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The Dalziel Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: I DARE

Let me share the historical background of your family name, Dalziel. Your family has a long and varied history, with over two hundred different recorded forms of the name, from Dalzeel to Diyell, since 1259. The surname originates from the old barony of Dalziel in Lanarkshire, and its meaning can be traced back to the Gaelic ‘dal-gheail’, which translates to ‘white meadow’. This name was given due to the color of the local clay soil. It’s worth noting that there are also individuals in Shetland who bear the name, with their origins stemming from the island of Yell.

The hanged man depicted on your family’s coat of arms is said to have originated during the time of Kenneth II. It is believed that a member of his court retrieved the body of the king’s friend from a gibbet located in enemy-held territory, uttering the words ‘I Dare’. These words now serve as the family motto.

The lineage of your family can be traced back to Thomas de Dalziel, mentioned as a baron of Scotland in the Ragman Roll of 1296, where he swore allegiance to Edward I of England. He later became one of the patriots who joined Robert the Bruce in the fight for Scottish independence. Another notable figure is Sir Robert Dalzell, who was granted the title of Earl of Carnwath in 1639. His son, Robert, the second earl, actively supported the Marquess of Montrose during the civil war in Scotland, serving as a loyalist to Charles I. The fifth earl, Sir Robert, fought alongside the Old Pretender in the Jacobite rising of 1715, resulting in the forfeiture of his title and estates.

Sir Thomas Dalyell of The Binns, hailing from one of the oldest branches of the Dalziel family, played a significant role in your family’s history. He fought for the royalist forces at the Battle of Worcester in 1651, where he was captured and imprisoned in the Tower of London. He managed to escape and sought refuge on the Continent, where he entered the service of the Tsar of Russia, eventually becoming a general of cavalry. After returning to Scotland in 1666, Charles II appointed him as commander-in-chief of the forces. Known for his fierce reputation, Sir Thomas was tasked with suppressing the Covenanters and successfully crushed resistance in the Battle of Rullion Green near Edinburgh. The House of the Binns, built by Sir Thomas’ father in 1623, has undergone alterations over the years and remains an important landmark for your family.

In more recent times, a notable member of your family was Tam Dalyell, who served as the Labour Member of Parliament for West Lothian and later Linlithgow. He gained prominence for raising the ‘West Lothian Question’, highlighting a constitutional anomaly in British politics.

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Family Crest Motto: I DARE

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