by Isabelle S. Lockhart
The surname of Lockhart is of great antiquity in Scotland. There are many examples of the spelling of this name: Locard, Locarde, Loccard, Lochard, Lochart, Lockard, Lockart, Lockharte, Lockheart, Lokart, Lokert, Lokhart, Lokhert, Lokkart, and our current spelling of Lockhart. Research is very frustrating when you’re searching old records for “Lockhart” and can’t find anything because it’s hiding under one of the other spelling variants. Each different record on the same individual might be spelled differently! Spelling has been inconsistent through the years, but we are all of the same family.
A lot of Scots pronounce our surname, “Lock’ert,” so it is easy to understand where some of the spelling originated. While in Scotland in 2000, fishing in the Nith River, my husband Bill Lockhart introduced himself to a man on the bank of the river. The man’s reply, in that wonderful Scottish brogue, “Aiy, Lock’ert!–a good Scottish name.”
Bill Lockhart fishing on the Nith River
Records tell us the Lockharts came from Flanders in the early 12th century. Today, most of the historical County of Flanders is included in Belgium, which was established in 1830. Feudal France in the early 11th century included all of the County of Flanders.
The Lockharts came from Flanders across the North Sea, possibly to Levington, England. Levington is near Ipswich in Suffolk County, England and on the shore of Orwell Bay which joins the North Sea.
One record states, “The Locards were among those who were dispossessed by William the Conqueror, and sought refuge in Scotland.” [Simon Macdonald Lockhart, "Seven Centuries."]
From England, some migrated north to Annandale, the valley of the river Annan, in Dumfriesshire (or, as we Americans would say, Dumfries County), Scotland. The village of Annan stands at the mouth of the river Annan.
Annan, Dumfriesshire, Scotland
The River Annan
North of Annan, still in Annandale and Dumfriesshire, the town of Lockerbie is said to be named for the Lockharts.
The Bruce family was given land at Annandale in 1124 for military service to the Normans. Lochmaben Castle, situated on the shore of Lochmaben Loch, a short distance from Lockerbie, was the earliest home of Robert the Bruce’s family when it was first built in the 12th century. William Bruce was Baron of Annandale. Of that time, the definition of baron was: a feudal tenant holding his rights and title directly from a king or another feudal superior. Lochmaben castle was much involved in the Anglo-Scottish wars before it finally passed into the hands of the Scots in 1384 to eventually become a Scottish Royal Castle. The much reduced ruins are all that remain today.
Lochmaben Castle Ruins, Lochmaben, Scotland
From Annandale, the Lockharts migrated to Ayrshire, in which county are the villages of Barr, Symington, Galston, and Stevenston, to name a few that the Lockharts were associated with.
There were Lockharts at Barr, Ayrshire, Scotland and in surrounding areas with “Bar” associated with their name. Records show the word spelled both “Bar” and “Barr.” It is curious as to how “Barlockhart” must have originated and why the Lockhart name is associated with the word “bar.” There is a large area of land in southwest Scotland near Glenluce with names such as “Barlockhart,” “Barlockhart Moor” (a moor is a tract of open wasteland usually covered with heather and often marshy or peaty), “Barlockhart Fell” (a fell, like a moor, is a stretch of wasteland, also a barren hill or high, rocky ground), and “Barlockhart Loch” (a loch is a lake).
Barlockhart and Barlockhart Loch
Barlockhart Loch is strikingly pretty with Luce Bay in the background leading out to the Irish Sea.
North of the Barlockhart area is the little village of Barr, Ayrshire. The village of Barr is nestled in the valley by the Stinchar River. Except for the name of this village, “Barr,” no landmarks have revealed exactly where Lockharts lived in this area.
Barr Village Entrance
Isabelle Lockhart waves from the Bridge at Barr
The River Stinchar at Barr
North of Barr, still in Ayrshire, is the village of Galston, where Barr Castle is located off Barr Street. The 15th century square tower with a later hipped roof, was built for the Lockharts of Barr. This red-sandstone building, five stories high with plain walls, was purchased by the Campbells of Cessnock in 1670 and has since been used as a wool store, a social club, and a Masonic hall.
Barr Castle, Galston, Ayrshire
“Barr Castle! Tenantless and wild!
Dome of Delight! Dear Haunt of mine!
The shock of ages thou has foiled,
Since fell the last of Lockhart’s line,
Thou, left a hermit, to grow grey
O’er swallow, crane and bird of prey.”
[John Wright, (Scotland) poet, c.1815.]
The Lockhart family who lived at Barr Castle, in Ayrshire, referred to themselves as being from the “House of Bar.”
When I discovered the existence of the Duchy of Bar in Bar le Duc, France, with its “House of Bar” and the proximity of Flanders and Normandy, I couldn’t help wondering if this place was the root of the association between “Lockhart” and “Bar.” The County of Bar was founded in about the 10th century and became a dukedom in 1354, which then became the Duchy of Bar (aka Barrois) which was merged with the Duchy of Lorraine in 1480 and much later became part of France. The coincidence of a “House of Bar” in the area where Lockharts originated and a “House of Bar” in Scotland where Lockharts were known to live is interesting.
Bar le Duc, France
Back in Scotland, still in Ayrshire and on the western coastline, is the town of Stevenston.
Stevenston, Ayrshire, Scotland
The name of Stevenston is derived from the name of Stephanus or Stephen Lockard, a man of rank and distinction, who lived in the reigns of king David I [reign: 1124-1153] and king Malcolm IV [reign: 1153-1165]. [Douglas' Baronage]
A description of Stevenston in 1837: “Stevenston is a village in the parish of its name and district of Cunningham – situate one mile northeast of Saltcoats and two southwest from Kilwinning. It consists chiefly of one street, half a mile in length; and derives its name from Stephen, or ‘Steven’ (Loccard), the son of Richard, who obtained a grant of lands from Richard Morville, Constable of Scotland who died in 1189. Under this grant Steven settled here and gave his patronymic designation to the place.” ["Saltcoats and Stevenston," 1837, Ayrshire Directory by Pigot and Company.]
Old Stevenston photographs may be seen here.
“Stephanus founded the village of Stevenston in Ayrshire. This would have been a hamlet or ‘ferm-toun’ housing the farmers and workers on part of his estate. He was also the progenitor of the Ayrshire branch of the family of Stephenson.” [Simon Macdonald Lockhart, "Seven Centuries."]
Between Stevenston and Galston, but to the south, in Ayrshire, is the town of Symington. The name of the village and church of Symington is derived from Symon Loccard/ Lockhart, who founded the church in 1160 and who held the lands under Walter, the first Steward.
“Symington Church was founded in 1160 by Simon Loccard, a Norman knight granted title to the surrounding land by the Royal Steward of king David I and for whom the village (of Symington) is named.” [History of Symington Parish Church, Symington, Ayrshire, Scotland.]
See “Symington Parish Church“.
Symington Parish Church
Symon Lockard, flourished in the reign of king Malcolm [reign: 1153-1165] and that of king William [William the Lion, reign: 1165-1214] and was a considerable proprietor of lands in the shire of Lanark. [Douglas' Baronage]
Lanark, Lanarkshire, Scotland
There is a village in Lanarkshire also named Symington, which states in its’ “History of the Symington Name,” “It is formed from a combination of two words, Symon’s Town, Symon being the son of one Locard, now Lockhart, a Fleming who came to Scotland and had the district which bears his name conferred upon him by King William the Lion or his predecessors.”
Symington, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Valley, Symington, Lanarkshire, Scotland
In a charter of a donation to the abbacy of Kelso, by Wicius de Wiceston, of the church of Wiceston, Symon Lockard is a witness, in or before 1164, in which year the bishop died. [Douglas' Baronage]
Kelso Abbey Ruins, Kelso, Scotland
Symon Lockard had the honor of knighthood conferred upon him by king William [William the Lion, reign: 1165-1214], which appears by a donation he made to the said abbacy of Kelso. This is confirmed by Joceline, bishop of Glasgow, who was in that fee from 1174 to 1199. [Douglas' Baronage]
King William the Lion reigned Scotland 1165-1214, and founded Arbroath Abbey, a Tironensian monastery, in 1178. His grave is located within the grounds and ruins of Arbroath Abbey at Arbroath.
Grave of William the Lion at Arbroath Abbey
It was at Arbroath in 1320 that Scotland’s nobles swore their independence from England by signing one of the most famous documents in Scottish history, the “Declaration of Arbroath.” “The manifesto affirmed the nation’s independence in a way no battle could, and justified it with a truth that is beyond nation and race.” [John Prebble, The Lion in the North: One Thousand Years of Scotland's History.]
The Declaration of Arbroath not only expresses the desire for independence, it also tells us of the migrations of the original Scots from Greater Scythia to ancient Scotland, “… we know and from the chronicles and books of the ancients we find that among other famous nations our own, the Scots, has been graced with widespread renown. They journeyed from Greater Scythia by way of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Pillars of Hercules, and dwelt for a long course of time in Spain among the most savage tribes, but nowhere could they be subdued by any race, however barbarous. Thence they came, twelve hundred years after the people of Israel crossed the Red Sea, to their home in the west where they still live today.” [Declaration of Arbroath, 1320.]
Symon Lockard’s grandson, also named Symon, was proprietor of the lands of Craiglockhart, in the shire of Edinburgh, which appears by a confirmation from King Alexander III [reign: 1249-1286] of some lands belonging to William Lamberton, wherein are mentioned the lands lying betwixt Bred and Merchiston, (Craiglockhart) belonging to Sir Symon Lockard, etc. [Douglas' Baronage]
The fortalice of Craiglockhart, a narrow square tower or keep, was, as is evident from the character of the building, erected by the Lockharts, and is not less than six hundred years old. The basement story, arched, and the shattered walls of the second, still fortunately remain (in 1863). Every vestige of its precincts has disappeared. [Thomas Murray, Biographical Annals of the Parish of Colinton, Edinburgh 1863]
Craiglockhart is now the site of Napier University. Craiglockhart castle site is where the building stands today. There are ancient ruins on the grounds which must have been part of the estate. Glenlockhart Road leads directly there.
Ruins of Craiglockhart
The first Lockharts settled mostly in the southern part, or lowlands, of Scotland. But, of course, as we all know, from there Lockharts (with all their various spellings) have spread out tremendously, migrating and living everywhere on the globe.