Giffard of Sheriffhall




Alexander de Gifford of Sheriffhall, is the first for whom there is evidence and although he is generally accepted to be descended of Giffard of Yester there is no evidence by which the precise relationship between them can be deduced. He was living on 30 September 1433 and had d. by May of 1441 when his son, James, was in full possession of Sheriffhall. As the lands of Sheriffhall were possessed on 7 February 1394 by James de Tweedy of Sheriffhall,[1] the Gifford acquisition was most probably on account of a marriage to the heir female of that person. He was father of,

  1. James Gifford of Sheriffhall, (see below).
  2. John Gifford. He and his brother, William, were substitute curators to James, Lord Dalkeith, on 22 May 1453.[2]
  3. William Gifford, had a gift of a pension from the King in 1438.[3]

James Gifford of Sheriffhall, who had a charter from Sir James de Douglas, Lord of Dalkeith, for the lands of Cuyll dated 30 September 1433 and in which he is styled son and heir to Alexander Gifford of Sheriffhall.[4] On 22 May 1441, he was appointed by King James II., to be curator of James Douglas of Dalkeith on his being decerned non compos mentis.[5] He was one of the witnesses to an instrument of resignation by George de Cunningham, son and apparent heir of Sir William de Cunningham of Beltane, of his half part of the lands of Blyth into the hands of the Earl of Morton for a new grant in favour  of Margaret, widow of the deceased Henry de Livingston of Manerston, and Henry Livingston and Janet, his wife, dated 4 January 1464/64.[6] He was living on 6 May 1467[7] and had d. by 10 May 1482 when his son and heir, James Gifford of Sheriffhall, discharged James, Earl of Morton, of all accounts due to his deceased father.[8] He was father of,

  1. James Giffard of Sheriffhall, (see below).
  2. Margaret Giffard, m. Nicholas Elphinstone of Selmys and Glack, and is styled his wife and sister to James Giffard of Sheriffhall in instruments dated 22 February 1489/90.[9]

James Gifford of Sheriffhall, is named in an Instrument of 26 February 1481/82 confirming that he and James, Earl of Morton, reached an agreement to submit to William, Lord Borthwick, and Sir William Knollis, Preceptor of Torphicen, in those summons relating to matters such as tacks etc.[10] He styled the deceased James Giffard of Sheriffhall his father when on 10 May 1482, he discharged James, Earl of Morton, of all accounts which had been due to him, and gave his Bond of Manrent to that nobleman on the same day.[11] He was a prominent support of Alexander Stewart, Duke of Albany, for which he was forfeited in 1483 and his lands conveyed by the superior, the Abbot of Dunfermline, to Thomas Tod. On 27 February 1484 his wife, Elizabeth, complained to the Lords Auditors that even though her husband had been summoned by the suit of Mr George Carmichael, Bishop-elect of Glasgow, he was forbidden to come within four miles of the King and, therefore, whatever the Lords may decide to do in the matter should not prejudice him.[12]

He was attainted by Parliament on 26 May 1485 and charged to appear before them to answer for his “treasonous counsel, consorting and assistance given and exhibited by him to Alexander Stewart, formerly Duke of Albany, in his treasonous starting and making of war against us and out faithful lieges, invading our royal person, and for the treasononous counsel displayed by him in the sending or direction of Sir James Liddale into England, without our licence, and in the treasonous reception of Bluemantle, a pursuivant of the king of England, with treasonous muniments and writings, and concerning art and part in the treasononous delivery of our castle of Dunbar to the English, and for the treasonous and warlike armed conflict in our field against our authority and the flying of our banner on St Mary Magdalene’s day last, and in company with the said Alexander and our other traitors, against us and our kingdom, and in contemptuous lese-majesty to us, made and committed by the said James.”[13] In spite of these charges and forfeiture he maintained possession of his estate and on 6 September 1493, he granted a charter to Bernard, Abbot of Melrose, confirming an annualrent of £3 to him to be uplifted from the lands of Sheriffhall.[14] He witnessed a charter by Janet Bell, sister and heir of Thomas Bell, disponing a tenement in the Blackfriar’s Wynd in Edinburgh to John, Earl of Morton on 11 March 1501/02,[15] and was one of the parties in a Submission between John, Lord Ogilvy, and Thomas, Lord Fraser of Lovat, dated 5 August 1504.[16] He m. Elizabeth Crichton and was father of,

  1. James Gifford of Sheriffhall, who is styled “filio et heredi apparenti” when witness with his father to a charter by John, Earl of Morton, granting the lands of Auchnolynshill to Patrick Bellenden and Mariote Douglas, his wife, dated 26 March 1499.[17] He is again so-styled when witness to a transumpt of 22 February 1503/04 of a Great Seal charter by Robert II., dated 20 February 1387/8 in favour of James de Douglas of Dalkeith[18] and succeeded his father. He dsp before 26 February 1517/18, and was succeeded by his brother, George.
  2. George Gifford of Sheriffhall, who had succeeded his brother James by 26 February 1517/18 when he assigned the chaplainry of the altar of St. John the Baptist in the collegiate church of Dalkeith in favour of James, Earl of Morton.[19] He had a precept of clare constat for infeftment as heir to that brother in the lands of Sheriffhall on 1 September 1534[20] and dspby December 1555. He was succeeded by his niece, Janet Giffard.
  3. William Giffard, is styled brother german to James Giffard, son and apparent of James Giffard of Sheriffhall, when he was a witness with that brother to a transumpt of 22 February 1503/04.[21] He was father of,

3a} Janet Giffard of Sheriffhall, (see below).

Janet Giffard of Sheriffhall, had succeeded her paternal uncle, George Giffard of Sheriffhall, by 31 May 1538 when she is styled spouse to William Giffart of Sheriffhall and daughter of William Giffart in Dalkeith in an apprising by them of part of the lands of Corsoun.[22] She had a precept of Sasine for her infeftment in the lands of Sheriffhall from George, Commendator of Dunfermline, on 26 December 1555, in which she is styled heir to the deceased George Giffart qui fuit frater patris ejusdem [who was father’s brother to her].[23] She had m. by May 1538 to a kinsman, William Giffard, and had issue;

James Giffard of Sheriffhall, in favour of whom his mother conveyed the lands of Sheriffhall by resignation of 28 February 1556/57[24] which was confirmed by charter from the superior, George, Commendator of Dunfermline, on 14 April 1557.[25] He had succeeded by 12 December 1562 and had m. by then to Helen Dischington.[26] He d. by December 1608 and had issue,

  1. James Gifford of Sheriffhall, (see below).
  2. Mr. Thomas Gifford, who was Tutor to his nephew and namesake, Thomas Giffard of Sheriffhall, during his minority.
  3. Margaret Gifford, m. John Sinclair, younger of Dryden, (c/m 5 June 1584[27]).

James Gifford of Sheriffhall, succeeded his father, to whom he was served heir general on 23 December 1608,[28] and had a precept of clare constat for his infeftment in Sheriffhall as heir to him on 2 May 1609.[29] He m. Margaret, daughter of George Home of Broxmouth, (c/m 21 April 1585[30]), and was father of,

Thomas Giffard of Sheriffhall, succeeded his father when still under age and disponed his lands of Sheriffhall to James Buchanan, servant to the King, and Jean Lundie, his wife, by charter of 20 June 1620.[31] He was father of,

John Giffard, who was served heir to his grandfather, James Giffard of Sheriffhall, in the lands of Todhills, in the lordship of Newbattle, on 13 October 1635.[32]




[1] GD150/33.

[2] C2/4/169.

[3] Ex. Rolls. Vol. V. p. 31.

[4] GD150/97.

[5] Morton Chartulary. No. 219.

[6] GD150/131.

[7] GD150/141.

[8] Morton Chartulary. No. 235.

[9] Protocol Book of James Young. No. 314.

[10] GD150/194.

[11] Morton Chartulary. No. 235 & 236.

[12] Acta Dom Conc – 1484.

[13] Act Parl. Scot. 26th May 1485.

[14] GD150/250.

[15] GD150/773.

[16] GD16/27/1.

[17] C2/26/224.

[18] GD150/268.

[19] GD224/315/9.

[20] Reg. Dunfermline. See also GD224/315/1.

[21] GD150/268.

[22] GD150/716.

[23] Reg. Dunfermline.

[24] GD224/315/1/3 The extant Sheriffhall writs only survive from 1555.

[25] GD224/315/1/4.

[26] RD1/5/388.

[27] GD18/515.

[28] C22/4/256.

[29] GD224/315/2/6.

[30] GD224/315/2/1.

[31] GD224/315/3/5.

[32] C22/14/72.