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by Gordon Douglas Duffus

Duffus, the son of King Malcolm the 1st, began to reign "in the year of the world 4931, in the year of Christ 961." He was described by contemporaries as being a "good prince and a fierce justician, or executor of justice."

Duffus' short four and one-half year reign was beset with many troubles which tend not to bother modern day rulers or politicians. While he "was about settling of the Countrey, and punishing the Troublers of the Peace, he began to be sore afflicted in his Body with a new and unheard of Disease, no Causes of his sickness appearing in the least." A rumor soon spread through the district that the King's malady was the result of witchcraft. Credence was given to this rumor from the "unusual sweating he was under, his body pining and withering away by little and little and his strength failing day by day." The gathered physicians could not stop the King's wasting away and when news came to court that "night meetings were kept at Farres (Forres) a town in Murray (Moray), for the taking away the life of the King," the armed might of the kingdom was mobilized. Donald, the Governor of Forres castle, managed to capture a young wench who had overheard threatening the King's life. The captive, probably under torture, confessed that her mother and "a whole coven of "devil- worshippers" were slowly taking the life "who would expire in a few days." That night, a troop of armed soldiers surprised the company of hags recited "certain mysterious words" and basted the image with a poisonous brew. The witches were taken into custody, the image was stamped into dust, and the King recovered his health. To preclude a repeat performance, the witches were burned to death at Forres!

This experience would have proven to be enough excitement for anyone's life but Duffus was not to be let off so easily. In the eighth century Scotland, the succession to the throne did not go necessarily from father to son but was known to go to cousins, brothers, uncles, and almost anyone else strong enough to take it. In Duffus' case, he had gained the crown not when his father had died but upon the death of King Indulf, his cousin. Indulf's son, Cuillean (Cullen) laid claim to the scepter which his father had wielded and raised his own army and marched to meet Cuilean at Duncrab in Strathern. After a "doubtful struggle," Duffus was claimed to be the victor of the fight. Left behind on the battlefield were Doncha (the abbot of Dunkeld and Dubdou) and the Maormor of Athol, both supporters of Cuilean.

Duffus' triumph was one of short duration as a rejuvenated and reinforced Cuilean forced the King to leave Forteviot and retreat to the north. Duffus was again in the area where he had been the victim of the witches' plot but the outcome of the next chapter of his unhappy reign was to be different. While at Forres, attempting to raise a force to stop Cuilean's advance, he was slain by "one Donald" (the same Donald who had earlier saved his life?) and his body was hidden under the bridge which spanned the Kinlosse. The histories state that the sun failed to shine until the King's body was discovered and received a proper burial. Donald's part in the murder was soon discovered and he and his wife, who was also involved, were "severely punished."

It is pleasant to note that when Cuilean (nicknamed "The Whelp") took the crown, his reign only lasted five years, his reign and life being shortened by his death at the hands of King Rhiderch of Straithclyde.

Reference to King Duffus


The Scottish Family History

or, The

Historical and Genealogical Account of All

Scottish Families and Surnames

by James McVeigh

House of Boyd Recognizes King Duffus

"Our Royal Scottish Lineage"

--excerpted and adapted from "The Pedigree of the House of Boyd", 1904; and "The Boyd Family", Arthur S. Boyd, 1924:

DUFFUS was the 78th King of Scotland, and left a son GRIMUS, who became the 82nd king, and a daughter, who married the Thane of Lochabar and became the mother of:

BANQUO, who, under the reign of King Duncan, attained great honours, and was made Receiver of the King's revenues for the whole realm. MacBETH, being made Viceroy under his cousin King Duncan, procured the murder of the king and others of the Royal family. Among them Banquo was slain. To avoid a like fate, which threatened all his race, his son:

FLEANCE fled to North Wales, and tendered himself useful to the king of that country. He obtained as his reward, from GRYFFUDTH AP LLEWELLYN, Prince of Wales, his daughter NESTA or Mary, in marriage. By her he had a son:

WALTER who, after the death of the tyrant MacBeth, went to Scotland and was employed by King Malcolm against the rebels in Galloway. Here, by his prowess and success, he showed himself worthy of his Royal descent, and was rewarded for his services by being appointed "Seneschal", or Lord High Steward of Scotland, as Receiver of the revenues of the Realm. From this office, which descended in his family, in a direct line for five generations, came the royal name of Stewart.

ALLAN was the son of WALTER, and High Steward. He married Margaret, daughter of Fergus, Lord of Galloway, and had three sons: WALTER, ADAM, and SIMON. Of these Walter, the eldest was High Steward, and was succeeded in that office by his son Alexander, he by his son James, and he by his son, Walter, who married Robert Bruce's daughter. Their son, as Robert II, became the 100th King of Scotland, and the first of the name of Stewart. Allan's second son, Adam, is mentioned in a charter of King David 1st in 1139. His youngest son

SIMON was the progenitor of all of the family of BOYD. In the foundation charter of the Monastery of Paisley, A.D. 1161, Simon is designated: "SIMON FRATER WALTERI FILII ALLANI, DAPIFERI REGIS SCOTIAE". The Boyd family derives its descent from Simon, the third son of Alan, Lord High Chancellor of Scotland. Simon was descended from Alan of Dol who migrated from the north coast of France, after 1066 A.D. Simon was the father of

ROBERT the Fair, who on account of his complexion was named BOYT or BOYD, from the Gaelic or Celtic word BOIDH, signifying Fair or Yellow. From this came the surname Boyd, and all Boyds are descended from this Robert BOIDH. In the charter of the Monastery of Paisley he is described as nephew to Allan the High Steward. In a contract between Boyce de Eglinton and the village of Irvine, A.D. 1205 he is mentioned by the title of DOMINUS ROBERTUS BOYD. Robert died prior to the year 1240, leaving a son:

SIR ROBERT BOYD, who, in a charter of Sir John Erskine in 1282, is designated ROBERTUS DE BOYD, MILES. He was a man of great bravery, and highly distinguished himself at the battle of Largs in 1263, where King Alexander III gained a signal victory over HACO (Haakon) King of Norway, for which he was knighted, rewarded with a grant of lands in Cunningham, and granted the original Boyd Coat-of-Arms. (The Boyds having always borne the same armorial bearings as the Stewarts proves their descent from a common stock.) He died in 1270. His son:

SIR ROBERT BOYD, was one of the Scots Barons who were forced to swear fealty to King Edward I, when he overran Scotland, A.D. 1298. In the following year he joined Sir Walter Wallace and did everything a valiant man could do to relieve his country from the ignominy of a foreign yoke. He died about 1300 and was succeeded by his son:

SIR ROBERT BOYD who was a great and worthy patriot. He was one of the first to join the gallant Bruce, and continued to be the ardent and devoted friend of that monarch. The generous king rewarded his faithful services with gifts of lands, and baronies, of Kilmarnock, Bondington, Hertsham, Kilbride, Ardniel, Dalnv, and many others forfeited by John Baliol. The charters may be seen in the Public Archives, dated A.D. 1308, 1360, etc. Sir Robert died in the beginning of the reign of David Bruce and left three sons, Thomas, Allan, a brave man who was killed in the siege of Perth, in 1339, and James, mentioned in a charter 1342.

SIR THOMAS BOYD of Kilmarnock flourished in the reign of David Bruce. he had three sons, Thomas, his heir, William, ancestor of the Boyds of Badenheath, who obtained a charter from King David in 1368, and a third son Robert de Boyd, ancestor of the Boyds of Partincross in Aryshire.

SIR THOMAS BOYD, designated Dominus de Kilmarnock, had been guilty of the slaughter of Neilson of Dalrymple in feud, for which he obtained a remission from Robert, Duke of Albany, who was Governor of Scotland A.D. 1409. He married the daughter and co-heiress of Sir William Gifford, Lord of Yester, and by her had a great accession of fortune, and was a man of distinguished abilities, who made a great figure during the reign of James I, and who was one of his sureties, when he came to Scotland to concert measures for obtaining his liberty in 1421. He was also one of the hostages for ransom, in 1424. He married Jane Montgomery of the family of Androssan, and by her had Sir Thomas, his heir, and William, Abbot of Kilwinning. He died in 1432.

SIR THOMAS BOYD, Lord of Kilmarnock, succeeded his father. He had two sons, Robert, his heir, and Sir Alexander Boyd of Duncan, who was preceptor to King James III. His eldest daughter, Janet, was married to John Maxwell of Calderwood, and his second daughter, Margaret, to Alexander, Lord Montgomery. Sir Thomas had been concerned in the murder of Lord Darnley, and Sir Alexander Stewart, in revenge, murdered him at Craignaught Hall, July 9, 1439. His son:

SIR ROBERT BOYD, THE GREAT LORD KILMARNOCK, was a man of great parts, and eminent as a statesman. Towards the end of the reign of King James II, he began to make a considerable figure, and to attract much attention. His great penetration and sound judgment rendered him useful at court. His knowledge of mankind was unsurpassed by any of his time. His courtesy and affability made him a universal favorite, so that he acquired the esteem and confidence of all classes of people, as well as the favor of his Prince, by whom he was created a Baron, and called to Parliament by the name and title of LORD BOYD OF KILMARNOCK. Subsequently, by the advice of the council, the King's successor gave him letters patent, constituting him as sole Regent, and committing to him the entire keeping and safety of the King, his Royal brothers and sisters, and all the jurisdiction over all his subjects till the King should arrive at 20 years of age. The nobles present immediately promised their assistance to Lord Boyd and his brother in all their public actions, and agreed to be liable to punishment if they should fail to fulfill their promise. This stipulation and covenant the King also subscribed.

Great as his Lordship now was, he had not yet reached the summit of his glory. The honours which he had already received paved the way for still greater. Having now the sole administrations in his own hands, it was not long before he had opportunity of getting into the highest offices in the kingdom. On August 25, 1467, he was appointed Lord High Chamberlain of Scotland, and later obtained the hand of Lady Mary Stewart, the King's eldest sister, in marriage for his son:

SIR THOMAS BOYD. This young nobleman was most accomplished and his marriage and near alliance with the Crown, added to his own distinguished merit, raised him to a nearer place in the affection as well as confidence of his sovereign, by whom he was, soon after, created Earl of ARRAN. With his Royal bride he obtained many lands, and was himself esteemed the fountain from which all honours and preferments must flow. The King was declared friend and patron, a great part of the nobility on league with him, the administration of the whole government in his hands, his brother in no less esteem and favour with the King, and future greatness of his family secured by his son's marriage with the King's sister.

But what seemed to be a prop and support for the establishment of the power and greatness of this family proved to be the very means of its overthrow, by stirring up the most bitter and jealous enemies. In 1469, the Earl of Arran sailed for Denmark on a royal mission to escort the daughter of the king of Denmark back to Scotland for her marriage to the young king of Scotland. He had scarcely set out on his journey before his enemies began to plot for his ruin, and the downfall of his family. The Kennedys were powerful, and exceedingly bitter in their hostility. Every art that malice could suggest was tried to alienate the King. Every public miscarriage was laid at their door, and the Kennedys spread about reports to inflame the people against them. The King, weak, credulous, and wavering, and naturally prone to jealousy, began to be alarmed, and at length, giving way to his new counsellors, and flattered with the prospect of filling his coffers with confiscated estate of the obnoxious Lord, sacrificed not only the Earl of Arran, but all his family, to the malice and resentment of their enemies. James summoned a parliament to meet at Edinburgh on the 20th of November 1469, before which the Lord Boyd, the Earl of Arran (though in Denmark), and Sir Alexander Boyd of Duncan were peremptorily summoned to give an account of their administration, and to answer to such charges as should be brought against them. At his majesty's instance, they were indicted for high treason, found guilty by a jury of noble Lords and Barons, and condemned. The Earl of Arran, though absent--and that on the King's and public business of great importance--was, without a hearing, declared a public enemy, and all his estates confiscated.

After the downfall of the Boyds, the Barony and Lordship of Kilmarnock fell to the crown, and there continued till 1492, when the King, taking compassion on his nephew, the son of the late Earl of Arran, and out of the love which he bore to his sister, restored her son to the Barony of Kilmarnock and other lands belonging to his ancestors; also to the title of Lord Boyd. But, he dying without issue (being killed by Lord Montgomery), the Lordship returned again to the Crown; and the line was carried on by Alexander, second son of the late Lord Chamberlain, and brother to the late Earl of Arran. In a grant which he had of land in 1494, he is styled FILIUS ROBERTI, QUONDAM DOMINI.

ALEXANDER BOYD, the second son of the late Lord Chamberlain (the great Robert Boyd) had a sister married to the Earl of Angus, Chancellor to James IV. Partly through the interest of that nobleman, and partly through his own dutiful behaviour, he was, by James IV, made "Baillie" and Chamberlain of Kilmarnock for the Crown, and was restored to part of that Lordship, with a grant of the lands of Bordland. He was a great favorite of James IV, and by him advanced to many honours. He married a daughter of Sir Robert Colville of Ochiltree, and had three sons, Robert, Thomas the ancestor of the Boyds of Picton, and Adam, from whom the Boyds of Pinkhill and Trochrig are descended.

ROBERT BOYD succeeded his father and became a great favorite with King James V, whom he faithfully served, both at home and abroad, so that the King bestowed upon him the whole lordship of Kilmarnock (May 20, 1536). He also had, by a grant of the Earl of Arran (Governor of Scotland during the minority of Queen Mary) many other lands formerly belonging to his ancestors. In 1536, he was restored to the title and honours as well as the estate of Lord Boyd, and in March 1544 he was served and returned heir to his cousin James. He married Helen, daughter of Sir James Summervail of Canmethan, by whom he had Robert, and Margaret, who married Neil Montgomery of Landshan. He died in 1550.

ROBERT LORD BOYD succeeded his father, and was the fourth bearing the title. During his lifetime the family revived again. He was a nobleman of great parts, possessing in an eminent degree all of those hereditary qualities that had rendered the name of Boyd illustrious. The trouble of the times during the hapless reign of the unfortunate Queen Mary gave him sufficient opportunities of exercising his talents. His wife was Margaret, daughter and sole heiress of Sir George Colquhoun of Glins. By this marriage he made additions to his paternal inheritance; and had children: Robert, who died without issue; Thomas, who succeeded him; William, who married the heiress of Badenheath; also daughters: Giles, married to Hugh, Earl of Eglinton; Agnes, to James Colquhoun of Luss; Christiana, to Sir James Hamilton of Avendale; and Eliza, to Cunningham of Drumquhassel. His son:

THOMAS BOYD, the 5th Lord of Boyd, succeeded him, and obtained charters of many lands and Baronies between 1595 and 1599, and married Margaret, daughter of Sir Matthew Cambell of London (ancestor to the Earl of that name) by whom he had a son, Robert, who was Master of Boyd, and a daughter who married James Hamilton, Earl of Abercorn. His other children were Sir Thomas Boyd of Bedlay; Adam, who married Margaret, sister of Robert Galbraith of Kilkroich; also John Boyd Esq., a daughter married to Blair of Blair, and one to Elphinston of Blythesrood. He died in 1616, and was succeeded by his grandson.

ROBERT BOYD, 6th Lord Boyd, was served and returned heir to his father in 1612, and succeeded his grandfather in 1619. He married Christiana, daughter of Thomas Hamilton Earl of Maddington, by whom he had a son and four daughters, one of whom married Morrison of Prestonrange, one, Sinclair of Stevenston, one Scott of Marden, and one Dundas of Armiston. He died in 1622, and was succeeded by his son:

ROBERT BOYD, 7th Lord Boyd, who married a daughter of the second Earl of Wigton, and died without issue in 1640, being greatly regretted as a man of much promise. He was succeeded by his uncle:

JAMES BOYD, 8th Lord Boyd, 2nd son of Robert, Master of Boyd. He was a man of great worth and honour, and a steady supporter of the unfortunate Charles. (For this, the usurper fined him 1500 Pounds Sterling). He married Catherine, daughter of John Craik of York, by whom he had a daughter, Eva, who married Sir David Cunningham of Robertland. He died in 1654, and was succeeded by his son:

WILLIAM BOYD, 9th Lord Boyd, who gave early proofs that he inherited all the abilities and shining qualities which has rendered his ancestors so illustrious. He was esteemed a man of great wit and learning, which recommended him to the gay court of Charles II. He had been remarkedly active in the interest of that monarch's restoration, for which, and for some services to the Crown, he was, by Letters Patent, August 7, 1661, created EARL OF KILMARNOCK.

He married Lady Jane, daughter of William Cunningham, Earl of Glencairn. He died in 1622, leaving four sons and two daughters. Of the latter, one, Lady Mary, married Sir Alexander Mclean, the other, Lady Margaret, married Porterfield of Porterfield. The sons were William, Robert, Captain James, and Charles.

WILLIAM BOYD, 2nd Earl of Kilmarnock, succeeded his father (1692), and married Lettice, daughter of Thomas Boyd, Esq., an eminent merchant of Dublin, by whom he had William, his heir, and Thomas, the advocate. He survived his father but a few months, and was succeeded by his son:

WILLIAM BOYD, 3rd Earl of Kilmarnock, whose charter bears the date July 20, 1699. He married Eupheme, daughter of Lord Ross, by whom he had a son and successor. This nobleman was no less distinguished for his abilities than were his predecessors. He was a zealous member of the Parliament of Scotland, though wavering in his conduct with regard to the Union of the Crowns, and ultimately joining with those who favored that measure. In the rebellion of 1715, he was active in the service of the government. He died in 1717.

WILLIAM BOYD, 4th Earl of Kilmarnock succeeded his father when but 13 years of age. He married Lady Ann Livingstone, daughter and sole heir of James, 5th Earl of Linlithgow and Callander, by Lady Mary May (daughter of John, 12th Earl of Errol) and had sons, James, Lord Boyd, born April 20, 1725, also Charles and William. In the rebellion of 1745, in favour of the pretender, the unfortunate Earl of Kilmarnock, deviating from the principles of his illustrious ancestors, fell a sacrifice to the justice of his country. After the battle of Prestonpans he joined the rebel army, and was received with marks of esteem and distinction.

At the fatal battle of Culloden, he was taken prisoner, or surrendered himself to the King's troops, supposing them to be FitzJames Cavalry. On July 28, 1746, he was conducted to Westminster hall, where he pleaded guilty to a charge of treason, and submitted himself to His majesty's mercy and clemency. On Wednesday, July 30, he was brought into the tower to receive sentence. When asked if he had anything to say why sentence of death should not be passed upon him, he addressed himself to the Lord Chancellor, and the whole august assembly, then consisting of his peers, and delivered an eloquent speech, after which, the sentence of death was passed upon him. After this, he presented petitions to the King, and Prince of Wales, and Duke of Cumberland, wherein he set forth his family's constant attachment to the Royal interests, his father's zeal and activity in the rebellion of 1715, and also his own appearing in arms when young, under his father, and the whole tenor of his life until this occasion.

But the services of his ancestors could not satisfy the demands of justice, and, in accordance with the sentence, he was, on the 18th of August 1746, beheaded on Tower Hill, his estates and fortunes being forfeited to the Crown. This dismal catastrophe of the last Earl of Kilmarnock did not entirely extinguish the light and glory of this ancient family, for, happily, his estates were later restored to his eldest son and heir:

JAMES LORD BOYD (1726-1778), whose devotion to his sovereign led him into the army of the King to fight against his misguided father, had shed a lustre upon the name which that father had obscured. He later sold his Kilmarnock estates to his cousin, the Earl of Glencairne, and took up residence in Slains Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. In 1758 his great aunt, Mary Hall Countess of Erroll, died and left no issue. James, as grandson of the 5th Earl of Linlithgow and Margaret Hay, sister of Mary, succeeded to the title as 15th Earl of Erroll. He thereupon changed his name to Hay from Boyd. William-George Hay (1801-1846), 18th Earl of Erroll was created peer of United Kingdom as Baron Kilmarnock in 1831 after the accession of William IV to the throne of England. His descendent, Josslyn Victor Hay, 22nd Earl of Erroll was killed in Kenya, Africa, without male issue in 1941. Josslyn Hay's daughter succeeded as 23rd Countess of Errol, but not as Baron Kilmarnock, which title passes only through the male line.

GILBERT ALLAN ROWLAND BOYD, brother of the 22nd Earl of Erroll, succeeded as 6th Baron UK of Kilmarnock. He thereupon changed his name back to Boyd from Hay. Representing his niece, who as a lady was not allowed to undertake the function of Hereditary Lord High Constable of Scotland (the highest office in Scotland, ranking in that country immediately after the Blood Royal) at the Coronation of Elizabeth II, 1953, Lord Kilmarnock walked immediately in front of the Regalia holders in the procession in the Abbey. His younger son, Robin Jordan Boyd, was his page and carried the crown in the coronation procession. Under Gilbert, the Boyd family became the Boyd Clan and was honored with a new tartan designed by and for Lord Kilmarnock. His eldest son, Alastair, succeeded as the 7th Baron of Kilmarnock in 1975, and now sits in The House of Lords.

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