Friday, June 7, 2013

The Family Name - IRVINE

During our recent visit into Edinburgh we discovered the Irvine tartan.  My Grandmother Boden was Ruby Rutherford Irvine.  Her father, John Irvine, was born in Dunfremline in the “Kingdom of Fife”, Scotland in 1848.  His parents were also both born in Dunfremline in 1823 and 1825.

A little history -  Fife is a council area and a historical county of Scotland.  It is situated between the Firth of Tay and the Firth of Forth, with inland boundaries to Perth and Kinross and Clackmannanshire. It was once one of the major Pictish kingdoms, known as Fib, and is still commonly known as the Kingdom of Fife within Scotland.  (The Picts were a group of Late Iron Age and Early Medieval Celtic people living in ancient eastern and northern Scotland.)…but I digress!

In reading about the Irvine family name it dates back anciently to Ireland and then more recently to southern Scotland (Dumfriesshire – the more common spelling is with the “g”) and northern Scotland (Aberdeenshire – the more common spelling is with the “e”).  These two lines – Irvine & Irving – are related.  The name is pronounced in Ireland (and the US) as “Ir-vine”.  In Scotland, the name – both Irvine & Irving – is pronounced as “Ir-vun”. 

We found the Irvine tartan and family Crest. (Not a bad looking tartan.)  Below is a picture of a coaster with the Irvine crest and a booklet telling about the history of the name.


The crest is a sheaf of Holly branches.  The motto is:  Flourishing in both sunshine and shade”.  Tradition is that William de Irwyn, of the Bonshaw branch of the Irvine family in Dumfriesshire fought with Robert the Bruce who had been enthroned as King of Scots at Scone in March of 1306.  It is said that William de Irwyn stood guard as the exhausted king took some much-needed rest under a holly tree.  This incident gave rise to the Irvine/Irving family crest and motto.

Sir William fought with distinction at the side of Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn in June of 1314, when a 20,000 strong English army under Edward II was defeated by a Scots army less than half this strength.

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