House of Lynn
Lynn of that Ilk :
The Lords of Lynn, the de Morvilles, and the Boyds
A Brief History of the Lynns of that Ilk in
(also known as Lords or Lairds of Lynn)
in the Thirteenth
through Seventeenth Centuries
: Revised 24 April 2019
Layman, Author of "Barony of Lynn", The
Vol. LVII No. 1, The Scottish Genealogy
Society, Edinburgh (March 2010)
This page includes a selection of records discovered during
the author's 40-year ongoing effort to
discover and document the origins of
the Lynns of that Ilk,
aka Lords or Lairds of Lynn, and their title
to the minor barony of Lynn in Dalry.
It does not represent the entire known history of this
family. The entire
30-page history of this family, including the latest research, can
be purchased on CD, along with extensive historical and
genealogical accounts of other Lynn families (of various
spellings) in Scotland and Ulster, some of whom descend from cadets
of the Lynns of that Ilk. See
Book Excerpts on CDs.
Maps of the Various Lynn Properties
The first step in establishing the history of the
Lynns of that Ilk is to settle two questions concerning their name.
First and simplest to address is its spelling. Simply put,
there was in Scotland, as elsewhere in the English-speaking world, a lack of consistency
in the spelling of surnames extending even into the nineteenth century.
Not surprisingly, then, the Lynns of that Ilk
are found in eleven separate charters, deeds, etc. spanning three
centuries with no less than four different forms of the family name. We know these documents all relate to the same family because they
involve transactions between the Lynns of that Ilk and the Hunters
of Hunterston concerning a particular Ayrshire property owned by the
Lynns but conveyed or confirmed to the Hunters every time the heir
in either family changed. They are preserved in the Hunter
family charter chest, and the earliest Lynn document in the chest is
dated 1452 A.D. and the latest 1669.
The name is found written
therein with a "y" fourteen times and with an "i" only
once. However, additional spellings of the surname for the Lynns of that Ilk
appear in documents outside the Hunter papers, and their entire
record spans five centuries. The seven spellings by which the Lynns
of that Ilk are found in one place or another are Lin, Lind, Linn, Lyn, Lyne, Lynn, and
Lynne. Such was the nature of spelling in centuries gone by.
Today, Lynn is the spelling memorialized in Dalry: Lynn Avenue, Lynn
Bridge, Lynn Falls, Lynn Glen, and the farm of High Lynn.
Some Family Papers
of the Hunters of Hunterston,
Edit. M. S. Shaw, W. S., Edinburgh (1925)
Documents Relating to Scotland Preserved in Her Majesty's Public
Record Office, Vol. II, Edit. Joseph Bain, F.S.A. Scot., London
History of the Counties of Ayr and Wigton,
Vol. III - Cuninghame, James Paterson, Edinburgh (1866)
History of the County of Ayr: With a Genealogical Account of the
Families of Ayrshire, Vols. I and II, James Paterson, Edinburgh
Memorials of the Montgomeries Earls of
Eglinton, William Fraser, Edinburgh (1859)
Protocol Book of Gavin Ros, N.P., 1512-1532,
Anderson, Curator of the Historical Department, H.M. General
Register House, and Francis J. Grant, W.S., Edinburgh (1908)
Account of the District of Cunningham, Ayrshire. Compiled About the
Year 1600 by Mr.
Club, Glasgow (1858)
The second question to
settle with regard to the family name is its origin. It has
long been believed by historians and genealogists alike that the
Ayrshire family Lynn of that Ilk took their name from the falls by
which they made their home.
That view is certainly plausible, given
the common, but not universal, practice of taking place names for surnames when surnames
came into use. It is the view held by the likes of Timothy Pont and
Surprisingly, however, it turns out they
were wrong - the place actually acquired
its name from the
Indeed, since "linn" is the Scots word
for "waterfall", it would have been entirely redundant to name the
barony's cascade Lynn Falls ... unless that name was intended to
signify the family itself. But what is the historical evidence
that the name of the family preceded the name of the property?
Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland
relates that the barony of Lynn once was part of a larger property
owned by Hugh de Morville, which was divided and bequeathed to four
heritors about 1200 A.D. By this time,
surnames were already well established, particularly among families
of property. One of the heritors
to de Morville's property was described as a kinsman bearing the
name Walter de Lynne.
Certainly, an heir of a man as prominent as de Morville had a
family name. The other heritors
were William de Blair, the Boyles of Kelburne, and William
The resulting baronies were
called Lynn, Blair, Kelburne, and Kersland [Kerr's Land], the last
of which obviously was given the family name of the man who
inherited it and not vice versa.
Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland
: "Old Dalry", Edit., Rev. John Marius Wilson, Edinburgh (1852)
While the gazetteer does not
provide documentation for its account, it gains some credibility in
light of a 1795 history and genealogy by Sir Robert Douglas, genealogist and author of the 1764 volume, "The Peerage of
Scotland". In his 1795 work memorializing the Lynn family,
Douglas provided certain forebears
who were named Lynne before Walter acquired his Ayrshire barony.
Douglas identified one such forebear as
Robert de Lynne and reported that Robert: (1) lived during the reign
of Scotland's King William I, which began in 1165;
(2) witnessed a 1207 gift to the Monastery of Kelso in
Roxburghshire; and (3) sired the line which became the Lynns of that
The Genealogy of the Family of Lind, and the
Montgomeries of Smithton*,
Sir Robert Douglas,
Baronet, Windsor (1795)
Notably, in the county of
Peeblesshire, which borders Roxburghshire, Robert de Lyne was a
twelfth-century landowner who died between 1175 and 1198 and left
sons named David and Walter, as well as a grandson named Robert who
was of age in 1200.
The Peeblesshire barony owned by Robert,
then by his son David, and finally by his grandson Robert was called
Lyne. It may be no coincidence that a mere six miles separates
that barony from Eddleston, a property owned in the twelfth century
by Richard de Morville, son of one Hugh de Morville and father of
another. There is little room for doubt that the younger Robert de
Lyne was the Robert de Lynne whom Douglas reported as witnessing a
1207 gift to the Monastery of Kelso. Can it be that Walter de Lyne,
son of the elder Robert de Lyne, is the very man who inherited the
barony of Lynn in Dalry? The de Lyne family of Peeblesshire -
including their possession of the barony of Lyne there - was memorialized
by the noted 18th-19th century antiquarian and author, George
Caledonia: Or, an Historical and
Account of North Britain, from the Most Ancient to the Present
George Chalmers, London, New Ed., Vol. II (1887)
Ed., Vol. IV (1889)
establishing the earliest generations of the family, Douglas focused entirely on a branch which moved to
Edinburgh and settled on the spelling "Lind"; hence, the use of
Lind rather than "Lynn" in the title of his book.
The next step in
establishing the history of this family is to establish their title.
Additional long-held but faulty traditions are that the Lynns lived
on the Dalry property merely as vassals of the Boyds and/or were a sept of
"Clan Boyd". To the contrary, not only did the Lynns of
that Ilk bear the name Lynn, Lyne, or Lynne before acquiring the
Dalry property; they in fact owned that property for
some generations before selling it to the Boyds in 1532.
Furthermore, the Boyds were not Lords of Cunningham, the district in
which the Lynn barony was situated, until some years after the Lynns
sold to the Boyds.
Nevertheless, in order to correctly
understand the nature of the Lynns' ownership of the barony,
certain premises need to be established.
Primarily, the very title "of that Ilk"
proves that: (1) their family's name was indeed Lynn; and (2) they
acquired their property directly from the King. First, as defined by a certain Scottish
government website, "Ilk" means "Same, used after surname to
indicate person is of the estate of the same name as the family". Second, as explained by Sir
Thomas Innes of Learney, the right to bear the title "of that Ilk"
was attained only by royal charter directly from the king. While
countless charters of the period in question, including royal
charters, either have not survived or have not been made readily
available, a few have come to light just in recent years and offer
the hope of eventually discovering that charter by which the Lynns
obtained their title.
The Tartans and the Clans and
Families of Scotland, 8th
Edit., Sir Thomas Innes of Learney, Edinburgh and London (1971)
as currently established, and
in light of the above understandings, proves at least two facts: (1) the Lynns held
the barony of Lynn and were Lords thereof for perhaps three centuries, and certainly one, before selling
it to the
Boyds in 1532; and (2) while conveying the barony to the Boyds, the
Lynns retained sixteen acres of the "dominical lands of Lynn", those
acres being called Over Lynn and constituting the "mains" of the estate (in all likelihood, that ground now occupied by High Lynn
The term "dominical lands"
is defined as "the mains or principal farm on an estate";
called Manis [Mains] of Scottistoun"
the Mains of Carriestoun".
Typically, the mains of an estate was built on the higher
ground; thus, the definition of the adjective "Over" when used in
conjunction with a place name;
i.e., "Of places or topographical features:
[Scroll down to "Dominical Lands"]
[Search for Ref. Nos. GD3/1/1/60/1
[Search for "dominical" and see definition
Following now is a chronology of the Lynns of
that Ilk, the Boyds of Kilmarnock to the extent the Boyds had any
impact on the Lynns, and the Lords of Cunningham during the relevant
period - including data from the existing historical record,
citations thereto, and both explanatory and expository notes.
Walter de Lynne was
a relative of Hugh de Morville and his heir to land in
Dalry, Ayrshire which became the barony of
Lynn. In addition to Walter, there were three heritors
of de Morville lands: Boyle of Kelburne, William de Blair,
and William Kerr.
Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland,
The Gazetteer does not provide documentation, and its accuracy
has not been firmly established.
It is supported, however, by the Douglas account and by the
following, presumably a son or grandson of this Walter de
Wautier de Lynne del
counte de Are [Walter of Lynne of
Ayrshire] was among the clergy, knights, nobles, and gentry of
Scotland who signed the Ragman Roll, essentially making an
oath of allegiance to King Edward I of England.
On the same day, Walter de
Lyn sat on a jury before the sheriff of Ayr, holding
inquisition as to Lady Elena la Zuche's interests in the
Ayrshire town of Irvine. Walter and the other jurors,
as well as the sheriff, are mentioned at the close of the resulting document
as having appended their seals thereto.
Calendar of Documents Relating
to Scotland Preserved in Her Majesty's Public Record Office,
Vol. II, Edit. Joseph Bain, F.S.A. Scot., London (1884): pp.
206, 216 item 6.
The very fact that Walter signed the
Roll and signed it as being "of Lynne" clearly
indicates his status as landowner. Walter's position
is further borne out by English law, which would have
prevailed in legal proceedings when the Ragman Rolls were
signed: "jurors were generally drawn from the ranks of free
men who held property" [Jury, State, and Society in
Medieval England, James Masschaele, New York
Finally, Walter's position is confirmed by his having a seal
- although the
Calendar notes, to the lament of Lynns everywhere: "Seals lost".
It is uncertain whether
property was, at this point in time, an actual barony; but
some of his fellow jurors bore the family names of those who
along with Walter de Lynne were de Morville heritors in
Robert de Boyvil [Boyle], Hugh de Blare [Blair], and Wylliam
Ker. These three surnames would appear again in
context with the Lynns in 1315-21, below, along
with the surnames of these co-jurors: Petecon [Pitcon] and
There is only one among the inquisition jurors who might
have been a Boyd, but that is a mere possibility and has not
been proven. Jurors other than Walter de Lyn were:
Huch de Blare, Rauf de Eglynton, Robert de Petecon, Adam de
Hom, Rauf Fayrheych, Robert de Boyvil, Adam de la More,
Wylliam Ker, William de la More, and Nel de Dunlopp.
Petecon [Pitcon] was owned by the Boyds in 1632, but when
they acquired that property is unknown to this author.
Elizabeth Linn, daughter of [blank] Linn of
that Ilk in the parish of Dalry, was the wife of
Donald Conyngham [Cunningham] of Glengarnock.
of the County of Ayr: With a Genealogical Account of the
Families of Ayrshire,
Vol. II, James Paterson, Edinburgh (1852)
It is telling that the
Lynns were designated "of that Ilk" fewer than twenty
years after the signing of the Ragman Roll and at least five
before the next item of record.
By royal charter entered on a roll dated
1315-1321, King Robert I granted to Fergus of Ardrossan "one
whole and free barony" comprised of Ayrshire lands
which were described
therein as "tenant lands of William of Potteconille,
Richard de Boyville, Laurence de Mora, Gilbert de Cunyngburghe, William Ker, and Richard de Kelcou" and "all the lands and
tenements of Lin [Lynn] within the tenantry of Dalry".
The Register of the Great Seal of
Scotland A.D. 1306-1424., New Edition, John Maitland
Thomson LL.D., Edinburgh (1882)
Potteconille is Pitcon, Boyville is Boyle, Mora
is Mure, Cunyngburghe questionably is
Cunningham, Ker clearly is Kerr, and Kelcou is Kelso.
The names Boyle and Mure later appeared among tenants in the barony of Lynn, and a much later
William Kelso was a burgess of Ayr.
The name of the new barony was not set out in this charter
but likely was "Lynn". If the 1852
Gazetteer is correct, the original Lynn property was
itself an existing barony and was simply incorporated into
the new and larger barony by charter to Fergus.
Several questions arise from the 1315-21 transaction.
Exactly who was Fergus, and what became of him and his
heirs? Was it one of his progeny, or one of the Lynns of that
Ilk, who was described as the Laird of Lyne in one document
dated 1385 ... or was Fergus
himself in fact a Lynn? The name Fergus - a rather
uncommon forename among Scots of the period - does appear in
one later branch of the Lynns of that Ilk.
Furthermore, only one mention of Fergus or
Ardrossan" appears in extracts of medieval period documents at the National
Archives of Scotland. Finally, if Fergus was of
another family entirely, exactly when and in what manner did
the barony of Lynn revert to the Lynns of that Ilk?
Was it by the extinction of Fergus's line? The next
date on which a Lynn was described as Lord thereof is
1452, but several notable events occurred in the interim ...
On 10 December, Robert - later, King
Robert II - was Stewart of Scotland, Earl of Stratherne, and
Lord of Cunningham.
[Search for Ref. No.
The Lord of Cunningham, who would have had
jurisdiction over all lands in that district, was then the
Prince, a Stewart.
The Laird of Lyne in
Dalry rented Baidland to the Cunninghams for a reddendo of
one silver penny. "Reddendo" is defined by a Scots
language dictionary as "the duty, either in money, kind or
service, to be paid by a vassal to a superior as set forth
in a feu-charter".
Scots Peerage Founded on Wood's Edition of Sir Robert
Douglas's Peerage of Scotland,
Vol. IV, Edit. Sir James Balfour Paul, Lord Lyon King of
Arms, Edinburgh (1907)
While no first name was recorded for
the 1385 Laird of Lyne, a 1452 document clearly establishes the Lynns themselves as
then Lords thereof.
First, however ...
Sometime during these years, Robert Boyd
was created a Peer of Parliament, being called thereafter
"Lord Boyd" and taking his seat in Parliament in 1454.
Complete Peerage of England, Scotland,
Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant,
Extinct or Dormant, Vol. II, George Edward Cokayne,
The date on which Robert Boyd became Lord Boyd can be further narrowed by a 1452 charter of "Robert Boide,
lord of Kilmarnock and of Dalry". That charter is of
particular interest when compared to the following
1452 Lynn charter, which predates the Boyd charter by nearly four
On the last day of
February, Andrew Lyn, Lord of
that Ilk, granted a charter for Heleiss [Highlees] in
Ayrshire to the
Hunters of Hunterston.
Family Papers of the Hunters of Hunterston,
Edit. M. S. Shaw, W. S.,
Given the definition of "Lord of that Ilk", it cannot be
doubted that Andrew Lynn was Lord of the
barony of Lynn. However,
a substantial portion of the barony soon would be conveyed by the newly
created Lord Boyd to another Robert Boyd, apparently
residing in Lynn ...
On 15 June, the King confirmed the
charter of Robert Boide, lord of Kilmarnock and of Dalry, by
which Robert conveyed to Robert Boide of Lyn one-third of
Register of the Great Seal of Scotland A.D. 1424-1513,
James Balfour Paul, Edinburgh (1882)
Lynn was known as a "town and territory" at least as early
as 1522 (and apparently before), as described in one charter
of that date [http://catalogue.nrscotland.gov.uk/nrsonlinecatalogue/search.aspx
[Search for Ref. No.
1452 charter, Lord Boyd asserted lordship over not only
Kilmarnock but also Dalry, the parish in which the barony of
Lynn was situated, and transferred a substantial part of the
barony to a kinsman of his own. The conveyance is
reminiscent of a less than favorable description of Lord
Boyd in Norman MacDougall's biography of King James III.
the former year, Lord Boyd, through political maneuvering,
took sole guardianship of then six-year-old King James III.
Boyd subsequently married the king's sister to his own son,
Thomas Boyd. James was not pleased with Boyd's grasping at
power and, after attaining majority, had Boyd tried and
convicted of treason in the latter year.
Britannica, 11th Ed., Vol. IV,
As a result of his downfall, Boyd lost his title and
On 31 May, James Stewart, son of King
James III, was Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Lord of
Cunningham, and Stewart of Scotland.
[Search for Ref. No.
The Lord of Cunningham continued to be of the royal
household of the Stewarts.
On 8 August, James Stewart, son of King
James III, continued as Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick,
Lord of Cunningham, and Stewart of Scotland.
[Search for Ref. No.
Lynns continued to have possession of the "mains" or manor
place of the barony during this period, they later were
reinstated to or confirmed as owners of the barony in its
entirety by Hugh Montgomery, Earl of Eglinton ...
On 20 January, Hugh
Montgomery was made Earl of Eglinton. On 31 May, John
Lyn, as heir of his father Andrew Lyn, received
from Hugh Montgomerie, Earl of Eglintone,
for lands of Lynn and
A General and Heraldic Dictionary
of the Peerage and Baronetage of the British Empire,
Vol. I, John Burke, Esq., London (1832)
A sasine essentially was a deed, being the document by which
the giving of possession of a property was legally recorded.
John Lynn of that Ilk gave a charter to
John Lyne of Bourtreehill and Jonet Montgomery, his spouse,
for sixteen acres of the dominical lands of Lyne called
Burnesyd, with a house, garden, and Lyne Knoll, all
in the town and territory of Lyne, bailliary of Cunningham,
and sheriffdom of Ayr.
[Search for Ref. No.
Here, the Lynns continued as owners of the mains of the
barony of Lynn. In ten years more, however, a portion of
the barony was actually sold to the Boyds, who by this time
had regained favor ...
On 11 May of this
James V confirmed a charter of "Johannis Lyn [John Lynn] de
Croftfute" by which Lyn
for a sum of money to him paid,
Thomas Boyd, brother of Robert Boyd of Kilmarnock, his heirs
and assigns, forty-shilling land of the "old extent"
[under former valuation] of Lyn
in the dominion of Kilmarnock, Cunningham, County Ayr.
The Register of the Great Seal of
Scotland A.D. 1513-1546, James Balfour Paul, F.S.A.
Scot., and John Maitland Thomson, M.A., Advocates, Edinburgh
While selling forty shillings of the barony of Lynn, the
family continued to retain the sixteen acres of dominical
lands thereof, later called Over Lynn, as seen in records
Notably, the 1532 charter is
the only known reference to anyone in the family being "of Croftfute"
while more than two dozen documents prove that the family
had taken up residence at Ayrshire's medieval estate of Bourtreehill
26 years earlier (in 1506) and continued therein for another
74 years (until 1606). One notable document is a 1550 deed which describes John Lynn
as "John Lyn of that ilk and Lord of Bourtreehill"
No. GD3/1/8/1/5 (Montgomery family papers) at the website of
However, the Lynns, like many of the gentry, did own several
properties concurrently. Croftfute has been identified
as Croft Foot, which lies less than four miles northeast of
Bourtreehill and apparently was a second residence at the
time John sold to Thomas Boyd.
On 3 June, James Stewart, son of King
James V, was Prince of Scotland, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of
Carrick, Lord of Kyle, Cunningham, and Kilmarnock, Baron of
Renfrew, and Stewart of Scotland.
[Search for Ref. No.
Here, eight years after the Lynns sold to the
Boyds, a prince of the Stewart household was called Lord not
only of Cunningham but also of Kilmarnock.
Laurence Lyn [of
Bourtreehill] gave sasine to William Lyn, his son and heir
apparent, for dominical lands of Lyne called Burnesyd,
Garden and Lyne Knoll
in the town and territory of
bailliary of Cunningham and sheriffdom
Nine other documents dated between 1550 and 1592 indicate that
Laurence Lyn, like his father John, was "of Bourtreehill";
and yet he continued to hold the mains of the barony of
Andrew Lynn was
proprietor of Overtynn [sic] in Ayrshire.
History of the Counties of Ayr and
Wigton, Vol. III - Cuninghame,
James Paterson, Edinburgh (1866)
Overlynn or Over Lynn is the name then given to the manor
place of the fomer barony of Lynn.
On 10 April, James Boyd was served
heir of the eighth Lord Boyd. Shortly thereafter,
Andrew Lynn, as heir to his father John Lynn in the
forty-shilling land of Over-Lynn and twenty-shilling land of
Highlees, received a charter for said lands from the new
History of the Counties of Ayr and
Wigton, Vol. III, Ibid.
This charter to Andrew Lynn is the earliest known record
held by the National Archives of Scotland in which the Boyds
had jurisdiction over lands in Cunningham.
On 10 November, Andrew Lin vested his
future spouse, Ann Blair, daughter of Gavin Blair of
Auldmuir, in the forty-shilling land of Over-Lynn.
Sasine was registered in Ayrshire this date.
Index to the Secretary's Register of
Sasines for the Sheriffdom of Ayr
and Bailliaries of Kyle, Carrick, and Cunningham, Vol.
2, 1635-1660, Scotland Record Office, Edinburgh (1935).
Andrew Lin of Over Lin and Ann Blair, his
spouse, held sasine.
Index to Secretary's Register of
Sasines for the Sheriffdom of Ayr and Bailliaries of Kyle,
Carrick, and Cunningham, Vol. 2: 1635-1660,
Scotland Record Office, Edinburgh (1935)
Andrew Lin of Over Lin held sasine.
Index to Secretary's
Andrew Lin of that Ilk, indweller
[resident] of Irvine,
Ayrshire, died about this year; his testament was registered
in Glasgow in 1671.
Commissariot Record of
Glasgow. Register of
Edit. Francis J. Grant, W.S., Rothesay Herald and
With the death of Andrew, the Lynns ceased to be known as
"of that Ilk". See
Lynns of Londonderry,
Donegal, and Tyrone.
Thus it is shown that: (1) the Lynns of that Ilk, or Lords of Lynn,
owned the lands or barony of Lynn at least as early as 1296; and (2)
even when they sold to the Boyds in 1532, they
retained possession of the manor place for another century more.
It is hoped that future research may yet reveal the precise date the Lynns first
acquired the Lynn property.
By 1609, men who appear to be cadets or younger sons of the family had
settled in Counties Londonderry, Donegal, and Tyrone in Northern
Ireland as part of the first plantation of Ulster. William Lynne,
gentleman, is found there
in 1609. He was accompanied, or soon followed, by John Lynn
and David Lynn, at least one and probably both of whom were
William's brothers. The seventeenth century history of these
Ulster Lynns is outlined, with sources, at
The migration to Ulster accounts in part for the "extinction" of the
Lynns of that Ilk in Ayrshire - sixty years after their departure,
the chief of the family who remained in Ayrshire died without issue.
His property passed to William Blair, presumably a relative of his wife,
[Hunter Family Papers,
The entire known history of the Lynns of that Ilk constitutes 29
pages of the 500-page book "Lynneage - The Lynns, Linns, and Linds
of Scotland and Ulster".
Also included are 16 pages of the history of Lynns of Londonderry,
Donegal, and Tyrone and 13 pages about Lynns elsewhere in Ulster,
with the remainder of the book taken up with other Lynns of Scotland.
While the book is now out of print, it is available on
maps of the various lynn properties
the former barony and all its parts:
High Lynn (formerly Over Lynn; before
that, Burnside and Lynn Knoll), as well as
Lynn Glen, Lynn Falls, and
some portion of the present village of Dalry
Lynn and Merksworth Avenues,
in the village of Dalry
northwest of Lynn
the east of Irvine
Loretta ~ 2010, 2019
For details and additional photographs of the Barony of Lynn, see
House of Lynn