The Lyons of Cossins and Wester Ogil

"The Lyons of Cossins and Wester Ogil"

Cadets of Glamis by Andrew Ross 1901.

The House of Lyon, Origin and Early Notices.

According to the family tradition the Lyons came to Scotland from France, by way of England, in the course of the twelfth century. None of the early references to the patronymic throw discredit on the statement. The name is frequently to be met with in the English records of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Certain individuals of the name of Lyon held public office in England in the reign of king John (AD.1199-1216), and their names have been transmitted to us in connection with various transactions they had with Scottish subjects who held lands in England [Bain’s "Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland"]. There were landowners of the name in Sussex, Northampton, Cambridge, Huntingdon and Somerset shires in the reigns of Edward I. and Edward II.["Parliamentary Writs" and "Calendarium Inquisitionum Post Mortem"]. To one or other of the English branches no doubt belonged that Thomas Lyon, crossbowman, who formed one of the garrison of Linlithgow peel in the pay of Edward II.(AD.1311-2) [Bain’s "Calendar"].

In its latinised form the name is found both in the English and Scottish records[ Rymer’s "Foedera" 1816 edition]. Perhaps the earliest reference to the name in Scotland occurs in the time of king Robert the Bruce, and in connection with that part of the kingdom with which the family has been so long associated. By his charter, dated at Dundee, on 1st March 1321-2, King Robert confirmed and of new granted to the Abbot and convent of Jedburgh, and to the prior and Canons thereof serving God at Rostinot[Rostinot or Restennet priory, in the parish and county of Forfar, was a cell of Jedburgh], the lands of Rostinot upon which the church was built, with certain other lands and houses in the sheriffdom of Angus, and in the towns of Forfar, Montrose and Perth, in which they had been infeft by his predecessors, and of which they were in possession in the time of King Alexander, lately deceased (Alexander III.), as appeared by an inquisition retoured to the King’s chapel by worthy men of the county of Angus, including among others, John the son of Lyon, and Hugo the son of Lyon; (Johannem filium Leonis, Hugonem filium Leonis)[Great Seal Register, AD.1424-1513]. Mr Riddell refers to a charter by the prior of Restennet, relating to the thanage of Glamis, in which also John and Hugo are mentioned.[Riddell mss.,advocates library]

It is not easy to say when Lyon first became a crown vassel, the narrative of Lord Carse, the early historian of the family, being anything but clear on the point.[Sir Patrick Lyon of Carse, advocate, tutor of Brigton, judge of the high court of admiralty in the kingdom of Scotland and Isles adjacent, senator of the college of justice and lord of justiciary; outed at the Revolution; died 4th January 1694 aged 57. There are several copies of Lord Carse’s ms. in existence. the oldest, perhaps, being that in the advocates library{press mark,34,3,14}; of three copies in the Lyon office library, one is of special value, having been copied by Alexander Lyon, grandson of Sir Patrick, and collated by Mr William Lyon, advocate, son of Sir Patrick, and father of Alexander. Sir Patrick was a cadet of Easter Ogil.]. Lord Carse observes; "Jon de Lyon (whom he is careful to distinguish from his son, Sir John the chamberlain), who lived in the reign of David II. got from that king the baronies of Forteviot and Forgundeny in Perthshyre and the lands of Curteston and Drumgowan in the shyre of Aberdeen propter fortem et fidelem operam sibi et patri suo prestitam wherein he is designed dilecto et fideli nostro Joanni Lyone militi which charter was afterwards confirmed by King Robert II. at the castle of Dumbarton on the 7th of December the second year of his reign (1372)[Advcates library ms.]

There must have been two charters, as that of Curteston is still extant [Preserved in the Whitehaugh charterchest, and printed in the "Antiquities of Aberdeen and Banff]. It is in the form of a grant by King David II. "dilecto et fideli nostro Johanni Lyvn pro fideli seruicio suo nobis impenso et impedendo" of the lands of Cruthyeristoun in the territory of Garviach and sheriffdom of Aberdeen, then in the hands of the crown by the forfeiture of David of Brechin, dated at Stirling, 9th July, in the thirty ninth year of the King’s reign (AD.1367)[Sir Archibald H Dunbar’s "Scottish Kings"]. For the reason afterwards adduced, it is believed that the John Lyon here referred to was the chamberlain.

There remains the charter of Forteviot and Forgundenny, and if therein the grantee be designed "Joanni Lyone militi", the puzzle- Were there two Sir John’s?- is solved, because, as we shall presently see, John the chamberlain was not knighted earlier than 1376, while King David died in 1371.

In the transcript of the Carse ms. in the Lyon Office Library, it is stated that John Lyon, the father of the Chamberlain, "received from John de Barklay lord Tolybothneill alias Tolibody the lands of Ballandereth in the barony of Cullace within the sheriffdom of Forfar and that ‘pro fideli auxilio consilio et labori mihi in mea urgente necessitate impensis’ as both charters yet extant testifie the one without date the other dated at Aberdeen 28th May 1368". The undated charter here referred to was noted by an independent observer, the late Mr Cosmo Innes, who writes; "In the charter room of Glammis I noted some years ago a charter by John de Haya de Tolyboyle granting to John Lyoun the lands of Tolynacht in the forest of Buyne, vic. Banff, witnesed by Alexander, bishop of Moray, William Boyle, precentor, Thomas Bur, Walter de Braneth, canons of Moray, Walter Byset, lord of Lesyndrum, Roberto de Ynce, domino ejusdem, Johanne de Dunbar, clerico meo, et multis aliis; it is not dated, but may be placed about 1365". ["The Familie of Innes"]

The Lyon office ms. further states; "{John Lyon the father of the chamberlain} got also from Walter Lesly lord of Philorth afterwards earle Ross all the said Walter’s lands in the territory of Monorgun as the charter thereof yet extant bears wherein he is designed Joanne Leoni de Forteviot, and which charter is confirmed by Andreas de Lesly dominus ejusdem, wherein he designed the said Walter patruo nostro charissimo". This is evidently the charter alluded to by Walter Macfarlane of that ilk, who writes; "There is a Charter in the hands of the Earl of Strathmore of which I have Seen a note by him designed Walterus de Lessly Dominus de Philorth of all the Lands (that Sir Walter Had in territorio De Monorgund) Joanni Lyon de Fortiviot, the Same who was afterwards of Glammis and Chamberlain".[Macfarlane’s "Genealogical Collections" printed for the Scot. Hist. Soc.]. According to Colonel Leslie this charter must have been granted between 1365, the year in which Sir Walter of Leslie married Euphemia, daughter of the Earl of Ross, and assumed the title of Lord of Philorth, and the year 1372, when he became Earl of Ross in right of his wife on the death of William, Earl of Ross, his father in law.["Historical Record of the Family of Leslie"]. Colonel Leslie further cites a charter granted by Sir Walter of Leslie dominus de Ross, containing a remission of certain services stipulated for in a lost charter to John Lyon of Forteviot, dated at Edinburgh, 26th December 1375.

Chapter One and to the end of the book.

Andrew Ross in his book gives the complete details of all the Lyon family from the Cossins and Wester Ogil area, starting from Sir John Lyon of Glamis 1369 in chapter one to Andrew Thomson Lyon of Glenogil born Forfar 1856 in chapter twenty-two. A total of 120 pages of Lyon Family information.

The Heraldry of Lyon.

The earliest Lyon seal extant is that of Sir John of Glamis (fl.1385-1435) noted at page 11, showing a lion rampant within a double tressure debruised by a baton dexter raguly, dated 1424. I am disposed, however, to regard the arms appearing in the "Armorial de Berry", argent, a lion rampant azure, surmounted by a ribbon gules, as an earlier example of the family coat, representing probably the arms borne by the chamberlain and his ancestors. True, the date assigned by Mr Stodart to the armorial, 1450-55, is subsequent to the date of the seal, but Berry, there can be little doubt, recorded what appeared in the herald’s ordinaries of his period, wherein the arms of "le sieur de Lion" must have been inserted long before the honourable augmentations were granted as the result of the Royal alliance. In 1506, the seal of David of Baky, page 28, shows the lion within the tressure, minus the ribbon, so that his difference must have been indicated by tinctures only. The seal of John, eighth lord, 1561, a lion rampant within a double tressure, without ribbon or baton, shows the arms as borne at the present day. The tinctures of the head of the house have never altered. The earliest authority is the "Armorial de Berry", where the field is argent, and the lion azure. In Sir David Lindsay’s register, the blazon is argent, a lion rampant azure, armed and lingued gules, within a double tressure flory counter flory of the second.

The crest in 1424 was a branch of a tree. In a ms.,in the Lyon office, executed in the reign of Queen Mary, and subsequent to her union with Darnley (therefore, 1565-7) the drawing shows a lady’s head and bust within a chaplet of laurel proper. Mr Stodart notes a sixteenth century ms., a castle within a garland; the Kinnoull ms. 1600, gives a lady’s head proper, within a laurel vert; the Workman ms.,temp.Jac.VI.,a naked woman from the middle with hair dishevelled, within a wreath of laurel proper, a grim allusion doubtless to the unmerited fate of Jonet, Lady Glamis; the Pont ms.,1624, a maid holding a thistle vert in her hand proper; the Esplin ms., circa 1636, a lady from the waist holding a thistle in her hand encircled with a garland of bay leaves; in the Carse ms., already alluded to in this volume, a lady above the waist circled about with a garland of bay leaves, and holding in her right hand a thistle, the badge of Scotland. In lord Crawford’s ms.,temp.seventeenth century, a maid’s head and neck proper, on a field azure, within a wreath of laurel; a detached seal of Patrick, Earl of Kinghorne, 1650, a demi lady attired, between two arms embowed issuing from the wreath.

The supporters have undergone few changes. In the Queen Mary ms. in the Lyon Office (1565-7) they are – dexter, a unicorn argent, sinister, a lion gules; in the Kinnoull ms., 1600-dexter, a unicorn argent, sinister, a lion azure; in Workman-dexter, a unicorn azure, horned and maned or, sinister, a lion gules; in Pont, 1624-dexter, a unicorn argent, collared vert, flowered with a thistle or, sinister, a lion gules, armed and lingued azure; in Esplin, 1636-dexter, a unicorn argent, collared or, sinister, a lion gules; in the Crawford ms.-dexter, a unicorn argent, armed or, gorged with a wreath of laurel, sinister, a lion gules armed and lingued azure.

Only one variation of the motto occurs, that in the Crawford ms.,where it is given "in te Domine confido".

Sir George Mackenzie, in his work on heraldry, duly notes the arms, but for some reason or other, for which no satisfactory explanation can be suggested, no reference to the heraldry of Lyon is made by the great Scottish Herald Alexander Nisbet in any of his works.

By act of Parliament, 1672, caput 47, it was ordained that all persons of whatsoever degree in the habit of using arms should give in a description of the same to the Lyon clerk in order that they might be entered on the Lyon register. Only two members of the family have obeyed the law. The one, the head of the house, Patrick, Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, who in 1677 or thereby recorded the following coat;-argent, a lion rampant azure, armed and lingued gules, within a double tressure counterflowered of the second; above the shield a crown, and on the same a helmet befitting his degree, mantled gules, doubled ermine; on the torsc for his chest, a lady from the middle richly attired, holding within her dexter hand a thistle within a garland of bay leaves all proper; supported on the dexter by a unicorn argent, armed and unguled or, and on the sinister, by a lion rampant parted per fess, or, and gules; motto in an escroll above the crest, "in te Domine speravi".

The other Lyon who recorded arms was Major General Sir James Lyon, knight commander of the most honourable order of the bath and equerry to his Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge, a descendant of Sir Patrick Lyon of Carse, a cadet of Easter Ogil, who recorded on 22nd August 1815;-argent, a lion rampant azure, between three cinquefoils gules, all within a double tressure flowered and counterflowered of the last; crest, a woman from the middle holding in her dexter hand a scots thistle, and in her sinister a wreath of laurel, all proper; mottoes,"lauro redimita quiescam", and "speravi".

The present seems a favourable opportunity for considering under what congruent and brotherly difference the various branches of the family ought to appear on the register.

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