Skip to content Skip to footer

The Boswell Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: VRAYE FOI (Have faith)

Let me share the intriguing history of your family name, Boswell. It is universally accepted to have Norman or French origins. According to Black, the name can be derived from a village or manor near Yvetot in Normandy, or from Beuzevill near Bolbec. Legend holds that the ‘sieur’, or Lord de Bosville, was among the Norman commanders at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Witnessing several charters during the reign of William the Lion, Robert de Boseuille and the Boswells likely accompanied David I to Scotland after his time at the English court. Walter de Bosville was captured as a prisoner at Dunbar in 1296, while William de Bosville paid homage in the same year. Richard, his son, received land from Robert the Bruce near Ardrossan. A younger son of the Borders family is believed to have been the first to settle in Fife, marrying Mariota, the daughter and co-heiress of Sir William of Lochore.

Through marriage, your family acquired the barony of Balmuto, which they held until the early eighteenth century. Sir Alexander of Balmuto fell among the slain at the Battle of Flodden in 1513. Boswells also fought in the royalist cause and perished at the Battle of Worcester during the civil war in 1651. Another significant acquisition was the lands of Auchinleck in Ayrshire. The Boswells became renowned lawyers, with Robert Boswell rising to become a High Court judge and assuming the title of ‘Lord Balmuto’. Alexander Boswell, too, achieved prominence when he ascended to the Bench in 1756 and took the title of ‘Lord Auchinleck’. Notably, he oversaw the construction of the magnificent classical Auchinleck House, designed as a country retreat from Edinburgh. His son, James Boswell, would later gain fame as the renowned biographer of Dr. Samuel Johnson.

Sir Alexander Boswell, the son of the biographer, was granted a baronetcy in 1821. As a poet and politician, Alexander excelled in literary pursuits but faced challenges in the political and financial realms. In 1822, a dispute over the authorship of scandalous articles led to a duel between Boswell and James Stuart of Dunearn. During the duel, both parties intentionally missed their shots. However, Stuart, unfamiliar with firearms, accidentally shot Boswell in the collarbone, resulting in his untimely demise. He was succeeded by his son, and upon his death in 1847, the baronetcy became extinct. Other notable members of this extended family included the lawyer and preacher Robert Boswell and the botanist John Thomas Irvine Boswell.

This is the captivating history of your family name, Boswell, filled with tales of Norman origins, ancestral lands, influential legal figures, and literary achievements.

SHARE WITH OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

The Family Crest

Wherever in the world you live, embrace your family heritage and adorn your home with a timeless symbol of your family legacy with our crafted Family Crests.

Family Crest Motto: VRAYE FOI (Have faith)

$99.00

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

Copyright Notice: This artwork is protected by copyright law. Unauthorized reproduction, distribution, or usage of this artwork without explicit permission from ScottishFamilyCrest.com is strictly prohibited.