THE STORY OF THE FAMILY LYON
The Origin of the Name Lyon
"The Lyon Family in Scotland"
The following owes much to Roddy Martine’s "Scottish Clan and Family Names"
The origin of the Lyon family in Scotland is uncertain. They have been ascribed to the usual Norman descent, though it is possible they were of Celtic origin and a sept of the Clan Lamont.
The first of the name recorded in Scotland is Thomas Lyon in the pay of Edward II. in the fourteenth century. A John Lyon had a charter of lands at Forteviot and Forgandenny in Perthshire from David II. to whom he was secretary. He had a charter from Robert II. of the Thaneage of Glamis as a free barony, and in 1376 he married the king’s daughter, Princess Joanna and became Chamberlain of Scotland from 1377 to 1382. It was this Sir John Lyon who founded a line of feudal barons and later earls that still flourishes in the family’s red sandstone castle of Glamis.
Sir John was murdered by Sir James Lindsay of Crawford, Scotland’s Ambassador to England. His grandson was created a Peer of Parliament in 1445 as Lord Glamis, having been held a hostage for James I. by the English.
After the death of the 6th Lord Glamis (another John), his wife, a Douglas, was accused of witchcraft by James V. and was burned alive outside Edinburgh Castle. The castle of Glamis was claimed by the Crown, and it was only after James V’s death that the 7th Lord Glamis was restored to his properties. Patrick Lyon, the 9th Lord Glamis was created Earl of Kinghorne by James VI.
The 3rd Earl of Kinghorne, (another Patrick Lyon) received an addition to his title in 1677 and became known as the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, as have his successors ever since.
The 9th Earl married a Durham heiress, Miss Mary Eleanor Bowes of Streatlam Castle and Gibside, and the 10th Earl, being given the title of Lord Bowes, changed the family name to Bowes Lyon.
In 1923, the 14th Earl’s youngest daughter, Lady Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, married Prince Albert, Duke of York, second son of King George V. At the abdication of King Edward VIII., the Duke of York ascended the throne as King George VI. with the Duchess as Queen Consort. Ultimately, of course, she became H.M. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.
All the records of the Lyon family in Scotland show their lands to have been in Perthshire with members of the family spread throughtout that part of Scotland to the west of the city of Perth, extending to and beyond Pitlochry. To the west of Pitlochry lies Glen Lyon. This is the longest glen in the Highlands, twenty five wandering miles between Loch Tay and Loch Rannoch as far as Loch Lyon and the mountain passes to Rannoch Moor in the west. In his book Glencoe, John Prebble says "it is beautiful, and has been given many names, the Glen of the Black Water, the Desert Glen, the Crooked Glen of the Stones". The author can vouch for its beauty having once driven its length.
Legend has it that there were once twelve castles along it and certainly the history of the misty Glen reads like the ancient myths of Dalriada. What is certain fact is that in Meggernie Castle in 1662 was born Captain Robert Campbell who became the fifth Laird of Glenlyon and Breadalbane. It was he, who, on the 13th February 1692, led the Campbells in their infamous massacre of the MacDonalds in Glencoe. At that massacre, and under the command of Captain Thomas Drummond, was a drummer boy named George Lyon.