J…is for Jardine

nancyjardineThis post is by Nancy Jardine

Post A-to-Z Road TripA to Z Blog Challenge

My letter for the April A to Z Challenge is J and it seems very opportune to use the slot like this…

Well, my name is Jardine isn’t it?


Jardine Motto badgeNJ
Jardine Motto badgeNJ

Actually, it is now but didn’t used to be since I acquired it as my married name. Many readers of this blog will know that I’m a passionate Scot, and always have been, but one thing out of my control was my maiden name. It doesn’t have the same ring of Scottishness that Jardine has. Like many others British names, my maiden surname is one of those originating from Saxon or medieval eras—the name given to denote people who worked at a particular trade. Typical examples would be Smith; Farmer; Arkwright; Dyer; Fletcher…

The name Jardine is different! By the time of the Norman Conquest of Britain, in the second half of the eleventh century, many French and Flemish names had appeared and this was the case for my husband’s earliest forebears of the name Jardine.

The Jardine Clan name derived from the French Jardin (jrdin) meaning garden, but curiously, unlike the names I’ve quoted above denoting trades, the Jardin name is not associated with being a gardener but more that the Jardin’s home was near a garden. In those days, a garden would only have been associated with a substantial piece of land: thus the Jardins would have been landowners.

Someone named ‘du Jardon’ came over to England with William the Conqueror in 1066. He must have done his duty well and have been given a gift of land because ‘de Jardins’ (yes, there’s a subtle spelling change) settled in the north-west of England and then a few generations later moved north to near Lockerbie, in Scotland. By 1153, the Jardin name appears in the Kelso and Arbroath Abbeys. Since Kelso and Arbroath are quite far apart in Scotland, this might indicate subsequent offspring establishing their own tenure of lands.

Jardine Tartan (hunting) fridge magnet and badge
Jardine Tartan (hunting) fridge magnet and badge

Which area was settled on first might eventually be proven, but what seems more important nowadays is that the main Jardine Clan ‘seat’ has been near Applegirth, Dumfriesshire, Scotland, for centuries. They were the border reivers—the ill-reputed sheep stealers—who protected their lands from infiltrators who came from the south …and the north! Those Jardines protected their lands during raids by all the big ‘Border families’ who tried to gain new territory.

CAVE ADSUM—the clan motto means ‘Beware I am here!’ (alternatively-Beware I Come)

Late 1990s at a Burn’s Supper

I’ve only done a little ancestry research regarding my husband’s family tree and have evidence for many slight variations in the spelling of the name—Jardine; Jardin; Jarden; Garden… This is was very common since it was the ‘interpretation’ of the person who registered the birth on Parish Church registers till the mid1850s, when official Scottish Government records started. The person, not necessarily the church minister, listened to the name given and wrote down their closest approximation! So far, I have proof which takes my husband’s line back to the early 1700s but I’m sure that if I had time I’d be able to go back further. Jargon (Robert) born 1682 is, as yet, an unproven line I must investigate further, since that’s an interesting variant of the name.

The Clan Jardine Society was formed in 1976 as a focus for the many Jardines who have ended up all around the world and who look for a ‘tie’ to the country of their ancestors. What became the official Jardine tartan was also established around this time. I believe my scarf above was the version officially registered around the 1970s and it’s the one used as the background for Jardine tourist items. If you go into a tartan shop in Scotland, you will find there is now a choice of Jardine tartan options for making into kilts and other tartan items.

The scarf seen at above right, worn plaid-style, was bought from the wife of the Clan chief during the late 1970s. Lady Ann (widowed at the time) had been married to Sir William Edward Jardine of Applegirth, 11th Baronet. My American sister-in-law,  along with my husband’s brother, went down to the Dumfries area to meet Lady Ann and they came back bearing ties and scarves, and other bits and bobs, in that tartan option-hence the origin of my scarf and my husband’s tie! This brown/grey tartan isn’t as eye-catching as the one my husband now has in both kilt and trews which is the Dress Jardine. Below he is wearing his trews at his first Batchelor of Science (Hons) graduation in 2013, in Edinburgh. In 2014, he wore his kilt at his Masters degree Ceremony in Glasgow. (some people retire early and play golf but Alan studies quantum mechanics and astro-physics – I kid you not! )

Graduation 1 in Trews

There are various sources for Clan Jardine history searches and the name Jardine also appears in traditional poems and songs. The Battle of Otterburn, 1388, was notable in history as one of the many skirmishes between the Scots and the English. I believe the battle is recorded as a victory for the Scots but what about the Jardines of the time?

Oh, dear, it seems they were not in favour that skirmish since it was written in the traditional ballad poem named ‘The Battle of Otterbourne’ that:

It fell about the Lammas tide,
When the muir-men win their hay,
The doughty Douglas bound him to ride
Into England, to drive a prey.
He chose the Gordons and the Graemes,
With them the Lindesays, light and gay;
But the Jardines wald nor with him ride,
And they rue it to this day.


These are only a few sources of Jardine information:





Nancy Jardine writes historical romantic adventures set in northen Celtic Roman Britain in the first century AD, ( in the lands later settled by the above mentioned Jardines). She also writes contemporary romantic mysteries and time travel historical adventures for a younger Middle Grade/YA readership…and anyone who loves a rollicking good adventure story.


Amazon US
also from B &N; Smashwords and other ebook stores.

MonogamyTwistNancyJardine x360


Coming late April, 2015 Final Nancy Jardine x 488


26 thoughts on “J…is for Jardine

  1. Nancy, you wrote a blog near and dear to my heart, Ancestry and History. Put those two together and you can’t fail. Loved it. Doris


    1. Thank you, Mike. I can’t be sure of what they might still be ruing… 😉 but the present clan chief doesn’t live in Scotland any more…maybe it’s that?


  2. That’s more faniky history than most oeiple know. That’s a lovely phoro of the two of you and the one where his is in his threws pants. I don’t think Ive seen the threws before only thw kelts. Thanks. Cher’ley


  3. Fun post, Nancy! I will share it with my husband, who, as I may have told you, has Scottish ancestry; he was able to visit Scotland briefly in 1999. He, too, has a tartan tie and wears it with pride!


    1. Gayle? I’m wondering – Would Greg be of the Irvine Clan? If so, the clan Irvine ‘seat’ was at Drum Castle which isn’t all that far from me (but then there are actually hundereds of castles in Aberdeenshire).


      1. Hello again, Anabel. Victorian Glasgow is going to be the location of my next WIP and you look like an excellent person to contact if I come unstuck about some details! 🙂


  4. Such interesting information about a name. I find the history of words and names to be fascinating. I’m writing over at naughtscrossstitches.com for the A-Z challenge.


    1. Hello Caitlin. I”m glad you enjoyed it. I’m fascinated by words and names as well and I take particular time to choose appropriate names for my characters- especially in my historical writing.


  5. Loved reading the post, Nancy. I also enjoy researching family history. It’s so interesting to find out who your relatives were. They say most families have a skeleton in their closet but I don’t think I’ve found one yet. I’m still looking! lol


    1. I’ve definitley got a good one, Linda, and one of these days it will become clear when I eventually get my family saga (fictionalised) written. The family details I’ve unearthed provide great fodder for fiction! 😉


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