William Courage and The Courage Family

The first recorded references to the Courage family - Scotland

James Courage
, brother of Alexander, is recorded in Milbrae of Colpnay,
Belhelvie) in 1696.  The Founder's ancestors are traced back through his father
Archibald, to his grandfather Alexander, son of
William, the first of the line to
settle in Scotland.

The first family tree from William Courage to John Courage, the Founder   


It is almost certain that William Courage, a herdsman or grassman, who lived at
Haddo, Foveran and appeared in the 1696 poll book with his wife was the
Founder’s Great Grandfather. The Founder’s Grandfather was Alexander Courage
born in 1686 in Foveran, who lived later at Drums, Belhelvie, north of Aberdeen.
William and Alexander Courage lived on the Earl of Panmure’s estate of Foveran
and Belhelvie near the coast.  What still remains unproven is whether the
Scottish forebears were Huguenot refugees, although the evidence is impressive.
The evidence against is that there was a Courage in Scotland definitely
forty seven years before the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1683, as we
know Margaret Courage was at Spittles in 1636, and latterly George Courage at
Rothiemay in 1678.  However, there was a considerable interchange of people
between France and Scotland throughout the 17th century, which would support
the Huguenot connection.

The early forebears had their difficulties. Between 1666 and 1668, James
Courage received distribution to the poor from the Kirk at Foveran, but by 1696
James had moved up, is entered in the Pool Book with his wife and child, and paid
his landlord one shilling and eight pence for the tenancy of North Colpnay in
Bellhelvie where he practised his craft as a Tailor.

The name of James Courage is recorded in a Poll Book dated 1696 relating to
Milbrae of Colpnay, taxed in respect of his wife, his trade, and the possessing of
land.  His trades appear to have been those of tailor and farmer.  He is also
returned as a crofter.   See a HISTORY OF THE TROUBLES IN SCOTLAND. Anno

James had a brother
Alexander who had a son called Archibald.  Archibald had
two sons, Alexander and
John, according to a letter written by the 3rd John
Courage in 1859 in which he refers to
Archibald as the common ancestor of the
Courage family.

Alexander, the eldest of the two sons, was apprenticed to the shoemaking trade,
but afterwards set up as an optician in Aberdeen and earned local renown in that
occupation.  However, he died at an early age.

[An alternative version of the line claims that the first Alexander's son, Archibald,
was also called Alexander, which is to be verified. 2008].

The younger son,
John Courage, was the founder of the Courage brewery in
London in 1787 by the purchase of a brew house in Horselydown, East London.

For a fuller family history see
The Courage Family History
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