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The Scottish Nation

MORVILLE, the surname of a high feudal family, of Anglo-Norman origin, which, in the twelfth century, was one of the most eminent in Scotland. The surname is supposed to have been assumed from the village of Morville, on the water of Aire, in the province of Picardy, France. The first of the name on record in Scotland, Hugh de Morville, came from Burgh on the Sands, in Cumberland, about the year 1100, and acquired extensive possessions in Tweeddale, Lauderdale, the Lothians, Clydesdale, and more especially in Cunningham, Ayrshire. He also held the hereditary office of lord-high-constable of the kingdom. He was a witness to the Inquisitis Davidis, 1116.

In 1138 he was one of the witnesses to a charter of protection then granted by David I. to the monks of Tynemouth. In 1140, he founded the celebrated abbey of Kilwinning, in Cunningham, nearly the whole of which district belonged to him, and endowed it with revenues so ample that few temporal lordships at the time were so valuable. About 1150, he founded Dryburgh abbey, four miles from Melrose, on the north bank of the Tweed. He died in 1162. By his wife, Beatrice de Beauchamp, he is said to have acquired still greater possessions than his own. Probably the Tweeddale property came by her, as, according to the Chronicle of Melros, she obtained a charter of confirmation for the new foundation of Dryburgh Abbey from David I. He had a son, Richard de Morville, and a daughter, Johanna, the wife of Richard de Germin.

Many of de Morvilleís principal vassals came from England, and from the chief of them sprung some of our noble and baronial families, such as the Cunninghams, the Rosses, the Loudouns, the St. Clairs, the Maitlands, and others. The great barony of Kilmaurs he conferred on Warnebald, the first of the family of Cunningham, afterwards earls of Glencairn. This was in the reign of Alexander I., betwixt 1107 and 1124.

Hugh de Morvilleís only son, Richard de Morville, lord of Cunningham and high-constable of Scotland, was principal minister of William the Lion. In the year of his fatherís death, he confirmed a donation by Robert, son of Warnebald, to the church of Sancta Maria of Kelso. He also granted a charter to James de Loudoun, of the barony of Loudoun and others. He died in 1189. By his wife, Avicia de Lancaster, (or de Corbet, according to Nisbet, who says she died in 1191), he had a son, William, and two daughters, Eva and Maud, the latter married to Stephen, an ancestor of the Glencairn family.

William de Morville, the son, lord-high-constable of Scotland, granted a new charter to James de Loudoun of the lands of Loudoun. He died, without issue, in 1196, and was succeeded in his large domains by his elder sister, Eva, Ela, or Elena de Morville. This lady married Roland, lord of Galloway, who, in her right, became possessed of all the lands and honours of her family, also constable of Scotland and lord of Cunningham (the latter afterwards one of the titles of the Prince of Scotland), for which he paid, as a duty of homage, 700 merks to King William the Lion.

Their son, Allan, lord of Galloway and Cunningham, and constable of Scotland, died in 1234, without male issue. By his first wife, daughter of Hugh de Lacy, he had a daughter, Elena, married to Roger de Quincy, earl of Winchester, in her right constable of Scotland and proprietor of a considerable share of the de Morville estates, particularly in Cunningham. By his second wife, Margaret, eldest daughter of David, earl of Huntington, next brother to King William the Lion, he had two daughters, Dervigalda or Devorgille, and Christian. The former married in 1233, John Baliol, lord of Bernardís castle, county Durham, who in consequence became lord of Galloway and proprietor of the greater part of the de Morville lands in Cunningham. John Baliol, some time king of Scotland, was thus a great-grandson of the family.

The name of de Morville has been lost in Scotland since the 18th century. Even the place of residence of Hugh de Morville, the progenitor of this once princely race, in spite of all his possessions, is now unknown. The English baron, Hugh de Morville, who was concerned in the murder of Thomas ŗ Becket, at Canterbury, December 29, 1170, was of the same family as the de Morville who settled in Scotland.

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