Clan Hunter

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The first Hunter’s arrived in Ayrshire towards the end of the 11th Century. They were believed to be experts in hunting that originated from Normandy/ Northern France.


It is thought the Pele Tower of Hunterston Castle (south of Largs Ayrshire) was built in the mid-13th Century to serve as a defence against the Vikings that had been attacking the Western Isles and west coast of Scotland. The Hunter’s are sure to have been involved in the Battle of Largs in 1263 that led to the Vikings leaving the Scottish mainland.

Although the Hunter's swore allegiance to the English king Edward I in 1296, as with most other clans, they would probably have joined forces with Bruce when the war for independence escalated in the early 1300s.

1374, Robert the Bruce’s grandson Robert II (Stuart) granted William Huntar, 10th Laird, a charter for the lands of Ardneil for their support in battles.

John Huntar, 14th Laird, died with King James IV at Flodden in 1513 fighting the army of King Henry VIII (Tudor) of England.

Mungo Huntar, 16th Laird, died at the Battle of Pinkie (Edinburgh) 1547 whilst fighting for the young Mary Queen of Scots against the English intent on Mary marrying into the English royalty.


1799, work to build Hunterston House next to the castle began for Eleanor & Robert Hunter. The completion of the house saw the castle used as servant quarters.

Hunterston House.

Gould Hunter-Weston, 26th Laird, fought at Lucknow/India in 1857. His eldest son Aylmer, 27th Laird, was a respected General in World War One. He later became an MP for North Ayrshire.

Clan Chief, Eleanora, 28th Laird, lost a court battle to prevent a Nuclear Power Station being built on the land of Hunterston.

The present Clan Chief, Madam Pauline Hunter of Hunterston, 30th Laird, has developed the Clan Hunter Associations, which with the aid of the Internet, is now worldwide.

Hunterston Castle is still owned by Madam Pauline Hunter. She arranges clan hunter gatherings through the Clan Website. Hunterston Castle is open to the general public one day each year.

Blairquhan Castle image

Other Hunter castles are Blairquhan Castle that was completed in 1842 for Sir David Hunter Blair (son of a banker and Lord Provost of Edinburgh). The castle is set in a 2000-acre estate 14 miles south of Ayr near the small village of Straiton. The estates castle, lodge, dower house and six cottages are now available for holidays and special events. Blairquhan Castle can be visited in summer months, website

Glenapp Castle image Glenapp Castle was completed in 1870 for James Hunter (Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Ayrshire). The present owners offer the castle for 5 Star holidays, corporate events and weddings. Glenapp Castle is situated south of the small village Ballantrae on the southwest coast of Ayrshire, website

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