Hunters of Forfarshire 1528 to 1928

a painting of G.G.G. Hunter

10 Dec., 2017

George Graham Guthrie Hunter was born 24 October 1889, he was the second son of William George Hunter, 11th and last Laird of Burnside.
His father sold Burnside Estate in 1883 and moved with his wife to England, they settled in Warwickshire and got busy making a family.
Graham, as he was known, was the seventh of eleven children and the second son. Growing up he was apprenticed in accountancy and when qualified he emigrated to Canada.
He later moved down to the U.S.A. and ended up living in New York.
An astute businessman he prospered in the textile and carpet manufacturing business.
He married to Sybil Vida Gunn and in 1923 their first-born arrived. Named David Douglas Hunter, a fine Burnside type name, followed the next year by Carol Joan Greta Hunter.
Though a wealthy self made man, he still found time to explore his family history, which he found endlessly fascinating. Graham accumulated quite a library of Scottish books and an extensive display of arms, armour and artifacts which were housed in his New York home, he had also "inherited" quite a lot of the old Burnside papers.
Then came the 1939-45 war, Graham, too old now for call up and his son was too young, but as the "be over by christmas" turned into years, his only son did see service towards the end.

He was killed in action in Germany 7 February 1945.
In 1946 Graham started The Graham Hunter Foundation, a charitable venture in memory of his son. The aim of the Foundation was to perpetuate an interest in Scotland and things Scottish, to encourage "hands across the seas" between the United States and Scotland.
It is still in operation today, in a limited way through the Sienna Medical College in America, where they sponsor the exchange annually of four medical students between the two countries.
Graham had many trips to Scotland through the years. In the sixties he bought back a piece of old Hunter land at Restenneth Priory and in 1972 he built The Hunter Library there, to house his Scottish collection, which included over 1200 documents, for the benefit of all interested.
He also built a house beside the Hunter Library to house his nephew Bruce and his wife Jeudi as custodians, to look after and promote further research. Bruce established, The Hunter Charitable Trust (a British Charity), at Restenneth to help fund this task.
On the 17th July 1972 Graham died and was buried at Setauket, Long Island, beside his wife Sybil and his son.
In more recent times Bruce and Jeudi were both to suffer from chronic health conditions and the Library was getting to much for them. In 2005 Angus Council leased part of the library adding stuff and staffing it. It is now known as Angus Archives who have it on a long term lease. The Graham Hunter part has been air-brushed out of the picture and most of his collection is moved out to create space.
I was fortunate enough to meet Bruce and Juedi a couple of times but missed out on Graham.
Juedi passed away in April 2016.
I have permission from The Graham Hunter Foundation to show this book.


THIS BOOK has been compiled by the author from public documents and records and also from many family papers in his possession for the purpose of recording some research work of the family of Hunter (particularly of the Hunters of Forfarshire), and is intended solely for private circulation. It does not purpose to be a final work, but a preliminary treatise to be revised and enlarged at a later date. The submission of any corrective or additional information will be appreciated.


East Setauket,
Long Island,
New York.
This book was printed nearly 100 years ago, before jet planes, computers and genealogy websites. I have copied it as it was written, the brown pages and the table pictures are from information available in 1928. The other tables and pages are added to, updated and checked (as far as I can in a reasonable time-span) there will be errors / inaccuracies still to correct, however the bulk should hold true.


The progenitor of the name of Hunter, known either in Scotland or England, was Norman Venator or Norman the "hunter," who came over to England in 1066 with William the Conqueror. Norman was the King's huntsman. When Prince David, son of Malcolm Canmore (afterwards David I of Scotland) returned to Scotland as Prince of Cumberland with his English wife Maud, a grandniece of the Conqueror, he brought with him Norman Venator, who was said to be the ancestor of all the Hunters. He settled in the Barony of Arnele, and the property afterwards called Hunterston, in Ayrshire on the west coast of Scotland.
The Hunters of Hunterston have remained in possession of that property from that time until the present day.
The Hunters of Polmood (County Peebles) and the Hunters of Hunterston (County Ayrshire) disputed for centuries the right of precedence, but the Hunters of Hunterston were always styled "of that ilk." Both families were said to be descended from the common ancestor — Norman Venator. Mr. Marshall, maternal ancestor of one of the proprietors of Burnside, refers to a curious charter by King Malcolm as follows:
"I, Malcolm King, the first of my reign (A.D. 1153 ) give to thee Normand Hunter of Polmood the "Hope" up and down above the earth to heaven, below the earth to hell,
As free to thee and thine
As ever God gave it to me and mine
And that for a bow and a broad arrow
When I come to hunt in Yarrow;
And for the maith suith,
I byte the white wax with my teeth.*
"Before these witnesses three
May, Maud and Marjorie (?)."
*It was the royal "cross" His Majesty's usual mode of attesting documents, (according to the Durham Chronicle he could neither read nor write).
picture showing the genealogy of the Hunters of Polmoodpicture showing the genealogy of the Hunters of Hunterston part twopicture showing the genealogy of the Hunters of Hunterston part one


When the Hunters first settled in Forfarshire, I have been unable to determine. Paterson in writing on Ayrshire states that Robert Hunter 15th Laird of Hunterston, Co. Ayrshire, sold in 1535 the lands of Inshok, Banblane, Muirhouse, Langholls and Housefield of Brown-sands in Forfarshire to Wood of Bonnyton.
These lands were situated near Arbroath and it is said that the ancient records of Arbroath contain many references to this family. The old title deeds of these properties if still in existence may show how long they were held by Hunters prior to 1535.
Warden writing on Forfarshire states (Vol. v. page 132) that on 17th October, 1661, John Wood of Bonnyton, heir of Patrick Wood of Bonnyton, his father, was retoured (No. 379) in the lands of Letham, Newbigging, Kirkton Mill, Bonnyton, Annanie, Kimblethmont, Gilchorn, Huntestoun (?Anniston) Lauton, Balmailtistoun, Banblaine, Inchock, Annatstoune and Myrsyd, and on page 137 that the name of Muirhouse was changed to Parkhill and New Grange to Letham Grange.
He states Vol. III, page 433, that Anniston was formerly called Little Inchock and Myreside was anciently called Anniston.
On 3rd March, 1621, Alexander, Second Lord Spynie was served heir (Retour No. 130) in Ballisak (Boysack), lands of Broadfoot-Gardyne, Muirhouse in the Barony of Redcastle, Coughilles or Inverkeilour town and lands of Burnside, Kimblachmont and lands of Hospital of St. Germans.
Page 438 on 2nd November, 1615, James Tweedie, heir of his father, James Tweedie of Drummalzear was retoured (No. 89) in half the lands of Braidfuttis-Gairdin or Western Gairdin, Templehill, Newton, Lonehead and Downhead, Douglasmuir, Little Gairdin or Easter and Wester Bardour with the Chapel of Quheitfield, lands of Burnside and Muirhouse.
The lands of Burnside and Muirhouse have for a long time been included in the estate of Boysack and the old title deeds may yet be in the hands of the Lindsay-Carnegies of Boysack and Kimblethmont dating back prior to 1535.
James Tweedie above mentioned was evidently a descendant of John Tweedie of Drummelzier, Co. Peebles, whose daughter Helen was married 26th Nov., 1525, to Walter Hunter of Polmood, Co. Peebles (see Burke).
The Hunters of Polmood were also said to be descended from the same ancestor as the Hunters of Hunterston (Ayr).
Early Hunters in Angus, more


A record in the Lyon register probably made about 1672, states that David Hunter of Restenneth, Co. Forfar, was descended from the Hunters of Hunterston. The first mention of the Hunters of Restenneth has been found in Douglas' Baronage of Scotland, page 256, where reference is made to the marriage of Isabel Hunter, daughter of James Hunter of Restenneth, in the end of the reign of Queen Mary to David Adam of Fanno (probably about 1585).
St. Andrew Commisariot Testaments under date of 18th Feb., 1597, contain the will of James Hunter, burgess of Forfar, who died Jan. 5, 1592, and records that his children were Katherin, Issobel. and James. From which it would appear that James Hunter, Burgess of Forfar, who died January 5, 1592, was the James Hunter of Restenneth referred to by Sir Robert Douglas. William Hunter, son and heir of James Hunter, Burgess of Forfar, was a witness to the will of David Hunter (sometime Provost of Forfar) who died 26th July, 1615.
On 29th March, 1650, Thomas Hunter of Restenneth, son of Thomas Hunter of Reswallie in the Parish of Rescobie, was retoured (No. 611) in the crofts or acres of arable land at east end of the burgh of Forfar, lands of Muirtown, the ileark and lands called Cloksbrigs with mill and mill lands in the barony of Restenneth, rectory and other tends of these lands.
On 2nd May, 1663, David Hunter of Restenneth, son of Thomas Hunter of Restenneth, was retoured (No.399) in the dominical lands or Mains of Restenneth in the Parish of Forfar.
On 12th January, 1693, William Hunter of Restenneth, son of David Hunter of Restenneth, was retoured (No. 523) in the dominical lands of Restenneth, the teinds with Marsh, lake and pertinents, also mansion, etc., and valuations as in retour No. 399.
From which the following genealogical tree has been prepared, the position of Thomas Hunter of Reswallie, however, is only conjecture.
James Hunter (Provost of Forfar), b 1470, m 1500, d 1535.
        {1}  Hunter, b 1505, m 1532, d 1568
              {a}James Hunter of Restenneth (Burgess of Forfar) b c 1536, m c 1558, d Jan 5th 1592
                     1 Katherine Hunter
                     2 Issobel Hunter, m Robert Adam of Fanno c 1585
                          a son
                          b dau
                          c dau
                          d David Adam of Fanno, m his cousin Jean Hunter
                               (1) Archibald Adam of Fanno
                          e dau
                     3 James Hunter (Burgess of Forfar)
                            (a) William Hunter
                            (b) Thomas Hunter of Restwallie, b c 1587 m c 1609, d before 29th March 1650
                                    [1] Thomas Hunter of Restenneth, b c 1610 m c 1632, m 2 1649 Marrita Hekler of Balunsho, 
                                                                                                     d before 2nd May 1663
                                           [a] David Hunter of Restenneth, b c 1650 m c 1670 Catherine Auchenleck, 
                                                                                                     d Sept 1680 (see will)
                                                   (1) William Hunter of Restenneth b c 1670 m 3/12/1693sp Katherine Vilant, 
                                                                                                     d. before 1731 
                                                              [a] ?
                                                              [b] Andrew of London (b abt 1672?)see legal)
                                                              [c] Margaret
                                                              [d] Jean, m David Gray of Dundee
                                                              [e] Elizabeth
                                                              [f] Katherine
                                                              [g] John mariner in Dundee, d 1731 (see will) #4?  
                                           [b] Marjorie
                            (c) Jean Hunter, m David Adam of Fanno 

Copies and Extracts of Some Ancient Wills

Hunters of Restenneth

James Hunter of Restenneth Died Jan., 5th, 1592

Vol. 3 — The Testament Dative and Inventary of the goods, &c., of umquhile James Huntar, burgess of Forfar, who deceased 5th January, 1592. Given up by George Suitie, burgess of Forfar neir Kynisman and freind to Katherin, Issobell and James Hunter his lawfull bairness and executors dative decerned to the said defunct.
Inventary consisting of:
barley, 2 cows, 1 calf, 1 horse, and Household utensils amounting to — £60-6-8.
No debts owing to the defunct.
Debts owing by the defunct to David Mwfatt, servant — £3-
Free geir — £57-6-8
To be divided in three parts ilk pairt is £19.2,2
George Lumsdaine merchant citiner of St. Andrews is cautioner. Confirmed 18th February, 1597.

David Hunter of Restenneth Died Sept., 1680

St. Andrews Testaments; Vol. 14
1685, Aug. 28. Testament testamentar of David Hunter of Restenneth in the parish thereof and shire of Forfar, who died in September, 1680, given up by Catherine Auchenleck, his widow and executrix.
The estate is valued at £965:6:8, farm stock and plenishing.
There was due to him £42 by William Douglas of Glenbervie and John Auchinleck in Brechin.
He was due £121:16:0 including sums to the Earl of Strathmore for rent; £89:16/- to Marjory Hunter, his sister, and to a number of persons in Forfar.
In his Testament which is dated at Restenneth 4 Sept., 1680, he appoints his said spouse, his only executrix and after payment of his debts he leaves the rest to William Hunter, his son, nominating Patrick Carncorse of Belmashonar, Mr. Alexander Petcairn, minister at Dron, and James Ure, writer in Forfar, tutors to him and Margaret and Anna Hunter, also his children.
Confirmed, William Guthrie, brother german to the deceased Thomas Guthrie, sometime provost of Forfar, cautioner.

John Hunter of Dundee Died 1731

Brechin Testaments, Vol. 10
1731, Nov. 17 — Testament dative of John Hunter, mariner in Dundee, lawful son procreated between the deceased William Hunter of Restenneth and the also deceased Katherine Vilant, his spouse, who died in ... given up by Andrew Hunter, mariner in London, Margaret, Jean, Elizabeth and Katherine Hunter, brother and sisters german to the defunct, and David Gray, mariner in Dundee, husband of the said Jean, for his interest.
His estate consisted of the sum of £285:13:4 as his one-seventh part of 3000 merkes left in legacy by the deceased Andrew Hunter of Dod to the said Katherine Vilant in liferent and the said children in fee by his testament dated 28 May, 1712, wherein David Hunter, merchant in Dundee, is appointed executor, and confirmed at St. Andrews 30 Dec., 1713. The present cautioner is Robert Machan, maltman in Dundee.