Drum: Sir William de Irwyn


Historically, the Irvines of Drum were founded by a grant of part of the Royal Forest of Drum by Royal Charter. As a reward for his twenty years of faithful service, King Robert I (Robert the Bruce) appointed William de Irwyn as the king’s representative in the Royal Forest of Drum, part of the extensive forest where for many years the kings of Scotland had come to hunt deer and wild boar. In 1323 William was also granted the charter of the Barony of Drum. Both documents have survived, and are on display at Drum Castle. He was also given ownership of the Tower of Drum, which had probably been built during the second half of the thirteenth century, possibly as a stronghold for Alexander III, who died in 1286. Thus, the Castle and Tower became the chief seat of the family, and they continuously occupied it until the estate was turned over to the National Trust for Scotland in 1975 for preservation.

It has been said that the strongest virtue of the Irvines was their unfailing loyalty to both God and King. They, like most people of Scotland before the Reformation, were Roman Catholics. For many generations they endowed St. Ninians’ Altar in St. Nicholas Church in Aberdeen, and it was extremely unusual if they were not in attendance there whenever worship was held.

After the Reformation, however, they followed the example of the Royal Family and embraced the new faith. On the other hand, when religion and politics became intertwined in the 1600s they returned to Catholicism. For this they were persecuted and most of their accumulated wealth was lost, but when the King was returned to the throne they managed to regain most of their former properties.

Description: Robert BruceLittle is known of William’s parents, except that his father’s name was Alexander. At one time it was thought that he might have been a brother of William, Laird of Bonshaw, but more recent research indicates that he was more likely from the de Irwyn/Irvine clan nearby. Alexander is reputed to have been an early supporter of Robert the Bruce in his quest to free Scotland from the grip of Edward I of England.

Tradition has it that Alexander was with Bruce at Greyfriars Church in Dumfries on February 13, 1306 when Bruce confronted John Comyn the Red, the only other serious contender for the Scottish Crown. It was a stormy meeting and tempers flared. Daggers were drawn, but Bruce got his blow in first and Comyn was killed. Alexander was supposedly among the small group of supporters that helped Bruce escape the Comyn followers.

Alexander was also present in the Abby of Scone on March 25, 1306 when Bruce was crowned King of Scots. In 1322, by then firmly settled on the throne of Scotland, and recognized as the true king of Scots by the Pope, Bruce granted a portion of the Royal Forest of Drum to Alexander de Irwyn.

Alexander de Irwyn was born about 1240 AD., and had at least two children:

  1. William de Irwyn, born about 1260 in Dumfriesshire, Scotland

  2. Roger de Irwyn.


1. William de Irwyn was born about 1260 in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, and died in 1333 in Drum Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. He married Lady Marotte Bernard, probably in 1315.

The Irvings and the Bruces were close friends and allies. Robert Bruce, while fleeing from the forces of Edward I “Longshanks” one stormy night in 1298, took refuge with the Irvings of Bonshaw. The Irvings "carried him down to the Kirtle Waters" nearby and hid him in a cave in a precipice near Cove Tower, one of the many Irving strongholds. The cave door is in a perpendicular cliff twenty feet above the river and hidden by ivy. The current Bonshaw Tower (constructed in the 1500's), and the modern house adjacent to it, stands some one hundred feet from the edge of the precipice containing the cave. Robert Bruce, also known as Robert de Brus, was born July 11, 1274. After the death of his mother and the resignation of his father, Robert became the Earl of Carrick in 1293. When his father died in 1304 he succeeded him as Lord of Annandale.

It is the tradition of the Irvings of Dumfriesshire that when Bruce left the Bonshaw sanctuary one of his cousins (probably a second or third cousin), William de Irwyn of Woodhouse – a nephew of the Laird of Bonshaw and eldest son of Alexander de Irwyn, the clan chieftain – left with him and joined his cause. Throughout Robert Bruce’s efforts to gain, and hold, the throne of Scotland, William remained in his service. In 1307 Bruce had his first real success against the English forces at the Battle of Glen Trool. Sir Gilbert Hay had been Bruce’s armor-bearer up to that point, but after Glen Trool Bruce promoted young William to that post, and he would later have the added responsibility of secretary of the King of Scots. Trusted and admired by "The Bruce", William was eventually proclaimed a Knight, and was thereafter "Sir William." 

Some historical accounts of William de Irwyn show his surname being spelled as Irving. Although his uncle, the Laird of Bonshaw used this form of the name it is believed that William used the form of his father, the clan chief. Since the standard “Kings English” had not been invented yet, the spelling of surnames often changed depending on the whim of the scribe. Archibald A. M. Duncan, an early historian inferred in his work Regesta Regum Scottorum, that William was the younger son of a prosperous family originally from Irwyn in Ayrshire from which the surname was derived.

My line began using Erwin, the most commonly accepted form in the United States, during the latter half of the 18th century shortly after my immigrant ancestor arrived in the Colonies. The name now has many forms. The most common are Erwin, Ervin, Irvin, Irwin, Irvine and Irving. Throughout Britain and Scotland the name is commonly spelled Irvine, but pronounced “Irvin.”

Description: Drun, caThis was at a time, however, when King Edward I of England was attempting to consolidate Scotland, as well as Wales and Ireland, into his kingdom. John Fordum’s fourteenth-century work called Chronicle of the Scottish Nation gives us some idea of Bruce’s challenge. He wrote: “Great was the task that Robert Bruce took upon himself and unbearable the burdens upon his shoulders. His mishaps, flights and dangers; hardships and weariness; hunger and thirst; watchings and fastings…” Edward I died in 1307, and “Hammer of the Scots” is inscribed on his tomb. It would be many years before his grandson, Edward III, would acknowledge Bruce as the true King of Scots.

After 1306 Bruce and his followers made gradual progress in freeing Scotland, but it was at the Battle of Bannockburn in June 1314 that the tide really turned. Bruce had a force of about 12,000, and faced a force of 25,000 seasoned English horseman and infantry. Bruce, however, drew the English into the low-lying area of Bannockburn where they camped next to some swampy marshes. The next morning Bruce’s forces, using their famous shiltron formation,* charged downhill and massacred the English. It was a decisive victory; the most crucial military success in all Scottish history. It didn’t end the war with England, but it did prove that even a mighty English army could be beaten in open battle. Trusted and admired by “The Bruce,” William de Irwyn was knighted after the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Thereafter he was “Sir William,” although Bruce is thought to have always called him “Willie.”

*The term shiltron dates from at least 1000 AD and derives from Old English roots expressing the idea of a "shield-troop." It is a compact body of troops forming a battle array, consisting of rings of men with spears leveled at every point of assault, to form a shield wall or phalanx. It is most often associated with Scottish pike formations during the Wars of Scottish Independence in the late 13th and early 14th centuries.

During the winter of 1316, against his better judgment, Bruce took a force of Scots to Ireland to support his brother, Edward Bruce. Edward had been crowned King of Ireland, but it was mostly in name only since about ninety percent of the island was still controlled by the English. The campaign, in the first few months of 1317 was, for the most part, a failure. Bruce’s forces were not defeated in any of the several skirmishes, but few of the objectives were accomplished. The most notable battle during this campaign was during the push to take Dublin. Bruce’s force was intercepted by an army twice the number of his own under the command of the Earl of Ulster, the father of Bruce’s wife. Bruce’s force was successful, but at a great loss to both sides. It was during this battle that Sir William de Irwyn was promoted from armor bearer to commander of the Scottish archers. Edward Bruce was killed in battle shortly after Bruce returned to Scotland.

Bruce would rule Scotland for another fifteen years. There were many more skirmishes with the English, more raids over the Border by the Scots and north into the Lowlands by the English, but the Scots were generally more successful than the English. It was the aim of Edward I and Edward II to subjugate Scotland, but Bruce sought only freedom from aggression and recognition by the English king and the Pope that he, Robert Bruce, was the King of Scots. In 1323, however, Edward II and Bruce agreed to a kind of truce. Hostilities would cease, and Bruce would refuse to accept any correspondence not addressed to him as King of Scots. In 1324 Pope John XXII finally recognized Robert’s title. Four years later Edward III formally recognized Bruce and an independent Scotland at the Treaty of Northampton, and sealed it with the betrothal of his sister to Bruce’s son.

On February 1, 1323, as a reward for long and faithful service, Bruce granted Sir William de Irwyn a Free Barony in Aberdeenshire. The grant included the Castle of Drum (at the time probably just the tower and some primitive living quarters), and about 8000 acres of the original Royal Caledonian Forest. A second grant was made at Kyncross and was dated October 9, 1324. Both of the original grants are still in existence and are kept in a vault at Drum. To honor his father Sir William took the name of Alexander and thereafter Sir William was also known as Sir Alexander I, Laird of Drum. Robert Bruce, King of Scots, died on June 7, 1329. He was just short of his fifty-fifth birthday. History does not tell us, but it is presumed that Sir William de Irwyn served as Bruce’s secretary until the end of his reign.

Historical records indicate that William and Marotte had at least four children. They were:

  1. Alexander de Irwyn was born about 1317 at Drum Castle

  2. Robert de Irwyn.

  3. William de Irwyn, ancestor to the Irvines of Orkney.

  4. Adam de Irwyn


2. Alexander de Irwyn was born about 1317 at Drum Castle in Aberdeenshire, just outside of Aberdeen, Scotland. He died in 1380 in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. He married (1) an unknown Keith, daughter of Sir Robert Keith. He married (2) Lady Elizabeth Monteford about 1338, daughter of Sir Thomas Montford. Alexander de Irwyn became the second Laird of Drum in 1333 when his father died. Historian Forbes Leslie erroneously stated that Sir William's eldest son was named Thomas, but documentary evidence recently found by Donald M. Mackintosh definitely states that his name was Alexander. He was a baron during the reign of King David II and was a member of the Parliament that was held at Perth, Scotland in 1369.

It was probably during the lifetime of Alexander that the feud arose with the Keith Clan, near neighbors and hereditary Marshals of Scotland. Legend has it that the Irvines burned down Halforest Castle, stronghold of the Keiths, in revenge for their burning to death one of the Irvine children.

There was also a pitched battle at Keiths’ Muir, near the Dee, in which many of the Keiths were drowned at a place called Keiths’ Pot. One was cut down while clinging to a stone which occasionally still appears above the water and is known as Keiths’ Stone.

When Alexander died in 1380, Alexander Irwyn, his eldest son and heir succeeded him. Alexander Irwyn and Elizabeth Montford had at least two children. They were:

  1. Alexander Irwyn (Irvine), born about 1356 in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

  2. Robert Irwyn, born about 1365 at Drum Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. He died in 1457.


3. Alexander Irwyn was born about 1356 in Drum Castle; was the third Laird of Drum and the grandson of Sir William de Irwyn. He died in 1410, and is buried at St. Nicholas Church in Aberdeen, Scotland. He married an unknown Monymusk. At least three children were born to Alexander and his wife:

  1. Alexander Irvine, born about 1382, in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

  2. Robert (Alexander) Irvine, about 1386, in Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Sir Alexander Irvine was born about 1382, in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and died July 24, 1411, at the Battle of Harlaw. He became the Fourth Laird of Drum in 1410 when his father died.

Around the first of March 1408 Alexander Stewart, 12th Earl of Mar, assembled a "noble company" of sixty or more "knights, squires, and other gentlemen," on horse, including his cousin Alexander Irvine. The group traveled south into England where they engaged in tournaments with the English knights.

Following these engagements, they continued on their journey, and after landing on the continent they travelled on to Paris where the Earl set up "court" and received with hospitality passing strangers as well as French noblemen; in fact, it is said that his doors were open to all for entertainment in eating, drinking, singing and dancing.

For twelve weeks or more the party continued, on into Whitsunday (Sunday of the feast of Whitsun or Pentecost in the Christian liturgical year, observed seven weeks after Easter – which fell on June 3rd that year) at which time the earl and his group invited to the palace for feasting. After presenting himself, participating in the revelry, and making service to the king, the earl felt it was time to return home.

Accordingly they departed from Paris and proceeded to Bruges where the earl encamped to wait for favorable weather for the passage to Scotland. While there he received a messenger the Duke of Burgundy, requesting his aid in lifting the siege of Liege, to which he replied that if only he and his servant came, he would be there.

Immediately he began the preparations for war, and within four or five days he had prepared a hundred men for the battle. Liege was the same distance as Paris, but in a different direction, being east of Bruges. When they arrived he had only four knights with him: Sir James Scrimgeour of Dundee, Sir Elis Kynynmond, Sir William Hay of Nachtane and Sir John Bothwell, but also many great gentlemen, squires and good yeomen. From these he knighted a further six gentlemen: his nephew John Sutherland, Alexander Keith (believed to be the third son of the Marischal), his cousin, Alexander Irvine, his own brother Andrew Stewart, John Menzeis, and Gilbert Hay.

It has been written that the group distinguished themselves during the fighting (in which 30,000 were reported slain), but their contribution to the battle is not mentioned by most historians, probably because the earl’s group of only a hundred men or so were probably con­sidered as being volunteers to the army of the Duke.

Sir Alexander Irvine was one of the commanders of the King's army at the Battle of Harlaw in 1411. Alexander Irvine’s cousin, Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar, had overall command of the King’s forces, and he was an active supporter of his uncle, the Duke of Albany, who was then Regent of Scotland. In 1411, the family quarrel between Donald, Lord of the Isles, and the Duke of Albany came to a head. The Duke ignored the lawful claim of Donald, Lord of the Isles, to the Earldom of Ross, which came to him through his wife, Margaret Leslie. The Duke wanted the Earldom of Ross for his own illegitimate son.

The Lord of the Isles pressed his claim, and crossed the water to the mainland at the head of about six thousand men. He marched through the Earldom of Ross, during which he received a lot of support, including recruits which added to the strength of his army. Proceeding south, he advanced through Moray, crossed the Spey, and continued his advance through Banffshire and the higher grounds of Strathbogie and the Garioch, finally pitching camp on the Hill of Benachie. At this point Donald’s army numbered about ten thousand men.

On the other side the Earl of Mar was at the head of a force not quite as numerous as Donald’s, but much better armed and supplied. The leading chiefs of of the clans of northeast Scotland were there; the Forbes’, the Irvines (lead by Alexander Irvine), the Burnetts, the Leslies, the Hays, the Gordons, the Ogilvies, the Keiths and others.

The Battle of Harlaw was fought on July 24, 1411, on a moor in front of the hill of Benachie. The fighting was long and furious, with a great loss of life on both sides. Only nightfall put an end to the desperate struggle. There was no great victory for either side, but Donald and his followers were the first to retreat, leaving the field to Mar.

While the Battle of Harlaw was a great battle, it changed things very little. It was mainly a personal and family quarrel instigated by the greed of the Duke of Albany. In the end the Duke failed to attain his goal and Lord Donald of the Isles retained possession of the Earldom of Ross, and his son Alexander succeeded him in 1420.

Despite the Battle of Harlaw being romanticized in legends and ballads, the only thing it really accomplished was the slaughter of many hundreds on both sides. Many Irvines and their followers died in the Battle of Harlaw, as well as many of Scotland’s great leaders of that time, including Alexander Irwyn himself.

Before the battle, Alexander Irwyn had made his brother promise that should he be killed, Robert would assume his baronial right at Drum. During the battle Alexander encountered the ferocious Chief of the MacLeans of Duart in Mull, known as “Red Hector of the Battles.” After “noble and notable single combat” both of them lay dead on the field, killed by mortal blows struck upon each other.

The following is from an old popular ballad, “The Battle of Harlaw,” stanza 28:


“Gude Sir Alexander Irving,

The much renounit laird o’ Drum;

Nane in his days were better sene,

When they were semblit all and sum.

To praise him we suld na be dumm

For valour, wit, and worthiness;

To end his days he there did cum

Quhois ransom is remeidiless.”

 Alexander’s younger brother Robert carried out his oath, changed his name to Alexander, and married his elder brother's widow, Elizabeth de Keith. Both Alexander and Robert are considered to be the "Fourth Laird of Drum."


4. Sir Robert (Alexander) Irwyn was born about 1386 in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and died in July 1457.

On the death of his brother at the Battle of Harclaw in 1411, Robert became Alexander, 4th Laird of Drum. As a pledge to his brother he also married his brother's virgin widow Elizabeth de Keith (they had been betrothed as children) after 1411. The marriage had been arranged in order to end the violent clan feud between the Keith and the Irwyn (Irvine) families but had never been consummated. The first Earl of Marichal, who was Elizabeth’s brother, gave as dowry the lands of Strachin Kincardine by charter October 16, 1411. Alexander IV was knighted in 1424 during the reign of King James I. He was also captain and governor of the burgh of Aberdeen in 1439 and 1440.

The children of Sir Robert and Elizabeth were:

  1. Alexander Irvine, “of Auchindoir,” was born about 1412.

  2. Robert Irvine, “of Beltie,” born about 1414, and died May18, 1452.

  3. Elizabeth Irvine was born about 1418. She married David Menzeis.

  4. Agnes Irvine was born about 1422, and died before 1460; married Sir William Leslie.

Robert Irvine, the second son, distinguished himself, and died, during the Battle of Brechin, which was fought on May 18, 1452, about two and a half miles northeast of the village of Brechin. This was during the reign of James II of Scotland, and by some interpretations, it was part of an on-again off-again civil war between the king and an alliance of powerful noble families led by the Black Douglas’. In the end the king’s forces were successful. This was significant, allowing for the development of a relatively strong centralized monarchy in Scotland during the Late Middle Ages.


5. Alexander Irvine, “of Auchindoir,” was born about 1412 in Aberdeenshire, and died between 1446 and 1452. He married Catherine Abernethy, daughter of Lord Abernethy of Saltoun, about 1425. Little is known about this Irvine, except that his name is mentioned several times by historians as having been a witness on legal documents, most of which had to do with transfers of land.

Alexander and Catherine are known to have had at least two children:

  1. Elizabeth Irvine was born about 1433 at Drum Castle. She married William Cumin of Culter.

  2. Alexander Irvine born in 1440.


6. Alexander Irvine was born in 1440 in Scotland, and died in December 1493, also in Scotland. He married Marion Forbes about 1456.

When Robert (Alexander IV) died his grandson, Alexander, son of Alexander of Auchindoir, became the fifth Laird of Drum. While serving as Sheriff of Aberdeenshire (Aberdeen County) in 1471, Alexander attacked the house of Sir Walter Lindsay of Bewfort with a large force of men. For this, by a judgement of the Lords of the Council, he was dismissed from the office of sheriff and sent to prison for fifteen days.

The children of Alexander Irvine and Marion Forbes were:

  1. Alexander Irvine, born about 1456.

  2. Janet Irvine, born about 1460.

  3. Thomas Irvine, born about 1468.

Laird Alexander Irvine learned, probably around 1480, that wife Marion had been seeing Sir Edward McDowell, his chaplain, on the side. The laird’s outrage was so intense that, with the assistance of Alexander Irvine of Strathdee, a cousin, he violently gelded McDowell. Historian Forbes Leslie stated it more discretely “…the outrage perpetrated on the ecclesiastic in the tower of Drum placed him forever after beyond the reach of jealous suspicions.”

Historian Donald Mackintosh reports that a Gordon family history indicates that Alexander applied for, and received, a Papal Remission (forgiveness) from Rome for his attack on McDowell. But the unfaithfulness of his wife, and his vicious assault on her lover, changed the laird’s life completely. He left his wife, although it appears that he continued to support her. The laird apparently left Drum permanently and took up residence in Aberdeen. As long as Marion lived he could not remarry, but some time later, around 1482, he was reported living with Nannys Menzies (probably his second cousin), by whom he had at least four illegitimate children. They were:

  1. David Irvine was born about 1482, and died about 1501.

  2. Alexander Irvine was born about 1484, and died about 1531.

  3. Agnes Irvine was born about 1486. She married Alexander Gordon about 1500.

  4. John Irvine was born about 1488.

Due to the restraints of the Roman Catholic Church at that time Alexander could not legitimize his children by Nannys Menzies. He did, however, do the next best thing by providing generously for them in his will.


7. Sir Alexander Irvine was born about 1456 in Scotland, and died December 4, 1527, also in Scotland. He married (1) Janet Keith July 8, 1475. She was the daughter of Sir Gilbert Keith of Ludquharn, and she died about 1492. He married (2) Margaret Chalmer about 1512.

Alexander was sheriff in Aberdeenshire in 1492, the year Columbus sailed to the New World. He received Lonmay and Cairness from his father in 1475, and became the sixth Laird of Drum when his father died in 1493. He was knighted at some point, but the date is not known.

The children of Alexander Irvine and Janet Keith were:

  1. Elizabeth Irvine, born about 1476. She married John Rose of Auchlossin.

  2. Alexander Irvine, born about 1478.

  3. Daughter Irvine, born about 1479, married Chalmers of Streicken.

  4. Daughter Irvine, born about 1480, married Coutts of Westercoul.

  5. Margaret Irvine, born about 1481, and married Archibald Douglas.

  6. Richard Irvine, born about 1483.

  7. Henry Irvine, born about 1485 at Drum Castle in Aberdeenshire.

  8. Elspet Irvine, born about 1487, and died in 1512 She married George Ogilvie.

  9. Daughter Irvine, born about 1489 and died about 1539. She married Robert Duguid of Auchinhove.

  10. Janet Irvine, born about 1492. She married George Crawford of Fedderet.

8. Alexander Irvine was born about 1478 in Scotland, and died there in 1557. He married Janet Allardes about 1498, daughter of John Allardes and Catherine Arbuthnot. Alexander became the seventh Laird of Drum when his father died December 4, 1527. According to David M. Mackintosh in his book, The Irvines of Drum, there was a rumor at the time that Alexander was having an affair with Janet Lundy, the wife of his wife’s brother-in law, as well as with Elizabeth, his wife’s stepmother. 

Alexander Irvine and Janet Allardes had six children:

  1. Alexander Irvine “of Forglen,” born about 1500.

  2. Gilbert Irvine,  born about 1502 and probably died at the Battle of Pinkie in 1547.

  3. Elizabeth (Isobel) Irvine, born about 1506.

  4. Daughter Irvine, born about 1510. She married John Ogston of Kirkland.

  5. Janet Irvine, born about 1512; and married John Cuming of Culter.

  6. Margaret Irvine, born about 1518, and died in August 1603. She married Andrew Fraser.

9. Alexander Irvine of Forglen was born about 1500 in Scotland, and was killed at the Battle of Pinkie September 10, 1547. He married Elizabeth Ogilvy in 1526, daughter of James Ogilvy.

The children of Alexander Irvine and Elizabeth Ogilvy were:

  1. Alexander Irvine, born about 1527.

  2. William “of Ardlogie” Irvine, born about 1529, and died in 1601. He married Agnes Gordon.
  3. Janet Irvine, born about 1530, and died after 1602. She married Alexander Gordon IV of Abergeldy.
  4. Gilbert Irvine, born about 1532, and died in 1597.
  5. Robert Irvine, born about 1534. And died in 1600.
  6. Elizabeth Irvine, born about 1536, and died about 1556. She married Alexander Seton.
  7. Sir James Irvine, born about 1538, and died after 1596.
  8. Margaret Irvine, born about 1540, and married William Chene (Chaney) in 1556.
  9. John Irvine, born about 1544, and died about 1564.


10. Alexander Irvine was born about 1527 in Drum Castle just outside Aberdeen, Scotland. He died in Scotland June 9, 1602. He married Lady Elizabeth Keith in 1552 in Aberdeen, daughter of William Keith. She was born about 1535 in Aberdeen, Scotland and died there in 1585.

Alexander became the eighth Laird of Drum in 1553 when his grandfather, the Seventh Laird of Drum, passed on. Alexander Irvine, VIII, held charter under the Great Seal on December 12, 1553 to all the Lands of Drum, Learney and Auchindoch, to himself and all his male heirs. This is according to the records at Drum Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

The following is from A Short Account of the Family of Irvine of Drum, by Captain Douglas Wimberley, printed in 1893 by the Northern Chronicle of Inverness, Scotland.

“The 8th laird of Drum took part in the expedition sent, under the young Karl of Argyll, in 1594, against the three Catholic lords, the Karls of Huntly, Angus, and Errol.

Argyll, after failing to take the Castle of Ruthven in Badcnoch, with the Campbells, Mackintoshes, Macleans and others, marched through Strathspey, and issued orders from Drummin on the Avon to the Forbescs, Frasers, Dunbars, Mackenzies, Irvings, Ogilvies, Leslies, and other clans or tribes in the north to join him with all speed. But before they could join him, Huntly brought him to an engagement between Glenlivat and Glenrinnes, and defeated him in the Battle of Glenlivat.

Lord Forbes and the lairds of Balquhain and Drum, hearing of the defeat, resolved to unite with the Dunbars and others, and make an attack on the Gordons on their march homewards. Setting out from Drumminor, they had not gone far when one of the Irvines, while riding alongside of Lord Forbes, was unexpectedly shot dead by an unknown hand, and though all the firearms carried by the party' were immediately examined, with the view of ascertaining who had committed the deed, every one was found to be loaded. This affair caused so much distrust and suspicion that the companies were broken up arid returned home.

Shortly afterwards Huntly and his friends retired into Sutherland, and then went abroad during the King's pleasure, with the object of allay­ing the spirit of violence and discontent: sixteen months after, he was recalled, and he and the Earls of Angus and Errol were restored to their former honours and estates in 1597; within two years thereafter the King created Huntly a Marquis.”

The children of Alexander Irvine and Elizabeth Keith were: 

  1. Janet Irvine, born about in 1553. She married John Hay of Ury.
  2. Mary Irvine. She was born in 1556 and married Robert Keith of Craig & Invergie.
  3. Sir Alexander Irvine, IX Laird of Drum, was born about 1557 in Drum Castle, and died in 1629.
  4. Robert Irvine “of Fornet & Moncoffer” was born about 1559 in Aberdeen.
  5. James Irvine “of Brucklaw.” He was born in 1558 and married Lucrece Irvine, a cousin, in 1578.
  6. William Irvine “of Easter Beltie,” was born about 1563. He married Lady Margaret Frazier in 1624.
  7. Anne Irvine, born about 1565.
  8. John Irvine “of Artamford,” was born about 1567 in Aberdeen, and died in 1652.
  9. Elizabeth Irvine was born about 1572. She married James Ogilvy “of Boyne” in 1590.
  10. Margaret Irvine was born about 1574. She married (1) Gilbert Menzies and (2) Alexander Duff.

Alexander, the third-born child above, was the eldest son and thus inherited the title of Laird of Drum. He restored, and added to, the present mansion-house of Drum – which is attached to Drum tower which was constructed some two hundred years earlier – making it much like it appears today.

Alexander IX is thought to have been a favorite of King James VI of Scotland. The following copy of a letter to Alexander from King James VI would seem to add to that supposition:

''Trusty and well beloved, we greet you well. Having understood by our Secretary, Sir Alexander May, of your ready forward­ness, upon notice given unto you by him of our pleasure for some piece of service to have been done in the North parts of that our Kingdom, we have thought good to take special notice thereof, and to return unto you our very hearty thanks for the same, willing you to continue these your dutiful endeavours, and assuring you that we will be very mindful thereof, if any particular occasion, which may concern you, shall occur. And so we bid you very heartily farewell. At our Manor of Greenwich, the 29th of June, 1612."

    Directed "To our trusty and well beloved, the Laird of Drum."


11.  John Irvine of Artamford was born about 1567 in Aberdeen, Scotland. He died in 1663 in Aberdeen, Scotland. He married Elizabeth Beatrix (Bessie) Irvine in 1597 in Aberdeen. She was a cousin and the daughter of John Irvine and Elizabeth Wood.

In November 1605, John Forbes, who was head of a gang called "The Company and Society of the Boys," waylaid John Irvine of Artamford, brother of the Laird of Drum, near the Peill of Lumpanan. John Irvine narrowly escaped, but his servant, William Broun, was killed. Two of his companions -- John Chalmer and Patrick Irvine -- were wounded. On January 20, 1606 a hearing was held at Drum. Arthur, Master of Forbes, John Forbes of Pitsligo, William Forbes of Tolquhon, John Forbes of Brux, Abraham Forbes of Blacktoun and James Gariock of Kinstair were called on to take resposibility for the "attack and slaughter" and to determine whether the joint " honor and long-continued friendship with the House of Drum" should continue. All present agreed, by formal submission, to abide by whatever decree or sentence Alexander Irvine of Drum might pronounce against the guilty parties. On October 22, 1606 the Laird of Drum fined John Forbes, Robert Skeen and Patrick M'Kanier. In the meantime John Forbes had been siezed and tried in Edinburgh for the attack on John Irvine and others, as well as for miscellaneous other crimes. On November 6, 1606 the Edinburgh court sentenced John Forbes to be beheaded and his property confiscated. It is not clear why, but the sentence was not carried out and John Forbes was released. On December 11, 1606 Robert Irvine, also a brother of the Laird of Drum, was charged with the murder of John Forbes. The court, however, declined to prosecute because of irregularities. Robert was acquitted.

On November 25, 1634 John Irvine was appointed Justice of the Peace in the Sheriffdom of Aberdeen.

The children of John Irvine and Elizabeth Irvine were:

  1. James Irvine I “of Artamford” was born about 1604 in Aberdeen, Scotland.
  2. John Irvine “of Pittmurchie” was born about 1609 in Aberdeen, Scotland. He married Elizabeth Forbes about 1630.
  3. Robert Irvine, born about 1625 in Aberdeen, Scotland.
  4. Richard Irvine, born in 1626 in Aberdeen, Scotland. He married Margaret Adie.
  5. Alexander Irvine, born about 1630 in Aberdeen, Scotland. He married Jean Gordon.
  6. William Irvine, born about 1632 in Aberdeen, Scotland.
  7. Gilbert Irvine “of Larchmoir,” born about 1633 in Aberdeen, Scotland.


12. James Irvine I of Artamford was born about 1604 in Aberdeen, Scotland, and died there in 1675. He married Anna Keith before 1633 in Scotland. She was the daughter of Alexander Keith of Ravenscraig.

The children of James Irvine and Anna Keith were: 

  1. James Irvine II “of Artamford,” was born in 1642 in Aberdeen, Scotland.

  2. John Irvine was born about 1645 in Aberdeen, Scotland.

  3. Ann Irvine was born in 1646 in Aberdeen, Scotland. She married Elphinstone Glack.

  4. Beatrix Irvine was born about 1647 In Aberdeen, Scotland. She married a Mr. Dalgardno.

  5. Margaret Irvine was born about 1653 in Aberdeen, Scotland. She married Hugh Rose November 3, 1700 in Aberdeen.


JamesIrvineIIIofArtamford13. James Irvine of Artamford was born in 1642 in Aberdeen, Scotland, and died before February 11, 1702. He married Margaret Sutherland in 1673 in Aberdeen, Scotland. She was the daughter of James Sutherland. She was born in 1650 in Aberdeen, Scotland.

The children of James Irvine and Margaret Sutherland were: 

  1. Alexander Irvine “of Crimond,” born about 1675, in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
  2. William Irvine “of Artamdord,” born about 1676, in Aberdeen, Scotland.
  3. Robert Irvine, born about 1677, in Aberdeen, Scotland.
  4. James Irvine, born about 1684, in Aberdeen, Scotland.
  5. Thomas Irvine, born September 30, 1685, in Aberdeen, Scotland; died in Aberdeen. He married Catherine Elphinstone.
  6. Richard Irvine, born August 19, 1687, in Aberdeen, Scotland.
  7. Charles Irvine, born about 1693, in Aberdeen, Scotland; died October 8, 1771, in Aberdeen, Scotland.
  8. Francis Irvine, born March 29, 1695, in Aberdeen, Scotland.
  9. Anna Irvine, born May 27, 1697, Aberdeen, Scotland; died September 28, 1698, in Aberdeen, Scotland.
  10. Margaret Irvine, born about 1702, Aberdeen, Scotland; died October 20, 1788, in Aberdeen, Scotland.


14. Alexander Irvine of Crimond was born about 1675 in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and died in 1744. He married Isabel Thompson August 8, 1698 in Aberdeen, Scotland. She was the daughter of Thomas Thompson of Faitchfield. She was born about 1678 in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and died after 1721.

The children of Alexander Irvine and Isabel Thompson were: 

  1. Thomas Irvine, born June 1, 1699, in Faitchfield, Aberdeenshire, Scotland; died June 1701, Aberdeen, Scotland.
  2. Margaret Irvine, born about 1701, Faitchfield, Aberdeenshire, Scotland; died February 15, 1799, Aberdeen, Scotland, and married James Rose, Aberdeen, Scotland.
  3. Isabel Irvine, born about 1703, Faitchfield, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
  4. Janet Irvine, born about 1705 at Crimond Estate, Aberdeenshire, Scotland; died March 9, 1782, Aberdeen, Scotland.
  5. Ann Irvine, born about 1707, at Crimond Estate. Aberdeenshire, Scotland; died June 1, 1779, Aberdeen, Scotland.
  6. James N. Irvine,* born December 2, 1709 at Crimond Estate, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
  7. Alexander Irvine, born June 24, 1711 at Crimond Estate,, Aberdeenshire, Scotland; died February 19, 1761, Aberdeen, Scotland; married Mary Ogilvy, August 20, 1751, Aberdeen, Scotland.
  8. Elizabeth Irvine, born February 25. 1715 at Crimond Estate, Aberdeenshire, Scotland; died January 18, 1779, Aberdeen, Scotland
  9. Mary Irvine, born February 13, 1721, in Aberdeenshire, Scotland; died February 15, 1779, Aberdeen, Scotland.

* James N. Irvine emigrated to William Penn's colony about 1739, and was the progenitor of the author's line of the Erwin family in North America.