Carmichael Clan Crest: An armed hand holding a
Carmichael Motto: Tout Jour Prest (Always Ready).
Carmichael Clan History:
The surname originates from a Barony found in
Lanarkshire, territory granted to the Douglas Family by Robert the
Bruce in 1321. Prior to this, c.1221, Robert de Carmitely had right of
Lordship in the land of Cleghorn, and Willian de Creimechel witnessed a
charter in 1225. Between 1374 and 1384, Sir John de Carmychell held a
charter for the lands of Carmychell from William, Earl of
Douglas. The Barony of Carmichael was confirmed on the head
of the family in 1414.
Sir John de Carmichael of Meadowflat fought with
the Scottish mercenaries sent to France to help the French army against
the English invasion of Henry V. At the Battle of Baugé
he is said to have broken his spear while toppling the unfortunate Duke
of Clarence from his horse, an action which led to the Duke being
killed by Sir Alexander Buchan. Thereafter the English became so
demoralised that they fled from the battlefield.
In recognition of the services rendered to France
by the Scots, John Carmichael became Bishop of Orleans. He is
known in French history as Jean de St Michel and in 1429 founded a Messe
écossais in his Cathedral in memory of his countrymen slain
at the Battle of Verneuil in 1424.
In the following century, Catherine, daughter of Sir John Carmichael of
Meadowflat became mistress to James V, bearing him a son who was a
half-brother to Mary, Queen of Scots.
In 1546, Peter Carmichael of Balmedie was among the four conspirators
held responsible for the killing of Cardinal Beaton in St Andrews.
Sir John Carmichael was knighted by James VI at
the Coronation of Queen Anne, became Captain of the King's Guard and
Warden of the West Marches, and was later shot during a skirmish with
Armstrong renegades in Dumfriesshire. Sir James, 1st Lord Carmichael
was raised to the peerage in 1647. His son married the daughter of the
Marquis of Douglas. In 1701, their son, a supporter of Charles
I, was created Earl of Hyndeford.
Loyalty to the Crown, however, wavered, and the 2nd Earl sided with the
Parliament forces under Oliver Cromwell. He commanded the Clydesdale
Regiment at the Battle of Marsden Moor in 1644, and the following year
defeated the Marquis of Montrose at Philiphaugh. The 3rd Earl, however,
supported the Hanoverians.
In Galloway and the South West, some Carmichaels
adopted the name of MacMichael and at the Battle of Culloden in 1746,
the Carmichaels (Macmichaels) were the largest group of fatalities
fighting for the Stewarts of Appin. The southern Carmichaels, who
fought for the Duke of Cumberland, suffered an equal number of
In 1817, the 6th Earl of Hyndeford died unmarried
and the family title and honours became dormant, the lands devolving
through the female line to Sir John Anstruther of Anstruther, Bt, his
claim deriving from his descent from a daughter of the 2nd Earl. The
property remained with the Carmichael-Anstruther family until the death
of Sir Wyndham Carmichael-Anstruther in 1980, whereupon the Chiefship
devolved on Richard Carmichael of Carmichael, who was living at the
time in New Zealand.
The 30th Chief returned to live in Scotland with
his family, and two hundred Carmichaels attended the Carmichael
Re-union in 1983. The most recent clan gathering took place at
Carmichael in 2000, and the Carmichael Clan Society is active
Places of Interest:
Carmichael Estate Visitor Centre, near Biggar, Lanarkshire. Clan
Information and Tea Room. Sixteen self-catering cottages are available
to let on the estate. The Carmichael farmlands produce traditional meat
products including venison, beef and lamb and the Carmichael Chief is a
regular stall holder at the weekly farmers' markets held throughout
Fenton Tower, East Lothian.
Patrick Whytelaw, son of Lord Ruthven, constructed the current building
around 1550, a typical fortified tower of the time. But in 1587,
ownership of the tower was forfeited to Sir John Carmichael, a reward
for his having been the Scottish Ambassador to Denmark. Fenton Tower
has now been completely restored and provides luxury to let
accommodation for up to twelve people.
Surname distribution within Scotland: The Carmichael surname is most commonly found in Glasgow, Dunbartonshire, Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, Renfrewshire, Argyll and Bute, Perth and Kinross (Perthshire and Kinross-shire) and Dumfries and Galloway (Dumfriesshire, Kirkcudbrightshire and Wigtownshire).
Clan Carmichael membership certificates.