ancient Norman name originates from the town of Coleville-Sur-Mer in Normandy, France.
Meaning "Col" dark and swarthy and "ville" village or "Castle on
The Colville name first is noted in
Scotland, as receiving the Baronies of Ochiltree and Oxnam. William De Colville was
granted baronies of Oxnam and Heton in Roxburghshire together with other lands in
Ayrshire. William de Colville receive the barony of Kinnaird in Stirlingshire.
In 1174, Phillip De Colville was sent
to Scotland as a hostage for the release of William the Lion. He apparently took up
residence in Scotland and established the two noble lineage’s of Culross and
Noted also in "The Magna Charta
Sureties, 1215" - The Barons Named in the Magna Charta, Barons opposing the King:
Robert de Coleville - (Coleville, Colville) and William de Coleville.
In 1296 Eustace, heiress of Sir
William de Colville, along with her two brothers, Thomas and Adam, their chaplain-Symon De
Spalding, married to Sir Reginald Cheyne of Inverugie who died about 1291. They all swore
fealty to Edward I at Berwick. During the rule of Robert the Bruce, Eustace made a offer
to the Monks of Melrose a grant of the Church and church lands of Ochiltree, this grant
confirmed in 1342 by Robert De Colville of Oxnam and Ochiltree.
In 1244, the Dominican Friary of
Villa Nova [Newtownards Priory] was founded by the Savage family. Destroyed by the Gaels
[O'Neill's] in 1572, it was rebuilt in 1607 by Sir Hugh Montgomery. [The existing tower
and belfry are of that period]. After falling into disrepair, a small church was built on
the site by the Colville family and this was used as the parish church until the building
of St. Mark's in 1817.
On 20 August 1405, Sir John De
Colville and his wife Alice D'Arcy from Arncliffe, Dale, England, were beheaded at Durham.
For what reason is not known at this time.
For many years the Colvilles had a
friendly relationship with their neighbor the Laird of Auchinleck. Both castle were built
on the banks of the Lugar river, but on opposite sides of the river.
In 1449, during the reign of James
the 2nd of Scotland, the families of Ochiltree and Auchinleck had been on friendly enough
terms, that a rope had been stretched from castle to castle across the Lugar River.
Communications were often sent back and forth on the rope by means of a ring on which to
attached the message. Often fights between the family occurred in the messages sent back
and forth along the rope. The believed reason why Sir Richard Colville slew John
Auchinleck, is said that Auchinleck sent to Ochiltree a wrapped parcel containing bones of
a sheep head. The Colville's accepted this a an insult and all idea of friendship of years
past was over. Now between the two families is was nothing but war. The Laird of
Auchinleck at his time was going to pay a visit to his powerful friend, Lord William
Douglas. When the Colville's learned of this information, the Ochiltree family sent Sir
Richard, the oldest son to performed his act of revenge. With Sir Richard comrades in
arms, he waited at a quite part of the road and attacked Auchinleck and his followers as
he rode through. The Earl of Douglas did not wait for judge or jury when hearing of the
attack, and took matters in his own hands and flew to avenge his friend. He leveled the
Ochiltree Castle and put the castle to the ground and took Colville and his men to the
Douglas, dragged his captive the
Knight of Ochiltree along with him on his return journey along through Cumnock. The group
was about to cross a stream when Sire Richard, remarked that an old witch had foresaw that
he, himself would die at this very spot. Douglas fulfilled the prophecy by putting
Colville to death at the very spot.
In turn, Douglas suffered for his
acts and misdeeds by being stabbed to death in the heart by the King himself in Stirling
After this turned of events the
Colville's choose a new site to rebuild and choose a spot further away from the Auchinleck
Castle. They choose a stretch of land that filled the angled formation of the rivers
Burnock and Lugar. This new Mansion house was built in 1450.
In 1498, Hugh Campbell of Loudon,
Sheriff of Ayrshire also had a family feud existing between the Campbell house and the
Colville's of Ochiltree. So the Campbell's had a advantage over the Colville due to the
backup of his law officials. Sir William Colville appeal to the Royal Authority, to grant
he and his tenants exemption from the jurisdiction of the Campbell sheriff.
This feud that started between the
Colville's of Ochiltree and the Douglas's originated in 1449, was kept up many years. In
1502 Robert and Henry Douglas we ordered to labor, occupy and restore the lands of
Farnesyde and Hardane, because of the oppression against Sir William Colville, and for the
theft of oxen from Sir William Colville. Plus this wasn’t the last they saw of
punishment. In the same year John and William Douglas were convicted of oppression and
convocation of the lieges upon Sir William Colville, basically murdering Colville. Along
with there conviction was George Haliburton for the part of slaughter of Sir William
Colville of Ochiltree.
In 1527, James Colville of Ochiltree
granted rent of 40 pounds for payment of a Chaplain to officiate at St. Mary's altar in
the church of Ochiltree.
In 1513, Sir Robert Colville,
successor of William, was respected as a man of high character, and honored of his
sovereign. He was the steward of Queen Margaret and master to the household of James the
4th. He was raised standard at the Cross of Ochiltree and gathered his men at arms, who
had been called to support the King, and ride with him onto English ground. The all
perished at Flodden field and died with the King.
In 1530, Sir James Colville
transferred the barony of Ochiltree to Sire James Hamilton of Finnart and years later it
was passed to Andrew Stewart, Lord Evandale.
In 1675, Saddled by crippling debts
after supporting the Royalist faction against Cromwell, the Montgomery's sold the Lordship
and Manor of Newtown to Captain Robert Colville for the sum of 10,640 pounds sterling. In
1744, Robert Colville, under the influence of his mistress, sold Newtownards to Alexander
Stewart for the sum of 42,000 pounds sterling.
In 1746, Honorable Charles Colville
fought at the Battle of Culloden, commanding the 21st Regiment of Foot, and he obtained
the rank of lieutenant general before his death in 1775.
Alexander Colville served in the
navy, becoming a captain in 1744. He was promoted to the rank of commodore and given
command of the Northumberland. He held the rank of Vice Admiral for a decade.
Today, Lord Colville, Viscount Colville of Culross a member of the
House of Lords, is currently the Clan Chieftain. The title is held by this family and Lord
Colville (the 13th Lord Colville of Culross) gained the title in 1945.