Carmichan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
The surname Carmichan was first used in the Scottish/English Borderlands by an ancient Scottish people called the Strathclyde-Britons. It was a name for someone who lived in the barony of Carmichael in the county of Lanarkshire where the earliest existing records of the family indicate that they resided in this county before the 11th century Norman Conquest. Early records show that they lived at Glegern (now Cleghorn,) which they were granted in the late 12th century by King David I of Scotland. Robert de Caramicely is mentioned in records in 1226. William de Creimechel witnessed a charter by Nerssus de Lundors c. 1225.
Little is mentioned of the family until more than a century later when William de Carmichael is mentioned in a charter of lands of Poufeigh c. 1350 and Sir John de Carmychell had a charter of the lands of Carmychell between 1374 and 1384 granted by William earl of Douglas for his assistance of King Charles VI of France against the English. 
Today, Carmichael is a small village between Lanark and Biggar, in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, home to the "Discover Carmichael Centre," featuring the history of the Carmichael family in Scotland.
Early Origins of the Carmichan family
The surname Carmichan was first found in Lanarkshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Lannraig) a former county in the central Strathclyde region of Scotland, now divided into the Council Areas of North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, and the City of Glasgow.
"This place derives its name from St. Michael, to whom its first church was dedicated. The remains of antiquity of which historical use can be made, are very few; in the south-west corner of the parish are vestiges of a camp and military station, and a few years ago, a large coffin constructed of sandstone was found, but destitute of any mark to guide opinion as to its probable origin. On the summit of the lofty mountain of Tinto, is a cairn or heap of stones; and in some parts, are stone crosses, all of which point out the places of military occupation and engagement, concerning the particular facts of which nothing determinate is on record. The ancient and illustrious family of Carmichael occupy the most prominent place in the civil history of the parish." 
George Carmichael "thesaurer" of Glasgow was elected bishop late in 1482 but died the following year without having been confirmed. A few years later, John of Carmichael was an Edinburgh councillor in 1518. John Kirkmichael of Carmichael who escaped the carnage of Verneuil in 1424 was appointed by the French king for the recognition of the great services by the Scots in France. He was known in French history as Jean de St. Michael and founded there a cathedral which was maintained for his fellow Scottish countrymen slain at Verneuil.
In the Battle of Beauge, Sir John distinguished himself by unseating the Duke of Clarence, the English King's brother, but broke his lance; hence the Family Crest became the broken lance.
Early History of the Carmichan family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Carmichan research. More information is included under the topic Early Carmichan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Carmichan Spelling Variations
The many spelling variations in Medieval Scottish names result from the fact that scribes in that era spelled words according to sound. Translation too, was an undeveloped science, and many names were altered into complete obscurity. Over the years Carmichan has been spelled Carmichael, Carmichail, Carmichale, Carmicham, Carmackhell and many more.
Early Notables of the Carmichan family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the family at this time was James Carmichael (fl. 1587), Scottish grammarian who published a Latin grammar at Cambridge in September 1587. Sir John Carmichael (d. 1600), of Carmichael, was a powerful border chief, was the eldest son of Sir John Carmichael and Elizabeth, third daughter of the fifth lord of Somerville. "While on his way to Lochmaben, to hold a warden's court for the punishment of offences committed on the borders, he was attacked (16 June 1600) by a body of the Armstrongs and shot dead with a hacbut. For this murder Thomas Armstrong, nephew of Kinmont Willie...
Another 156 words (11 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Carmichan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Carmichan family to Ireland
Some of the Carmichan family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 132 words (9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Carmichan family
To escape the uncertainties and discrimination faced in Scotland, many decided to head out for North America. Once they arrived, many Scots fought with relish in the American War of Independence; some went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Many ancestors of these Scots have recovered their lost national heritage in the 20th century through Clan organizations and Scottish historical societies. Among the settlers to North America were: Andrew Carmichael who settled in Maryland in 1774 with his brother Archibald, and his wife Mary; Donald settled in New York State in 1738; Dugald Carmichael and his wife Catherine and four children settled in New York state in 1739.
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The Carmichan Motto +
The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.
Motto: Toujours prest
Motto Translation: Always ready.
- ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.