A name of Patronymic origin, the Jonhstones were at one time amongst the most powerful clans along the Scottish Borders.
Originally hailing from Annandale, the Johnstones would go on to hold extensive possessions across the south-west of the country and were often one of the clans who kept watch against the English.
The first recorded use of the Johnstone name came after 1194 when Gilbert, the son of Sir John Johnstone, a knight of the County of Dumfries, is mentioned in records.
The Johnstones would go on to hold the position of Warden of the Western Scottish Marches on numerous occasions – an office of government in both Scotland and England that was responsible for the security of the border between the two nations.
This did not mean, however, that they would not take part in the Border Reiver raids into England which took place prior to the Union of the Crowns in 1603 but they did not raid lands in their own country like numerous other clans and instead limited fighting within Scotland to feuds with other clans such as with Clan Moffat – whom they almost wiped out in the 16th century.
Today, the clan’s historic seat at Lochwood Castle in Annandale is barely a ruin. However, the clan lives on after being revived in 1972 and the current clan chief is Patrick Hope-Johnstone, 11th Earl of Annandale and Hartfell.