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The Auchinleck Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: PRETIOSUM QUOD UTILE (What is useful, is valuable)

Let me share with you the fascinating history of your family name, Auchinleck. The chiefs of this surname owned lands in the county of Angus, and they derived their name from these lands. However, it is worth noting that there is also a barony of Auchinleck in Ayrshire. According to accounts, in 1300, the Laird of Auchinleck from Angus reportedly joined Sir William Wallace in Glasgow, where he fought bravely and defeated the Northumbrian Earl Percy. The first recorded member of the Angus family by the name of John of Aghelek, also known as Achinfleck, paid homage in 1306. The name Auchinleck likely has a descriptive origin, referring to the topography of the land it represents. The term ‘auchen’ seems to denote elevated or higher ground that separates bodies of water, while ‘lech’ may indicate a lifeless or barren area. The Auchinlecks of Angus held the hereditary role of armor bearers to the Earls of Crawford and resided in the impressive tower known as Affleck near the village of Monikie in Angus. Although it stands in good condition today, it is not accessible to the public.

The Auchinleck of that Ilk family hailed from Ayrshire. During the reign of James IV, their male line came to an end, and their heiress married Thomas Boswell, who inherited the estate and title. Henceforth, the Boswells were known as ‘of Auchinleck.’ One notable member of this family was James Boswell, the renowned biographer of Samuel Johnson. His father, Alexander Boswell, held a position in the court of justiciary in 1755 and adopted the title ‘Lord Auchinleck’ from his estates. Alexander Boswell, a Presbyterian and Whig, engaged in ideological debates with Dr. Johnson, which were chronicled in “The Journey to a Tour to the Hebrides.” In the seventeenth century, an Auchinleck family resided in Dundee, where they achieved prominence as merchants. In 1614, William Auchinleck served as the Provost of Dundee.

Moving ahead, General Sir Claude Auchinleck made a significant mark in history. He served as the commander-in-chief in India in 1941 when British Prime Minister Winston Churchill appointed him to lead the Allied offensive in the western desert of Egypt and India. Sir Claude Auchinleck led the British Eighth Army in the first battle of El Alamein in July 1942. Although the battle ended without a clear victor, Auchinleck was later replaced by Bernard, who would become Field Marshal Montgomery. In modern times, the surname Auchinleck has become scarce in Scotland, and Sir Claude was among the few bearers of the name. However, the name Affleck, which has connections to Auchinleck, is more familiar, albeit not numerous, in the Borders and Aberdeenshire regions.

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Family Crest Motto: PRETIOSUM QUOD UTILE (what is useful is valuable)

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