Clan Galbraith History

Culcreuch Castle, Stirlingshire. Culcreuch is the historic seat of the Galbraiths. The castle was initially built by Maurice Galbraith around 1296.

Culcreuch Castle, Stirlingshire. Culcreuch is the historic seat of the Galbraiths. The castle was initially built by Maurice Galbraith around 1296.

In the first centuries of Christian Scotland, the southern half of the country was separated into three individual kingdoms: Strathclyde (in which Glasgow now lies), Rheged, and Gododdin (in which Edinburgh now lies). The invasions by the Northumbrian English throughout the Dark Ages destroyed all social structure, including the Welsh language, which had been the tongue of that time.

The capital of Strathclyde had been Dumbarton, and its prodigious jutting rock became known as the Fortress of the Britons. A few miles north in Loch Lomond, one of its islands became known as the Island of the British Foreigner. In the spreading Gaelic, this translates into Inchgalbraith.

In 1124, Scotland became a single kingdom down to the border with England. By the end of the 12th century emerged the Galbraith’s first chief, Gilchrist Bretnach. Among the Scots hierarchy he stood equal to royal Lennox. He married the grand-daughter of the new order’s 1st Earl of Lennox, and had a son Gillespic.

The family home was upon Inchgalbraith.

The 5th Chief of Galbraith was Sir Arthur, who was a supporter of Robert the Bruce and profited in Bruce’s success.

The Galbraiths had ties with the House of Lennox that meant their own destiny was influenced whenever the Lennox was. When James I returned from English imprisonment to lay his wrath upon the unsupportive families of Scotland, Albany and Lennox were high on his list. The Galbraith Chief at that time was James of Gilcreuch, who assisted in the sacking of Dumbarton, before shepherding six hundred Galbraiths and their families to Gigha and Kintyre to avoid the King.

The Galbraiths supported the Lennox at every turn until the 16th century and the 16th Chief. The 17th Chief, Robert, brought disgrace to himself and his family by abusing his powers in his pursuit of a personal antipathy. Despite Galbraith’s objections, the Chief of the Clan MacAulay was the new husband of his widowed mother. Galbraith’s behaviour towards his step-father led to him eventually being denounced as a rebel. He fled to Ireland to avoid arrest in 1622, dying there ten years later. He left nothing for his son to inherit, and James, his grandson, the 19th Chief of Galbraith, was the last of his line.

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