Humphrey de Colquhoun

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Humphrey de Colquhoun (de Kilpatrick)

Also Known As: "Hunfrið of Colquhoun", "Umfridus de Kilpatrick"
Birthplace: Scotland
Death: 1249 (40-48)
the Lennox, Kingdom of Scotland
Immediate Family:

Son of Gilbert de Kilpatrick and Annabelle
Husband of Isobell
Father of Sir Robert de Colquhoun, Knight

Occupation: grantee of Culchone (COLQUHOUN)
Managed by: Shirley Marie Caulk
Last Updated:

About Humphrey de Colquhoun

Hunfrið of Colquhoun (a tentative portrait)

Umfridus de Kilpatrick—the earliest recorded patriarch. The toponymic byname de Kilpatrick may refer to Old Kilpatrick, a traditional birthplace of St. Patrick situated within Lennox. The name Umfridus is likely a Latin transliteration of the name Hunfrið, altered by adding the Latin “-us” suffix. This name seem largely of Germanic (Old English) tradition: Hunfrið is from the P.Germanic elements hun (warrior/strength) and frið (peace)—later replaced with the Norman-Germanic variation, Humphrey. Following the Norman conquest of England in 1066, the Scottish lowlands became a welcome place for many English refugees. Indeed, the Lowlands began to form as a distinct ethno-linguistic region of Scotland following this period in history. Thus, it seems possible that Hunfrið is a refugee of Angle stock* or that Hunfrið’s family came to the area as a result of royal policies which arranged for notables to come north and take up placed within the ‘aristocracy’ of Scotland. In fact, in 1222 Alexander II of Scotland led an army into the region of Argyle (the lords of which usually paid homage to the kings of Norway), subduing the region to his throne and subsequently distributed their lands among his officers and their men.** It seems likely these events had a major impact for Hunfrið, considering the proximity of Argyle to his former residence in Kilpatrick and that he came to acquire lands in this region around 1230.

Indeed, during the reign of Alexander II (1214-1249), Humfrid of Kilpatrick pro servitio unius militis to the king, obtained from Maldouen (Maol Domhnaich), First Earl of Lennox, a charter of the lands of Colquhoun, situated in the parish of Old (or West) Kilpatrick, within the earldom of Lennox and shire of Dumbarton:

"To all his friends, and men present and to come, Maldouen Earl of Lennox, greeting: Let all men present and to come know, that I have given, granted, and by this present charter have confirmed to Umfridus de Kilpatrick the whole land of Colquhoun, by its right divisions, with all its just pertinents, to be held by him and his heirs of me and my heirs in feu and heritage, freely, quietly, fully and honourably, in wood and plain, in meadows and pastures, in pools and mills, in fishings, and in all other easements belonging to the foresaid lands; he and his heirs rendering therefrom to me and my heirs the third part of the service of one knight for every service and exaction; before these witnesses, Sir Walter, Steward of our Lord the King, Malcolm my son, Gillaspec Galbraith, Hamelyn, Malcolm, Duncan, my brothers, Malcolm Beg, Doven my chamberlain, Fergus Maccomyng, and many others."***

Upon acquiring the lands of Colquhoun from Gilbert (fl.1150-1220), Laird of Colquhoun, apparently Hunfrið moved into Dunglass Castle, dropped his original surname of Kilpatrick, and adopted that of Colquhoun. Indeed, the adoption of toponymic bynames from the lands one acquired was a normal practice during the High Medieval Period. Hunfrið is thus our earliest recorded ancestor, a wandering Angle.

  • It has recently come to my attention that the name Hunfrið was the Old English variation of the name, which was then replaced with the Norman version Humphrey. I am uncertain if “Umfridus” should be understood as a Latin translation of the Old English name Hunfrið or if it should be understood as a Latin translation of the Norman name Humphrey. It would be helpful to see the sources with the original written form. It still remains possible that Umfridus is a descendent of those Normans who came to the Isle of Britain after William’s conquest in 1066.
  • Later problems with the region prompted attempts by Alexander to persuade Ewen, Lord of Argyle, to sever his allegiance to Haakon IV of Norway. When Ewen rejected these attempts, Alexander sailed with an army to compel him but he died in route of fever on the island of Kerrera on July 8th, 1249.
  • William Fraser, The Chiefs of Colquhoun and Their Country, vol. 1 (Edinburgh: T. and A. Constable, 1869), 4-5.

[The above sketch was done by me, James Paul Calhoun. I am currently in graduate school. Will return to do more thorough research when more time is available.]

Little is known about Gilbert, except that he was the Lord of huge tracts of land of the name Colquhoun, in Dumbartonshire, Scotland, born around 1150 AD. (Subsequently, the family name "Kilpatrick" was changed to "Colquhoun.")

As a result of his fueding with other clans these lands were forfeited to the crown in 1220 AD and acquired by Umfridus de Kilpatrick of Colquhoun, our first direct ancestor in this line. There is relatively little known about the early Colquhouns and nothing is known of their wives until the time of Sir Robert de Colquhoun (1350-1390), who married the heiress of Luss, thus adding that title and the accompanying lands to the Colquhoun estate. Sir John (or Iain) Colquhoun (1408-1459) held the office of Governor of Dumbarton Castle and married Jean Erskine, the daughter of Lord Robert Erskine.

His grandson, also Sir John or Iain (1459-1478) succeeded him and held the positions of Comptroller of the Exchequer (1460),Sheriff of Dumbartonshire (1471) and Great Chamberlain (1474) He was killed at the siege of Dunbar. The claim made that his wife, a Boyd, was the daughter of Sir Thomas Boyd and Princess Mary of Scotland seems to be false (see notes below),however, another Boyd, Agnes (d. July 18, 1584 at Edinburgh), the daughter of Robert, the 5th Lord Boyd and his wife Mariota Colquhoun, was the descendant of this pair. (Agnes Boyd married Sir John Colquhoun XIII & XV of Luss, on Nov.15, 1564). This heritage is particularly interesting because Princess Mary's father, James II of Scotland, was the son of James I, whose marriage into the English royal house is a particularly dramatic and romantic tale: James, b. July 1394, had been sent to safety in France by his father, Robert III shortly before the later's death in 1406. The young Prince was captured by the English, however and held until1424, during which time he met and fell in love with Joan Beaufort, the granddaughter of John of Gaunt, who was the son of Edward III and Philippa of Hainault. The poem 'The Kinges Quaire' is reputed to have been written by James I about his captivity and romance with Joan

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Humphrey de Colquhoun's Timeline

Age 15
Dumbarton, Dunbartonshire, Scotland
Age 44
Kingdom of Scotland