GAVIN, a surname,
which has assumed various forms, as Given, Givin, Gavine, &c.,
derived from Govan, (pron. Guvan) the name of a parish on the
Clyde, partly in the lower ward of Lanarkshire and partly in
Renfrewshire, and anciently called Guuen or Guuan. Govan itself is
conjectured to be compounded of two Saxon words, God win (good
wine), the parish, according to Lesly, being said to have obtained its
name from the excellence of its ale, which, in his days, was famed over
the whole country, and tasted like Malvoisie. [Regionet. Insul
Scotiae Descriptio, Joanne Leslaeo Espicopo Rossensi, pp. 4, 10,
Romaeo, 1558, Reprinted 1675.] In charters of the 12th
century, the name appears in the form of Guvan, and, subsequently of
Gowan and Govan. The former, in the British, as Gova in the Gaelic,
signifies a Smith. The name has also been derived from Gamhan, prounced
Gavan, the Gaelic for a ditch [Chalmers’ Caledonia, v. 3, p. 674]
Robert, 6th Lord Boyd, had a charter of the lands of Gavin
and Risk, in Renfrewshire, 9th June 1620. In the west and
north of Scotland Gavin is often used as a baptismal name.
Whiteriggs, Kincardineshire, entailed his estate in 1749.
In 1758 David
Gavin, Esq. Purchased the estate of Langton, Berwickshire, anciently the
ossession of the Cockburns, and two years after built the village of
Gavinton. He married Lady Elizabeth Maitland, eldest daughter of the
Earl of Lauderdale. His eldest daughter and heiress, Mary Turner,
married in 1793, the first marquis of Breadalbane. The 2d daughter,
Christina Maria, became the wife of Robert Baird of Newbyty. Mr. Gavin
died in 1773.
In Ireland are
the families of Gavin of Kilfeacon House, near Limerick, and Giveen of
Rock Castle, settled for many generations in the county of Londonderry.