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The Scottish Nation
Galbraith


GALBRAITH, a surname derived from two Gaelic words, ‘Gall Bhreatan,’ strange Britain, or Low country Briton. Nisbet renders the meaning ‘the brave stranger,’ but the former appears the more correct. The Galbraiths were once a powerful family in the Lennox. The first known is Gillespick Galbrait, witness in a charter by Malduin, earl of Lennox, to Humphry Kilpatrick, of the lands of Colquhoun. In the beginning of the reign of Alexander the Second, the same Earl Malduin gave a charter to Maurice, son of this Gilespick, of the lands of Gartonbenach, in Stirlingshire, and soon after, in 1238, the same lands, under the name of Bathernock, (now Baldernock,) were conveyed to Arthur Galbraith, son of Maurice, with power to seize and condemn malefactors, on condition that the culprits should be hanged on the earl’s gallows. From the Galbraiths of Bathernock, chiefs of the name, descended the Galbraiths of Culeruich, Greenock, Killearn, and Balgair. In the Ragman Roll occurs the name of Arthur de Galbrait, as one of the barons of Scotland who swore fealty to Edward the First in 1296. The family were afterwards designed of Gartconnell.

      William Galbraith of Gartconnell is noticed as a person “of good account” in the time of David the Second, about the middle of the 14th century. [Crawford’s Peerage, p. 159, note.] This William had three daughters, coheiresses, the eldest of whom married John de Hamilton, a son of the house of Cadzow, predecessor of the Hamiltons of Baldernock and Bardowie, who in consequence adopted in their arms a boar’s head, part of the arms of Galbraith; the second, Janet, married, in 1373, in the reign of Robert the Third, Nicol Douglas, fourth son of James first lord of Dalkeith, grandson of William lord of Douglas, the companion in arms of Sir William Wallace; by which marriage he acquired the estate of Mains and other lands in the Lennox, still in the possession of his descendant. The third daughter became the wife of the brother of Logan of Restalrig, from whom descended the Logans of Gartconnell and Balvey, long since extinct. In the reign of James the Second, one of the name of Galbraith was governor of the upper castle of Dumbarton.

      The family of Galbraith of Machrihanish and Drumore in Argyleshire, of which David Steuart Galbraith, Esq., is the representative (1854), is sprung from the Galbraiths of Gigha, descended from the Galbraiths of Baldernock. They fled from the Lennox with Lord James Stewart, youngest son of Murdoch, duke of Albany, after leaving Dumbarton, in the reign of James the First, and held the island of Gigha from the Macdonalds of the Isles till after 1590. The Galbraiths, in the Gaelic language, are called Breatanuich or Clann-a-Breatannuich, ‘Britons, or the children of the Britons.’


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