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Glen (Glenn) Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: ALTA PETE (aim at higher things)

Let me recount the captivating history of your family, the Glen, passed down through generations. The lands of Glen, from which your family, Glen of that Ilk, derived their name, are located in the parish of Traquair in Peeblesshire. In 1296, Sarah of Glen, as the widow of Duncan, held these lands and pledged fealty to Edward I of England during his invasion of Scotland. However, with Sarah passing away without heirs, the lands of Glen passed from this branch of the family. Another Glen family, residing in the Lennox, opposed the English king, Edward I, during his claim to the Scottish crown. Sir David de Glen, for his role in opposing Edward I at the siege of Stirling Castle in 1304, endured public humiliation alongside other captives and was subsequently imprisoned in Newcastle. Colban de Glen received a charter from King Robert, granting him lands in Peebles and Lanark.

Sir Robert de Glen, named in honor of King David II, became a favored courtier. He entered into a marriage with Margaret, the youngest child of Robert the Bruce and the king’s brother. Although the marriage was not successful and likely dissolved when Sir Robert entered the church, the family came to possess the barony of Balmuto in Fife. In the fifteenth century, Mariota, the heiress of Sir John Glen, married Sir John Boswell of Balgregie, establishing a direct ancestral connection to the diarist and traveler James Boswell. Another branch of the Glen family flourished in the burgh of Linlithgow, with Alexander Glen recorded as ‘Sergeant in Parliament’ in 1545, and James Glen serving as Provost of Linlithgow in 1627. James Glen, born in 1701, became the most well-documented figure of this dynasty. Educated at the University of Leiden, he succeeded his father as Provost and later served as the Governor of South Carolina.

Additionally, a Glen family associated with Renfrewshire is notable. In 1452, William Glen witnessed a donation to the monks of the Abbey of Paisley, and Archibald Glen served as a minister and Regent of the University of Glasgow. Tragically, Archibald’s premature death in 1614 was attributed to witchcraft, leading to the execution of Margaret Wallace, the wife of a Glasgow merchant, for this unfounded crime. Thomas, the son of Archibald, became a successful merchant in Glasgow’s Saltmarket. Furthermore, David Glen, an Edinburgh music publisher born in 1853, played a significant role in promoting written music for bagpipes.

Originating from the Glen at Innerleithen near the Royal Hunting Lodge at Traquair, your family, like many Scottish nobles, swore allegiance to Edward I of England in 1296. However, Colban del Glen received a legacy from Queen Elizabeth (de Burgh), wife of Robert I, in 1328, and the King granted him the lands of Quilte in the Sheriffdom of Peebles. The current Glen House, now the residence of the Tennant Family, stands on the site of Colban’s original castle.

In 1422, Thomas de Glen was granted safe conduct to travel in England. Fast forward to February 1962, and his descendant, John Glenn, embarked on a remarkable journey, orbiting the Earth three times in the NASA spacecraft “Friendship 7.” John Glenn subsequently became a Democratic Party Senator and an unsuccessful presidential candidate for the White House.

Given the association with geological topography, the Glen/Glenn surname is widely found throughout Scotland, with its bearers appearing as signatories of various charters and land transactions during the Middle Ages.

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Family Crest Motto: ALTA PETE (aim at higher things)

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