South Africa

Pringle’s in South Africa

On 15 February 1820 a settler party of Pringles sailed from Gravesend on the “Brilliant” for South Africa. They arrived, via Cape Town, in Algoa Bay in the Eastern Cape on 15 May.

This party was Robert Pringle (born 1753) and his sons:

  1. William Pringle of Eldon. Born 1780.
  2. John Pringle of Glen Thorn. Born 1787.
  3. Thomas Pringle, the poet, writer and later Secretary of the Anti-slavery Society. Borm 1789.
  4. Alexander Pringle, emigrated to America in 1812.
  5. William Dods Pringle of Lyndoch. Born 1809.
Pringle’s of Scotland to South Africa 1820, by Jimmy (James Leslie John) Pringle who lives in Zimbabwe (Jimmy is descended from Robert Pringle (born 1753) through his son John Pringle).

Lineage of James Leslie Pringle, South Africa

  1. James Pringle in Kelso,
  2. William Pringle, b. circa 1600,
  3. James Pringle,
  4. William Pringle, d. 1707,
  5. William Pringle, d. 1748,
  6. William Pringle, d. 1784,
  7. Robert Pringle, emigrated to SA from Teviotdale, Scotland, b. 1753, d. 1838, – see
  8. John Pringle, d. 1864,
  9. James Lennox Stretch Pringle, d. unknown,
  10. William Stanton Leslie, d. 1942,
  11. James Thomas Leslie Pringle, d. 1974,
  12. James Leslie John Pringle, living.


Lineage of Geoffrey Norris Pringle, Kentucky, USA

  1. James Pringle in Kelso,
  2. Alexander Pringle, b. circa 1602, d. circa 1650,
  3. Alexander Pringle, d. 1719,
  4. Samuel Pringle, d. 1777,
  5. William Pringle, b. 1744,
  6. Wiliam Pringle, d. 1798,
  7. Thomas Alexander Pringle, d. 1852,
  8. Oliver Pringle, d. 1892,
  9. Osborne Norris Pringle, d. 1950,
  10. Charles Norris Pringle, d. 1954,
  11. Geoffrey Norris Pringle, living.

Thomas Pringle, the Poet (1789-1834)

Border poet and writer, Secretary of the Society for the Abolition of Slavery

Records of the Pringles, Page 237:

Under the heading – James Pringle, 3rd Laird of Whytbank:

“There was also a natural son William who appears in the Register of Deeds under the date 17th October 1663, ancestor of Thomas Pringle, poet and reformer. (See the Encyclopedias, especially the Dictionary of National Biography; also the article by A. Pringle in the Border Magazine of 21st December 1921.)”


  1. William Pringle, a farmer in Yair and tenant of the Laird of Whytbank. Lived in an old tower, or peel, at the foot of the Craig-hill of Yair, on Tweedside.
  2. William Pringle. Born Dryburgh 1681. Died 2/2/1745.
  3. William Pringle in Blaiklaw. Born Dryburgh 1710. Died 1784.
  4. Robert Pringle in Blakelaw. Born 1753. Died 10/10/1838.
  5. Thomas Pringle, Poet – Born Blaiklaw (Easterstead) 5/1/1789. Died London 5/12/1834.

Blaiklaw is located on the road between Kelso and Town Yetholm, quite a distance away from Dryburgh or Yair.

NOTE by James Bruce Pringle (brother of Sir Murray Pringle of Stichill):

I believe that I have found the missing link. The South African Pringles and Murray and I have virtually identical DNA and we share one particular difference, that no other Pringle (to date) shares.

James Pringle who married Margaret Douglas and had two bairns (sons) William and Alexander. Please refer to ‘The Records of the Pringles’ under Kelso on page 164. The eldest son William was the progenitor of the SA Pringles and Alexander was the one that migrated to Northern Ireland and named Elder of Templepatrick in 1646. I am confident that I am right but I am not fallible by any means.


Books by or about Thomas Pringle:

Narrative of a residence in South Africa, by Thomas Pringle.

Afar in the Desert, by Thomas Pringle.

Ephemerides; or occasional poems. Written in Scotland and South Africa, by Thomas Pringle.

The autumnal excursion, or, Sketches in Teviotdale, with other poems, Volume 1, by Thomas Pringle.

African Sketches, by Thomas Pringle.

The Poetical Works of Thomas Pringle, with a sketch of his life, by Leitch Ritchie.

Some Poems of Thomas Pringle, with illustrations by Harry Rowntree.

THOMAS PRINGLE. His Life, Times and Poems.  It is edited by William Hay and published by J.C.Juta and Co. 1912.


Links about Thomas: – Thomas  Pringle’s Poetry
Thomas Pringle –  Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Sermons and letters of the late Rev. Alex. Pringle, D.D. (who was the third son of William Pringle of Blaiklaw).

Thomas Pringle: South African pioneer, poet and abolitionist, by Randolph Vigne.

Book Review of: Thomas Pringle; South African Pioneer, Poet and Abolitionist by Randolph Vigne.

by James Bruce Pringle

One might assume from the above mentioned book (as given on pages 4, 5 and 234) that the Pringles of South Africa were merely bastards who had descended from Whytbank.

According to the author and claimed by Whytbank, the Pringles of Smailholm built Smailholm tower and Whytbank the builder of the 17th century tower on Knowes previously held by Pringle of Craigleith. Both claims were incorrect.

There is no mention by the author of any Pringle of Craigleith or Stichill; but there is mention of Clifton, Haining and Yair, all of whom descended from William, Constable of Cessford Castle.

The farm Blakelaw was owned by Wauchopes of Niddrie and the farm was tenanted to Thomas’s father. George Pringle of Craigleith, who died in 1602 had married Wauchopes’ daughter. Robert, first of Stichill was George’s younger son. The DNA of Sir Norman Murray Pringle and the South African Pringles match – they are from the same line.

Alexander Pringle of Whytbank visited Stichill House in 1840 and made genealogical notes of the Stichill family in the absence of Sir John Pringle of Stichill who had moved to the Isle of Wight. After having made two copies of the Stichill genealogy, Alexander of Whytank arrived at the incorrect descent of the Pringles of Craigleith to be descended from Whitsome – complete rubbish.

Not only does Sir Murray Pringle’s DNA match the South African Pringles DNA, it also matches that of Geoffery Norris Pringle in Kentucky USA. Both are known to descend from James Pringle in Kelso (last paragraph on page 164 of the Records of the Pringles).

Concluding the Pringles of SA – Pringle’s Bay, Cape Town, is named after Vice Admiral Thomas Pringle, son of Walter Pringles merchant of St Kitts, West Indies and grandson of Thomas Pringle, W.S. (See Stichill). Captain Pringle had at one time Nelson under his command and they remained friends.

James Bruce Pringle
9th Sep 2018

Pringle Heraldry in South Africa – Heraldry – Pringle South African Arms

The out of print book ‘Pringles of the Valleys’:

Our South African Contact:

Our point of contact in South Africa is Robert Pringle and he can be emailed at: