Select Barclay Surname Genealogy

Here are some Barclay stories and accounts over the years:

Berkeleys from England to Scotland

It was from the manor of Berkeley in Gloucestershire that the Norman Roger de Berkeley took his name. The castle of Berkeley - in whose dungeon Edward II died - was started by his sons and completed by his grandson. 

This family is said to have provided the Berkeleys who went north and prospered as Barclays in Scotland. Family tradition has John de Berkeley accompanying the Scots Queen Margaret north in 1069.  The Barclays in Scotland then descended from his three sons, Walter, Alexander and Richard.  Another suggestion has been that the de Berkeleys came much later in 1124, following in the train of Maud, wife of David I of Scotland. 

And some doubt that there was a connection at all.  G.W.S. Barrow wrote in 1973: 

“There are surely more published histories of the Barclays than of any other Scottish family. The Barclay histories published in this century are worse than those published in the 18th and those in turn are distinguished for the low level of their medieval scholarship. 

It has been assumed, on no concrete evidence, that the Scottish family of Barclay (de Berchelai etc.), which first appears at the end of Malcolm IV’s reign in the persons of Robert and Walter de Berkeley, must be a branch of one or other of the two Anglo-Norman families of de Berkeley of Berkeley in Gloucestershire.  Despite this assumption, it has never been possible to point to a single piece of evidence which would link the Scottish and English families."

Barclays of Towie and Gartly

Sir Patrick Barclay, Baron of Towie, was described as "Chief of the Barclays in Scotland" in a document dated sometime in the 1460’s.  This document also alluded to the marriage of the house of Towie to a daughter of Gartly and that Sir Patrick included the Gartly insignia in his coat of arms. 

Sir Patrick in fact married Catherine Barclay of Gartly, a branch of the Barclays that had dated back to the late 14th century.  They had two sons - John who succeeded to Towie and William who inherited Gartly.

Barclay Memorials in Riga

In 1621 John and Peter Barclay, merchants of Banff, wished to settle in Rostock in Livonia.  Sir Patrick Barclay, Baron of Towie, signed a letter of safe conduct in their favor - a letter that was handed down in the family and was last held by Auguste Julie Barclay de Tolly who was born in Riga in 1863 and married Baron Edward Sass.

The most famous of these Barclays in Riga was the Russian commander Prince Michael Barclay de Tolly of the Napoleonic Wars.  A statue to him was unveiled in Riga in 1913.  However, the statue disappeared during the evacuation in 1915 and an empty pedestal stood in its place for many a long year.  Finally a replica statue of the commander was put up in Esplanade Park on a public vote in 2001.

Robert Barclay of Rowan County

Robert Barclay was born in 1717 in Dublin. He was apparently of the Ury and Mathers line, his father, a Quaker, having moved to Dublin five years earlier to manage the family’s shipping interests there.  John Barclay operated two ships, the Barclay Frigate and the Diana, which traded wheat to Barbados. 

Robert came to Rowan county in North Carolina sometime before 1755, as that was the year that the congregation at Malapan in New Jersey, formerly Quakers, had gone to North Carolina to start a Baptist church.  Some of the children of Robert Barclay were buried in their churchyard and it is presumed that he was too. 

Robert was granted a large land plot of 700 acres in Rowan county in 1761 which he had expanded to 900 acres by 1778, as well as acquiring land in Kentucky.  He grew weaker as he got older.  His will of 1786 stated that he is weak in body but strong in mind, but that he was not able to sign the will, marking it instead because of his incapacity with an "X." 

Captain Robert Barclay Allardyce's Day of Glory

The Times, which usually carried little in the way of general interest news, was emboldened on July 14, 1809 to print the following report on the exploits of Captain Robert Barclay Allardyce. 

“The gentleman on Wednesday completed his arduous pedestrian undertaking, to walk a thousand miles in a thousand successive hours, at the rate of a mile in each and every hour.  He had until four o'clock P.M. to finish his task; but he performed his last mile in the quarter of an hour after three with perfect ease and great spirit, amidst an immense concourse of spectators. 

One hundred to one odds were offered on Wednesday; but so strong was the confidence in his success, that no bets could be obtained. The multitude of people who resorted to the scene of action, in the course of the concluding days, was unprecedented. Not a bed could be procured on Tuesday night at Newmarket, Cambridge, or any of the towns and villages in the vicinity, and every horse and every species of vehicle was engaged. 

Captain Barclay had a large sum depending upon his undertaking. The aggregate of the bets is supposed to amount to £100,000.” 

Over the 42 days of this exercise, his weight dropped from 13 stone four pounds (84 kg) to 11 stone (70 kg).

History of the Barclay Family

A three-part history of the Barclay family was written by Charles W. Barclay, Hubert F. Barclay, and Alice Wilson Fox. It appeared over a 10-year period, with Part I being published in 1924.  It was a history from 1066 to 1924 and concentrated upon the arrival of the progenitor in the wave of feudal lords who accompanied Duke William of Normandy in 1066. 

Part I therefore concentrated upon the settlement of Roger de Berchelai in England and upon his descendants and their activities in Gloucestershire through the late medieval period. 

Part II appeared in 1933 and concentrated upon the Scottish line.  This second volume has chapters on the Gartley, Towie, Brechin, Mathers, Knockleith, the Russian De Tolly line, the Collairnie line, and finally the Barclays of the west of Scotland, including Ardrossan, Kilbirnie,Crawford-John, Ladyland and Pierston lines. 

Part III appeared in 1934 and completed this study of the Barclays with chapters on Colonel David Barclay, 1610-1686; Robert Barclay the Apologist; the Urie line; David Barclay of Cheapside; the Barclays of the Bank; and the senior line, the Barclays of Bury Hill.  There are also extensive pedigrees and appendices

The Early History of Barclays Bank

The start of Barclays Bank can be traced back to April 1690 in the City of London.  John Freame and Thomas Gould, both Quakers, started a partnership as goldsmiths.  At that time goldsmiths acted as bankers giving loans to merchants and businessmen, for this was the very earliest stages of private banking in England. 

This partnership was the start of several generations of fluctuating partners drawn from complex family relationships and careful marriages.  In 1728, John Freame's son-in-law, James Barclay, became a partner in the private bank.  It was his name which became the origin of the bank's name.  The partnership was known as Freame and Barclay and later as Barclay, Bevan & Co.  Soon afterwards the partnership moved to a new banking house in Lombard Street where several other banks were located.  It was to occupy that site through the life-time of five different offices.  Over time the private bank was called just Barclays. 

By the end of the 19th century there were family connections to several other provincial private banks and it was decided to amalgamate these banks and form a limited liability company.  In July 1896 Barclays and nineteen other banks were merged by Robert Barclay to form Barclay and Company Limited.  It was now one of the six largest banks in England.

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