"Thrice hallow’d the land of our Minstrel’s
The fields that once gladden’d his eye,
The echoes that rang to is woe and his mirth,
And the mountains that bounded his sky!
Lo! there is the scene of his own Vision-dream--
The mantle his Coila then wore,
Still flower’d with the forest, enstriped with the stream,
And fringed with the fret of the shore!
"That is the mark of the Scot of all classes -- that he stands in an
attitude toward the past unthinkable to an Englishman, and remembers and
cherishes the memory of his forbearers, god and bad; and there burns alive
in him a sense of identity with the dead even to the twentieth generation."
....Robert Lewis Stevenson
Most Kyles of Scottish/Irish descent probably trace their lineage back to
the Kyle District of Ayrshire in southwest
often with a detour of generations through
(See Note below for other possible derivations).
The Kyle district is
the proud center of much that is Scottish. The first King of the Scots,
Fergus was crowned in Kyle, after defeating Coelius. William
Wallace was probably born and raised in Kyle. Robert Bruce came from
neighboring Carrick. The Stewarts, later to be Kings, ruled half of Kyle,
called "Kyle Stewart," and even today HRH Prince Charles retains the title,
Baron of Kyle. Golfers will know that a few miles down the coast is Troon
which hosts The Royal Troon Open and Robert Burns himself was a Kyle man.
Despite this, Kyles endured much hard fortune in the centuries of border
disputes, religious wars and other troubles that afflicted Scotland and
particularly the Lowlands. Many Kyles hoped to find opportunity in Ireland but often found more hardship in the "persecutions" of
Presbyterians. Many migrated further primarily to the US, Canada and
"...I want to pay my respects to the pioneering spirit of the Kyle (Kile)
family. The point that stands out in this history is the willingness with
which each generation was ready to pioneer in new lands and new ideas.
Neither persecution nor physical hardship stopped them. Love of freedom and
independence were dominating characteristics." O. M. Kile,
We'll sing auld Coila's plains an' fells,
Her moors red-brown wi' heather bells,
Her banks an' braes, her dens an' dells.
Early History of the Districts of Kyle
It is now well understood that the Celts originally came out of the east.
Guest, in his Origines Celticoe describes the routes by which they
streamed across Europe and along the north coast of Africa in a bygone
century. The migration did not stop till it had reached the shores of the
Atlantic. The Celtic flood was followed within the Christian era by the
migrations of succeeding races— Huns, Goths, Vandals, Franks, these
variously called themselves—and before the successive waves the Celts were
driven against the western coast, like the fringe of foam driven up by wind
and tide upon a beach. This process was seen in our own islands when the
British inhabitants were driven westward by the oncoming waves of Saxons,
Angles, and Danes in the fifth and following centuries. Thus driven against
the western shores these Celts were known, down to the Norman Conquest, as
the Britons or Welsh of Strathclyde, of Wales, and of West Wales or
Kyle was originally populated with the people called the North Welsh or "Men
of the North Country."
Taliesin (Radiant Bow), the Bard of Arthurian times says the North Kingdoms
were ruled by "Coel ae kanawon' (meaning Coel and his whelps). For
early history (400AD) and Old King Cole see
After the Roman withdrawal, Kyle was a part of the Kingdom of Rheged.
Rheged royal genealogies trace later kings back to Coel Hen (Old
King Cole), who appears to have ruled in the early
century (a matter supported by the word 'rheged' meaning Liberated,
free, in free continuance). The victories of its kings
and his son
Owen mab Urien, over the chieftains of
in the second half of the
century, were celebrated by the bard
Following Bernicia's union with Deira to
become the kingdom of
Northumbria, Rheged itself was annexed into Northumbria, at some time
before AD 730.
There is some evidence that Rheged was incorporated into Northumbria by
royal marriage in 633.
The language of the Rheged ruling classes, and quite likely of the majority
of the population, was a
Brythonic language similar to
The earliest written record
of the Kyle district was in 750 when Eadberht, King of
added the plain of Kyle (or Cyll) to his
Kyle was later incorporated in to the Kingdom of Strathclyde,
which was also
Brythonic speaking. Strathclyde's capital was at
Dumbarton Rock, or
Alt Cluid, on the
Firth of Clyde. Dumbarton was attacked by
AD, and seems to have ended its role as an independent
kingdom shortly afterwards, around
As well as its fortress capital at Dumbarton, Strathclyde
had a religious centre at
Govan, and a royal residence at
Partick, both of which are in modern-day
Vikings had laid siege to Dumbarton for four months in
870, eventually defeating the inhabitants when they cut off
their water supply. The
Olaf returned to the Viking city of
with two hundred ships full of slaves and looted treasures.
Olaf came to an agreement with
Constantine I, king of Scots, and
Arthgal f Dyfnwal, king of Strathclyde, was
Rhun f Arthgal, brother-in-law of Constantine, became
king of Strathclyde, apparently as a client or sub-king of
Rhun was to die c. 878, possibly in the same battle as
Constantine, who was killed fighting the Norse. He was
Eochaid f Rhun, who allied himself with
Giric f Dungal of the Scots. The two reigned jointly
Alba and Strathclyde until 889, when they were expelled,
effectively ending Strathclyde's status as an independent
state, c. 890. Following their expulsion,
Donald f Constantine became king of Strathclyde. This
marked the merging of the kingships of the Scots from
Dalriada and the
Britons of Strathclyde. Strathclyde kept some
independence, but its kingdom was essentially one subject to
Strathclyde's history beyond this point is at best
sketchy, although there is evidence which suggests that some
of the Strathclyde nobility fled to
Gwynedd in north
Wales. Lands previously belonging to Strathclyde seem to
have become a sub-kingdom under Scottish control.
The first source of evidence which refers to the exodus
to Wales c. 890 is the
Welsh Chronicle of the Princes:
- "The men of Strathclyde, those that refused to
unite with the English, had to depart from their country
and go into Gwynedd."
It should be noted that this source is not always seen as
reliable, and that the "English"
referred to are almost certainly in fact the Scots. On their
arrival in Gwynedd, the Strathclyde Britons were welcomed by
Anarawd ap Rhodri of Gwynedd. They were soon to help him
in battle against the
Saxons. It remains uncertain whether Eochaid travelled
to Gwynedd with his people, since the date of his death is
unknown, but other evidence supports and corroborates the
possibility of a small group of Strathclyde nobility
travelling to Gwynedd c. 890.
Firstly, the migration would explain the growth of the
St Kentigern in north Wales. Jocelin's
Vita Kentigerni tells a strange tale about a period
of exile in Gwynedd for St Kentigern. There are dedications
to him at
St. Asaph and elsewhere in north Wales, and also many
Secondly, Glasgow remained obscure as the cult centre of
St Kentigern, until it was revived by
Earl David between 1113 and 1124. Perhaps this obscurity
dated back to 890 and later years, although this may be
ambitious, and is not borne out by the
Inquisitio David. Jocelin's Vita Kentigerni,
however, might well date back to the eighth and ninth
centuries in its earliest sections, which could perhaps have
been written by a Glasgow
scriptorium, active until the later ninth century, and
folding with the Strathclyde exodus.
A third clue that would back up the migration theory is
that the pedigree of Rhun f Arthgal has been preserved in
Welsh lore. Other traditions relating to the 'Men
of the North' may also have some bearing, and the
'Welsh' poem, "Gododdin"
might have travelled to Wales with the Strathclyde exiles.
Following the flight to Gwynedd, the Strathclyde kings
seem to have been client or sub-kings of the kings of Scots.
Donald f Aed, for instance, was definitely part of the
royal Scottish dynasty, and some other Strathclyde kings may
also have been. Strathclyde's independence effectively came
to an end with the death of
the Bald, who died in
1018, when the dynasty of
Kenneth f Alpin began to rule the region.
The influence of the Norse in Strathclyde during the
period from 870 onwards cannot be ignored. Five "hogback"
house-shaped gravestones of Norse design are to be found at
Govan Parish Church in modern-day Glasgow, a site that
had religious importance for the Strathclyde kings. A road
leads from the churchyard to Doomster Hill, a large earthen
mound used as an assembly place, in a manner similar to that
Tynwald in the
Isle of Man, where, the church of
St John is linked to the
Manx parliament hill by a straight processional route.
The links to the Norse kings of
of the ninth and tenth centuries suggest a strong Norse
influence in Strathclyde at that time.
Exactly how these Scots came into the sister isle is not now known.
According to their own tradition they derived their name from Scota,
daughter of one of the Pharoahs, whom one of their leaders married as they
passed westward through Egypt, and it is possible they may be identified
with the division of the Celtic tribes which passed along the north coast of
Africa. According to Gaelic tradition the Scots migrated from Spain to the
south of Ireland. According to the same tradition they brought with them the
flat brown stone, about nine inches thick, known as the Lia Fail, or Stone
of Destiny, on which their kings were crowned, and which was said to have
been Jacob’s pillow at Bethel on the plain of Luz. From Ireland they began
to cross into Kintyre—the "Headland "—in the sixth century. Their
three leaders were Fergus, Lorn, and Angus, Sons of Erc, and their progress
was not always a matter of peaceful settlement. Fergus, for instance, made a
landing in Ayrshire, and defeated and slew Coyle the British king of the
district, whose tumulus is still to be seen at Coylesfield, and whose name
is still commemorated as that of the region, Kyle, and in popular rhymes
about "Old King Cole."
---- The Highland Clans
In 740 Kyle was invaded by Alpin, king of the Scots, who landed at Ayr with a large body of followers. He is said to have wasted the country between the Ayr and the Doon as far inland as the vicinity of Dalmellington, about sixteen miles from the sea. There he was met by an armed force under the chiefs of the district, and a battle having ensued, Alpin was slain, and his army totally routed. The spot where the king was buried is called at this day Laicht-Alpin, or the Grave of Alpin
(This date given as 840 in other accounts). Source: Paterson, History of the County of Ayr
Over time people of Saxon origin encroached by degrees on the ancient
Kyle and Galloway. The names of places in Cuningham [the district north of
are generally Saxon. The name of the country itself is Saxon. In Kyle there
is some mixture of Saxon. All the names in Carrick [the district south of
Kyle] are purely Gaelic."--Lord Hailes, Annals of Scotland, vol. i., p.
Bayeux Tapestry, Norman Knights
William De Colville (the name sounds similar but is not
known to be related) was granted baronies of Oxnam and Heton
in Roxburghshire together with other lands in Ayrshire after the Norman
Conquest. This ancient Norman name originates from the town of
dark and swarthy and "ville" village. Today the
Viscount Colville of Culross is the Chief of Clan Colville.
In 1205 William
the Lion, King of Scots, grouped the feudal territories of Cunninghame, Kyle
and Carrick into the Sheriffdom of Ayr. Kyle was sub-divided into two parts.
To the north of the River Ayr was "Kyle Stewart," lands held by the
Fitzalan's since the 11th century (the future Stewart Kings of Scotland). To the
south was Kyle Regis or King's Kyle, lands historically retained by the
monarch under royal authority from the royal castle at Ayr (On May 16, 1975 Ayr
County Council officially disbanded these old districts and burghs).
In 1236 Kyle Port is listed in Ayr on the High Street beside the
One of the earliest existing maps of
Great Scotland, made by Matthew de Paris, a monk of
about the year 1250 A.D. shows the name Cola in what is now the District of
Until the middle of the 19th
stood in the
near Muirkirk. Today only a small section of wall remains. That the
castle stood for so long has raised a possible explanation for the spread of
the name. It was not uncommon for residents of a major castle area to
adopt the name of their residency, and take the name with them as they
spread throughout the District. However, although Castle Kyle is believed to
be roughly 600 years old, the district name is certainly older, at least 600
(maybe 1,000) years older than the castle.
Tradition offers evidence that William Wallace was a Kyle resident:
efter he made his dwelling in Comnok in his owen
contrie, wheir he was borne, altho the Englishmen as yitt
was masteris thaire.'
William Wallace keiping a royall howse in Comnok
withe a garisone of michtie men.'
The first extract refers to Wallace's return to his dwelling in
Cumnock, after the murder of his wife by the Sheriff of Lanark.
Brunton appears to suggest that Wallace was born at this dwelling.
However, 'his owen contrie, wheir he was borne' is probably a
general reference to the "contrie" of Kyle. The second extract
reinforces Dr. Watson's observations that Brunton's story is similar
to that of Blind Harry, with Wallace and his bodyguard returning to
Wallace's crown lands at Cumnock, i.e. to Harry's Black Crag.When
and how William Wallace came to have his home at the Blackcraig, New
Cumnock is unknown. If Blackcraig is the crown property of his
father's tenancy then the possibility of Wallace being born there
cannot be dismissed, despite the list of assumptions growing, i.e.
Alan was William's father; Alan was a crown tenant at Black Crag,
Cumnock; Black Crag is Blackcraig; Blackcraig was crown land and not
part of Earl of Dunbar's barony of Cumnock in the late 13th century.
The last assumption suffers a 16th century setback. For at this time
the four-merk land of Blackcraig along with a host of other
properties in Glen Afton, was in the barony
of Cumnock, and was held by the Dunbars of Cumnock and Mochrum,
descendants of Patrick, Earl of Dunbar.
Following the re-discovery of William Wallace's seal in 1999, the Ayrshire
case has began to gather momentum. The seal identifies Wallace as the son of
Alan Wallace and not Malcolm and Alan Wallace appears in the Ragman Roll of
1296 as a 'crown tenant in Ayrshire'.Dr. Fiona Watson in 'A Report into Sir
William Wallace's connections with Ayrshire' (March 1999), carries out a
detailed reassessment of William Wallace's early years and concludes 'Sir
William Wallace was a younger son of Alan Wallace, a crown tenant in
Ayrshire'. On reading this report the renowned Wallace historian, Andrew
Fisher, concedes 'If the Alan of the Ragman Roll was indeed the patriot's
father, then the current argument in favour of an Ayrshire rather than a
Renfrewshire origin for Wallace can be settled' . The historian John Major
referred to Wallace - albeit more than 200 years after this death - as the
"King of Kyle."
The name Wallace, or Wallensis,
derives from the Welsh speaking people of Strathclyde (an area which
When Robert Bruce reestablished Scottish independence, in part through the
great battle of Bannockburn in 1313, histories relate that great numbers of
his soldiers were from nearby Ayr, Kyle being the third district to join
his cause after Carrick and Galloway,
Bruce’s native home. On 26th April 1315,
Ayr saw the first meeting of a Scottish Parliament since the battle of Bannockburn in 1314.
As part of the struggle, Thomas Bruce, who claimed close kinship with the royal house, organized with Robert the Steward (later Robert II) a rising in Kyle against the English in 1334. He received in recompense part of the Crown lands of Clackmannan.
In 1366 Annabella the beautiful, daughter of
Sir John Drummond, became the wife of John Stewart of Kyle. John was crowned
Robert III, the second Stewart King. She was also the mother of James I. The
royal families of Scotland and England claim their heritage from Robert and
In 1424 "WALTER OF KYLE" was recorded as having
been granted a document which would guarantee his safe conduct into England.
These safe conduct passes were only given to people of importance and were
respected by both England and Scotland.
The "Lollards" were the first challenge to the authority of the Church
in a thousand years and Kyle was the center of this early Protestant movement in Scotland
in the late 14th century.
The Lollards believed that one's knowledge is derived from within rather than
through the senses. They rejected the Roman church, preferring a church
comprising the body of the elect with all authority derived from the
scriptures - 'lordship depended on grace' - and denied transubstantiation
and believed in the spiritual Eucharist rather than the physical one. They
wanted the church reformed and its wealth removed. In 1494 thirty lesser lairds (lords)
from Kyle with George Reid of Barskinning their spokesman, put forward Lollard
ideas. They were summoned by the Archbishop of Glasgow and tried for
heresy. Partly by their own scriptural answers and partly by the King's favor
they were admonished but liberated. In the
end however, the Lollard movement suffered brutal retribution from Church and State including
inquisitions, burnings etc. One of the founder's, Wiclif's, remains were
accordingly dug out of the churchyard at Lutterworth, and thrown into the
Avon as those of a condemned heretic. For More on Lollards See
In the schisms that marked the development of religion in
Presbyterianism became the religion of choice for Scots, and that religion
was dominant after the Reformation around 1525. Scottish Kyles were
part of this movement.
In Edinburgh, Scotland in 1637, GEORGE KYLE was elected a Member of
Scottish Parliament 1707
From Irvine, Ayrshire, JOHN and THOMAS KILE were also members of Parliament
in the 1637.
Bleau’s Atlas issued in 1654 marks this district
and "Koila," and "Coila." In the district one can find Coylton (Kyle town), the
river Kyle, the “Craigs of Kyle,” the plain of Kyle,
The main city in Kyle is Ayr descibed as follows
in Bleau's atlas:
AYR, or AIRY
A small city, but a large spirit clings to its strong people,
Inferior to none in the nobility of its men.
Most pure, it draws its climate from the plains of the air
And a lighter breeze rests on its gentle soil.
Hence I believe it was called Airy before Ayr,
For what right does lightness have with harshness?
But if one may compare lower thing with higher,
Perhaps it should have been first called Aureate.
When the Covenanters defied the king in a fifty year struggle from 1638 to
1688, many Kyle's were numbered in
The Battle of Drumclogby, Ayrshire 1679:
A Group of Covenanters, Persecuted for their Religious Convictions, Defeat
Government Dragoons Sent to Execute Them
Also in 1679, "William Kyle, since the revolution, a minister in Galloway, and at this time a preacher"
was "taken" by the Dragoons who "made a very strict search there for
inter-communed ministers, field preachers, and all others obnoxious to the
--- Extract from "The Sufferings of the Church of Scotland from the Restoration to the Revolution" by the Rev. Robert Wodrow (1679-1759), Vol. III, CHAP.I, SECT.1, (‘Of the proceedings against Presbyterians for conventicles, and other breaches of non-conformity, in the beginning of this year,1679’), pages 16/17.
Monument to the fallen at the battle of Airds Moss where 63 souls with
Reverend Richard Cameron were surrounded and cut down by government Dragoons
while worshiping. Cumnock, Kyle District, Ayrshire:
Photo Courtesy of
James Renwick, probably the last preacher
to be executed for his covenanting beliefs, preached at a conventicle, on Oct
11t 1684, at John Kyle's, "house and yeard," at Cleyholes,
Kirkcudbrightshire. PC10.615. (cf. pp. 257, 258 of this vol.) Privy Council
Records, National Library of Scotland.
For more on the Covenanters struggle see
Land of the Bruce and Wallace, where patriot hearts have stood:
And for their country and their faith like water poured their blood;
Where wives and little children were steadfast to the death,
And graves of martyr'd warriors are in the desert heath.
--- Martyrs' headstone at Kilmarnock Parish Church
The Kyle Family
(also see: The Scots/Irish)
Eamonn, Marcus and Aide:
There appear to be several waves of migration beginning around 1600 or later that are
relatively well documented, if one does not insist on tying the settlement
to a specific Kyle. These migrations were not unique to the Kyles alone but
were common to many of the Lowland families.
The great majority of these Lowland settlers of this time period spoke
neither Gaelic nor English. Their language was "Scots," a Germanic tongue
with common origin with early Anglo-Saxon and the everyday language of the
Around this time, the last group of the Kyle’s from
moved, and most moved into
This was during the period, which was known as the “Plantation of Ulster.” In
Ulster, one branch of
the family gained great prominence and was referred to as the well known
“Kyle’s of Laurel Hill” after the name of their estate in
The first wave was a consequence of English-Irish conflicts that arose when
King James I, a Scots Presbyterian, sent troops to
Ulster to unseat the Earl of Tyrone, head of the O’Neil clan, who had set himself
up as the King of Ulster. Upon the defeat of O’Neil, King James lay
claim to his and his followers vast estates, and parceled them out including some land to the Kyle's around the year 1606. King James gave Sir
William (Kyle) land in Tyrone County Ireland where he moved with his family
This was only about 20 miles from the Borders of Scotland.
In October 1641, a rising was
organized by the Irish Catholic clergy of Ulster, with the aim of ousting
the entire protestant population; they were to be chased of their land,
bereaved of their belongings, even stripped of their clothes. They also were
to be refused food and shelter. Many were killed, others starved and froze
to death in the winter that followed. Only a few fortified places, such as
Londonderry, held out; most of Ulster was under the control of Catholic
Irish rebels, lead by Phelim O'Neill. The numbers of those who fell victim
to this attempt at ethnic cleansing is given as 37,000. King Charles I sent
an army under the Earl of Strafford to restore law and order, and there were
acts of retaliation.
Then, the Scots rebelled against the enforced introduction of the Book of
Common Prayer in their country; King Charles I. recalled the English
parliament, asking for taxes to fight the Scots; Parliament demanded
redresses, the situation escalated into the English Civil War (which also
was an Anglo-Scottish War). Neither (English) King nor (English) Parliament
had attention or funds to invest in Ireland.
Lord Strafford had been recalled to England to fight the Scots. The English Army
in Ireland remained unpaid.
In 1642 a Synod was held at Kilkenny, which decided the establishment of an
Irish Parliament, the Confederation of Kilkenny, which was dominated by
landowning nobility, both Catholic and Protestant, who wanted to restore
tranquility rather than escalate the war (The Kyle's are mentioned at this historic Synod in Kilkenny).
Most of Ulster, however remained
under the control of the rebels, now lead by Owen Roe O'Neill, Earl of
|According to O.M. Kyle,
the brothers Robert
Kyle, James Kyle and William Kyle fought under Oliver Cromwell
beginning August of 1640 in
against Owen Roe O'Neill, a nephew of Hugh O'Neill.
Owen commanded a
hundred officers from Catholic King Charles I of
in their invasion of
As a reward the Kyle brothers were awarded grants of land in
Tyrone and nearby counties in
around 1649 (However researcher Mr.
J. O'Hart searched the National Archives
land grant applications made by soldiers of the Commonwealth from
1650 onwards but
no Kyle names were found).
William Kyle's grave, still
visible under the pulpit of the local church, bears his statue with his
coat-of-arms and crest, “The Bloody Hand and Dagger."
William Kyle was a member of the Church of England although many Kyles were
Cromwell Bombards Drogheda, Ireland,1649
Cromwell, to his shame, presided
over a great slaughter when Drogheda fell as retribution for the 1641
Around this time, the last of the Kyles from around
Ayrshire, Scotland moved, to Co. Derry and the Kyle name has since become numerous there, especially in Derry and Antrim.
The descendents of this group of 1649 Kyles, mostly Presbyterians,
got caught in later religious disputes between themselves and Irish members
of the Church of England who, in the 1660’s through the early 1700’s
controlled the Irish Parliament.
Another group of Kyles, settled in Tyrone, possibly before the 1649
dispersing of lands by Oliver Cromwell.
In one of the Churches in
a monument to a Kyle has a “Cross and an Urn” on it, which was the usual
symbol indicating a crusader in search of the Holy Grail. In 1759 a monument
was erected in the wall of
carved in stone dedicated by John Kyle to his brother Robert Kyle that
KYLE Coat of Arms
(three candles) with a crest of an arm and dagger, motto "Faith Fears Not."
The Parliament enacted a series of laws causing much difficulty for Irish
Presbyterians. Among them were the Act of 1662 that required all to conform
to the rites of the Episcopal Church. Other laws enacted during the
reign of Queen Ann (1704-1714) deprived Presbyterians the right to hold
required all to pay tithes to support the Episcopal clergy; declared
illegitimate the children of any marriages but those performed by a Roman
Catholic or Episcopal minister, etc.
The result of this series of hardships for many Presbyterians, including many of the
Kyle family, was migration to the then colonies, often
Pennsylvania. During the 18th century more than 200,000 Ulster-Scots
Presbyterians left for the new world.
Another group of early Kyles from Ayrshire in
settled in Camnish,
arriving in the latter part of the reign of Charles II. Many of their progeny followed the migration to
This group numbers among their ancestors Samuel Moore Kyle, born in 1770,
who became Bishop of Cork and Ross and, as Bishop a member of the House of Lords. Although he was born and reared a Presbyterian,
he joined the Church of England and became a minister. Although the
Bishop of Cork, he lived primarily in
and was in charge of
College where the "Kyle Prize" for Gaelic is still awarded annually to this
(see Burke’s Landed Gentry of
Bishop Kyle died in 1848; his son, also named Samuel, became Arch-deacon of
Samuel Moore Kyle, Bishop of Cork and Ross
Sir William Emmet Kyle (sometimes spelled Kile in the
records) was notable. Born in the Craig of Kyle – a mountain town – in
in 1752, he married Ann Gibson and was sent with his regiment to Tyrone
County Ireland in 1785. After action ended, he took up his residence in that
county. He was knighted “Sir William the Belt,” meaning, the brave.
------ Notable Southern Families, Volume V, pg 57
The migrations of Irish to the colonies in the late 1600’s and 1700’s
were accelerated by English tariffs against Irish woolens and linens,
enacted to protect the English textile industry, culminating in 1698 with a
law forbidding Irish to make woolens and linens even for Irish-only use.
The stream of Irish or Scotch-Irish to
the Americas and Australia
included Kyles from all branches.
Other Derivations of Kyle Name
Most Scots/Irish Kyles probably
trace their name to the ancient Kyle District of Scotland. In those simpler
days a person was often referred to by his residence ie "John of Kyle."
The system was widespread in the middle ages.
Adam de Balfour would come from Balfour in Fife ( Balfour:= settlement at
the mouth of the Ore, where the river Ore flows in to the river Leven),
William de Couper would come from the Royal Burgh of Cupar. These
territorial names became permanent surnames.
--- Territorial Designations,
the correct form, by Stuart Morris of Balgonie, yr.
In Kyle itself, the origin of the name
traditionally attributed to King Cole.
In addition to
the local tradition in Kyle, Ayrshire that the name derives from Old King
Cole (aka Coelius), there are a number of other possible derivations of the same
phonetic name as follows:
Surnames of the United Kingdom identifies the name and its major
variants of Keil, Kile, or Kyle, as being of Celtic origin from the word
Coal “narrow.” It defines it as “Dweller at the Narrow or Strait”. Even
today many Scottish straits retain that name i.e. the “Kyle” of Lochash,
"Kyle" of Sutherland, etc.
PLAY "KYLES OF
BUTE." (As an aside, there are actually no "Kyles," meaning
"narrows" or "straights," in the District of Kyle, Ayrshire.)
might have stemmed from European forms (Kyle from Sweden, Kehl, Keil, Keyl, Coil, Kail from
German and Dutch families; Kuyle from Flemish).
Robert Chalmers of Ayrshire in his History of Scotland, said the word Kyle
means “a woody region.”
connection is that in Gaelic Cill means 'church, churchyard'
claims that “kylle” in old
R.A. Kyle of Belfast contends the name derives from the Anglo-Saxon "Cil"
meaning "Ship" and is related to the names "Kail" and "Kaile."
In Modern Welsh (the language closest to the ancient Brythonic language of Kyle), Coel
means "Omen or Belief." Coelio means "to Believe or Trust."
asserts that the Irish Gaelic equivalent of Kyle is Mac Suile, and
claims this to be corroborated by the summary of returns of local
registrars, published by Matheson in 1901, where it is recorded that in the
Ballycastle district (Co. Antrim) “Kyle” and “MacSuile” were used as
synonyms by members of the same family.
Coyle, a not
uncommon surname in Co. Cavan Ireland, derives from the Irish name Mac
Giolla Chomgaill, or “Son of the Devotee of St. Comhghal”--
Comhghal (pronounced Cowal) being a two-fisted priest of the 7th
Century who founded Bangor Abbey, at one time the largest monastery in
Ireland. (Comhghal also accompanied the better-known St. Columba on his trip
to convert the Picts and confront the Loch Ness Monster.) The same name is
sometimes anglicized as MacIlhoyle or MacCool.
There is a phonetic similarity to the word
"kyloe" also "kyley;" one of the small long-horned breed of Highland cattle (Old English cy-leah – cow pasture) – Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology – contributed by Roland Symons.
'Kyles' was a form of skittles (bowling) and some might have been
given the name as a nickname. The game is apparently quite old as there are two 14th century manuscripts which show a game called club Kayles-- from the French "quilles" or skittles
see The Battle Of Sherramuir.
Sorbie Pages and
The name Coelestius or Caelestius was a common first name in the Late
Roman Empire among Christians meaning "Heavenly." One Coelestius,
a Roman educated Briton was the instigator of the Pelagian heresy at
the time of King Cole. PF Turner in "The Real King Arthur" postulates this as King Cole's
was a well known Roman Family or “Gens” called
Coelius (aka Caelius) for which,
see discussion below under Old King Cole.
In Ireland the Kyle- names are from either Ir. cill, a chapel, or
coill, a wood. Source: Surnames of The United Kingdom- a Concise
Etymological Dictionary; by Henry Harrison; page 258.
A game of Kyles, with trophy in readiness,
pictured at Burnbank in 1883