Archiver > HOLLIDAY > 1997-10 > 0878086511

From: "Jay A. Nellis" <>
Subject: Hallidays in Annandale
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 18:55:11 -0600 (CST)

At the request of Paula Larkin I am reposting this for new subscribers.

The following is from Chapter Three of "A Halliday Family Tree", Clarence
Halliday, Cobourg, ON Canada, 1963.

Clarence did a considerable amount of research in Scotland and I believe
this to be quite historically correct.

Hope some of you enjoy it.


The Halliday family originated in the valley of the Annan River in
Dumfrieshire, SCT. The word "Annan" is Celtic and probably meant 'slow
running water'. The river has its source in an area of rugged hills some
six miles north of the town of Moffat and its mouth thirty-two miles
farther down when it empties into the Solway Firth.

At the river's source is a remarkable, awesome, hollow in the hills known
as the Devil's Beef Tub. A few hundred yards below the Beef Tub the glen
begins to widen and take on the characteristic features of the Annandale
watershed, - a gently flowing stream bordered by water meadows with
rounded hills flanking the valley. At this point where Annandale begins
stands the first farmstead of the dale, Corehead. Here, at Corehead, the
Halliday family had its historical beginnings.

Long before recorded history identified a Halliday family, however, the
name was known in Annandale and tradition had tales of its deeds. The name
itself appears to derive from the Latin word "alodi". The supposition is
that when the Roman legions penetrated the valley of the Annan they were
struck by the fact that the peoples there - a mixed race of Pict, Celt, Dane
and Saxon - lived on lands owned by themselves. That is, no near-feudal
system existed, but one more nearly akin to freehold tenure.. In their
surprise at this social system the Romans called the inhabitants "the
Alodi", or "those who cultivate their own land".

Whatever the source of the surname, apparently a large proportion of the
inhabitants of Annandale were known as Hallidays. A tradition concerning
this exists from the time of the crusades. According to it, about the year
1190 A.D. Richard I of England had gone to Palestine on the Third
Crusade. William I of Scotland had become a temporary vassal of Richard
and was called upon to provide troops for the latter's assistance. He
raised five thousand men whom he sent under the command of his brother,
the Earl of Huntingdon. An old record states "one thousand were from
Annandale, and nearly all of them Hallidays". Allowing for some patriotic
exaggeration by the narrator (possibly himself a Halliday), still the name
must have been well established in the area and its numbers more than

An old quatrain of folk-verse, of later but uncertain date, gives another
glimpse of the widespread distribution of the family in the dale, from
where the Annan joins the Solway to the hill at the Beef Tub called

"Frae Annan-fit to Ericstane
Man and horse lang syne has gone
Neth greenwood gay; and a' the way
Upon the lands of Holliday."

It is not until 1297 that an individual Halliday of Annandale became
known to verifiable history. He was Thomas Halliday of Corehead. The
Halliday tower at Corehead, a combined fortress and residence, stood on a
slight eminence within sight of the Beef Tub, an ideal sight for defence
or for living.

Thomas Halliday of Corehead was married to one of the two daughters of
Sir Malcolm Wallace of Elderslie. He was thus brother-in-law of the famous
Scottish patriot Sir William Wallace. Thomas Halliday had a so, also
Thomas, who was referred to by Sir William when speaking of his devoted
followers as "Thom Halliday, my sister's son so dear". The family
relationship to Sir William Wallace was a source of pride to many of the
Halliday descendants.

Late in the 13th century Edward I of England interfered in the dynastic
affairs of Scotland and the Scots resisted. Their leader was Sir William
Wallace. Wallace was not, like many Scots Chieftons, of Norman-noble
birth, but his passion for freedom of noble and commoner alike, allied
with his known valour, marked him as the acknowledged leader of the Scots

Much slaughter accompanied the struggle. Sir Malcolm Wallace, father of
the Sir William and of the wife of Halliday of Corehead, was killed at
Lochmaben a few mile south of Moffat. "Not long out of his teens, Sir
William with four of his followers, came to Corehead". So write an
historian of the period. "Here (at the home of his sister, Mrs. Thomas
Halliday), was murdered the small devoted band who struck the first blow
for Scotland's freedom from England". The Hallidays of Corehead were,
thus, among the first of those "Scots wha hae wi Wallace bled".

Following victory for Wallace's army, Edward led his army of revenge into
Scotland in 1228. Most of Wallace's Scots-nobles allies deserted him,
making their own peace with Edward who defeated and captured Wallace. His
death in the Tower of London followed.

Of course some who had fought with Wallace from the beginning had remained
loyal to the end.Among such were the Hallidays of Annandale. Now, however,
they were out of favour with those having honours to bestow. Apparently
the family had lost much of its earlier pre-eminence in the dale, its
activities concerned less with the art of war and more with the less
glamorous arts of peace.

Two or three centuries were to pass before traditional or recorded
history of Annandale makes mention of its Halliday members. During the
lawless period of the seventeenth century when bands of moss-troopers
ranged the border counties of England and Scotland mention of the family
is rather in the realm of tradition and folk-lore than of history. The
reivers of that period organized in their family bands to steal from
neighboring clansmen and to attack the settlement across the national
border. Participation by the Hallidays, while not to be discounted
entirely, is to be found in tradition only.

One such makes their part a considerable, even accounting for their
surname from their reiving activities. An old Anglo-saxon word which may
well have survived in the border country was the word "haligdaeg", meaning
"a festival". This tradition declares that when a plundering expedition
on the English was being organized the clansmen of Annandale used to sound
the rallying cry, " A halidaeg, a halidaeg", and gather on a small hill in
the lower reaches of the dale not far above Annan town. As a result the
hill became known as Halliday Hill and the reivers who gathered on it as

In some respects the tradition, like most traditions, may be well
founded. Such a hill does exist, known by the family name. It is more than
probable that any gatherings on it would include members of the Halliday
family. But to connect an activity of the seventeenth century with the
origins of the Halliday name is to fly in the face of history. The name
existed in Annandale centuries before the reiving times.

While Hallidays would, doubtless, be participating at some points in the
lawless activities of the reivers, it was probably a minor part. During
the latter Jameses and Queen Mary, when national authority was trying to
check the reivers, long lists of Border families were drawn up by the
Privy Council of Scotland for punishment. These were sent down to the
Chiefs of Annandale for action. The name of Halliday does not once appear
on these lists, though numerous in the Dale.

The family were, however, fervent supporters of the National League and
the Covenant of 1638. Their participation in Covenanter activity is never
in dispute. When the Crown of the now-united Kingdoms tried to force the
covenanters to conform to a contrary form of worship, the Hallidays
resisted. Some of them paid for their temerity with their lives.

Meanwhile, the direct male line of the Hallidays of Corehead had failed
in the fifteenth century. Before then younger members had fared forth from
Upper Annandale, some going far afield. Several branches were thus
established in England. One, Walter Halliday, a younger member of the
Corehead family, was gifted musically and became Master of the Revels at
the Court of Edward IV, being known as Walter the Minstrel. His reward was
the estate of Rodborough in Gloucestershire. Descendants included a Lord
Mayor of London, a President of the East India Company, and one who became
the personal physician to the Duke of Wellington at Waterloo. Some
descendants settled in Yorkshire where the name was well known. One
great-grandson of Walter married the heiress to the estate of Tullibodie
in Clackmannanshire, Scotland, returning to live in the land of his
ancestors. His son, Sir John Halliday, had descendants who went back to
Annandale, notably to Dumfries. His family included Halliday of Whinnyrig
and one, Andrew Halliday, who gained considerable fame as a physician.

One line never left Upper Annandale. Their direct descent from the
Corehead family cannot be traced, but their continuing residence in the
upper reaches of the dale is attested by many records. They have lived or
still live in the Parishes of Moffat, Wamphray, and Johnstone.

Early in the eighteenth century one such family was living on the estate
of Dumcrieff, a mile or two from Moffat. In 1728 the owner of the estate
established on it a corn-mill to grind flour and a wauk-mill to process
cloth. By 1730 the wauk-miller was paying his rent, by 1733 he had had a
new house built for him and before the end of the year he was reported to
be "most diligent". This wauk-miller was apparently a Halliday, either
himself George Halliday or with a son named George.

Certainly, in 1739 George Halliday, a wauk-miller, was living in
Dumcrieff. On January 21, 1739 his banns of marriage to Mary Hastie were
called for the third time in the Moffat Parish Church. They were married
during the same week. George Halliday and Mary Hastie were the earliest
known ancestors of the branch of the Hallidays which is the subject of
this genealogical history.

Jay A. Nellis
Rockford, IL USA

Those who give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary
safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin

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