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Livingstone family crest
Livingstone
Gaelic Name: Mac an Léigh Hear the Gaelic name
Motto: Se je puis (If I can)
Lands: West Lothian, Trossachs, Lorn
Origin of Name: Placename, Linlithgow

Livingstone History

Legend says that a Saxon called Leving gave his name to the lands in West Lothian and they became Livingston. The people of the area took this as their family name.

Four generations on Sir William Livingston of Livingston fought beside King David II at the Battle of Durham in the 1346 attack into England. When both he and the King were captured he helped negotiate his King’s release and for this was granted the barony of Callendar in 1347.

In 1440 the Livingstons of Callendar persuaded the young Earl of Douglas and his brother to come and reconcile the two families’ differences at a banquet for that purpose in Edinburgh Castle. Upon their arrival, however, the brothers were taken and slain. The Douglases avenged their loss by imprisoning Sir Alexander Livingston and executing one of his sons.

The 5th Lord Livingston, Alexander, was chosen in 1543 to help tutor the child Mary, Queen of Scots. When she went to France he went with her and died there.

His own daughter Mary was one of the loved ‘Four Marys’. Alexander’s son William became the 6th Lord and fought passionately for his father’s ex-pupil at the Battle of Langside, an area now within Southern Glasgow. He died in 1592.

The estates and titles of the Livingstons suffered badly during the Jacobite rising of 1715 because of their patriotism.

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Carrying an ‘e’ at the end, the ‘Highland Livingstones’ have been quite independent of the original line.

A physician named Ferchar Leighiche was one of a famous family attending to the health of the Lords of the Isles. He acquired land in Assynt in 1386. His descendants were called Macleay (from the Gaelic Mac-an-leigh, son of the physician).

When James Livingston was given a grant of the lands of Bachuil by Charles I in 1641 he moved into Achanduin Castle and the Macleays there changed their name to Livingstone. Why they added the ‘e’ and whether they were happy to change their names is not certain.

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