Origins and Journey to Prominence

During the Medieval period, the Boyd family rose from humble beginnings shrouded in mystery to become one of the most prominent and politically active families in Scotland. The origins of the Boyds are not fully understood. One origin story connects them to the Stewarts, with Walter and Simon, sons of Alan the Hereditary Stewart of Dol (in Brittany) travelling to Scotland to seek their fortunes. There, Simon's son Robert became known as 'Buidhe' (Gaelic for yellow) due to his blonde hair. However, the Boyds are first mentioned in documented history in 1205, where Robert de Boyd is noted as a witness to an agreement between 'the village of Irvine and Ralph of Eglintoun'.  

Following Norway's defeat by King Alexander III of Scotland in the Battle of Largs in 1263, the Boyds were rewarded with lands in Cunningham, comprising of areas of what is now North and East Ayrshire. Sir Robert Boyd emerged as a hero from the battle after his successful leadership of the Scots against Norwegians at the Gold Berry Hill skirmish, near Largs.


Some 30 years later in 1290, Sir Robert is said to have been hanged alongside many other Scottish nobles, including other members of the Boyd family and Wallaces in atrocities committed at Ayr by Edward I of England and his men.


Afterwards, his son (also Sir Robert, d. 1296) joined with William Wallace in his fight for Scottish independence against Edward I, where he deputised as leader of the Scots army in Wallace's absence and took part in a revenge attack on the English forces. He is mythologised in Blind Harry's epic poem The Wallace where he is described as 'wys' (wise) and 'wicht' (strong).



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