THE STORY OF THE FAMILY LYON
"The Scottish Nation" Vol.3.1862 by W Anderson
Additional Information from the Cardiff Library
Lyon, a surname doubtless originally assumed from the Heraldic device of a lion, indicating courage or magnanimity. The Noble family of Strathmore, whose patronymic it is, are descended from the ancient house of De Leonne in France, which derived their origin from the noble race of the Leones of Rome. One of the French Leonnes came over to England with William the Conqueror. His son, Roger de Leonne, accompanied King Edgar, son of Malcolm Canmore, to Scotland about 1091, and for his services against Donald Bane, the usurper, he obtained lands in Perthshire, which from him are said to have been called Glen Lyon. The river Lyon, which traverses the district, seems more likely to have been its name to it. This Roger de Leonne is witness to a charter of King Edgar to the monastery of Dunfermline dated in 1105. From him was lineally descended Sir John Lyon, in the reigns of Robert I. and his son David II. who had a charter, without date, supposed to be about 1342 or 1343, of the lands of Forteviot and Forgandenny in Perthshire, and Curteston and Drumgowan in Aberdenshire. He had also from David II. a charter of the thanedom of Thanades, now Tannadyce, in Forfarshire, and the reversion of the thanedom of Glamis in the same county.
His son, Sir John Lyon, obtained from King David II. for faithful services, an annuity of ten marks, during his life, out of the proceeds of the justice eyres north of the river Forth. He was a man of great abilities, and a favourite with Robert II. to whom he was secretary, and from whom he got a charter, under the great seal, of the whole lands and thanedom of Glamis in Forfarshire, dated 13th March 1372. In 1376 he married the second daughter of his sovereign, the Princess Jean Stewart, with whom he obtained the barony of Kinghorn in Fife, and was allowed to wear in his armorial bearings a lion rampant, within the double treasure of Scotland, and in commemoration of that alliance, for his crest he assumed a lady from the waist upwards, encircled with a garland of laurel, holding in her right hand a thistle proper.
In 1378 he was appointed great-chamberlain of Scotland. Between 1380 and 1382 he got no less than eight different charters under the great seal of lands in the shires of Banff, Perth, Fife, Forfar and Aberdeen, in all of which he is styled by the king, filius noster carissimus. Being appointed, in the latter year, ambassador extraordinary to the court of England, he obtained a safe-conduct for himself and forty horsemen in his retinue. He was killed in a duel in 1383, at the Moss of Balhall, near Forfar by James Lindsay, lord of Crawford, nephew of the King, and was interred in the royal burial place at Scone, by the king’s express orders.
His only son, John Glammia of Forteviot, a minor at his father’s death, was served heir to him in 1396. He behaved gallantly in the battle of Harlaw, fought between the royal army under the earl of Mar and Donald lord of the Isles, in 1411, but appears to have been afterwards taken by the English, as John Lyon was one of the Scots prisoners released from the Tower of London, 12th April 1413. He was one of the commissioners appointed to negotiate the liberation of James I. and on 13th December 1423, he had a safe-conduct to Durham, to meet that monarch. In the following year he and his eldest son, Patrick, became hostages for James on his being set at Liberty, when his annual revenue was estimated at 600 marks, and his son’s at 300 marks.
The latter was released on 9th June 1427. He succeeded his father, and was created a peer, by the title of Lord Glammis, before 1450. He was one of the privy council of James II. and grand-master of his household. He was appointed one of the ambassadors extraordinary to the court of England, when a truce was concluded in 1454 on which occasion he was one of the hostages for keeping it. He died in 1459 with one daughter, Elizabeth, married to Alexander Robertson of Strowan, chief of the clan Robertson, he had three sons, Alexander, second Lord Glamis, who died without issue in 1485, John, who succeeded his brother, and William, of whom are descended the Lyons of Ogil in Fortharshire.
John, third Lord Glamis, a privy councillor to James IV. was appointed justiciary of Scotland in 1489. He had a safe-conduct as ambassador to England 14th June 1491, and obtained a charter, 20th October of that year, making the town of Glammis a free burgh of barony. He died in 1497. With three daughters he had four sons. The three youngest, David, first of the house of Cossans, William and George were all killed at Flodden. John, the eldest son, fourth Lord Glammis, died in 1500, leaving three sons, George, fifth lord who died in his minority in 1505, John, sixth lord and Alexander.
John, sixth lord, married Janet Douglas, second daughter of George, master of Angus, and sister of the sixth earl of Angus, then in banishment, and died 8th August 1528. by her he had a son and a daughter. This unfortunate lady fell a victim to the deep feelings of resentment entertained by James V. against all the name and house of Douglas. She took for her second husband Archibald Campbell of Skipnish, and with him and her son, Lord Glammis, then in his 16th year, John Lyon, a relation and an old priest, she was on 10th July 1537, arraigned for conspiring the king’s death by poison, with the design of restoring the house of Angus. Being found guilty, she was condemned to the flames, and burnt on the Castlehill, Edinburgh.
On the 17th of the same month, just a week after the beheading of the master of Forbes, her brother-in-law, charged with the same crime. Her death was much lamented by the people for her nobility, her youth, her beauty, and her courage at her suffering, but most of all because it was believed that hatred against her banished brother, rather than any guilt of her own, had brought her to that end. Her son was also convicted and condemned to death, on his own confession, of knowing and concealing the conspiracy and forfeited, but, on account of his youth, the sentence was respited till he came of age, and in the meantime he was ordered to be kept in prison. Her husband Campbell, in endeavouring to escape from the castle of Edinburgh, in which he was confined, was dashed to pieces on the rocks on which that fortress is built. John Lyon, the accomplice, was hanged, and Makke, by whom the poison had been prepared, and from whom it was purchased, had his ears cut off and was banished from the realm. The accuser one William Lyon, touched with remorse, having declared that the whole was a fabrication of his own, the young Lord Glammis was released from prison, but his estates were annexed to the crown by act of parliament of 3rd December 1540. His forfeiture was not rescinded till March 1543, when he was restored by act of parliament to his title and estates. He had, with other charters, one of the barony of Kinghorn, 12th September 1548, forfeited by Sir James Kirkaldy of Grange, at one time lord-high treasurer of Scotland, and died in 1558. He had by his wife, Janet Keith, sister of the fourth earl Marischal, two sons and a daughter.
The elder son John, eighth Lord Glammis, was one of the nobles who signed the bond, in April 1567, agreeing to support the marriage of the earl of Bothwell to the Queen, but in the following June he joined the association for the protection of the young King. In 1568 he was one of the lords of the secret council under the regent Moray, and in 1571, nine days before the assassination of that nobleman, he and other adherents of the king were forfeited by the queen’s party who held what was called the "rebels parliament" at Edinburgh on 26th August of that year. He was admitted, under the regent Lennox, an extraordinary lord of session, 30th September 1570 and on 7th September 1571 he was sworn one of the privy council of the regent Mar. He was also a privy councillor to the regent Morton, who was a kinsman of his own. On 12th October 1573, he was appointed lord-chancellor of Scotland.
In September 1577 he and Lord Herries were deputed by the nobility convened at Stirling to desire the earl of Morton to resign the regency, which he did, hoping to return to power with great force. The chancellor was accidentally slain at Stirling 17th March 1578, in a street rencontre between his own followers and those of the earl of Crawford, as he was coming down from the castle to his own lodging in to town, while the earl was going to the castle. They met in a narrow lane, and both noblemen ordered their followers and train to give way. The two last servants, however, as they were going by jostled each other, on which they drew their swords, and their masters turning, the brawl became general, and the Lord Glammis, "being", says Godscroft, "a tall man of statue, and higher than the rest, was shot with a pistolet, and so died". Another author says, "The death of the chancellor was much lamented, happening at a time when the king and country stood in much need of his services. He had carried himself with much commendation in his place, and acquired great authority, most careful was he to have peace preserved both in the country and church, and he laboured much to have the question of church polity settled". On the latter subject he corresponded, in 1575, with Theodore Beza, the celebrated colleague of Calvin, whereupon Beza wrote the book "De Triplici Episcopatu" ("Of the Threefold Bishopric"). The following epigram was written of the chancellor by Andrew Melville after his death.
"Tu leo magne jaces ingorius, ergo, maneount Qualia fata canes? qualia fata sues?"
Thus translated by his nephew, James Melville, who styles the chancellor "a lerned and quid noble man."
"Since lowlie lyes thow, noble Lyon fyne, What sall betide, behind, the dogges and swayne?"
Melville’s Diary, p.47.
He left a son, Patrick, ninth Lord Glammis.
The younger son of the seventh lord, the Hon.Sir Thomas Lyon of Balduckie and Auldbar, on the death of his brother, became tutor to his nephew, the ninth lord, and was, as presumptive heir to the title, designed master of Glammis. He was one of the principal conspirators in the Raid of Ruthven, an account of which is given at page 338 of this volume. On the 30th of the same month, when the king, then only fourteen years of age and in the power of the confederated nobles, wished to ride from Stirling to Edinburgh, the lords would not permit him, and says Calderwood, (vol.iii.p.643) "when he was to come furth at the doore, the maister of Glames layed his leg before him. The king layed these things up in his heart, and tooke them heavilie". In August 1583, on the return of the favourite Arran to power, the master of Glammis was ordered to ward himself in Dunbarton , on which he fled to Ireland.
In April of the following year he and the earls of Angus and Mar returned to Scotland, and surprised the castle of Stirling, but on the king’s marching from Edinburgh with a strong force, against them, they made their escape into England, on which they were forfeited in the parliament which met at Edinburgh 22nd August 1584. In October 1585, the banished lords returned, and at the head of a strong body of their retainers, and being joined by others of the nobility besieged the king in Stirling castle, drove the favourite Arran from his presence, and obtained the restoration of their estates,and the reinstatement of their persons in the royal favour. The master of Glammis was appointed captain of the guard and lord-high-treasurer for life, with a salary of 1,000 Scot pounds.
On 9th February 1586, he was admitted an extraordinary lord of session, and at King James reconciliation of the nobility, 15th May 1587, he and his feudal enemy the earl of Crawford, walked hand in hand before the king, to and from the famous banquet of Edinburgh. In 1589 he was one of the commissioners nominated for the north to search for and apprehend Jesuits intriguing papists and other
disaffected persons, and having appointed a meeting of his friends at the church of Meigle in Perthshire, to oppose Huntly and the other popish lords, he was there surprised and chased to the house of Kirkhill, when, refusing to surrender, fire was set to the house, and he was forced to yield himself to Gordon of Auchindoun. He was conveyed a prisoner to Gordon’s house, but on the king advancing in person against the rebels, he was set at liberty. At the coronation of Queen Anne, 17th May 1590, the master of Glammis was knighted. The year following he was accused of entering into a plot, with others of the court against the Chancellor Maitland and Lord Spynie was commissioned to apprehend him, but did not succeed in taking him. He was afterwards committed to ward in Blackness but soon released. Deprived, 6th November the same year 1591 of his seat on the bench, he was re-appointed 8th March 1593 and on 28th May admitted an ordinary lord of session.
In the beginning of 1596, on appointment of eight commissioners of the exchequer called the Octavians, he demitted his office of treasurer. He died 8th February 1608. He was the ancestor of the Lyons of Auldbar in Forfarshire.
Patrick, 9th lord, had a remission under the great seal, dated 15th September 1601, to him and five servants, for the slaughter of Patrick Johnstoun in Haltoun of Belhelvie. A privy councillor of James VI. he was one of the Scots commissioners to treat of a union with the English commissioners in 1604. He was created Earl Kinghorn and Lord Lyon of Glammis,10th July 1606
By his countess, Lady Anne Murray, eldest daughter of the 1st Earl of Tullibardin, he had, with one daughter, Lady Anne, countess of Errol, 3 sons, John, 2nd earl of Kinghorn, Hon.James Lyon of Auldbar, Hon.Frederick Lyon, ancestor of the Lyons of Brigton.
John, 2nd earl of Kinghorn, the eldest son , was sworn a privy councillor by the parliament of 1641, and appointed one of the committee of Estates in 1644. A faithful adherent of Charles I. he opposed his being delivered up to the English, 16th January 1647. He died 12th May the same year, he was twice married, but had issue only by his 2nd wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Patrick, 1st earl of Panmure, an only son, Patrick, 3rd earl of Kinghorn. This nobleman obtained two important charters, the one dated 13th May 1672, extending the reversionary limitation of the earldom of Kinghorn, in failure of direct male issue, to any person or persons whom he might name, and failing them, to his heirs and assignees whatsoever, and the other, dated on the 1st July 1677, providing that he "and his heirs male, or heirs whatsoever, should, in all future ages, be styled the Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorn, Viscounts Lyon, and Barons Glammis, Tannadyce, Sidlaw and Strathdichtie".