Scottish family name
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- Crest/Badge A falcon looking to the sinister Proper
- Gaelic Name: Baile Raghnaill
- Motto: Fide Et Marte (With fidelity and bravery)
- Origin of Tartan:
- Name Variations: Ralston, Ralstoun, Rowlston, Rowlestone,
- Clan Chief: None, armigerous clan
Origins of the name
From the "Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia" by George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire
There are two likely explanations of this name, both of which are derived from personal names relating to wolf-like qualities. The northern origin is probably a diminutive of "hroth wolfr", meaning "wolf of fame". The southern derivation stems from the personal name Ralp, which is itself a diminute of Randolph, from the old English "raewlf", or "cunning wolf".
Ralston in Paisley Parish
The land called Ralston in Paisley parish, formerly in the Scottish barony of Renfrew, afterwards in Renfrewshire, gave rise to the surname of the family of Ralston of that Ilk. The place-name Ralston means 'Ralph's tun or manor' [G. W. S. Barrow, The Kingdom of the Scots (Edward Arnold, 1973), page 341]. It has been suggested that the eponymous Ralph was a son of the Earl of Fife http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralston,_Renfrewshire but this does not seem very likely. G. W. S. Barrow provides a more plausible explanation. In his survey of the 'Earliest Stewarts and their Lands' he identifies two possibilities.The first of these is Ralph the chaplain, who held one ploughgate of land in adjacent Hillington of the first and second hereditary stewards of Scotland, and the second is Ralph of Kent, one of the first steward's knights, and the probable predecessor of Adam of Kent, who held nearby Ingleston in the time of the third hereditary steward [G. W. S. Barrow, The Kingdom of the Scots (Edward Arnold, 1973), page 341].
When the Poll Tax return for Paisley parish in Renfrewshire was delivered on 28 October 1695 [W. M. Metcalfe, DD., FSA (Scot)., A History of Paisley, 600-1908 (Alexander Gardner, Paisley, 1909), pages 471-529] the land of Ralston (Otherwise Ralstoune) was comprised of the following farms:
- Little Mealing
- Honeybog (Otherwise Hinniboge
- Pennilee (Otherwise Peddenlie)
- Old Hall
The lands remained in the Ralston family until 1704 when they were sold by Gavin Ralston to John Campbell Cochrane, 4th Earl of Dundonald, who granted them on his daughter, Lady Anne Cochrane, when she married James Hamilton, 5th Duke of Hamilton. Their son sold Ralston in 1755 to William MacDowal of Castle Semple, an eminent Glasgow merchant and one of the founders of the Ship Bank there. His son, William of Garthland and Castle Semple, sold Ralston to William Orr in 1800, the son of a Paisley manufacturer who made his fortune in the manufacture of linens in Ireland with his brother. William Orr had three years earlier bought part of the lands of Ingliston, where he built a manor house. He merged all of them into one, which he called Ralston, and his manor house became the Mansion of Ralston. In 1840, James Richardson, a Glasgow merchant, bought lands. His son, Thomas Richardson, enlarged the mansion and increased the size of the estate.
The Ralston estates were eventually divieded and sold as farmland in the late 19th century. The ruins of Ralston Mansion were demolished in the 1930s, but part of the original stonework forms an annex to the club house at Ralston Golf Club. The East and West Lodges on the Glasgow Road were the original gate houses to the estates.
Early records of the name
- Nicholas de Ralston witnessed a charter to the monks of Paisley in 1272. He was recorded as being witness to a donation of Fulton to the monks of Paisley by Sir Anthony Lombard in 1272. By being witness, Nicholas was, incidentally, the first of the name Ralston recorded.
- Hew Ralston appears in the Ragman Roll of 1296, rendering homage to Edward I of England. (Another source suggests that is was In 1296, Thomas de Raulfestone of Lanarkshire who rendered homage to England's Edward I, along with many other Scottish nobles, by signing the Ragman Roll in Berwick.
- It is said that a younger son of one of the Earls of Fife, Ralph, was given a grant for the lands of Ralston from the High Steward of Scotland, however, these claims have been refuted by some, stating that the arms did not bear a lion rampant, the arms of the old Earls of Fife, but instead three acorns on a bend, suggesting that this person was of the same stock as those with the surname Muirhead.
- The election of the abbot of Paisley in 1346 was witnessed by Jacobus de Raulyston, dominus ejusdem, and, in a dispute over the burgh of Renfrew and the abbot of Paisley, in 1488, John Raleston, or Raliston, of that Ilk was one of the arbiters.
- John de Ralston, Bishop of Dunkeld, was appointed Lord High Treasure of Scotlan in 1449. He was ambassador to England in that year and again in 1452.
- John Ralston of that ilk sat as arbiter in a dispute between Paisley Abbey and the burgh of Renfrow.
- In 1504, a clerk to the bishop of Caithness was Robert Ralston, and, it was recorded that letters of reversion, in 1519, were witnessed by Robert Ralston.
- Hew de Ralston of Ralston was killed at the Battle of Pinkie in 1547.
- The 1547 Battle of Pinkie saw the death of Hugh de Ralston of Ralston in a decisive English victory.
The estate of Ralston passed in the early eighteenth century to the Earls of Dundonald. The Ralstons of Warwickhill were cadets of the Lairds of Ralston, and continued to flourish around Paisley.
The Ralston estate was sold off by the family to Thomas Cochrane, the 8th Earl of Dundonald, in 1705, and William Shedden Ralston (1828-1889) was a noted and distinguished Russian scholar and folklorist.
"In the reign of James II. lived John de Ralstone, who, in 1444, was made lord keeper of the privy seal, in 1448 bishop of Dunkeld, and in 1449 lord-high-treasurer. The same year he was sent ambassador to England, and again in 1452 (Keith’s Catalogue of Scottish Bishops.) He was succeeded in the estate of Ralston by his nephew. In 1505 Thomas Ralston of Ralston obtained a charter of his lands from John Lord Ross. Hugh de Ralston of Ralston fell at the battle of Pinkie 10th September 1547. The son of the latter, also named Hugh, acquired in 1551, from Gavin, commendator of Kilwinning, the lands of Woodside and Turnerland, parish of Beith, Ayrshire. He was the sixth laird of Ralston.
The Ralstons of Warwickhill are descended from his younger son, William Ralston, grandfather of Gavin Ralston, the first of Auchintorlie near Paisley, a man of such singular opinions with regard to religion that he acquired the name of the Pagan. William Henry Ralston, the third in descent from him, a captain in the army, purchased the lands of Warwickhill, and was succeeded by his nephew, Alexander Macdougall Ralston; married, with issue."
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References, Sources and Further Reading
- "Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopaedia" by George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire