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The surname Livingston or Livingstone is of territorial origin from the lands of that name in West Lothian deriving from a Saxon named Leving, who settled in Scotland during the reign of Edgar (1097-1107). His grandson is designated in a charter of William the Lion "of Livingstone". His descendant, Sir William Livingstone accompanied King David II on his expedition to England in 1346 and it was from him he acquired the barony of Callander, Stirlingshire, whose heiress he married.

From the Callander branch descended the Livingstones of Dunipace, Kinnaird, Bonton and Westquarter. Sir James Livingstone of Callander was created Lord Livingston in 1458 and it was his descendant, William who was guardian of the young Mary Queen of Scots until she was conveyed to Inchmahome after the Battle of Pinkie. The 7th Lord Alexander was made 1st Earl of Linlithgow in 1600, a title that was forfeited when James, 5th Earl "came out" in the Rising of 1715. Likewise, Sir James Livingstone of Barncloich was stripped of his title of Viscount Kilsyth for the same crime.

The Highland Livingstones from the Isle of Lismore and the districts of Lorn and Appin in Argyll claim a quite different origin. Their original Gaelic name was MacLeay from "Mac an Leigh" (son of the physician) or MacDhunnshleibhe (son of Dunsleve). In 1641 James Livingston of Stirling, Baron of Biel was the Keeper of the Privy Purse to King Charles I and was granted the lease of the lands and the rights of the bishopric of Argyll and the Isles and in this capacity he resided for a while at Achandu castle at Lismore. It was probably at this time that the MacLeays adopted the name Livingstone. The Argyll Livingstons became the hereditary Keepers of the crozier or baculum of the Bishops of Lismore (from St. Moluag who died in 592) and as such received grants of the land in Lismore and the title of Barons of Bachyll.

Another branch of the MacLeays or Livingstones became followers of the Stewarts of Appin descending from one of the Beatons, the physicians to the Lord of the Isles. They were out with the Appin Stewarts in the '45 and at the Battle of Culloden Donald Livingstone saved the "White Banner of the Stewarts" and carried it safely to Appin. It is supposed Ardshiel, before he escaped to France, left it for safe keeping with Alexander Stewart of Ballachulish in whose family it has since remained.

This account was sent to us by Alexander F.Livingstone and is an account of the Livingston family taken from "The Scottish Nation or the Surnames, Families, Literature and Biographical History of the People of Scotland" by William Anderson.

LIVINGSTONE, a surname said to be of Hungarian origin, the progenitor of the families of this name in Scotland being a gentleman of Hungary who came to this country with Margaret, queen of Malcolm Canmore, about 1070. His descendant in the third degree, Livingus, who lived in the reiges of King Alexander I., and his brother, King David I., called a considerable estate in West Lothian, which he possessed, Livingston, that is, the dwellingplace of Livingus. His son, Thurstanus, a witness to the foundation charter of Holyrood-house in 1128, had two sons, Alexander and William. The elder, Alexander; the first who assumed the name of Livingston, died in the end of the reign of King Alexander II. His son, Sir William Livingston, who acquired the lands of Gorgvn near Edinburgh, witnessed a charter of Malcolm, earl of Lennox, in 1270. From William, the eldest of his three sons, descended the Livingstons of Livingston, the last of whom, Sir Bartholomew Livingston, was killed at the battle of Flodden in 1518. leaving three daughters his coheiresses. The two younger Sons, Sir Archibald and Adam, swore fealty to Edward I. in 1296. Sir Archibald’s grandson, Sir William Livingston, accompanied King David II. in his expedition to England in 1346, and was taken prisoner at the battle of Durham, 17th October of that year. He was one or the four commissioners appointed by the Estates of Scotland, 17th January 1356—7, to treat with England for the ransom of the king, and also for peace between the two nations. He had a grant from David II. of the barony of Callendar, then in the crown by the forfeiture of Patrick Callendar, whose only daughter and heiress, Christian, he married. Of two sons, Patrick, the elder, one of the hostages for King David II. in 1357, predeceased him. The younger son, Sir William had a son, Sir John Livingstone of’ Callendar, killed at the battle or Homildon, 14th September 1402, leaving four sons, viz. Sir Alexander, who succeeded; Robert, ancestor of the Livingstones of Westquarter and Kinnaird; John, of the Livingstones of Bonton; and William, of the viscounts of Kilsyth. Sir James Livingstone, baronet, son and heir of Sir John Livingstone of Kinnaird, was created by CharIes II. earl of Newburgh.

Sir Alexander Livingstone of Callendar, the eldest son, the celebrated guardian of James II. in his minority, was one of the jury on the trial of Murdach, duke of Albany, in 1424. On the assassination of James I. in 1437, he was appointed keeper of the young king’s person. The rival minister, Sir William Crichton, chancellor of the kingdom, retaining his majesty in the castle of Edinburgh, the queen-mother had him conveyed, enclosed in a chest, to Stirling, where she delivered him to his legal guardian, Livingstone. He subsequently besieged Crichton in the castle of Edinburgh, but a reconciliation took place between them. Afterwards quarrelling with the queen, he imprisoned her, in 1489. By another stratagem, Crichton regained possession of the king’s person, but by the intercession of friends a lasting agreement was at length formed between the two ministers, and the king was committed to the care of Livingstone, who thus obtained the chief direction in the government. All differences between him and the queen were likewise settled by a solemn indenture dated 4th September 1489. In 1440 the sixth earl of Douglas, his brother David, and his friend Fleming of Cumbernauld, were, chiefly at his instigation, inveigled into the castle of Edinburgh by Crichton, and beheaded there. In 1445, when the Douglases were at the height of their power, Sir Alexander was denounced a rebel, and in the following year he was imprisoned, but released on paying a large sum of money. However, Alexander, the younger of his two sons, was tried and beheaded He was ancestor of the Livingstones of Dunipace, one of whom was named in 1550 an extraordinary lord of session. On 4th July 1600, Jean Livingstone, Lady Warriston, daughter of John Livingstone of Dunipace, was beheaded at the foot of the Canongate, Edinburgh, for the murder of her husband, John Kincaid of Warriston near that city. She was only 21 years of age, and is highly celebrated in several popular ballads of the period for her graceful appearance and uncommon beauty. Her father had great influence at court, but she is said to have declined all efforts for saving ber Iife. An account of her behaviour in prison and at the place of execution, was preserved among Wodrow’s MSS. in the Advocates’ Library, and is reported on in Pitcairn’s Criminal Trials. In 1449 Sir Alexander Livingstone was again received into favour, appointed justiciary of Scotland, and sent ambassador to England. He died soon after.

His eldest son, Sir James Livingstone of Callendar, first Lord Livingstone, had the appointment of captain of the castle of Stirling, with the tuition of the young king, conferred on him by his father. In 1453, he was sworn, a privy councillor, appointed master of the household, and great chamberlain of Scotland. He was created a peer before 8th August 1458, under the title of Lord Livingstone and died about 1467. With two daughters he had two sons. The elder son, James, second Lord Livingstone, died without issue, when the title devolved on his nephew, John, son of his brotber Alexander. John, third lord, died before 1510.

His son, William, fourth lord, had a son, Alexander, fifth lord, who in 1548 was chosen one of the four noblemen to whom was committed the education of the young queen, Mary. He was appointed an extraordinary lord of session, 5th March, 1544. (Haig and Brunton’s Senators of the College of Justice, p. 81.) the safe-keeping of the queen’s person was intrusted to him and Lord Erskine by the Estates, 24th April 1545, and in 1547, after the disastrous battle or Pinkie, in which the master of Livingstone was slain, these noblemen conveyed her for greater security to the priory of lnchmahome, on the lake of Monteith, whence, in the following year, they accompanied her to France. Lord Livingstone died in that country about 1558. His eldest son having had no issue, his second son, William, succeeded as sixth Lord Livingstone. Thomas, the youngest son, was ancestor of the Livingstones of Haining. His lordship’s youngest daughter, Mary, a maid of honour to her majesty, was one of the queen’s Maries. She married in 1567, John Sernple of Beltries, when the queen gave them conjunct liferent of Auchtermuchty and other lands. According to John Knox, "shame hasted" the marriage, and on this occasion he said Mary Livingstone the lusty married John Semple the dancer. (Knox’s Historie, p. 345.)

William, the sixth lord, adhered to Queen Mary, and fought for her at the battle of Langside. He was one of the queen’s commissioners at the conference at York in 1568 and retained her confidence to the last. He is described by Bruce the Jesuit in 1589 as a "very catholic lord," and it is certain that he favoured the plots of’ the papists in that and the following year. He married Agnes, second daughter of the third Lord Fleming, and died in 1592. His eldest son, Alexander, seventh lord, when master of Livingstone, accompanied the duke of Lennox to France, on his exile in December 1582. He was the first earl of Linlithgow.

The Livingstons of Westquarter and Bedlormie, the representatives of the earls of Linlithgow and Callendar, are descended from the Hon. Sir George Livingstone of Ogleface, Linlithgowshire, fourth son of the sixth Lord Liovingstone, and younger brother of the first earl of Linlithgow. He was created a baronet of Nova Scotia, 30th May 1625. His great-grandson, Sir Alexander Livingstone, fourth baronet, married Susannah, only daughter and heiress of Patrick Walker of Bellormie, Linlithgowshire, and was designed of Craigenhall and Bedlormie. He had one son, Sir Alexander Livingstone, fifth baronet. The latter had seven sons and three daughters. George, the eldest son, who died in 1729, without issue; Alexander, the second son, who died unmarried in 1766, and William, the fourth son, designed of Westquarter and Bedlormie, were, successively, sixth, seventh and eighth barronets. Robert, the fifth son, lost his right arm in battle with the rebels in 1745, and had a son, Alexander, who succeeded his uncle, Sir William, on his death, without issue, in 1769.

Sir Alexander, the ninth baronet, designed of that ilk, Westquarter and Bedlormie, in 1784 laid before Lord Kenyon, then attorney-general, a case respecting his claim to the attainted conjunct titles of earl of Linlithgow and earl of Callendar. He was twice married. By his first wife he had, with one daughter, seven sons, and by his second, two sons and one daughter. He died in 1795. Two of his sons, George-Augustas and David, were killed in battle.

Sir Thomas, his third son, became the tenth baronet. He catered the navy in 1782, and commanded the Diadem in the expedition against Qaiberon and Belleisle in 1800. In 1806-7 he was employed in the Mediterranean. In 1848 he attained the rank of admiral of the Blue. He was appointed keeper of the royal palace of Linlithgow and of the castle of Blackness, by the king, in consideration of his being the male heir and representative of the hereditary governors of these places. He was married in 1809 the daughter of Sir James Stirling, baronet, and died April 1, 1853, without issue.

His brother, Thurstaus Livingstone, born in 1770 or 1772, went to sea, as a common sailor, both in the merchant service and in the navy, and was discharged in 1797, in consequence of his wounds. Taking up his residence at Bethnal Green, London, he married, the same year, Susannah Brown, a widow, who died in 1806. Two years afterwards he married her sister, Catherine Ann Ticehurst, also a widow. By the latter he had a son, Alexander, born in 1809, who, on the death of his uncle in 1853, assumed the title of Sir Alexander, as 11th baronet, and took possession of the estates. The 10th baronet’s sister, the wife of Rev John Fenton, recotr of Ousby, and vicar of Torpenhow, in Cumberland, instituted two suits in the court of session, on the ground that, according to the law of Scotland, the marriage of his father with his deceased wife’s sister was not lawful. The court held that the domicile of Thurstanus Livingstone, during both his marriages, having been in England, the legitimacy of his son must be decided by the laws of England. The case was appealed to the house of lords, by Mr John Thomas Fenton, Mrs Fenton’s son, that lady having died July 15, 1859, when their lordships reversed that judgement, and remitted to the court of session to decide the question according to the law of Scotland. The case again came before the court of session January 18, 1861, when it was unanimously decided that the marriage of Alexander’s parents was incestuous and illegal, and giving decree to the pursuer. The so-styled Sir Alexander Livingston died at Edinburgh January 20, 1859.

LIVINGSTONE, John, an eminent minister of the Church of Scotland, was born at Monyabreck, or Kilsyth, Stirlingshire, January 21, 1603, His father and grandfather, descended from the noble family of the same name, were successively ministers of that parish. John studied at the university of Glasgow, and was licensed in 1625. In 1627 he became chaplain to the earl of Wigton at Cumbernauld. The celebrated revival of religion at the Kirk of Shotts, in June 1630, is considered to have been the effect of his impressive preaching. In August of the same year he accepted of the charge of the parish of Killinchie, in the north of Ireland, but, for non-conformity, he was deposed and excommunicated by the bishop of Down, in whose diocese his parish was situated. He was inducted minister of Stranraer in July 1688. In 1640, as chaplain to the earl of Cassillis’ regiment, he was present at the battle of Newburn near Newcastle, of which he wrote an account. In 1648 he was translated to the parish of Ancrum in Teviotdale. In April 1663, for refusing to take the oath of allegiance he was banished from Scotland. Retiring to Rotterdam he devoted the remainder of his days to the cultivation of theological and biblical learning, and died August 9,1672. He had prepared an edition of the Old Testament, with a Latin translation and explanatory notes, which has never been published. His ‘Remarkable Observations upon the Lives of the most Eminent Ministers and Professors in the Church of Scotland’ were printed with his Memoirs in 1754.

Go here for an account of the Highland Clan Livingstone

The Livingstons of Livingston Manor
Being the History of that Branch of the Scottish House of Callandar which settled in the English Province of New York during the Reign of Charles the Second; and also including an Account of Robert Livingston of Albany, "The Nephew," a Settler in the same Province, and his principal Descendants, by Edwin Brockholst Livingston (1910) (pdf)



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