Urwin History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Among the all the peoples of ancient Scotland, the first to use the name Urwin were the Strathclyde-Britons. It was a name for someone who lived in the parish of Irving in the county of Dumfriesshire or from Irvine in Strathclyde. There are a variety of possible origins of the name and we will explore some of them here. One source claims the name was a "descendant of Erewine (sea friend); or one who came from Irvine (green river), in Ayrshire. " [1]

Another source postulates the name was from "Mac Heremon, 'Here-mon's Son.' Heremon was the seventh in descent from Milesius, and became monarch of all Ireland. [2] And another believes that Irwin was "the Irish form of Irvine. The singular Christian name Crinus, which prevails in the family of I. of Tanragoe, co. Sligo, is traditionally derived from Krynin Abethnas, the second husband of the mother of Duncan, King of Scotland." [3]

Early Origins of the Urwin family

The surname Urwin was first found in Ayrshire, at Irvine, a parish, in the district of Cunninghame, about 26 miles (W. S. W.) from Glasgow.

"[Irvine] derives its name from the river on which it is situated, and appears to have attained a high degree of importance at a very early period. The inhabitants obtained from Alexander II. a charter conferring upon the town all the privileges of a royal burgh; and a charter confirming all previous grants was subsequently given to them by Robert Bruce, in recompense of their services during his wars with England in the reign of Edward I." [4]

Alternatively, the name was "from Irving, the name of an old parish in Dumfriesshire, There are many Irvings (or Irvines as most of the Dumfriesshire families spell the name) here." [5]

According to voice of tradition, they descend from Duncan "the first of Eryvine," killed at the battle of Duncrub in 965. As far as records are concerned, the earliest listed was William de Irwin, an armor bearer to King Robert the Bruce. He received a grant of lands encompassing the Forest of Drum, on the banks of the River Irvine. And it was here that he had Drum Castle built which would become the family seat of the Clan for centuries. The river originally was named Lar Avon, or West River.

Robert de Hirvine, ancestor of that previous William was mentioned in a Charter dated 1226 and he was at that time tenant of the Douglas Clan. From 1331-33 the family received further grants of land and by 1400 had become a very predominant family. The Chief of the Irvines lead his Clansmen in the Battle of Harlaw in 1511. Sir Alexander Irvine was slain there, and it was said of him: 'Gude Sir Alexander Irvine, The much renowned Laird of Drum.' [5]

"Washington Irving (1783-1859), the American author, was son of William Irving, a native of Shapinsay, Orkney." [5]

Early History of the Urwin family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Urwin research. Another 279 words (20 lines of text) covering the years 1057, 1376, 1324, 1331, 1332, 1411, 1602, 1587, 1323, 1976, 1411, 1752, 1759, 1762, 1763, 1769, 1455, 1658, 1411, 1638, 1685, 1689 and are included under the topic Early Urwin History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Urwin Spelling Variations

The variation in the spelling of Medieval names is a result of the lack of spelling rules in the English language prior to the last few hundred years. Before that time, scribes spelled according to sound, often varying the spelling of name within a single document. Urwin has appeared as Irwin, Erwin, Irvine, Irving, Urwin, Erwine, Ervin, Erwing, Ervynn, Ervine, Erwynn, Irwing, Irwryn and many more.

Early Notables of the Urwin family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was Adam Irvine, Burgess of Irvine in 1455, doubtless derived his surname from Aberdeenshire. Sir Alexander Irvine of Drum (d. 1658), the Royalist, "was descended from William de Irvine, who was armour-bearer to Robert Bruce, and was rewarded for his devoted services by a grant of the forest of Drum, Aberdeenshire, at that time part of a royal forest. A grandson of William de Irvine (Sir Alexander) distinguished himself at the battle of Harlaw (1411), in a hand-to-hand encounter with MacLean of Dowart, general of Donald of the Isles, in which both were slain...
Another 116 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Urwin Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Urwin family to Ireland

Some of the Urwin family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 144 words (10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Urwin migration to the United States +

As the persecution of Clan families continued, they sailed for North America in increasing numbers. In most cases, they found the freedom and opportunity they sought. Land was often available and the American War of Independence allowed Scots an opportunity to solidify their independence from the English crown. These settlers and their ancestors went on to play essential roles in the forging of the nations of the United States and Canada. Among them:

Urwin Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Urwin, who landed in Virginia in 1642 [6]
Urwin Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • W.C. Urwin, aged 30, who immigrated to the United States, in 1896
Urwin Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Thomas Urwin, aged 19, who immigrated to America from Backworth, England, in 1908
  • Sidney Urwin, aged 10, who immigrated to the United States from Norwich, England, in 1908
  • Margery Smith Urwin, aged 39, who settled in America from Newcastle, England, in 1908
  • Elsie Urwin, aged 18, who immigrated to the United States from Norwich, England, in 1908
  • Sydney L. Urwin, aged 26, who landed in America from Tynemouth, England, in 1910
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Urwin (post 1700) +

  • Lindsay Goodall Urwin OGS (b. 1956), Australian-born bishop of the Church of England
  • Thomas Urwin (1896-1968), English international footballer
  • Thomas William Urwin (1912-1985), British Labour Party politician
  • Gregory Lawrence Urwin PSM, CSI (1946-2008), Australian career diplomat, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum
  • Sir Basil Urwin Spence (1907-1976), Scottish architect


The Urwin 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: Candide et constanter
Motto Translation: Fairly and firmly.


  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ Moore, A.W., Manx Names. London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1906. Print
  3. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ 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)
  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)


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