Origins of the Clan

As well as being a surname Cathcart is a Scottish town just south of Glasgow. There is some speculation as to the origin of the name Cathcart. Some believe it is ancient Celtic meaning, “Fort on the River Cart”, as that river flows right past the ancient castle. Others believe it means, “The straight or confined part of the Cart River”. Be that as it may, the name is ancient, but originally spelled Kerkert or Kethkert, probably because of pronunciation. The Peerage refers to the Clan Cathcart. The first known mention of the Kethcarts, is a man named Rainaldus de Kethcart, who witnessed a charter by Walter Fitzalan to the Church of Kethcart for the monastery of Paisley in 1178.



Wars of Scottish Independence



Clan Cathcart land, south of Glasgow.

Notable Cathcarts include Sir Alan Cathcart, who was a companion of King Robert I when he mounted the Scottish throne in 1307, and was engaged on his side at the Battle of Loudoun Hill that same year, when the Scots defeated the English. The Peerage quotes an old poem about the bravery of Sir Alan who accompanied King Robert the Bruce and his good humour.

The following year, he was made one of Edward Bruce’s party of 50 horsemen who attacked and dispersed 1,500 cavalry under John de St. John in Galloway. The peerage quotes on old poem about Sir Alan’s bravery and good humor. Another notable was the first Lord Cathcart, dignified with the honour in 1447 by King James II of Scotland.



16th century and Anglo-Scottish Wars

During the Anglo-Scottish Wars Alan Cathcart the son of the second Lord Cathcart was killed with his two half brothers Robert and John when the Clan Cathcart fought against the English at the Battle of Flodden Field in 1513. The third Lord Cathcart led the clan at against the English at the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh where he was killed in 1547.

Alan Cathcart the fourth Lord Cathcart led the clan at the Battle of Langside in 1568 on the side of the James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray against the army of Mary Queen of Scots.

During the 16th Century Killochan Castle was built by John Cathcart in 1586.



18th century & Jacobite uprisings

The eighth Lord Cathcart, Charles Cathcart had a distinguished military career rising to the rank of colonel. When the first Jacobite Uprising broke out in 1715 he commanded troops in support of the British government at the Battle of Sheriffmuir.

When the second Jacobite Uprising broke out in 1745 the Charles Cathcart, 9th Lord Cathcart commanded troops in support of the British government at the Battle of Culloden in 1746 where he was shot in the face and wounded. He commaanded the Royal Scots 1st Regiment of Foot which today is called The Royal Scots.



Napoleonic Wars

William Cathcart, the tenth Lord Cathcart accompanied his father to Russia. When he returned to Scotland he took up legal studies and was called to the Bar in 1776. When he succeeded his fathers title he gave up legal studies and returned to the army. He rose to the rank of lieutenant general and was commander in chief of the forces in Ireland. He was also created a Knight of the Thistle.

During the Napoleonic Wars in 1807 as Napoleon’s troops were about to take control of Denmark, Lord Cathcart with Admrial Gambier successfully besieged Copenhagen and captured the Danish fleet of over 60 vessels together with naval stores and munitions. He was rewarded with the titles Viscount Cathcart and Baron of Greenock. In june 1814 he was made Earl Cathcart.

The second Earl Cathcart also had a distinguished military career and served throughout the Peninsular War, fighting at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. He was also the commander of the British Army in Scotland and governor of Edinburgh Castle from 1837 to 1842.




Cathcart Castle was the seat of the Earl Cathcart, chief of Clan Cathcart.

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