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Coat of Arms

The history of the most ancient Anglo-Saxon surname of Whitaker reaches far into the chronicles of the Saxon race. The Saxon Chronicle, compiled by monks in the 10th century, now resides in the British Museum.

History researchers have examined reproductions of such ancient manuscripts as the Domesday Book (1086) , the Ragman Rolls (1291-1296), the Curia Regis Rolls, The Pipe Rolls, the.....

Heraldry Database: Irvine


Surname:  Irvine
Branch:  Irvine
Origins:  Scottish
More Info:  Scotland

Background:  From the Brythonic word ‘ir-afon’ which means ‘green water’ comes Irvine. The name is territorial in origin, from an area in Dumfriesshire, Scotland. The names Erewine and Erwinne are Old English forenames and have been recorded as such since the 12th century. However as a surname it is of territorial origins from one of two places of the same name. Firstly from Irving, an old parish in Dumfriesshire and from Irvine in Ayrshire. It is the parish in Dumfries-shire which is the principal source of the name. The first person recorded of the name was Robert de Herwine who was witness to a charter in 1226. William de Irwyne, Clerk of the Register, obtained the Forest of Drum in Aberdeenshire from King Robert the Bruce in 1323 and is therefore the ancestor to the Irvines of Drum. Robert the Bruce is also said to have bestowed upon William the crest and motto used by himself.

Motto:  Sub sole sub umbra virens, Flourishing both in sunshine and in shade.
Arms:  Argent, three small sheaves of holly two and one Vert, each consisting of as many leaves slipped and banded Gules.
Crest:  A sheaf of holly consisting of nine leaves Vert slipped and banded Gules.
Supporters:  Two savages wreathed about the head and loins with holly, each bearing in their hand a baton Proper.

View the Heraldry Dictionary for help.

Erewine and Erwinne are old English personal names, and Gilchrist, son of Erwini, witnessed a charter of the Lord of Galloway sometime between 1124 and 1165. The Brythonic 'ir-afon' means 'green water'. The lands which first bore the name of Irvine appear to have been in Dumfriesshire. Family tradition asserts that the origin of the chiefly family is linked with the early Celtic monarchs of Scotland. Duncan Eryvine, whose eldest son settled at Bonshaw, was the brother of Crinan, who, through the lay Abbotts of Dunkeld, claimed descent from the High Kings or Ireland. Crinan married the daughter and heiress of Malcolm II, and their eldest son became King Duncan, whose murder forms the basis for Shakespeare's Macbeth. William de Irwin was a neighbour of the Bruces, whose seat was at Lochmaben near Bonshaw. It is not surprising that the family supported their powerful neighbours and de Irwin became armour bearer and, later, secretary to King Robert. As a reward for twenty years of faithful service, William de Irwin was granted the royal forest of Drum in Aberdeenshire, which was thereafter to become the chief seat of the family. There was already a tower at Drum, probably built before the end of the thirteenth century as a royal hunting lodge. From this was to grow the stately Drum Castle, which remained in the virtually continuous occupation of the family until it was presented to the National Trust for Scotland for the benefit of the nation. It remains one of the most beautiful castles in Scotland.

The third Laird of Drum, the first of twelve Irvines who successively bore the name Alexander, was a knight of almost legendary prowess who folled the Earl of Mar to the French Wars. He later fought at the Battle of Harlaw in 1411. This battle marked the last challenge by the Lords of the Isles to royal authority, and was fought only twenty miles from Drum itself. Sir Alexander de Irwyne engaged in single combat Maclean of Duart, the Famous 'Hector of the Battles', and after a legendary struggle both died of the wounds each inflicted upon the other. The next Laird figured prominently in the negotiations to ransom James I from the English. When the king's release was secured he knighted de Irwyne. After the king's murder in Perth, Sir Alexander took control of the city of Aberdeen to try and restore order. The sixth Laird was also a peace maker, and was rewarded by James V in 1527 for his efforts to suppress 'rebels, thieves, reivers, sorcerers and murders'. His eldest son was killed resisting the English invaders at the Battle of Pinkie in 1547. Alexander, the tenth Laird, was a staunch royalist and supporter of Charles I. He was sheriff of Aberdeen, and was offered the earldom of Aberdeen, but the King was executed before he could confirm the grant.

Its being a royalist in a predominantly Covenaunting district meant that Drum Castle was an obvious target, and it was ultimately attacked when the Laird was absent. A strong force with artillery surrounded the castle, and after Lady Irvine's surrender, it was occupied and looted. The laird's sons also fought in the civil war, and both were captured: Robert, the younger son, died in the dungeons of Edinburgh Castle, but his brother, Alexander, was set free after Montrose's victory at Kilsyth in 1645. Drum Castle was yet again assaulted, and this time not only was the castle completely ransacked but the ladies of the house were ejected and the estate ruined. Alexander survived the war to succeed his father as eleventh Laird, and yet again the royal offer of a peerage was made. This time the laird refused it when he discovered that the king was unwilling to offer reparation for the destruction of the Drum estates which had been endured while the family supported his cause. He later caused a local scandal when after the death of his first wife, he married a sixteen-year-old shepherdess from his estates, who was forty seven years his junior.

The fourteenth Laird was a Jacobite and fought at the Battle of Sheriffmuir in 1715. He received a severe head wound in the battle and never recovered, dying after years of illness and leaving no direct heir. The estate passed to his uncle, John, and then to a kinsman, John Irvine of Crimond. The Irvines continued in their adherence to the Jacobite cause, and fought for Bonnie Prince Charlie at Culloden. The laird only escaped capture after the prince's defeat by hiding in a secret room at Drum. He then spent several years in France in exile, before being allowed to return to his estates. The twenty-second Laird fought with the Grenadier Guards in the First World War.

Other lines have been equally distinguished. Colonel John Irving of Bonshaw fought in the Abyssinian Campaign of 1867. His son, Sir Robert Irving of Bonshaw, was commodore of the Cunard Line and captain of the Queen Mary.

Name Variations:  Ervin, Ervine, Erving, Erwin, Erwyn, Hurven, Hurvene, Hurvine, Hurwen, Hurwin, Hurwine, Hurwyn, Hurwynn, Hurwynne, Irvene, Irvin, Irvine, Irving, Irvink, Irwin, Irwine, Irwing, Irwink, Irwran, Irwrand, Irwrane, Irwrant, Irwren, Irwrend, Irwrent, Irwrind, Irwrint, Irwryn, Irwrynd, Irwynn, Irwynne, Orvene, Orvine, Orwin, Orwine, Orwynn, Orwynne, Urvene, Urvine, Urwand, Urwane, Urwant, Urwen, Urwend, Urwent, Urwin, Urwind, Urwine, Urwint, Urwyn, Urwynd, Urwynn, Urwynne, Uryn, Yurand, Yurane, Yurant, Yurend, Yurent, Yurind, Yurint, Yurven, Yurvene, Yurvine, Yurwan, Yurwand, Yurwane, Yurwant, Yurwen, Yurwend, Yurwent, Yurwin, Yurwind, Yurwine, Yurwint, Yurwyn, Yurwynd, Yurwynn, Yurwynne, Yurynd.

One or more of the following publications has been referenced for this article.
The General Armory; Sir Bernard Burke - 1842.
A Handbook of Mottoes; C.N. Elvin - 1860.
Scottish Clans and Tartans; Neil Grant - 2000.
Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia; George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire - 1994.
Scottish Clans and Tartans; Ian Grimble - 1973.
World Tartans; Iain Zaczek - 2001.
Clans and Families of Scotland; Alexander Fulton - 1991.
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clan_Irvine



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