Show ContentsCarlyle History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

In ancient Scotland, Carlyle was a Strathclyde-Briton name for someone who lived in the city of Carlisle in the county of Cumberland.

Early Origins of the Carlyle family

The surname Carlyle was first found in Cumberland, at Carlisle. "It was anciently called Caer-Luil, or Caer Leol, signifying "the city of Luil," a British potentate, who is reputed to have been its founder. The Romans, on selecting it for a station, changed the name to Lugovallum, which is probably derived from Lugus or Lucu, a "tower" or "fort," in the Celtic tongue, and Vallum, in allusion to Adrian's vallum, which passed near. From its earliest foundation till the union of the English and Scottish kingdoms, the town suffered those shocks of incursive warfare to which, as a border town, it was peculiarly exposed, and by which it was repeatedly overwhelmed. " [1]

"The surname crossed the Border, the spelling undergoing slight changes. Still it is easy to see that Thomas Carlyle was born and brought up not very far from the city whence his ancestors originally sprang." [2]

The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 pointed to the wide spelling variations that were in use at that time: Thomas de Carlell; Willelmus de Karleyll, osllr; and Walterus de Carlhill. [2]

Slightly further to the north in Scotland, "the first of the name who appears in Scotland is Odard de Carlyle, who witnessed a charter by Uchtred, son of Fergus, lord of Galloway, to the Hospital of St. Peter at York between 1158-1164. He appears to have also held the land of Hoddam as he is described as Odard de Hodelme. Evdone de Karleolo or Eudo de Karliol, c. 1207, was witness to a charter by Eustace de Vescy of 20l. per annum out of the mill of Sprouiston to the Abbey of Kelso." [3]

Early History of the Carlyle family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Carlyle research. Another 152 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1500, 1551, 1593, 1622, 1629, 1664, 1680, 1682, 1691, 1795, 1881 and 1890 are included under the topic Early Carlyle History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Carlyle Spelling Variations

Prior to the first dictionaries, scribes spelled words according to sound. This, and the fact that Scottish names were repeatedly translated from Gaelic to English and back, contributed to the enormous number of spelling variations in Scottish names. Carlyle has been spelled Carlisle, Carlysle, Carleill, Carlyle, Carlile, Carliell and many more.

Early Notables of the Carlyle family

Notable amongst the family at this time was Christopher Carleill (1551?-1593), English military and naval commander, son of Alexander Carleill, citizen and vintner of London. Lodowick Carlell (fl. 1629-1664), was an English dramatist, who held various positions at court under Charles I and II. [4] Robert Carliell (d. 1622?), was a poet and author of a scarce volume entitled 'Britaines Glorie; or an Allegorical Dreame with the Exposition thereof: containing the Heathens Infidelitie, the Turkes Blasphemie, the Popes Hypocrisie, Amsterdams Varietie, the Church of...
Another 82 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Carlyle Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Carlyle Ranking

In the United States, the name Carlyle is the 6,981st most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [5]

Ireland Migration of the Carlyle family to Ireland

Some of the Carlyle family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 60 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Carlyle migration to the United States +

In such difficult times, the difficulties of raising the money to cross the Atlantic to North America did not seem so large compared to the problems of keeping a family together in Scotland. It was a journey well worth the cost, since it was rewarded with land and freedom the Scots could not find at home. The American War of Independence solidified that freedom, and many of those settlers went on to play important parts in the forging of a great nation. Among them:

Carlyle Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Carlyle (1720-1780), Scottish merchant who immigrated to Virginia in 1741, became a plantation owner and founding trustee and the first overseer of Alexandria, Virginia
  • William Carlyle, who arrived in Virginia in 1765 [6]
Carlyle Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • A Jamieson Carlyle, who arrived in Illinois in 1839 [6]
  • Margaret Carlyle, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1845 [6]
  • Mr. Carlyle, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Carlyle (post 1700) +

  • Hiram Cleo Carlyle (1902-1967), American Major League Baseball outfielder who played for the Boston Red Sox in 1927
  • Roy Edward Carlyle (1900-1956), American Major League Baseball outfielder
  • Earl Lester "Buddy" Carlyle (b. 1977), American Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Irving Carlyle, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from North Carolina, 1952, 1956 [7]
  • Frank Ertel Carlyle (1897-1960), American Democratic Party politician, Solicitor, 9th District, 1939-48; U.S. Representative from North Carolina 7th District, 1949-57 [7]
  • Delia M. Carlyle, American Democratic Party politician, Member, Platform Committee, Democratic National Convention, 2008 [7]
  • Thomas Carlyle (1803-1855), Scottish apostle of the Catholic Apostolic church, born at King's Grange, Kirkcudbrightshire, on 17 July 1808 [8]
  • John Aitken Carlyle (1801-1879), Scottish headmaster, born at Ecclefechan, Dumfriesshire, younger brother of Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881) [8]
  • Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), Scottish essayist and historian, born 4 Dec. 1795 at Eccledechan in Annandale, grandson of a Thomas Carlyle, first a carpenter and afterwards a small farmer at Brownknowe, near Burnswark Hill [8]
  • Very Rev Alexander Carlyle FRSE (1722-1805), Scottish churchman, born on 26 Jan. 1722 at Prestonpans, Midlothian, of which parish his father, William Carlyle, was minister [8]
  • ... (Another 9 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The Carlyle Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Humilitate
Motto Translation: With humility.

  1. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. 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)
  4. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  5. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  6. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  7. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 12) . Retrieved from
  8. Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 31 Oct. 2019 on Facebook