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The Scottish Nation

CHANCELLOR, a surname derived from the office of that name, and supposed to have come from France at the Norman conquest with the Somervilles. A family of great antiquity named Chancellor have held the lands of Shieldhill and Quothquhan in Lanarkshire for more than four centuries, as appears from a charter of confirmation still extant granted by Thomas Lord Somerville to one of their ancestors, dated 6th March 1434. In the ‘Memorie of the Sommervilles,’ it is stated that a firm friendship subsisted between the house of Lord Somerville and the family of Chancellor of Shieldhill and Quothquhan as early as the time of Robert the Bruce, in 1317. In July 1474, William Chancellor rode with the rest of the third Lord Somerville’s vassals, to meet King James the Third on his way from Edinburgh to Cowthally castle, to partake of the festivity of the “speates and raxes.” [See SOMERVILLE, Lord.] In 1567, William Chancellor of Shieldhill joined the adherents of Queen Mary at Hamilton, after her escape from Lochleven, and fought for her at the battle of Langside, in consequence of which his mansion-house at Quothquhan was soon afterwards burnt down by a party of horsemen, sent out by the victorious regent Murray to demolish the houses of those who had remained faithful to his unfortunate sister. The residence of the family was then removed to Shieldhill, its present site. After the battle of Bothwell-bridge, James Chancellor of Shieldhill was imprisoned on suspicion of having harboured some of the fugitive insurgents, but nothing being proved against him he was liberated after some days confinement. The same gentleman was returned as elder by the presbytery of Biggar to the first General Assembly which met after the revolution of 1688.

            Of this name, Chancellor, was a celebrated English navigator, of the sixteenth century, who was the means of establishing the Russian Company.

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