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Posted: 28-Oct-2006, 06:54 PM
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Background: Many people do not realize that Young is the 15th most common surname in Scotland. The Book of Surnames notes that Young is more popular in Edinburgh, than in any other city in the world. One person of every 185 people in that city bears this name in Edinburgh and Glasgow comes a close second.

These Border ruffians, or reivers as they were known, were wild lance-slung men in iron caps and leather coats, riding north and south on their ponies, looking for other men's cattle. The Scottish Kings rarely had much control over this unruly lot, but they often relied upon them when trouble broke out. The Borderers thus, lived a separate existence from that of those in the rest of the kingdom. With constant war or raiding, it is no wonder that there was little love lost between the Border English and Scots. In the near by town of Jedburgh, for instant, a game developed called 'Jedhart Hand-ba' which was said to have been played with the heads of slain Englishmen.

The first written records of a Young on the Border dates from the year 1335 when Roger Yung, a Scottish gentleman, was released by the English from the Tower of Berwick. Moneypenny's Chronicle published in 1597 and 1603 clearly lists the Youngs as one of the Border Clans of Scotland. The Youngs were engaged in blood feuds with the English Border Wardens, such as Sir Robert Carey, as well as the English Selby, Heron, Ogle, and Collingwood families. In 1596, Carey wrote of his greatest challenge, "This country has become almost slaves to the Scots, and dare do nothing displeasing to them. If the country rise upon them when they are stealing in England, and either kill one by chance, or take him ‘with the bloody hand,’ delivering him to the officer for execution, ‘if they be but foote lownes and men of no esteame amongst them,’ it may pass unrevenged: but if he is of a surname, ‘as Davyson, a Younge, a Burne, a Pringle or Hall or any thei make accompt of,’ then he who killed or took him is sure himself, and all his friends (specially those of his name) is like, ‘dearly to by yt,’ for they will have his life or of 2 or 3 of his nearest kinsmen, in revenge of their friends so killed or taken stealing here. ..."

Although the name Young was common in other areas, there is nowhere we find a greater concentration of Youngs than in East Roxburgh. They were especially numerous in the Bowmont Valley, south of Yetholm, where they hailed from eight or more estates on both sides of the Bowmont Water. They also held a number of keeps, or peel towers as they were called. These included the towers of Barnhills, Hoselaw, Waterside, and Moss.

The Youngs of Otterburn were the "chief riders" of their name and the leaders of numerous raids on English strongholds such as Wark and Harbottle Castles. It was an Otterburn Young who led his small band of men to boldly harry an advancing English army in the early 1500s, capturing their commander’s chaplain and almost the capturing the English commander himself.

The Youngs may not have been a large clan, but estimates show they could muster between 200-400 armed men. They were part of the notorious reiving fraternity and the records contain an extensive list of raids led by various 'Yonges', including Blackhall Jock, Hobb of the Bog, Hob the Gun, Tom the Gun and many others. They defended their homes against the English raiders and armies, as well. Sir James and Dand Young, for instance, where both recorded as killed in defense of their towers "for they would not yield" to the English.

Variations: Og, Ogg, Juvenis, Jung, Young, Yhong, Yong, Yonge, Yhonge, Yunge, Yhung, Yowng, Ywng, Zowng, Zong, Zhong, Zung, Zeung, Zoonge, Tarno

More Info: http://heraldry.celticradio.net/search.php?id=71

Discussion of this family is welcomed.


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Wallace MacArthur
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