History of the Graham name


Although Graham is generally regarded as Scottish the general opinion is that our Grahams were Irish.Apparently the Irish Grahams are descended from the Scottish Grahams, they were the ones that were kicked out of Scotland for being trouble makers!The Stockport connection was unknown before I started the family history research, we are unlikely to answer this Irish question until I find out more about Thomas Graham.



The following information is taken from www.northeastengland.talktalk.net 26 Sept 2007

GRAHAM a Border Reiver name

The Grahams were a Border family found in both England and Scotland, but were associated primarily with the region between Cumberland and Dumfrieshire. During the border raids of Tudor times, the Grahams were one of the most troublesome families hereabouts. Grahams were noted for their regular forays into Northumberland, where their arch enemies were the Robsons of North Tynedale. In 1552 the border Grahams were said to number five hundred and occupied thirteen fortified towers. It is claimed that the Grahams were descended from a man called Graeme, who in Roman times helped to breach the Antonine Wall, a great wall between the Rivers Clyde and Forth, but this has not been proved. It is more likely that the Grahams were of Norman French origin and settled in the south of England at Grantham in Lincolnshire from which they took their name. The name De Grantham was corrupted to De Graham and later shortened to Graham. The Grahams moved to Scotland in the twelfth century, where a William De Graham is recorded in 1127. Grahams were accepted as Scottish following a marriage into the native Scottish family of Strathearn and they made Auchterader their seat. Following the Union of England and Scotland in the seventeenth century many troublesome border country Grahams were transported to Ireland and were forbidden to return. There they were joined by hundreds of other transported border tribesman including Eliots, Kerrs and Armstrongs.

The Border Reivers



Border history may well have been dominated by the political struggle between England and Scotland, but it would be wrong to assume that the story of the Borders was always a saga of Englishman against Scot and vice versa. In Elizabethan times the Anglo-Scottish Border counties, including Northumberland, were the home to the notorious Border Reivers, the lawless clans of the border valleys, where a lifestyle of raiding and marauding was the only way to survive. The life of the Border Reiver was not necessarily ruled by his allegiance to the English or Scottish Crowns, but more likely by his allegiance to a family surname.

Feuds were often fought and raids were made, not in the name of England or Scotland, but in the names of Armstrong, Robson, Charlton, Elliott or Dodd, or in the names of other Border surnames, that are still common in the region today. Indeed it was a common occurance for English families to side with Scottish families in border feuds, especially as some of the reiver surnames, like Armstrong, Hall and Graham were to be found on both sides of the border.

There is a well known tradition that the Robsons of North Tynedale once made a foray into the Scottish valley of Liddesdale and stole a large flock of sheep belonging to the Graham family, which they brought back into Northumberland. Later it was discovered that the Graham sheep were infected with scab, which spread like wild fire through the Robson's flock. The Robsons were so angry that they returned to Liddesdale in another raid, where they caught seven members of the Graham family and hung them until they were dead. They left a note to the effect that;

The neist time gentlemen cam to tak their schepe They are no te' be scabbit!

Such tales as this were typical of the border country many centuries ago, though it is not always easy to separate the fact from the fiction, since these stories were often constructed by people who may not have even visited the borderlands.


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