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Lyon Coat of Arms / Lyon Family Crest

Lyon Coat of Arms / Lyon Family Crest

According to tradition the Lyons came to England and Scotland, from France during the 12th century. The name was baptismal 'the son of Leonne'. The use of fixed surnames or descriptive names appears to have commenced in France about the year 1000, and such names were introduced into Scotland through the Normans a little over one hundred years later, although the custom of using them was by no means common for many years afterwards. During the reign of Malcolm Ceannmor (1057-1093) the latter directed his chief subjects, after the custom of other nations, to adopt surnames from their territorial possessions, and there created 'The first erlis that euir was in Scotland'. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. Landowners of the name were in occupation in several of the English shires in the reign of Edward I (1272-1307). Early records of the name also mention Thomas Lioun, 1287 County Chester. Edmond de Lyons, County Somerset, during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). The first known of the name in Scotland was probably an English crossbowman, Thomas Lyon, who formed one of the garrison of Linlithgow, in the pay of Edward II in 1311-1312. This name was borne by numerous early martyrs and thirteen popes. On the continent the given name was relatively popular because of the numerous saints who bore it, and also because the lion was the symbol of the evangelist St. Mark. In England, however, it was rare throughout the Middle Ages. Alba, the country which became Scotland, was once shared by four races; the Picts who controlled most of the land north of the Central Belt; the Britons, who had their capital at Dumbarton and held sway over the south west, including modern Cumbria; the Angles, who were Germanic in origin and annexed much of the Eastern Borders in the seventh century, and the Scots. The latter came to Alba from the north of Ireland late in the 5th century to establish a colony in present day Argyll, which they named Dalriada, after their homeland. The Latin name SCOTTI simply means a Gaelic speaker.

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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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