Clan Seat: Hunterston Castle, West Kilbride, Ayrshire, Scotland
Plant Badge: Sea Pink – Ameria Maritima
Madam Pauline Hunter of Hunterston took on the mantle of Chiefship in 1994.
Madam Pauline is the patron and instigator of “The Order of the Royal Huntsman” an award given to Clan members in recognition of their work on behalf of the Hunter Clan and Hunterston Castle the seat of the Clan.
The first Hunter arrived in Ayrshire in the opening years of the 12th century. Experts in hunting and fieldcraft with generations of experience in the forests of their land of origin, Normandy. These Norman lords were invited to Scotland by the Scottish King David I who was himself brought up in the Norman court of William the Conqueror.
In papers relating to the king’s Inquisition (an ecclesiastical court held in the presence of the King) in 1116, we find mention of Willielmo Venator (William the Hunter1st Laird) who was appointed as Royal Huntsman while his wife had the honour of serving Queen Matilda, wife of William the Conqueror, as Lady-in-Waiting before moving to Scotland.
William put his expertise to good use in the wild forests and fens, then rich in wildlife, which surrounded the site of the timber fortress which was to become Hunter’s Toun (Hunter’s Town). As recognition of his family’s skills, the title of Royal Huntsman became hereditary appointment.
In the mid-thirteenth century King Alexander III of Scotland urged hie liegemen to build in stone against possible incursion by Norsemen. It was probably about this time that the pele-tower of Hunterston Castle was constructed.
From this stronghold that family, allied with other powerful neighbours, faced down the aggression of King Hakon of Norway and drove him to defeat at the Battle of Largs in 1263.
It sheltered them throughout the turbulent Wars of Independence from which they emerged with their lands intact having probably supported William Wallace and certainly Robert the Bruce. In 1374 the great king’s grandson Robert II granted William Hunter (10thLaird) Charter of lands for faithful services rendered. The family still possess this ancient document. While farming the lands, the Hunters continued to serve the Scottish crown as Royal Huntsmen and as soldiers, sometimes at great cost. John Hunter (14th Laird) died with King James IV at Flodden in 1513 and Mungo Hunter (16th Laird) died for Mary at the Battle of Pinkie.
As times became more settled, the Hunters devoted more time to farming their extensive lands although they still produced soldiers of distinction over the generations. Gould Hunter-Weston, husband of Jane Hunter (26th Laird) fought in India at Lucknow in 1857 and their son Sir Aylmer Hunter-Weston was a well-known general in the First World War. On retiring from the army he continued serving the population of Ayrshire and Bute as a Member of Parliament.
More recent times have brought industrialization in the form of energy generation for Britain
It is the aim of the 30th Laird, Madam Pauline Hunter of Hunterston, is to provide a focal point for all Hunter Clan members worldwide, by ensuring that Hunterston Castle is preserved for present and future generations of Hunters. The Castle provides the perfect centre for all the Clansfolk to strengthen the traditions of the Clan.
Gatherings are held every two or three years and are fostering a strong sense of togetherness that makes the Hunters into a very distinctive Clan.
At present we have active Clan branches in Argentina, Australia, Canada,
New Zealand, the United States of America and the United Kingdom.