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Clan Gayre

Clan Gayre or Clan Gair is a Highland Scottish clan.

History

Origins of the Clan

There are several theories as to the origin of the name Gayre. The first is that it is a name of Celtic origin. However it is now believed that the name hails from Cornwall in the south of England, where the de Ke Kayres were lords of many manors. The name as it arises in Orkney and Shetland may have a separate origin deriving from the Norse word 'Geirr' which means 'Spear'.

17th Century

A cadet of the line of Otys Gayre settled in Rossshire in around 1649. The MacCullochs had until this time held the lands of Nigg but these lands passed to the Gayres through marriage to Katherine MacCulloch. Alexander Gayre of Nigg and his son Thomas Gayre extended the family's holdings when in 1679 Thomas became a notary public. Thomas fourth Laird of Nigg was a notary public at Fort Rose and chancellor of the diocese of Ross. He became a prosperous merchant and councillor for Cromarty which was at this time a prominent sea port.

18th Century

The Gayres became embroiled in the eighteenth-century ecclesiastical disputes which raged throughout Scotland. In 1756 the royal candidate for the church at Nig was strongly opposed by Thomas Gayre, although the Crown candidate was eventually inducted. The Gayres became Dissenters, and William Gayre supplied land at Balchreggan to build a church. The church was seized at the end of the century by Lord Akerville when the lease came to an end, and he tore it down to build Shandwick House. The house itself fell down, which the faithful attributed to the wrath of the Lord.

20th Century

Robert Gayre of Gayre and Nigg, the father of the present chief, virtually rebuilt the clan after distinguished service in World War II. He served for a time as Minister of Education with the Allied government of occupation in Italy, and was awarded by King Umberto an augmentation to his coat of arms of the royal knots of Savoy. He established his seat at Minard Castle in Argyll and was founding editor of Mankind Quarterly and a noted expert on heraldry, having published numerous works on heraldry and related subjects.

Clan Crests & Badges

  • Crest: Issuing from a crest coronet Or, of four (three visible) strawberry leaves, a mount Vert.
  • Motto: Super astra spero (I hope beyond the stars) On Compartment Sero sed serio (Late but in earnest).
  • Plant badge: Variegated bay or noble laurel Proper berries Purpure.
  • Guidon: Barry of five Argent and Vert a cross moline Sable.
  • Pinsel: Vert, a mount Vert issuant from a crest coronet Or within a strap of leather Sable buckled and embellished Or inscribed with the Motto ‘Super astra spero’ in letters Or all within a circlet Or bearing the title ‘Gayre of Gayre and Nigg’ in letters Gules and in the fly an Escrol Or surmounting a sprig of variegated bay or noble laurel Proper, berries Purpure, bearing the Slogan ‘An Gayre’ in letters Gules
  • Standard: The Arms in the hoist, and of two tracts Argent and Vert semée of sprigs of golden or variegated bay or laurel Proper fructed Purpure, upon which is depicted a lion rampant guardant Sable supporting a spear Or pointed Argent in first compartment, the crest and a fret engrailed Gules in the second compartment, and a fleur de lis Sable charged with a mullet Or, on a wreath Or composed of four roses Gules, seeded Gold, barbed Vert, set saltireways in the 3rd compartment, along with theSlughorn ‘An Gayre’ in letters Or upon two transverse bands Gules
  • Supporters: (on a compartment embellished with variegated bay or laurel Proper, berries Purpure) Dexter, a lion rampant Sable, armed and langued Gules holding with the dexter forepaw a lance Or pointed Argent, charged on the dexter shoulder with a Knot of Savoy Or; sinister, an ermine Proper langued Gules holding with the sinister forepaw a staff Or entwined with ivy leaves Proper fructed Purpure, charged on the sinister shoulder with a Knot of Savoy Or.
  • Arms: Quarterly, 1st & 4th, Argent, a fleur de lis Sable, in the dexter chief point a mullet Vert (Gayre); 2nd & 3rd, Ermine, a fret engrailed Gules (McCulloch of Nigg.
  • Standard: The Arms in the hoist, and of two tracts Argent and Vert semée of sprigs of golden or variegated bay or laurel Proper fructed Purpure, upon which is depicted a lion rampant guardant Sable supporting a spear Or pointed Argent in first compartment, the crest and a fret engrailed Gules in the second compartment, and a fleur de lis Sable charged with a mullet Or, on a wreath Or composed of four roses Gules, seeded Gold, barbed Vert, set saltireways in the 3rd compartment, along with theSlughorn ‘An Gayre’ in letters Or upon two transverse bands Gules
  • Additional badges: (1) A cross moline Sable (granted by the Chief Herald of Ireland); (2a) on a mount Vert a castle with three turrets Proper masoned Sable, fenestrated and port and caps Gules, flagged Argent a fleur de lis Sable; (2b) a fleur de lis Sable ensigned of a coronet Or (granted by the Council and Bureau of Heraldry of South Africa)

Clan Chief

The current chief of the Clan Gayre is Reinold Gayre of Gayre and Nigg.

See also

External links

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