Scotland in the 11th Century
The Early Livingstons

    The information on this page represents a compilation of material kindly shared by the following Livingston descendants:  Nell Livingston Blay, Steven R. Edington, Helen Hanson, Don C.
Livingston, Robert Livingston, W. Darcy McKeough, Sewell Vincent Sample, Joe Slavin, John P. Stewart and Carma Kathleen Wallace.

    Other sources include:

Baron de Leving

        Edward the Atheling or “Royal Prince” (1016 – 1057) was the eldest son of King Edmund (II) Ironside of England.  He fled to Hungary during the reign of Canute (1016 – 1035) where he married Agatha of Hungary.  Their daughter, St. Margaret the Exile, was born in Hungary in 1045.  After the death of her father in 1057, St. Margaret arrived at the English court of Edward the Confessor.  With her, according to legend, came the forebearer of the Livingstons: a nobleman named Baron de Leving. Ten years later  following the defeat of Harold Godwinson at Hastings in 1066, St. Margaret was in exile again. This time, she fled to Scotland, and Baron de Leving accompanied her; or so the story goes.  St. Margaret married King Malcolm (III) Cænmore of Scotland in 1068, and was canonised in 1250.  Her feast day in Scotland is November 16.  Click on St. Margaret for more about this remarkable queen.

    Perhaps Baron de Leving (or more likely his forebearer) accompanied Edward the Atheling into exile in the early 11th century;  for as Mr. E.B. Livingston argues so convincingly in The Livingstons of Callendar, Baron de Leving was doubtless of Saxon lineage.  Mr. Livingston states:

“. . . in England, long before the Norman Conquest, the patronymic Leving, Living or Lyfing, derived from Leofing, which in modern English means ‘the son of Leof’  – namely ‘son of the Beloved’ – was borne by numerous persons of rank and positon as their family or tribal name. It occurs as early as the middle of the ninth century as the name of one of the witnesses to a charter of Berthwulf of Mercia; and the Archbishop of Canterbury who crowned Edmund Ironside in 1016, and who likewise crowned his rival and successor Canute a few months later, also bore that name.  So did another famous Saxon churchman, the Bishop of Crediton and Worster, and the friend of Earl Godwine, who has come to us in the words of the old Saxon chronicler as ‘Lyfing se wordsnotera biscop,’ namely ‘Living the eloquent bishop’. Besides these two great churchmen, there are many other persons bearing this name mentioned in, or witness to, Anglo-Saxon charters; one of these Levings or Livings being the Staller or Master of the Horse to Edward the Confessor.”

Highland Livingstones

    Although the earliest of the Highland Livingstones were from the Isle of Lismore in the centre of Loch Linne off the coast of Western Scotland and were perhaps of a different origin from the Lowland Livingstons, Robert Livingston wrote on June 11, 2003:  "I think there is a very good possiblity that he (Baron de Leving) was instead a highlander with close family ties to the Mac an Ollaimhs of Lismore. My reason for suggesting this is because I have come across several references to 'Leven" or "Levin'". For further details of this exciting development as well as information on the Livingston DNA project, please visit:

Robert Livingston's
The Livingstones of Argyll and the Isles

Ancient Livingstons

Some of the dates in this following chart suggest that the lineage may be incomplete; 
some generations may be missing.

However, the Story of the Livingston Family begins, as do many families, with a legend:  the Saxon or Hungarian or perhaps Highland Scottish nobleman Baron de Leving.

Baron de Leving
circa 1057
Legend tells us that Baron de Leving accompanied St. Margaret the Exile when she arrived at the Court of St. Edward the Confessor in 1057.  It has been suggested that Baron de Leving, or more likely his forebear, accompanied the family of Edward the Atheling (St. Margaret's father) when they were forced to flee England following the victory of Canute over Edmund Ironside (St. Margaret's grandfather) in 1016.

Baron de Leving had a son:

  • Leving
Legend tells us that Leving's father was Baron de Leving and his son was Leving de Levingstoun.
Leving had a son:
  • Leving of Levingstoun
Leving of Levingstoun
circa 1100
(Shown in E.B. Livingston: The Livingstons of Callendar, p. 3 & 4)
Leving settled in West Lothian, southwest of Edinburgh during the reign of King Edgar (1097 – 1107) and is also known to have been there during the reign of King Alexander I (1107 – 1124) and King David I (1124 – 1153).  It is from Leving that we get the name "Leving's Town' or 'Livingston'. His name was recorded in the latinized form “Levingus” when he presented the church of his manor to the newly founded Abbey of Holyrood in 1128.

Leving of Levingstoun had the following children:

  • Thurston of Levingstoun
  • Hugh of Balbard in Fife
  • German, Burgess of St. Andrews in Fife
Thurston of Levingstoun
circa 1150
(Shown in E.B. Livingston: The Livingstons of Callendar, p. 3)
In 1187, two of Thurston’s sons, Alexander and William, witnessed a charter in which Thurston was involved.

Thurston of Levingstoun had the following children:

  • Alexander of Livingston
  • William the Lion of Livingston
  • Henry, who married Maria de Scalebroc
Alexander of Livingston who was known to have been living during the reign of King David I (1124 – 1153)
(Shown in E.B. Livingston: The Livingstons of Callendar, p. 5)
Alexander Livingston is said by Sir Bernard Burke in A Genealogical History of the dormant, abeyant, forfeited and extinct peerages of the British Empire, London, 1866) to have had the following son:
  • Sir William Livingston
Sir William Livingston who is said by Sir Bernard Burke in  A Genealogical History of the dormant, abeyant, forfeited and extinct peerages of the British Empire, London, 1866) to have been living during the reign of King William I the Lion (1165 – 1214)

Sir William Livingston is said to have had the following children, but the dates suggest strongly that a generation or two may be missing:

  • Sir Archibald de Livingston (died 1313) was the founder of the Livingstons of Linlithgow and Stirling, but the main line became extinct in 1512.  He was Sheriff of Linlithgow in 1302 and Sheriff of Linlithgow and Stirling in 1303. Sir Bernard Burke wrote that Sir Archibald was the next in this line, and the father of Sir William Livingston who fought against the English at Halidon Hill, July 19th, 1333 and died in 1339. However, on pages 7 and 8 of The Livingstons of Callendar (Edinburgh University Press, 1920), Mr. E. B. Livingston clearly refutes this and other errors by Sir Bernard Burke.  As well, Mr. Livingston outlines the known descendants of Sir Archibald on pages 8 and 9 of The Livingstons of Callendar until the death of Master Bartholomew de Livingston in 1512 when the lands were distributed among his three sisters or their heirs as his next of kin.
  • Sir Andrew de Livingston, brother of Sir Archibald de Livingston and forebear of the Livingstons of Callendar, was slain in 1297 during the revolt led by Sir William Wallace. Sir Andrew married and Lady Elene de Quarantley they had a son:
    • Sir William Livingston who fought against the English at Halidon Hill, July 19th, 1333 and died in 1339.

For the continuation of this line, see Sir Andrew de Livingston