This is a famous Scottish clan surname. It is locational from the barony of Ruthven in the former county of Angus. In the ancient charters of Scotland, the original family were recorded in the register of the abbey of Scone as being witnesses to various transfers of land by the royal family of Scotland in the years between 1125 and 1150. Interestingly all the early personal names such as Thor and Swein are Scandanavian, showing the influence of Danish-Viking settlers in the region. The first of the clan to have held the title of 'de Ruthven', was Swan de Ruthven in the year 1211. It would seem that Swan was a transposed spelling of Swein, although as both were early personal names this is not certain. He held the lands of Crauford in Clydesdale. A later Ruthven rendered homage to John Balliol in 1296, and later presumably to King Robert, the Bruce in 1306, although this is not certain. In the year 1600 the Ruthvens like the MacGregors, associated themselves with rebellion against the crown and were 'banned for ever', being forbidden to ever use the name again. This was repealed in 1641, making it lawful for 'the Ruthvens of Ballingdean, and their bairns and posterity to assume the surname, as if the Act of 1600 had not been made against them'.
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