The surname of MONROE was derived from the Gaelic Rothac - the man from Ro. According to tradition, the ancestors of the Munro's came from Ireland, from the foot of the river Roe in County Derry. The family at first were vassalls of the earls of Ross. It it claimed that the first Munro of Foulis was Hugh, who died in 1126. Robert de Monri, had a charter from Robert 1 of Counetis in Strathspey of the lands of Cupermakcultis. Robert de Monro is the first assured chief by charter evidence, 1341-72. In the 14th and 15th centuries the name appears several times in record as 'de Monro' showing that it was a local or territorial name in origin. Later instances of the name mention John de Munro, who witnessed a charter of the lands of Usuy in the earldom of Ross in 1463. James Monroe, the fifth president of the United States, promoter of the Monroe doctrine (1823) was fifth in descent from Andrew Monroe (who died in 1668), one of the Scots prisoners taken at the battle of Preston in 1648, and shipped to the colonies. The burghs of Scotland owe much of their prosperity to the large immigration of foreigners which went on during the 12th and 13th centuries. The original founders of the towns, were in many cases wanderers from Flanders, who brought with them their habits of industry and knowledge of trade and manufactures. Settlers of this description came in great numbers to England in the reign of Henry I (1100-1135) and when Henry (1154-1189) drove all foreigners out of his dominions they flocked into Scotland, where a more enlightened policy made them welcome. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.
The associated arms are recorded in Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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