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Blair


Blair means 'moor' or 'field (of battle)', and the name comes from any or some of the places of that name.

John Blair was chaplain to Sir William Wallace (1274-1305) and wrote an account of Wallace's travels and adventures. The Blairs of Blair are an old Renfrewshire family, and an ancient lineage is also claimed for the Blairs of Balthayock, Perthshire. In 1770 James Hunter (1741-87), an Edinburgh banker, married Jean Blair (d.1817), daughter and heiress of John Blair of Dunksey. Hunter assumed the name of Hunter Blair in 1777 and was created a baronet in 1786.


Blair: The surname of Blair is of geographical origin, and may come from any one of the numerous areas of Scotland which have been so descibed. the name is an anglicisation of the gaelic word 'Blar' (field), used to define an open space clear of trees. As a designation it was first recorded in the early 13th century hen a Stephen de Blare witnessed a charter by the Abbot of Brechin; Sir William de Blar was Seneschal of Fife in 1235, and David de Blare in Perthshire rendered homage to Edward of England in 1296. The Blairs of Blair in Ayrshire have been prominent in that area from an equally early date. That these two now distinct kindreds may have been related in the early 12th century is not immpossible, but as no evidence can now be forthcoming, the matter must rest. In general terms, it appears that the Blairs in Perthshire, Fife and Angus are now considered of one kindred, while the Blairs in Ayr, Wigton and Renfrew shires are of another. In the reign of James VI (1567-1625), the Blairs of Blair in Ayrshire, and the Blairs of Balthyock in Perthshire, petitioned the king over 'seniority', and his judgement was that: 'the oldest man for the time being, of whatever family, should enjoy the precendency'. The fact that many place-names in Scotland have 'Blair' in the first element led to people adopting such when surnames where introduced, and it is quite likely that as many now named 'Blair' derive their name from the residence of an ancestor, as from one of the Blair families noted above - only genealogical evidence would distinguish. The 15th century Blair Castle in Ayrshire was a residence of the Blairs of that region, but the Blair Castle in Perthshire, in part dating from the 13th century, has no association. 


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