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In Irish O'Sullivan is O Suileabhain. The derivation of the name is in dispute among scholars. There is no doubt that the root word is suil (eye), but whether it is to be taken as one-eyed or hawk-eyed must be left an open question. While not quite as numerous as Murphy and Kelly, Sullivan, which is by far the commonest surname in Munster, comes third in the list for all Ireland. Almost eighty per .....

Heraldry Database: Carmichael


Surname:  Carmichael
Branch:  Carmichael
Origins:  Scottish
More Info:  Scotland

Background:  The name Carmichael originally comes from lands in Lanarkshire which were granted to Sir James Douglas of Clan Douglas in 1321, and let by his nephew William Douglas, 1st Earl of Douglas to Sir John Carmichael between 1374 and 1384.d The name is also used to anglicise MacIlleMhicheil. The Carmichaels were strong supporters of the Clan Douglas during their struggles for ascendancy, and were with them, fighting the English at the Battle of Otterburn in 1388 when the Scots defeated Henry 'Hotspur', Earl of Northumberland.

Motto:  Tout jour prest, Always ready.
Arms:  Argent, a fess wreathy Azure and Gules.
Crest:  A dexter hand and arm in pale armed and holding a broken spear Proper.
Supporters:  Dexter, a knight armed at all points and plumed with three ostrich feathers holding in his dexter hand a Marischall's baton all Proper; sinister, a horse of war Argent furnished Gules.
Badge:   A horse of war Argent furnished Gules within a circular wreath Azure and Gules.

View the Heraldry Dictionary for help.

The Carmichaels have been settled on the lands in the upper ward of Lanarkshire from which they derive their name for almost eight hundred years. The lands of Carmichael were originally part of the broad Douglasdale territory granted to the Douglases by Robert the Bruce in 1321. Robert de Carmitely resigned claims to the patronage of the church of Cleghorn around 1220. Robert de Carmichael is mentioned in charter of Dryburgh Abbey in the year 1226. Later, other Carmichaels are mentioned in charters of the Douglas family until, between 1374-84 Sir John de Carmichael received a charter of the lands of Carmichael from William, Earl of Douglas. This Sir John was one of the knights who supported the Douglas faction in their struggle for power in Scotland and in their forays across the English border. The granting of this large piece of Douglas territory was undoubtedly a reward for the martial prowess of Sir John and the Carmichael men. The barony of Carmichael was confirmed to the head of the family in 1414 and it extended at its greatest extent to over fourteen thousand acres in the parishes of Carmichael, Pettinain and Carluke.

The traditional hero of the Carmichael family is Sir John de Carmichael of Meadowflat, later of Carmichael, who fought in France with the Scottish army sent to the aid of the French in their resistance against an English invasion. On March 22 1421, at the Battle of Beauge, Sir John rode in combat against the English commander and unhorsed him, breaking his own spear in the action. His victim was the Duke of Clarence, a Knight of the Garter and brother of Henry V of England. Carmichael's victory so demoralized the English that they fled from the field. To commemorate this deed, Carmichaels bear the broken spear as their crest.

Catherine, daughter of Sir John Carmichael of Meadowflat, captain of Crawford Castle, became the mistress of James V, bearing him a son who was half-brother to Mary, Queen of Scots. The king built the Castle of Crawfordjohn in Clydesdale for her and as a place for them to meet undisturbed. In 1546 Peter Carmichael of Balmedie took part in the slaying of Cardinal Beaton in his Castle of St Andrews. He is said to have struck the cardinal repeatedly, presumably with a dagger. He was one of a group of four conspirators and for his crime he was sentenced to the galleys, serving at the oars with the reformer, John Knox. He was later imprisoned but escaped. disguised as a friar mendicant.

Sir John Carmichael, known as " the most expert Borderer"t was chief from 1585 until he was murdered in 1599. John was a favourite of James VI and was knighted at the coronation of James's queen, Anne, and was subsequently sent on a diplomatic mission to England. He was captain of the King's Guard, Master of the Stables, warden of the west marches and a Privy Councillor. He was later ambushed and shot after arresting some Armstrongs during a disturbance in the lands between Annan and Langholm. Sir John's brother, Archibald Carmichael of Edrom, later prosecuted the murderer and obtained justice.

Sir James Carmichael, first Lord Carmichael was created a Baronet of Nova Scotia in 1627 and raised to the peerage in 1647. His son, William, married Grizel, daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, and their son, John, succeeded his grandfather as second Lord Carmichael. In 1701 he was created Earl of Hyndford, Viscount Inglisherry and Nemphlar, and Lord Carmichael of Carmichael. The five succeeding Earls of Hyndford all held high offices of state and often served in the army. However, their loyal ties shifted with the times. The first Lord Carmichael was a staunch supporter of Charles I but his son, although knighted by the king in 1633, took the side of Parliament, along with his brother, Sir Daniel. He commanded the Clydesdale Regiment at Marston Moor in 1644 and at Philiphaugh the following year, where the royalist forces under the Marquess of Montrose were defeated. The remaining brothers, Sir James Carmichael of Bonnytoun and Captain John Carmichael, were royalists. The former fought at the Battle of Dunhar in 1650, and the latter was killed at Marston Moor, where he must have taken the field against his own elder brothers.

The third Earl, known in the family as "the great Earl", was a staunch supporter of the Hanoverians, and was an ambassador in the service of George II. He was also noted as an agricultural improver, laying out large sums to plant trees and gardens and improve the soil. The sixth Earl died unmarried in 1817, when the family titles and honours became dormant and the great estates of Carmichael passed to Sir John Anstruther of Anstruther, Baronet, who descended through a daughter of the second Earl of Hyndford. For one hundred and sixty-three years the Carmichael-Anstruthers were the proprietors of Carmichael, and made it their seat until the death in 1980 of Sir Windham Carmichael-Anstruther, eleven Baronet. The present chief, Richard Carmichael of Carmichael, has worked tirelessly to support the Clan Carmichael Society which now has branches throughout the world.

Name Variations:  Carmichael, MacDougall, Stewart, Stewart of Appin.

One or more of the following publications has been referenced for this article.
The General Armory; Sir Bernard Burke - 1842.
A Handbook of Mottoes; C.N. Elvin - 1860.
Scottish Clans and Tartans; Neil Grant - 2000.
Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia; George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire - 1994.
Scottish Clans and Tartans; Ian Grimble - 1973.
World Tartans; Iain Zaczek - 2001.
Clans and Families of Scotland; Alexander Fulton - 1991.



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