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Clan Boyd is a chiefly Scottish chiefly family


The name Boyd is said to be descriptive, deriving from the Gaelic 'buidhe' meaning 'fair' or 'yellow'. <ref>George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia (Glasgow, Harper Collins, 1994)pp 76, 77 </ref> According to Way of Plean and Squire- the 'original fair haired man' is said to have been Robert, nephew of Walter, the first High Steward of Scotland. <ref>Way of Plean, Squire, Encycopedia, pp 76-77 </ref> The veracity of this origin myth has been challenged by Anderson, who pointed out that as the High Steward and his followers were of Norman origin they were unlikley to choose a Gaelic nickname for one of their close family. <ref>Way of Plean, Squire, Encycopedia, pp 76 </ref> Anderson believes the name to be of Norman or Saxon origin. <ref>Way of Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, pp 76 </ref> Black asserts that the first Boyds were vassals of the Norman family of de Morvilles in lands around Largs and Irvine, as in Gaelic 'boid' can mean 'from Bute'. <ref>Way of Plean, Squire, Encycopedia, pp 76 </ref> However this theory has been challenged by Clan Historian, Mike Boyd- who states that he has been assured by a Gaelic scholar that this linguistic connection is incorrect. <ref></ref> Boyd also notes that an origin of the name may be Irish, from the Gaelic, Mac Guillabuihde or Mac Giollabuihde. <ref></ref>

Middle Ages

Robertus de Body is noted as a witness of a contract between the Lord of Eglinton and the burgh of Irvine around 1205. <ref>Way of Plean, Squire, Encycopedia, pp 76 </ref> A member of the family fought at the Battle of Largs in 1263. <ref>David Doward, Collins Dictionary of Scottish Surnames, p25</ref>Robert de Boyte is listed in the Ragman Roll of 1296 rendering homage to Edward I of England. <ref>Way of Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, pp 76-77 </ref>Other family members supported the cause of independence. Duncan Boyd was executed by the English for this in 1306, while Sir Robert Boyd was a supporter of Robert the Bruce and a commander at Bannockburn in 1314. His military service was rewarded with grants of lands which were confiscated for Bruce's rivals, the Balliols. These included Kilmarnock, Bondington and other holdings in Ayrshire. <ref>Way of Plean, Squire, Encycopedia, pp 76-77 </ref>

Robert Boyd, created Lord Boyd in 1454, became regent for the infant King James III after an accident with a siege gun killed James II in 1460.<ref>Way of Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, pp 76-77 </ref> He arranged the marriage of the king to a Norwegian princess. <ref>Way of Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, pp 76-77 </ref>This liaison resulted in the return of the Orkneys and Shetlands to the Scottish Crown, his younger brother was appointed military tutor to the young king. The influence of the Boyd brothers on their young charge was considerable. Lord Boyd was appointed Great Chamberlain, and his son, Thomas, was married to Princess Mary, the king's sister, with the title of Earl of Arran. <ref>Way of Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, pp 76-77 </ref>


The Boyd family's rapid rise to influence led to political intrigues against them. Their enemies persuaded James III that they were a threat to the throne. In 1469 Lord Boyd and his son, the Earl of Arran were summoned to appear before the king to answer charges brought against them. Lord Boyd realised that attending would result in his death, fled to England.<ref>Way of Plean, Squire, Encycopedia, pp 76-77 </ref> His brother, Sir Alexander was executed for treason. Abroad on state business, the Earl of Arran survived but remained in exile in various royal courts throughout Europe. <ref>Way of Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, pp 76-77 </ref>He died in exile in the Netherlands. <ref>Lorna Blackie, Clans and Tartans, the Fabric of Scotland (London, Grange Books, p19)</ref> James III summoned his sister to return to Scotland, claiming to offer forgiveness, but then had her arrested and instigated an annulment of her marriage to Arran. <ref>Way of Plean, Squire, Encycopedia, pp 76-77 </ref>She was then forced to marry Lord Hamilton, who took the title of Arran. <ref>Lorna Blackie, Clans and Tartans, the Fabric of Scotland (London, Grange Books, p19)</ref>

Restoration to favour

The family were restored to royal favour when Robert, a descendent of the younger son of the first Lord Boyd, received confirmation from Mary, Queen of Scots, of all the estates, honours and dignities of the family, with the title of 'Lord Boyd'. <ref>Way of Plean, Squire, Encycopedia, pp 76-77 </ref> After the queen's escape from Loch Leven Castle, Lord Boyd was one of the first to join her at Hamilton, and fought at the Battle of Langside. He thereafter made many visits to her during her captivity in England. He died in 1590. <ref>Way of Plean, Squire, Encycopedia, pp 76-77 </ref>The family adhered to the cause of the king during the civil war, and they received their reward after the Restoration when William, Lord Boyd, was created Earl of Kilmarnock in 1661.<ref>Way of Plean, Squire, Encycopedia, pp 76-77 </ref>


Dean Castle

The family's traditional seat was Kilmarnock Castle, known after 1700 as Dean Castle. The castle is located about a mile north of the town of Kilmarnock, in the county of Ayr, in southwest Scotland. It is now open to the public as "Dean Castle Country Park," belonging to Kilmarnock and Louden District Council. After a fire in 1735 the family relocated. <ref></ref>


The third Earl opposed the Stuart claim during the 1715 rising and commanded a regiment against the Jacobites. His son, the fourth Earl, fought for Charles Edward Stuart and was appointed a member of the Privy Council. His adherence to Jacobitism was partly attributed to his financial problems, and led ultimately to his execution in London in 1746. The title 'Earl of Kilmarnock' was forfeited, along with other Boyd titles. However, his eldest son succeeded to the earldom of Erroll through his mother in 1758 and assumed the surname Hay. <ref>Way of Plean, Squire, Encycopedia, p77 </ref>

Earls of Erroll

The eighteenth Earl of Erroll was created Baron Kilmarnock in 1831. Victor Hay (1876-1928) was a career diplomat. His son, the twenty second Earl, Josslyn Victor Hay (1901-1941) a fascist sympathiser and hedonist, was infamously murdered in Kenya in 1941. <ref>,_22nd_Earl_of_Erroll</ref> His daughter was entitled to succeed to the Earldom of Erroll and chiefship of Clan Hay, but was excluded from the Barony of Kilmarnock as it was a United Kingdom title and could only pass to males. <ref>Way of Plean, Squire, Encycopedia, p77 </ref> Consequently, the brother of the twenty-second Earl changed his own name back to Boyd and became known as Lord Kilmarnock and Chief of Clan Boyd.<ref>Way of Plean, Squire, Encycopedia, p77 </ref>


The House of Boyd Society was formed on October 15, 1988, at the Stone Mountain Highland Games, Georgia. <ref></ref>The "Confido Emblem", which is part of the Boyd family coat-of-arms, was designated as the official seal of The Society. On the recommendation of Lord Kilmarnock and unanimous vote of the founders, Dr. Frederick Tilghman Boyd was awarded Honorary Membership in The Society for his outstanding contributions to Scottish heritage and traditions. <ref></ref>

The seventh Lord Kilmarnock, who succeeded to the chiefship in 1975, was a well-known author who married, as his second wife, the former spouse of the more famous writer Sir Kingsley Amis. He was a great admirer of Spanish culture and lived there for many years. He died in March 2009 and would have been succeeded by his only son, the Hon. James Boyd, but for the archane laws governing succession to UK peerages. The Hon. James was born in 1972 but his parents did not marry until 1975. The peerage, therefore, passed to the seventh Lord's brother, Dr Robin Boyd. By contrast, if the older Scottish title of Earl of Kilmarnock had not been forfeited then this could have passed to James, as Scots law has always recognised a subsequent marriage to cure all defects and children are then deemed legitimate. The current chief is Alastair Boyd, Lord Kilmarnock. <ref></ref>The clan society exists to assist with genealogical research, promote Scottish heritage and customs, organise Boyd family gatherings, perpetuate family identity and participate in Scottish games. <ref></ref>