Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy


Barclay Clan

It is always imagined that all the members of the great families and Clans of Scotland are all card carrying Scots. However, historical speaking many of them came into Scotland by being invited by David I. The reason for this was that David I didn’t want to be invaded by Norman England and so he invited the Normans into Scotland with promises of land in return for protection against a possible Norman invasion of Scotland which never happened.

This is the way the Barclay family came into Scotland as around 1140. they had been involved in the Civil war between Stephen and Matilda and had unfortunately backed the wrong side and moved to Scotland. The name Barclay comes from a Dorset Manor of Berkley and from two brothers Walter and Robert.

They are reputed to have built the largest motte and bailey castle in Scotland on the water of Urr in Kirkcudbrightshire. Walter became chamberlain to the King and he became a trusted advisor.

The family although descended from Walter but not through the male but through the female line. It is from the eldest daughter of Walter that all the Barclays who have links with Scotland are descended. This was because her husband assumed the name of Barclay and so the name survived. Later the family became involved with the Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus and became involved in his German wars as they had become mercenaries fighting in the European wars of the 17th century. Later recalled to help the covenanters. However the family was persecuted at the restoration for its support of Oliver Cromwell and because of this they became Quakers and because of this Quaker connection and their probity drew them into finance which led to the formation of “Barclay and Co”. The Barclay family and their Quaker tradition helped to develop political freedom and freedom of conscience in Scotland and the rest of Britain.

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