The name probably derives from the Scots word
for a small stream.
Hugo de Cadella, a French Knight, was created
Thane of Calder, later to be known as Cawdor in Nairnshire.
Hugh de Kaledouer was a witness to a charter
of land near Montrose around 1178.
The Calders were great nobles with
considerable lands around Inverness from the 14th century onwards. The tower
that stands at the centre of Cawdor Castle was built by the Calders around
The married other local families,
particularly the Rose family, Barons of Kilravock. Their ascendancy came to
an end when Archibald Campbell, Earl of Argyll, was, along with Hugh Rose of
Kilravock, appointed guardian to the infant female heir of the Calder
Campbell tried to take the child to Inverary
to be educated as part of his family. This was opposed by her uncles,
Alexander and Hugh Calder, who chased them to Strathnairn, but after
considerable loss of life, she was safely delivered to Inverary.
She was brought up as a Campbell and married
Sir John Campbell, son of the Earl of Argyll.
Muriel the last of the Calders died around
1575 but her descendent John Campbell of Cawdor was raised to the peerage as
Lord Cawdor in 1796, and his son was created first Earl of Cawdor in 1827.
The name Calder did not die out, however, and
the Calders of Asswanly received lands near Elgin in 1440.
This family received a baronetcy of Nova
Scotia in 1686.