Scottish Ancestry

My mother was Dorothy Erwin and through her I am related to William de Irwyn or Irvine (1260 – 1333). William (Thomas) Irvine  (also known as  William de Irwin/Irwyn  or  Alexander I) was a  Scots  soldier born in  Dumfriesshire  in  Scotland. His father was William de Irvine of Wodehouse, Laird of  Bonshaw Castle. William was the first Laird of Drum Castle in Aberdeen, Scotland.

The turret in the picture below is part of the original castle. Over time, the remainder of the castle was taken down and a house built in it’s place.

Drum Castle dining room…

Drum castle chapel…

Clan Irvine tartan…

Clan Irvine badge… “Vigorous both under the sun and shade”

Here’s how William became the first Laird of Drum.

The surname has territorial origins and derives from both Irving, in Dumfriesshire and Irvine in Ayrshire. Robert de Hirewine witnessed a Charter in 1226, and another Charter from the Bishop of St Andrews was witnessed in 1260 by Robert de Iruwyn. A family tradition claims that there is an ancestral connection through Crinan the Thane, Abbot of Dunkeld, with Duncan, the Scottish king allegedly murdered by Macbeth.

As early as 1018, the Irvines were settled, through marriage, on lands between the River Esk and the River Kirtle, south east of Lockerbie, in Dumfriesshire, and here they built the Tower of Bonshaw.   They were neighbors and supporters of the Bruce family clan.

During his famous campaign against the English, Robert the Bruce often sought help and refuge from his kinsmen, the Irvings of Bonshaw. He chose William de Irwyn as one of his principle aides and companions. As the story goes, at one point King Robert found himself put to flight by his enemies with only a few of his aides around him. Exhausted by the chase, the King was compelled to sleep under a holly tree while William stood guard over him. Holly leaves are now a prominent feature in all seven family crests which represent the major branches of the Irvine clan. William stood by King Robert again at famous battle of Bannockburn in June of 1314 (one of the few battles where the Scots defeated the English) and for his service was awarded the Royal Forest of Oaks in Aberdeenshire and Drum Castle which guards it in 1323. From that point on, Drum Castle was continually occupied by the Irvines for over 650 years. This land had previously belonged to John’Red’ Comyn. Drum was made into a free barony in 1329. Sir William de Irwyn married a granddaughter of Robert the Bruce, who was the daughter of Robert Douglas, Earl of Buchan. From this union was derived the two great families of Bonshaw and Drum.

Probably of little interest to anyone other than me, but I find it interesting.

2 Comments on “Scottish Ancestry

  1. Actually quite interesting after spending a year in Scotland. The Scots and the English have never really figured out how to get along.

    Liked by 1 person

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