Medieval Families

Many family names today in south-west Scotland have been common in the area for many centuries and a few great family names from that time have disappeared completely. Use this section to explore one or two of the families that helped shape the region in the medieval period.

Early Records of Some Families that Shaped Southwest Scotland

DE MORVILLE : (Morville is near Valognes, Normandy). Richard de Morville fought at Hastings, and was later Constable of Shrewsbury. Various branches of the family settled in England. Hugh de Morville had lands in the North of England and was given estates in the Borders, Lanark and Cunningham by David I of Scotland (c.1130). By 1140 de Moreville was Constable of Scotland. He founded Kilwinning Abbey in 1140 and probably founded Dryburgh Abbey around1150. The De Morville family died out in Scotland around 1196.

MONTGOMERY (de Mon'Gubri) : (Normandy). Roger, Earl of Montgomery fought at Hastings and was made Earl of Arundel. Philip Montgomery held estates in Wales and was granted an estate at Eaglesham by King David of Scotland. Robert Montgomery was Sheriff of Lanark.

EGLINTOUN :  Eglin held an Estate c.1160 in Irvine. His Great Grandson Rhoulph (Ralph) is mentioned in a charter with the Burgesses of Irvine. The family became extinct around 1380, when the Montgomeries of Eaglesham acquired the Estate.

STEWART (Fitz-Alan): Alain was Grandson of Alain, Dapifer (Steward) to the Archbishop of Dol (Brittany) and was invited to England by Henry the 1st, he held an Estate in Shropshire and died in 1114. His son Walter returned to Scotland along with David the 1st in 1141. He was granted Estates in Renfrew and Kyle and was made Seneschal (Steward) of Scotland. This office was made hereditary in1158. Walter Fitz-Alan also founded Paisley Abbey in 1163.

LOCKHART (Loccard, Lockard): This family is believed to have been the first owners of the Barony of Kilmarnock, but no proof survives. They did own several estates in Ayrshire and Lanarkshire about the year 1160. The two villages known as Symington, one in each district, take their name from Simon Loccard, a Flemish knight who came to Scotland shortly before this date.

Another Loccard, Stephen, held Stevenston in North Ayrshire and by 1205, Riccarton, a suburb of Kilmarnock developed as a separate town, probably taking its name from a Richard Loccard. The family also held Barr Castle in Galston from around 1296.

It was also the Loccards who founded the Church of Kilmarnock, dedicated to St. Mernock, where the town itself gets its name.

It is possible that the first Loccards came to Britain during the Norman Invasion of England in 1066 and in around 1141 came to Scotland as paid soldiers. Many such mercenaries were invited to Scotland by King David 1st, who had been greatly impressed by their organisation during his time spent in England. He gave the Norman knights grants of land for service in order to introduce their Feudal System into Scotland as a pattern of Government.

One such man was Robert de Brus, among whose descendants would be Robert (the Bruce) 1st of Scotland. Another was Walter fitz-Alan whose family was granted lands in Ayrshire and would also become the hereditary Stewards of Scotland (this means they were in charge of the King's money), and would from then on be known as the Stewarts. Eventually the Stewarts gained the throne of both Scotland and England, creating Great Britain. The Loccards were vassals of the powerful Stewarts and Lockhart is still a very common name in this area of Scotland.

In 1330 Sir James Douglas led an army of Scottish knights on a crusade against the Moors in Spain. His friend and King, Robert the Bruce, had always wished to do this, but died before he was able to go, so Douglas carried Bruce's heart in a casket. At the Battle of Thebas, the Scots were surrounded and Douglas threw the casket into the thickest part of the battle and charged, daring his men to follow the Bruce once more. Douglas and most of his men were slaughtered.

One surviving knight, Simon Loccard of Galston, allegedly helped rescue the casket, and bring it back (along with Sir William Keith, also of Galston) to Scotland to be buried in Melrose Abbey, where it lies to this day. The lead casket was recently opened and DNA tested, proving that it did indeed belong to the famous King, before being reburied.

WALLACE (Hose Wallens, Wayliss): Wallace means Welsh. Native family? Recorded in Riccarton in1174 and in Craigie in 1177.

DUNLOP: The founder of the family of Dunlop of that Ilk was the huntsman to Godfred Ross, who held land in Cunningham under the De Morevilles, and in the reign of David II (c.1329), was Sheriff of Ayr. Neil Fitz-Robert de Dunlop signed the Ragman Roll in 1351 and was a staunch supporter of John Balliol (losing lands and favour for a while as a result after reprisals against Balliol's men by the Bruces). A daughter of the house married James Stuart, Sheriff of Bute, a great grandson of Robert the Bruce. In 1614 James Dunlop resisted the attempts of Charles I to introduce Episcopacy. His nephew, also James, suffered fines and imprisonment for his connections to the Presbyterian cause and his son, Alexander, was forced to flee to America after the engagement at Bothwell Bridge. Alexander's son, Francis, however served as lieutenant-colonel of a cavalry regiment raised against the Chevalier in 1715. The wife of his eldest son, an alleged lineal descendant of Sir William Wallace was a long term correspondent of Robert Burns. The village of Dunlop takes their name.

LOUDOUN : James de Loudoun held an Estate of the De Morvilles c.1180. His daughter Margaret inherited the Estate and married Sir Reginald Crawfurd.

CRAWFURD (Crawford): This family is descended from the Anglo-Danish chief, Thorlongus of Northumberland who was driven into Scotland in the 11th century by William the Conqueror and were recorded as having been in Lanarkshire around 1150. John Craufurd held Crawfordjohn. Sir Reginald Crawford married Margaret Loudoun (The daughter of James de Loudoun who held an estate of the De Morvilles around 1180) and their son, Hugh, became the hereditary Sheriff of Ayrshire. The Loudoun estate passed to Campbell in 1312. However, very few families this old have remained on the same lands as the Craufurds have managed to do at Craufurdland. The first member of the family to own these lands was a grandson of Sir Reginald Craufurd, Sheriff of Ayrshire in the reign of Alexander II.

His grandson, the third laird of Craufurdland was the cousin of the Scottish hero Sir William Wallace and played a large part in Wallace's rebellion that lit the fuse on the Scottish Wars of Independence.

The head of the Craufurd family was made a knight by James I and was captured with the king in 1423 at the siege of Crevelt after being seriously wounded. He was one of the prisoners who were released with James I the following year.

Another member of the family represented Glasgow in the convention of Estates in 1578.

One of the knights of this house was killed along with James IV and many other important Scottish nobles on Flodden field in 1513. His son was employed as secretary to Mary of Guise, and subsequently to Mary Queen of Scots.

It was the Laird of Craufurdland who attended the 4th and last Earl of Kilmarnock, Sir William Boyd, on the scaffold in 1746 after he was sentenced for his part in the Jacobite rebellion. Although Craufurd had played no part in the uprising, this last favour for his friend and neighbour saw him degraded to the bottom of the army list.

Elizabeth Howieson Craufurd, who died in 1823, united the Craufurd family with that of the Howiesons of Braehead. Her son, who was a noted leader of the Free Church during the Disruption, waited with a silver basin of rose-water upon George IV at a banquet given to the king by the City of Edinburgh.

Craufurdland Castle stands on the brow of a steep bank overlooking Craufurdland Water, and is surrounded by trees. The mapmaker & historian, Timothy Pont admired it in the 17th century and called it "a fair bulding weill planted". Its old tower is rumoured to predate the Norman Conquest of England but has had various additions made to it by its successive proprietors. It's central portion which was erected in the 19th century is an impressive piece of Gothic architecture.

CHALMERS(Camerius-Chancellor, de Bidun): Walter de Bedun recorded in Northants c.1145. Edward de Bedun was chancellor for David 1st, of Scotland c.1140 and Herbert de Bedun was chancellor under Malcolm 4th. The Chalmers family held Gadgirth by 1170.

BOYD (Boid): One of the proposed origins of the name "Boyd" is that it comes from the Gaelic name for the Island of Bute which is "Bod". This becomes "Bhoid" in the genitive. This seems reasonable, as the first recorded Boyds were vassals of the De Morevilles in the regality of Largs. Another origin lies in the fact that Walter and Simon, sons of Alan, Hereditary Stewart of Dol, in Brittany, who came to England in the reign of Henry I, came to Scotland to seek their fortune. Robert, the son of Simon, became known as "Buidhe" (Gaelic for yellow) due to his blond hair and because of this the Boyds are recognised by some as a sept of the Royal Stewarts.

Robert be Boyd is mentioned in a manuscript dated 1205 where he is a witness to an agreement between "the village of Irvine and Ralph of Eglintoun". His son is believed to have played a major part in the Battle of Largs in 1263, and is said to have won a victory at Goldberry Hill, south the main battle. Alexander III rewarded Boyd with lands in Cunningham. The motto 'Goldberry' is included in the Boyd coat of arms. His son, also Robert, collaborated with William Wallace in his earliest exploits - in encounters at Loudoun Hill and Glen Trool, the fabled Burning of the Barns at Ayr and the taking of Ayr and Ardrossan Castles. He is thought to have been with Wallace at the Battle of Falkirk, and according to the account of the minstrel 'Blind Harry', was in command during times when Wallace was not present. He later joined Robert the Bruce and continued to fight for Scottish Independence. In 1314 he played an important part in the Battle of Bannockburn and was rewarded by Bruce with lands in various parts of Ayrshire including West Kilbride and Kilmarnock.

The Boyds emerge again as major players in Scottish history in the late 15th century during the minority of James III when the first Lord Boyd exercised the powers of regent. His son Thomas Boyd, the Earl of Arran, who had married the King's elder sister Mary, took part in the diplomatic negotiations with Denmark which resulted, eventually, in the ceding of Orkney and Shetland to the Scottish crown. The Boyd's influence came to an end when the Fourth Earl of Kilmarnock, William Boyd, was executed for his part in the Jacobite uprising of 1745.

KENNEDY: MacKennedi witnessed a charter c.1180. A Kennedy was Steward to the Earl of Carrick in 1243. John Kennedy of Dunure c.1346-85 rises to prominence in Carrick. On a rocky coast six miles south of Ayr, Dunure Castle is built to the shape of the rocks on which it stands. It was the original fortress of the Kennedy family, who later moved to Cassillis Castle, then Culzean Castle.

DE CARRICK: Duncan was Earl of Carrick c.1185-1250. He was the son of Gilbert, son of Fergus of Galloway. Main line of the family continued through Marjory de Carrick, wife of Robert de Brus, father of Robert 1st, of Scotland.

BRUCE, (de Brus), [Brix is in Normandy]: There was a Robert de Brus at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and his son Robert was given land in North England. He was also granted the land of Annandale by David 1st of Scotland. His younger son Robert married Marjory, Countess of Carrick in 1268 and they held Turnberry Castle. Their son was Robert 1st of Scotland, (Robert the Bruce), who was probably born at Turnberry.

FERGUSSON: The Fergussons were probably long established in the area. Their descent has been traced from Fergus of Galloway and their name was recorded c.1320 and again they were recorded at Kilkerran in 1464, and were possibly always there.

BARCLAY: During the Wars of Independence in 1304, head of the Barclay's, Fergus of Ardrossan was part of the Scottish force at Stirling Castle which was besieged by Edward II. Unable to hold out against the English king, they surrendered. Fergus was among the prisoners taken back to England. He was held first at Newcastle before being taken to Corfe Castle in Dorset.

Whilst Fergus languished in captivity, the Ardrossan lands - including Ardrossan Castle - were given to an English nobleman, Sir William Latimer. When Fergus was eventually released in 1312, the Scottish king, John Balliol, was unable to return his Ardrossan lands and Fergus was instead forced to settle near Kilmarnock.

Following the battle of Bannockburn, however, Robert the Bruce returned the family's lands and Fergus became a staunch supporter of Bruce. Fergus accompanied Bruce's brother Edward on an expedition to Ireland, where he is thought to have met his death in a battle at Ardoyne in 1316. His son was one of 32 Scottish noblemen who signed the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320.

MURE (Moore, Muir): Rowallan Castle stands upon the banks of Carmel Water, about three miles north of Kilmarnock and was the ancestral home of the Mure family. The oldest part of the building is a vaulted lower apartment, which probably dates from the thirteenth century, and is said to have been the birthplace of Elizabeth Mure, the first wife of Robert II of Scotland, and mother to the Duke of Albany, and the Earls of Carrick, Fife and Buchan. From 'The History of the House of Rowallan', by Sir William Mure (1547-1616), it appears that in the time of Alexander III (ascended 1245), the barony belonged to Sir Walter Cumin (Comyn or Cuming), whose only daughter and heiress, Isobel was bestowed by the king upon Sir Gilchrist Mure as a reward for his valour at the battle of Largs in 1263. ): "Gilcreist Moore, for the reward of his puisiant service to King Alexander att the battell of the Larges against the Danes 1263, who was descended of the house of Omore in Ireland, obtained for the reward of his service theire, the daughter of Sir Walter Cumeine (Comyn), the late laird of Rowallane. He woure in his armes a bloody heid. He builded the Old Tower, and putt his armes thereon, which are yet extant.

SOULIS (de Soules): This family originally came from France and came to Britain in 1066 with William of Normandy (William 1st of England). They were probably invited into Scotland, like many Norman families by David I. King David had been impressed by the Norman feudal system during time spent in England and offered estates to many English knights in order to introduce this to Scotland. This became Scotland's first real form of Government.

There is no concrete evidence that this family held the Kilmarnock estate, but according to Timothy Pont the family owned the land after the Lockharts but before Balliol sometime in the 13th Century. They certainly owned huge swathes of land in the Borders and South of Scotland and had close family ties with some of the most powerful families in Scotland during the 13th and 14th centuries, namely the powerful Balliol and Comyn families. Nicholas de Soules was probably responsible for the construction of Hermitage Castle in Liddesdale, sometime before 1240. William de Soules was made justiciar of Lothian c.1279-1292 while John de Soules was Sheriff of Berwick by 1289.

In May 1301, Sir John de Soules was the sole guardian of Scotland, having been nominated by the absent King, John Balliol. Balliol had been captured by the English during an uprising and was being held in Papal custody. A new seal of Government was used during this time. On one side it had the name and arms of King John and on the other the name and arms of Sir John Soulis.

Soulis was a strong patriot and had the support of the powerful Comyn family. He was an active military leader against the English but showed the good sense to avoid major engagements with his enemy. He is mentioned as being leader along with John Comyn, Earl of Buchan of a large Scottish army lying at Loudoun around this time. It is also recorded that he sent envoys to the Pope with legal arguments against English claims to Scotland. In 1302 Soulis visited Paris as part of a strong Scottish delegation trying to stop the French making peace with England, this failed and the French settled their differences with Edward I, leaving Scotland isolated against the English threat.

In 1304 Edward I of England offered lenient terms to the Scottish Barons in order to quell the unrest in Scotland. Most of the Scottish nobles accepted these conditions in a wholesale submission led by John Comyn, but Sir John Soulis preferred to take permanent exile in France rather than submit to King Edward. When William Wallace was captured he is said to have had on his person, documents linking him in 'confederations' with unspecified Scottish nobles and this has been suggested as a possible reason for Soulis's reluctance to capitulate.

Sir John was a major figure in the Scottish Wars of Independence, disenchanted with the Scottish submission of 1304; he returned to Scotland and joined the new uprising in 1306 led by Robert the Bruce. He was present at the Battle of Bannockburn and along with his grandnephew William de Soules was one of the signatories on the Treaty of Arbroath. However, four years after signing the treaty, William de Soules along with other four other Scottish nobles (Roger de Mowbray, David Brechin, Patrick Graham & Eustace Maxwell), was accused of treason. Known today as 'The Soulis Plot', it was alledged that these nobles had formed a conspiracy to kill Robert the Bruce and place William Soulis on the throne. Sir William was the son of Nicholas Soulis who had been one of the unsuccessful claimants to the Scottish throne (both William and John de Soules did eventually endorse the Bruce claim, unusual for staunch Balliol allies). His mother, Margaret Comyn, was the daughter of Alexander Comyn, one-time Earl of Buchan. The conspirators (including Roger Mowbray who was dead on a stretcher) were brought before a full parliament at Scone. Soulis made a complete confession and was sentenced to life imprisonment. Historians are split over this, was this another attempt by the Balliol/Comyn faction to gain absolute power in Scotland or was it an attempt by Bruce to smash his old enemies. It certainly spelt the end for the Soulis family who were never to hold any sort of power in Scotland from then on.

Today there is a local legend that an English nobleman with the name of Lord Soulis was slain by one of the Boyd family in Kilmarnock in 1444. This episode cannot be found in any contemporary documents, and the story seems confused, Soulis was a Scottish family that largely died out in the 14th Century. The historian and mapmaker Timothy Pont mentions that the Soulis Cross marked the spot where Soulis was killed, but this must have happened 200 years before 1444. The family certainly gave their name to Soulis Street and the cross, which stood upon it. The cross (which stood eight or nine feet tall before 1825, when it was shortened and moved) is rudely finished and has no decoration, except a small iron cross fixed at the top. It now stands on display in the Dick Institute museum in the town.

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