David Barclay (Quaker)

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Col. David Barclay (1610 – October 12, 1686), of Mathers, St Cyrus, Kincardineshire in Scotland, was 1st Laird of Urie near Stonehaven, Kincardineshire, Scotland, and father of Robert Barclay, the eminent Quaker apologist.

In 1626 he moved to Germany to become a soldier of fortune, eventually rising to the rank of major under Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, during the Thirty Years War.[1] He returned to Scotland in 1636 to serve in the covenanting army, becoming colonel of a horse regiment under General John Middleton.[2] In 1647 he purchased the lands and barony of Urie in Kincardineshire from William Keith, 7th Earl of Marischal.

As a known associate of the Earl Marischal he was subsequently confined in Edinburgh Castle where he was converted to Quakerism in 1665 by the celebrated laird of Swinton, who was confined in the same prison.


Col. David Barclay was the son of David Barclay (1580–1660), 11th of Mathers, of Kincardineshire, Scotland and Elizabeth Livingstone, daughter of John Livingston of Dunipace.

On 26 January 1648, he married Katherine Gordon (1621–1663), daughter of Sir Robert Gordon, 1st Baronet, MP (1580–1656), founder of the Gordonstoun estate, and Louisa Gordon of London, on December 24, 1647 in Kincardine. Katherine was a third cousin of Charles I.[3]

By Katherine he had two daughters, Lucy and Jean, and three sons, Robert, John, and David.

  • Lucy died unmarried.
  • Jean married Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel, to whom she bore eight children.
  • Robert, the eldest son, who became celebrated as the apologist for the Quakers.
  • John, the second son, settled in East Jersey in America, where he married and left issue.
  • David died unmarried.

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

ODNB article by Brian M. Halloran, ‘Barclay, Robert (1611/12–1682)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [1], accessed Dec 3, 2007.


  1. ^ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, under Robert Barclay
  2. ^ Oxford DNB
  3. ^ Oxford DNB