The Tyree Name

By Elinor F. Tyree



Collected and compiled by Elinor Tyree

200 AD to 850 AD, the Irish colonized in Scotland. They brought the name of their own country, Scotia (probably derived from Scota, queen-mother of Ireland's Milesians), and gave it to Alba (the Pictish name for the land). The new name became official when the Picts were overthrown in 850. During those years, the Irish established strongholds throughout Scotland to which they gave the name (at least to some) of "tir" (meaning lands of) "reigh or re" (meaning King). The "Tire" that concerns this writing was built near today's Fraserburg in the County of Aberdeen- shire, perhaps on a rock projection just off the northeast coast.

1004 St. Andrews Church of Buchan was founded after the Mormaer (title of a ruler of one of the 14 divisions of Scotland) of Buchan (today the most northeast district of the County of Aberdeenshire) routed invading Danes from its neighboring hills. Sometime after that date, its parish was named Tyrie, so called from the ruin of the nearby, old Irish stronghold. The Parish of Tyree is reduced today and better located as the town of Tyree, just 5 miles southwest of Fraserburg.

1057 Malcolm Canmore, King of Scotland, introduced surnames among his nobles; and one researcher hypothesizes that the earliest Tyrie was chancellor to Malcolm's court.

1066 William the Conqueror invaded a politically beset England. After all, English King Edward "the Confessor", a distant cousin, had named William his heir in 1051; and the turmoil that followed Edward's death needed a stabilizing force. William's attack drove many English Lords northeastward, which turned the Lowlands of Scotland into a sort of refugee camp. From that time on the nobel families of England and Scotland freely intermarried. (In 1070 King Malcolm married an English princess.) Victorious, William made a Doomsday count in England and put all property subject to the King -- now himself. Before he died, 1087, he parcelled out some of the land holdings as payment for services to his officers, men and new vassals, establishing the feudal economic system. The recipients became Lairds, were responsible for the land, holding it on condition of continued homage and service. They could sub-feu it out to others who then so owed them -- perhaps 2 knights in service a year. The sub-feu could sub-sub-feu the land -- perhaps for horses and their care. It is probable that this system of payment brought the ruin named Tyrie into the hands of the servitor, who sometime after that began to call himself, "de Tyrie".

1100 The political fray had begun again after William's death. His son and heir King William Rufus killed Malcolm Canmore of Scotland in 1093 and then moved into Normandy in the quest of a megal-empire but was himself finally killed there. Walter Tirel (maybe ours, maybe not, but obviously serving one of the waring factions; and the Irish tongue frequently changes "Tirie" to "Tirel") was Rufus' suspected murderer.

1161 Vol. 1, p. 11 Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland: Maurice de Tiretei is a signator. Under the feudal system only the direct recipient of land from the King was entitled to use the "de" in his name. This signature alerts us to the fact that Maurice was a Laird who owed homage and service to his King. Also the preserved ruin of a group farm (villages were yet to come with the fishing industry and manufacturing) named Tirai in Glen Lochayin, West Perthshire might be an example of a sub-sub-feu of Tyrie land. The story of the signed document was that in 1160, the Lowland led Scots fighting with England, turned to French sympathizers for help, signing a pact which came to be called the "Auld Alliance". This course established a long continuing rift with the British.

1292 Maurice de Tiri (or de Tyrum) witnessed a charter by Wm. Maule of Panmure, Pabride, Angus. In this year the nobility and gentry of Scotland (including Wm. Maul of Panmure) were forced to subscribe allegiance to "overlord" King Edward I of England between May 1291 and the award in November 1292 of English support to the Norman/Scottish claimant to the Scottish crown, John de Baliol (Baliol's were intermarried with the house of Panmure). This document was called the Ragman Roll. (The name "Ragman" may have derived from the many seals attached to the paper, it survives in the later word "rigmarole".)

1296 Vol. 2, pp. 193 & 200 Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland: Morice de Tiry of Perthshire, a landholder, participated in a second signing of a Ragman Roll. Baliol had refused to send his English "overlord" support for the new English war with France. England invaded Scotland again and Baliol surrendered July 1296. The Scots were then forced to sign a new Ragman Roll August 28.

DUNNIDEER FAMILY: The Dunnideer homestead was built by Jocelyn de Baliol, uncle of King John Baliol c. 1260 and probably was given to Tyrees as payment for military services before 1292, certainly before 1296. But tradition says the original use of the 300' hill ("dunn") was by Gregory the Great, primarily as a stronghold to protect the Valley of Insch; and that it became his favorite residence; he died there in 892. Literature mentions "Donudoure" as one of the places King Arthur held court. Today the 550A Dunnideer Main (farm) is located 30 miles from Aberdeen, near the town of Insch and on Chevic Burn (appears in some writings as the Ouri River). Atop the dunn still are to be found the vitrionized vestiges of an old Pictic fort and abby with some attesting stone pillars ("fortalices") in place around its base. The Baliol castle retains only a part of its foundation and its 6' thick outer limit walls containing an entrance door with a sentry lookout -- all preserved under the National Trust of Scotland. There is also the ruin of another (probable Tyree) homestead, northwest of the Castle. Three ash trees stand in front of this (customarily planted to keep away witches). The modern dwelling that bears the name was built c.1796, well after the Tyree's lost Dunnideer in 1724 as a penalty for their Jacobite committments. The property was first passed into the hands of the Leiths of Overhall and later, by purchase, came into the possession of the Gordons of Wardhouse and Kildrummy. As a working and profitable farm (primarily for sheep), it has been easily marketable through the years.

Maurice de Tyrie was probably the first Tyree owner; but the records on the Dunnideer Tyree's are not focused on who was heir to the house (as was the case at Drumkilbo) but on who was active in the Jacobite cause. "Jacobite" meant supporters of King James Stuart (Jacobus = James in Vulgate Latin) and his descendants as the God-chosen and therefore true Kings of England. When the Scottish King James IV, married English King Henry VIII's sister, the lines became one in their son James V; and James V's daughter, Mary Queen of Scots. When Mary was killed off from the line of succession in England, her son, James VI, became first in line (especially for Catholics) for the English throne, which he finally ascended as James I of England. Even after the execution of his son Charles I and the removal of his grandsons, Charles II. and James II ("the Old Pretender"), this line was celebrated as the true heirs -- in fact and song and story (the grandson of James II attempted a comeback in 1745: "Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Young Pretender"). Their lineal descendants had adherents up until the First World War, when the current heir turned out to have become too closely related to the Kaiser.

1543-1597 James "the noted" (a Jesuit who did not inherit Dunnideer) Tyrie was probably one of its most chronicled children. Although "of Dunnideer", he was born at Drumkilbo. References to his relationships seem to indicate he had antecedents from both houses. Since he seems to have been nurtured in Drumkilbo, his life is related under a Drumkilbo listing dated 1548. The following episode is what would be expected of a true son of Dunnideer.

1588 Having left the Catholic fold, England was under great censureship. The Spanish Armada was one of the attempts to coerce the wayward nation back. The Scottish Tyrie's, deeply committed to God and King, saw this is as a commendable undertaking. James Tyrie 1543-1597 ( to Scots "the noted", but to the English "a notorious trafficer"), one William Creighton and others originated a plan to work with the Armada; some even write they were responsible for the Armada. With the failure of the Armada, the scheming group (known as the Spanish Blanks) were all discovered. Surely they were severely punished (or did James manage to find refuge in Rome?) c. 1592; but little is to be found about this in English histories.

Thomas Tyrie (did not inherit Dunnideer) was a nephew of James "the noted" Jesuit. He was mentioned in 1610 in the original letters relating to the Ecclesiastical Affairs of Scotland (these chiefly written by or addressed to His Majesty King James VI after his ascension to the English throne as James I.) He was cited as being a Captain with the Scots' Guards in France in 1600 and seems to have served Queen Mary as an envoy or emissary between Scottish Jacobites and French, Spanish and English Catholics.

In 1650 John Tyrie and wife Margaret Tulloch (her brother was a Jacobite prisoner in Carlisle 1681-1696) held Dunnideer.

1672 marriage of David, son and heir of the above John, to Elizabeth Gordon of Rothiemay; she had "sasine" (the feudal system's condition of an agreed upon feu) for life rents. David was a factor for the Duke of Gordon (was Elizabeth his daughter?); his marriage to Elizabeth produced only 3 daughters. David m. 2nd Anna Menzies of Pitfodels by whom he had 3 sons (2nd was David, next heir, b. 1698). He died 1750 a "gryte Jacobite".

John Tyrie (who did not seem to be the heir in Dunnideer) b. 1696, married Mary Tullock of Tanachie, Morayshire (her brother had been one of the Jacobite prisoners of Carlisle). John, Mary and their three sons (John, David, James) and four daughters were denounced as Papists before the Presbytery of Garioch in 1704.

1714 David, grandson and heir to the David b. 1698, was zealous in his Jacobite support. When in 1714 the Earl of Mar (the Earldom encompasing Dunnideer) raised the clans in the Northeast for the "Old Pretender" Stewart, the Tyrie's of Dunnideer joined in. Slow and ineffectual, the Earl got his men only as far as Perth. At the end of a drawn battle, he capitulated. All participants were stripped of their lands; but Dunnideer was saved -- until 1724.

John (did not inherit) Tyrie born 1694 was a great-nephew of the James "the noted". John went to Rome in 1711 at the age of 17. Like his uncle, he too became a Jesuit. He joined Prince Charles, "the Young Pretender", as soon as he heard of his landing in Scotland in 1745, followed him to England and left him only after the Battle of Culloden, where Father John Tyree fought and was wounded. This lost battle ended the risings of the Jacobites, though Prince Charles escaped and went into hiding for several months before leaving Scotland. John Tyrie also went into hiding while his house and books were burned at Buochlie in Glenivet. He died in exile c. 1755.

1745 One John Tyrie of Dunnideer, who had joined the rebellion in Aberdeenshire, was forfeited. When orders were sent to every parochial clergyman to intimate from the pulpit his Majesty's design for the suppression of the clans, this John collected a few rebels to oppose the mandate and they went armed to church. When the Rev. Alexander Mearns began reading the proclamation, one of the rebels ran to the pulpit, presented a loaded pistol and exclaimed, "Stop, Mearns! Stop, Mearns!" Tyrie rushed forward with his sword unsheathed to plunge it into the body of the minister. Quick thinking bystanders threw a cloak over his head and managed to wrest the sword from him.

After 1745, the English banned the Scottish Clan system, the kilt, many of the loved Scottish traditions and were particularly harsh in the punishment of holdouts. People were stripped naked and turned out into the streets while their houses were burned, holdouts were incarcerated and held without food and water; many died.

DRUMKILBO FAMILY: The first known owner of Drumkilbo was Robert the Bruce, who liberated Scotland from its English "overlord" and probably gave this castle to Tyrees for military services. Drumkilbo is to be found about 18 miles from Perth on the Forfar-Aberdeen Road and about 1 mile to the east of the ancient Village of Meigle which has a history that goes back to 78 AD. The Museum at Meigle contains stones found in the area with pre-historic Pictic drawings of battles, earliest Christian markings, etc. The nearby ruined church of Kirkinch in "the Land of Nevay" has records that indicate there is a tombstone in the grave plot inscribed "here ly the Tyries of Nevay, honest men and brave fellows", but most of these old stone letters can no longer be read. Drumbkilbo, standing as it does on a slight eminence (the Drum of Drumkilbo), had become one of the showplaces of Scotland in 1964. The estate, setting well back from the road, comprised 1200 acres, 20 of these in policies (formal gardens) which were opened to the public once or twice a year. The very old Tyrie dwelling, whose rubblestone and clay walls were 3' thick, was now the two story central part of a much expanded manor house. The owner was Lord Elphinstone, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth. The addition which he had made to the house was constructed to accomodate the Queen and her family on their visits to Drumkilbo.

c. 1303 Maurice de Tyrie may have been the first Tyrie owner.

Before 1476, James of Tyry, was the lord of Drumkilbo. James' services were more than recognized by the royal Stewart family when he was allowed to marry Egidia Stewart (Walter- the-son-of-Alan was named "Stewart" [steward] of Scotland by King David I. In 1157 King Malcom IV made the office of Stewart hereditary in Walter's family. The Stewart's served well, even taking over Kingly duties on occasion. The Walter, who was serving as the 6th successive Stewart, ennobled the family when he married Marjory, daughter of Robert the Bruce. After the death of Robert the Bruce, all his male lines failed. Walter and Majory Stewart's only son, Robert II, was placed on the throne of Scotland in 1371. Robert III, son of Robert II and a commoner spouse, was very aware of his singular blood line and wailed that he could only make the worst of kings. His half brother, Walter Stewart, didn't have such worries; he was son of Robert II's second marriage to a noble woman. Egidia Stewart, who married James Tyrie, was his daughter.). Egidia was given a royal inheritance which included 1/2 the Lunan mills and mill lands. In 1476 Egidia confirmed the Lunan lands of Forfar, plus Forteviot lands in Perth and Pitfour lands in Aberdeen, to her son, Walter. This suggests that James may have died in that year.

1478-1531 Walter Tyrie was the lord of Drumkilbo. The following letter from James IV of Scotland was probably written to him: "To my trust and beloved cousin Tyrie of Drumkilbo -- I greet you well. I wish you to meet me at the Borough-Muir-Head with men, arms and accoutrements with six weeks' provisions to fight the English. (signed) James Rex."

1532-1548 William Tyrie, son of Walter, was the lord of Drumkilbo. It has been noted that he owned 1/2 the lands of Lunan. He died 1548 from wounds he received in the 1547 Battle of Pinkie (Pinkie was near Musselburg on the Firth of Forth c. 6 miles east of Edinburg).

1548 David Tyrie "nearest heir (does that mean the Drumkilbo line failed and perhaps a Dunnideer David took over?)" was given sasine of the lands of Petmewwne in the sheriffdom of Perth. 1562 David Tyrie got land formerly of Galis Stewart. One of David's "younger sons", James Tyrie (1543-1597, "the noted") was in Rome in 1560; as a Jesuit, he carried on Papal negotiations with Queen Mary 1561-1567; 1573 he was appointed Professor of Philosophy in the Jesuit College of Clermont, Paris; in 1590 he became Provincial of the Jesuits of France; he had controversy in writing (under the pseudonym of George Thompson) with John Knox which caused a great stir in its day; he died in Rome in 1597. (Others have said that, though James was born at Drumkilbo, he was actually the son of a Tyrie of Dunnideer -- his staunch Catholic stand seems to place him there.).

David Tyrie, the inheriting son of the above David, renounced Catholicism in 1567 and joined the reform church. He died 1572.

Dec. 1581, David Tyrie of Drumkilbo, a son of the above David, was killed by Adam Crichton, friar of Ruthven; Adam was probably the son of William Creighton of the Spanish Armada group (The Creighton family produced one of the day's great European thinkers: James Creighton also with Stewart antecedents; though short lived, he refuted, publicly in France and Italy, many of the errors of Aristotelianism. This kind of holistic evaluation serves the Catholic Pope even today thru the Camara at Rome.) Adam Crichton himself was killed at Ruthven 1587. The killed David Tyrie had corresponded with a James Tyrie of Dunnideer (was this the James Tyrie of the Spanish Armada group?). David had married Lilian Gray, daughter of Patrick Gray of Buttergask, who afterwards became Lord Gray. "David was always in trouble with the General Assembly"; and in 1611 Bishop Gladstone wrote that "he deludes the...(torn sheet)...and is a scandall to the whole Kingdom." Shortly after which no more was heard of him. (Was this the killed David whose name was then dropped from English records?)

1606 Thomas Tyrie "of Drumkilbo" was called in the murder of William Lander by Lord Home. Lander was known to be the killer of Crichton and chased into a housing which was torched by Home and others. In London that same year, remisssion was given to all in the murder of William Lander.

William Tyrie (knighted later in life and titled Sir) became the underage heir to the above, David. His tutor and mentor was Thomas Tyree (who was concerned in the schemes of the Roman Catholic Party and corresponded with James Tyrie (of Dunnideer, ?"the noted"). In 1610 William was retoured in Drumkilbo lands; the family appeared to become embarrassed for money. But William was knighted 1633 just before he died September 18, 1633.

Sir Thomas of Drumkilbo, son and heir of above, was fond of fine horses and his horse, Kildaro, won the first silver cup raced for in Perth on Palm Sunday 1631. In 1644 Sir Thomas served under Montross at Aberdeen. When he returned to Drumkilbo, Charles I wrote to him asking for the loan of his grey gelding. Possibly this love of horses increased the financial difficulties of the family; at any rate Sir Thomas sold Drumkilbo to the Nairne family. Sir Thomas had married Margaret Ogilvie. They had only one child, a daughter Isobel; she married James Blair of Glascuine. Sir Thomas had a sister, Lady Helen Tyrie, who married Sir Adam Gordon of Park. The daughter of Sir Adam and Lady Gordon married her cousin, David Tyree of Dunnideer in Aberdeenshire. This was essentially the end of the Tyries of Drumkilbo.

But the house goes on; the last Nairne owner built 1811 the present complex of Drumkilbo; he died 1854 and his wife died 1855, leaving no heirs. The property was acquired by Lord Wharncliff, who sold the estate in 1900 to Edward Cox of Cardean for his younger son, John Arthur Cox. Daddy Cox put in electric lights and central heating and let the house furnished until son John and his wife came to live there in 1912. In 1920 John Cox commissioned architect Sir Robert Lorimer to add two wings to the house; and Lorimer did a conservationist's redesigning, which was probably responsible for the beauty of the building in 1964. How is Drumkilbo today?



Although some individual Tyree's are listed here, they should not be thought of as independent operators in the modern sense. A family group or clan center produced a certain number of churchmen, politicos, etc. Unfortunately, records are extant only on these activists -- and of course this is only a sampling.

1366 Divi Andrea Tyrie was a famous ecclesiastical (from Bocce's Descripto Scotiae).

1433 Thomas de Tyry was Burgess of Arborath.

1456 John Tyrie was Sheriff-deputy of Perth.

1467 William Tyree was a monk of Neubottle.

1475 John Tyre was Rector of the Parish Church of Balingre, Fife.

1477 John Tyrie, Bailey of Perth.

1485 Gilbert Tyrye was Vicar of Cargill, Perthshire.

1481-91 Schir (= Sir, an ecclesiastical title here) John Tiri (or Tyry, Thyre, Tyre or Tiry) appears as Rector of Torrens, Lanarkshire. Later was listed as provost of the collegiate church of Maffane (probably Methven) and clerk deputy of the dean of Glasgow.

1490 King James IV visited Perth where he lodged on the east side of Watergate (an exclusive area) in a house belonging to Sir John Tyrie; Sir John was also the Provost (Lord Mayor or Chief Magistrate) at that time; and in 1491 he was listed as Procurate of Lord Gray. On the occasion of the royal visit, the Lord Treasurer of Scotland paid 7 pounds to buy a puncheon of wine to lay in the house against the King's coming. The King probably came often after that, for in 1510 he granted Sir John and his brother, Robert along with Robert's wife Agnes Abercromby, the charter of the lands of Easter and Wester Busby "for good and faithful service and Sir John's tenement in the Burgh (a town with certain rights of self rule) of Perth." This charter remained with the family for nearly 200 years. The same Sir John is said to have founded St. Catherine's Chapel in Perth in 1523. The Chapel stood on the north end of Claypott's Wynd. It, along with other churches, was probably destroyed by the unruly crowds incited by John Knox's incinderary sermon of May 11, 1559; its first chaplain was a David Tyrie and the last of record was a James Tyrie.

1502 Alexander Tyrie of Perthshire was Provost and Sherriff of Burgh of Perth; Robert Tyrie was Bailey thereof.

1504 Sir David Tyry was with the Kirk of Lyme in the Diocese of Glasgow; as curate, he witnessed a Bull by Pope Julius II.

1511 Alexander Tyrie, Esquire of Busbie, Methven, held the office of Provost of Perth.

1511 John Tayrie, Burgess of Perth; mortified some lands in Perth to the Church of Perth.

1st quarter of 16th Century, John Tyrie was Vicar of Crammond.

1525 Gilbertus Tyry on Matriculatio Bull of University of St. Andrew; same Gilbertus seems to have been on St. Andrew's graduation roll in 1454 and to have served as Vicar of Cargill in Perthshire in 1485.

1528 Robert Tyry was Burgess of Perth.

1544 John Tyrie, Archdecon, Vicar of Binsay Parish, Orkney.

1551 William Tyrie was Burgess of Perth: 1558 he rendered to the Echequer the accounts of the Burg of Perth.

1553 Alexander Tyrie was Treasurer of Perth.

1555 Alexander Tyrie was Dean of Guild of Perth; his son was John.

1569 William Tyers, Twyford, Leicestershire -- his will.

1581 Thomas Tyrie served as tutor to the minor William Tyree, Lord of Drumkilbo.

1594 The Tyree's of Nevay, originally of Drumkilbo and who left a ruined Castle named Dalcross in the United Parish of Croy and Dalcross, near Invernesshire, seem to have embraced Protestantism. In that year, one of the family, Alexander Tyree, was minister of Auchterhouse. He had a son named James. Sons of James were Alexander and John, both of whom are said to have gone to America (it is possible, we have such names on our American lists).

1602 Alexander, Lord Tyrie (by King James of Scotland), was President of the College of Edinburgh.

1608 Andro Tyrie was one of the 25 Archers of the Guard of the King of France at Fountainbleau in France.

1609 John Tyrie was Servitor of James Scrymgeour of Dunhope.

1615-1616 Alexander Tyrie, lawful eldest son to James Tyrie in Nevay.

1618 David Tyrie was Baxter, Burgess in Dysert Parish, Fife.

1625 Henry Tyrie was Baxter, Burgess in Dysart Parish, Fife; he was challenged for not coming to the Kirk.

1643 Forfar; John Tyree, Robert Gray and James Gray were Sheriffs.

1660 David Tyrie married Elspet Gordon in Aberdeen.

1667 Mr. Adamms Tyrie, Master of Arts, Kings College, Aberdeen.

1681 Laird Tyrie married Agnes Foullersteone, daughter of Col. Jonathan Foullersteone of Dudwick, Ellon Parish, Aberdeenshire.

1690 Capt. Adam Tyrie in Davidstown.

1740 Thomas Tyree will in probate in Bristol, England.

The David Tyrie of Dunnideer who died 1750 had a son, James Tyree, who was born 1708 and, while officiating as a missionary from the Church of Rome in the district of Enzie, he became a secular priest. Through the instrumentality of Patrick Gordon (then an itinerant missionary, afterwards minister of Rhymie) he was brought to the love of truth and acknowledged the errors of Popery; he was received into Communion of the Presbyterian Synod of Moray in 1734. He asked to be employed by Presbyterians and was appointed as itinerant missionary preacher and catechist in the Parish of Bellio and Rathven or Enzie with a salary of 24 pounds sterling for the current half year. In 1736 he was appointed to Maryburgh but did not go there until 1740 when he got a testimonial from the Presbytery of Abertarff. Not having Irish or Gaelic, he was ordained 1742 and sent to Orkney. Because of a fama of an intimancy with a married woman, he was transferred to Sandwich and Stromness in 1747; in 1760 he is listed as a Rev. serving in Kirkwell, Orkney. He married Helen Traill, who died 1796 at the age of 76. Their descendants are listed as one daughter, Helen, who in 1776 married George Low, author of many treatises on natural history; but there must have been sons because there were Tyrees in that area until 1938 when the last, a Charles Tyree, shot himself. Many Orcadian famillies went to America.

1782 David Tyree was tried and convicted of high treason at the August assize at Winchester, England; he had given information to the French King. (Was this the Dunnideer David, born 1698 [who is listed under DUNNIDEER FAMILY, date of 1714] and who forfeited Dunnideer when he fought in the Earl of Mar's uprising?)

1782 Repeal of the hated Scottish dress bans by England saw many Scots revert to the old style tartans and kilts, but the ordinary clansman soon tired of the (by now) affectation. It wasn't until the 1800's , after Robert Burns had romanticized the Highlands (and our Tyree's were Lowlanders, that the fad blossomed for Scottish tartans to identify clans. Letters to weavers began to ask for such and such a family pattern; but the weavers had no rigid patterns to follow; so they contrived patterns. Although some patterns are truly old; their authentication is difficult; it is known only that certain dye plants were found in certain areas. Most of the colors and setts (patterns that repeat to form a bolt of cloth) appeared in the registers of Lyons Court after 1840.


Unfortunately only the few are noted in histories; and even these much copied and recopied notations reveal many conflicts and discrepancies. This reduces their value as genealogical facts; but they do provide a coatrack and guide for closer research.


Check out Antarctica's Mount Tyree.



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