Clan Agnew

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Clan Agnew
Clann Mac a' Ghnìomhaid[1]
Clan member crest badge - Clan Agnew.svg
Crest: An eagle issuant and reguardant Proper.
MottoCONSILIO NON IMPETU ("By Council, not by Force")
War cryAgnew!
DistrictDumfries and Galloway
Arms of Baronet Agnew of Lochnaw.jpg
Sir Crispin Agnew
11th Baronet of Lochnaw
Historic seatLochnaw Castle

Clan Agnew (Scottish Gaelic: Clann Mac a' Ghnìomhaid) is a Scottish clan from Galloway in the Scottish Lowlands.[2]



The origin of the name Agnew is disputed, although it is used to be asserted to have been Norman, from the Agneaux or Aygnell family in the Barony d'Agneaux.[3] It was said that the Agnews first settled in England[4] and then moved to Ireland c. 1365[5] becoming the Lords of Larne before coming over to Lochnaw in the mid 14th century.[6] The first record of the Norman name in Scotland is William des Aigneus who is witness to a charter signed in Liddesdale between Randulf de Soules and Jedburgh Abbey c. 1200.[7]

A separate and more likely origin has also been suggested through the Celtic natives of Ulster, the O'Gnimh, who were the hereditary poets or bards of the O'Neills of Clanaboy, and who acquired the anglicized name of Agnew.[8] This origin supports Sir George Mackenzie of Rosehaugh (1631/1691) lawyer and heraldic writer who wrote "Agnew - The Chief is Agnew of Lochnaw, whose predecessors came from Ireland, Rego 2do, being a son of ye Lord Agnews, alias Lord Of Larne. There he gott the keeping of the King's castell of Lochnaw, and was made Heritable Constable yrof".[9] Hector McDonnell suggests that the O'Gnimhs and the Agnews descend from Alastair (d.1299), second son of Domhnall (d. 1249), son of Raghnall (d. 1207), son of Somerled, Lord of the Isles (d. 1164. This would give the Agnews a shared origin with the Clan Donald.[10]

15th and 16th centuries[edit]

Andrew Agnew of Lochnaw was granted the lands and constableship of Lochnaw Castle by Charter dated 10 November 1426 from William Douglas of Leswalt.[11] In 1451 he was appointed Sheriff of Wigtown,[12] an honour still held by his direct descendants.[13]

Patrick Agnew 4th of Lochnaw died shortly after the Battle of Flodden, possibly from wounds.[14] Andrew Agnew 5th of Lochnaw was killed at the Battle of Pinkie in 1547, fighting against the English.[2]

17th century[edit]

Sir Patrick Agnew was MP for Wigtownshire from 1628 to 1633, and again from 1643 to 1647.[2] On 28 July 1629 he was made a baronet of Nova Scotia.[2] Agnew married Lady Anne Stewart, daughter of the first Earl of Galloway.[2] When he died in 1661, he was succeeded by his eldest son, Andrew, who would also be returned as MP for Wigtownshire.[2] He had been created Sheriff of both Kirkcudbright and Wigtown in the 1650s, while Scotland was part of the Protectorate with England.[2]

18th century[edit]

Sir Andrew Agnew of Lochnaw 5th Bt[15] married a kinswoman, Eleanor Agnew of Lochryan, with whom he had twenty one children.[2] He was a distinguished soldier commanding the 21st Foot (which later became the Royal Scots Fusiliers) against the French at the Battle of Dettingen in 1743.[2] King George II of Great Britain, the last British monarch to lead troops in battle, remarked to Agnew that French cavalry had been let among his regiment. Sir Andrew replied, "Yes, please your Majesty, but they didna win back again".[2] He became a Lieutenant General and Governor of Tynemouth Castle.

During the Jacobite rising of 1745 the Clan Agnew continued their support of the British Government. Sir Andrew held Blair Castle, seat of the Duke of Atholl, against Jacobite forces.[2] Agnew's forces were near starvation when Charles Edward Stuart called the Jacobite forces to retreat to Inverness to meet the advance of Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland.[2] See main article: Siege of Blair Castle.[16]

19th Century[edit]

Sir Andrew Agnew, 7th Baronet (1793 - 1849) who married Madeline, daughter of Sir David Carnegie of Pitarrow Bt (later the Earl of Southesk) was an MP for Wigtonshire 1830-37 and a strong promoter of the Sabbath Observance Bills.[17] Sir Andrew Agnew, 8th Baronet married Lady Louisa Noel, daughter of the 1st Earl of Gainsborough. He served in the 93rd Highlanders in Canada[18] and was MP for Wigtonshire.

Principal branches[edit]

The principal branches of the Clan Agnew include:

  • the Agnews of Croach or Lochryan, descending from William 2nd son of Andrew Agnew 2nd of Lochnaw (now the Wallaces of Lochryan)[19]
  • the Agnews of Sheuchan descended from Patrick 3rd son of Sir Patrick Agnew of Lochnaw 1st Bt, whose eventual heiress Margaret married John Vaus of Barnbarroch who under a 1757 entail assumed the name Vans-Agnew (now Vans of Barnbarroch)[20]
  • the Agnews of Kilwaughter, near Larne in Northern Ireland. The precise connection is not known, but the evidence points to the early Agnews of Kilwaughter being kin to the Agnews of Lochnaw[21]
  • The Agnews of Dalreagle descend from Alexander Agnew a natural son of Sir Andrew Agnew of Lochnaw 3rd Bt,[22] whose great grandson was Major General Patrick Alexander Agnew 4th of Dalreagle of the Honorable East India Company.[23]

Clan Chief[edit]


  • Lochnaw Castle was the seat of the chief of Clan Agnew until it was sold in 1948. It is now in private ownership, but well known for its fishing[25][1]
  • Galdenoch Castle, built between 1547 and 1570[26] still a ruin and part of Galdenoch Farm was the home of the Agnews of Galdenoch who descended from Gilbert 2nd son of Sir Andrew Agnew 5th of Lochnaw who was in possession of Galdenoch in 1574.[27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mac an Tàilleir, Iain. "Ainmean Pearsanta" (docx). Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. Retrieved 15 October 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Way, George and Squire, Romily. (1994). Collins Scottish Clan & Family Encyclopedia. (Foreword by The Rt Hon. The Earl of Elgin KT, Convenor, The Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs). pp. 64 - 65.
  3. ^ The Hereditary Sheriffs of Galloway by Sir Andrew Agnew of Lochnaw 8th Bt, 2nd Ed Edinburgh 1893, chapter VII
  4. ^ The Hereditary Sheriffs of Galloway cit. Chapter IX referring to Herbert d'Agneaux at Redenhall in Norfolk and his kin
  5. ^ The Hereditary Sheriffs of Galloway cit. Chapter X
  6. ^ The Hereditary Sheriffs of Galloway cit. Chapter XI
  7. ^ The Kingdom of the Scots by Professor GWS Barrow, Edward Arnold 1973, where the author comments "William, incidentally, may be regarded as the first of the Scottish Agnews."
  8. ^ Agnews and O'Gnimhs by the Hon Hector McDonnell, Journal of The Glens of Antrim Historical Society, Vol 21 1993 page 13; The Family of O'Gnimh in Ireland and Scotland; A look at the Sources, by Professor Brian O'Cuiv, Nomina Vol 8 1998
  9. ^ The Hereditary Sheriffs cit. page 208 citing Mackenzie's Genealogical Mss in (now) the National Library of Scotland
  10. ^ Agnews and O'Gnimhs cit. page 43< & genealogy at page 52
  11. ^ Lochnaw Papers GD154 No 2, National Archives
  12. ^ Lochnaw Papers No. 5
  13. ^ Matriculation (1976) by Sir Crispin Agnew of Lochnaw 11th Bt, Lyon Register Vol 60 page 39
  14. ^ The Hereditary Sheriffs of Galloway cit. Vol 1 page 335
  15. ^ Chichester, Henry Manners. "Agnew Andrew (1687-1771)". Retrieved 15 April 2018 – via Wikisource.
  16. ^ The Scots magazine and Edinburgh literary miscellany, Volume 70, Part 1 (1808).
  17. ^ Memoirs of the Life of Sir Andrew Agnew of Lochnaw, Bart by Thomas M'Crie 2nd Ed Edinburgh 1853
  18. ^ From Lochnaw to Manitoulin, Diary edited by Scott A McLean, Toronto 1999
  19. ^ Burkes Peerage & Baronetage 107th Edition (2003) Vol 1 Agnew of Lochnaw page 45 and The Hereditary Sheriffs of Galloway cit. Vol II page 433
  20. ^ Burkes Peerage & Baronetage cit. page 46 and The Hereditary Sheriffs of Galloway cit. Vol II page 435 and see Burkes Peerage and Baronetage cit. page 262 Barnbarroch for the Vans Agnew descent from Margaret
  21. ^ The Hereditary Sheriff of Galloway cit. Vol II pages 43-60 and Agnews and O'Gnimhs cit. pages 27 to 32. See also for the more recent Kilwaughter descent.
  22. ^ Burkes Peerage & Baronetage cit. page 47
  23. ^ "Under a Tropical Sun: Biographies: Patrick Agnew". Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  24. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 August 2016. Retrieved 8 August 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  25. ^ "Lochnaw Castle "Here be Monsters"". Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  26. ^ "Galdenoch Castle - Canmore". Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  27. ^ Burkes Peerage & Baronetage cit. page 45

External links[edit]