Turnbough History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

An ancient Scottish tribe called the Boernicians were the ancestors of the first people to use the surname Turnbough. It is a name for a man named Rule (sometimes Ruel) who saved King Robert the Bruce at Stirling Park from a charging bull by turning the bull's head.

According to tradition, the King rewarded Rule with lands in Bedrule, and instructed him to change his name to Turnbull. This same man, Rule, is said to have served at the Battle of Halidon Hill in 1333, against the English. Rule preceded the Scottish Army into battle with a huge black dog, and challenged any Englishman to fight him. Sir Robert Venal of Norfolk accepted his challenge and killed both Rule and his dog. [1] While the account of the fight is most certainly true and well documented, the legend behind the name Turnbull is questionable.

Early Origins of the Turnbough family

The surname Turnbough was first found in Roxburghshire. Referring to the aforementioned Rule reference, there was a noble family of Rule, which derived its name from the Water of Rule, an affluent of the Teviot.

This family dates back to 1214 when King William the Lion of Scotland granted lands to Alan de Rule. If the bull episode is true, then the bearer was either Adam de Rule or Thomas de Rule, the two Rule chieftains who appeared on the Ragman Rolls in 1296, just after the Stirling Park affair.

Later, King Robert the Bruce did in fact grant lands in the west of Fulhophalche to William Turnbull in 1315. King David II also granted the lands of Humdallwalschop (now Hundleshop) to John Turnbull. [1]

Early History of the Turnbough family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Turnbough research. Another 389 words (28 lines of text) covering the years 1214, 1296, 1315, 1333, 1329, 1545, 1400, 1447, 1454, 1450, 1562, 1633, 1562, 1591 and are included under the topic Early Turnbough History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Turnbough Spelling Variations

Spelling rules only evolved in the last few centuries with the invention of the printing press and the first dictionaries. Spelling variations are extremely common in names from before that period. Turnbough has been spelled Turnbull, Turnball, Trimble, Trimbell, Trumbell, Trumbill, Turnbul and many more.

Early Notables of the Turnbough family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst bearers of this family name during their early history was William Turnbull (d. 1454), Bishop of Glasgow, who procured from the pope a charter to establish a university in the city...
Another 32 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Turnbough Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Turnbough family to Ireland

Some of the Turnbough family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 50 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Turnbough family

After making their great crossing, many Boernician-Scottish families settled along the east coast of North America. When the War of Independence broke out, United Empire Loyalists moved north to Canada while the rest stayed to fight. The ancestors of many of these Scots still populate the continent. This century, through Clan societies and other Scottish organizations, they began to rediscover their collective national heritage. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Turnbough or a variant listed above: Alexander Turnbull, who settled in East New Jersey in 1684; Thomas Turnbul, a Scottish prisoner sent to New Jersey in America in 1685; James Turnbull, who arrived in Charles Town [Charleston], South Carolina in 1734.


Contemporary Notables of the name Turnbough (post 1700) +

  • Damien Turnbough, American vocalist, best known for his work on Bob Dylan's album Knocked Out Loaded
  • Artis Turnbough (d. 1999), American founder of The Mighty Clouds of Joy, an American traditional gospel music quartet


  1. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)


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