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Irving Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: HAUD ULLIS LABENTIA VENTIS (yielding under no winds)

Let me share with you the fascinating history of your family, the Irvings. Your family, the Irvings of Bonshaw, are an independent branch of Clan Irvine. It is important to note that there are two distinct families, Irving of Bonshaw and Irvine of Drum, each with their own recognized individuals and granted arms. Although the exact relationship between the two branches remains unclear, extensive research has confirmed that they are regarded as two distinct Clans sharing a common name, with no social, economic, or historical links found between them.

The Irvings of Bonshaw established themselves as landowners in the Borders during the twelfth century and became vassals of the influential Clan Johnston. Christopher Irving, your ancestor, acquired a charter to the lands of Stabiltoun, and in 1542, he commanded the light horse at the Battle of Solway Moss. Under the leadership of his son and successor, Edward Irving of Bonshaw, your family became involved in feuds with the Johnstons, the Maxwells, and the Kirkpatrick family of Closeburn. In 1554, a younger son of Bonshaw was killed by the Kirkpatricks. Seeking revenge, Edward Irving later slew the laird of Closeburn. The close association between the Irvings and Johnstons raised concerns for the crown, which explicitly prohibited a marriage alliance between the two clans in 1564. However, Edward Irving proceeded with a marriage to Margaret Johnston despite this prohibition. Unfortunately, the tower of Bonshaw suffered damage from an invading army led by the Earl of Sussex. In 1593, the combined forces of the Irvings and Johnstons achieved a decisive victory over the Maxwells, culminating in the death of Lord Maxwell at the Battle of Dryfe Sands near Lockerbie. This battle is believed to be the last clan battle fought on Scottish soil.

It is worth noting that the Irvings of Bonshaw did not support the Jacobite rebellion of 1745. In 1714, Paulus Aemilius Irving, who carried a classical name, was born at Bonshaw as the sixth son of William Irving of Woodhouse and Bonshaw. His son, also named Paulus Aemilius, rose to the rank of general in the British army and served in the American War of Independence, participating in the battles of Lexington and Bunker Hill. After serving in India, he returned to Britain and was granted a Baronetcy in 1804. However, the title became extinct in 1852. From that point on, the chiefs of the Irvings of Bonshaw included successful lawyers, ministers, and soldiers among their ranks, as well as a succession of prominent seafarers and naval captains in the twentieth century.

The fascinating history of the Irvings of Bonshaw, an independent branch of Clan Irvine, is one filled with tales of valor, feuds, and achievements that span centuries. Established as landowners in the Borders during the twelfth century, the Irvings’ close association with the influential Clan Johnston led to both alliances and tensions, culminating in their involvement in battles against the Maxwells and the Kirkpatricks. Despite the crown’s prohibition, a marriage alliance between the Irvings and Johnstons took place, further intertwining their histories.

The Irvings of Bonshaw demonstrated their loyalty during significant historical events, such as not supporting the Jacobite rebellion of 1745. Their lineage includes notable figures, such as Paulus Aemilius Irving, who rose to the rank of general in the British army and served in the American War of Independence. The family’s legacy continued with successful lawyers, ministers, and soldiers, as well as a line of accomplished seafarers and naval captains in more recent times. From the Battle of Solway Moss to the Battle of Dryfe Sands, the Irvings’ journey through history is marked by bravery, determination, and an enduring sense of honor, making them a distinguished and cherished part of the Clan Irvine’s storied heritage.

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Family Crest Motto: HAUD ULLIS LABENTIA VENTIS (yielding under no winds)

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