Craig Crest: A chevalier on horseback, holding a
broken lance, in bend, all proper.
Craig Clan Motto: Vive Deo et vives. (Live for God
and you will have life).
Craig Clan History:
The surname, which is also spelled Craigh, Creagh
and Creag, means a steep rock or cliff, and was in widespread use
across Scotland. A family of Craig associated with Clan Gordon, was
installed at Craigfintray in Aberdeenshire, and several of the name
rendered homage to Edward I in 1296. However, by the 15th
century there were three families styling themselves Craig of that Ilk.
The Craigs of Riccarton gained prominence during
the 16th century when Sir Thomas Craig (1538-1608) wrote Jus
Feudale, a treatise on Scottish Land Law, and De
Unione Regnorum Britanniae. It is on record that he
attended the Coronation of James VI when he became James I of England
in 1603. The Riccarton estate passed through Sir Thomas's
daughter to a member of the Gibson family who adopted the surname. Sir
William Gibson Craig ( 1797-1878) became Member of Parliament for
Midlothian, then for Edinburgh, and was created a Baronet.
A number of Craigs followed Sir James Craig of
Craigston in Aberdeenshire to Ulster in 1610. His descendants made a
fortune in whiskey and, in the first quarter of the 20th century,
organised the Ulster Volunteer Force in the struggle against Home Rule
in Ireland. James Craig was the first Prime Minister of Northern
Ireland and on being elevated to the British peerage took the title
Viscount Craigavon. He died in 1940.
John Craig (1512-1600) was a Dominican Friar who
was accused of heresy. An admirer of John Calvin and a friend of the
Reformer John Knox, he became Minister of Canongate Kirk in
Edinburgh. His son, also John Craig, was physician to both
James VI and Charles I. James Craig (c.1740-1795) submitted the winning
plan for the New Town of Edinburgh at the age of twenty seven.
Places of Interest: Craigston is a hamlet north of Culter, in
Aberdeenshire. Riccarton, today an area of Edinburgh's Green Belt,
accommodates the Heriot Watt University.
Surname distribution in Scotland: The Craig surname is most commonly found in Aberdeenshire (includes all of the historic counties of Aberdeenshire, Kincardineshire and parts of Banffshire), Moray (also includes parts of Banffshire), Angus (Forfarshire), Renfrewshire, Ayrshire, Stirlingshire, Clackmannanshire, Falkirk and Argyll and Bute (includes most of the county of Argyll, the Isle of Bute and part of Dunbartonshire).
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