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Clan Graham Association

Clan Graham

According to tradition the origins of the Clan Graham are that they are descended from "Graeme", a great Caledonian chief, who broke the Roman Antonine Wall, which forged the divide between Roman Britannia and the unconquered highlands, as he drove the Roman legions from his lands. He is said to have won it the name "Graham's Dyke during the time of Fergus II. This, unfortunately, might never be proven, although Roman texts vaguely reference a Graeme in similar context.

Theories attempt to explain the ancient roots of the clan with the postulation that similar names from the Celtic "Greumach" (grim) or the Saxon "Gram" (fierce) were absorbed into a larger entity to form a united clan. Scottish legend also suggests that the daughter of a Gryme married a King of the Scots, Fergus II, and that the family consequently holds exceptionally old royal ancestry beyond that later gained. The Celts and Saxons disappeared or were swallowed up by the descendants of "Lez Grames" of Norman origin. Another theory is that that the original Grahams in Scotland were Picts, established long before the Saxons or Normans came to Scotland, making Graham one of the most ancient families in all of Britain.



Graham of the Clan Graham

Sir John de Graham, hero of the Wars of Independence, rescued William Wallace at Queensberry, becoming one of Wallace's few close friends and perhaps his most trusted adviser. William Wallace was at his side when Graham was killed in 1298 at the battle of Falkirk, where his name is still perpetuated in the district of Grahamston. The grave of this hero in Falkirk churchyard is still to be seen, with table stones of three successive periods above it. One great two-handed sword of Sir John the Graham is preserved at Buchanan Castle by the Duke of Montrose; another was long in possession of the Grahams of Orchil, and is now treasured by the Free Mason Lodge at Auchterarder.

In John Stewart's book, The Grahams, he states that "Most Scottish Clans would be proud to have one great hero. The Grahams have three." He refers to Sir John, James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose and John Graham, 1st Viscount of Dundee. Stewart also wrote,

It is remarkable that the early Grahams were one and all exceedingly capable men. In an age when the reputation of many great public figures, alas, that of most of the Scottish nobility, were sullied by deeds of violence, and often deeds of blackest treachery, it is refreshing to find that the Grahams stand out as loyal and true to the causes they espoused. Their story is not one of rapid rise to power through royal favor, or even at the expense of their peers, but rather a gradual steady rise based on their undoubted ability and worthiness which seems to have endured from one generation to another.


Clan Graham

Though the theories differ as to how the clan was established in Scotland, solid information has established a Norman descent of the original Grahams. These Normans were originally of the Vikings who landed on Scottish soil in ancient times and thus a Graham lineage goes back into Scandinavia.

From the records available, the first Graham known in Scotland was Sir William de Graham (or De Graeme), a knight who accompanied David I, England's premier baron, on his journey north to claim the Scottish crown in 1128. William De Graeme personally witnessed the signing of the charter founding the Abbey of Holyrood in the same year 1128. From this line descended the Montrose line of Grahams, one of the most distinguished families of Scotland and perhaps all of Britain. This knight might have originated from a place listed as "Graeg Ham" in the Domesday Book of William the Conqueror in 11th century in England - now the town of Grantham.