Ancient Scottish Roots

History Outline of the Dalrymple Family
(by Fred Dalrymple, 1968,

To begin, the Dalrymple family in very early times no doubt lived in Ireland, which in those times as known as Scotia. The people of this island were of Celtic origin and were known as Scots, they were ancestors of the Celtic people who occupied ancient Gaul in the fourth century B.C. About 500 A.D. Scots from Ireland began migrating to the country to the east of their native island, known to us today as Scotland. These Scots occupied lands along the western shores of Scotland, such areas as Kintryre, Argyll and Arran received these newcomers, known as Dalriadic Scots from the district in Northern Ireland from which they came. It should be remembered that people did not have surnames in this age and it was not until after the Normans invaded England in 1066, that surnames in the isles came into general use.

We find that the first mention of the Dalrymples occurs in the charter of their lands, to John Kennedy of Dunure in 1371, in the district of Kyle, Ayrshire. The barony of Dalrymple was held in ancient times by a family who according to the custom of those days, assumed their name from it. Adam de Dalrimpill, a descendant of that family is the first recorded Dalrymple He lived in the reign Alexander the third and died in the year 1300.

It is from this family I conclude, that the majority, if not all the Dalrymples of the present time descended. The name Dalrymple in itself is unique, also it is a ‘place name’ which I feel lends itself to a considerable amount of stability. Generally such names as Taylor, Smith, Baker, etc. are ‘trade names’ in origin and one may conclude that many villages and hamlets had its bakers, tailors and smiths, thereby many families completely unrelated and in different parts of the country, found that they had the same family name. Due to the lack of records in those ancient times I believe that the aforementioned conclusion, for all practical purposes the most logical deduction one might arrive at.

At this point, something should be said in connection with the origin of the name Dalrymple itself. Dalrymple, formerly written Dalrimpill is said to be an abbreviation of the Gaelic words Dail-a-Chrunipuill, signifying “dale by the crooked pool,” it describes the situation of the village where the church of Dalrymple stands, at a bend of the river Doon, some say however a river is not a pool and that the church was not built until 1764. Others state that is is derived by Dal-ry-mole, also gaelic, meaning the valley of the slaughter of a king or kings. There being a tradition that there was a battle fought before the christian era, in the valley of Dalrymple, in which two kings, Fergus and Coilus were slain. Still others state that the Saxon words, Dahl and Hrympel form the most obvious etymon, the surface of the parish having numerous mounds or knolls, giving it a rumpled or puckered appearance. There is no doubt various authoritiies will reject one etymology for another. I believe that the name derived from a gaelic origin and possibly the first theory suits it best.

The name Dalrymple has had various spellings, particularly from 1200 to 1600 A.D. It appears as de Romple in the muster rolls of the Scot Guiards in France. The different spelling of the name has appeared particularly during the 1500s as Dalrimpill, Dalrimpull, Dalrympill, Dalrumpill, Dalrympille, Dauripill, Darumple and Dalrumpyll. No doubt most of the different spellings were the result of the pronunciation of those times. Even as late as 1871, when the first Dominion census was taken, one of the brothers of my great-great grandfather had his family name appearing on that document as Dyrimple. No doubt this also was due to the spelling out of the name by sound as best as they could.

Something also should be said of the different pronunciation of the name in common speech thus, Darylple 1426, Dawrumpyl 1532 and Derumpill 1529. here again, pronuncation at times plays an important part in the particular locality in which the family may have originated. It is of interest that the Dalrymples of Hants County, Nova Scotia and the local inhabitants of that county pronounce the name Derumple, passed on from generation to generation in the county no doubt. The pronunciation Derumpill of 1529 and de Romple as it appeared on the muster rolls of the Scots Guards in France is quite similar to that of Hants county.


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