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This ancient Norman name originates from the town of Coleville-Sur-Mer in Normandy, France. Meaning "Col" dark and swarthy and "ville" village or "Castle on the Hill." The Colville name first is noted in Scotland, as receiving the Baronies of Ochiltree, Heiton, and Oxnam in the tweltfh century by Philip De Coleuille. William De Colville was granted baronies of Oxnam and Heiton in Roxburghshire together with other lands in Ayrshire. William de Colville receive the barony of Kinnaird in Stirlingshire.
In 1174, Phillip De Colville was held as a hostage for the release of William the Lion under the Treaty of Falaise (1174). He apparently took up residence in Scotland and established the two noble lineage’s of Culross and Ochiltree.
Also noted in "The Magna Charta Sureties, 1215" - The Barons Named in the Magna Charta, Barons opposing the King: Robert de Coleville - (Coleville, Colville) and William de Coleville.
In 1296 Eustace, heiress of Sir William de Colville, along with her two brothers, Thomas and Adam, their chaplain-Symon De Spalding, married to Sir Reginald Cheyne of Inverugie who died about 1291. They all swore fealty to Edward I at Berwick. During the rule of Robert the Bruce, Eustace made an offer to the Monks of Melrose a grant of the Church and church lands of Ochiltree, this grant confirmed in 1342 by Robert De Colville of Oxnam and Ochiltree.
In 1244, the Dominican Friary of Villa Nova [Newtownards Priory] was founded by the Savage family. Destroyed by the Gaels [O'Neill's] in 1572, it was rebuilt in 1607 by Sir Hugh Montgomery. [The existing tower and belfry are of that period]. After falling into disrepair, a small church was built on the site by the Colville family and this was used as the parish church until the building of St. Mark's in 1817.
On August 20, 1405, Sir John De Colville and his wife Alice D'Arcy from Arncliffe, Dale, England, were beheaded at Durham. For what reason is not known at this time.
For many years the Colvilles had a friendly relationship with their neighbor the Laird of Auchinleck. Both castle were built on the banks of the Lugar river, but on opposite sides of the river.
In 1449, during the reign of James the 2nd of Scotland, the families of Ochiltree and Auchinleck had been on friendly enough terms, that a rope had been stretched from castle to castle across the Lugar River. Communications were often sent back and forth on the rope by means of a ring on which to attached the message. Often fights between the family occurred in the messages sent back and forth along the rope. The believed reason why Sir Richard Colville slew John Auchinleck, is said that Auchinleck sent to Ochiltree a wrapped parcel containing bones of a sheep head. The Colville's accepted this a an insult and all idea of friendship of years past was over. Now between the two families is what nothing but was. The Laird of Auchinleck at his time was going to pay a visit to his powerful friend, Lord William Douglas. When the Colville's learned of this information, the Ochiltree family sent Sir Richard, the oldest son to performed his act of revenge. With Sir Richard comrades in arms, he waited at a quite part of the road and attacked Auchinleck and his followers as he rode through. The Earl of Douglas did not wait for judge or jury when hearing of the attack, and took matters in his own hands and flew to avenge his friend. He leveled the Ochiltree Castle and put the castle to the ground and took Colville and his men to the sword.
Douglas, dragged his captive the Knight of Ochiltree along with him on his return journey along through Cumnock. The group was about to cross a stream when Sire Richard, remarked that an old witch had foresaw that he, himself would die at this very spot. Douglas fulfilled the prophecy by putting Colville to death at the very spot.
In turn, Douglas suffered for his acts and misdeeds by being stabbed to death in the heart by the King himself in Stirling Castle.
After this turned of events the Colville's choose a new site to rebuild and choose a spot further away from the Auchinleck Castle. They choose a stretch of land that filled the angled formation of the rivers Burnock and Lugar. This new Mansion house was built in 1450.
In 1498, Hugh Campbell of Loudon, Sheriff of Ayrshire also had a family feud existing between the Campbell house and the Colville's of Ochiltree. So the Campbell's had an advantage over the Colville due to the backup of his law officials. Sir William Colville appeal to the Royal Authority, to grant he and his tenants exemption from the jurisdiction of the Campbell sheriff.
This feud that started between the Colville's of Ochiltree and the Douglas's originated in 1449, which was kept up many years. In 1502 Robert and Henry Douglas we ordered to labor, occupy and restore the lands of Farnesyde and Hardane, because of the oppression against Sir William Colville, and for theft of oxen from Sir William Colville. Plus this wasn't the last they saw of punishment. In the same year John and William Douglas were convicted of oppression and convocation of the lieges upon Sir William Colville, basically murdering Colville. Along with there conviction was George Haliburton for the part of slaughter of Sir William Colville of Ochiltree.
In 1527, James Colville of Ochiltree granted rent of 40 pounds for payment of a Chaplain to officiate at St. Mary's altar in the church of Ochiltree.
In 1513, Sir Robert Colville, successor of William, was respected as a man of high character, and honored of his sovereign. He was the steward of Queen Margaret and master to the household of James the 4th. He was raised standard at the Cross of Ochiltree and gathered his men at arms, who had been called to support the King, and ride with him onto English ground. The all perished at Flodden field and died with the King.
In 1530, Sir James Colville transferred the barony of Ochiltree to Sire James Hamilton of Finnart and years later it was passed to Andrew Stewart, Lord Evandale.
In 1589, Sir James Colville received the charter of the Abbey of Culross and was created Lord Colville of Culross in 1604.
In 1675, Saddled by crippling debts after supporting the Royalist faction against Cromwell, the Montgomery's sold the Lordship and Manor of Newtown to Captain Robert Colville for the sum of 10,640 pounds sterling. In 1744, Robert Colville, under the influence of his mistress, sold Newtownards to Alexander Stewart for the sum of 42,000 pounds sterling.
In 1746, Honorable Charles Colville fought at the Battle of Culloden, commanding the 21st Regiment of Foot, and he obtained the rank of lieutenant general before his death in 1775.
Alexander Colville served in the navy, becoming a captain in 1744. He was promoted to the rank of commodore and given command of the Northumberland. He held the rank of Vice Admiral for a decade.
Between 1873-1903, Charles John, 1st Baron and 1st Viscount, was Lord Chamberlian to Queen Alexandra.
Between 1938-1940, David Colville, 1st Baron Clydesmuir, of Braidwood in Lanarkshire, was the Secretary of State for Scotland and also Governor of Bombay between 1943-1948.
Today, Lord Colville, Viscount Colville of Culross a member of the House of Lords, is currently the Clan Chieftain. The title is held by this family and Lord Colville (the 13th Lord Colville of Culross) gained the title in 1945.
In researching and throughout history the Colville's have a close connection with the Colvin's of Ireland
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