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The Game, The Name, The Coat of Arms, The Motto

Once upon a time...

A long, long time ago, the game of golf was first played in Scotland. The most accepted golf history theory is that this sport originated in the 1100's. My name is Gerald Bruce Kirkpatrick and my ancestors played the game at its earliest period in history.

Kirkpatrick (My fathers side)

Saint Patrick - The name is derived from the source - a chapel, or cell, dedicated to Saint Patrick, meaning church of Saint Patrick.

Saint Patrick was born in Kirkpatrick near Dumbarton, Scotland. Saint Patrick is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland and is the patron Saint of Ireland. The name is known in the Dumfries-shire parish of Closeburn, Scotland from the 12th century.

The Kirkpatrick Coat of Arms bears the motto, I mac siccar, meaning I make sure.

Robert the Bruce - My surname dates back to the days of Robert the Bruce, the great appointed Guardian of Scotland that united the clans. The first record of the Kirkpatrick clan in the 12th century was when Ivone de Kirkpatrick was listed as a witness in a charter of the Bruce family.

His family being slaughtered, as were a lot of Scots, Robert the Bruce had to go into hiding. Bruce had an ally, Roger Kirkpatrick of Closeburn, Roger Kirkpatrick was Duncan Kirkpatrick of Torthorwald's elder brother (their father was Stephen Kirkpatrick of Closeburn). Roger Kirkpatrick took Bruce to places of refuge in his extensive lands. Meanwhile the Red Comyn began planning his coronation. Comyn could not unite the nobles without Bruce, no-one trusted him, so a meeting was arranged between the Red Comyn and Robert the Bruce in the winter of early 1306. A neutral place was chosen, Greyfriars kirk (Dumfrieshire). Roger Kirkpatrick and a few others formed Bruce's entourage. That a church was chosen as the meeting place reflected the violent hatred between the two men. In a church, at least, each could feel safe from the treachery of the other. In later years Bruce was a generous patron of the Minorites of the church and a cynic might say this patronage was dispensed in return for the holding of their tongues, for what transpired that day was seen by only Bruce, Comyn and the friars.

Most were in black mood because of Comyn's treachery. We shall never know exactly what happened in the church. It seems likely there was a quarrel, violent words then violent actions. The Comyn had once before literally shaken Bruce by the throat. During the meeting Bruce, in a rage, stabbed the Comyn. Bruce fled the church. An uncle of the Comyn slashed at Bruce with his sword on his exit, but the blow was held by the armour under Bruce's cloak. On meeting him outside Roger Kirkpatrick asked, who's blood sire? Bruces reply was, I doubt I have slain the Comyn! On this Kirkpatrick entered the church and finished the not quite dead Comyn off. When Kirkpatrick re-emerged from the church he is reputed to have said (while holding aloft his blood soaked dagger) MAC SICCAR Which means MAKE SURE. The Dagger of Roger Kirkpatrick of Closeburn is said to be the actual dagger used in the murder of Red Comyn. This is where the Kirkpatrick family crest and motto appear. Robert the Bruce was now undisputed king of Scot's. Those who had accompanied Comyn that day were either killed or dispersed and the Bruce, Comyn's blood congealing on his hands, stood at a crossroads. The crime was appalling, atrocious, the sacrilege dire and unforgivable. Murder in a church meant spiritual and secular condemnation and outlawry for the perpetrator. Only by seizing the throne of Scotland and holding the land against Edward of England could Bruce save his own and his family's fortunes.

In 1313 Robert the Bruce began his campaign to destroy all castles on the border to prevent English garrisons using them against the Scots. Roger Kirkpatrick was under siege that year, in Lochmaben. Roger Kirkpatrick was killed during the siege. The Closeburn Kirkpatricks and Torthorwald Kirkpatricks were heavily involved in the Scottish wars of independence, fighting against the English, and here we can see two branches of the same family fighting on different sides. Its possible Kirkpatricks were involved in the siege on both sides. It was common practice in those times to stay outwardly loyal to the king, while sending family members to any rebellion, this way no matter who won family land would be safe. This safeguards the family against losing everything on a gamble. It is unfair to judge these people as traitors, since they were protecting the future of their descendents by doing what they thought best. The family is not heard of after the lochmaben siege, so it's presumed Roger Kirkpatrick of Auchencas was the last in his line of Kirkpatricks. Duncan Kirkpatrick of Torthorwald adopted the emblem of the wolfs head in 1314 when he was confirmed as Baron of Torthorwald, maybe to keep it in the family. He was a staunch patriot,and it's possible he claimed it in disdain at Auchencas siding with England, but this is unconfirmed.

Robert the Bruce succeded in once and for all crushing English domination in Scotland at Bannockburn 1314. During his early attempts to exert his title to the English he met with failure, all those who joined him in the gamble had their lands confiscated, Stephen Kirkpatrick was one of them. After Bannockburn all who were with Bruce were rewarded with the lands confiscated from those who wern't, who were bannished to England. It was common at this time for Scottish nobles to own land in England as well as in Scotland, granted to them by Edward I in an attempt to buy their loyalty ,and make them too greedy to oppose him. While Bruce was evicting distrusted nobles from Scotland, Edward was doing the same to Scots who stood with Bruce who had lands in England. Edward had previously made all nobles sign a contract of loyalty to him called, The Ragman Roll. He sensed rebellion and this was his safety net, enticing the most powerfull to England. Stephen Kirkpatrick signed the Ragman Roll as did many others. They had little choice either sign, or lose everything. This is why he lost his lands for joining Bruce in rebellion. Stephen Kirkpatrick was knighted by Bruce after Bannockburn as was his son Roger Kirkpatrick. Duncan Kirkpatrick wasn't knighted but was given extentions to his lands as were all the Kirkpatrick's ( exept those of the Annandale branch who had supported England. Kirkpatrick of Auchencas died during the seige of Lochmaben Castle which he held for the English.

William Wallace - rose to leadership after he had killed the English sheriff of Lanark, whether by design or chance he found himself in front of an army of enthusiastic, disgruntled Scots. He lead from the front and fought hard in the struggle against English overlords eventually defeating them at the battle of Stirling Bridge. He was made guardian of Scotland. During his struggles, William Wallace was accompanied by loyal friends. One of whom was Duncan Kirkpatrick of Torthorwald. Duncan Kirkpatrick and Wallace were cousins through marriage. We know Duncan Kirkpatrick was with Wallace throughout the struggle because Blind Harry, a contemporary poet, also the Wallace biographer, wrote of him regularly in the 1300's. It is written that after the defeat at Falkirk, Wallace continued to fight a guerilla campaign centering his operations in Eskdale forest. It was from here he harried the English. He and his men wore camouflage in the woods of green clothing. This seems to have been taken by later writers like Geofrey of Monmouth and attributed to Robin hood. Even Wallaces wife, Marrion Braidfuit, seems to have been put to Robin hood (maid Marrion). Whether these are coincidence or design we'll never know. In 1305 Wallace was betrayed by Mentieth and executed for treason in London by the English. This was a travesty of justice since Wallace never swore fealty to the English so therfore how could he commit treason?

Closeburn - The lands held by the Kirkpatrick family who were subjects of the Bruces. Ivon Kirkpatrick received the lands in 1232. His son Adam Kirkpatrick was still alive in 1294. The next head of the family was Stephen Kirkpatrick of Closeburn, one of the first to declare for Bruce in 1306 which cost him forfeiture of the lands in favour of John Cromwell. Stephen Kirkpatrick had two sons, Roger Kirkpatrick who was with Bruce at the murder of the Comyn in Dumfries and gave rise to the "I'll mak siccar" legend, and Duncan Kirkpatrick. Closeburn Castle, with its amazingly thick walls, is owned by the Spanish branch of the family and still used as a family residence.

Visit Robert the Bruce Commemoration website for Kirkpatrick Geneology: Click here

Visit Robert the Bruce Commemoration website for an overview of what happened at Dumfries, Thursday, February 10, 1306, 12 noon:: Click here

In more modern recent history, nine Kirkpatrick brothers from Scotland fought in the United States Revoluntary War to secure freedom from Great Britain. Words do not do justice to the war contributions that my own father gave as well to defend freedom.

Shackelford (My mothers side)

The name has a very heavy Scottish influence from the border battles between Scotland and England. Our motto is "A people which takes no pride in the noble achievements of remote ancestors, are not likely to achieve anything worthy to be remembered with pride by remote descendants". In more recent United States history, my grandfather was a well respected lumberman in Woodland, North Carolina.

Gerald Bruce Kirkpatrick

My middle name is Bruce, after Robert the Bruce. My given first name is Gerald. Some people spell my first name as Jerry for short. I prefer the celtic short version, Gerry. Given that most relationships are based on either love or money or both, its the money side of my golf relationship that influences me. With that said and understood, the time is now to return financial control back to the golf course. I will "make sure" this is accomplished. Afterall, thats my motto and my achievements will be remembered by my descendants

Gerald Bruce Kirkpatrick
1948 -