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Kirkpatrick and variants Kilpatrick, Gilpatrick were accepted as a sept of Douglas by CDSNA at its organization in 1975 based on the original list from the book Scots Kith and Kin. Gilpatrick means “a devotee of St. Patrick”, in Gaelic Mac Giolla Padraig

Kirkpatrick is a Lowland armigerous (arms-bearing) Scottish clan.  Variations of the name Kirkpatrick include Kilpatrick, Killpatrick, Kilpatric, and Gilpatrick.  The clan takes its name from the church of Saint Patrick in the parish of Closeburn in Dumfriesshire, Scotland.  Sir Ivone Elliott Kirkpatrick, 11th Baronet of Closeburn (b. 1942) is the Chief Apparent of clan Kirkpatrick but has made no claim for the seat.

In his Records of the Closeburn Kirkpatricks (1953), Charles Kirkpatrick states,

“The name of Kirkpatrick or Kilpatrick, seems to be associated with the early Brito-Celtic churches which were founded in the fifth century by St. Patrick in the south west of Scotland, from the Clyde to the Solway Firth. [Articles by the Rev. J. W. Hewison D.D.]

Antiquarians explain that the word "Kil" or "Ceall" first meant a missioners cell, then a chapel with its consecrated ceinture, increasing afterwards to mean a small community; and the term "Cella Patricii" was applied to the religious communities thus formed by St. Patrick.

The Gaelic "Gilla" or "Gilli", meaning “servant”, came to indicate the officials or lay holders in these churches, and we early find the name Gilpatrick, more particularly in Galloway. It has been suggested that "Kil" began to change to "Kirk" after the original church of St. Ninian at Whithorn became subordinate to York and English officials, some time after the eighth century, but variations of the name range from its northern limit Dumbarton, with the churches of Kirkpatrick, or Kilpatrick on the Clyde, to Kirkpatrick Durham and Kirkpatrick Irongray in Galloway. Then, in Nithsdale there are the old farms of Kilpatrick and the lands of Kirkpatrick in Closeburn. “

This family gave rise to many cadet families in and around their home county. At the end of the 18th century William Kirkpatrick of Conheath became a wine merchant in Malaga and married Dona Francesca, daughter of Baron de Grivegnee. Their daughter, Eugénie de Montijo, married Emperor Napoleon III and became last Empress of France.

In 1314 the Kirkpatricks were rewarded the lands of Redburgh. In 1355, Sir Roger Kilpatrick took Caerlaverock Castle and Dalwinston Castle from English forces. Two years later, in 1357, Sir Roger Kilpatrick was murdered by Sir James Lindsay in a private argument. The title passed from Roger to his Nephew, Sir Thomas Kirkpatrick, who had a charter for the lands of Closeburn and Redburgh from Robert Stewart, 1st Duke of Albany in 1409. Much later, in 1542, Sir Thomas Kirkpatrick was captured at the Battle of Solway Moss. The estate then passed to a cousin. In 1685 Sir Thomas Kirkpatrick of Closeburn was created a Baronet of Nova Scotia. The Kirkpatrick estate of Closeburn was finally sold by the 4th baronet, Sir James Kirkpatrick.”

In Memoir Respecting the Family of Kirkpatrick of Closeburn [Kirkpatrick, Richard. 1858. p. 2-4], the author relates the origins of the Kirkpatrick family.

It appears certain that the family of Kirkpatrick of Closeburn (in ancient times Kil-Osbern) possessed estates in Nithsdale and Annandale as early as the 8th century, although various circumstances have occurred to destroy any evidence of title, earlier than the time of Ivone de Kirkpatrick, in the reign of David the First, at the commencement of the 12th century.

1. IVONE DE KIRKPATRICK of Kilosbern (Cella Osberni), is the first whose name can be traced in any known document. In the reign of David the First, King of Scotland, who came to the throne A.D. 1124, his name occurs in a Charter of Robert Brus the elder and Eufemia his wife, granting the fishing of Torduff to the Monks of Abbeyholm; and in another Charter, in which Brus grants to IVONE DE KIRKPATRICK, the fishing of Blawode and Eister. The family name is derived from their Estate of Kirkpatrick (Cella Patricii) in the north-western Annandale. Hence in old documents the name is sometimes spelt Kilpatrick.

 The Robert Brus was the first Lord of Annandale …The Annan and Nith being neighboring valleys, meeting at their southern openings, with Dumfries as their common capital, the families of Bruce and Kirkpatrick always lived upon the most intimate terms, and their friendship was cemented by intermarriages.

2. WILLIAM son of IVONE, was slain in a faction fight. He assisted Gilbert son of Fergus in his quarrel with Rolland son of Uchtred Lord of Galloway, about the year 1187. After Gilbert’s death, Rolland declaring himself Lord of Galloway, was opposed by KIRKPATRICK, who heading the faction of his cousin Duncan, was killed in the fight. Henry the Second of England, led an army to Carlisle, and with the aid of the King of Scots, composed the feuds in Galloway, obliging Rolland to bestow upon DUNCAN that part called Carrick.

3. IVONE, son of WILLIAM, married EUFEMIA daughter of ROBERT BRUS, Lord of Annandale and Cleveland (Family tree of the Bruces of Clackmannan, in the possession of the Earl of Elgin). Among the writings carried away from Edinburgh Castle by Edward the First, A.D. 1296, was Una Litera patens, &c. ad firmam Domino Galtero Mowbray per Eufemiam Kirkpatrick. The Mowbrays originally possessed the estate of Kirkmichael in Nithsdale, which in 1484 was granted by the King to ALEXANDER KIRKPATRICK, as hereafter stated. IVONE made a settlement of the lands of Kilosbern, by surrender to King Alexander the Second, and Grant of Confirmation or Settlement Charter, dated at Edinburgh, August 15, 1232. Shortly before this he made large additions to the old Castle of Closeburn; but it seems probable that the Keep or Tower which still exists, with walls twelve feet thick was built three or four centuries earlier. In the 17th century Sir THOMAS KIRKPATRICK pulled down everything except the Keep, and used the materials in rebuilding the mansion.

4. ADAM succeeded his father IVONE. In Chalmers’ Caledonia, p. 79, it is stated that this ADAM de KIRKPATRICK possessed the Manor of Kirkpatrick in North-western Annandale, and that in 1264 he had a lawsuit with the Monks of Kelso about the advowson of the Church of Kilosbern, which was decided against him by the Abbot of Jedburgh.

5. STEPHEN, son of ADAM, in the Chartulary of Kelso is styled, stephanus dominus villae de Kilosbern, filius et haeres domini Adae de Kirkpatrick. He entered into an agreement with the Abbot, concerning the Convent’s right to the Church of Kilosbern, die Mercurii proxima post festam purificantionis, beatae Mariae virginis 1278.

6. ROGER, the eldest son of STEPHEN, succeeded as Lord of Closeburn, while DUNCAN, the second son, by his marriage with ISABEL daughter and heiress of Sir DAVID TORTHORWALD of Torthorwald, obtained that Barony. At this time Scotland was involved in constant trouble, from the disputes respecting the Crown; and Sir ROGER KIRKPATRICK living on the border, and related to Bruce and Wallace, necessarily took an active interest in the struggle.

Charles Kirkpatrick, in Records of the Closeburn Kirkpatricks tells the story of Roger Kirkpatrick’s part in securing the Scottish crown for the Bruce.

Roger de Kilpatrick/Kirkpatrick was an attendant to Robert Bruce during the time when Bruce murdered Red Comyn. Kilpatrick legend has it that the chiefly motto is derived from Bruce's killing of Sir John Comyn. Upon meeting Comyn in the church of the Greyfriars at Dumfries, Bruce confronted Comyn with accusations of his treachery. A scuffle broke out; during which Bruce stabbed Comyn with his dagger. Horrified, Bruce fled from the church to his escorts and told them, "I doubt I have slain Comyn." Kilpatrick cried, "You doubt? I'll mak siccar!" ("I'll make sure"), whereupon he rushed the church and finished off the wounded Comyn. Sir Roger Kilpatrick hid with Robert Bruce for three nights to escape retribution from Comyn's family. This event is memorialized in the clan's crest, which contains a hand holding a bloody dagger; and the shield: three pillows on a saltire shield with the Scotland colours, or the St Andrews Cross, reversed (i.e. Kilpatrick wears a blue saltire on a white ground). It is also memorialized in the Clan's motto, "I make sure." The family was later pardoned by the Pope for their part in Comyn's death, who reasoned that Bruce's blow against Comyn was likely mortal.

Many connections between the Closeburn Kirkpatricks and the Douglases exist and many of these were noted by Richard Kirkpatrick in his Memoir. Among the more compelling are…

(1) The relationship between the Kirkpatricks and Duke of Queensbury. 

UMPHRAY, son of DUNCAN and ISABEL, made a settlement and obtained a Confirmatory Charter of the lands of Torthorwald from King Robert Brus, 16th July, 1322, who also granted to him that he should hold his lands of Torthorwald in Free Forest – a grant which conferred great privileges, and was highly valued in those days. His son Sir ROBERT was taken prisoner at the battle of Dupplin. ROGER, son of ROBERT obtained a charter from John the Grahame, son of Sir John Grahame of Moskesson, of an annual rent arising out of the lands of Over Dryffe, 1355. This family, which had acquired by marriage the Barony of Torthorwald, subsequently merged by marriage in the Lords Carliel, who thereby became Barons of Thorthorwald; and the Barony not long afterwards passed to Douglas of Drumlanrig, by the marriage of Margaret, daughter of William Lord Torthorwald, with William Douglas, third baron of Drumlanrig, who died in 1464, and whose descendant, William third Earl of Queensbury, was in 1682 created marquis, and in 1684 Duke of Queensbury, Marquis of Dunfriesshire, Earl of Drumlanrig and Sanquhar, Viscount of Nith, Torthorwald and Ross. [Memoir, p 9]

 SIR THOMAS, the second Baronet [Kirkpatrick of Closeburn], succeeded his father in 1700. In the year 1702, he married Isabel the eldest daughter of Sir William Lockhart of Carstairs, Baronet, by the Lady Isabel Douglas, sister of William Duke of Queensbury. The children of this marriage were THOMAS born 1704, JAMES who died at Calcutta bachelor, William, and Robert, who as well as a daughter, died in infancy.  This Baronet, who is still remembered with warm affection as ‘The good Sir Thomas,’ took an active part in repressing the rebellion of 1715. [Memoir, p 34]

(2) The recognition of the Douglases as feudal superiors.

ALEXANDER KIRKPATRICK, brother of Sir THOMAS, received the Barony of Kirkmichael from the King [James III], as a reward for taking prisoner at the battle of Burnswark, James the ninth and last Earl of Douglas, 1484. This Earl, weary of exile and anxious to revisit his native land, made a vow that on St. Magdalen's day he would lay his offering upon the high alter at Lochmaben, of which Sir Thomas Kirkpatrick was then keeper. Accompanied by the Earl of Albany he entered Scotland in a warlike guise, but the Borderers flocked together to oppose him, and he was defeated at Burnswark in Dumfriesshire. Whoever should kill or take captive the Earl, was to receive a thousand merks and an estate of a thousand merks yearly rent. Alexander

Kirkpatrick made the Douglas a prisoner with his own hand. The Earl desired to be carried to the King, saying to Kirkpatrick, 'Thou art intitled to profit by my misfortune, for thou wert ever true to me while I was true to myself.' But the young man burst into tears, and offered to conduct his captive to England. The Earl refused his proffer, and only desired that he might not be given up to the King, till his conqueror had made sure of his reward. Kirkpatrick generously went further, he stipulated for the safety of the ancient Lord. Accordingly, while he received the estate of Kirkmichael, 1484, for his own services, Douglas was permitted to retire to the abbey of Lindores. [Memoir, p 21] 

That the Kirkpatricks of Closeburn were long time vassals of the Douglas lords is also verified by Maxwell in The House of Douglas (volume 1, page 200) who describes how James, 9th (and last) Earl of Douglas, surrendered himself to “a former vassal of his own, Alexander Kirkpatrick, son of the Laird of Closeburn.”

(3) An odd connection between the Kirkpatricks, the Douglases, and Teba, Spain.

In the mid 19th Century, a descendant of the Closeburn Kirkpatricks, Doña Maria Eugenia, Countess de Teba, became Empress of the French as consort of Emperor Napolean III.  Of interest is the connection between the Good Sir James Douglas and Teba.  If this were not odd enough, Kirkpatrick draws a further connection between the Closeburn Kirkpatricks and the Black Douglases.

The tradition is that the title ‘de Teba,’ was conferred on the Comte de Montijo as a second title, in recognition of his conduct at the siege of Teba in Andalusia, in 1328, when the place was taken by the Moors. By a singular coincidence a Kirkpatrick of Closeburn took part in the same exploit. The tale is told by Froissart.

King Robert Bruce had made a vow to go to the Holy Land, to expiate the death of Comyn. Upon his death-bed he regretted exceedingly having, by the contests in which was incessantly in support of his throne, been prevented from fulfilling his vow, and desired that his heart might be taken to Jerusalem. Douglas, with the heart suspended from his neck in a silver casket, accompanied by a son of Sir Roger Kirkpatrick and other knights, undertook the Commission. For want of a vessel sailing directly to Palestine, they passed through Spain, and arrived in Andalusia at the time the Spaniards were besieging Teba. Thinking it an excellent opportunity to prove their zeal against the infidel, they joined the Spanish standard, and at the critical moment of the assault, Douglas hurled the casket into the midst of the Moors, crying, ‘Noble heart, go as thou hast always gone, the first into the fight Douglas and his Knights swear to follow or die.’ “The Scots,” says the historian, “challenge for the royal heart, the chief glory of the defeat of the Moor, and the capture of Teba.”  [Memoir, p 40,41]

Fraser, in The Douglas Book, (v.3, p 1161), gives further evidence of a familial relationship between the Closeburn Kirkpatricks and the Douglases.

391. Chaeter by Archibald Duke of Touraine, Earl of Douglas and Longueville, lord of Galloway and Annandale, granting to his cousin, George of Kirkpatrick, son of Sir Thomas of Kirkpatrick, lord of Killosbem, the whole lands of Penersex, within the regality of Annandale and sheriffdom of Dumfries, with the pertinents and advocation and donation of the church thereof, all resigned at Dumfries by the said Sir Thomas. To be held to the said George and the lawful heirs-male of his body, whom failing, to the said Sir Thomas and the lawful heirs-male of his body, whom failing, to Roger of Kirkpatrick, brother of the said Sir Thomas, and the lawful heirs-male of his body, whom failing, to Yuon of Kirkpatrick and the lawful heirs male of his body, whom failing, to Stephen of Kirkpatrick and the lawful heirs-male of his body, whom failing, to David of Kirkpatrick and the lawful heirs-male of his body, whom failing, to the nearest heirs whomsoever of the foresaid Sir Thomas, of the Earl and his heirs, in fee and heritage for ever : rendering therefor annually the service due and wont. "With clause of warrandice. Dated at Dumfries, 13 June 1132. Witnesses, Sir Herbert Heris, lord of Trareglis, James Heris, his brothergerman, James of Douglas of Drumlangrig, Thomas of Grame, David of Murray, Sir Thomas M'Lyn, Sir Michael of Byrkmyr, notaries public, Sir Patrick M'Xawany, Andrew Hamilton, and Richard of Corsby. Granter's seal appended, broken. [Original Charter in Drumlanrig Charter-chest.]

Kirkpatrick as a sept of Douglas or Colquhoun

There has been much debate about whether Kirkpatrick is a sept of Douglas or Colquhoun.  The confusion stems from the fact that the Colquhoun clan derives from a Kirkpatrick ancestor.  Wikipedia, in dealing with “Clan Kirkpatirck” states,

“The first record of the clan is in the 12th century, when Ivone de Kirkpatrick was listed as a witness in a charter of the Bruce family. Later, Alexander II confirmed by charter the lands of the same Ivone.  In 1246, during the reign of Alexander II, a Humphrey de Kilpatrick obtained a charter of the lands of Colquhoun from the Earl of Lennox, and that Humphrey's son Ingram was the first to assume the name Colquhoun. It may be remarked that both Humphrey and Ivan are popular names with Colquhouns, and that a Humphrey de Kilpatrick appears in charters relating to the Lennox, and others relating to Dumfries-shire - all of similar date. Geographically, the name 'Kilpatrick' is now most closely associated with the Lennox, while places named 'Kirkpatrick' are largely confined to Dumfries-shire, and it is quite probable that many who now bear the name had origin in these places, and may or may not have links, other than the 'kinship of a name', with the family who held Closeburn.

Richard Kirkpatrick in Memoir [p.4], identifies the Humphrey mentioned as the brother of the Ivone who married Euphemia Bruce.

In the reign of Alexander the Second, HUMPHREY KIRKPATRICK, second son of WILLIAM obtained the lands of Colquhoun, from Maldwin Earl of Lenox, and from these lands his son Ingram took the surname of Colquhoun. INGRAM’s son ROBERT, was father of another ROBERT, who had three sons, the eldest of whom, HUMPHREY, married the heiress of Luss in 1394. The Colquhouns of Luss still claim to belong to the family of Kirkpatrick.

From this statement, it makes more sense to suggest that Colquhoun is a sept of Kirkpatrick than the other way around.  John P. Kirkpatrick states the same sentiment in the Wikipedia discussion page of Wikipedia’s Clan Kirkpatrick article.  While claiming to be an “amateur historian”, John has extensively researched the Kirkpatrick name and writes,

Hello, my name is John Kirkpatrick and I find that this discussion to be of interest, in that I am an amateur Kirkpatrick Family researcher and genealogist. I for a long time, believed that the Kirkpatrick Family was a Sept of the Colquhoun Clan since, as has been noted here, the Earl of Lennox's grant of the lands of Colquhoun. But then I had problems with that, and that came from the fact that the family seat for the Kirkpatrick Family has been in the Dumfries and Nithsdale regions of Scotland. While it is true that there is a 'connection' of Kirkpatrick with Colquhoun, it was not in the Kirkpatrick Family being derived from or 'protected' (as a sept would be) by the Colquhoun Clan...

The sept arrangement or attachment that, in my humble opinion, relates to the Kirkpatrick Family is with the Douglas Clan. The Douglas Clan was the major clan of the Scottish Borders, and a very powerful clan in their relationship with The Bruce, and Landed Families and Knighted Gentry such as the Kirkpatrick Family would be aligned or associated with the major clan. The fact that the Kirkpatrick Family held a position of power and respect, though not an officially noted Clan, shows in the many taskings of the family for men of arms to support the Douglas Clan and the King of Scotland. Maj. General Charles Kirkpatrick's Book Records of the Closeburn Kirkpatrick's (1953) is a really good book, and while it was privately published for select members of the family, it has since been republished for purchase (available through Amazon.com). General Charles Kirkpatrick outlines the standing of the family and never indicates that the family was an officially recognized "Clan" but a very important borders region family; and he should have known!

Again, pardon me for poking my nose into your conversation, but wanted to put my "tuppence" on the table...JPKirkpatrick (talk) 18:50, 5 September 2009 (UTC)


There is, however, documentation to support the connection of Douglas to Colquhoun, as well, through the line of Douglas of Mains.  Johnson, in The Heraldry of the Douglases (p. 89) reports:

(394) JAMES DOUGLAS, living 1489, who married Catherine Maxwell of Newark, and had: – (a) David Douglas, who married Margaret Colquhoun of Luss.

 And in The Morris Clan: John Colquhoun webpage it states,

(Sir) John COLQUHOUN. Eighth Lord of Colquhoun and tenth of Luss. 

He married Jean ERSKINE. 


Isabel Colquhoun. Born in 1398. Isabel married David Douglas. David Douglas was born in Mains, Scotland.  


Kirkpatrick-Kilpatrick DNA Project

Anyone interested in participating in or viewing the Kirkpatrick-Kilpatrick DNA Project: y-Results should look HERE.




Fraser, William. The Douglas Book: In Four Volumes. Burlington, Ont: TannerRitchie Pub. in collaboration with the Library and Information Services of the University of St. Andrews, 2005. Internet resource.


Johnston, G H. The Heraldry of the Douglases: With Notes on All the Males of the Family, Descriptionsof the Arms, Plates and Pedigrees. Edinburgh: W. & A.K. Johnston, limited, 1907. Print.


Kirkpatrick, C. Records of the Closeburn Kirkpatricks: Paper Read to the Dumfriesshire and GallowayAntiquarian Society on 18th December 1953. Scotland: The Author, 1953. Print.


Kirkpatrick, Richard G. (Family. Kirkpatrick of Closeburn. (memoir Respecting the Family of Kirkpatrickof Closeburn, in Nithsdale, with Notices of Some Collaterals). London: Privately printed, 1858. Print.


Maxwell, Herbert. A History of the House of Douglas Vol I, Freemantle & Co., London. 1902


The Morris Clan: John Colquhoun



Wikipedia: Clan Kirkpatrick. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clan_Kirkpatrick


Wikipedia: Clan Kirkpatrick Talk. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Clan_Kirkpatrick