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The Scottish Nation

AVENEL, a surname now scarcely known, except in the pages of romance. Like Umfraville, de Morville, and others, it was once borne by high and powerful barons, whose descendants, if any now exist, have long ceased to be called by the name of their progenitors. Among the Anglo-Norman knights introduced into Scotland by David the First, was Robert Avenel, who, in reward of military services, received Upper and Lower Eskdale, and flourished during the reigns of Malcolm the Fourth and William the Lion, whose charters he witnessed. He officiated as Justiciary of Lothian for a short time after the accession of William, in 1165. His latter years were spent in the monastery of Melrose, to which he granted a large portion of his estates, and where he died in 1185. His son and heir, Gervase, confirmed the grant. Roger Avenel, the successor of Gervase, had a serious dispute with the monks regarding the game on the lands. The king, Alexander the Second, at his request interfered, and "found that the monks were entitled to the soil, but not to the game, which belonged to the Avenels, as lords of the manor." For several generations the Avenels continued among the most powerful families on the Borders; and in the Tales of the ‘Monastery,’ and the ‘Abbot,’ they have been introduced with singular success by Sir Walter Scott. The family of Avenel merged, like many others, in an heiress, who married Henry, the son of Henry de Graham of Abercorn and Dalkeith, and the property of the Avenels thus passed into other families.

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