Skip to content Skip to footer

Skirving Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: FIT INDE FIRMIOR (Thence it becomes stronger)

Let me share with you the captivating journey of your family name, Skirving, as it unfolds through time. The roots of this surname can be traced back to a placename nestled in East Lothian. While the exact significance remains somewhat mysterious, it is thought to be linked to the similar-sounding ‘Irving,’ which translates to ‘White River’ in the ancient Brythonic language. In the eleventh or twelfth century, a local lord chose to adopt his land’s name as his own, becoming ‘de Skirving’ or ‘of Skirving.’ As the years passed, the ‘de’ gradually faded away, leaving behind the name that has been carried forward by all subsequent Skirvings. Regrettably, the identity of this founding figure and their origins remain shrouded in mystery. They may have had deep roots in the area, and indeed, ‘Skirving’ emerged as one of the prevalent surnames in the Haddington region during the eighteenth century.

Your family’s connection with the influential Keith kindred, particularly the Earls Marischal of Keith Marischal House and Dunnottar Castle, adds a notable layer to your history. Among the Skirvings, ‘Black Jack’ (John) Skirving of Plewlandhill stands out as a figure of significance in the annals of Scottish history. His role as the standard bearer for William Keith, third Earl Marischal, during the ill-fated Battle of Flodden in 1513 resonates through the ages. This infamous battle saw King James IV and many Scottish nobles perish at the hands of a lesser English force, ensnared in the mire of Northumbria. While the earl’s banner was preserved, Skirving himself emerged from the battle with his life and a valiant story. Concealing the earl’s banner about his person, he safeguarded it throughout his subsequent captivity. The banner found its way home and was eventually bestowed upon the Faculty of Advocates in 1808, where it remains on display, a tangible connection to your family’s storied past. In 1715, the Plewlandhill Skirvings narrowly avoided participating in the Jacobite Rebellion alongside the Earls Marischal.

Turning to other branches of your family, Alexander Skirving established himself as a burgess in the city of Edinburgh, a testament to the varied roles your family members played in society. His son, Patrick, solidified his claim to the estate in 1667, further grounding your family’s presence in history. However, it’s William Skirving, a name that resounds through time, who made a particularly profound impact. Born around 1745, William Skirving became one of the celebrated ‘Scottish Martyrs for Liberty,’ a group of five radicals who fervently advocated for universal franchise and other reforms inspired by the ideals of the French Revolution. Serving as the group’s secretary, he faced a life-altering verdict from Lord Braxfield, the infamous ‘hanging judge,’ resulting in transportation to New South Wales in 1793. William’s indomitable spirit persevered, and he passed away several years later on foreign shores. His dedication to justice and reform is commemorated through a grand monument in the Old Carlton Cemetery of Edinburgh, a testament to his enduring legacy.

As you explore the rich tapestry of your family history, you’ll undoubtedly be struck by the courage, resilience, and impact that generations of Skirvings have left behind. Your family’s story is one that embodies a commitment to principles and a journey through history, ultimately contributing to the legacy you can proudly call your own.

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: FIT INDE FIRMIOR (Thence it becomes stronger)

$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.