clan graham society

Cadets and Septs of the Clan Graham


The Clan

A clan is a family. Some say that “clans” are highland and “families” are lowland Scotland but this is really a distinction made only in the Victorian era. It no longer applies. A clan or family is a legally recognized group in Scotland, which has a corporate identity in the same way that a company, club or partnership has a corporate identity. A clan or family is a ''noble incorporation" because it has an officially recognized chief or head who (being a nobleman of Scotland) confers his noble status on the clan or family. Thus, by virtue of our Chief (currently the 8th Duke of Montrose) Clan Graham is a true Clan and not just a group of people with the same name associated with them. The direct line of Clan Graham starts from 1125 with William de Graham and continues to the present Duke of Montrose. This main line of the Clan is therefore Montrose.

Cadet Branches

The Graham family has descended from father to son over the centuries for 30 generations. Throughout all those generations, it was important that members of the family stay “attached” to the clan no matter who they were–younger sons and daughters included. Younger sons formed cadet branches of the family. During the course of time the family left many cadet branches. These are branches from the younger sons rather than the direct line (the branch for the Duke of Montrose coming from the eldest sons).

Unlike daughters of the clan (whose name changed at marriage) sons had options by which they retained their connection to the main branch and the clan. A father might have one son go into the church and have him become a bishop. He would be called Bishop of (his area of jurisdiction). The other sons might be given lands that the father obtained from the king or an earl. The name of the cadet would come from the name of the lands. There are examples of both of these in the cadets below. Note: Each of the cadets has smaller branches from their origins (some of them noted here).

Graham Cadets


Sir William Graham of Kincardine took as his second wife, Mary Stewart, second daughter of King Robert II. He had five sons–the first was Sir Robert Graham of Strathcarron who is ancestor of the Grahams of Fintry, Claverhouse and Duntrune.


Another son of Sir William of Kincardine and Mary Stewart was William Graham, ancestor of the Grahams of Garvoch. In 1473, James lll granted the lands of Garvock to the above Sir William and Princess Mary. Later, they were given to the second son, William. A third son, Walter, was the ancestor of the Grahams of Knockdolian.


The largest branch--the Menteith Grahams--was also created through a royal marriage. Sir Patrick Graham, second son of the Graham chief (Sir Patrick Graham of Dundaff) married Euphemia Stewart, daughter of the Earl of Strathearn and granddaughter of King Robert II. Euphemia succeeded to both her father's titles after his death (likely about March 1386). As the title of Strathearn was much coveted by King James I, their son, Malise Graham was created Earl of Menteith in return for James I gaining back the Strathearn titles. These are the Grahams of Menteith.


Patrick was the second son of the 1st Earl of Montrose who was killed at Flodden in 1513 when Patrick was very young. Three months before his death, the Earl gave Patrick a charter which gives to Patrick, and his male heirs, the lands (amongst others) of "Inchbrakie." These became the Barony of Inchbrakie and Aberuthven and gives rise to the Cadet family of the Grahams of Inchbrakie. Patrick (the first Laird of Inchbrakie) left four children--two sons and two daughters. The eldest son and head of the family, George, took his place eventually as Second Laird. The younger brother, Robert, became Archdeacon of Ross, founder of the family of Graemes of Drynie in the Black Isle, Ross-shire.


The origin of this part of the family may have several starting points. One description found in the "Biographical History of the People of Scotland," published in 1877, says:

"The Grahams of the Borders are descended from Sir John Graham of Kilbryde, called, from his bravery, Sir John " with the bright sword," second son of Malise, earl first of Strathern, and afterwards of Menteith, .... The principal families that derive from him are those of Esk and Netherby, which both possess baronetcies, and the Grahams of Plomp, their progenitors having settled in what was called "the debatable land," a territory consisting of that portion of Cumberland lying immediately to the south of the river Esk and the Solway Firth, and so named from being a constant scene of strife between the Scottish and English borderers. (Note: Sir John "with the bright sword," was also ancestor of the Grahams of Gartmore in Perthshire. Sir William Graham of Gartmore, created a baronet of Nova Scotia, in 1665, married Elizabeth, second daughter of John Graham, Lord Kilpont, (son of the earl of Airth). (They believe themselves to be of the Menteith branch.)

Addendum to Cadet Branches of Grahams of the Borders



They are descended from Sir John Graham of Kilbride, second son of Malise, 1st Earl of Menteith and Strathearn*. Sir John married Anne Vere, the daughter of Henry, Earl of Oxford, and they had two sons, William “Lang Will” Graham and Graham of Gartmore.

The Grahams of Esk and Netherby descend from “Lang Will”. He fell into disfavor with the court for possessing lands of the Earl of Morton and because he was collecting tithes for lands that were not his. He lost his lands and was a fugitive at horn, banished from Scotland . He retired with his six sons and many of his kinsmen to the ‘ Debatable Land’ on the south bank of the Esk River near the Solway Firth .

The lands of Netherby went to “Lang Wills” oldest son Richard who built eight Pell towers and it is around one of these that Netherby Hall was built.


William Graham of Gartmore descended from the Grahams of Duchray who came from the Grahams of Dunans and they traced their heritage back through John (of the bright sword) Graham, of Kilbride to his father Malise Graham, Earl of Strathearn, later 1st Earl of Menteith.** William Graham of Gartmore, was created a baronet of Nova Scotia, in 1665, married Elizabeth, second daughter of John Graham, Lord Kilpont, (son of the Earl of Airth,). Through Elizabeth they are also descended from Sir John Graham of Kilbride.


In 1624 Norton-Conyers was sold to the Grahams of Netherby. *** The Grahams of Norton-Conyers are descendents of Richard Graham of Esk, Netherby and Norton-Conyers. His younger son Sir Richard Graham of Norton-Conyers, Yorkshire was created a baronet in 1662. Thus they are also descendents of Sir John Graham of Kilbride, second son of Malise, 1St Earl of Menteith and Strathearn.

*Appropriated by the King James I in 1427 on the basis that the Earldom of Strathearn which he had inherited from his mother, Anne Vere, was a male fiefdom. It became known as the Stewartry of Menteith. In 1631 the Earl of Menteith renewed his claim to Strathearn but was forced to accept the Earldom of Airth instead.


***Source: &

Septs Via the Daughters

Daughters had the right to remain with their own clan despite her married name. The great Scottish Clans contain families who bore a different surname but were descended from the Chief through the female line. They are called septs. Usually, this came about because the female clan was a stronger one than the male at the time of the marriage and it was, therefore, advantageous for the new husband to swear loyalty to his father-in-law and that clan rather than his own. Because of how septs come about, a family name could easily be listed as a sept of various clans. It would depend on which daughter you were descended from which clan you should be considered a sept member of.

Anybody who has an ancestor bearing a sept name or the clan name itself has the privilege of wearing or displaying the crest badge and indeed only they may legitimately wear an authentic Scottish Ancient Device.

Septs of Clan Graham

  • Airth, Alirdes, Allardes, Allardice, Allardyce*, Allerdyce, Alyrdes, Ardes, Auchinloick
  • Ballewen, Blair*, Bonar, Bonnar, Bonner, Bontein, Bontine, Bontyne, Bountene, Buchlyrie, Buchlyry, Bullman, Buntain, Bunten, Buntin, Buntine, Bunting, Bunten, Buntin, Buntyn, Buntyng, Buting
  • Conyers, Crampshee, Cramsy, Cransie
  • Drumaguhassie, Drumagaassy, Drumaguhassle, Duchray, Duchwray, Dugalston, Durchray
  • Esbank
  • Fintraie, Fintray, Fintrie
  • Glennie, Glenny, Grame, Graeme, Grahame, Grahym, Grim, Grime, Grimes, Grimm
  • Hadden, Haddon, Haddin, Haldane*, Halden, Hastie, Haldine, Hasty, Hastiy, Howden, Howe, Howie
  • Kilpatrich
  • Lingo
  • MacCribon, MacGibbon, MacGilvern, MacGilvernock, MacGilvernoel, MacGribon, MacGrime, MacGrimen, Macllvern, Macllvernock, MacKibben, MacKibbin, MacKibbins, MacPiot, MacPiott, MacPotts, MacRibon, MacRigh, MacRis, MacRiss, MacShile, MacShille, MacShillie, Maharg, Menteith, Monteith, Monzie
  • Orchille
  • Pitcarian, Piatt, Pyatt, Pye, Pyott
  • Reddoch, Reddock, Rednock, Riddick, Riddoch, Riddock
  • Serjeant, Sirowan, Sterling , Strowan, Strowen

•Clan Allardyce and Haldane have chiefs but have a long historic relationship with Clan Graham and will always be welcomed and protected by the Grahams as part of our family. Clan Blair has no chief at this time and will always be welcomed and protected by the Grahams as a part of our family if they so desire. For more information on the Allardice-Ardis Family Association visit their website at For Blair surname history and genealogical information, please see

Other Spellings of Graham

Grahym, Grym, Greym, Grahm, Greyme, Graheme, Grahem, Greme, Grahme, Graiham, Greeme, Gram, Grame, Grahame, Graem, Grayme, Graeme, Grayme, Grem, Grimm, Grim, Grehme, Grime, MacCrime, MacGrime, Graham Airth, Gruamach, Grayum