The border region of England and Scotland produced the most illustrated
family names the world has ever known , names such as armstrong Graham, Bell, Carson, Hume, Irving, Rutherford, and so on includedin this group is the surname Biggar.
Professional analysts have researched the history of lowland Scotland and Northern England including many private records og genealogical collections of , the Inquistio, the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, the Ragman Rolls, The Hearth Rolls , The Doomesday Book, parish cartularies, baptismals, and tax rolls, and revealed that the first record of the name Biggar was found in Lanarkshire, Scotland, where they had been seated from ancient times.
Differant spellings of the name were found in the archives, each alternate were linked to the root source of the surname. Your name Biggar, occured in many references, from time to time the surname was spelt Biggar ,Bigare, Bigger, Bigir, Bygar, Biggart, McGivern and these changes in spelling frequently occured even between father and son. Scribes and church officials recorded the name from its sound sometimes changing the spelling on each occasion of the same person’s birth,death or marriage.
The family name Biggar is believed to be descendant originally from the Strythclyde Britons. The ancient founding race of the north were a mixture of Gaelic/Celts whose original territories ranged from Lanancashire in the south ,northward to the south bank of the river Clyde in Scotland from 400A.D. to 900A.D .the territory was over run firstly bt the Irish Gaels then the Angels from the east, and finally the Picts and Dalriadants from the north. However their basic culture remained relatively the undisturbed by 1000A.D. the race had formed into discernable Clans and families , perhaps someof the first evidence of the family structure in Britain .
By the 16th and 17th centuries many of our modern family namesdescended from this ancient race,including Biggar . Tracing its ancient development , the name Biggar was found in lanarkshire. The first on record was Baldwin of Bigir who was sheriff of Lanarkshire in 1153, and he was the first chief of his clan . Baldwin witnessed several grants and deeds between 1153 and 1160 . He granted the church of the Innyrkyp to the monks of Paisley. Waldeve, son of Baldwinwas taken prisoner by the English in Alnwick in 1174 with his liege lord,the Scotish King William,Sir Nicholas Biggar, a Night ,was chief in 1292 and recieved the grant of land from King Edward 1st of England in his brief conquest of Scotland . Sir Henry Biggar held the office of the office of Royal Chaplain and clerk of the Livery to King David the II of Scotland in 1329 but at his point many of the lands of the clan past into the possession of the Kennedys, Earls of Wigtown For those interested in further research we would recommend “The Family Of The Biggar, Stewerty of Kirkcudbright, 1614-1912” By GW.Shirley, Dumfries 1912 Notable amongst the family at this time was Walter Biggar was Lord Great Chamberlain of all Scotland in 1368.
The borderof England and Scotland was created on aline from Carlisle
to Berwick in the east. Many Strathclyde families straddled the border but continued to be unified clans, powers unto themselves.
After 1000A.D., border life was in termoil. In 124g, 6 Chiefs from the Scotish side
And 6 from the English side met at Carlisle and produced a set of laws governing all the border Clans. These were unlike any laws pervailing in England or Scotland or, for that matter, anywhere else in the world. For example it was a far greater offence to refuse to help a neighbour recover his property , wife, sheep , cattle or horses then it was to steal it in the first place. Hence the expression “hot trod” . or a hot pursuit which we get the modern “hot to trot” . For refusal of assistance during a Hot Trod” , a person could be hanged on the instint with out trial. Frequently , the descendants of these clans or families apologetically refer to themselves as being decsendants of horse and cattle thieves’ when, infact, it was an excepted code of life on the border.
In 1603 the Union of the Scotich and English , crowns became reality under King James VI of Scotland, who was also crowned King James 1st Of England. The crown dipersed these “unruly border clans”, clans which have served royally in the defence of each side . The unification of the goverments was threatened and it was imperative that the old “border code “ should be broken up . Hence the border clans were banished to England, northern Scotland and Ireland. Some were outlawed and avd banished directly to Ireland the colonies and the New World.
Some of the border clans settled in northern Ireland ,transfered between 1659 and 1700 with grants of land provided they “undertook” to remain Protestant. They became known as the “undertakers” . Many became proudly Irish. In Ireland they settle in county Down and strangely many of them changed there name to McGivern.
Many were dissatisfied with life in Ireland , and sought a more rewarding life .
They looked to the New World and sailed the “WhiteSails” an armanda of sailing ships such as th Hector , the Rambler, and the Dove which struggled across the stormy Atlantic. Some ships lost 30 or 40% of their passenger list , migrants who were burried at sea having died from disease and the elements.
In North Amarica some of the first migrants which could be concidered kinsmen of the family name Biggar and there spellingvariants include Gilbert Biggar, who settle in Baltimore in 1745; David Biggar settled in New Hampshirein 1718: James Biggart settled in Pennsylvania in 1772. The migrants formed wagon trains westward to the praries or the west coast. During the Amarican war of Independants those that remained Loyal to the crown moved north into Canada became known as The United Empire Loyalists.
There were many notable contemporaries of the name Biggar Walter Biggar Sir John Biggart, Pathologist. Research has determined the above Coat of Arms to be the most ancient recorded for the family surname Biggar