The actual name 'Irvine' is an Old English personal name. But the origin of the surname is territorial, from Irving, an old parish in Dumfriesshire (though the families of this part prefer the spelling 'Irvine'). There is another parish in Ayrshire of the same name, which undoubtedly produced some families of Irvine. The well-known Aberdeenshire family of Irvine of Drum descends from William de Irvine who obtained the free barony of Drum in 1324. Sir Alexander of Drum fell at Harlaw, in 1411. In 1587, an Act of Parliament recognised the Irvings of Boneshaw as 'chief family of the name'. There have been many members of the family distinguished in every walk of life. In the arts, Washington Irving, the famous American author, was son of an Orkney man, and one of the finest actors of modern times was Sir Henry Irving.
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