Irvine Family Crest, Coat of Arms and Name History


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Old English names Erewine and Erwinne have been recorded as early as the 12th century. The geographical origins hail from one of two locations of the same name, an old parish in Dumfriesshire for Irving and a parish in Ayrshire for Irvine. The parish in Dumfriesshire is the principal source of the surname.

In 1226, Robert de Hervine was the first ever person recorded of that name. The Irwin Clan were neighbors of the Bruce Clan, and Wiliam de Irwin would eventually become armor bearer and close aid of King Robert the Bruce, King of the Scots. In 1325, King Robert the Bruce, bequest 10,000 acres of land, the Forest of Drum in Aberdeenshire to Wiliam de Irwin for 20 years of loyalty. Thus, making William de Irwin the first Laird of Drum. Drum Castle would eventually be built on this land, which the Irwins would retain for over 650 years until it was handed over to the National Trust for Scotland to protect and promote it for future generations to enjoy. Robert the Bruce would also bestow upon William de Irwin the crest and motto he himself had used. William de Irwin married one of Robert the Bruce’s granddaughters, and for 17 generations there was a consecutive line of Irwins. Upon becoming new Laird of Drum, each Irwin would change their first name to Alexander.

There are many variations of the Irvine surname due to medieval census takers who relied on phonetic pronunciations of the name.

More common variations are: Irwin, Erwin, Irvine, Irving, Urwin, Erwine, Ervin, Erwing, Ervynn, Ervine, Erwynn, Irwing, Irwryn

Early history was mainly feuds with neighboring clans, notably the neighboring Keith Clan and the Maclean Clan. William de Irwin’s son died in a legendary struggle in the Battle of Harlaw by the hand of Hector Maclean of the Maclean Clan. A famous ballad was penned after his death “Gude Sir Alexander Irvine the much renounit Laird of Drum”. During the 16th century there would be a period of stability. However, throughout the 17th century Drum castle would be ransacked and looted multiple times during the two Jacobite risings. In the 20th century, the 22nd Laird of Drum fought during World War I. In 2002 a peace treaty was signed with the Keith Clan, ending a 600-year feud.

The earliest known Irish Irvines were the Irvines of Antrium in 1548. The family manufactured linen along the Ballywallog river in Glenoe for almost 200 years until they would emigrate to the United States in the 1720’s due to declining business.

The most famous Irvine in the U.S. was James Irvine. He left Ireland in 1845 and ended up in California as a merchant and miner during the California Gold Rush. He began investing in real estate and would eventually own the largest ranch in California at that time. The family would later give their name to the city of Irvine, California.

William de Irwin was one of King Robert the Bruce’s closest companions and aides during Scotland’s rebellion against the English. While being chased by the English after one attack, only Robert the Bruce and seven aides remained. The King was forced to sleep under a holly tree and William de Irwin stood guard. All seven family crest’s now prominently features 3 holly leaves commemorating this moment in history.

3,000 in the United States (high numbers in Fermanagh)

16,000 in the United Kingdom (high numbers in California)

15,000 in other parts of the world (high numbers in Canada)

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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) (now Forbes-Irvine, Drum, co. Aberdeen; descended from William de Irwin, whom Robert Bruce appointed his armour-bearer). Motto—Sub sole, sub umbra, virens. Ar. three small sheaves or bundles of holly, two and one, each consisting of as many leaves slipped vert, banded gu. Crest—A sheaf of nine holly leaves vert. Supporters—Two savages, wreathed about the head and middle with holly, each carrying in their hands a baton all ppr.
2) (Fedderet, co. Aberdeen). Motto—Ope solis et umbrae. As Drum, within a bordure engr. vert. Crest—A sheaf of six holly leaves vert, banded gu.
3) (Artamfoord; a cadet who eventually succeeded to Drum). Motto—Sub sole viresco. As Drum, within a bordure indented vert. Crest—Two holly leaves in saltire vert.
4) (Murthill, co. Aberdeen). Motto—Sub sole, sub umbra, crescens. Ar. a sheaf of arrows gu. betw. three sheaves of holly, each of as many leaves vert, banded of the second.
5) (Beildside, co. Aberdeen). Motto—Moderata durant. As the last, within a bordure vert for diff. Crest—Three holly leaves conjoined in one stalk ppr.
6) (Kingcausie, co. Aberdeen). Motto—Deo, regi, et patriae. Quarterly, 1st and 4th, as Drum, within a bordure chequy vert and ar.; 2nd and 3rd, ar. an eagle displ. sa. armed gu. within a bordure of the second, for Ramsay. Crest—A decussis like the letter X, within a circle sa.
7) (Burleigh, 1735). Motto—Sub sole, sub umbra, virens. As Drum, with a crescent gu. in fess point. Crest—A dexter hand holding a holly branch consisting of three leaves ppr.
8) (Lairney, co. Aberdeen). Motto—Condide et constanter. As Drum, within a bordure vert charged with six holly leaves slipped ar. Crest—A sheaf of holly and a lily both slipped in saltire ppr.
9) (Cairnfield, co. Banff). Motto—Ferendo feres. Quarterly, 1st and 4th, the same Arms as of Drum, within a bordure engr. vert; 2nd and 3rd, gu. three crescents ar., for Oliphant. Crest—A cross crosslet fitchee gu. and a branch of holly slipped vert in saltire.
10) (Lenturk, co. Aberdeen). Motto—Fideque perennat. As Drum, within a bordure vert. Crest—A sheaf of holly of seven leaves, banded gu.
11) (Gottenburg, 1757). Motto—Color fides que perennis. As Drum, within a bordure nebuly vert. Crest—A dexter hand holding two holly branches of three leaves each crossways ppr.
12) (Dublin, 1797). Motto—Sub sole, sub umbra, virens. As Drum, within a bordure gu. Crest—A dexter gauntleted hand lying fessways and holding a thistle erected in pale all ppr.
13) (Bonshaw, co. Dumfries). Motto—Haud ullis labentia ventis. Ar. three holly leaves slipped vert. Crest—An arm gauntleted, the hand holding a branch of holly consisting of seven leaves ppr.
14) (Dr. Christopher Irvine, 1672). Motto—Auspice summo numine. Ar. three holly leaves vert, a chief of the last. Crest—A hand holding a bay rod adorned with nine leaves ppr. with the chemical letters of Terra, Aqua, Ignis, Sal Spiritus, Sulphur, Sol, Venus, Mecurius, or.
15) (Auchinbedridge, co. Dumfries, 1771). Motto—Nil milii tollit hyems. Ar. a hunting horn stringed sa. voided or, betw. three holly leaves vert. Crest—A hand holding a branch of holly, whereon are five leaves ppr.
16) (Inchray, Scotland). Motto—Sequitur vestigia patium. Ar. a chev. betw. three holly leaves vert. Crest—Two holly branches in saltire ppr.
17) (Castle Irvine, co. Fermanagh; descended from the Irvines, of Bonshaw). Motto—Dum memor ipse mei. Ar. a fesse gu. betw. three holly leaves ppr. Crest—A dexter arm in armour fesseways issuant out of a cloud, hand ppr. holding a thistle also ppr.
18) (Lowtherstown, co. Fermanagh, bart., extinct 1690; confirmed by Erskine, Lord Lyon, 1673, to Lieut.-Col. Gerrard Irvine, of Castlefartagh, second son of Christopher Irvine, Esq., of Castle Irvine, who was created a bart. 1677). Motto—Dum memor ipse mei. (Killadeas, co. Fermanagh; descended from John Irvine, d. 1716, brother of Christopher Irvine, Esq., of Castle Irvine). Motto—Sub umbra, sub sole, virescens; and over the crest, Dum memor ipse mei. Ar. a fess gu. betw. three holly leaves vert. Crest—A gauntlet issuing out of a cloud holding a thistle all ppr.
19) (Mervyn-D’Arcy-Irvine; exemplified to Henry Irvine, Esq., of Castle Irvine, co. Fermanagh, eldest son and heir of William D’Arcy Irvine, Esq., of Necarne Castle, same co., on his assuming, by royal licence, 1861, the surnames of Mervyn and D’Arcy before that of Irvine). Motto—Dum memor ipse mei. Quarterly, 1st and 4th, ar. a fess gu. betw. three holly leaves vert., for Irvine; 2nd, az. semee of cross crosslets and three cinquefoils ar., for D’Arcy; 3rd, or, a chev. sa., for Mervyn. Crests—1st, Irvine: A gauntlet issuing out of a cloud and holding a thistle all ppr., an escroll above, motto over, Un Dieu, un Roy; 2nd, D’Arcy: On a chapeau gu. turned up erm. a bull pass. sa. armed or; 3rd, Mervyn: A squirrel sejant ppr. cracking a nut gu., motto over, De Dieu est tout.
20) (Robert Irvine, Esq., of Orchard House, co. Durham). Or, on a chev. az. betw. three sheaves of holly each consisting of three leaves slipped vert banded gu. an anchor erect with cable of the first betw. two dolphins embowed ppr. Crest—In front of two anchors saltirewise with cables or, a dolphin embowed ppr.
21) (Woodhouse, co. Dumfries, bart., 1809). Mottoes—Haud ullis labentia ventis; and, Sub sole, sub umbra, virens. Ar. three holly leaves vert, in chief a mullet gu. Crests— 1st: A chapeau gu. turned up erm. wreathed round the crown with holly or; 2nd: A dexter arm armed and embowed ppr. charged with a mullet gu. holding a branch of three holly leaves vert, banded gu. Supporters—Two savages wreathed head and middle with laurel, each holding a club over hig shoulder all ppr.
22) (Newton, co. Lanark). Motto—Sub sole, sub umbra, virens. Ar. on a fess az. betw. three small sheaves of holly, each containing as many leaves yert, handed gu. three mullets of the first. Crest—Three arrows ppr. points upwards, two saltireways and one in pale, plumed ar. banded gu.
23) (Hyde Park Square; granted to Clarke Irving, Esq.). Motto—Sub sole, sub umbra, virens. Ar. on a chev. gu. betw. three holly leaves vert as many mullets of six points of the field, a bordure of the second, upon a chief az. a fleece or, betw. two emus respectant ppr. Crest—A cornucopia fessewise ppr. in front of an arm embowed in armour also ppr. holding a holly leaf vert.
24) (Calder Abbey and Justustown, co. Cumberland). Motto—Haud ullis labentia ventis. Ar. three holly leaves ppr. Crest—A dove holding an olive branch in its beak.
25) (Derrygore, co. Fermanagh; confirmed to Edward Irwin, Esq., only surviving son of Acheson Irwin, and grandson of George Irwin, Esq., all of Derrygore, and their descendants). Motto—Nemo me impune lacessit. Ar. a mural crown gu. betw. three holly leaves ppr. Crest—A mailed arm fessways holding in the hand a thistle and a holly leaf all ppr. and charged on the arm with a crescent gu.
26) (exemplified to James Daniel Nolan, Esq., on his assuming by royal licence, 1867, the name and arms of Irwin in lieu of Nolan). Motto—Dum memor ipse mei. Per pale ar. and or, on a fess gu. betw. three holly. leaves vert as many martlets of the first. Crest—A dexter arm in armour fessways issuant out of a cloud, the hand holding a sword erect enwreathed with a thistle all ppr. the arm charged with a cross pattee gu.
27) (Lieut.-Gen. Sir John Irwine, K.B., Installed 19 May, 1779). Motto—Sub sole, sub umbra, virens. Ar. three bunches of holly of as many leaves each vert, tied gu. the strings flotant, on the centre a crescent for diff. Crest: An arm couped above the wrist in armour ppr. lying fesseways, holding in the gauntlet a bunch of holly, as in the arms, on the arm a crescent for diff. Supporters—Two savages wreathed about the head and loins with holly leaves, each holding in the exterior hand a club erect all ppr. each club enfiled with a ducal coronet az.

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