The seat of the chief of Clan Hunter has been at Hunterston Castle for over 800 years.
Origins of the clan
A traditional ancestor of the Hunters was with Rollo, a Viking, at the sack of Paris in 896. He was appointed as a huntsman to one of Rollo’s descendants. The Hunters later followed Matilda, queen of William the Conqueror, to England and as a result their name is not included amongst those who accompanied William.
It is likely that the Hunters came to Scotland with David II of Scotland upon his invitation and were given lands named Hunter’s Toune.
In 1296 Aylmer le Hunter of the county of Ayr appears on the Ragman Rolls submitting to Edward I of England.
A charter signed by Robert II of Scotland on 2 May 1374 has survived that confirmed a grant of land to William Hunter for his faithful service rendered and to be rendered to us in return for a silver penny payable to the Sovereign at Hunterston on the Feast of Pentecost. To this day the Laird of Hunterston, chief of Clan Hunter keeps silver pennies, minted in the reigns of Robert II and George V in case of a royal visit on the day appointed for payment of his rent. The William Hunter who received this charter is reckoned to have been the tenth Hunter of Hunterston. In earlier records both William Hunter and Norman Hunter appear using the Latin form of the name, Venator.