Clan Bannerman

Clan Bannerman
Crest badge
Clan member crest badge - Clan Bannerman.svg
Crest: A demi man in armour holding in his right hand a sword proper
Motto: Pro Patria ("For my Country")
Sir David Gordon Bannerman of Elsick
15th Baronet of Elsick

Clan Bannerman is a Scottish clan which has, for centuries, been the Scottish standard bearers.



Origins of name

The Bannerman name is said to have originated in the privilege of carrying the king's banner in wartime, an honour the Bannermans had from approximately the 11th through the 13th century. As a consequence of this role, the Bannermans held the rank of knights banneret, a title conferred on people of particular military prowess and/or merit. Although it's an unsubstantiated legend, the Bannermans supposedly ceased to be royal standard bearers after Sir Alexander Carron took up the royal standard at the crossing of the Spey, a battle around the time of either King Malcolm III or King Alexander I of Scotland.

Origins of the clan

On 21 June 1367, King David II of Scotland granted the lands of Clyntrees, Waterton, and Weltown to Donald Bannerman, the king's doctor. Ellon is located in the northeast of Scotland. Its importance comes from being the first fording point on the river Ythan. In the 4th century B.C., there was a small Pictish settlement near there. By the early Middle Ages, the local Celtic chiefs (Mormaers) held court here for their province of Buchan as did the later feudal Norman lords. The area was well settled and prosperous, giving its nobles of Norman descent, like the Bannermans, a strong powerbase. One requirement of this gift was that the Bannermans were to build a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary, where a weekly mass would be held to pray for the soul of the king's father King Robert I of Scotland, also known as Robert the Bruce. The church had a choir and two aisles, one of which was for the Forbes that was built by the Bannermans of Waterton. The family was also granted land west of Aberdeen in 1370 by the Abbott of Kinloss. Three years later in 1373 the Bishop of Aberdeen granted Donald and his son Alexander the lands of Slaty. Conald was married to Mariote de Carduy. Their son Alexander succeeded his father.

In 1382, this Alexander became an Alderman of Aberdeen, a position comparable to the later Provosts of that city. Five years later on 4 October 1387, Alexander Bannerman acquired the lands of Elsick in the Barony of Cowie and the Sheriffdome of Kincardine from Sir Alexander Fraser of Philorth. King Robert II confirmed this on 19 October 1387. The chiefs of the Bannerman family have been styled Bannerman of Elsick ever since. Alexander had two sons, his heir Simon, and John, a Burgess in Aberdeen.

Simon acted as Bailie for James Douglas of Balvenie in 1420. A Bailie is someone responsible for the administration of justice and of revenue in a district. Douglas, who died in 1443, was the seventh earl of Douglas and the first earl of Avondale. Simon acquired land in Newburgh in 1424. Simon was succeeded by his son John around 1440. John, who died around 1480, was succeeded by his son Simon, who had sasine of half of Tullich probably in right of his mother. Sasine is a feudal term for having possession and title of real property. Tullilch is now owned by the Viscount and Viscountess Scarsdale. For years, Simon carried on a dispute with the Abbot of Arbroath over their Marches.

Simon's son Alexander succeeded him around 1501. Alexander, who was born around 1482, married Elizabeth Urquhart, and they had a charter dated 4 October 1490 from the Bishop of St. Andrews for the eastern part of the lands of Balmacassie in Ellon. They were also given sasine by the Earl of Erroll of "the lands of Ailsick" on 11 October 1498. Alexander, one of the most powerful men in the region, was Sheriff Depute of Aberdeenshire. He was murdered in 1516 by Alexander Hay, Magnus Mowat, and David Lyoun, who were later pardoned.

Alexander was succeeded by his son Henry, who died in 1529. He was in turn succeeded by Alexander Bannerman, who was a minor at the time of Henry's death in 1529. It's not clear whether Alexander was Henry's son, but an inquest to determine his age, refers to him as the heir of his grandfather Alexander Bannerman. This Alexander married Margaret Reid. On 20 March 1550, he was one of the commissioners authorized by the Regent and his Council to resist and pursue the Earl of Huntly. They were to be ensured from prosecution for any action they took to carry their duty out. Alexander and Margaret Reid had issue: Patrick, who died young; George, and Elizabeth.

Clan conflicts

The above-mentioned Alexander Bannerman took a prominent part in the feuds between the Clan Gordon and the Clan Forbes. As a clan in the northeast of Scotland, the Bannermans aligned themselves with Clan Forbes, and Bannerman is sometimes considered a sept of Forbes. However, Bannermans and Gordons intermarried. For example, Sir Alexander Bannerman of Elsick fought a duel in 1641 with his cousin Sir George Gordon of Haddo, on the Hill of Tillygreig. They fought for first blood, and Bannerman won and they parted. George Gordon's mother and Alexander Bannerman's paternal aunt was Margaret Bannerman. An earlier Bannerman, Elizabeth, the daughter of Alexander Bannerman and Margaret Reid (see above), married a Gordon of Lesmoir in 1580. This Gordon took part in the murder of the Bonnie Earl of Moray and the burning of Donibristle in 1592 and was at the Battle of Glenlivet on 4 October 1594. In addition, loyalties of members of the Gordon clan weren't always clearcut. There were, for instance, Gordons on both sides of the Civil War and both sides of the 1715–1716 and 1745–1746 Jacobite uprisings.

Royal descent

Through marriage into other prominent families, such as the Forbes, Maitlands, Gordons, Frasers, Hamiltons, Burnetts of Leys, Setons, Boyds, Arbuthnotts, Douglases, etc., some Bannermans are descended from the Scottish kings. Some are also descended from King James I of Scotland and his English wife, Queen Joan Beaufort, the great granddaughter of King Edward III of England. Through Queen Joan, some Bannermans are descended from other European royalty (France, Spain, Sweden, etc.) besides Scottish and English kings, queens, and nobles. Ironically that also means that the blood of two mortal enemies—King Edward I of England, and King Robert the Bruce of Scotland—were mixed. Thus, both rivals are the ancestors of many of descendants with the Bannerman name or lineage. On another point, the families mentioned above were also mostly of Norman, not Celtic, descent. However, through the Scottish kings, there are ties to Irish kings and nobles, both Celtic and Viking, and the Scottish kings themselves were descended from both Norman and Gaelic ancestors.

The Bannermans of Elsick

As mentioned earlier, Alexander Bannerman (1522–1581) and Margaret Reid had two sons and a daughter Elizabeth (see above under Clan Conflicts). Alexander's heir, George, succeeded him on 21 November 1581. In the early 17th century, he married Elizabeth Johnston, daughter of John Johnston of Caskieben. Their children included Alexander, the heir, John, and Margaret (see above under Clan Conflicts]. This Margaret Bannerman was the grandmother of George Gordon, 1st Earl of Aberdeen, who was also the Chancellor of Scotland. Her son, Sir John Gordon, opposed the Covenanters, and in a mock trial, he was condemned to be executed in Edinburgh on 10 July qqq1644.

Margaret Bannerman Gordon's brother, Alexander Bannerman succeeded their father George in 1609. Alexander married Margaret Forbes, daughter of William Forbes of Tolquhoun, who was descended from the 1st Lord Forbes. Alexander and Margaret Forbes had two sons, Alexander and George. Their father's next wife was Marjory, daughter of Sir John Leslie of Wardes. In 1611, Alexander sold Waterton to John Johnston of Caskieben, maybe a relative (perhaps an uncle or grandfather) since his mother had been a Johnston. In 1623, he is listed as a Justice of the Peace. In 1633, he was party to a marriage contract between his eldest son and heir Alexander and Marion Hamilton, daughter of Sir Alexander Hamilton and the granddaughter of James Hamilton, 1st Earl of Abercorn and his wife Marion Boyd, daughter of Thomas Boyd, 5th Lord Boyd. Alexander Bannerman, Laird of Elsick, was born in 1585 and died between 1633 and 1638.

His son and successor Alexander and his wife Marion Hamilton had eight children, four sons and four daughters. The eldest son of this couple, another Alexander (see below), became the first baronet of Nova Scotia in the Bannerman family. George (c. 1636–1691), their second son, was an advocate and Crown Solicitor and married Elizabeth Oliphant. Other children included Robert, who married Margaret Carse and had four sons; John, Mary, who married George Leslie; Margaret, who married Sir Alexander Keith; Elizabeth, who married James Reid; and Jean, who married George Keith.

Sir Alexander Bannerman, 1st Baronet of Elsick

On 28 December 1682, Alexander Bannerman of Elsick, county Kincardine, was created the 1st baronet of Nova Scotia for support of Charles II of England during the English Civil War and for the heavy casualties he suffered because of this. Sir Alexander Bannerman (born c. 1634 and died 11 April 1711) was married to Margaret Scott, the daughter of Isabel Murray (daughter of Sir John Murray) and Patrick Scott of Thirlestane (also spelled Thirlstone) and sister of Sir Francis Scott. A marriage contract was signed on 15 February 1670. Alexander and Margaret had several children, including Francis, who died unmarried; Sir Patrick Bannerman (see below); and Sir Alexander Bannerman (see below), 2nd baronet.

The Jacobite Uprisings and Bannermans in the 18th century

Sir Patrick Bannerman, a burgess of Guild and an Aberdeen merchant, was the fourth son of the first baronet of Elsick and his wife, Margaret Scott of Thirlstone. He was born in 23 February 1678 and was knighted for his support of the deposed Stuart line and for his support of the 1715 Jacobite Rising. According to the Memorials of the Aldermen, Provosts, and Lord Provosts of Aberdeen, bells rang and Aberdeen was illuminated after James VIII was proclaimed king with all due ceremony in late September of 1715. Since Aberdeen was in the hands of the rebels, a meeting was held to elect a new Council. At the meeting, which represented most burgesses of Guild and free craftsmen, "a Jacobite magistracy was chosen, with Patrick Bannerman as provost." A provost is a position similar to that of a mayor. One of the Jacobite Council's earliest actions was imposition of a tax of two hundred pounds sterling for furnishing supplies to the army. During December 1715, James Francis Edward Stuart, or The Old Pretender as he came to be known, knighted Patrick Bannerman at a presentation at Dunnottar after Bannerman had congratulated him "on his arrival in his ancient kingdom of Scotland." Later Sir Patrick was arrested by the Hanoverian authorities and sentenced to death after the uprising. He escaped and fled to France. In 1714, Patrick Bannerman had married Margaret Maitland, the daughter of Sir Charles Maitland of Pitrichie and Pitsligo and Dame Jane (Jean) Forbes. It is through the Forbes and Maitland families that this branch of the Bannerman family is descended from Scottish and English royalty. Patrick Bannerman and Margaret Maitland (born 1687) had two sons and three daughters, including Alexander (born 13 September 1715), their eldest and the father of the 6th baronet; Charles (born 1719), a Writer to the Signet; Jean (born 1718); Clementina (died 1787); and Margaret (born 1723), the youngest, who married Alexander Milne, an Aberdeen merchant and the owner of Crimonmogate, an estate where several later baronets of Elsick would later reside. Margaret and Alexander Milne had two sons. Charles, Jean, and Clementina died unmarried. Sir Patrick died 4 June 1733 at fifty-five. His widow Margaret died 31 October 1750 at sixty-three.

Other Bannermans continued their support of the Jacobite cause during the 1745 rebellion. Both Provost Patrick Bannerman and his brother Alexander, who had become the 2nd baronet in 1711, died before the 1745, but Sir Alexander's son, Sir Alexander Bannerman, the 3rd baronet, was with Charles Edward Stuart, or Bonnie Prince Charlie as he was known, during the Battle of Culloden on 16 April 1746. He fled first north, then ultimately to France, where he died in 1747.In 1756, the 4th baronet, another Sir Alexander Bannerman (the son of the 3rd baronet and his wife Isabella Trotter), was forced to sell the estate of Elsick to the Corporation of Aberdeen against the threat of forfeiture for possible complicity in the Jacobite rebellion. He married Elizabeth Sedgwick, daughter of Marmaduke Sedgwick, in 1764, and died 13 June 1770 in England. Since he had two daughters, the baronetcy fell to his brother, Major Sir Edward Trotter Bannerman of Elsick, 5th Bt., on 13 June 1770. Sir Edward Bannerman became a Major in 1778 in the service of the 36th Regiment of Foot. He died on 1 October 1796 without issue.

The 6th baronet, Sir Alexander Bannerman, was the grandson of Provost Sir Patrick Bannerman and the son of Sir Patrick's eldest son Alexander and his wife Margaret Burnett, eldest daughter of Thomas Burnett of Kirkhill and his wife Margaret Turner. He was born on 22 December 1741, and married Mary Gordon, daughter of James Gordon and Mary Buchan, in 1768. He died on 29 December 1813 at age 72. He had been a professor of medicine at King's College. His sisters included Margaret (born 18 February 1738), who died as an infant; Margaret (born 3 November 1744), who died as a toddler, and Anne (born 14 November 1747), who married Alexander Garioch in 1767, and had issue, John and Margaret. His brothers included Mordaunt (born 18 April 1746); Sir Charles Bannerman (born 7 June 1750), an advocate, who married Margaret Wilson; Thomas (22 January 1741), who died as an infant; and Thomas (born 19 May 1743), a merchant who in 1779 married Jane (Jean) Simpson, daughter of George Simpson of Hazelhead and Euphemia Donaldson.

On the Gold Coast, James Bannerman (1790–1858) was a rich merchant and a colonial governor. His descendants in modern day Ghana make up a large branch of the Bannerman Clan.

Bannermans in the 19th century

The above-mentioned Thomas Bannerman, had a son, Alexander Bannerman, who was the first member of Parliament for Aberdeen after the Reform Bill of 1832 was passed. He served as a member from 1832 until 1847. Born in Aberdeen on 8 October 1788, he was a shipowner, merchant, and banker as well as the dean of faculty at Marischal College in Aberdeen in 1837. Later, he was a commissioner of Greenwich Hospital in 1841. In addition, he was made Governor of Prince Edward Island the same date, 3 February 1851, as the queen knighted him at Buckingham Palace. He was also the governor of the Bahamas (8 May 1854) and of Newfoundland from 9 February 1857 until 1863. He died at Louth Cottage in Chorley on 30 December 1864.

Some of his siblings had also lived in other parts of the world. The eldest, Euphemia Bannerman (20 May 1780), married Thomas Cecil Grainger, Esq. of Sussex in 1801 in Aberdeen and moved to Sussex with her husband. Her descendants live in the United States and Australia. Margaret (24 September 1781) married Thomas Best, Esq. of Barbados in 1801, and they moved to the West Indies. Other siblings included Rachel (4 May 1784); George (21 September 1785), who died at eighteen on 27 November 1803; Charles Donaldson (January 1791); Thomas (8 June 1792), who died young; Patrick (8 June 1792), possibly a twin to Thomas, who died as a young man while on a visit to his sister Euphemia Grainger in Sussex; and another Thomas (3 October 1795), who married Jean Hogarth on 22 June 1824 and whose son George became the 10th baronet.

The 7th Bt., Sir Alexander Bannerman of Elsick, born on 19 December 1769, succeeded to the title on 29 December 1813. He was the son of the 6th Bt. and grandson of Thomas Bannerman and lived in Kirkhill, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. He married Rachel Irving, daughter of John Irving, 15 November 1800, and died 31 May 1840 at age 70 in Aberdeen. He died without issue and was succeeded by his brother, Sir Charles Bannerman of Elsick, 8th Bt., on 31 May 1840. A manufacturer in Aberdeen, Sir Charles was born on 18 August 1782. He married Anne Bannerman, daughter of Charles Bannerman and Margaret Wilson, on 14 August 1821. He died on 18 June 1851 at age 68. He lived in both Crimmonmogate and Kirkhill.

Sir Alexander Bannerman of Elsick, 9th Bt., who succeeded his father Sir Charles Bannerman on 18 June 1851, was born 6 April 1823 in Aberdeen. He was educated at Trinity College at Cambridge University and later served as Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire. He bought back part of the Elsick estate and lived in Kirkhill. On 25 September 1860, he married Lady Arabella Diana Sackville-West, daughter of George John West, 5th Earl de la Warr and Lady Elizabeth Sackville, Baroness Buckhurst of Buckhurst. He later married Lady Katherine Ashburnham, daughter of Bertram Ashburnham, 4th Earl of Ashburnham and Katherine Charlotte Baillie, on 20 January 1874. His daughter Ethel (1869–1877) married the Earl of Southesk. Her father died on 21 April 1877 in London without male issue.

As a consequence, he was succeeded by Sir George Bannerman of Elsick, on 21 April 1877. The 10th Bt., born 4 June 1827 in Aberdeen, was a Captain in the Royal Engineers. He was the son of Thomas Bannerman and Jane Hogarth (see above) and grandson of Thomas Bannerman and Jean Simpson. He married Anne Mary Brooke, daughter of Richard Brooke, on 5 October 1869. He died on 3 December 1901 in his 70s. He was succeeded by his son, Major Sir George Bannerman of Elsick, who died without male issue. The 12th baronet was Lt.-Col. Sir Arthur D'Arcy Gordon Bannerman of Elsick, a descendant of the first baronet. He was succeeded by his son, Sir Donald Arthur Gordon Bannerman of Elsick, 13th Bt., the last baronet to be born in the 19th century.

Clan chief

The current Chief of Clan Bannerman is Sir David Gordon Bannerman of Elsick, 15th Baronet of Elsick, Chief of the Name and Arms of Bannerman, OBE.[1]. Sir David was educated at Gordounstoun School and New College Oxford. He resides in Richmond with his wife Lady Mary Prudence Bannerman (nee Ardagh Walter) and has four children: Claire (b.1961), Margot (b.1963), Arabella (b.1965) and Clodagh (b.1975) and five grandchildren: Constance (b.1994), Alexander (b.1996), Hector (b.1998), Ruby (b.1998) and Milo (b.2001).


see Bannerman (Individuals)

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