Robert Gayre

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George Robert Gayre (6 August 1907[1] – 10 February 1996) was a Scottish anthropologist who founded Mankind Quarterly, a peer-reviewed academic journal which has been described as a "cornerstone of the scientific racism establishment".[2] An expert on heraldry, he also founded The Armorial, and produced many books on this subject.[3]

Education and military service[edit]

Gayre was born as George Robert Gair on 6 August 1907 in Dublin to Robert William Gair (1875-1957), a confectioner, and Clara Hull or Hart, and in bogus pedigrees recorded in Ireland in 1950 and published between 1952 and 2003 [4], he claimed that his father was the son of William Gillies Gair (1842-1906), a portrait painter born at Greenock in Scotland, but was actually the illegitimate son of the painter's sister Jessie Gair (died 1897) who, two years after the child's birth became the second wife of William Sutherland, of Glasgow, plasterer [5] He earned an MA from University of Edinburgh, then studied at Exeter College, Oxford.

Gayre served with the British Expeditionary Force in France in 1939, as a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Royal Artillery[6] afterwards becoming Educational Adviser to the Allied Military Government of Italy, based in Palermo, where he fought for the exclusion of left-wing text-books and communist influence from the Italian education system. He was thereafter Director of Education to the Allied Control Commission for Italy, based in Naples; and Chief of Education and Religious Affairs, German Planning Unit, Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force.[7] After the war he spent a considerable amount of time in India where he was instrumental in the establishment of the Italo-Indian Institute.[8]


Both Gayre and Sir Thomas Innes of Learney were authors of books on heraldry. As Chief of Clan Gayre, Gayre appended "of Gayre and Nigg" becoming Grand Almoner, and Hereditary Commander of Lochore, of the Order of Saint Lazarus (statuted 1910).[9]

His 1959 book Heraldic Standards and Other Ensigns: Their development and history is considered an important work on the subject, and he contributed on the topic to Encyclopædia Britannica.

Mankind Quarterly and publications on race[edit]

Gayre was one of the founders and an editor of Mankind Quarterly from 1960 to 1978, and was honorary editor-in-chief thereafter.[10]

The magazine has been called a "cornerstone of the scientific racism establishment" and a "white supremacist journal",[2] "scientific racism's keepers of the flame",[11] a journal with a "racist orientation" and an "infamous racist journal",[12] and "journal of 'scientific racism'".[13]

In 1968 he testified on behalf of members of the Racial Preservation Society who were charged under the Race Relations Act for publishing racialist material. They prevailed in their defence. In his evidence to the court Gayre described blacks as being "feckless" and he maintained that scientific evidence showed that blacks "prefer their leisure to the dynamism which the white and yellow races show."[14]

Titles, styles and controversies[edit]

Previous generations of Gayre's ancestors (in the female line) all used the spelling "Gair" as far back as the 17th century.[15] Gayre's university degree in the mid-1920s was likewise issued with the "Gair" spelling, but he began spelling it "Gayre" at least as early as 1943. In 1957, after the death of his father, he changed his surname to "Gayre of Gayre and Nigg", a title that had never before been used.[16]

Gayre claimed to be the Chief of "Clan Gayre" and "Clan Gayre and Nigg". In 1947, he wrote a book titled Gayre's Booke: Being a History of the Family of Gayre [17] in which, without mentioning his illegitimate descent, he presented an ancestry that supposedly established his claim to be the chieftain of the Clan of Gayre; however no clan or sept by that name is mentioned in any record prior to Gayre's use of it in the second quarter of the 20th century.[18] World Orders of Knighthood and Merit by Guy Stair Sainty (published by Burke's Peerage) refers to Gayre as "...the late Robert Gayre (first Chief of the newly formed Clan Gayre)...".[19] The Glasgow Herald Newspaper, on 14 June 1975, wrote "Robert Gayre, of Gayre and Nigg, is singular among genealogists, dynasts and the like, if only for the reason that, alone among them, he has been able to create a Scottish clan from scratch, providing it with traditions, rituals, precedences and privileges..."[18]

In 1967 Gayre established a Commandery of the Order of St Lazarus. In 1971 he bought St Vincent’s Church. It became its collegiate church, the seat of the Commandery of Lochore. It was the first church to have been acquired by the Order of St Lazarus since the reformation. Gayre also claimed to be "Baron of Lochoreshire".[20] This was not a title that Gayre inherited or was bestowed but rather one that he assumed after he purchased the seat of the feudal Barony of Lochore. Nor was the feudal Barony ever previously described as "Lochoreshire"; it was always the "Barony of Lochore", which was located within an area that was known in medieval times as Lochoreshire. Other titles and honours that he said he had include being Chamberlain to the Prince of Lippe (a prominent member of the Order of Saint Lazarus), Knight of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George of Naples, Knight Commander of the Cross of Merit (Military Division) of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Knight Commander of the House Order of Lippe, Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Military and Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem and Knight Grand Officer of the Order of the Crown of Italy.[21]

In the early 1960s, Gayre was appointed "Commissioner-General of the English Tongue" of the Order of Saint Lazarus (statuted 1910), one of the many neo-chivalrous self-styled ordersthat arose in the early-20th century.[20]

In 1964, Gayre formed the International Commission on Orders of Chivalry (ICOC), an ostensibly academic but non-authoritative panel whose purpose was to review and approve of or reject claimed Orders of Chivalry.[22] The Commission originally included many holders of legitimate titles and honours, but when it became evident that Gayre intended to bolster the legitimacy of the Order of St. Lazarus through the Commission's published Register, some of the original members resigned in protest. The privately-run and privately-funded ICOC continued to act as a vehicle for promoting the cause of establishing the Order of St. Lazarus' legitimacy until Gayre's death in 1996.[23] In this, he was assisted by his friend, protege, fellow member of the Order of St. Lazarus, and Vice-President of the ICOC, Terence MacCarthy.[24] whose pedigree is claimed to be similarly bogus [25]

Nazi ties[edit]

In 1944 Gayre wrote Teuton and Slav on the Polish frontier:a diagnosis of the racial basis of the Germano-Polish borderlands, with suggestions for the settlement of German and Slav claims using photos by the Nazi Hans F. K. Günther and refers several times to "Professor Hans F.K. Günther's authoritative work on German racial science". Like Günther, he was a leading member of the post-war Neo-Nazi Northern League and according to Joseph L. Graves and others had close ties to other neo-Nazi organisations. Graves and William H. Tucker state that Gayre considered himself a Strasserist, an ideology "which emphasized the 'socialism' in National Socialism, rejecting both communism and capitalism as Jewish-dominated systems that had to be overthrown in favour of an approach based on white racial solidarity." He denied any links between Nazism and Mankind Quarterly while lamenting the identification by most of the word "Nazi" with "Hitlerian Nazi".[26]

Publications on ancient Zimbabwe[edit]

Gayre wrote some articles[27][28] and a book[29] proposing a Semitic origin for Great Zimbabwe, maintaining that the Lemba are descended through their male line from the creators of the original Zimbabwean civilisation, and citing evidence including burial and circumcision practices.[29] He suggested that the Shona artefacts which were found at Great Zimbabwe and in numerous other stone ruins nearby, were placed there only after they conquered the country and drove out or absorbed the previous inhabitants; he added that the ones who remained would probably have passed some of their skills and knowledge to the invaders.

According to Gayre, the agricultural terracing and irrigation channels in the Nyanga District of northeast of Zimbabwe was a product of the same ancient civilisation – as too were the hundreds of ancient gold mines in the country.[29]

Most archaeologists disagree with Gayre's interpretation and conclusions: they maintain that Great Zimbabwe was constructed by ancestors of the Shona,[30][31][32][33][34][35] as were the terraces, furrows and settlements of ancient Nyanga.[36][37] – although his positions have been supported in a 2012 article in Mankind Quarterly.[38]

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • Teuton and Slav on the Polish Frontier: : A diagnosis of the racial basis of the Germano-Polish borderlands, with suggestions for the settlement of German and Slav claims. Eyre and Spottiswoode (1944) ASIN: B0007J1KXK
  • Italy in Transition: Extracts from the private journal of G.R. Gayre. Faber and Faber Ltd (1946) ASIN: B0006DB91U
  • Gayre's Booke: Being a History of the Family of Gayre. Phillimore (1948) ASIN: B00069X8L8
  • Wassail! In Mazers of Mead: An Account of Mead, Metheglin, Sack and Other Ancient Liquors, and of the mazer cups out of which they were drunk, with some ... upon the drinking customs of our forebears. Phillimore (1948) ASIN: B0007IYD4O
  • Heraldic Standards and Other Ensigns: Their development and history. Oliver and Boyd (1959) ASIN: B0007IV3L0
  • The Nature of Arms: An Exposition of the Meaning and Significance of Heraldry with Special... 1961, Oliver and Boyd
  • The Nature of Arms: An Exposition of the Meaning and Significance of Heraldry with Special... 1961, Oliver and Boyd
  • Heraldic cadency;: The development of differencing of coats of arms for kinsmen and other purposes. Foreword by the Duke of Salandra and Serracapriola. Faber and Faber (1961) ASIN: B0007IUYCE
  • The House of Gayre and an account of Minard castle. The Armorial (1960) ASIN: B0007KCG46
  • The Bantu homelands of the northern Transvaal Duquesne University Press (1962) ASIN: B0007ETDFW
  • More Ethnological elements of Africa. Armorial (1972) ASIN: B0007AILLS
  • The knightly twilight, Lochore Enterprises Valletta 1973


  1. ^ St. Martin's Press Staff (2001). Who Was Who 1996–2000 Volume X: A Companion to WHO'S WHO – Containing the Biographies of Those Who Died During the Period 1996–2000. Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 978-0-312-29366-6. Some sources give 1905 as birth year.
  2. ^ a b Joe L. Kincheloe, et. al, Measured Lies: The Bell Curve Examined, Palgrave Macmillan, 1997, pg. 39
  3. ^ Billig, Michael. Gayre, George Robert (1907–1996). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. first published September 2004, 680 words
  4. ^ "Supplement to Burke's Landed Gentry" (1952), "Burke's Landed Gentry of Great Britain: the Kingdom in Scotland" (2001) and, in an abbreviated form, in "Burke's Peerage" (2003).
  5. ^ "George Gair (or Sutherland) alias Robert Gayre of Gayre and Nigg", by Anthony Camp, in "Genealogists' Magazine", vol. 32, no. 8 (December 2017) 324-328.
  6. ^ "Mankind Quarterly: The editors". Archived from the original on 18 February 2002. Retrieved 18 July 2006.
  7. ^ Gayre of Gayre & Nigg, Robert, A Case for Monarchy, Edinburgh, 1962: vii – ix
  8. ^ Gayre of Gayre & Nigg, Robert, A Case for Monarchy, Edinburgh, 1962: x
  9. ^ Gayre of Gayre & Nigg, Robert, with Dunn, John, The Armorial Who is Who, 5th edition, Edinburgh, 1978:135
  10. ^ Gayre, Robert, summary and photo of him on: Race and Nazi Racism and the Latter's Impact on Anthropology. The Mankind Quarterly, Vol. XVIII, No. 4, (April–June 1978), pp. 293–303.
  11. ^ William H. Tucker, The funding of scientific racism: Wickliffe Draper and the Pioneer Fund, University of Illinois Press, 2002, pg. 2
  12. ^ Ibrahim G. Aoudé, The ethnic studies story: politics and social movements in Hawaiʻi, University of Hawaii Press, 1999 , pg. 111
  13. ^ Kenneth Leech, Race, Church Publishing, Inc., 2005, pg. 14
  14. ^ Billig, Michael (1979). "Mankind Quarterly: The editors". Archived from the original on 18 February 2002. Retrieved 18 July 2006. in "Psychology, Racism & Fascism: A Searchlight Pamphlet.". Archived from the original on 26 August 2000. Retrieved 18 July 2006. Birmingham: A.F. & R. Publications.
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ a b,2975131
  19. ^ World Orders of Knighthood and Merit by Guy Stair Sainty, pg. 1866, Burke's Peerage London 2006 (ISBN 0971196672)
  20. ^ a b "The Hospitaller Order of Saint Laazarus" by Charles Savona Ventura, Association for the Study of Maltese Medical History, 2005
  21. ^
  22. ^ | Prof. James J. Algrant
  23. ^ pp. 298–300,"The Sword and the Green Cross: The Saga of the Knights of Saint Lazarus from the Crusades to the 21st Century" by Max J. Ellul, Authorhouse, 2011, ISBN 1-4567-1421-X
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^ Jackson, Jr., John P. (2005). Science for Segregation: Race, Law, and the Case against Brown v. Board of Education. NYU Press. p. 149. ISBN 978-0-8147-4271-6.
  27. ^ Gayre, R. (1967). "The Lembas and Vendas of Vendaland". The Mankind Quarterly. Edinburgh. VIII: 3–15.
  28. ^ Gayre, R. (1970). "Some further notes on the Lembas". The Mankind Quarterly. XI: 58–60.
  29. ^ a b c R. Gayre (1972). The origin of the Zimbabwean Civilization. Zimbabwe: Galaxie Press.
  30. ^ Garlake, Peter (1978). "Pastoralism and Zimbabwe". The Journal of African History. 19: 479–493. doi:10.1017/S0021853700016431.
  31. ^ Loubser, Jannie H. N. (1989). "Archaeology and early Venda history". Goodwin Series. 6: 54–61. doi:10.2307/3858132. JSTOR 3858132.
  32. ^ Evers, T.M.; Thomas Huffman and Simiyu Wandibba (1988). "On why pots are decorated the way they are". Current Anthropology. 29: 739–741. doi:10.1086/203694. JSTOR 2743612.
  33. ^ Beach, D. N. (1994). A Zimbabwean past: Shona dynastic histories and oral traditions.
  34. ^ Ndoro, W., and Pwiti, G. (1997). Marketing the past: The Shona The Shona village at Great Zimbabwe. Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites 2(3): 3–8.
  35. ^ Huffman, Thomas N. (2009). "Mapungubwe and Great Zimbabwe: The origin and spread of social complexity in southern Africa". Journal of Anthropological Archaeology. 28: 37. doi:10.1016/j.jaa.2008.10.004.
  36. ^ Garlake, P.S. (1965). A guide to the antiquities of Inyanga. Historical Monuments Commission of Rhodesia. ASIN B0007JZPWM.
  37. ^ Summers, R. (1958). Inyanga: prehistoric settlements in southern Rhodesia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  38. ^ McNaughton DL (2012). "A Possible Semitic Origin for Ancient Zimbabwe". Mankind Quarterly. Washington DC. 52 (nos. 3–4): 323–335.