Last name: Gillespie
Recorded in several spellings, this interesting surname, is of pre 10th century Gaelic-Scottish origin. It derives from Mac giolla Easpuig, meaning 'The son of the bishop's servant. Widely recorded in Scotland, the origination is from the Roman Latin word 'eposcopus' meaning bishop or leader, although why this should be, since no other Gaelic name has any sort of similar origin, remains a mystery. In Ireland the surname is chiefly recorded in County Down, Ulster. These Gillespies who came from Scotland, were erenaghs or hereditary landlords, who managed the local church lands. In Scotland Ewan Gillaspeck witnessed a charter by Alwin, earl of Levenax, in circa 1199, whilst Guileaspos Cambell, who in 1360 invaded the county of Northumberland in England, is the forerunner of the later Gillespies of that county. They have the more unusual spelling of Gillhespy. Sir Robert Rollo Gillespie (1766 - 1814), born in County Down, had an adventurous and distinguished career as a soldier in India, where he was killed in action. A coat of arms granted to the Scottish clan has the blazon of a silver shield, charged with a chevron wavy between three red heraldic roses. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Teag Mac Giolla Epscoip, who was chief of Aeilabhra, in the barony of Iveagh, County Down. This was dated 1175, in the "Medieval Irish Records", during the reign of Rory O'Conor, known as "The High King of Ireland", 1166 - 1175. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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For the Scottish Gillespies.. I have a book "The Loyall Dissuasive; And Other Papers Concerning The Affairs of Clan Chattan" where they state that the Gillespies were in control of the lands of Badenoch until the Cummings came. The Macphersons drove out the Cummings and became the power in the area..hence the Gillespie-Macpherson connection in Scotland. In Ireland, since the name translated means servant of the Bishop, (or son of the servant with the "mac"), isnt it possible they migrated to Scotland with Columba, and his party up the great glen? Looking into the kingdom of Dal Riata and how it stretched from Northern Ireland to Scotland, it makes sense to me.
Lets try to end all this nonsense associating our surname, with 'Ercenbald' and other names.
ps- I have no idea how old these posts are I just came across them today (9/8/2012)
dave,I have researched Gillespie clan history in Scotland we go back to 500AD research deeper
Ronald A Gillespie
I am a Gillespie Ronald Gillespie from Laois and Ulster. DF21,DF25,DF5,L1403. That translation is not accurate. They were the Fili. There are notions concerning the etymology of the Gillespie name which are no longer credible. The first associates the root with "Gilly," a serving boy. If this were true, the Scots Gillivray name, where the the third syllable comes from the Gaelic "Brath," meaning judgment, would foolishly translate to, 'servant boy of judgment,' rather than to the obvious FiliBrath, or 'lawyer (poetic reciter) of judgment.' The Galbraith name has the same origin. Another myth links Gillespie to the name to Archibald: it is absurd to link the Gaelic name of Gillespie with the Germanic Ercenbald.
This is the history of my surname. I am aware that I have a Scottish/ Irish background so very informative.
My husband had a DNA test with national geographic. He is a descendent of Niall M222. There are at least 5 lines of Gillespies in the US. I now believe his line crossed over to the lowlands of Scotland in the 5 th century. James and Jennet Gilhespey came to Colonial Virginia @ 1738. He was a Presbyterian elder and the English in Williamsburg liked the ScottsIrish because they were the buffer from the Indians in the Shenandoah Valley. They fought in American Revolution against England, and walked over the mountains to North Carolina to kick English butt at the Battle of Kings Mountain. When you have your DNA tested, there are markers that may mutate when your family immigrated. My husband knows he is Irish, Scots, and even the Gillespies intermarried with American Indians!