The earliest record of Boyd is in Irvine in Ayrshire 1205 as vassals of the Norman family of de Morvilles. There are a number of origins suggested for this name including the Gaelic "Boid" literally meaning "of Bute" (an island in the Clyde estuary). Others believe that the name was Norman in origin. Another suggestion is the Gaelic "buidhe" meaning "fair" and that Robert, a nephew of Walter the High Steward of Scotland was the first of the clan. But as the High Stewards were from Brittany it seems unlikely that they would use a Gaelic nickname (or would be fair haired).
Sir Robert Boyd was a strong supporter of Robert the Bruce> and his success as a commander at the Battle of Bannockburn> in 1314 led to him being granted lands in Ayrshire, particularly around Kilmarnock. They were raised to the peerage by King James II and Lord Boyd was one of the regents of Scotland during the minority of King James III>, while a younger Boyd was a military tutor to the young king. Lord Boyd became Great Chamberlain and his son, Thomas, married Mary, the king's sister and was appointed Earl of Arran. However, their enemies conspired to convince the king that the Boyds were becoming too powerful and in 1469 they were summoned to answer charges against them. Lord Boyd escaped to England and the Earl of Arran, who was abroad at the time, remained in exile.
The family returned to favour under Mary Queen of Scots> and all their estates and honours were restored. Lord Boyd supported her at the Battle of Langside in 1568 and continued to visit her when she was later imprisoned in England.
The 10th Lord Boyd was created Earl of Kilmarnock in 1661 by King Charles II>. The 3rd Earl fought against the Stuarts in the 1715 Jacobite Uprising, but the 4th Earl was a Jacobite supporter and was executed in London after the Battle of Culloden> in 1746. All the Boyd titles were forfeited but the eldest son succeeded to the earldom of Erroll in 1758, through his mother, and took the surname Hay. In 1941 the brother of the 22nd Earl of Erroll resumed the name of Boyd and the title of Lord Kilmarnock as well as becoming chief of the clan.
A Boyd from Wigtown emigrated to Australia and a town in New South Wales was named after him. A number of Boyds went to Ulster with the Scots settlers and some of these moved on later to USA.
The Boyd clan motto is "Confido" which means "I trust".
There are Web sites with further information on the Boyd clan here> and here and also here> and here.
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