- Irvine/Irving/Irwin T>
"Eriwine" and "Erwinne" are old English first names, derived from the Brittonic "ir afon" meaning "green water". It became the name of a parish in Annandale in Dumfriesshire and also in Ayrshire (where the town of Irvine has prospered). The first recorded reference in Scotland is Gilchrist, son of Eruini, who witnessed a charter in Galloway in the 12th century. However, family tradition claims that the chiefly branch originated through the lay Abbots of Dunkeld from the High Kings of Ireland.
William de Irwin was a neighbour of the Bruce family and he became an armour-bearer and then secretary to Robert the Bruce>. His reward for 20 years of service was the royal forest of Drum, near Banchory, in Aberdeenshire. This then became the seat of the family.
De Irwyne, the 3rd Laird of Drum (named Alexander, as were the next 11 chiefs) accompanied the Earl of Mar in the French wars and fought at the Battle of Harlaw in 1411. The 4th Laird was heavily involved in the negotiations which ransomed King James I> from the English. James knighted de Irwyne.
The Dumfries branch rose to prominence in the 16th century - Christopher Irving of Bonshaw and a son were killed at the Battle of Flodden in 1513. They were involved in Dumfries municipal affairs and descendants are now living in Canada.
The 10th Laird of Drum staunchly supported King Charles I> but, during the fighting, Drum castle was attacked and looted. An offer of a peerage was made to the 11th Laird but he declined it when he found the king unwilling to recompense him for the destruction of the Drum estates. Drum Castle> in Aberdeenshire is now owned by the National Trust for Scotland and is regarded as one of the finest castles in Scotland. The keep is one of the three oldest surviving tower houses in the country.
The Irvine Lairds fought on the side of the Jacobites in both the 1715 and 1745 Uprisings. A number of Irvines emigrated to Ireland - there is an Irvine castle in Fermanagh which was built by a Scottish Irvine.
In more recent times, the 22nd Laird fought in the First World War in the Grenadier Guards. Sir Robert Irvine, from the Dumfries line, was captain of the "Queen Mary" and Sir James Irvine (from Ayrshire) was a noted chemist and a principal of St Andrews University> until 1952.
The Irvine clan motto is "Sub sole sub umbra virens" which means "Flourishing in both sunshine and shade".
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