Clan/Family Histories
- Boyle

Kelburn Castle

Kelburn Castle, Family Home of the Boyles

The de Boyvilles were Anglo-Norman knights from Beauville, near Caen, who came to Scotland after the Norman conquest of England in 1066 - there is a record of a David de Boivil witnessing a charter as early as 1164. Henry de Boyville was the keeper of the castles of Dumfries and Galloway in 1291 (taking over from another, earlier, Boyville) and three de Boyvils signed King Edward's Ragman Roll in 1296.

For some time the name was confined to the south-west of Scotland where it was pronounced as "bowl". Gradually, pronunciation and spelling became one syllable, Boyll in 1367 and Boyle in 1482, although as with so many names, there were many other variants.

The family spread into Ayrshire and Largs and Kelburn Castle became the seat of the major line. John Boyle was a supporter of King James III and was killed at the Battle of Sauchieburn in 1488. The family lands were forfeited but John's son managed to have them restored by King James IV. Support for Mary Queen of Scots and later, King Charles I, did not help the family fortunes. But during the 17th century the Boyle's grew rich through shipping and shipbuilding.

CoronetTowards the end of the 17th century, David Boyle of Kelburn was elected as a Commissioner of Parliament and a Privy Councillor. He became Lord Boyle of Kelburn in 1699 and then Earl of Glasgow in 1703, one of the last to be created under the Scottish peerage. He was one of the commissioners who supported the Act of Union in 1707. He is thought to have bribed poor Jacobite supporters to support the Bill. As a staunch Hanoverian, he raised troops to fight against the Jacobite Uprising in 1715.

Monument to 3rd Earl of GlasgowJohn, the 3rd Earl of Glasgow, followed a military career in Europe and lost a hand in the Battle of Fontenoy in 1745 and was wounded twice at the Battle of Lauffeldt in 1747. He later became Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. His widow built a monument to the Earl in the grounds of Kelburn Castle, which has survived to this day.

In 1869, the 6th Earl of Glasgow inherited Kelburn and land in Dalry, Stewarton, Corshill and Fenwick and the estate at Hawkeshead outside Paisley, plus estates in Dunbartonshire, Fife, Northumberland and the greater part of Cumbrae. However, he ran into debt building Episcopal churches all over Scotland, including a Cathedral in Perth and one in Cumbrae. By 1888 he was one million pounds in debt. His cousin, David Boyle of Stewarton, later Seventh Earl of Glasgow, sold his own lands to buy back the Kelburn Estate at auction. All the rest was lost to the family. The 7th Earl was a naval officer and became Governor of New Zealand from 1892 to 1897.

A branch of the Boyles from Kelburn became established in Ireland and eventually became the Earls of Cork

The 10th Earl of Glasgow still lives at Kelburn Castle, land held by the family since the 13th century and Boyles from all over the world visit the estate, which is now a country park.

The Boyle clan motto is "Dominus provedebit" which means "God will provide".

Boyle was the 84th most frequent surname at the General Register Office in 1995.

There is a Boyle clan Web site here.

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