Armstrong Clan

Armstrong Crest: A Strong Arm.

Armstrong Clan Motto: Invictus Maneo (I remain unvanquished).

Armstrong Clan History: The Armstrong surname is assumed from a personal attribute " strength of arm.  The Armstrong's were a fearsome warring Clan from Liddesdale and the debatable lands on the borders of Scotland and England. The Armstrong surname is first recorded in 1235 when Adam Armstrong was pardoned at Carlisle for causing the death of another man.

A political vacuum was created in the borders after Edward 1st's brutal invasion of Scotland in 1296 and the subsequent retaliation by Scottish armies over the years ravaged the North of England. The Years of conflict eventually turned parts of the frontier into a lawless economic wasteland, giving rise to the infamous border reivers and over three centuries of livestock raiding, robbery, blackmail and violence.

The thirteen most notorious of the reiving clans were known locally as de"ils (devils) dozen and consisted of the following families: Armstrong, Bell, Carleton, Dacre, Elliot, Graham, Johnstone, Kerr, Maxwell, Musgrave, Nixon, Storey and Scott.

The Armstrongs were the most feared of the riding clans along the frontier and at the height of their power could muster several thousand horsemen.

The Union of Scotland and England in 1603 signalled an end to the border warfare that had existed for centuries. The Armstrong powerbase was broken and many families left the border area for pastures new.

Places of Interest: Gilnockie Tower, Hollows, Canobie, Borders. 16th-century tower house, thought to have been home to the infamous reiver, Johnnie Armstrong. Stands, on what were, ‘the Debatable Lands’, right on the border between Scotland and England. This fine example of a Scottish pele tower was fully restored in the 1970's and now hosts the Armstrong clan visitor centre. Mangerton Tower, Newcastleton, Borders. Little is left of this 16th-century pele tower house, once the main seat of the Armstrong clan. The tower was attacked, burned and rebuilt several times throughout its turbulent history. Whithaugh Tower, Newcastleton, Borders. A 16th-century Armstrong pele tower house, second only in significance to the Clan chief's seat at Mangerton. Very little remains of the property. Milnholm Cross, nr. Ettleton Cemetery, Newcastleton, Borders. This medieval stone monument commemorates Alexander Armstrong, second Laird of Mangerton, who was murdered at Hermitage Castle in the early 1300's. Ettleton Cemetery, Newcastleton, Borders. Many of the Clan, including some early Armstrong chiefs, were interred in this centuries old graveyard.

Name distribution in Scotland: The Armstrong surname is most commonly found in Ayrshire, The Scottish Borders, which includes Berwickshire, Peeblesshire, Roxburghshire, Selkirkshire and part of Midlothian, Dumfries and Galloway, which contains the historic counties of Dumfriesshire, Kirkcudbrightshire and Wigtownshire.

Associated family names (Septs): Crosier, Crozer, Crosar, Crozer, Fairbairn, Nixon.

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