Show ContentsLyall History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Lyall family

The surname Lyall was first found in Oxfordshire at Shirburn, a parish, in the union of Thame, hundred of Pirton. "This place was the property of Richard, Earl of Cornwall, and passed to Alice, wife of Warine de L'lsle, whose descendant of the same name obtained from Edward III. licence to embattle his house here. Shirburn Castle, the seat of the Earl of Macclesfield, is surrounded by a moat, over which is a drawbridge; it contains a noble hall, an armoury, and a suite of splendid apartments, with a fine collection of paintings, including a portrait of Catherine Parr, wife of Henry VIII." [1]

The same Alice de Lisle, (note spelling change) was lady of the manor of Alwarton, in 1332. [2] "The family are descended from Radulphus de Insula, temp. William the Conqueror." [3]

This name is one of the very few names that traces back to the Domesday Book of 1086. There the Latin form of the name: Hunfridus de Insula in Warwickshire was found. [4] Moreover, this is one of the very few forename and surname entries found there as in most cases only a surname was in use at that time. Later we found Peter de Isla in Yorkshire in 1166 and later again, Robert del Ille was listed as a Freeman of York in 1311. [5]

"Isle is a common French place-name and the surname may sometimes derive from Lille (Nord), but it may also be of English origin. Robert de Insula, Bishop of Durham in 1274, was the son of poor crofters at Lindisfarne and took his name from Holy Isle." [5]

Some of the family later held estates at Dibden in Southampton. "The church, a very ancient structure, has been thoroughly repaired and repewed, at a cost of £500, and some windows of painted glass have been inserted; it contains monuments to the Lisle family, who were lords of the manor, and of whom Lady Lisle was condemned to death by Judge Jeffries (Jeffreys)." [1]

Despite the aforementioned, Scotland has traditionally held the lion's share of the family and most people claim descent from there as "a family of this name were barons of Duchal in Renfrewshire as early as the beginning of the thirteenth century. They were of the same stock as the Northumberland family of 'de Insula' (as the name appears in Latin) or 'Lisle' (de Lisle, Delisle in French). The first of the name in Scotland appears to have been Radulphus or Ralph de Insula, a follower of the Steward, who witnessed the gift by Baldwin de Bigre, sheriff of Lanharc (Lanark), of the church of Innerkyp to the monks of Paisley, c. 1170." [6]

Early History of the Lyall family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Lyall research. Another 152 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1058, 1296, 1610, 1664, 1617, 1685, 1632, 1716, 1659 and are included under the topic Early Lyall History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Lyall Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Lyle, Lille, Lile, Lisle, Lyall, Lyal, Lyel and many more.

Early Notables of the Lyall family (pre 1700)

Notable among the family at this time was Sir John Lisle (1610-1664), an English lawyer and politician who supported the Parliamentarian cause in the English Civil War, one of the Regicides of King Charles I of England, he was assassinated by an agent of the crown while in...
Another 47 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Lyall Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Lyall Ranking

In the United States, the name Lyall is the 12,789th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [7]

Ireland Migration of the Lyall family to Ireland

Some of the Lyall family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 76 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Lyall migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Lyall Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Francis Lyall, who settled in Boston in 1638
  • Francis Lyall, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1638 [8]
  • Dennis Lyall, who arrived in Virginia in 1649 [8]
Lyall Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Lyall, who settled in Boston in 1761
Lyall Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Charles Lyall, who landed in America in 1839 [8]

Canada Lyall migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Lyall Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. John Lyall U.E. who settled in Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1784 member of the Cape Ann Association [9]

Australia Lyall migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Lyall Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Lyall, (Duncanson, Duncan), (b. 1793), aged 20, British Convict who was convicted in Edinburgh, Scotland for life for robbery, transported aboard the "Earl Spencer" in May 1813, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [10]
  • Robert William Lyall, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Argyle" on March 5th, 1831, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [11]
  • Mr. William Lyall, (b. 1809), aged 29, English cabinet maker who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years for larceny, transported aboard the "Augusta Jessie" on 10th August 1838, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land), he died in 1881 [12]
  • Margaret Housemaid Lyall, aged 123, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Hyderabad" [13]
  • Henry Lyall, aged 27, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "South Sea"

New Zealand Lyall migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Lyall Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William Lyall, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • Alexander Lyall, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1841
  • Robert Lyall, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1842 aboard the ship Olympus
  • William Lyall, aged 42, a shoemaker, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mariner" in 1849
  • Lucy Lyall, aged 45, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mariner" in 1849
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Lyall (post 1700) +

  • John A. Lyall, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Ohio, 1996, 2004 [14]
  • Jim Lyall (1945-2022), Newfoundland-born, Canadian politician and Inuit advocate, the first President of Nunatsiavut
  • Katharine Culbert Lyall, President of the University of Wisconsin
  • Gavin Tudor Lyall (1932-2003), English suspense novelist
  • Sir Charles James Lyall (1845-1920), British civil servant and Arabist scholar
  • Sir Alfred Comyn Lyall (1835-1911), British civil servant, literary historian and poet
  • Lieutenant Graham Thomson Lyall (1892-1941), Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross during the First World War [15]
  • Robert Lyall Hannaford (b. 1944), nicknamed "Alfie", an Australian realist artist
  • Edward Lyall Corrie (1848-1931), English rower
  • James Lyall Sharp (b. 1960), British diplomat, Ambassador to Kazakhstan

The Lyall 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: Sedulo et honeste
Motto Translation: Diligently and honestly.

  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  3. ^ Sims, Clifford Stanley The Origin and Signification of Scottish Surnames. 1862. Print.
  4. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  5. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^
  8. ^ 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)
  9. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 8th September 2021). Retrieved from
  11. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Argyle voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1831 with 251 passengers. Retrieved from
  12. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retrieved 23rd August 2020, Retrieved from
  13. ^ South Australian Register Wednesday 15th March 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Hyderabad 1854. Retrieved
  14. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 3) . Retrieved from
  15. ^ Graham Lyall. (Retrieved 2010, September 27) Graham Lyall. Retrieved from on Facebook