Although Sir Iain Moncreiffe of that Ilk,
perhaps the greatest herald genealogist believed that his family were of
Celtic origin and descended from a younger son of the Lamonts, the generally
accepted view is that they descended from a French family called de Leon,
who came north with Edgar, son of Malcolm II, at the end of the eleventh
century to fight against his uncle, Donald Bane, the usurper of the throne.
Edgar was triumphant, and de Leon received lands in Perthshire which were
later called Glen Lyon.
Roger de Leonne witnessed a charter of Edgar
to the Abbey at Dunfermline in 1105. In 1372 Robert II granted to Sir John
Lyon, called the White Lyon because of his fair complexion, the thanage of
Glamis. Five years later he became Chamberlain of Scotland, and his
prominence was such that he was considered fit to marry the kingıs daughter,
Princess Joanna, who brought with her not only illustrious lineage, but also
the lands of Tannadice on the River Esk. He was later also granted the
barony of Kinghorne. He was killed during a quarrel with Sir James Lindsay
of Crawford near Menmuir in Angus.
The family have descended in a direct line
from the White Lion and Princess Joanna to the present day, and their crest
alludes to this. His only son, another John, was his successor, and he
strengthened the royal ties by marrying a granddaughter of Robert II. Sir
Johnıs son, Patrick, was created Lord Glamis in 1445 and thereafter became a
Privy Councillor and Master of the Royal Household.
John, the sixth Lord Glamis, was, according
to a tradition, a quarrelsome man with a quick temper. He married Janet
Douglas, granddaughter of the famous Archibald Bell the Cat, and after his
death she suffered terribly for the hatred which James V bore to all of her
name. Lady Glamis was accused on trumped-up charges of witchcraft and,
despite speaking boldly in her own defence, her doom was preordained. She
was burned at the stake on the castle hill at Edinburgh on 3 December 1540.
The eighth Lord Glamis renounced his
allegiance to Mary, Queen of Scots and served under the Regents Moray and
Lennox. He was made Chancellor of Scotland and Keeper of the Great Seal for
life, and his son, the ninth Lord, was captain of the Royal Guard and one of
James VIs Privy Councillors. In 1606 he was created Earl of Kinghorne,
Viscount Lyon and Baron Glamis. His son, the second Earl, was a close
personal friend of the Marquess of Montrose and was with him when he
subscribed to the National Covenant in 1638. He accompanied Montrose on his
early campaigns in defence of the Covenant , but despite his great affection
for the Marquess, he could not support him when he broke with the Scots
Parliament to fight for Charles I. Lyon almost ruined his estates in
supporting the Army of the Covenant against his friend.
In 1677 the third Earl of Kinghorne obtained
a new patent of nobility, being styled thereafter Earl of Strathmore and
Kinghorne Viscount Lyon, Baron Glamis, Tannadyce, Sidlaw and Strathdichtie.
He paid off the debts he inherited from his father by skillful management of
the estates and was later able to alter and enlarge the Castle of Glamis.
John, his son, although a member of the Privy Council, opposed the Treaty of
Union of 1707.
His son was a Jacobite who fought in the
rising of 1715 at the Battle of Sheriffmuir in Tullibardineıs regiment. He
died defending his regimentıs colours. In 1716 James, the Old Pretender. son
of James VII, was entertained at Glamis. Thirty years later another kingıs
son, but a much less welcome one, the Duke of Cumberland, stopped at the
castle on his march north to Culloden. It is said that after he left the bed
which he had used was dismantled.
Among the Jacobite relics now preserved at
Glamis are a sword and watch belonging to James VIII, the Old Pretender, and
an intriguing tartan coat worn by him. The youngest daughter of the
fourteenth Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne is HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen