Clan Galbraith Society



June 1, 2002

Galbraiths Gather at Culcreuch Castle

    Clan Initiates Proceedings to Seek a Chief

    Meeting at Culcreuch Castle in Fintry, Stirlingshire, Scotland, Galbraiths from both sides of the Atlantic enjoyed five days of fellowship and clan history from May 19 to May 23, 2002. Nearly 70 attended the gathering, coming from the United States, Scotland, Canada, Wales, and Portugal.

    The gathering was organized by the Clan Galbraith Association, formed in the United States in 1980 and the only such Galbraith organization in existence today. Over the years members have joined from other countries so that it is presently a truly international organization. 

    The castle itself, now a hotel,  was the home of Galbraith Chiefs from about 1390 until 1630 when the 17th Chief, who had mortgaged Culcreuch to his brother-in-law, was unable to repay the debt, lost the castle, and subsequently emigrated to Ireland. His son, James, and grandson, another James, remained in Scotland, landless and in near poverty. The two Jameses, the 18th and 19th Chiefs, were the last Galbraiths known to have held the chiefship. 

        At the opening reception Thomas Galloway Galbraith, 2nd Baron Strathclyde, and Dr. Sam Galbraith, former Member of Parliament at Westminster and at the Scottish Parliament, welcomed all attending Galbraiths to Scotland. Lord Strathclyde recalled that his grandfather and father had attended the last Galbraith gathering in Scotland, also at Culcreuch, twenty-five years previously in 1977.

    Clan members visited the ruins of Craigmaddie Castle in Milngavie, which dates to about 1240 and was the home of Sir William Galbraith of Buthernock, the 4th Galbraith Chief. They also visited Loch Lomond area, where Galbraiths have dwelt for centuries, and viewed Inch Galbraith, a small island in the loch on which the ruins of an even smaller Galbraith castle are still visible. 

    The most important item taken up at the business meeting was a discussion regarding the selection of a new clan chief. With the death of James, the 19th Chief, the Galbraith chiefship came to an end more than 300 years ago. The procedure set forth by the Lyon King of Arms for choosing a chief in such circumstances is lengthy and involves an exhaustive genealogical search for descendants of  the last chiefs of the Culcreuch line. If none can be found, the search would move to descendants of the various cadet lines stemming from younger sons of earlier Galbraith chiefs. There were a number of such cadet lines. While the Clan Galbraith Association can facilitate the choosing of a new chief, those allowed to vote in the actual selection of a new chief must be landowners in Scotland or armigers, men allowed to bear the clan's coat of arms.

    The Association therefore established a Chiefship Committee under the chairmanship of Mr. Stuart Robinson which will initiate the process of searching for and recommending a choice for a new chief. Funds were appropriated  to underwrite professional genealogical assistance if it should be needed. Mr. Gerald D.Galbreath, the association's president, urged any and all Galbraiths, particularly those in Scotland, who think they may be descended from one of the Galbraith chiefly lines, to come forward and make themselves known to the association and to Mr. Robinson, whose E-mail address is

    In other business the association determined to join the Clan Heritage Trust which is seeking to establish a Heritage Center at Balloch for the clans of the Loch Lomond area, among them, Macaulay, Graham, McInnes, and Buchanan. Since Galbraiths had lived in the area for hundreds of years, it was considered appropriate that the association join in this worthwhile effort. The association also will investigate the establishment of a fund to provide educational scholarships for the children and grandchildren of association members and others of Galbraith descent.