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History of the Skene Families of Aberdeenshire, Scotland

 

  My fascination with the history of the Skene name from Scotland has been going on for years now.  It wasn't until a few years ago, in 2000, that we actually found out that our Skene name was assumed, rather than passed on from our ancestors.  I must not have been the only one in our family so interested though, because my Great Aunt Mary Skene Day (granddaughter of  William Skene, 1841-1925) had collected post cards from the Loch of Skene and the Kirkton of Skene in Aberdeenshire, Scotland back sometime in the 1940's.

 

         

 

Shop, Kirkton of Skene

Loch of Skene

 

Skene Provost House, Aberdeen

 

My first cousin, Carol Galloway, along with her husband Terry made a visit to Aberdeen in May of 2001. 

She also visited these same sites along with others.

       

Shop, Kirkton of Skene

Loch of Skene

Skene Provost House, Aberdeen



So for any of you that are interested in the history of the Skene name...

 

 
According to the renowned William Forbes Skene (1809-1892), the lands of the Skene family were about ten miles west of Aberdeen.  Located there is the Loch of Skene, the Kirkton of Skene, the lands of Easter Skene and the Church of Skene.  These lands were placed into a barony (Skene of Skene) by King Robert Bruce in 1317 (and located in the Royal Forest of Stocket). 

The actual lands were described as starting from the Loch of Skene, "a considerable sheet of water, and on the north side of it extends the ancient barony of Skene.  It is bounded on the north by the parishes of Kinellar and Kintore, on the west by the parishes of Kinnernie, now annexed to Cluny, and Echt, and on the east by the freedom lands of Aberdeen.  The barony consisted of 2 distinct portions.  The western and larger portion contained the lands of the Maynes or Dominical lands of Skene, Hattown, Broomhill, Newton, Tearavell, Over and Nether Auchinlech, Craigdarg, Letter, Bervie, Easter and Wester Kimundie, Easter and Wester Carney, Fiddie, Mill of Keir, Ord, Blackhill, Graystone, Rodgerhill, and Broadiach.  The eastern and smaller portion, usually termed the lands of Easter Skene, consisted of the Kirkton of Skene, Liddach, Garlogie, and Millbuie.  On the former was situated the old tower of Skene, said by tradition to be the first built stone house in Mar.  It now forms the west wing of the House of Skene.  On Easter Skene was the Church of Skene, now a parish church, but formerly a vicarage, dependent upon the mother church of Kinkell." 

This is taken from:  Memorials of the Family of Skene of Skene, From the Family Papers with Other Illustrative Documents, edited by William Forbes Skene, D.C.L., L.L.D., Her Majesty's Historiographer For Scotland, Aberdeen, 1887.
 


 

 

 

 



 



 


 

 

   

 


I am just amazed at how many towns or villages still use the Skene name in them!

 

And Now for More History...

 

One version of how the Skene Barony came to be (and the most graphic one) given was:

"King Malcolm Kenmore, having defeat the Danes at Mortlich, which was then the Bishop's see, and killed the King of Denmark there, on his road south from Buttoch of Mortlich, being fiercely purshewed by a devouring woulfe in the wood of Culbleun, which then stretched itself from Breymar to the forest of the Stocket of Aberdeen, miles abov that town, a second son of Donald of the Isles, perceiving the fireceness of the woulfe with his open mouth coming upon the king, wrapt his plaid about his left arme, and thrust in his mouth, and interposed himselfe to the furie of the wyld beast rather than have his prince in hazard, and then, with his right hand, drew his Skene, and under his arme that was in the mouth of the woulfe, struck in his Skein at his head, and cut of his head and delivered to King Malcombe, for the quhilk Malcome gave him the lands of Skene, and caused him to be called Skene of yt ilk, as lykways the great Laik or Loch of Skene, being sax myles of circuit,..."

The description of the coat of arms:  "coat of arms helmed and flurished, relating to the valorous act, viz., 3 wolf's heads erazed upon the points of 3 Skeens, triumphant in a field of Gules; above the helmet ane naked hand holding a laurel branch, wt this motto, "Virtutis Regia Merces," which arms are registered in ye booke of Heraldry." 

This is taken from:  Memorials of the Family of Skene of Skene, From the Family Papers with Other Illustrative Documents, edited by William Forbes Skene, D.C.L., L.L.D., Her Majesty's Historiographer For Scotland, Aberdeen, 1887.






 

         

Coat of Arms on the Skene Castle House

 sgian (pronounced skene), dirk, dagger, or knife

 
     



 


 
 
 

Tartan

 

Crest

 

 

 

The symbolism with the Coat of Arms is as follows:

Wolf head:   Symbol of the Warrior
 
Sgian (dagger or dirk):    Military readiness
 
Dexter (right arm):    Industry
 
Laurel or garland:    Triumph
 
Red:    Magnanimity
 
Silver:    Sincerity
 
Gold:    Generosity

 

 

       

Shield

 

 

 
 

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