Clan Carruthers

CLAN CARRUTHERS: Is Charteris a variation of Carruthers?


It is with both embarrassment great sadness that we once again have to address the silly claims being made to suggest that everyone and their uncle is a Carruthers.

This seems to include the surnames Carruth, Carrick and Charteris and most famous people in history. One can therefore only put it down to bad research at its best or deliberate ignorance at its worst.

Today, having been contacted by a member, we are dealing with the claims that Charteris is “a variation of Carruthers”. Sadly along with many of the posts from this site, it is again factually and dismally wrong in relation to our family. As such these people are neither recognised nor their actions nor statements condoned by Carruthers on any level.

The piece brought to our attention to be addressed.

Thankfully, with a little bit of effort and research, the true picture emerges.

According to Electric Scotland:

CHARTERIS: A document witnessed by Robert de Charteris giving a grant to the Monastery of Kelso (c.1147) indicates the antiquity of the family in Scotland. The name, originally from Chartres in France, was spelt Carneto (Latin); Cartres (Witness to a document c.1261); Charteris (c.1286) and Chartris (c.1300). William de Chartre accompanied William the Conqueror to England.

His son or grandson followed David 1st to Scotland and was granted the Wardship of Amisfield. He settled in Dumfriesshire and is considered to be the progenitor of the Charteris family. In 1280 Sir Thomas de Charteris was appointed Lord High Chancellor of Scotland by Alexander III. His son, Andrew de Charteris, was forced to give homage to Edward I in 1296. The breaking of this oath cost him his lands which were bestowed upon an Englishman.

His son, William, also did homage in 1304 but joined Bruce in 1306. In 1342 a later Sir Thomas Charteris was appointed Lord High Chancellor by David II but was killed in 1346 at the Battle of Durham. In the reign of James V, Sir John Charteris of Amisfield held vast estates and the important office of Warden of the West Marches. Andrew Charteris of Kinfauns was Provost of Perth from 1465 till 1471 and in 1473, 1475, 1484 and at various times till 1503. The infamous Col. Charteris (d.1732) had one daughter, Janet, who married James, 5th Earl of Wemyss. Their 2nd son, Francis, inherited the estate of his maternal grandfather and assumed the name and arms of Charteris.


Therefore what is interesting, and of course the first clue in negating this statement, is that the root of the name Charteris originated in Chartres in what is now the Eure-et-Loir, south west of Paris. As a family, they were therefore French and as such carried a derivative of the French name of their origin.

This in itself negates the possibility of the name being a variation/derivation of Carruthers, as it is common knowledge that Carruthers were on their lands well before the Norman Invasion by William the Conqueror in 1066.

This leads to the second clue, as Carruthers has a Celtic/Brythonic root in Caer Rydderch (fort of Ruthers in the Cumbric dialect) and is definitely not French.

Thirdly, because a family/clan comes from Dumfriesshire, it does not make them Carruthers.

Finally, and more importantly, the Clan Chief of Charteris is James, the Earl of Wemyss and March.

The Chief of Carruthers is Peter Carruthers of Holmains, 22nd of his line.

Two different families, two distinctly different chiefly lines of Scottish antiquity.

A fuller account of the Charteris Family can be found here although I think the point that Charteris is not a variation of Carruthers has been soundly put to bed.

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