Category: Origin of the Name

Origin of Surname Hunter

Hunter Early Origins

Hunter comes from the kingdom of Dalriada in ancient Scotland. It was a name for a person who worked as a hunter or someone involved in the chase. This name is derived the Latin word venator.

Historical recordings of the name Hunter include many spelling variations. They are the result of repeated translations of the name from Gaelic to English and inconsistencies in spelling rules. They include Hunter, Hunters and others.

First found in Ayrshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Air), formerly a county in the southwestern Strathclyde region of Scotland, that today makes up the Council Areas of South, East, and North Ayrshire. But while Scottish history places them in this area, we must remember that before the 5th century this Clan, held a family seat at Hy Seaain counties Derry and Tyrone, in Ireland, and were chiefs who calimes descent from King Colla da Crioch. Moving to Scotland about the 5th or 6th century they were granted lands by the Grahams at Polmood.


Origin of the Hunter Surname

The Historical Hunter Surname

HUNTER. Obiviously derived from the case, in old times a necessary art, as well as a favorite. The Normans were great preservers and mighty hunters of game, and though the name is A-Sax. (hunta) it is generally considered that the families bearing it are chiefly of Norman origin. Under the Norman and early Scottish kings the office of king’s hunter (Venator Regis) was one of considerable dignity. “The Huuters of Polmood in Tweedsmuir pretend to have had a charter of their lands from Graeme, who broke through the Wall of Antoninus in the V. cent! Folks of Shields.

Lower, Mark A (1860) Patronymica
Britannica: a dictionary of the family
names of the United Kingdom. London:
J.R. Smith. Public Domain

Origin of Name

The first Hunters arrived in Ayrshire in the opening years of the 12th century, having come over from northern France after the Norman Conquest of England. Experts in hunting and fieldcraft with generations of experience in the forests of Europe, these Norman lords were invited north by King David I of Scotland who was himself brought up in the Norman court.

The earliest reference to the Hunters living at Hunterston in official documents emerges in an Inquisition, a Court of Law held in the King’s presence in 1116. We find mention of Willielmo Venator, William the Hunter, now regarded as the first Laird, and Royal Huntsman Praefectus Venatorus Regis to the Kings and Queens of Scotland. The Hunter family are fortunate to have an ancient parchment charter still in their possession confirming a grant of land at Huntarstoune and Ardneil (near West Kilbride) dated 1374, with a rent of a silver penny only to be paid on request to the Crown.

There is very recent evidence that the lands at Hunterston were inhabited since very early times. Iron and Bronze Age relics have been unearthed andrecently foundations of an early wooden fort have been discovered by archaeologists on the Hunterston Sands. This sheltered foreshore would have provided a safe natural beach from where to launch and land boats. As we know, much of the early contact between communities in olden days occurred by sea and there was trading all along the coast of Britain from the far north to the tip of Cornwall.

In 1826 two local farm workers were digging a ditch near the foreshore a few miles south of where the Battle of Largs took place in 1263. They uncovered a large metal ornament crafted in a distinctive Celtic style which was thought to have been worn by a mortally wounded Viking, Jarl Malbrigda fleeing the battle scene. We know his name as he had inscribed it on the back of the brooch.

This magnificent hand crafted solid silver brooch inlaid with gold filigree still takes pride of place at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, nearly 200 years since its discovery. Named after the location of its find, the Hunterston Brooch displays the astonishing skill and craftsmanship of Scottish craftsmen.

Madam Pauline Hunter of Hunterston is the present Chief of Clan Hunter and represents the 30th generation of Lairds that have lived at Hunterston. Madam Pauline devotes much of her time to promoting the proud heritage and culture of Scotland to a wide diaspora of Clan Hunter family members and their relatives spread across the global domain. In the tradition of Scotland’s most successful export, making the genealogical connections for these peoples signifcantly contributes to the value of Scotland’s history.

Source: Clan Hunter Scotland