The Gilchrists - A Sept of Clan MacLachlan

Saint Martin's Cross

The west face of this notable 8th century Celtic cross stands on the Isle of Iona, site of Iona Monastery, founded in the 6th century by St. Columba, one of the patron saints of Ireland. It is the only surviving Celtic cross to feature the Virgin and Child in the center. Also shown are scenes of Daniel and the Lions, Abraham and Isaac, Moses and the Tablets and David and the Musicians.


Gilchrist is the only sept name associated with Clan MacLachlan.

  • What Does Gilchrist Mean?
  • The Gilchrist Motto
  • The Gilchrist Crests
  • A Brief History of the Gilchrists
  • What Does Gilchrist Mean?

    Gilchrist means Servant of Christ. The name spelled in Gaelic is MacIllechriosd.

    The Gilchrist Motto

    The Gilchrist of Glasrie motto is Mea Gloria Fides which means I Hope To Speed. The MacGilchrist of Northbarr motto is Cogit in Hostem.

    The Gilchrist Crests

    The most common Gilchrist crest is defined as: a lion rampant holding a flagstaff, both argent, the flagstaff capped in or, thereon hoisted a banner azure charged with a horse argent. The horse is a symbol of readiness and the lion represents strength, courage and generosity.

    A second, but far less commonly seen, crest is that of MacGilchrist of Northbarr. The crest is defined as: A lion's paw in bend Argent.

    A Brief History of the Gilchrists

    The first mention of the Gilchrists appears to be 1132 when Gillecrist mac Finguni and Gillecrist mac Cormoic witnessed several Grants made in behalf of the Abbeys of Paisley and Lennox. Gillascop MacGilchrist had a charter of the five pennylands of Fyncharne and others in 1243 from King Alexander II. This charter is probably the oldest one in existence dealing with lands in Argyllshire. Alun MacGillecrist was one of the witnesses to a charter by Moregrund, Earl of Mar. Duncan MacGilchrist of Levenaghes (Lennox) rendered homage in 1296 at Berwick-on-Tweed. The seal attached to his homage bears an eight-ray figure and S'Duncan McGhilc. At that date Johan Enynsone MacGilchrist, one of the king's tenants in Perthshire, also rendered homage.

    Donenaldus Makgilkriste, dominus de Tarbard, granted to the Monks of Paisley the right of cutting wood within all his territory for the building and repair of their monastery. The charter is undated but probably comes from around the end of the thirteenth century. From Donald (Donenaldus Makgilkriste), according to Crawford, are descended from the MacGilchrists of Northbarr. Merquihir McIlcrist was tenant in Cornekmoir, Tiree in 1541. Gillechreiste McIlchreist and Donald Beg McIhchreist in Glenlyon were fined for harboring members of Clan Gregor in 1613. Evidence of a Gilchrist sculptor can even be found at Iona. The Saint Martin's Cross bears the inscription "a prayer for Gilchrist who made this cross." This image can be seen at the top of the page.


    For More Information

    For more information on the Gilchrist name, we recommend the following sources:

    The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History, by George F. Black, New York Public Library, New York, NY, USA, 1946-1989, ISBN 0-87104-172-3

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    This page was last updated on June 17, 2011.

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