I have listed the Cromarty of London history. I have not listed anything in the post World War II era as this information is personal to the family.

Cromartie (Cromarty) of London History

In Cromarty family history one of the stories as to the origins of the family is that there were 2 lines, one that went north and one that went south.

Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty writes in his genealogy of that "worthy knight, Sir John Urquhart of Cromarty, who went to Devonshire, England".

Sir John Urquhart, knight who went to Devonshire. Described as being "renowned" for his "considerable fortune, and high merit, is highly renowned in the fourth parts of England". He appears about the same time, or just before, the Cromarty of London line makes its first appearance in London in 1555. It is here said that he was descendant of those sons, of Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty married Helen Abernethie, daughter of Lord Salton, who travelled with great gallantry to foreign countries. At this time England was a foreign country from Scotland. Several families also became sheriffs near Carlisle.

From Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty’s genealogy: THOMAS married HELEN. 1476, He was agnamed Paterhemon, because he had of his wife, Helen Abernethie, a daughter of my lord Salton, five and twenty sons, all men; and eleven daughters, all married women; seven of those sons were killed at the battle of Pinckie; and of some of those others of them that travelled, with great gallantry, to foreign countries, is descended (as I am informed) that worthy knight, in Devonshire, Sir John Urquhart; who, both for his considerable fortune, and far greater merit, is highly renowned in the fourth parts of England; as likewise several families near Carlisle, designed by the name of Urquhart, of such estimation there, that (as I was told) some of them not long ago, have been majors of the city, and sheriffs of the county. To this Thomas, succeeded his son

Cromarty is a very rare name and was even more so in this time period with only a handful known to be using the name, including the signature of the Urquhart’s of Cromartie sometimes listed as Cromartie.

James Cromatye-The first record I have found in London of a Cromarty is the marriage record of James Cromatye and Catherine Cristofer in 1555 in Stepney, London. A brief review of the surname Christopher in the 1500’s shows it to be native to Devonshire, with some having later moved to the London region.

This Cromarty (Cromartie) line in London is first found in Stepney in the 1500-1700's in Church of England parish records, and then expands into neighboring Southwark, Rotherhithe, Deptford, and other surrounding areas of London after the 1700's. In the 1800’s the line is found in London, and the surrounding areas.

This family seems to have lived along the Thames region of London and Surrey and had many sailors and sea captains. The names John, Thomas, William, and Magnus are popular in London since the 1500’s. The name Magnus is interesting as it is an Orkney name particular to Saint Magnus of Orkney, and was the name of the grandfather of Princess Margaret, King Magnus Lagabøte (lit. "Law-mender"), (1238-1280), king of Norway from 1263 until 1280.

The London family first inhabited the regions of Stepney in East London before spreading to other areas of London, and also lived in Surrey to the south of London. They were always small in number.

It is interesting to note that in each area of London the family lives there is a major reference, such as a street, to Devonshire.

I must still research the records of the family in London going back to James Cromatye in 1555. I do have a series of records yet to be researched that are in the same region of London going back through the 1700, 1600, and 1500’s.

Thomas Cromartie

From the birth record of his daughter Elizabeth in St George in the East, London, we learn the parents are Thomas Cromartie and Anne. The will of there son and wife Robert and Elizabeth mentions children as brothers and sisters of Robert, William, Catherine, Margaret, Anne, Corillia (sp?) and Elizabeth.

This group is still being researched as is this entire period, and it does appear to show the connection to the St Dunstan Cromartie lineage.

There is an earlier marriage record of a Thomas Cromartie and Elizabeth Osmond in St Dunstan parish in London in 1741, and in St Dunstan parish in London in 1722 there is another marriage record of a Thomas Cramarty to Eliza. These must also be researched to see if there is a connection.

Robert Cromartie

I am still researching Robert Cromartie. I have his will dated 1754 St Paul's Shadwell in which he gives everything to his wife Elizabeth. The will of his wife Elizabeth Cromartie dated 1762 of St Paul's Shadwell mentions her sons John, William, and Thomas. She also mentions her sisters Catherine, Ann, Margaret, and Corillia/Cecillia/Emilia (must be interpreted) Cromartie. Other related family members are also mentioned. St Dunstan is mentioned in the will of Elizabeth regarding some of the related names/family members, which must be researched for daughters.

I have also found the will of his brother William Cromartie of St Paul Shadwell, London, mentioning his wife Mary, and the same immediate and related family members. Of interest, and still needing interpretation, he passes to his nephews, the sons of his late brother Robert Cromartie, his plantations in the Island of Nevis, and needing interpretation perhaps other islands. Interpretation of the wills of Robert, Elizabeth, and William Cromartie is needed, but they establish another generation of Cromartie's in London, and also provide solid proof that I have the correct family lineage. These wills also provide proof that the family was living in London, and had plantations in the West Indies, with Nevis being specifically mentioned.

Wives: Robert is married to Elizabeth. William to Mary Sharpless in 1729 at St George Mayfair, London. Ann their sister was also married in St George Mayfair, London in 1748.

Children: Robert has 3 sons that are mentioned in the will John, Thomas, and William. The related names that are mentioned will have to be searched for daughters. Also mentioned are his brother William and sisters Catherine, Margaret, Ann, and the spelling needs to be interpreted for Corillia/Cecillia/Emillia. Possibly related names are mentioned.

John Cromartie, Sailmaker

We are still researching John Cromartie, sailmaker. He was married 3 times, and I have found 2 sons, both named Robert, one from his first wife Hannah Fletcher and the second from his third wife Mary.

Wives: 1. Hannah Fletcher, married 2 March 1766 at St Lukes, Old Street, Finsbury, London. Hannah was buried on 25th Octobeer 1767 at St Lukes, Old Street, Finsbury, London. She had a son Robert who appears to have died as well. 2. His second wife was Sarah Row, married 21 July 1767 at St Paul's, Shadwell, London. 3. Mary Fletcher was the third wife. She had a son Robert born on 3 January 1771 and baptised on 20 January 1771 at St Paul's, Shadwell.

Children: I have found the first son Robert who died, the second son Robert, and one sister, Elizabeth Cromatie baptized on 12 October 1775 at St Paul's Shadwell, and 2 others Mary and Barbara who were married at St George the Martyr, Southwark in 1793 and 1799. Robert was married in the same parish in 1794. The family unit is still being researched and additional children may be found. In the journal of Sir Henry Fitzherbert it is recorded that the brother of Robert was travelling with them to Barbados on the ship Robert Captained. I have found a death record in Barbados in1846 of a John Cromartie who died at the age of 62, which would place his birth about 1784.

St Paul's Shadwell is next to the London region of Stepney where St Dunstan is located. St Dunstan is where the first record I have found of the London Cromartie lineage is located in 1555, the marriage of James Cromatye and Catherine Christopher.

Robert Cromartie, Master Mariner, Sea Captain, Owner Ship Renewal of London

Born 3 January 1771 on Dean Street in London, and baptized 20 January 1771 at St Paul's, Shadwell in London. St Paul, Shadwell had so many sea captains and Master Mariners as members of the parish that is was known as "the Church of the Sea Captains".

Later, Robert lived in Rotherhithe, Surrey in a house on Cow Place today known as St Marychurch Street. He married Martha Rye in 1794 in St George of the Borough Parish in Southwark, London. Robert Cromartie is the owner of the ship Renewal of London.  The Renewal of London appears to have carried cargo as silks, passengers, and possibly arms for the Army. Robert was granted plantations by the Crown for his service in the Royal Navy and Merchant Navy. The family was traveling between London and the West Indies mostly Barbados but also Antigua and St Kitts. One of his plantations in the West Indies was the White River Plantation in St Philip, Barbados. Another plantation we find in the family name of his son Matthew Cromartie is Woodbourne Estates in St Philip, Barbados.

The Renewal of London carried many prestigious passengers including Lords and Generals. Sir Henry Fitzherbert and Lady Fitzherbert, along with other Lords and military officers, often traveled with the family and Sir Henry Fitzherbert writes of Robert and his brother. He also writes of 2 of Robert’s sons Matthew and Edward Cromartie in his “Journals on his travels to Barbados”, and of visiting the family at a home in Bridgetown. The arrival of the Renewal and its passengers was often recorded in the Barbadian Newspaper.

The family lived in London and owned as business investments large estates in Barbados and the West Indies. How many islands they conducted business in we do not know, however I have found business being conducted in Barbados, St Kitts & Nevis, Antigua, and St Lucia. I also have letters of Matthew W. Cromartie doing business in Jamaica with Sir Henry Fitzherbert, Bart. It was practice among the wealthy of London to own plantations in the West Indies. These colonial plantations had become a source of great wealth, and the colonial planter classes of the West Indies and North America had become wealthier than the English nobility.

We have records of Robert manumitting labourers as early as 1810 which is significant as in 1816 the Revolts of 1816 led by Bussa broke out in St Philip, Barbados on Bayley’s Estate, the River Estate, and other Plantations in St Philip Parish which is where the White River Plantation and Woodbourne Estates are located. Nobody knows how long the family may have owned these estates or when they originated as the plantation records have been closed for restoration by the Barbados Museum. The baptismal registers of the White River Plantation exist from 1833 to 1848 and in just these 15 years make record over 150 baptisms of labourers.

The plantation aristocracy was close and some of Robert’s children married into the plantation aristocracy of Barbados, especially in St Philip. Among these are the Griffith’s owners of Bayley’s Plantation and the Pile’s who became the wealthiest family in the West Indies. 

Robert was buried in the same grave with his oldest son Robert Thomas Cromartie in St Michael, Barbados in 1822. The monument on his grave is listed as a historic cemetery monument in the West Indies. Robert left his house in Rotherhithe to his wife Martha and the White River Plantation and ship Renewal of London to Matthew Williamson Cromartie, Esquire. The family rather than living in Barbados, lives in London and travels frequently between London and Barbados as needed.

Wife: Robert marries Martha Rye in St George of the Borough, Southwark, London. Martha is born in 1774. Martha inherits the home on Cow Court (now St Marychurch Street) in Rotherhithe, London along with all the furniture, and books she loves to read upon the death of Robert Cromartie. She dies in London.

Children: All of the children of Robert and Martha are born in Bermondsey and in Rotherhithe, London and most are baptized in St Mary Parish. They are Robert Thomas, Martha Mary, Matthew Williamson, John George, Frederick Maitland, Sarah Ann, Edward Myall, and Elizabeth Eleanor.

The children of Robert Cromartie born in Bermondsey and Rotherhithe, Surrey, England

a. Robert Thomas Cromartie: dies on Barbados and is buried in St Michael with Robert.
b. Martha Mary Partridge (nee Cromartie): marries a physician Samuel Partridge and lives in St Marylebone, London. It is with her we find Matthew’s second wife Dorothy Elizabeth Cromartie living as a funds-holder with her son James Matthew Henry Cromartie while Matthew Williamson Cromartie is in California.
c. Matthew Williamson Cromartie: Manager of Barclays Barbados, founder and first Managing Director and CEO of the Barbados Mutual Life Assurance Company now called SAGICOR, partner in the London firm of Cruickshank & Cromartie as agents for the Bessemere’s patents for the sugar cane press, owner of Woodbourne Estate and the White River Estate in St Philip Barbados, owner of ship Renewal of London. Bank Manager, real estate, sugar refiner, finance, ship broker, British Army.
d. John George Cromartie, Master Mariner and Sea Captain: Robert Cromartie gave John George Cromartie a minor at the time of death the option to purchase the Renewal of London upon maturity. He does so and is captain of the Renewal. He also writes Sir Henry and Lady Fitzherbert about their comfort on ship and receives thank you gifts in return.
e. Frederick Maitland Cromarty, Colonel, Supervisor of Supplies and Ordnance Stores for the British Army: Becomes Supervisor of Supplies for the British Army after the death of his brother Edward. Marries Sarah Jane Nurse on Barbados she is of a wealthy established English Plantation family. He returns to London as does the rest of his family. He retires in Camberwell, Surrey after living in Southampton, England. His daughter Caroline Frederica Cromartie, at age 28, was employed as a companion to Lady Susan Elizabeth Colchester, Baroness, 80. He had many prominent descendants including Duncan Bailey Cromarty Superintendant of Telegraph to India and Ronald Ian Cromartie the British Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, expert for the UN on chemical weapons, and Head of the British Chemical Weapons program. Upon returning to England from Barbados we find Frederick living in Southampton, Hampshire and Camberwell, Surrey.
f. Sarah Ann Cromartie: Dies as a young child in St Mary, Rotherhithe, Surrey, England.
g. Edward Myall Cromartie: Dies while Superintendant of Supplies, Ordnance Department for the British Army. Position goes to his brother Frederick Maitland Cromartie who was his Assistant Supervisor. Frederick appointed as his Assistant Supervisor Joseph Leacock, whose son married Rosilla Lloyd Cromartie the daughter of Colonel Frederick Maitland Cromartie.
h. Elizabeth Eleanor Cromartie: Dies in Bath, England living with the daughter of John George Cromartie, Amy Duke (nee Cromartie). 

Matthew Williamson Cromartie, Esquire

Born in 1800 in Rotherhithe,Surrey area. Matthew is first found mentioned with Robert and his brother Edward in the writings of Sir Henry Fitzherbert, Bart’s “Journals on his voyage to Barbados”. They also write of visiting each other in Barbados, and Sir Henry Fitzherbert writes of the beauty of Matthew’s first wife Charlotte Cadogan Lloyd daughter of William Draper Lloyd, Esquire of London and Barbados.

Matthew was heir to the ship Renewal of London and the White River Plantation in St Philip, Barbados. He also owned Woodbourne Estates in St Philip, Barbados. Woodbourne Estates is later mentioned as being owned by his younger brother Col. Frederick Maitland Cromartie.

Matthew was a banker and the Manager of Barclays Barbados until 1838 and the founder and first managing director of the BMLAS today known as SAGICOR from 1840-1847. Upon his return to London Matthew was a partner in the London firm of Cruikshank & Cromartie as agents for the Bessemere’s patents for the sugar cane press probably for the British Sugar Company which was owned by the Bessemer family mostly known for their steel and iron business.

Matthew and his brother Edward are mentioned as being in attendance at the marriage of General Adams and Miss Barclay daughter of George Barclay after his arrival on the family ship the Renewal of London. Letters written by Matthew to Sir Henry Fitzherbert and Lady Fitzherbert show them as friends who sailed on the Renewal, did business, and visited with the family in Barbados. Matthew W. Cromartie returned to London about 1845 and lived in London working in finance, real estate, sugar refining, and ship broking. Matthew died in St Marylebone, London in 1873.

His first wife was Charlotte Cadogan Lloyd, and after her death in 1839 Matthew married her younger sister Dorothy Elizabeth Lloyd. Of Matthew's 6 children, 3 are born in London and 3 in Barbados in the private chapel of the White River Plantation. The White River plantation was a large plantation bordering Bailey’s Plantation and other large estates. Matthew returned to London by 1851 and in 1856 was living in Enfield in Hornsey, Albert Town, London. Enfield is where the stores for the famous Enfield Rifle were kept.

Matthew is listed on the birth record of his oldest son John Matthew Lloyd Cromartie in Holborn London, as a ship broker. He is listed in 1856 as a sugar refiner. On the baptismal record of his daughter Charlotte Louisa Cromartie in Acle, Norfolk, England, Matthew is listed as a Custom's Officer for His Majesty.

Matthew W. Cromartie is listed on the 1860 US census in Eden, Hayward, California visiting with a friend, George Hobler, from Devonshire, England. His wife Dorothy Elizabeth and son James Matthew Cromartie are listed in the 1861 British Census as living in London with their cousins, a physician surnamed Partridge.

Upon research of Matthew’s visit to California it appears Matthew Cromartie was visiting George Hobler when the 1860 US Fed census took place and was thus counted as a guest. George Hobler and his wife Ann Turner were both born and married in Cadbury, Devon, England. The children of Mr. & Mrs. Hobler were born in Tasmania, Australia. The nephew of Matthew Cromartie, Duncan Baillie Cromartie (son of Colonel Frederick Maitland Cromartie) was the British Superintendent Telegraph Department, India and in 1855 married Alma Montfort Bromley. Alma Montfort Bromley was also born in Tasmania, Australia. It is believed that George Hobler or Ann Turner where related to Alma Montfort Bromley, and Matthew Cromartie was making a family visit in 1860. Duncan Baillie Cromartie and Alma Montfort Bromley were the grandparents of Ronald Ian Cromartie, the British Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva.

It is interesting to note another Cromartie of London connection to Devonshire.

Matthew is found in the 1851 (Stoke Newington) and 1871 (St Pancras) census records. In the 1871 British census we see that Matthew Cromartie had a heart attack in St Pancras, London in 1868 and was paralyzed. Matthew Cromartie died in St Marylebone, London in 1873. Dorothy Elizabeth Lloyd Cromartie is still living in London in the 1891 census.

Wives: The first wife of Matthew is Charlotte Cadogan Lloyd eldest daughter of William Draper Lloyd, Esquire of London. After her death in 1839, Matthew marries Dorothy Elizabeth (also called Elizabeth Dorothy) Lloyd the youngest sister of Charlotte.

Children From First Marriage: John Matthew Lloyd Cromartie, London, England; Robert Cromartie, London, England; Julian Draper Cromartie, White River Plantation, Barbados; Charlotte L. Cromartie, Acle, Norfolk, England; (James) Matthew Henry Cromartie, White River Plantation, Barbados.

Children from Second Marriage: Gertrude Eleanor Blanche Cromartie, (Albert Town) Hornsey, Edmonton, Enfield, London, England.

James Matthew Henry Cromartie (Cromarty)

James Matthew Cromartie was born as Matthew Cromartie on the White River Plantation in St Philip, Barbados in 1839 from his birth/baptismal record. His mother Charlotte Cadogan Lloyd died in child birth. James Matthew returned to London with his father at the age of 5 and grew up in London mostly in the Stoke Newington and Marylebone areas. James Matthew Cromartie lived in London until the 1860's/70's and is listed in the 1861 census as living in London with his mother and cousins the Partridges while his father Matthew was on a trip to California in 1860. James Matthew Cromartie shows up in St Kitts in 1871 after the heart attack and paralysis of his father Matthew in London in 1868, and shortly before Matthew’s death in 1873.

The marriage record of James Matthew and Elizabeth Van Ingle lists his father as Matthew Cromarty, bank manager. He uses the mother's maiden name of Lloyd in the names of his children, and also names his children after his brother’s and sister’s as Lloyd, Matthew, Edward, Eleanor, etc. His brother, and the eldest son of Matthew W. Cromartie and Charlotte Cadogan Lloyd, was John Matthew Lloyd Cromartie born in 1826 in Holborn, London. Little is known of John Matthew Lloyd Cromartie after the age of 13, at which age he is listed as working for his father Matthew W. Cromartie as a bank clerk for Barclays Barbados.

James Matthew Cromartie changed the spelling of Cromartie originally on record as Cromartie, to the Cromarty spelling used later in his life, and afterwards by his children, while living on St. Kitts. I have the records documenting the time period in which he changed the spelling. This was not uncommon for the time as multiple spellings of the name were common.

James Matthew Cromartie was working for a silk merchant on the 1861 census. He is later listed as a carpenter. I have also been told he worked in New York briefly as an agent for an insurance company. After a few years he returned to St Kitts, because he had become ill and did not like NYC. He wanted preferred the weather in St Kitts, and was proud of his London heritage. This makes sense as his father founded SAGICOR, the insurance company, and several of his sons worked in insurance. There may have been a connection to either the British Sugar Company for which his father Matthew Williamson Cromartie was the agent of the Bessemer patent to the Sugar Cane Press, or to Michael Cavan & Company, which his father Matthew W. Cromartie had business dealings in both London and Barbados. Michael Cavan & Company later became Austin Gardiner & Co, and is today known as Barbados Shipping and Trading. The father also had close connections as a founder to SAGICOR and to Barclays, Barbados. It is also possible he was contracted with the British military through a private contractor to work in the supply depots in St Kitts which are the largest in the Caribbean. Basseterre, St Kitts had burned in 1868 and was being rebuilt by the British Military. He may also have gotten his start on the ship the Renewal of London which in his youth was purchased from Matthew and captained by his uncle John George Cromartie.

James Matthew Cromartie married Elizabeth Van Ingle. Elizabeth was the daughter of John Battice Van Ingle and Cornelia Hackney, John Van Ingle was listed as a fisherman. At the time Elizabeth was married she was employed rolling cigars in a cigar factory. The Hackney’s owned tobacco plantations and factories on St Kitts. I was told the Hackney’s also owned tobacco plantations on Montserrat. The Van Ingles owned the McKnight Estates (now the McKnight region of Basseterre), the Douglas Estates and the Fountain Estates in St Kitts, and the Pottwork Estates in Nevis which was in use by the family until the 1950's. Elizabeth and James Matthew owned the Pottworks Estate on Nevis before selling it to her uncle Hilton Cheeseborough Van Ingle.

The last Van Ingle to live on St Kitts, Caroline Van Engle, returned to Surrey, England were the Cromartie's were from in the 1950's and the last Van Ingle to live on the Pottworks Estate was murdered on the estate her lawyers also disappearing. After the murders the Pottworks Estate was appropriated by the UK government and is today a historic monument in Nevis which was visited by Princess Diana on her trips to Nevis.

The Van Engle's in Nevis owned 2 plantations, Pottworks Estate, and further inland, Clifton Estate. The Van Ingles originally came from the London-Surrey region and the last descedants from St Kitts and Nevis returned to Surrey. While the Van Ingles are listed as English and Church of England in the time in which I researched them, and I have been told they originated from London, it should be noted that it is said they may have come to St Kitts & Nevis from another island, and apparently did have plantations on other islands such as Montserrat, St Martins, St Lucia, and Barbados. We should also note that the early white population of Nevis in the 1600-1800 time period was almost exclusively Jewish, as were the London and Nevis sugar refiners, and the early bankers in Nevis. The Merchant Adventurers in the West Indies were also primarily Jewish.

To note, J. Gardiner Austin died in 1902; and James Matthew Cromartie in 1903 in St Kitts. James Matthew refused to come to NYC preferring to stay in St Kitts. He was with Elizabeth Van Ingle’s family and was found in death by his friend Mr. Green. His death record exists on St Kitts but there is no burial record, and a grave has not yet been found. It is possible he is buried in St Kitts, or in London, in Barbados, was buried a sailor at sea, or is buried on one of the Van Ingle or Cromartie Estates.

The earliest record we have of any Cromartie living in St Kitts is the marriage record of James Matthew Cromartie to Elizabeth Van Ingle. Through shipping records we know that Robert Cromartie did occasionally sail the Renewal of London to St Kitts. All of his children emigrated from St Kitts. I have on record James Matthew Cromartie using both spellings of his name Cromartie and Cromarty while in St Kitts.

Wife: His wife was Elizabeth Van Ingle born in St George Parish, Basseterre, St Kitts in 1849. She was the son of John Battice Van Ingle and Cornelia Hackney. Both the Van Ingle’s and Hackney’s are old English Plantation families in St Kitts. The Hackney’s owned a tobacco plantation and cigar factory, and the Van Ingle’s owned several plantations including the McKnight Estates (now the McKnight section of Basseterre), The Fountain Estates, the Douglas Estates, the Pottwork Estates (a 400 acre estate in Nevis), and further inland Clifton Estate. At marriage Elizabeth’s father, John Battice Van Ingle, was listed as deceased from skull cancer and as having been a fisherman.

The Hackney’s and Van Ingles were English and all involved were members of the Church of England. The apparent father of John Battice Van Ingle, Michael Van Ingle, is listed as a gentleman on his death record. Elizabeth if asked would say that her flag was the English flag!! In 1956 Caroline Van Ingle returned to Surrey, England, where the Cromarty’s originated from. The last Van Ingle to remain in St Kitts & Nevis was murdered in the Pottwork Estate, after which the estate was appropriated by the government and restored as a historic monument in Nevis.

Children: All of the children of James and Elizabeth are born in St George Parish, Basseterre, St Kitts. They are Ella (Ellen) Lillian Plage Cromartie (married by Rev. Walter Austin Gardiner in NYC, Seaman’s Institute, Church of the Holy Comforter), Philip James John Lloyd Cromartie (note: St Philip, Barbados, the White River Plantation; he was married in Nevis as his wife Alice Mann’s father was an Anglican priest in Nevis), Ada Louisa Tyson Cromarty, Arthur Henry Douglas Campbell Cromarty, Axel Hamilton Matthew Cromarty, George Mortimer Edward Cromarty, and Julian Austin Dickenson Cromarty. Many of these names come from James Matthew’s family in London and Barbados.

(To note: Charles Dickens attended St George the Martyr, Southwark at the same time as Robert Cromartie, Master Mariner. Also, John Dickenson was the influential representative from Pennsylvania who argued the British cause for the American colonies to remain colonies of Great Britain).

George Mortimer Edward Cromarty

Briefly as these records are close to people who are still alive.

George Cromarty was English from London, and was born in 1884 in St George Parish, Basseterre, St Kitts. He worked in Insurance for Metropolitan Life. George Cromarty married Jeanne Burgess. He died in 1944.


Ancient Cromarty History

The information below includes a brief review of ancient Cromarty family history.

The House of Cromarty family lineage begins in the dawn of the history of the British Isles with the Urquharts of Cromarty, the ancient House of Cromarty. The Urquhart of Cromarty genealogy was so eloquently written by Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty to Adam & Eve. In 1639 he was knighted by Charles I for his support in the Royalist uprising known as the Trot of Turriff. He was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1650 by the Puritans after his capture at the Battle of Gloucester fighting at the side of King Charles II and for his refusal to renounce the Monarchy. He was imprisoned with much freedom in the Tower of London and then in Windsor. He was paroled by Cromwell in 1652 and returned to Cromarty. The following year he published Pantochronachanon, a work of genealogy, the Urquhart of Cromarty lineage, written in support of Monarchy and Divine Right of Kings. The lineage was split into two sections the ancient lineage which is remarkably accurate, and the modern lineage beginning with the marriage, of Sir Adam (Ardito) Urquhart b.1071 to Princess Marjorie, daughter of Griffin, Prince of Wales. The lineage of Sir Thomas is the officially accepted lineage by the Lord Lyon of Scotland.

In 1705 the Earldom of Cromarty (Cromartie) passed through marriage from Urquhart to MacKenzie of Seaforth.

To read the Ancient Genealogy of the Urquhart’s and House of Cromarty by Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty, also known as “The Father of Genealogy”

In his genealogy Sir Thomas places the marriage of Nicarchos to Tortolina, the daughter of King Arthur of Britain, in the correct time period of about 540 A.D. Mythology had falsely placed King Arthur in later medieval Britain, however, in his genealogy Sir Thomas is using the accurate time placement.

From Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty’s genealogy: NICARCHOS married TORTOLINA, 540 A.D. On this Tortolina, who was the daughter of Arthur of Britain, he begot

After the Roman Empire collapsed the Briton Celtic kingdoms resisted the Angles invasions in Scotland. The Celtic kingdoms defending northern Britain were known to the Welsh as the “Old North” and spoke Welsh not Scottish Gaelic. They included the Welsh Rheged and Gododdin, who under King Urien of the Rheged repelled the Angles.

The Welsh poet Aneirin wrote of a warrior named Arthur who was braver and stronger than all the others. A Ninth century Welsh historian Nennius wrote in Historia Brittonum of the victory of Mons Badonicus (AD 516) mentioning Arthur. Nennius also recorded Vortigern and Merlin (Ambrosius) in his writings. In the Tenth century Geoffrey of Monmouth, in Annale Cambriae, wrote that Arthur fought 2 battles, the first with the Saxons at the battle of Mons Badonicus in AD 516, and the second in AD 537 “The year of the battle of Camlann, in which Arthur and Medraut fell…”

Mons Badonicus and Camlann were fought in England. Arthur as "Dux Bellorum" was in charge of northern defences, and fought several battles in the north, "his power base would probably have been in the Celtic areas of Wales, Cornwall and the West Country, or the Brythonic 'Old North' which covered modern Northern England and Southern Scotland". Sir Thomas notes "Arthur of Britain" carefully, as there was another Arthur of the Pennines in that time. The later marriage to Princess Marjorie of Wales implies strong Welsh contact.

Linguistic Origins

Cromarty is considered to be the modern English spelling of the name.

Crom-bath and Crum-bagh are the name Cromarty or “Crooked Bend” in the ancient language of Scotland. An entry for Cromarty in the work of A D Mills reads as follows: Highland. Crumbathyn 1264. Crooked (place) OGaelic crumb + doubtful element (A D Mills, Dictionary of British place-names. OUP, 2003). Cromarty is the name spelled in English.

The name Cromarty appears as Crumbathyn on maps of Scotland as early as 1257. There were many changes between 1257 and 1479. One theory of its origin is from the word Crum-bagh meaning “bent bend” and Crom-bath meaning “little place on the bend”, and this is what Cromarty looks like on a map. Yet there does not appear to have been any people with the surname Cromarty living in the region of Cromarty.

Another interpretation for Cromarty would be Crom + Airde, the “curved height”, curved for the bay, and Airde, the promontory overlooking the bay where the town of Cromarty is located today. 

CROMARTY (in the old county of Ross & Cromarty)
NAME ON MAP: Crombathie DATE: 1296 EARLIEST RECORD: Crumbathyn DATE: 1257 MEANING: GOIDELIC crom `crooked' ard `promontory'.

URQUHART NAME ON MAP: URQUHART (in the old county of) Ross and Cromarty DATE: 1358 MEANING: a territorial name (see place-name). The clan's early history is obscure, but at the beginning of the 14th century William de Urchard was Sheriff of Cromarty. Adam Urquhart had a grant of the sheriffdom of Crombathie in 1358.

URQUHART (in the old county of Inverness) NAME ON MAP: Urquhart MEANING: BRYTHONIC ar `near' cardden `the thicket'. A castle was here by 1314.

URQUHART (in the old county of Moray) NAME ON MAP: Hurcard DATE: c.1200 MEANING: see the previous entry.

From W J Watson, Place Names of Ross and Cromarty. 1904 (British Library selfmark 12978/g/23)

Cromarty- Crumbathyn 1263, Crumbauchtyn 1264, Crumbhartyn 1296, Crombathie 1349, Cromady and Crombathie 1349-1370, Cromardy 1398, Cromaty and Crumbaty 1479, G. Cromba’. From an inspection of the old forms two things are clear-first, that the modern English form, Cromarty, is the descendant and representative of the ancient Crumbauchtyn (with accent on first syllable); and, secondly, that the second ‘r’ of Cromarty is not radical, but was developed at an early stage through sympathy with the ‘r’ of the first syllable; cf. Eng. Bride-groom, from A.S. (Anglo-Saxon) brid-guma, literally ‘bride-man.’ Further, these forms, as well as other considerations, negative the derivation Crom-bagh, bent bay. The base is doubtless, crom, bent; the question is whether we are to regard the b of Cromba’ as radical or as developed. Developed b after m is seen in lombar, from lom; Ir. crompan, a sea inlet, from crom; and in the common Crombie applied to bent streams and to places at a bend, e.g., Crombie in Fife; also Dal-crombie, G. Dul-chrombaidh, a place on a bend of L. Ruthven, Inverness. On this theory we have (1) crom as base, (2) developed b, (3) terminations –ach, place of, and –dan or –tan, diminutive, all meaning Little place of the bend; cf. Loch Saileach in Ireland, called by the Four Masters Loch Sailcheadain, also Ardochdainn, Lochcarron. On the other theory it would be possible to suggest crom-bath, with extension, bath being an O. Ir. (Old Irish) Word glossed saile and muir, sea.

1. Hugh Miller (Scenes and Legends,” p. 49) mentions an ancient custom seal or cocket, supposed to belong to the reign of Robert II., and then in the Inverness Museum, bearing the legend ‘Crombhte.”

2.  Joyce, Irish Names of Places II., 36.

In the Orkney Islands and the mainland of Scotland the Orkney-Cromarty chambered cairns, or tombs, are the most common surviving constructions from Orkney’s Neolithic past. “The earliest Orcadian cairns were built by the first Neolithic settlers - people who crossed the Pentland Firth from the Scottish mainland around the beginning of the fourth millennium BC” (Orkneyjar).

From Nevin Sinclair based on the writings of historians J. Clouston and William Saint-Clair: These families have taken their names from their main place of residence or land-ownership within the Northern Territories of either the Orkney or Shetland Islands and to a lesser extent Caithness. Many of these families are the descendants of the initial Norse Viking colonists who consolidated and extended the Northern Territories of the Orcadian 'jarldom' under the leadership of the family of Jarl Rognvald 'the wise' of Moeri and Rhomasdahl of Norway, and his natural son Jarl 'Turf' Einar.

Following is a list of the senior native families whose ancestors were the significant land-holding nobility of either Orcadian or Shetlander ruling assemblies or councils (known as "lawthing") and were regularly mentioned in the old records as 'gudmen' (hereditary gentelemen odallers) 'lawrightmen' or 'lawrikmen' (regular parish district assizemen) 'lendirneb' (landed men) and 'roitmen' (hereditary odaller/council men).

They were in alphabetical order, Berstane, Clouston, Cragy (Craigie), Cromarty, Corrigal, Flett, Heddle, Halcro, Ireland, Kirkness, Linklater, Ness (later Peterson, Petrie, Tulloch), Paplay, Rendall, Scarth (Formerly Harraldson/Bolt), Scalter, and Yenstay.


Origins of the Arms

From the writings of the Orkney historian J. Storer Clouston: Briefly, officially ancestry was the chief test in determining eligibility for Arms, but wealth was the practical test. Coats of Arms were given only to the upper military and wealthy factions of society and became a badge of nobility and gentry. Arms came into early use in Orkney around 1200, but were confined only to a few leading families.

The early Cromarty armorial inscriptions on Orkney portray the 3 ancient boar's heads of the arms of the Urquharts of Cromarty some of which are conjoined with a stag in the manner that would be the mark of a chief. In other coats we see the traditional coat of arms of Cromarty the 3 boar's heads. Obviously these early Cromarty’s came from Cromarty, but the surname is not found in Cromarty.  When they first appear in Orkney they were a family of very good position who had dropped their original surname and taken the name of the place from which they had come. The use of coats of arms was rare in Orkney and in Scotland could only be used by the Lords of the region who had the right to the use of the family arms. The one family that reigned as the Lords and hereditary sheriffs of the district of Cromarty were the Urquharts of Cromarty, and their arms were the 3 boar's heads. We therefore know that these early Cromarty’s were originally Urquharts of Cromarty. 

The stag is found only in Orkney and only in the Clouston arms which would imply a marriage with a Clouston, presumably an heiress. This is documented as such, in 1585 a whole collection of Cromarty’s combined to sell a parcel of land in Clouston, proving such a marriage a generation or 2 previously. Thus the 2 coats of arms are accounted for. One bearing the stag from those descended from the marriage and the other the original Urquhart of Cromarty arms for those who preferred the original arms. The leading family of Cromarty in the 16th and 17th century was the Cromarty of Cara lineage. They acquired Cara by marriage of Magnus Cromarty to the heiress Christian Cara, and this marriage is the one most likely commemorated by the arms. Cara is somewhat of a mystery. It is a place name not a true surname that was rarely found and vanished early, and it was a temporary Orkney designation given from the land. The family name of Cara previous to the Cromarty marriage was likely Clouston.

Ross and Cromarty, A Historical Guide by David Alston: An excellent source of regional history.”

"Following the Norse Viking Empire’s in the north of Scotland, MacBeth, of the House of Moray, with the alliance of his cousin Thorfinn Earl of Orkney, defeated Duncan to become King. MacBeth united the Scots Kingdoms with his marriage to the powerful Gruoch, as both MacBeth and Gruoch were descended from Scots Kings. The earliest writings mentioning MacBeth, King of Scotland from 1040 to 1054, are from a poem by Andrew of Wyntoun (1355-1422) in which he describes MacBeth as the Thane of Cromarty. A thane is an official who exercises authority on behalf of a king. MacBeth as King, however, ruled from the south, opening the north again to Norse settlement into Ross and Cromarty. MacBeth'’s defeat and murder by Malcolm Canmore, Malcom III, consolidated southern control of the northern areas, and led to 200 years of struggles between the descendants of Malcolm, and the remnants of the northern Royal dynasties, MacHeth (the origins of Clan MacKay) and MacWilliams. In 1230 William MacTaggart was made Earl of Ross. His support for the Scottish crown furthered the interests of the southern and Anglo-Norman families in the Highlands.

The House of Dunkeld or Canmore 1058-1290 began with Malcolm Canmore, Malcolm III regent from 1058-1093 and ended as a line of Scottish Kings and Queens with Princess Margaret, the Maid of Norway regent from 1286-1290. Malcolm III succeeded his cousin MacBeth, the Thane of Cromarty, as King of Scotland after defeating him in battle at Lumphanan in 1057 with the assistance of Siward, the Earl of Northumbria and killing MacBeth either then or shortly thereafter. This is the beginning of the House of Dunkeld."

The Officially Recognized Genealogy of Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty beginning in 1071

Frederick married Lauretta, 1013. “He had to his first wife, Castisa the daughter of Banco, Thane of Lochabber; but she had no sons to him. To his second wife, he took Lauretta, the daughter of Patrick Dunbar, Thane and earl of March, and on her begot

Sir Jasper married Genivieve, 1042. “This Jasper, agnamed Soldurio, was the seventh son begot betwixt Frederick and Lauretta, without the intermixture of a female, and was said to have had the dexterity, by a single touch of his hand, to cure the disease lately called the king’s evil. He was, for his valour, dubbed knight, by Malcolm Kianmore, at Forfar, in the year of our Lord 1058: in whose reign, began surnames, even of those Scots that were originally Albionites, by an express command from the king, to be more heedfully regarded than formerly they had been;…. He on his wife Genivieve begot

Sir Adam married Marjorie, b. 1071. “This Sir Adam, agnamed Ardito, was the first of the name of Adam that was chief of the family of Urquhart. He was knighted by king Edgar, at his coronation at Scone, anno 1101. On his wife Marjorie, who was the daughter of Griffin prince of Wales”, he begot

Edward married Jane, b. 1102. This Edward, agnamed Philotimos, begot on Jane (the sister of Sir Alexander Caron, who was the first that ever was called Scrimjour) a son, (Richard Urquhart of Cromarty)

Note: The son of Edward Urquhart and Jane Caron was Richard Urquhart of Cromarty b. 1123, who married Anne. This Richard Urquhart was the first Urquhart to be listed as "of Cromarty" by Sir Thomas. Sir Alexander Caron (Scrimjour) and his sister Jane, are recorded as being from Cromarty.

Of linguistic interest. Matthew and Heruy de Crambath are mentioned as being the origins of the name Crombie in the writings of George F. Black (The Surnames of Scotland). The name Crombie is a linguistic derivation of Crombath, which is also the origins of the name Cromarty. George F. Black implies that the Scottish language interpretation gives similar meaning of "crooked bend" to 2 distinct families. Several versions of the name Crombath may be found in these linguistically interesting years: Crambath, Crambathie, Crumbacy, Crumbacyn, Cromarty, Crumbathyn, Crombie, etc.

In 1288 of Matthew de Crambeth is listed as Bishop of Dunkeld, and in 1296 of Dominus Herius de (decanus Dunkeldenfis), (Heruy de Crambath dean de Dunkeldin) by English influence. Dunkeld relates to Cromarty with the history of the House of Dunkeldin or Canmore originating with Malcom Canmore and his cousin of MacBeth, the Thane of Cromarty. We also find in Cromarty history that Edward I appointed William de Crumbacy to be Crowner of the Highlands in 1305.

More can be learned on the name Crombie from the Scottish National Archives: “The Book of Dignities by Joseph Haydn and Horace Ockerby (published 1894 by W H Allen & Co Limited, 13 Waterloo Place, London SW) lists Bishops of the Diocese of Dunkeld from 1169 to 1686.

From the Ragman’s Rolls of 1296 is mention of the following:
Crambath, Dominus Heruius de (decanus Dunkeldenfis), (Heruy de Crambath dean de Dunkeldin).

The name Urquhart is also mentioned on the Ragman’s Roll:
Ughterardogh, Morice de (del counte de Ughterardoure).

The following details are from the Scottish National Archives and are also mentioned by Sir Thomas. William de Urchard was the first known sheriff. Adam Urquhart had a grant of the sheriffdom of Crombathie in 1358 from David II (RMS., I, App. II, 1254).  Alexander of Hurcharde petitioned in 1381 for a canonry of Dunkeld notwithstanding that he held canonries and prebends in Moray and Ross. (Pap., Pet., I, p. 561).

William Urquhart of Cromarty, called Gulielmus de Monte Alto = 1. Lilias, dau. of Hugh, Earl of Ross; 2. Violet, dau. of John Cumming, Earl of Buchan.

Adam Urquhart, Hereditary Sheriff of Cromarty = Brigida, dau. of Fleming of Cumbernauld, charter 1365.

The Sherrifdom of Cromarty previous to the Urquhart’s, as early as the 1260’s, was the de Monte Altos (Mowat) of Cromarty. de Monte Alto (Mowat) was an ancient branch of the Urquhart clan. When the Urquhart’s gained the Sheriffdom of Cromarty, in the early 1300’s, it was inherited, probably through marriage, with the de Monte Altos. The de Monte Alto of Cromarty Crest was very similar to the Urquhart of Cromarty Arms, and could easily be considered to be the same Crest & Arms. This ancient lineage became part of the Urquhart’s of Cromarty, who claimed the Sherrifdom of Cromarty in the early 1300’s.

There was a settlement from Cromartyshire that settled in Latheron, Caithness about the time period we are researching. This settlement included members of the Urquhart and Mowat families. Land records support that our Cromarty’s of South Ronaldsey, Orkney had connection to the Latheron, Caithness estates of William de Crumbacy granted by Edward I and Edward II.

A story told by the Cromarty of Holy Island and Northumberland family, matches known research. According to this story, one line of the Cromarty family went to the north, and another line went to the south. This is confirmed by the Urquhart of Cromarty history which verifies that some sided with Scotland and others with England during the wars between Edward I and Robert the Bruce.

The Treaty of Birgham married Princess Margaret the Maid of Norway, daughter of Eric II King of Norway and also the granddaughter of Alexander III King of Scotland, to Edward II, son of Edward I of England and Wales. This marriage agreement made Princess Margaret and Edward II heirs to the Scottish and English thrones. After the death of Princess Margaret the Cromarty family supported John Balliol, who held the legal right to be King, and who in arbitration Edward I accepted as the legal heir to be King of Scotland. Edward I and Edward II added titles and lands to the Cromarty Estates during this time known as the interregnum.

It is logical that the Sheriffs and Earls of Cromarty so closely connected to the reigning Houses of Dunkeld and Sverre would accept the legality of King John Balliol. At this time Robert the Bruce was considered to have only a distant claim to the throne, and William Wallace to be only a rebel.

These Cromarty’s are said to have left Scotland when Robert the Bruce came to power. They are said to have left because of persecution by the Scottish crown. They went to South Ronaldsey, Orkney and to Caithness, which at that time came under the protection of the King of Norway, the father of Princess Margaret.

Princess Margaret, the Maid of Norway, of the House of Sverre was the Queen of Scotland from 1288-1290 and of the last heir to the House of Dunkeldin. Princess Margaret died in South Ronaldsey, Orkney in 1290 and the Houses of both Sverre and Dunkeldin came to an end in Scotland. Her corpse was taken to Bergen and buried beside her mother in the stone wall, on the north side of the choir, in Christ's Kirk at Bergen. St Margaret’s Hope in South Ronaldsey, Orkney is named after her.

Following the death of Princess Margaret, Edward I was accepted by Scots leaders as the arbitrator in the disputed succession for Kingship. Edward I chose John Balliol who held the legal right to be King of Scotland. This caused a dispute with Robert the Bruce who also claimed kingship. John Balliol abdicated in 1296. Balliol’s abdication led to the English invasion of Scotland and seizure of strategic strongholds. 6 Royal castles were taken around the Moray firth-Elgin, Forres, Nairn, Inverness, Dingwall, and Cromarty.

In 1314 the Eastern half of South Ronaldsey in Orkney is invaded while William de Crumbacy is Crowner of the Highlands. Historically both England and Scotland wanted to establish Naval bases in Orkney during this time of war in Scotland and did invade Orkney. This occurs about the same time in which Edward I grants William de Crumbacy the title of Crowner of the Highlands and gives William de Crumbacy the former lands of Strathbogie in Latheron, Caithness and other lands in the Highlands. Orkney legend has it that Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland, spent the winter of 1306-1307 in Orkney, not in the Island of Rathlin.

Perhaps the quote made earlier in this essay, repeated below, helps explain the above history relating to Balliol (the legal king), the land grants and titles granted by Edward I & II, Robert the Bruce, and the historical quote below written by Sir Thomas on William de Crumbacy.

"The true bearer of the Urquhart arms was the Cromarty Urquharts, but the Urquharts became very greedy and took opportunities to take control of the land of their neighbours. In the end the Urquharts lost it all, castle, lands, everything was lost to them, then they lost their clan ...... That was curse or prophesy fulfilled. Apparently a preacher or a monk spoke out the destruction of the Urquhart clan because of it's greed" (A Scottish Highland Warrior Clan, Donald Urquhart, http://www.urquhartclan.cdadc.com/index.html).

"The Urquhart clan was loyal to and tenaciously determined to, have the Scottish royalty returned to power. In the end these acts of bravery and absolute loyalty, all but destroyed the Urquhart clan financially. I recall reading that, at one point, the Urquhart clan was divided over pursuing their true monarch's ambition of being returned, because of the great financial drain it would place on the Urquhart cophers, particularly if the campaign was lost. So clan Urquhart became divided, with one group of Urquharts marching off to support the Scottish monarchy and the other half remaining in favor of the English - at least appearance wise" (A Scottish Highland Warrior Clan, Donald Urquhart, http://www.urquhartclan.cdadc.com/index.html).

There is written in the genealogy of Sir Thomas Urquhart a segment that both agrees and shows contradiction, both within itself and with known historical research. The reason for this may be the changing politics and contradictions of monarchy, nobility, power, and family relations in the time of the interregnum. The poetic justice of the author and the politics and culture of his own time may also offer some explanation.

From Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty’s genealogy:

William Urquhart of Cromarty, called Gulielmus de Monte Alto = 1. Lilias, dau. of Hugh, Earl of Ross; 2. Violet, dau. of John Cumming, Earl of Buchan. WILLIAM married LILLIAS 1314. His first wife was Lillias, the daughter of Hugh earl of Ross: to his second wife, he took Violet Cumming, the daughter of John Cumming earl of Buchan and lord of Strathboghie; at which marriage Hugh earl of Ross, was so incensed, that he begged of king Robert the Bruce, the gift of his forfeiture, because the Cummings had been disloyal to him: whatever the king’s facility was, this William Urquhart carried himself so lovingly towards king Robert, that when almost all Scotland was possest by king Edward’s faction, and his lands at Cromarty altogether over-run by them, and his house garrisoned and victualed with three years provision of all necessaries for 100 men, he, by a stratagem, gained the castle, and with the matter of forty men, kept it out against the forces of Edward, for the space of seven years and a half; during which time, all his lands there were totally wasted, and his woods burnt; so that having nothing then he could properly call his own, but the Motehill only of Cromarty, which he fiercely maintained against his enemies; he was agnamed Gulielmus de monte alto. At last William Wallace came to his relief (but, as I conceive, it was the brother’s son of the renowned Wallace) who, in a little den, within two miles of Cromarty (till this hour called Wallace den) killed six hundred of king Edward’s unfortunate forces. Afterwards raising the siege from about the Mote-hill of Cromarty, by the assistance of his namesake, the other William, the shire of Cromarty was totally purged of the enemy: and shortly after, by King David, son of the said king Robert, confirmed upon Adam, son to the aforesaid William, with all priviledges, royalties, and immunities that to the said William formerly did belong, which the earl of Ross consented unto; upon whose daughter, Lillias by name, the said William begot

Douglas-Cromarty History: Some of the early gravestones on South Ronaldsey have Coats of Arms on them that contain both Urquhart and Douglas elements. There is a theory that both the Urquhart and Douglas families settled on South Ronaldsey and took the name Cromarty. The Urquhart’s because Cromarty was the family and estate they were from, and the Douglas’s because they were being persecuted by James II of Scotland. Upon studying James II one can see the relations he had with the Earls of Douglas in maintaining his crown.

Another theory relating the Douglas-Cromarty connection claims the Orkney Cromarties were descended from two brothers who were originally from the mainland of Scotland and resided chiefly in the South Ronaldsay and Walls. That one of these two William Cromarty’s who arrived in South Ronaldsay was in truth a Douglas. It is said the two William Cromarty’s arrived in 1314, taking refuge after the Battle of Bannockburn (Orkney was still under Norwegian rule at that time).

A chart showing the Cromarty-Douglas connection was said to have existed until the 1800’s when it was lost by a Cromarty physician from Orkney who carried it to India.

DOUGLAS (in the old county of Lanark) NAME ON MAP: Douglas DATE: 1298 EARLIEST RECORD: Duuelglas DATE: c.1150 MEANING: BRYTHONIC du glas or GOIDELIC dubh glais `black stream'. See under Clan Names.

Cromarty of Orkney

William de Crumbacy (or Grumbaig)-  In 1291 William is granted safe conduct to bring horses and equipment to his Lord, John Earl of Caithness. Following is a description:

In July 1290 the Treaty of Birgham between Scotland, Norway, and England agreed the marriage between Margaret, Maid of Norway and Queen of Scotland from 1288-1290 and last heir to the throne of Scotland of the House of Dunkeld, and Edward II, the son of Edward I Longshanks, and heir to the crown of England. In September of 1290 Margaret set sail in a Norwegian ship from Bergen for Leith. Storms drove the ship off course to Orkney and it eventually landed at St Margaret's Hope in South Ronaldsey. Here in 1290 Margaret, the Maid of Norway died of sea sickness in St Margaret's Hope, South Ronaldsey, aged only 8.

Records of Latheron in Caithness include the itinerary and expenses of the messengers sent by Edward I to meet Margaret, the 'Maid of Norway'. King Edward the I's messenger's spent the night of 2nd October 1290 at Helmsdale and that of the 3rd at a 'Hospital' before riding to Wick on the 4rth. Investigating the stones at Latheron it was found that stones used to build the barn called West Byres at Latheron Mains came from the 'Chapel Stones' site to the east of Latheron Mains farmhouse. An unpublished paper by a local clergyman (W.G. Mowat, The Church of Latheron Parish) gives a sketch of the site and states it is 'thought to be the remains of an abbey'. A hospital/hospice at Latheron would have fit in perfectly with the itinerary of the party travelling from England, as the journey times from Helmsdale to Latheron, and Latheron to Wick would have been approximately the same.

William de Crumbacyn (William de Cromarty) “Giulielmus de Monte Alto” - In 1305 the Chamberlain appoints William de Crumbacy as coroner “crowner” under Edward I and again in 1309, 1311, and 1312. Title and Grant in 1314 as Crowner of all the Highlands by Edward I. Appointed again by Edward II. Coroner meant Crowned Lord. The entire Highlands north of modern Ross and Cromarty is known as Crumbacy, shown on history of MacKenzie map. The Black Isle region of Cromartyshire is shown as Urquhartshire, with the designation of Cromarty Castle as the House of Cromarty. Sir William Urquhart of Cromarty is described in the genealogy of Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty.

From Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty’s genealogy: Sir William Urquhart of Cromarty 1314, "His first wife was Lillias, the daughter of Hugh, Earl of Ross: to his second wife the daughter of John Cumming earl of Buchan and lord of Straboghie;"

Land in Caithness: William de Crumbacyn; Land granted in Dale, Nos, Latherne (Latheron), Landehelugh (Landhallow), and Bowere (Bower is 1-2 km north of Brabsterdorran) (cf 1495 & 1500 references). Had been excheated by Edward I Longshanks in 1306 from Lawrence Strathbogie for his joining Robert the Bruce’s Rebellion.

Crumbachyn 1309 & Cromaty 1500: Grant of fee from lands in 1549. By the Queen to Lawr. Oliphant. Includes Brabsterdorane (Cromarty 1500) and Latheron (Crumbachyn 1309). Lands by Queen due to ward, nonentry, forfeiture, etc. (not specified with respect to lands)

(Courtesy of Lars Maersk Hansen, of Upsala, Sweden)



William de Crumbacy (or Grumbaig)

safe conduct

Wm was to bring back horses and equipment to his lord, John Earl of Caithness. Same as in 1309?


19EdwPatentRoll m14. Printed in Bain, Stevenson





.. The Chamberlain shall appoint coroners. (cf next)


Bain No 1691/4



William de Crumbachyn (cromarty)


William of Cromarty reaffirmed Coroner in Caithness by Edw II, orig by Edw 1, in or after 1305 (cf previously) 


Rotuli Scotiae, p 65



William de Crumbachyn (cromarty)


Land in Caithness: Dale, Nos, Latherne (Latheron), Landehelugh (Landhallow) and Bowere (Bower is 1-2 km north of Brabsterdorran (cf 1495 & 1500 references). Had been excheated by Edw I in 1306 from Lawrence Strathbogie for joining Bruce's rebellion 


Rotuli Scotiae, p 65

Hutcheon Cromarty of Brabsterdorran - Death 1495. A record from 1500 found in the Orig. Paroch., Caithness reads as follows; disposition by King James IV to John Cromarty, son and heir of deceased Hutcheon C. of Brabsterdorran, of the dues of Brabsterdorran, which had been in the King's hands for five years, since the decease of H.C., by reason of non-entry of heir. 

John Cromarty-  Abt 1450 (approximate date). He is the first to settle permanently on South Ronaldsey at Garay and was from the Highland family of the Urquharts of Cromartyshire and Caithness. He was of the landed gentry and is described as being in a position that “he does not need to work”. On 24 August 1479 John purchased 1 mk land in Garay in South Ronaldsey, Orkney from John Vrrii and named his farm “Garay” which was later changed to Cara. John Cromarty styled to “of Cara”. Purchase of these lands included the purchase of the various Cromarty of Cara titles that came with the Garay (Cara) Estates and was the beginning of Cromarty of Cara as a lineage of the Earldom of Orkney. According to Scandinavian Orkney custom John assumed the surname of the estates where he was from, thus becoming John Cromarty. It is very likely that the family was traveling between the lands in Caithness, Cromarty, and Orkney as history and people are usually not static.

Savedale Papers –  (Ref 1500, 19/06, John Cromaty, Savedale Papers". Abirdene, RSS Vol 1, 541).

The Savedale Papers are mentioned in 1500 Abridene, RSS, Vol 1, 541. They are also mentioned as references in later dates.

John Cromarty purchase's the estates and titles to Garay in South Ronaldsey in 1479, and is of the landed gentry that "he does not need to work".

From Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty’s genealogy: THOMAS married HELEN. 1476, He was agnamed Paterhemon, because he had of his wife, Helen Abernethie, a daughter of my lord Salton, five and twenty sons, all men; and eleven daughters, all married women; seven of those sons were killed at the battle of Pinckie; and of some of those others of them that travelled, with great gallantry, to foreign countries, is descended (as I am informed) that worthy knight, in Devonshire, Sir John Urquhart; who, both for his considerable fortune, and far greater merit, is highly renowned in the fourth parts of England; as likewise several families near Carlisle, designed by the name of Urquhart, of such estimation there, that (as I was told) some of them not long ago, have been majors of the city, and sheriffs of the county. To this Thomas, succeeded his son

(Of research interest, in 1480 Sir John MacKay, parson, arrived on South Ronaldsay as the first MacKay in Orkney. MacKay is a long established name in Cromartyshire that originated from the name MacHeth. In Cromartyshire, the MacKay clan was at war with the Ross clan during the time of arrival on South Ronaldsay. Sir John MacKay being titled and a parson it is certain John Cromarty would have known of him).

(Courtesy of Lars Maersk Hansen, of Upsala, Sweden)



John Cromarty

acquis. land

Acquisition of 1 mk land in Garay from John Vrrii.



OA D23/2/61



John Cromarty


JC styled "of Cara". Contr w Rorie (Island?) 


OA D23/2/61



Huchon Cromaty of Brabisterdorane


of Brabisterdorane (Brabsterdorran) 


RSS Vol 1, 541



John Cromaty

Savedale Papers". Wm's children (Thome, James, Adame, Thome younger, William and Magnus,  Elspett) , his brether sons (nephews or kinsmen?) James (son of Alexander) , Huchon and Thomas

Heir of Huchon. Granted by James IV the income of Brabisterdorane in Caithness, 5 years after the death of HC. Could be same as John of Cara above, but not very likely, with respect to chronology 


RSS Vol 1, 541

Magnus the Elder and  Magnus the Younger Cromate (Cromarty)- Son’s of John Cromarty. They were appointed by the Crown as the judges, tax collectors, lawmen, and land owners in South Ronaldsey, Orkney. 

The Battle of Summerdale - The Battle of Summerdale began when the Earl of Caithness made the ill-guided decision to invade Orkney over his desire to gain the Earldom of Orkney and an internal Sinclair tax revolt led by James Sinclair. Using a witch and other questionable tactics the John Sinclair, Earl of Caithness lost all 500 Scottish soldiers under his command in the Orkney counter attack. The Earl of Caithness was found hiding on the Cromarty of Cara estates. Magnus Cromarty (elder or younger, I am uncertain which) and the son of Magnus the Elder, John (Cromarty) I of Cara arrest, bring to trial, and execute the Earl of Caithness for his horrific crimes and his use of a witch in losing all 500 Scottish soldiers. Both Magnus and John are then found innocent under political and family pressure from Orkney by King James V of Scotland. John (Cromarty) the I of Cara and Magnus the Elder both return to Orkney.

Verdict of Arbiters – In 1562 the division of the lands of Cara into Papla, Clet, Hoxa, Caro, Grymnes, Quyis in Holland, Skowsattyre, Ronaldiswo. Hucheone Cromate who purchased land in Holland, Deerness in 1537 is the arbiter.

Wadset – In 1566 John Urquhat is the witness. He is using the name Urquhart, not Cromarty.

(Courtesy of Lars Maersk Hansen, of Upsala, Sweden, the last of the Swedish Cromarty's)



Manys Cromede, eldyer Manys Cromede yownger

Lawman Decree






Mawnis Cawra


one of "famous, discreit and unsuspek persouns": Magnus Cromarty of C or a relative of his wife Cristane Cara?? 





Mavniss of Crummatte


 one among "worthy personis"





Mawnis of Cromatte, eldar Mawnis of Cromatte, younger

Decree of Court

 among "worthy personis"





Jon Thomesen, David Thomesen, Little Thomas, Thomas (the tailor) a. o.


 The Hanseatic assault on certain Burgesses in Bergen, most Scots. JT was Orcadian. Any of these could be a Cromartie. The loot was goods valued 40000 daler according to the complainers


Merchant Lairds





 to MC and her sp Nicoll Tulloch of tenement in Kirkwall, bought and given to James Sinclair of Brecks by his brother german Edward Sinclair of Strome.

Kirkwall, Burgh Ct 21oct 1549

NAS RH13/34



John Cromartie


 Spouse to Marion Cragie





Hucheon C


 Indenture by Edward Sinclair of Strome on 6 mk land in Holland, Deerness.


NAS CS7/235 /f281



Jon Thommeson

Decree of King's Court

 Confirmation of a Shetland Court. Jon T (a Cromartie?) was councillor in B.





John  & Magnus Cromate


 respite for Sumerdale battle 1529, also incl Mag Garioch and Edw Byrsto


NAS, RC1176, Dipl Orc p114f



John  & Magnus Cromate


 respite for Sumerdale battle 1529, also incl James, Edw a. o. Sinclairs, Craigies, etc


RSS Vol 2, 3151, REO XXVI



John Cromarty of Hoxy

Precept of Sasine

 Lands in St Mary and St Peter in SR

Halcro, SR




Margret Cromete (heirs of)


 to Edw Sinclair of Strome on lands in Campsta, St Androwis and vice versa on Lands in Onsta, Stennis





cf Crumbachyn 1309 &

Cromaty 1500

grant of fee from lands

 by the Queen to Lawr. Oliphant. includes Brabsterdorane (cromaty 1500!) and Latheron (Crumbachyn 1309!). Lands by queen due to ward, nonentry, forfeiture, etc (not specified w respect to lands)





Johne Crummate of Cara & Janet Ska his spous


 by Villiam Dirde on 1mk land in Deldail, Derenes





Johne Cromate, younger of Cara


 Redemption of land from his sister Cristan

Howsgar, Sandwick




Alexander Cromarty


 Alexr was witness





John Crummertie of Rannaldsay

Ship Capture

 Pirates captured a Hanseatic vessel and brought it to Orkney. John was among those summoned for having bought the goods


OLM 10, 36ff



Johne Cromatte

land dispute

 JC one of the "Nomina assisae" at sheriff court


Dipl Orc I, p264-5, REO XLIX



John Cromarty

one of Cousins to:

 Magnus Halcro of Buicht involved in a conspiracy with Earl George of Caithness (son of earl slain at Sumerdale), to join him, should the earl invade Orkney! (he didn't but his son did in 1614)


NAS, GD96/78 Sinclair of Mey papers



Johne Cromarty and Magnus, his son


 of lands wadset by John's aunt Jonet to James Tulloch





Marg Flett sp to Johne Cromarty


 to James Irving of Sabay by heirs of Magnus Flett and Mariorie Lowtit (sp Andro Mowat)





John, Elspett, Barbera, William, Thomas, Magnus and Malle Cromarties

Verdict of Arbiters

 Division of lands of the Cara estate: Papla, Clet, Hoxa, Caro, Grymnes, Quyis in Holland, Skowsattyre, Ronaldiswo. Hucheone Cromate (same H who had land in Holland 1537?) is arbiter

Cara, SR




Johne Urquhat


 John U is witness. Note that he bears the name Urquhart, not Cromarty




Russian Nobility
(The following is based on the research and writings of Dr.Vsevolod Malinovskii of Moscow, Russia)

The grandson of Colonel John Urquhart (1618-1656), who married Isabel Kinninmond, was Gerhard Johann Loewenwolde. He was a son of Christoph Bernhard Loewenwolde and John's and Isabel's daughter Isabel. Gerhard's three sons and one daughter were Karl Gustav, Gustav Reinhold, Friedrich Casimir and Helena Christina (according to other sources Charlotta) Loewenwolde.

The Loewenwole family is known as a Baltic family of most ancient origin, i.e. one that came in Baltic countries in the early time of Knights of the Cross (according to investigations of Moser von Filseck, in 1230-th).

Gerhard Johann Loewenwolde (?-1723) served in the Swedish Army, being major in 1697, protested against reductions { which means arbitrary confiscation of land property { and was condemned to death by Charles XI. He escaped and refuged first to Courland and then, in 1709, after defeat of August the Strong by Charles XII, to Russia. He was made an advisor to Russian Tsar Peter the Great in 1709. He served as Peter the Great's plenipotentiary in Livonia in 1710-1713
and held that once until 1713, when he became Hofmeister, heading the court of Princess Charlotte of Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel, wife of Peter's son Alexei Petrovich (1690{1718), Tsarevich of Russia. Her elder blood sister was Empress of the Holy Roman Empire, wife of Emperor Charles VI. She was mother of future Emperor Peter II (1715-1730) of Russia and died shortly after giving him birth in 1715.

Karl Gustav Loewenwolde (?-1735) started his service as adjutant of Tsar Peter the Great and accomplished many missions. By 1725, his rank was Colonel in the Russian Army. In 1726, under Catherine I, he was made a Count of the Russian Empire. He retired and lived in Livonia in 1727-1730, holding in 1721-1735 the post of Livonian Landrat (highest once of self-gouvernment in Livonia). In 1731, after the death of Peter II in January 1730, being informed by his brother Gustav Reinhold about the intentions of Supreme Council concerning invitation to the throne of Anna Ioannovna, niece of Peter the Great, Dutchess of Courland, subject to heavy constraints limiting the Monarch's power, informed her in person and secretly and developed a “gambit-like" plan which she executed later in winter and spring 1730. As a part of these events, he was entrusted to form a regiment - Izmailovsky regiment of Guard, third after Preobrazhensky and Semenovsky regiments of Guard which both were at the time unreliable - as an armed support of the new reign. Since September 1730 until his death in 1735 was Colonel in this regiment and supervised the Guard as a whole. Had a court title of Ober-Stallmeister (Master of the Horse) and established in Russia the State Horse Breeding which allowed e.g., to rise heavy cavalry. Since 1732 he performed various diplomatic missions, in particular as Russian envoy to Holy Roman Empire, Poland and Prussia. His wife was Charlotte Loewenwolde, born Rosen (1698-1782). This marriage was without issue. He died in 1735. According to personal reminiscence of Vasily Nachokine (1707-1760), officer in Izmailovsky regiment and then Lt.-General, “this man was a great mind, had a tendency to justice, to subordinates seemed strict, but no one in the regiment was fined by him, since all were in a great order, and such person as aforesaid Karl Loewenwolde, with just deeds and exceedingly with great constancy, with courage, with such high virtues rarely can be born."

Gustav Reinhold Loewenwolde (1693-1758), having a court title of Chamberlain, was made in 1726, under Catherine I, a Count of the Russian Empire. Together with Andrei Ostermann (1687-1747), which was his friend for a long time, he was in charge of education of Peter II. In 1730, after the death of Peter II in January 1730, he informed secretly the future Empress Anna I Ioannovna -trough his brother Karl Gustav - about the intentions of Supreme Council. It yielded him and his brother her unlimited confidence. After she established herself in power, he had a court title of Ober-Hofmarshal, heading her Court all over her reign. Inspected the Salt Production. Played cards, loosing sometimes large sums reimbursed to him by the Empress. After the death of Anna I in October 1740, held his post in the court of Elisabeth Katharina Christine, Princess of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, mother of the baby-Emperor Ioann Antonovich and niece of Anna I. Vainly warned her against approaching coup done by Elisabeth I, daughter of Peter the Great, in November-December 1741. In a group of highest officials, including Ostermann, he was accused of high treason and condemned to death in 1742. According to memoirs of Manstein (1711-1757), “in fact, the crime of those arrested was that that the new Empress did not like them and they too well served to the former Empress Anna. Moreover, Elizabeth promised to those who helped her to rise to the throne, that she will release them from the oppression of the foreigners, so she had
to condemn those who has held senior positions." Pardoned in the very moment of execution, having all his land possessions confiscated, he was exiled to Solikamsk (literally “Salt-on-Kama"; being there he was supported by Stroganovy, salt producers, whom he formerly supervised), where he died in 1758. It may be noteworthy that, much later, his land possessions were partially returned by Empress Catherine II to his far relatives from an other branch of the Loewenwolde family. Childless officially, but with a large issue from his long-term mistress, famous beauty Natalia Lopuchina (born Balk); in 1743 she was condemned by Elisabeth I - her many years female competitor - to whipping and evulsion of her tongue and then to exile for merely some words of sympathy to him, which were unfairly inflated into a conspiracy.

Friedrich Casimir Loewenwolde (1697-1769) was made in 1726, under Catherine I, a Count of the Russian Empire. In 1733 he was the Russian Embassy in Warsaw, where his elder brother Karl Gustav - at the same time - was senior representative of the Russian authorities. In 1734 he entered by agreement to the service of the Holy Roman Empire, as Maj.-General. Since 1741 - Gen.-Feldzeugmeister, since 1754-General of Cavalry, Chamberlain of the Holy Roman Empire, member of Military Council and President of Military Commission (MilitÄarpupillarkommission). Count of the Holy Roman Empire since 25.11.1730 (diploma issued 18.6.1740). So, he was count of two Empires. He had only one illegitimate son. Shortly before his death, he recognized him and put him into his heritage.

Helena Christina Loewenwolde was the sister of three above mentioned brothers. In 1721 she married Berend Friedrich Schlippenbach. They had three daughters. The elder, Helene Charlotte, married Eberhard Gustav Count Manteuffel. The middle, Anna Friederika, married Karl Gustav Fersen, and her son is Count Ivan Fersen (1739-1800), well known military leader. The younger, Siri Charlotta, married Otto Johann Schlippenbach (1719-1808), Baron of the Holy Roman Empire since 25.10.1768. Apparently, now living descendants of Colonel John Urquhart are the descendants of the latter marriage.

It may be noteworthy that Klaus-Georg Wilhelm Otto Friedrich Gerd von Amsberg (1926-2002), the late husband of the queen of Netherlands Beatrix, has common blood ancestors with Otto Johann Schlippenbach.