Clan History



Origins of the Name

The name Guthrie almost certainly derives from the barony of the same name near Forfar. Other theories are that it is a corruption of Guthrum, which was the name of a Scandinavian Prince.



Wars of Scottish Independence

The first of the name Guthrie on record in Scotland was one Squire Guthrie in 1303 during the Wars of Scottish Independence. had been sent to France to request the return of William Wallace, who had retired there having resigned the guardianship of Scotland. He was successful as William Wallace did indeed return to Scotland. However Wallace was later captured and executed by the English.

The Guthries of Guthrie received their estates by a charter from King David II of Scotland between the years 1329 and 1371.



15th Century

In 1457 Sir David Guthrie of Guthrie was Armour- Bearer to King James III of Scotland and the Sheriff of Forfar; he became Lord Treasurer of Scotland in 1461 and continued in this office until 1467 when he was appointed Comptroller of the Exchequer. In 1468 he obtained a warrant under the Great Seal to build Guthrie Castle near Friockheim in Angus, which remains standing to this day.



16th Century & Anglo-Scottish Wars

In the 16th Century during the Anglo-Scottish Wars the Clan Guthrie fought at the Battle of Flodden Field in 1513, against the English where Sir David Guthrie’s eldest son Sir Alexander was killed.

The Guthries were supporters of the young King James VI of Scotland against his own mother Mary, Queen of Scots who had been portrayed as a challenge to his authority as King. It was around this time that Alexander Guthrie was murdered following a feud with the neighboring Gardynes which continued until 1618.



17th Century & Civil War

The Guthries were religious leaders in the time of Martin Luther. They were also supporters of Presbyterianism against the Roman Catholic church and were ready to back up their beliefs with their lives.

In 1640 during the Bishop’s Wars the position of Bishop of Moray was held by a Guthrie at the fortified seat of Spynie Palace. However during the year of 1640 the palace was laid siege to by General Robert Monro (d. 1680) of the Clan Munro and Bishop Guthrie was forced to surrender.

The bishops third son Andrew followed the campaign of James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose. He met a similar fate, after being taken prisoner at the Battle of Philiphaugh he was transported to Edinburgh and beheaded by Edinburgh’s infamous ‘Maiden’ A smaller version of the French guillotine. This macabre device is still on display in Edinburgh’s Museum of Antiquities.

However James Guthrie was a minister, ordained minister of Lauder in 1638 and unlike other Guthries he supported the Covenanters. When he moved to Stirling in 1649 he preached openly against the king’s religious views. The Church of Scotland stripped him of his office but he carried on unperturbed until his arrest in 1661, after a swift trial he was executed later that year.



James “the Martyr”Guthrie

James “the Martyr” Guthrie was a Guthrie who was executed for his beliefs in Edinburgh in 1661. He was described by Oliver Cromwell as “The little man who refused to kneel”.



The Chief in the 19th Century

Lieutenant Colonel Ivan Guthrie of Guthrie was the last chief of Clan Guthrie to live at Guthrie Castle. Born in 1886 he became a distinguished soldier, commanding the 4th Battalion the Black Watch and was awarded the Military Cross.



Clan Chief

The current chief of Clan Guthrie is Alexander Guthrie of Guthrie 21st of that Ilk who lives between Italy and England. Following the sale of Guthrie Castle out of the family, the clan seat is know generally seen as being Torosay Castle on the Isle of Mull.



Branches of Clan Guthrie

Although the Guthries of Guthrie were the main line of the family many off-shoots existed, some of them mentioned in an old rhyme: “Guthrie o’ Guthrie And Guthrie o’ Gaigie Guthrie o’ Taybank An’ Guthrie o’ Craigie” An old tale without substance gives an alternative derivation for the name. One of the early Scottish Kings had taken shelter, along with two attendants, in a fisherman’s hut. The King, knowing his attendants would be hungry, asked the fisherman to prepare two fish for them, but the fisherman offered to feed the king as well and “gut three”; and so, the legend insists, the name stuck.

Category posts

Search the Information Centre.

Need help? See our Search Tips