was characterised as a period of acute insecurity in the North Sea. Merchants who traded in the North Sea region, irrespective of their nationality, had all suffered considerable losses during this period. The Scots, and their acts of piracy, contributed to this “atmosphere of insecurity.”[10] For Aberdeen, the fifteenth century saw Edinburgh and its port in Leith dominate overseas exports. This was a stark contrast with Aberdeen’s former contribution to Scotland’s wider export trade. “In the 1390s, in terms of the total customs dues accounted for at the exchequer, Aberdeen handled the third largest volume of trade, but by the 1400s Aberdeen’s receipts were outstripped by those collected at Edinburgh, Perth, Dundee, Linlithgow, and frequently Haddington too.”[11] Facing the continuing threat of piracy and a diminishment in its contribution to Scotland’s export trade, Aberdeen was no longer at the forefront of Scotland’s trade with Flanders.[12]

From its very start, Aberdeen has been intimately connected, through its river and seaside location, to Scotland’s export trade with continental Europe. Flemings, like John Crabbe (as discussed in the 15 November 2013 blog post), were attracted to Aberdeen for its central role in Scotland’s economy and its production of staple goods, particularly wool. While Edinburgh eventually surpassed Aberdeen in the 1500s as the dominant trading burgh of Scotland, the importance of Aberdeen’s harbour in the present day speaks to the burgh’s continued influence in the Scottish economy. The economic import of medieval Aberdeen was based upon its function as an international trading centre, which dealt with the goods and merchants of the Low Countries, particularly Flanders. It was in this, at time tumultuous, trade relationship where we observe the many connections between the Fleming and Aberdeen.

Amy Eberlin
March 2015


[1] David Ditchburn and Marjory Harper, ‘Chapter Seventeen: Aberdeen and the Outside World,’ in eds. E. Patricia Dennison, David Ditchburn and Michael Lynch, Aberdeen Before 1800: A New History, (East Linton, 2002), pp. 386-387.
[2] Elizabeth Ewan, ‘The Age of Bon-Accord: Aberdeen in the Fourteenth Century,’ in ed. J.S. Smith, New Light on Medieval Aberdeen, (Aberdeen, 1985), p. 34.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid., p. 38.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Ibid., p. 40; ed. P.J. Anderson, Charters and other Writs illustrating the History of the Royal Burgh of Aberdeen, (Aberdeen, 1980), no. 3; ed. W.C. Dickinson, Early Records of the Burgh of Aberdeen, 1317, 1398-1407, (1957), p.104); Elizabeth Ewan, ‘The Burgesses of Fourteenth Century Scotland: A Social History,’ (Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Edinburgh, 1984), pp. 128-130.
[7] David Ditchburn, ‘Piracy and War at Sea in Late Medieval Scotland,’ in ed. T.C. Smout, Scotland and the Sea, (Edinburgh, 1992), p. 35.
[8] Two examples can be found in CDS, iv, pp. 33 and 229.
[9] David Ditchburn, ‘Bremen Piracy and Scottish Periphery: The North Sea World in the 1440s,’ in eds. Allan I. Macinnes, Thomas Riis, and Frederik Pederson, Ships, Guns and Bibles in the North Sea and Baltic, c. 1350-1700, (East Linton, 2000), p. 3.
[10] David Ditchburn, ‘The pirate, the policeman and the pantomime star: Aberdeen’s alternative economy in the early fifteenth century,’ Northern Scotland, 12 (1992), pp. 19-34.
[11] Ibid., p. 25.
[12] This does not mean that interactions between Flemings and Aberdonians, either in Scotland or Flanders, stopped in the fifteenth century. Indeed, the relationship between the two regions continued into the many following centuries with Flemings appearing in the Extracts from the Council Register of the Burgh of Aberdeen, 1570-1625, Aberdeen Shore Work Accounts, 1596-1670, and in the Aberdeen Burgess Lists.

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Aberdeen and the Fleming: Part One

This is the first post in a two-part blog on “Aberdeen and the Fleming.” The second blog post will appear next Friday (March 6th, 2015). The next post will continue to examine the relationship between the burgh of Aberdeen and Flemings in Scotland.

Located along the northeastern coast of Scotland, Aberdeen has been both an important and influential player in trade and politics throughout medieval and early modern Scottish history. While the burgh of Aberdeen itself deserves further research, this blog post is not the place for such a discussion. Instead, this post will focus specifically on the interplay between Aberdeen and the Flemish peoples from the twelfth to sixteenth centuries. A brief examination of the founding of the burghs of Old and New Aberdeen and their expansion throughout this period will lead into a discussion of the activities of Flemings in Aberdeen. As many Flemings, and other continental Europeans, were attracted to Aberdeen for its role in Scotland’s export trade, Aberdeen’s position as a major international trading centre will be a prominent feature of this blog post. The presence of Flemish merchants and their trade in Aberdeen was very important for the burgh. An analysis of the influence of this trade and its merchants will conclude our discussion on “Aberdeen and the Fleming.”

The Burgh of Aberdeen

The settlement of peoples in the area, which we consider to be modern Aberdeen, is not a recent phenomenon. From at least 6,000 BC, people have founded communities within the bounds of modern Aberdeen. These early, potentially transient, communities moved around the area hunting for food on land and in, what we now refer to as, the Don and Dee Rivers.[1] The location of these early communities between the Don and Dee Rivers mirrors the later establishment of the burghs of Old and New Aberdeen, and, in turn, emphasises the early, and recurring, importance of these waterways to the development of Aberdeen. Both Old and New Aberdeen, which would later become amalgamated into our modern understanding of Aberdeen, were important burghs. While the exact date of New Aberdeen’s creation as a royal burgh is unknown, it can be placed within the reign of David I (1124-1153). The creation of New Aberdeen as a royal burgh in the middle of the twelfth century was not the beginning of its importance, rather a recognition of its import.[2] Historians E. Patricia Dennison, Anne T. Simpson and Grant G. Simpson described these twelfth-century burghs and their hinterland thusly, “Old Aberdeen was tiny, but of high status, possessor of both a cathedral and a university. New Aberdeen had the potential to become, as it did, a thriving and expanding community. The hinterland of these two important north-eastern towns may sometimes have been awkward to pass through, but it is perhaps for this very reason that the settlements scattered within it were distinctly varied in size and in origin.”[3]

The geographic location of Aberdeen also contributed to its expansion and importance in national economic and political spheres. The Don and Dee Rivers, which bordered the burgh, provided easy access to fishing and trading. The River Dee, in particular, was a principal water route in the medieval period. Ships sailed along the Dee to trade further south along the Scottish and English coast, and further afield, in Scandinavia and the Low Countries.[4] Thus, it was essential for the burgh to invest in and maintain a working harbour. The original port for Aberdeen may have been located at the sheltered mouth of the Denburn, but by the medieval period the harbour was located along the north shore of the Dee.[5] Harbour building and maintenance continued from the fourteenth century through to the sixteenth century.[6] The continuous upkeep of the harbour, throughout the late medieval and early modern period, suggests that the town recognised that having a working harbour was necessary to the success of the burgh. It was through this harbour and the burgh’s trade with the outside world that Aberdonians came into the most contact with Flemings and Flemish goods.

The population of Aberdeen grew, as did that of Scotland, throughout the medieval and early modern periods. The twelfth and thirteenth centuries were most likely periods of rapid growth in the burgh’s population size. By 1326, Aberdeen paid more tax than any other burgh in Scotland, with the exception of Berwick.[7] There is no further evidence to indicate fluctuations in the population of fourteenth century Aberdeen. It is even uncertain whether the Black Death, particularly virulent during this period, hit Aberdeen and, if it did, the extent of its damage to the population.[8] Stent rolls from 1408 state that there were 3,000 inhabitants of the burgh.[9] By the later sixteenth century, some one hundred and sixty years later, the population had risen to 5,500.  From 1640-44, the population was recorded as being 8,300, potentially double the number of inhabitants of the burgh in 1500.[10] It was only at the end of the seventeenth century that there was a period of decreased population. This was not a phenomenon specific to Aberdeen, but was experienced throughout all Scottish burghs at the beginning of the 1690s. Old Aberdeen was among one of the only towns which managed to grow during this period, from a population of 831 in 1636 to 1,800 in 1695.[11] In comparison to other major Scottish burghs, Aberdeen, at a population of 8,000, was smaller than Edinburgh (26,000), Glasgow (12,000) and Dundee (10,000) in 1639.[12] This smaller population size, relative to that of Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Dundee, does not necessarily provide an accurate reflection of Aberdeen’s importance as a port and centre of international trading.

While Aberdeen was not impacted as heavily by the plague as other large towns throughout England and Scotland, it did see some visitations of the Black Death in the late medieval period. There were no major epidemics between the first outbreak in 1349 and 1499-1500. Aberdeen only saw three epidemics from 1500-1550. These outbreaks lasted for, at most, two years. There was not another major outbreak again until 1647.[13] Michael Tyson suggests that council regulations to prevent plague from entering the town and the distance from other major towns probably helped Aberdeen to avoid more frequent epidemics during this period.[14]

A Statute from the 1514 Epidemic
“Thir statutis efter following was maid and diuisit be the provest, bailzeis, counsaile, and communitie, for the reformacioun of certane necassar thingis to be had in thar modis kirk, to the honor and fre loving o God Almyghty, the blissid Virgin, and thar glorious patrone Sanct Nicholace, and for the keeping of the toune fra strang seiknes, and specialie this contageus pestilence ringand in all partis about this burghe, and for the keeping of the townn fra the ald innemeis of Ingland … it is diuisit, statut, and ordanit, that thar be takin of all schippis that passis furtht, or is fraucht out of this burgh to Flanderis or Zeland, of euery sek of woll or skinnis sek lik, and of euery last of salmond and hidis, tuelf grotis Flanderis money, to be ressauit and vptakin of the merchandis gudes that happinnis to be input and ladnyt in the samyn schippis and to deliuerit to ane collectour thoucht expedient be the towne to ressaue the samyn, and reman in his handis, quhilk salbe responsale tharfor, to be furthcumand to by  the necessary thingis, thoucht be the haile town, to decoring of haly kirk, as said is….” (24 April 1514, Extracts from the Burgh Records of Aberdeen, p. 88)

This may well have been the case, as Aberdeen’s position as one of Scotland’s major foreign trading ports would have made it particularly vulnerable to the plague. It was that very same port which made Aberdeen vulnerable to the Black Death, that made it one of the most influential burghs in Scotland during the late medieval and early modern periods.

Flemings in Aberdeen

Why would Flemings or Flemish goods have found themselves in Aberdeen? The simplest answer to this question is trade. Aberdeen’s status as a trading centre was recognised early on in the burgh’s history. Before it was granted burghal status, Aberdeen was already an established trading settlement.[15] Foreign trade was highly sought after by Scottish monarchs in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Queen Margaret (1045-1093) was believed to have encouraged foreign merchants to come to Scotland. There is also documentary evidence for Scotto-Flemish and Anglo-Scottish trade at the end of the eleventh century.[16] Similar to his mother, King David I of Scotland recognised the importance of trade to Scotland’s economy, though he took a different approach to foreign traders than Margaret. Ian Blanchard, Elizabeth Gemmill, Nicholas Mayhew, and Ian D. White have written that, “To protect and stimulate this trade, whilst maintaining a stable, ordered form of society, David actively intervened into the economy employing both traditional and contemporary means to achieve his ends. ‘Foreign’ merchants, who threatened to swamp the Scottish economy with their wares, were largely confined to those coastal settlements which were encompassed within a portus-system, where local burgesses had first option of buying wares from the ships which could land only at these places appointed by the crown.”[17] John R. Turner argues that Scotland’s earliest seaborne trade was with Flanders. “Privileges were granted to Scottish merchants trading with Flanders, and in 1293 and 1295, King Philip IV of France ordered Count Guy de Dampierre to accord the Scottish merchants freedom of trade with Flanders.”[18]

Count Guy de Dampierre and Scotland
Why would King Philip IV of France have had to order Guy, count of Flanders to extend trade privileges to Scottish merchants? Guy de Dampierre had a tumultuous past with Scotland and its government. In 1282, Margaret, daughter of Guy, married Alexander, eldest son of Alexander III. This marriage ended in 1284 with the death of Alexander and the subsequent return of Margaret to her father in Flanders. Scotto-Flemish trade broke down in the following ten years over the Scots inability, or unwillingness, to pay the widowed Margaret’s pension, with Guy going so far as to send procurators to the Scotland in an attempt to recover the money. A 1293 agreement renewed trade between the two regions, but included a caveat for the future seizure of goods for the debts of the Scottish king. Thus, it is understandable that Guy would have required some encouragement from the French king to extend mercantile rights and protections to Scottish merchants at the end of the thirteenth century. [20]

As one of the most accessible and safest northeastern ports, Aberdeen found itself at the centre of Scotto-Flemish trade in the twelfth century. Yet again, Aberdeen’s geographic location contributed to its success. Aberdeen dominated northern trade from the reign of Alexander I (1107-24) because it was one of the three trading centres north of the Forth.[21] The twelfth century saw a reduction in the foreign exchange price for Scottish goods in the continental market, which made Scottish goods once more highly competitive in international markets.[22] This resurgence in demand for Scottish goods attracted foreign, particularly Flemish, merchants to the ports of Scotland, creating a major export boom.[23] As Blanchard, Gemmill, Mayhew, and White have argued, the closing of the twelfth century saw the Scottish economy, and that of Aberdeen, intrinsically connected to the fluctuating international economy.[23] This would characterise the economic practices of the following centuries.

Amy Eberlin
27 February 2015

Amy Eberlin is a third year PhD student at the University of St Andrews, Institute of Scottish Historical Research and is a member of Scotland and the Flemish People Project. Her research primarily focuses upon the Scots involved in trade and diplomacy between Scotland and Flanders in the late medieval period.


[1] E. Patricia Dennison, “Introduction,’ in eds. E. Patricia Dennison, David Ditchburn and Michael Lynch, Aberdeen Before 1800: A New History, (East Linton, 2002), pp. 1-2.
[2] Dennison, ‘Introduction,’ p. 5.
[3] E. Patricia Dennison, Anne T. Simpson and Grant G. Simpson, ‘Chapter One: The Growth of Two Towns,’ in eds. E. Patricia Dennison, David Ditchburn and Michael Lynch, Aberdeen Before 1800: A New History, p. 17.
[4] Ibid., p. 16.
[5] David Ditchburn and Marjory Harper, ‘Chapter Seventeen: Aberdeen and the Outside World,’ in eds. E. Patricia Dennison, David Ditchburn and Michael Lynch, Aberdeen Before 1800: A New History, p. 378.
[6] Dennison, Simpson and Simpson, ‘Chapter One,’ p. 22.
[7] Robert Tyson, ‘Chapter Five: People in the Two Towns,’ in eds. E. Patricia Dennison, David Ditchburn and Michael Lynch, Aberdeen Before 1800: A New History, (East Linton, 2002), p. 111.
[8] Ibid.
[9] Ibid.
[10] Ibid., p. 112.
[11] Ibid.
[12] Ibid.
[13] Ibid., p. 113.
[14] Ibid.
[15] Dennison, ‘Introduction,’ p. 6.
[16] Ibid.; ed. A.O. Anderson, Early Sources of Scottish History, 500-1286, (Edinburgh, 1922), p. 68; Alexander Stevenson, ‘Trade with the south,’ in eds. Michael Lynch, Michael Spearman and Geoffrey Stell, The Scottish Medieval Town, (Edinburgh, 1988), p. 180; Reginald of Durham, Libellus de vita et miraculis Sancti Godrici, Heremitae de Finale, ed. Joseph Stevenson,(Edinburgh, 1847), pp. 28-30.
[17] Ian Blanchard, Elizabeth Gemmill, Nicholas Mayhew, and Ian D. White, ‘Chapter Six: The Economy: Town and Country,’ in eds. E. Patricia Dennison, David Ditchburn and Michael Lynch, Aberdeen Before 1800: A New History, (East Linton, 2002), p. 131; eds. Cosmo Innes and Patrick Chalmers, (Edinburgh, 1848-56), i, no. 1; eds. G. Barrow et al., Regesta Regum Scotorum, (Edinburgh, 1960-), ii, nos. 166; ed. Cosmo Innes, Ancient Laws and Customs of the Burghs of Scotland, 1124-1707, (SBRS, 1868-90), i, ‘Leges Burgorum’, cc. 8, 9, 16, 25.
[18] John R. Turner, Scotland’s North Sea Gateway: Aberdeen Harbour AD 1136-1986, (Aberdeen, 1986), p. 3-4.
[19] CDS, ii, pp. 68, 73; RPS 1293/8/3, 1293/8/4; William H. Finlayson, ‘The Scottish Nation of Merchants in Bruges: A Contribution to the History of Medieval Scottish Foreign Trade,’ (Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Glasgow, 1951), p. 40; Alexander Stevenson, in ed. Grant G. Simpson, Scotland and the Low Countries, 1124-1994, (East Linton, 1996),‘The Flemish Dimension of the Auld Alliance,’ p. 32.
[20] CDS, ii, pp. 68, 73; RPS 1293/8/3, 1293/8/4; William H. Finlayson, ‘The Scottish Nation of Merchants in Bruges: A Contribution to the History of Medieval Scottish Foreign Trade,’ (Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Glasgow, 1951), p. 40; Alexander Stevenson, in ed. Grant G. Simpson, Scotland and the Low Countries, 1124-1994, (East Linton, 1996),‘The Flemish Dimension of the Auld Alliance,’ p. 32.
[21] Dennison, ‘Introduction,’ p. 6. The other two trading centres north of the Forth were Inverkeithing and Perth. The locations of both of these burghs were much more southerly than that of Aberdeen.
[22] Blanchard, Gemmill, Mayhew, and White, ‘Chapter Six,’ p. 133.
[23] Ibid.
[24] Ibid. p. 135.

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Doctoral Research on Flemish Related Issues

This posting reports on doctoral research that is being undertaken on Flemish related issues at the University of St Andrews and the University of Kent. The work of three doctoral students, described below, focuses on the medieval period which saw the main influx of Flemish people into Britain in general and Scotland in particular. 

Amy Eberlin is nearing the end of her studies at the St Andrews Institute of Scottish Historical Research.  Her research focuses on the Scots involved in Scotto-Flemish trade and diplomacy from 1320 to 1513. During this period, the relationship between Scotland and Flanders was largely based on the wool trade. The exportation of wool to Flanders was an integral part of the foreign trade of medieval Scotland. The Flemings used Scottish and English wools in the production of their textile goods. While Scotto-Flemish relations are a topic of great import, little research has focused upon the individual Scots who acted as ambassadors and traders with Flanders. Amy’s research provides a new perspective on Scottish involvement in trade and diplomacy with Flanders by examining shifts in control of Scotland’s export industry, and the lives and experiences of Scottish merchants and ambassadors. In particular, she is examining what happened to trade and cultural exchange after the Flemish were banished from Scotland under legislation produced in the fourteenth century. This work is likely to be completed at the end of 2015 or early 2016.

Morvern French is in the second year of her studies at the St Andrews Institute of Scottish Historical Research.  She is focusing on Flemish material culture in Scotland, c.1300-c.1550.  While wool was exported to Flanders from Scotland, the reverse flow of imports often took the form of high value goods. Her work has been influenced by anthropological theory, particularly that of gift exchange. Flemish objects exchanged as ‘gifts’ by Scottish elites – including tapestries, paintings, and munitions – tell us about the high status of these objects and also that of the identity of the giver. This approach to specifically Flemish objects is new to historical research. Morvern has also examined archaeological evidence in relation to Scotto-Flemish trade in urban and rural communities.

Silke Muylaert is in her third year of studies at the University of Kent.  Her focus is on the so called “stranger churches” in England.  These are churches that were established, following a granting of permission by English king Edward VI (in 1550), for strangers fleeing religious persecution in the Low Countries. By 1562 the Dutch speaking church in London, for instance, had between one thousand and two thousand members (mainly émigrés from Flanders).  Stranger churches—Flemish, Dutch, Walloon and French–were subsequently established in about a dozen other towns in England. Silke’s thesis is a comparative study of the churches’ reactions to the reformation and rebellion in the Low Countries. While Silke’s work focuses only on England, it is nonetheless helpful to the Scotland and the Flemish People Project in that it identifies the important phases of religious persecution related immigration to Britain.  However, there is no record of stranger churches having been established in Scotland.

Alex Fleming
February 2015

Alex Fleming is a sponsor of, and researcher in the Scotland and the Flemish People Project.  He is also the editor of the project blog.

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The Flemish on the Firth of Tay – Part 2

In this second of two postings David Dobson examines the evidence for a Flemish presence in the area around the Firth of Tay.  Last weeks posting examined the nature of the trading link with Flanders and how this may have led to a presence of people with possible Flemish surnames in Dundee.  This week the focus is on the presence of Flemish in Perth and its hinterland.

Flemings in Perth

Perth, which was established as a Royal Burgh in 1125, has a number of royal charters and other documents dating from 1205, however the bulk of the burgh records do not predate 1500.  Research on Flemish links of the medieval period is difficult, though there are records for the early modern period.

Flemings were encouraged to trade and preferably settle in Scottish burghs, one such was Baldwin, the king’s client (representative) in Perth. David I evidently favoured Flemings as a people likely to bring about the economic and social benefits to his burghs. Burghs were semi-autonomous in that they had a degree of self-rule, which was by a burgh council elected by the burgesses.  The burgesses were about ten per cent of the male inhabitants and were mainly merchants and craftsmen.  A Flemish immigrant would have to become a burgess to enable him to vote, trade, or operate a business within the burgh, though he could be an employee.  Burgess rolls should be able to identify Flemish immigrants or their male descendants, however in the case of Perth and Dundee they do not exist prior to the sixteenth century.   However there is fragmentary evidence from the medieval period of Flemish settlement in Perth and Dundee and possibly their rural hinterlands. An early immigrant from Flanders was a Flemish lorimer, or maker of military harnesses, who was persuaded by King David I to settle in Perth. At that time it was a burgh of strategic importance, one where land routes intersected, with a bridge over the Tay, a port, a castle, and a royal residence at nearby Scone.


In Perth, the paucity of medieval documents hinders research into Flemish migration. There are, however, some useful sources.  For example, the Perth Guildry Book dates from 1452, which records the activities of the local merchants.  This source was recently transcribed and published.  The merchant guild of Perth was established in 1209.  Among the foreigners admitted to the Perth Guildry was Anselm Adornes and his son. Adornes was a leading merchant in Bruges, who on a number of occasions acted as the Envoy to Scotland of Charles the Bold, around 1470.

The Perth Guildry records show a decline in Perth’s overseas trade from the mid sixteenth century onwards.  Other east coast ports also experienced a decline as the port of Leith increasingly dominated Scottish imports and exports.  A case before the Dean of Guild Court in Perth on 14 April 1468 records the name of a Flemish smith  – The quhilk day comperit befor the alderman, the dene of gild and the hale brethir of gild, Christofer Merschale, a Fleming and a smith, and procurators til Bernard Deynaert and resavit fra Johne Bunche, burgess of the burgh of Perth, a pyp of merchandis of Henry Cantis, burgess of Edinburgh, and qwitclamis the saide John thariof now and forever more’.

The Guildry Book also records the following men being admitted as burgesses and guild brothers – Robert Clynk, a wright, in 1582, William Clink, a maltman, in 1583, Thomas Cossinis, a webster, in 1582, Gabriell Stoyyker, a weaver in 1582; John Crab in 1488; Andrew Crab in 1498; Alan Eustace in 1488; Tomas Fluthman in 1488 ‘pro una libra grossorum Flandree vel pro uno nobelo aught de le Ros in Scotia’.; Stevin Merschale in 1453; Thomas Merschale a weaver in 1459; and William Shepman in 1467.  Most of them, if not all of them, bear names that could be Flemish.

Another Flemish immigrant in Perth, according to the National Archives for Scotland [NAS.GD79.2.17] was Martin de Ghent who was a burgess of Perth, and father of William de Ghent who subscribed to a charter in 1458. He may be the father of John Gent, also a burgess and guilds-brother of Perth, described as a wine and spice merchant, presumably importing stock from Flanders, in 1479.

As elsewhere the prime export from Perth, at least in the medieval period, was wool and wool-fells. Much of the exports from Perth came from nearby monasteries such as Coupar Angus and Balmerino as noted in last weeks blog posting.  Trade with continental Europe was subject to interruptions caused by war at sea or on land, by the forces of England, France, the Low Countries, Flanders, and Spain.  Another threat to trade was pirates or privateers, as well as shipwrecks.  In 1369 a ship, the Magdeleyn, with a cargo of wool, hides, etc, bound from Scotland to Flanders but wrecked off Waynflete. Perth merchants like John Mercer, whose ships were constantly trading between Perth and Flanders in the 1370s, had such dangers to contend with. In 1405 there was a complaint by merchants of Perth and Dundee that two vessels trading between Flanders and Scotland were captured by English pirates. In 1412 safe conduct was granted to Thomas Simpson, John of Perth, and Gilbert Johnston, with six servants to come to England to search in Hull for goods taken at sea.

The Exchequer Rolls of Scotland do not provide the detailed information on Flemish trade and possible settlement that would be helpful to this project, though there are occasional references such as Taskynus merchant of Bruges 1327 [ER.I.77], Lambert Poulin Flemish merchant 1328 [i.93]; Bedyn Wolf and Laucius de Castro Flemish merchants at inverkeithing 1328 [i.95]; Claes Ondestolis, Flemish merchant, at Perth, 1328 [i.97]; Claes de Tore, a Flemish merchant at Berwick 1328 [i.173]; John Raynerson and John de Hazel de Slus 1329, [i.211]; John Woolcopper, Flemish merchant, 1329, 9i.239]; Peter Machaenae and Peter de Fhalle Flemish merchants 1331 9i.371]; Christian Clerk from Flanders, 1341 9i.3531]; Peter Buste [ii.51]; Adam Meteneye [ii.79/90/]; Paul Meteneye [ii.80]; John Pres [ii.131]; John of Oudecorne [Iii.133]; Denis of Munt,[ii.214], and other Flemish merchants.

The port books of the seventeenth century are far from comprehensive and confirm that trade with Flanders had seriously declined while trade with the Netherlands became of prime importance.

The most rewarding source of data on the Flemish or their descendants in Perth Archives is the Burgh Register of Deeds of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.  The Register of Deeds is generally concerned with commercial documents but occasionally other items such as indentures, marriage contracts, charter parties, and so on.  There is a substantial number of which the principal party to the deed bears what seems to be a Flemish surname.  The entries refer to people bearing the surname Biggert in 1593, Bishop between 1569 and 1663; Clink between 1567 and 1639 [there was a Jan Clink in Ghent in 15th century]; Ghent between 1569 and 1584; Gerard in 1594; Goldman between 1585 and 1501; Frisken between 1596 and 1677; Fleming, many; Lufrend in 1588; Merschale many; Stoyyker between 1583 and 1589, and others.

In the pre-Reformation period it was common for wealthy burgesses and also the trades and the guildry to provide support to the church in various ways, such as establishing an altar. This happened in Perth where, for example In 1504 Robert Clerk, a burgess of Perth, founded an altar to St Severus of Ravenna in Perth parish church. The Deacon and brethren of the weavers were to maintain the altar. In 1515 the chaplain of Trinity Altar was a Master David Spalding. Considering the involvement of Flemings to weaving and that Clerk can be a Flemish surname as well as an English or Scots one there may be a Flemish link. According to Marion L Stavert in her research on the Perth Guildry penalties imposed on guild merchants for operating on the Sabbath included fines paid to the altar of the Holy Blood in Perth.  She believed that the cult of the Holy Blood had its origins in Bruges and that local merchants had brought it to Scotland.  The cult in Perth dates from around 1430 when a John Spens endowed an altar in the parish church.

In 1601 the Convention of Royal Burghs of Scotland recruited skilled textile craftsmen from Flanders with the aim of improving the skills and the quality of the Scottish workforce and the product. These workers were allocated to various burgh councils in Scotland. Perth was allocated Jacques de la Rudge, a camber and a spinner, Jacob Peterson, a shearer, and Abigail van Hort or Houte, a spinner. [It is noteworthy that Jacques le Rouge, a cloth-maker from Maesen, France, arrived in Edinburgh via Norwich in 1601]

Among the Henderson of Fordell papers in the National Archives of Scotland [NAS.GD172.2052] is an inventory of household goods and silk goods in ‘the fleming’s house’ delivered to Patrick Grant on the fleming’s departure to Antwerp around 1640.

Flemings in Rural Tayside

There seems to have been small-scale Flemish settlement in the hinterland of Dundee and Perth.  The main centre appears to have been in the vicinity of the Abbey of Coupar Angus, once in the old county of Angus or Forfarshire and currently in Perthshire. In the medieval period Baldwin the Fleming was granted land near Forfar now known as Flemington (see blog posting by John Irvine on February 21, 2014).  Baldwin seems to have been granted other lands, his main settlement being in Aberdeenshire.  Flemings also may have settled in the vicinity of Crieff in the early seventeenth century.

The Abbey of Coupar Angus seems to have distinct links with Flanders, initially through trade but also later by people of Flemish origin as tenants.  The participation of Coupar Angus Abbey in the wool trade dates from 1225 when King Henry II authorised the Abbot of Melrose to send a vessel to Flanders with wool and other merchandise; and a similar licence was granted for a vessel of the Abbot of Coupar Angus 1. The surviving charters of the abbey do not contain anything indicating Flemish immigration, however leases of property do exist, albeit for a limited period, but these do identify tenants of Flemish origin leasing abbey lands.  These people are unlikely to be first generation immigrants however.

In 1446 a John Auldcorn was granted a lease of the Mill of Keithock.  It is feasible that he was descended from John of Oudecorne, a Flemish merchant, noted in the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland around 1350. Other families with likely Flemish origin included Thomas Cant and David Cant in Little Perth from 1450; John Fleming and his son John Fleming in Balmile 1517-1542; Agnes Fleming in Cowbyre 1550; William Spalding in Grange of Errol 1472; Walter Spalding a monk in 1500; Andrew Younger [Flemish Joncker] in Cotyards, 1509, and several Spaldings. There were also Youngs in the area such as John Zong and his wife Anne Bauvany. He was the servant of the abbot and leased a house in 1511.

N D Mackay2 in his book ‘Aberfeldy, Past and Present’ wrote of the local flax industry and described the factory containing ‘the looms of the lace makers from Flanders’ which implied immigration from Flanders to Aberfeldy in the late eighteenth century.  However further research established that in fact an Andrew Spalding, a lint and linen manufacturer, who had served an apprenticeship at the Linen Manufactory in Haddington, had founded the factory at Aberfeldy around 1750.  He had been instructed in the Dutch methods of weaving by a Dutchman, followed by several years practical experience in Holland. Spalding may well be a member of the Spalding of Ashintully family, one known to be of Flemish origin.

According to the author of ‘The History of Crieff’, ‘ it was John Drummond, second Earl of Perth, who first brought the Flemish weavers into Strathearn between 1611 and 1662; and this is all the more likely, because his kinsman, Sir Patrick Drummond, was conservator for the Scottish trade in the Low Countries at that period.  It is known that there was a Waulk or Fulling Mill close to Drummond Castle’.

By the middle of the seventeenth century Perth is reckoned to have had a population around 5000.  The evidence does indicate that a proportion of them were of Flemish origin.

David Dobson
February 2015

Dr. Dobson is currently a Post Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh and an Honorary Research Fellow with the Institute of Scottish Historical Research at the University of St Andrews.



(1) Joseph Bain, Bain’s Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland in the Public Record Office, [London, 1881]

(2) N.D. Mackay, Aberfeldy, Past and Present, [Aberfeldy, 1954]

Ecclesiastical Annals of Perth to the period of the Reformation, [Perth 1885]

Charters of the Abbey of Coupar Angus, Vol. 1, 1166-1376 [Edinburgh, 1947]

  1. Cowan, The Ancient Capital of Scotland, [London, 1904]

C Rogers, Rental Book of the Cistercian Abbey of Coupar Angus, [London, 1879]

Marion L. Stavert, Perth Guildry Book, 1452-1601, [Edinburgh, 1993]

‘Rentale Dunkeldense’ being the accounts of the bishopric 1505-1517 [Edinburgh, 1915]

The Exchequer Rolls of Scotland

Register of the Privy Council of Scotland

  1. Miller, Scottish Forfeited Estates Papers, 1715; 1745. [Edinburgh, 1909]

Alexander Patterson, The History of Crieff, [Edinburgh, 1912]



Edinburgh City Archives

Perth and Kinross Archives

National Archives of Scotland

University of St Andrews Library

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The Flemish on the Firth of Tay – Part 1

This posting is a continuation of our series on the Flemish influence in different parts of Scotland. Having examined the Flemish around the Firth of Forth (blog of 26th of September and 3rd of October 2014), David Dobson now examines the area around the Firth of Tay. In this first of two postings the focus is on trade with the Tay ports, especially Dundee, where surname evidence of Flemish settlement is explored. This posting complements that prepared on the Dundee area by John Irvine (21st of February 2014). Next week Part 2 will concentrate on Perth.

The Trading Background

Flanders was probably the most economically advanced location in northern Europe in the medieval period. Its economy was based, though not exclusively, on the production of textiles. The textile industry required wool as its raw material, much of which was acquired from England and Scotland. At the same time its growing urban population required foodstuffs. Scotland supplied herring, cod, salmon, wheat, wool, wool-fells, hides, and skins, and in exchange received high quality cloth, wine, and a wide range of manufactured goods. Bruges was the greatest market in northern Europe and the site of the Scottish staple until 1477. Scottish merchants or factors would have been based at the staple port of Bruges until it moved to Middelburg and later Veere, both in Zeeland.

The religious orders in both Scotland and England increasingly developed sheep farms and exported wool and sheep fells to the Low Countries. In Scotland this began along the Tweed Valley, the Merse (an area near the border with England), and at abbeys such as Melrose, which shipped wool etc. via the port of Berwick-upon-Tweed. From the twelfth century burghs were being established in Scotland, these came in different types – burghs of barony, regality, and royal burghs. Only Royal Burghs could participate in overseas trade, such burghs including Perth and Dundee.

Burghs grew up at important route intersections, at or near river-mouths, on strategic sites. Examples included Perth, Dundee and Stirling, established by 1200. Flemish merchants and craftsmen were encouraged to settle in these burghs. The rise of the textile industries in Flanders and elsewhere in the Low Countries generated a demand for wool from Scotland, and soon a regular trade developed.

This demand was not only satisfied by lay merchants and farmers but also by the church. The Cistercian monks in Scotland – soon followed by other religious houses as well as lay entrepreneurs – entered the wool trade. For example, by 1255 Coldingham Abbey in Berwickshire was exporting wool. These exports would have gone via the port of Berwick-on-Tweed, possibly through Flemish merchants there, men such as William of Arras. The Flemish merchants had their factory or Red Hall in Berwick, as did German merchants in the fourteenth century. In the late thirteenth century the Cistercian order at Balmerino, as well as at Coupar Angus, derived income from wool and woolfells, much of which was presumably exported to Flanders. Such exports might have been expected to go through the nearby burgh of Dundee, however the Cistercians had special arrangements.


Professor A. A. M. Duncan believed that the Cistercian monasteries had stores at Berwick and also in Perth to which wool, woolfells, and hides were sent by nearby Cistercian monasteries before being shipped abroad.[1] In the case of Perth, the monasteries included Coupar Angus and Balmerino. This certainly happened in the thirteenth century. Religious houses traded directly with the continent, or possibly via London, and so bypassed urban merchants in centres such as Dundee and Perth.

Smaller landowners, in contrast, would have sent their produce to Flanders via local merchants or factors. Such merchants in the fifteenth century included Andrew Halyburton, a well-documented trader in Dundee and the Low Countries. It is not clear from the surviving records how long the monasteries retained the privilege of trading directly with markets on the continent. The Exchequer Rolls of the period are not detailed enough, and only give overall figures and destinations of exports.

Flemish factors do not seem to have been based in Scotland, however, as restrictive practices by the burghs and merchant guilds kept the transactions in the hands of the burgesses. In the case of Dundee this practice was enforced by royal charter. A charter of King Robert the Bruce, dated 4th of March 1327, granted the burgesses of Dundee rights similar to those of Berwick. Only Dundee burgesses could buy wool or skins in Forfarshire, while foreign merchants could only trade within the shire of Forfar via Dundee burgesses. Dundee burgesses had first choice of any imports, and foreign merchants could only act as wholesalers, with all goods to be weighed and measured at the Tron (a public weighing facility usually found in the market square).

King David II renewed the burgh charter in 1359, again giving Dundee burgesses the monopoly of buying wool, skins and hides within the shire of Forfar, but extended to purchasing all sorts of goods at the market of Cupar in Fife. Dundee’s hinterland, over which it had a monopoly of trade, included Coupar Angus, Kirriemuir also possibly Arbroath and Forfar. There were boundary disputes between Dundee and Montrose to its north and Perth to its west.

Dundee and Perth squabbled over trading rights on the River Tay until in 1402 the Regent of Scotland, Robert Duke of Albany, decreed that Dundee had jurisdiction over any ports between Invergowrie and Barry on the north and also on the opposite side of the river, while Perth had control over the upper Tay.

Scotland is known to have attracted immigrants from Flanders, especially in the medieval period but to a lesser extent in the early modern period. Recent research, reported in earlier blog postings, has established the presence of Flemish people and their descendants in burghs and ports along the Firth of Forth. In this first of two postings an attempt is made to identify people of Flemish origin in the burghs of Dundee and its hinterland.

Possible Flemish Surnames in Medieval Dundee

Surnames can be used to identify immigrants, however the use of surnames in Scotland only began in the twelfth century and then only among the landowning class. The use of surnames by the bulk of the population only became common by the seventeenth century. Before then many people were known by their Christian names together with that of their occupation, or place of origin, physical description, or by patronymics.

It is likely that the first Flemish settlers arrived without surnames and their descendants later adopted the Scots surnames. This could account for the lack of Flemish surnames in Scotland in the medieval period. However, Flemings arriving in the late medieval period or the early modern period would have brought their Flemish names. The use of ‘Fleming’ to differentiate an immigrant may have been used initially, and subsequently became an established surname in Scotland. Surnames can therefore be used to a limited degree as a tool to identify people of Flemish origin, as many of the first wave of immigrants arrived without surnames and later their descendant followed the Scottish practice. This does underestimate the size of Flemish immigration.

Researching into medieval Dundee suffers from the lack of records. This was recognised as early as 1661 when the magistrates claimed

that upon the occasion of the intakeing of the burgh of Dundie be the English in the year 1651 the charter kist of the forsaid burgh wes broken up by the English souldiers and all the writs taken out of the samen and many of them brunt and destroyed and verie few if them gotten bak agane’. [Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland vii, p. 353]

Similarly, the old parish records, which are usually a good source of information on people, only exist from 1645 for Dundee. The burgh records of Dundee as well as the various trades records exist from the early modern period, that is after 1500, to varying degrees. They identify people bearing Flemish names who are presumably immigrants or the descendants of immigrants. Take for example the Dundee Burgh and Head Court books, which in the mid-1550s identify people whose names suggest a Flemish origin, including Jhonkyn Crole, Jhonkyn Jak, Jhon Morkart, and Henrick Copmans. A feu charter of 1540 in favour of John Jackson, a burgess of Dundee, refers to Jenkin Costerer’s lands in Dundee, while witnesses include Jacob Rolland, William Weddell, James Cure, William Spalding, and Master William Spalding, a notary public.

The Spaldings, a family of known Flemish origin, are mentioned in an indenture of 1443 between the Abbot of Lindores and the burgh of Dundee, which refers to the tenement of Thomas de Spalding and David de Spalding in Market Street, and also to David Wilde, James Elye, Nicholas Elye, and Walter Spanyke. ‘The Compt Buik of David Wedderburne, merchant of Dundee, 1587-1630’ identifies various cargoes between Dundee and Flanders, for example in 1621 he sent 40 ells of plaiding and 300 merks in gold aboard James Croyes ship to exchange for 800 barrels of beans or onions; and in 1594 he sent a cargo of salmon, plaiding an ox hide, and linen cloth to be sold in Flanders. The Dundee Shipping Lists in 1580 identify imports from Flanders as wine, onions, soap madder, canvas, and onion seed, destined for specified Dundee merchants.

Minutes of Dundee Town Council do not exist prior to 1553, however there is a list of provosts and bailies from 1286. Among them are a few bearing surnames which may be Flemish. Galfrid Ayre was a bailie in 1375. The surname is probably derived from the Flemish town Aire, between St Omar and Bethune, founded around 850. David de Spalding was a bailie 1435 to 1442, James Elgy a bailie 1415 to 1418, and possibly Robert Templeman a bailie between 1380 and 1404.

‘The Burgh Laws of Dundee’ is a source of much information on early Dundee, including data on the nine trades of Dundee. The following men seem to bear Flemish surnames. The Glover trade, founded in 1516, was witnessed by a John Air. The Lockit Buik of the Tailor trade lists Wat. Cor and Jenkin Croll in 1567. The Bonnet-maker trade mentions a George Wanent in 1529, and a John Willand, a master a freeman in 1679. The Weaver trade had a Deacon of the Brabenders named Thomas Cappone in 1589, and a Thomas Coppein in 1597. Among members of the Mason trade were John Mustart, a master and freeman in 1659, and Robert Wandles, a master and freeman in 1659. Robert Wanless and his son James Wanless were of the Maltmen trade in 1623. Barte Zung was Deacon of the Waulkers in 1581, and Gabriel Somer was Deacon of the Cordiners in 1603.

‘The Wedderburn Book’, a history of a family of importance in Dundee, mentions some residents of possibly Flemish origin, for example Peter Imrie, son and heir of the late Peter Imrie, in 1596. According to George F. Black, the first of that name was Emeric, a Lombard of Flanders, who was spoiled (financially ruined) by John Crabbe of Berwick in 1329.[2]

Alexander Maxwell’s ‘Old Dundee prior to the Reformation’ contains much useful data, including a list of burgesses dated 1553, some of whom bore surnames of Flemish origin: Thomas Cant, Andrew Planetre, George Spalding, Macus Schang, John Els, Jonkin Smyth, John Weland, Ginkin Croil, Robert Widder, Andrew Juste, Brandon Als, John Erskin, James Roch, and Henry Piper. The Dundee Burgess Roll, as contained in the Lockit Buik, has a number of surnames of likely Flemish origin, for example Ademan, Aldcorn, Aitkin, Boyack, Brabener, Brand, Butchart, Coppine, Cox, Goabard, Goldman, Honeyman, Just, Luf, Millard, Moyses, and others.

On the 3rd of October 1605, Jacques, a Fleming, complained to the Privy Council of Scotland that while William Spence, a burgess of Dundee, had been put to the horn for failing to pay a debt, he was still at liberty. [Register of the Privy Council of Scotland VII, p. 36] (William Spence was admitted as a merchant burgess of Dundee, 27/9/1582, by right of his father David Spence.)

‘The Exchequer Rolls of Scotland’, alias ‘Rotulli Scarrarii Regum Scotorum’, volume XIX, 1557-1567, has an entry on page 350 – ‘et pro customes certorum victualium transportium a portu de Dundie ad partes Flandrie per Simonem Stark et ejus consortes, mercatores Flandrie…’ which reveals that a Simon Stark and his partners, Flemish merchants, were shipping grain from Dundee to Flanders around 1560. It is not clear whether Simon Stark was Flemish or Scottish.

The Bishop of Dunkeld purchased wares though his agent David Fourous, a burgess of Haddington. In 1508 he purchased a tabernacle for the church in Dunkeld which was shipped through the port of Dundee.

Memorandum that my Lord hes delyverit apon this compt to the said David the sowm of fywe pundis the schillingis for the fraucht of the said tabernacle of Dounde out of Flaundris to the firth and about fra the firth to Dounde. And for sex knarholt burd to be dellyverit to Schir Johne Cormanno in Dounde in my Lordis name for the altar of Sanct Georgis Kyrk in Dounkeld, xxiiii s.

In 1601 the Convention of Royal Burghs of Scotland recruited skilled textile craftsmen from Flanders with the aim of improving the skills and the quality of the Scottish workforce and the product. These workers were allocated to various burgh councils in Scotland. Dundee was allocated Claus Losseir, a shearer, Cornelius Dermis, a weaver, and Henri de Turque, a weaver. Nothing has been found on their subsequent life in Scotland. (Henri de Turk was a cloth-maker from Maesen, France, later in Norwich, who arrived in Edinburgh in 1601.)

By the middle seventeenth century Dundee had around 10,000 inhabitants and was one of the biggest burghs in Scotland. A number of them were clearly of Flemish descent, but the lack of data makes it impossible to estimate the proportion.

David Dobson

February 2015

Dr Dobson is currently a Post Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh and an Honorary Research Fellow with the Institute of Scottish Historical Research at the University of St Andrews. His research interests are focused mainly on the Scottish Diaspora as well as Scottish history in the early modern period. His publications include Scottish Emigration to Colonial America, 1683-1783 (Georgia, 1994, 2004); Scottish Trade with Colonial Charleston, 1683-1783 (Glasgow, 2009), and over 115 historical and genealogical source books (Baltimore, 1983-2013).


[1] A. A. M. Duncan, Scotland: The Making of the Kingdom, The Edinburgh History of Scotland Volume One, (Oliver & Boyd, 1975).
[2] George F. Black, The Surnames of Scotland: their Origin, Meaning and History (New York, 1946).
Alexander Maxwell, Old Dundee prior to the Reformation (Dundee, 1891).
Charters of the Abbey of Coupar Angus, Vol. 1, 1166-1376 (Edinburgh, 1947).
S. Cowan, The Ancient Capital of Scotland (London, 1904).
Charters, Writs and Public Documents of the Royal Burgh of Dundee, 1292-
C Rogers, Rental Book of the Cistercian Abbey of Cupar Angus (London, 1879).
‘Rentale Dunkeldense’, being the accounts of the bishopric 1505-1517 (Edinburgh 1915).
The Exchequer Rolls of Scotland
Register of the Privy Council of Scotland
A. Miller, Scottish Forfeited Estates Papers, 1715; 1745 (Edinburgh, 1909).
The Compt Buik of David Wedderburne, merchant of Dundee, 1587-1630


Edinburgh City Archives
Perth and Kinross Archives
Dundee City Archive
National Archives of Scotland
Dundee Central Library

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