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Houston Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: IN TIME

Let me share with you the fascinating history of your family, the Houstons. The name Houston originates from an ancient barony in Lanarkshire, which was known as ‘Hugh’s Settlement.’ Your family’s connection to this land can be traced back to the twelfth century when Hugh de Padinan was granted the lands of Kilpeter. Over time, the area came to be known as Huston. In 1296, Sir Finaly de Hestone swore fealty to Edward I of England, as recorded on the Ragman Roll. The Houstons established a castle on the site of a Cistercian abbey and gained a significant barony near Whitburn in West Lothian. One of your ancestors, Sir Patrick Hustone of that Ilk, likely the eleventh chief, married Agnes Campbell of Ardkinglass.

In Lanarkshire, there were numerous families bearing the name Houston, often spelled with variations such as Hawstoun, Howstoun, Hawston, and Haweston. Sir Peter Houston fought alongside the Earl of Lennox at the Battle of Flodden, a tragic event that claimed the lives of many Scottish nobles and gentry. His son, Sir Patrick Houston of Houston, served as the keeper of the seal to James V but conspired against the king and met his demise at the Battle of Linlithgow Bridge. The subsequent Sir Patrick was knighted by Queen Mary and accompanied her during her visit to her second husband, Lord Darnley, in Glasgow. The nineteenth chief of your family was bestowed a baronetcy of Nova Scotia by Charles II in 1668. Sir John, his son, held the position of falconer to Mary II and William of Orange. Both Sir John Houston of Houston and his brother, James, invested £1000 in the ill-fated Darien scheme. The fifth baronet and his son were merchants with significant business interests in America, particularly in slave plantations. Upon American independence, the Houstons renounced their Scottish titles.

Another notable figure in your family’s history is Sir Robert Houston, a descendant of the Renfrew branch. He achieved prominence as a shipbuilder but is best remembered for his marriage to the society beauty and ‘adventuress,’ Lucy Radmall. Unfortunately, their relationship deteriorated, and Lady Houston quarreled with Sir Robert over her inheritance. In 1929, Sir Robert died in mysterious circumstances aboard his yacht, the Liberty, leaving Lady Houston as one of the wealthiest widows of her time. She utilized her husband’s wealth to pursue a career as a self-publicist. Holding a strong disdain for the Labour Prime Minister Ramsey Macdonald, she adorned her yacht with an illuminated message declaring, ‘Death to Macdonald the Traitor,’ which she sailed around Britain. Lady Houston passed away in 1936, purportedly devastated by the abdication of Edward VIII.

These are the captivating stories and events that shape the history of your family, the Houstons, spanning generations and leaving a legacy worth remembering.

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Family Crest Motto: IN TIME

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