Gen. 1: Edward Graham

     Gen. 2: William Graham

     Gen. 3: Thomas Graham

     Gen. 4: Margaret Graham

The Clan Graham

Most students of Clan Graham history recognize William de Graham as the founder of the "modern" Clan Graham. William de Graham was an attendant to David I during his coronation as King of Scotland in 1124 and was witness to the foundation charter of Holyrood House. From that time on, the family appear as Grantees in many charters, and are incidentally mentioned in others, so that thenceforward their history appears pretty clear and credible. The debate - and there is considerable debate - concerns the origins of William de Graham. There are at least three theories, each with with strong proponents:

The Danish Theory - This one claims that that William Graham is the descendant of a fellow named "Graym," who was the father-in-law of Fergus II, King of the Scots, and who had come to Scotland from Denmark with Fergus around the year 409. "Graym" is said to have married a noble lady of the House of Denmark, and their offspring became the wife of FergusII. Upon the death of Fergus, Graym reported acted as Regent until FergusII's son, Eugenius came of age. During this period, Graym also commanded the king’s army, and was leading the Scots who attacked and demolished a part of the wall of Antoninus, built by the Romans across Scotland from the Firth of Forth to that of the Clyde, which marked the northern limit of the country conquered by the Romans. To the current day, the Wall is known as Graham's Dyke.

It is probably worth noting that this Graym is included in some Scottish family trees from the 13th and 14th centuries, there is absolutely no factual or recorded evidence to support the story

The Norman Theory - William de Tancarville was a baron of Normandy who went to England with William the Conqueror in 1066. For his services in the conquest of England, William received a great barony in Lincolnshire called Grantham. He also had great properties in Normandy. Eventually he turned his Norman properties over to his eldest son, Rabel, and moved to England where he later became Treasurer for King Henry I and Justice of England.

William de Tancarville, who was of of Danish descent, married Matilda d’Arques, a direct descendent of the Anglo-Saxon and Danish kings. Their youngest son was known as William de Graham, after the barony in Liconlnshire, England. This William is known to have fought with the forces of King Henry I, (1100-1135), son of William the Conqueror, at Laigle in 1116 and in 1119 at the Battle of Bremule. He commanded the English forces in the Battle of Bourgtesraude in 1124. He is also known to have been in Scotland in 1125 when he witnessed a charter for the gift of land from King David I at Holyrood House. William de Graham is believed by many to be the founder of the Scottish Clan Graham.

The Flemish Theory - Mrs. Beryl Platts, an expert in Heraldry, published two volumes Scottish Hazard Vol. 1 - The Flemish Nobility and their Impact on Scotland and Scottish Hazard Vol. 2 - The Flemish Heritage, which lays out and supports an alternative to both of the above theories. Some of Mrs. Platts research was summarized by Claire Brooks and published in the official newsletter of the Clan Graham Association (UK) in 1998:

"Platts writes that our William was neither the son of Ralph de Tancarville, nor any other Norman, but was instead the son of Arnulf de Hesdin, son of Folk and nephew of Count Enguerrand, Comte de Hesdin in Flanders. Arnulf was of a Flemish noble family with an incredible pedigree and many lines of descent from Charlemagne. "William, Duke of Normandy, needed ships and skilled officers for his invasion of England in 1066. The Flemish Nobles agreed to lend him 42 ships and crossed the channel themselves to fight with the Normans at Hastings and were duly rewarded in return with English land grants. Arnulf and many Flemish nobles fought on the right wing opposite Harold of England and undoubtedly contributed greatly to the Norman victory. Arnulf received land grants in 14 English counties, including part of Oxfordshire, where he built Chipping Norton Castle.

Arnulf, despite the fact that he was a second son of a second son in his family, was nevertheless an important figure in Europe; he married a daughter of Ralph de Ghent, Peer of Flanders and Lord of Alost, and his wife Gisela, daughter of the Count of Luxembourg; and his father, Folk, married a daughter of the great European family of Vermandois. He was related to most of the Counts in Flanders and it is said that his pedigree was revered by the Flemish. It should be noted that local historians in Chipping Norton, Grantham and Shropshire County Council were contacted by Roger Graham and they provided considerable help about Arnulf and his own immediate family.

The proof of the identity of William de Graham and his father Arnulf de Hesdin rests principally on the following points:

Heraldry - England did not have a real development of heraldry until the 13th Century, but Heraldry was of great importance and pride to the Flemish as early as the 10th and 11th Centuries. The de Hesdin family heraldic devices were - "Azure, three escallops or" - a blue background with three gold escallops - the Arms of the Comte de Hesdin. William de Graham would take his Arms to Scotland and it is interesting that a couple of centuries later Sir John Graham, a great-great-great-great-grandson of William de Graham slightly altered the de Hesdin/Graham heraldic devices by adding a chevron of the black and silver tinctures of the de Ghent family of Alost, into which family Arnulf had married.

Stewart Cousins - The second piece of evidence as to identity is the fact that the Scottish Graham family and the Scottish Stewart family called each other "cousins" from their early presence in Scotland. Why this matters, requires us to consider Arnulf de Hesdin’s daughter, Avelina. Avelina inherited a great part of Arnulf’s English property and was known as the Domina de Norton. She married Alan FitzFlaald, son of Flaald, grandson of Fleance, and great-grandson of Banquo. One of Avelina de Hesdin's sons was called Walter FitzAlan, and he became the first High Steward of Scotland. From this title, Walter FitzAlan's family took the surname of Stewart. Arnulf de Hesdin became the grandfather of the first Scottish Stewart and father of the first Scottish Graham, which is why they called each other cousins.

William de Graham's Association with King David - David, Earl of Cumbria, the youngest child of King Malcolm Canmore of Scotland, never expected to become king. In his teenage years, his father sent him to England, to watch over his sister who had married Henry I of England, and he lived there until his accession. He married a very important Princess of Flanders, Maud, widow of Simon de Senlis, around whom congregated many Flemish Nobles, whose company David enjoyed and from whom he learned much. He and his wife spent most of their time in England until his accession in 1124, when he then invited many of his Flemish friends, including William, to join him in Scotland to help him modernize his country, and, among other things, he gave William de Graham land grants in Dalkeith and Abercorn.

The Graham Surname - How did William come to change his name? Arnulf, after enjoying 29 happy and successful years in England, was accused in 1095 of having joined Robert de Mowbray, Earl of Northumberland, in his rebellion against King William II (Rufus) and was about to be executed when the pope requested William Rufus to produce an army for the First Crusade. Arnulf was reprieved, provided he fought a judicial duel and won, and that he surrendered some of his English assets and some of his Flemish assets, and also that he agreed to join the First Crusade, all of which he accepted. He left his children in Chipping Norton Castle. In 1098, he was killed at the siege of Antioch. The closest relatives of the children were almost certainly from the de Ghent family of Alost, some of whom had settled at the Manor of Folkingham near Grantham. His son, Walter, was to return to Flanders and succeeded to the de Hesdin Compte; Avelina was married; and it is a reasonable possibility that William joined his relatives near Grantham, which may help the question of the ‘Graham.’ Both Mrs. Platts and the local historian from Grantham confirm that in the medieval period Grantham people ignored the ‘nt’ in the name Grantham and, in fact, called it "Graham" and it was pointed out that Norman writers frequently left out the ‘nt.’ All of the Flemish nobles who emigrated to Scotland took more appropriate surnames for their new country. It is more than reasonable to accept that William did seek his relatives and settled in the Grantham area and remained there until his emigration to Scotland".