The Spaldings of Ashintully, Perthshire, Scotland

The Spalding family highlighted here lived in Perthshire, Scotland, for several hundred years before 1745, and dispersed to Germany, Sweden, Jamacia, Georgia, Liverpool and elsewhere. The castle of Ashintully was the clan center in Perthshire.

Spalding highlights and lowlights

In 1318, Peter Spalding helped followers of Robert the Bruce enter and sieze the town of Berwick from the English. He was English and a burgess of the town, but he was married to a cousin of Sir Robert Keith, Marshall of Scotland. He was granted lands by Bruce on 1 May 1319 in Ballourthy and Petmethy in Forfarshire (now Angus), together with the Keepership of the Royal Forest of Kilgerry. He also received a flag with a gate upon it, having a portcullis half raised, and the motto "Nobile Servitium".

Around 1060, King Malcolm III "Canmore", who killed Macbeth in 1057, built Whitefield Castle in Strathardle as a hunting lodge. Over 500 years later, in 1576, Colonel David Spalding led members of his clan to fight in Flanders for the King of Spain. After 7 years, with the resulting plunder, he built Ashintully Castle, 1 km to the southeast of Whitefield Castle, which served as a model.

In 1615, David "Deas" Spalding started the first regular Highlands market place: "Michael Mass Fair". In Gaelic he was called "Daidh Deas" (line over "e" in Deas). Deas, as here used, requires half-a-dozen English words to give the full meaning - ever, or very restless, ready, brave, wise, etc. Deas means south, and is a relic of Druid sun-worship. Everything if south or sunwards was perfect.

But 200 years later, another David Spalding, also Laird of Ashintully, was remembered much more harshly. "He condemned and executed many most unrighteously, particularly a man of the name of Duncan, who was drowned in a sack in what is still called 'Duncan's Pool.'"

During the early 1700's, the family followed the Jacobite cause, lost its lands, and dispersed. Over the years, offshoots of the original Spaldings of Berwick migrated to Aberdeen, Perthshire, Edinburgh, Germany, Sweden, Jamaica, Liverpool, and Georgia. At least three books have been written about them, by the branches in Germany, Liverpool and Georgia. The Aberdeen branch might be related to the well-known historical society the "Spalding Club" established in 1839. Ashintully Castle, now a 3000-acre sheep ranch and Bed&Breakfast, has been visited by Spaldings from these places and more.

Following the stories of these people, and the times in which they lived, is fascinating, and makes history come alive. Just think. Until the mid 1700's there were no roads or wheeled vehicles of any kind in this part of the highlands, and Gaelic was spoken universally.

[To be added: accomplishments of Thomas Spalding of Sapelo, Thomas Spalding Wylly his grandson in gold rush times, Drs Robert and Hinton Spalding in Jamaica, etc.]


The action takes place in Strathardle, a valley at the beginning of the Scottish Highlands in Perth county, which is part of the Tayside district. The "District of Atholl" seems to be a smaller area also containing Strathardle. It is a beautiful area consisting of rolling hills separated by glacial valleys. These are the foothills of the Grampian Mountains. The most popular skiing in Scotland is at the top of nearby Glenshee.

Map of Dundee, Ashintully

Find Dundee on a map, between Edinburgh and Aberdeen on the east coast. 27 km NW is Blairgowrie, and twice as far is Pitlochry. 18 km NW of Blairgowrie is the village of Kirkmichael. 2.5 km NE of Kirkmichael is Ashintully Castle, 120 m higher at an altitude of 340 m. The ordinance survey grid references are NO 10125 61264. It is marked on both the Ordinance Survey Landranger map (1:50,000), sheet 43 "Braemar & Blair Atholl" and the 1:25,000 Pathfinder map, sheet 295 "Upper Glen Shee". Get also Landranger Sheet 53 "Blairgowrie" and Pathfinder sheet 310 "Bridge of Cally". The pathfinder maps include lots more names of small landholdings which come up all the time.

Kirkmichael is lat 56 degrees 44 minutes North, lon 3 deg 30 min West.

I've made a small attempt at a gazetteer of Strathardle: a detailed list of places mentioned in "Strathardle, Its History and Its People" and their map coordinates.



When I'm finished cross-checking the genealogy in my computer (containing a few hundred entries now) I'll provide a GEDCOM file and an HTML version of it here.


I have a copy of these

Internet sources on Spaldings

General Internet sources

Other useful references

Mormon library in Salt Lake:

Listed by

Help, Feedback

Please let me know of any corrections, additions, or other good sources!

If you can read handwritten sasines from Edinburgh in the 1700's (see the list above), I'm willing to pay for transcriptions!

Neal McBurnett
Last modified: Fri Feb 12 2010