Hunters in Print

Lieutenant-General Sir Aylmer Gould Hunter-Weston, became the 27th Laird of Hunterston following the death of his mother in 1911.

During the campaign to win the Sudan back from Egypt that culinated in the Battle of Omdurman in 1898 and the and the Boer Wars of 1899 to 1902, he served on the staff of Kitchener, while he was divisional officer to Sir John French, commander of the British Expeditionary Force in France from 1914 to 1915.

In charge of the British Army’s VIII Corps, he also played a leading role in the ill-fated Dardanelles Campaign, a bloody exercise in attrition that dragged on throughout most of 1915 to January 1916.

The disastrous campaign involved a brave but futile attempt by British, French, and Dominion forces to seize the Turkish Dardanelles Strait that connected the Aegean with the Sea of Marmara, in the hope it would knock Turkey out of the war.

Troop landings were made on the Gallipoli peninsula in April of 1915, but between December of that year and January of the following year they had to be withdrawn, after more than 250,000 casualties had been sustained.

The debacle forced future Second World War Prime Minister Winston Churchill from his post as First Lord of the Admiralty.

Following Gallipoli, Hunter-Weston later commanded VIII Corp on the Western Front, and after the war was the recipient of many honours, including that of the Ditinguished Service Order.

A Conservative and Unionist Member of Parliament for North Ayrshire and Bute from 1916 until 1935, he was responsible for commissioning the architect Sir Robert Lorimer to restore Hunterston Castle, north west of West Kilbride, on the Ayrshire coast.

Sir Aylmer died in a fall from a turret in his ancestral home in March of 1940.


Royal Huntsmen

A family known as Venator served as huntsmen to the Dukes of Normandy, in France, and following the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 they settled in England.

A Willieme le Venator, or William the Hunter, had by 1116 built a timber stronghold on the land that would later take the name of Hunterston, or ‘Huntarstoun’, in Ayrshire, and by the middle of the hirteenth century this land been replaced with a much stronger structure built from stone.

From that time the Hunters were named Royal Huntsmen to the Royal Court.

Ancestral Grandfather, John Huntar

John Huntar, 14th Laird of Hunterston, fell with his king, James IV, at the disastrous battle of Flodden on September 9, 1513, while Mungo, the 16th Laird, fell 34 years later, at the battle of Pinkie, near Musselburgh, on the east coast of Scotland.

Clan Weapons

1). The claymore or two-handed sword

2). Basket hilt of broadsword made in Stirling, 1716.

3). Highland dirk

4). Steel pistol made in Doune

5). Head of Lochaber Axe as carried in the ’45 and earlier.

Hunter One-Name Study

The Origins Of The Clan Hunter And Their Place In History by Iain Bray is a book I purchased in Scotland.

Very interesting and a lot of good information to share to my study.

William Hunter’s Library: the Is and the Js

University of Glasgow Library

As all viewers of ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ know, there is no ‘J’ in the Latin alphabet. In Hunter’s Trustees’ catalogue (and in the earlier catalogues compiled in Hunter’s lifetime), there is no separate section in MR 3 for ‘J’ titles and authors are listed with the heading ‘I’.


One topic is very evident in this section of the catalogue: inoculation. The entries for ‘Octavo (Inoculation) Pamphlets’ in MR 3 run over two pages and are comprised of 52 titles.

MR3_p214 Octavo Inoculation Pamphlets (MR 3, f. 214)

MR3_p213 Octavo Inoculation Pamphlets (MR 3, f. 213)

The publications represent a variety of viewpoints but are mostly favour the practice of inoculation. Smallpox was one of the most dreaded diseases in Hunter’s time. Patients who survived were likely to carry the scars for life. There was no cure for smallpox, but a practice that Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, a survivor of…

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