Celtic earls of Lennox commanded the Vale of Leven between the 12th and 15th centuries.
The name Lennox comes from the Gaelic name for that place. Sir John Stewart of Darnley
(d.1495) was created 1st Earl of Lennox of the new line by King James III in 1473, and
Henry Stuart (1545-67), Lord Darnley, eldest son of the 4th Earl of Lennox, was the second
husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, and father of King James VI, who promoted the 8th Earl to
be Duke of Lennox in 1581.
LENNOX: Of local origin from the ancient earldom of that name which comprised most of Dunbartonshire and parts of western Stirlingshire. The 1st Earl of Lennox is thought to have been a 4th generation descendant of Ecgfrith of Northumbria whose son Arkil came north to the court of Malcolm III in the late 11th century. Arkil's grand-daughter married into the native Celtic stock and their son became the 1st Earl. The family were adherents of Bruce in his fight for independence and appear in many charters of the period. Duncan, 8th Earl, whose daughter married the Regent Albany, Governor of Scotland during James I's captivity, suffered the same fate as his son-in-law and grandsons on the 'heading hill' of Stirling in 1425. The Lennox lands were left with Albany's widow, as his nearest heir, and the king's hatred of the Albanys extended to the widow who spent the rest of her life in virtual exile on an island in Loch Lomond. On her death the titles were contested among the off-spring of her two sisters, with the final outcome that they passed to a descendant of the younger who had married into the Stewarts of Darnley. Thenceforth, the Earldom of Lennox and Lordship of Darnley were held conjointly by the Stewarts, and with the marriage of the 4th Earl to the daughter of the Dowager Queen Margaret Tudor and the Earl of Angus and the elder son of this union being Henry, styled Lord Darnley, consort of Mary Queen of Scots the Lennox line reached its zenith when their son became James VI of Scotland and I of England. The present Lennox tartan is said to derive from a portrait (now lost) of this 4th Earl's wife. The honours of Lennox were elevated to a dukedom in 1581, but on the death of the 6th Duke they reverted to Charles II, who later bestowed them on a 'natural' son. In this time evidence of the surname is established for it appears in the earliest Register of Lyon Court where arms were granted to John Lennox of Woodhead. The name is found in Campsie, a few miles to the north of Glasgow, where the families of Woodhead, Branshogle, Balglas and Antermony had their residences
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