Ancestry can be traced to Edulf who accepted Alfred the Great as overlord c.886, but their earliest link with Scotland is about 1098 when King Edgar granted Liulf of Bamburgh a charter of Swinton in Berwickshire. Liulf's family was that of the Earls of Northumberland, from whom came the Dunbars, but his grandson Ernulf is of great interest for he is reputedly the first instance of a Scottish knight and documents relating to him are the earliest evidence of inheritance in Scotland. He was succeeded by Cospatric, the alleged father of Hugh de Swinton, ancestor of the Arbuthnotts. In the time of William the Lion (1165-1214) Alan de Swinton received also a charter of Abernethy and Collesie in Fife and held rights over Elphinstone, - of the latter, the first of that name, John de Elphinstone, was reputedly Alan's son. The Swinton lands were forfeited by Edward III when he annexed the Merse in 1335 and in this time the family resided at Abernethy. Following their restoration by Robert II, John, 14th of Swinton, resumed his Border lands and, much in favour with that King and his successor, commanded a force at Otterburn in 1388, but died in battle at Homildon in 1402, having in earlier life served with John of Gaunt in France. His son John killed Henry V's brother at Beauge in 1420, but was himself killed at Verneiul in 1424, leaving a young heir whose troubled times saw the fall of the Dunbars, Douglases and Stewarts of Albany - to which families the Swintons were allied by blood or interest. The 19th Laird signed a band of protection for the infant James VI when Queen Mary married Bothwell. The 23rd Laird supported Cromwell though his sons were Royalists, and when imprisoned for treason in 1660 his lands were forfeited, but regained by his 2nd son, apart from their ancestral home of Cranshaws, sold to pay legal fees. His 3rd son migrated to Ulster and took the name Sinton. The 26th Laird had 6 sons: - the eldest being the judge Lord Swinton; - the 2nd involved in the French Revolution, while Archibald, who served with Clive in India, is ancestor of the Kimmerghame family. An uncle settled in Carolina c.1729 and is ancestor of many American Swintons. There is no Swinton tartan.
There is some connection with the name