Clan Pringle

Clan Pringle
Crest badge appropriate for members of Clan Pringle.
Arms of the Pringle of Torsonse, chief's of old of Clan Pringle

Clan Pringle is an Armigerous clan from the Scottish Borders.


Origin of the Name

According to the detailed book 'The Records of the Pringles', published by Alexander Pringle in 1933, the surname Hoppringill, or Pringle, dates from the reign of Alexander III of Scotland (1249-86) and is one of the oldest names of the Scottish Border region.

Pringle is a placename derived from a locale in the Parish of Stow on the right side of Gala Water, about ten miles North of Galashiels. Hoppringle lies about one half mile up from the bank of the river on the Southern slopes of a ridge separating the valleys of the rivers Armet and Todhole (now named Armet Water and Toddle Burn).

This ridge, with its level crest, abuts at its Western extremity on the Gala in a remarkably rounded knob some 300ft above the level of the river, which winds around its base in a semi-circle. It is this ring-like boss which no doubt gives the place its name of Hoppringhill, as it is occasionally written in older records.

The first syllable is the name Hope, Hopp, Op orUp, derived from the Old Norse Hop - a haven, denoting a small enclosed valley branching off a larger one. The other syllables include ring (or rink ), and hill. As such names are always descriptive, Hoppringill means simply the small enclosed valley of the ring, or round hill.

The full name of Hoppringill was in use for 300 years. The last recorded usage in its full form is by a Chief of the Clan whose will, dated 1737, is in the name of John Hoppringle of that Ilk. Around 1590, however, Pringill, which had appeared rarely before, begins to become the dominant form, until around 1650, when it gave way to Pringle. This change closely follows similar changes in the spelling of words like Temple and Single, derived from Tempill and Singill. The final syllable was never actually pronounced gill.

Castles and Tower Houses

The original seat of the Chief of Clan Pringle was at Hoppringle and later at Torsonce on the Gala Water in Scotland.

The Pringles also built: Smailholm Tower, Buckholm Tower, Torwoodlee Tower and House, Old Gala House, Whytbank Tower, Yair House, Stichill House and the Haining House in Selkirk.

The Pringles also owned at various different times: Greenknowe Tower and Craigcrook Castle.

Clan Chief

The Chief of Clan Pringle is unknown at present. The Hoppringles of that ilk, afterwards the Pringles of Torsonce, on Gala Water, were the Chiefs of the clan and the senior branch of the family. The last Clan Chief was John Hoppringle of that Ilk and Torsonce, who died on 21st December 1737. His only daughter, Margaret, married Gilbert Pringle, 2nd son of the 2nd Baronet of Stitchill, carried the estates into that branch of the family (which were sold by the 6th Baronet of Stitchill).

According to Burkes Landed Gentry, John Pringle of Lees then became heir male, but his family is also is extinct [1].

However, according to the book ‘Records of the Pringles’ [2], John Hoppringle of that ilk had a younger brother called James Pringle, who had two sons. The eldest called Thomas Pringle, and the younger called James Pringle, who was a wright and burgess of Edinburgh. It is yet unknown if they had issue.

Pringle Baronets of Stitchill

There have been two Baronetcies created for members of the Scottish Pringle family. One for the Pringles of Stichill, in the Baronetage of Nova Scotia created in 1683. The second created for Dr John Pringle of Pall Mall, in the Baronetage of Great Britain in 1766. The present Baronet of Stichill is Lt-Gen Sir Steuart Pringle of Stitchill, 10th Baronet.

See also


  1. ^ Burke's Landed Gentry, Supp. P.262
  2. ^ Records of the Pringles of the Scottish Border, pages 26-29. By Alex Pringle, Published 1933, Edinburgh.

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