This Olde Scottish surname known heraldically as 'Skirving and all that Ilk' is recorded today in the spellings of Skirving, Skirvin, and Skirven. The name is locational and derives from a place called 'The Lands of Skirvane', in East Lothian. The nameholders are descendants of a long and honourable history. It is said that 'Black Jack' Skirving bore the standard of the Earl Marshal of Scotland at the Battle of Flodden in 1513, and prevented its capture by the English against all odds. Less fortunate was William Skirving, who, in 1793, was sentenced to fourteen years transportation for being secretary of the 'Friends of the People', an organisation considered by the government to be seditious. Early examples of church recordings include Margarett Skirvin christened at Edinburgh Parish Church on July 27th 1699, whilst on the 28th of November 1709, Charles Skirving married Jane Darling at St. Dunstans Church, Stepney, London. It is recorded that Adam Skirving, an East Lothian farmer wrote the song 'Tranent Muir', but was actually wrongly credited with 'Hey, Johnnie Cope', a popular song of the '45 still known today. The coat of arms has the blazon of a gold field, charged with three palets in red, surmounted by a blue chevron engrailed, charged with three gold buckles. The crest is a hand holding a buckle, and the motto 'Fit inde firmior', translating as 'Hence it is made firmer', a reference it is said to the grip that 'Black Jack' kept on the shaft of the standard. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Margaret Skirving, which was dated June 23rd 1597, married John McCredie at Midlothian, during the reign of King James VI, of Scotland 1567 - 1625. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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