Derived from the name of one who breeds and trains falcons or hawks. Many great houses would have had their own falconer. The principal ‘Falconer’ family claimed to be falconers to the King. The first Scottish Falconer was said to be Ranulph the Falconer, son of Walter of Loutrop, falconer to the William the Lion (1165-1214). Walter the falconer received from his King lands in the Mearns which were then named Hawkerton, also Balemacoy and Lacherachgeigh Kennie, the Parish of Fordoun, Aberdeenshire, right next to the home of the King, Kincardine Castle.
The barony of Lunkyir changed its spelling over the centuries from Lunkyir in 1211 when it was granted by Charter to Ranulphus (Randolph) le Falconer to various other spellings finally to settle on Lumgair. The lands of Lumgair . This Barony passed to Sir William Keith of Dunnotar in 1394 .
Ranulph was succeeded by Walter le Falconer, called sometimes de Lunkyr, or Lumgair.
His grandson, who is witness to a charter of the lands of Drumsleid about 1250, had two sons, Robert and Peter, clericus regius under Alexander II.
Robert, the elder son, first assumed the name of Falconer de Halkertoun, and his name is in the Ragman Roll as being obliged to swear allegiance to Edward the First in 1296.
His grandson, David Fauconer, had a charter from his godfather, King David the Second, dated at Munros (Montrose) 2d April 1365.
His son, Andrew Falconer of Lethenbar, was one of the barons who attended Alexander Stewart, earl of Buchan, the king’s lieutenant in the north, 11th October, 1380.
The Falconers had spread around eastern and norther Scotland from Kincardineshire to Morayshire to Nairnshire.
The subsequent Falconers were styled of Lethens, then of Halkerton.
Andrew Falconer of Lethenbar’s son was styled Sir Alexander Falconer of Lethens, had a charter of the lands of Newton, West Lothian in 1473. The first Lord Falconer of Halkerton.
The Falconers may have also been known by the name ‘Hawker’ after the name of their estate.
Lord Falconer of Halkerton
The Falconers of Hunterston are descended from Ranulph the Falconer.
The title Lord Falconer of Halkerton was created in the peerage of Scotland on 20 December 1646, for Sir Alexander Falconer, Lord of Session. The peerage to be passed down through his male heirs. Sir Falconer was born in Halkerton – Laurencekirk, Kincardineshire. He married Anne Lindsay, aged about 17 but they later divorced. He succeeded Lord Woodhall as an ordinary Lord of Session
His son also called Alexander, who became the 2nd Lord Falconer.
Then his son David Falconer of Glenfarquhar, followed him as 3rd Lord Falconer of Halkerton. The Falconers now owned the Glenfarquhar Estate and Castle.
The 4th The title Lord Falconer of Halkerton, David Falconers sister was the Mother of the famous Scottish Enlightenment philosopher David Hume.
The land and Castle of Inglismaldie were gained and Inglismaldie became the new seat of the Falconers. The 5th Lord Falconer died at Inglismaldie Castle.
In 1778, the 7th lord, Antony Adriaan Keith-Falconer inherited the Earldom of Kintore, and the two titles remained linked until 1966. The Earldom should have gone to his cousin George Keith, 10th and last Earl Marischal, as heir male of George Keith, 8th Earl Marischal, the elder brother of John Keith, 1st Earl of Kintore. However, in 1715, for having supported the cause of the Stuart Kings, the English revoked his titles and estates. Exiled to Europe, the Earldom of Kintore remained suspended until the death of George Keith on 28 May 1778. When George Keith died, it was decided that the titles and the estates should pass to the heir general of the 4th Earl of Kintore, his great-nephew Antony Adriaan Falconer. Anthony Adriaan then changed his surname to Keith-Falconer. The chiefship of Clan Keith then also passed to Antony Ardiaan. The Keith Hall Estate was gained.
The lordship then became vacant with the death of Arthur George Keith-Falconer, 12th Lord Falconer of Halkerton and 10th Earl of Kintore, although the earldom of Kintore continued in the female line.
More commonly known as Kintore Castle . This was owned by the Falconers of Haulkerton in the mid 17th Century.
A Sir David Falconer seems to be the first recorded Falconer of Glenfarquhar, appearing in the Records of the Parliament of Scotland as early as 1643.
Sir David’s eldest son, Sir Alexander, was created a baronet in 1671, and interestingly there is a stone carved with the date 1671 installed in the south west wall of the steading at Mains of Glenfarquhar. It may be that as Sir Alexander’ status in society rose, he added to, or rebuilt Glenfarquhar Castle.
In 1724, Glenfarquhar passed to another Alexander Falconer, when it was incorporated into the Haulkerton estate upon the death of David, the 3rd Lord Falconer.
It seems that at this time the focus switched from Glenfarquhar to Haulkerton, as Alexander, who was to be the 4th Lord Falconer for just 3 years, died in 1727 without any children, and he was described as the last in the main line of the Falconers of Glenfarquhar and the last to live at the Castle of Haulkerton.
The Castle of Haulkerton dates from the 16th century. The first part of the old castle was probably founded by Sir Alexander Falconer, 5th of Halkerton. No surface traces remain. Cramond (1894) states that it was last used as a residence in the early 18thcentury, and was ruinous by 1790. The foundations of the old Castle are barely traceable. The stones were used for dykes round a plantation and the main steadying. Two of the stones are attached to the farmhouse at Mains. One is a corbel, bearing an ill carved female head, and the date 1556, which relates to the time of Sir Alexander, father of the first Falconer of Phesdo, and the other is a plain slab, initialled L,A,F, and dated 1648 – the time of the first Lord Falconer.
The Falconers then moved to Inglismaldie Castle.
David Falconer, the 5th Lord Falconer, died at Inglismaldie in 1751.
Halkerston’s Wynd is a close in the centre of Edinburgh. This was named after a youung man, named David Halkerston, the brother of the ancestor of Hackston of Rathillet who was killed in 1544, in this very close when defending the town against the English, under the earl of Hertford.
In the US there are thought to be three main branches of Falconers.
Falconer was the common spelling in the US until the middle of the 17th century when Falconar became general. The three American branches adopted ‘Faulkner,’ two during the 18th century and one in the 19th
Gilbert Falconer (1686-1736), son of merchant David Falconer of Edinburgh, came to Maryland. His descendants are described as merchants and slave-owning planters who raised tobacco and cotton and supported the Confederacy during the Civil War.
New Jersey Falconers
Patrick Falconer (c. 1658-1692), son of John of Phesdo who was Warden of the Scottish Mint, came to New Jersey in 1684.
Alexander (c. 1693-1758), brother of Gilbert and cousin to Patrick, also came to Maryland before 1719, His descendants who stayed east became Methodist carpenters and blacksmiths. lf they went west, they tended to become Baptist or Methodist farmers and invariably supported the Union cause, many with their lives.
Descendants of all these immigrants concentrated themselves in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Kentucky, Ohio,Michigan, lndiana, lllinois, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Nebraska, lowa, California, Oregon and Washington.
Earls of Kintore and the Keith-Falconers
The Falconers and the Keiths have intermarried for centuries. The hyphenated Keith-Falconer name appears to date from Anthony Adrian Keith-Falconer, baptized 1742, died 1804 at Keith Hall, Kintore, Aberdeenshire. He was the seventh Lord Falconer of Halkerton and the fifth Earl of Kintore, and the first person to hold both titles.
The title ‘Earl of Kintore was created in 1677 for Sir John Keith, third son of William Keith, 6th Hereditary Earl Marischal of Scotland. in 1761, the Earldom and Lordship became dormant, as no-one could prove a claim to them. In 1778, it was decided that the Earldom, Lordship and Chieftaincy of Clan should pass to Anthony Adrian Falconer, Lord Falconer of Halkerton, who changed his surname to Keith-Falconer. The Lordship Falconer of Halkerton and the Earldom of Kintore and Lordship Keith of Inverurie and Keith Hall remained united until 1966, when, at the death of the 10th Earl, the Lordship Falconer of Halkerton became dormant.
The family seat is Keith Hall (below), near Inverurie, Aberdeenshire.
The Falconers were a religiously diverse family, some being Covenanters, others Roman Catholics who supported the Stuart cause and still others were Quakers. The Falconers are somewhat unusual in that no male lines of descent traceable to the senior line survived in Scotland as of 1997. ln fact, by 1900 only three Falconer lines existed in Great Britain: the Keith-Falconers, the Falconer-Stewarts of Feddal in Perthshire, and the Falconers of Gloucestershire