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Clan Boyd


The name Boyd is thought to derive from the Gaelic for Bute, the island next in size to Arran on the Firth of Clyde. The original family were vassals of the de Morevilles, a powerful Anglo-Norman family with estates in the Lowlands whom the Boyds probably accompanied from England. During the Wars of Independance Sir Robert Boyd was taken prisoner in 1306 and in the same year Duncan Boyd was executed as a supporter of Robert Bruce. Later the Boyds began to appear at the Stewart court; Malcolm de Bute was chaplain to Robert III in 1405 and Thomas Boyd of Kilmarnock who was created Lord Boyd in 1454 became Regent to the infant James III after his father James II had been blown up by a cannon. While in office as the King's instructor he kidnapped his charge and obtained an Act of Parliament appointing him sole governor of the crown. In 1468 he was among those who arranged the marriage of the King to the Norwegian princess resulting in the return of the Orkneys and Shetlands to Scotland as w ell as cementing his position through marriage of his own son to the King's sister, Mary, hence acquiring the titles of Earl of Arran and Lord Kilmarnock. In the end the King with the encouragement of the Boyds enemies, toppled the Boyds from their position and Boyd and his brother Alexander had to flee. Boyd escaped but Alexander was executed. The Earl of Arran also escaped to the Low Countries where he died. His widow, Princess Mary, was then compelled to marry the elderly Lord Hamilton who was created Earl of Arran and thus made the Hamiltons next in line to the throne rather than the Boyds. The line of Boyds did however continue through the second son of Lord Boyd and the title was restored in 1536. The 10th Lord Boyd was made Earl of Kilmarnock by Charles II in 1661 but less than a century later the title was stripped for the part played by the 4th Earl in the 1745 Jacobite rebellion. He had command of the cavalry of Prince Charles Edward at Culloden and was beheaded on London's Tower Hill. The title was passed through the female line to the Earl's second son who inherited the title of the Earl of Erroll and adopted the name of Hay. When the 22nd Earl of Erroll died without a male heir in 1941, his daughter became the Countess of Erroll and Chief of Clan Hay while her brother changed his name back to Boyd and became 6th Lord Kilmarnock and Chief of Clan Boyd. He was succeeded in 1975 by the 7th Lord Kilmarnock.


BOYD: Tradition asserts a common Anglo-Norman ancestor with the Royal House of Stewart, but some assert descent from one of 'buidhe'(fair) hair or complexion. An origin in the Isle of Bute ('Bod' in Gaelic) has also been promoted. The earliest occurrence of the name in Scotland appears in an Inquisition formed by David, Earl of Huntingdon, (David I. 1124-53), into lands held by the bishopric of Glasgow, but the first geographical record is as vassals of the once powerful Norman 'de Morville' family who received lands in Cunningham from that king. Their reputed Anglo-Norman ancestor was Simon, younger brother of Walter the first High Steward, and the fess-chequey in the Boyd arms might support this origin. They supported Bruce in the struggle for Independence and following Bannockburn in 1314 Sir Robert Boyd was granted the lands around Kilmarnock lately forfeited by Balliol. Robert Boyd became Lord Boyd in 1454 and the family enjoyed a brief ascendency. When James II was killed by a bursting cannon at the Siege of Roxburgh in 1466, the young James III was effectively 'kidnapped' by the 1st Lord and his brother, and by the marriage of his son Thomas to the Princess Mary, their influence advanced when the latter became Earl of Arran in 1467. Family avarice brought about forfeiture and flight, and following Arran's death abroad his widow married Lord Hamilton from which union their son became Earl of Arran. Family honour was restored during the Civil Wars of the 17th century, and the 10th Lord Boyd was made Earl of Kilmarnock in 1661. In the 1745 Rising the 4th Earl commanded Jacobite cavalry and rose to General. Following hisa capture at Culloden, he was forfeited and taken to London to be executed on Tower Hill. His second son had served in the Government army at Culloden and in 1751 regained the lands but not the title. On the death of his great-aunt in 1758 he became 15th Earl of Errol and assumed the name of Hay. 


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