Blair Crest: A stag lodged, proper.
Blair Clan Motto: Amo Probos (I Love the Virtuous)
Blair Clan History: The Blair surname comes from the Gaelic word, "Blar" meaning field or plain. Blair as a place name element is found in over two hundred instances throughout Scotland, Blairduff and Blairmore in Aberdeenshire, being two examples.
Blair as a surname in Scotland is first recorded in the early 1200's. There were two principal Blair families in Scotland, Blair of Blair from Ayrshire, and Blair of Balthayock from Perthshire. There is no evidence to suggest that the two families shared a common ancestor.
Alexander de Blare is mentioned as witnessing an agreement between the burgh of Irvine and Brice de Eglunstone in 1205. Alexander was probably of the Barony of Blair in Ayrshire, granted by King William "the Lion" in the 12th century.
Stephen de Blare held lands within the parish of Blair, Gowrie (now Blairgowrie). He witnessed a charter on the lands of Balgillo, Angus, by Dovenald the Abbot of Brechin to the monastery at Arbroath between 1204 and 1211.
William de Blare, was knighted by Alexander II, and was made Steward of Fife in 1235.
Sir Bryce de Blare was knighted by Alexander III but supported William Wallace and was executed by the English at Ayr in 1296. Bryce's nephew, Roger de Blare was knighted by Robert the Bruce after the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.
Places of Interest: Ardblair Castle, Blairgowrie, Perthshire. Tower house held by the Blairs of Balthayock from 1399 until the late 1700's. Balthayock Castle, nr. Perth. Standing in a commanding position on a steep ravine, Balthayock was the seat of the Blair of Balthayock family for over 500 years. The original castle on the site dated from the 13th century with a modern portion added in the 1500's. The walls of this massive tower house are over 10 feet thick. The Blair of Balthayock male line ended in the early 1700's when John Blair of Balthayock died, leaving a daughter as sole heir of his estate. Blair Castle, Dalry, Ayrshire. Seat of the Blair's of that Ilk for 800 years and one of the oldest continuously inhabited baronial mansions in Scotland. In the early 13th century a Norman keep, moat and drawbridge were built. Above the drawbridge, carved on a stone arch, was the stag of the Blair crest. The vaulted ceiling, thick walled tower, guard room, and large fireplace from the original castle remain to this day. The last Blair to inhabit Blair House died in 1978. Blairquhan, Straiton, near Maybole, Ayrshire. Large country mansion house set in extensive grounds which replaced a 14th century tower house. Home to the Hunter-Blair family from the late 1700's until 2012. Borgue Old House, Borgue, nr. Kirkcudbright, Dumfriesshire. Property of the Blairs in the 18th century. Home to the eccentric Laird of Borgue, Hugh Blair, who had all the characteristics of what we now call autism. Hugh married in 1746 and was due to inherit the family estates, but his avaricious younger brother, John Blair, with help from the local clergy, declared Hugh a 'mere natural fool', successfully petitioning the court of session in Edinburgh, having the marriage annulled and laying claim to his brother’s inheritance. Carberry Tower, nr. Musselburgh, East Lothian. 16th century tower house with 19th century mansion extension. Held briefly by the Blairs in the mid-1600's. Cathcart Castle, Rutherglen, Lanarkshire. Ruined 15th century tower on a rocky outcrop overlooking the White Cart Water. Held by the Blairs of that Ilk in the late 1600's. Cowden Hall, nr. Neilston, Renfrewshire. Ruinous mansion house which incorporates a 14th century stronghold. Owned by the Blairs in the early 1600's. Dunimarle Castle, Culross, Fife. Ruined remains of a 16th century castle which was a property of the Blairs for several centuries. Replaced by an 18th century castle which sits nearby. Glasclune Castle, nr. Blairgowrie, Perthshire. Ruined hillside castle dating from the 16th century. Owned by the Blairs from the early 1600's until the mid-1700's. Nether Auchendrane, or Blairstoun, nr. Ayr, Ayrshire. 19th century mansion house which incorporates a 17th century castle Ayrshire. Property of the Blairs in the 17th century. Rossie Ochil House, Forgandenny, Perthshire. 17th century mansion house which incorporates an earlier castle. Property of the Blairs until the late 1500's. Rusco Castle, or Rusko Castle, Gatehouse of Fleet, Castle Douglas, Kirkcudbrightshire. 15th century tower house owned by the Blair-McGuffogs in the late 1600's.
Surname distribution: The Blair surname is most commonly found in Perth and Kinross (Perthshire and Kinross-shire), Stirlingshire, Falkirk, Clackmannanshire, Ayrshire, Renfrewshire, and Argyll and Bute.