Moir (surname)

Moir - [MOY-er] is a surname of Scottish origin, and is part of the Clan Gordon of the Scottish Highlands. The name in its present form dates from the 14th century, and means "brave, renowned, mighty" in the Scots Gaelic dialect. The Moirs mostly hail from the Aberdeen and Glasgow areas of Scotland.[1] Four generations of Moirs were active members of the Burgesses & Guild Brethren of Glasgow, 1751-1846.[2]

The earliest Moir of record was one Adam de la More. In 1213, King John of England sent Adam de la More to the King of Scotland with a gift of gyrfalcons. It looks as if he, and perhaps others of his name settled in Scotland.

In the County of Rubislaw, Gilchrist More was one of the Barons who swore fidelity to Edward I in 1296. Gilcrist More is said to have incurred the wrath of Sir Walter Cumyn but later married his daughter and secured lands of Rowallan Castle near Kilmarnock in Ayershire. Gilcrist's granddaughter, Elizabeth Mure of Rowallan married the future King Robert II in 1346.[3] The heiress of Polkellie, Janet More, in the time of David II married Sir Adam Muir of Rowalian.[4]

By the end of that century, when Edward I was dealing with the Scots about succession of the Scottish Crown, there were a considerable number of De la Mores, including an Adam de la More in Ayrshire and Lanarkshire.[5]

A century later, when the Laird of Rowallan gets a confirmation charter from King Robert the Third, he is designated Sir Adam More, Knight; but it is in the same year (1391) that the first transmuta- tion of the name takes place into "Mure," in a charter of pension granted to the King's uncle Andrew Mure, he being a brother of Elizabeth More of Rowallan. After this date, the common spelling of the name is Muir or Mure.[6] Reginald (or Ranald) de la More was a Knight for Robert I of Scotland (Robert the Bruce). King Robert made de la More Chamberlain of Scotland in 1329. He held the office until his death in 1341. The Bruce gave his Chamberlain de la More considerable estates in various parts of Scotland, one being that of Abercorn in Linlithgow; another being the Thanage of Formartyn, which included a greater part of Aberdeenshire. One of the Chamberlain's sons was Sir William More of Abercorn, and another was Gilchrest More.[7]

Robert the Bruce and Reginald de la More were Templars when in 1307 King Phillippe le Bel of France arrested and had executed many Knights in Paris. Two years later the Pope excommunicated Robert the Bruce reportedly for murdering John Comyn in a Scottish church. The Pope then went on to excommunicate all of the Bruce's noblemen. Finally, the entire realm of Scotland went under papal interdict. The pope's actions left the Catholic churches of Scotland free to support the Templars. As a result a substantial number of Knights sought refuge in Scotland. When Robert the Bruce died in 1329, having never served God on a Crusade, he left commands that his heart be taken on a Crusade.

Sir Kenneth de la More (Kenneth Moir) in the spring of 1330 rode out with Sir James Douglas carrying the Bruce's heart encased in a silver casket locket on a chain. With them went Sir Simon Locard of Lee (Lockharts of Lee), Sir William Borthwick, Sir William de Keith, Sir William de St. Clair and his younger brother John of Rosslyn (eldest brothers of Henry I Sinclair, Earl of Orkney), Sir Alan Cathcart (Clan Cathcart) and the brothers Sir Robert Logan of Restalrig and Sir Walter Logan (Clan Logan).[8]

Sir Kenneth stopped in Sluys, Flanders where they were joined by more Knights Templars. Alfonso XI of Castile sought assistance against the Muslims ( Moors ) of the kingdom of Granada led by Muhammed IV, Sultan of Granada. The Knights travelled 2,000 kilometers to Seville and offered their support to Alfonso for his Crusade to rid the Iberian Peninsula of non-Christians.

On 25 August 1330 southeast of Seville in a saddle high above the river the Knights came to Teba in Andalusia. There, three thousand of Muhammed IV's cavalry made a feigned attack on the Christian. The great body of his army took a circuitous route to fall, unexpectedly, upon the rear of Alfonso's camp. With the Christian troops otherwise engaged, the Templar Knights face overwhelming odds. Templar Knights do not retreat and Sir James gave the order to charge. Sir James Douglass, Sir William St. Clair, Sir John de St. Clair, Sir Robert Logan and Sir Walter Logan died in battle.

Sir Kenneth survived to oversee preparations for transport home of the fallen Templar Knights. This included the scrubbing clean of bones. He returned the Scottish Knights to their family homes. For his extraordinary bravery and for might when faced with overwhelming odds, Sir Kenneth was named Moir. Sir Simon Locard for returning the heart of the Bruce to Melrose Abbey was named Lockhart.

The earliest Moir armorial bearing, the family crest of the Moirs, depicts a shield beset with laurels under a knight's helmet. Larger than the helmet above is a skull scrubbed clean with two leg bones saltire proper in a cross to represent the fallen knight. The two bones form the cross of St. Andrew's, a saint martyred on a tipped cross. Below the knight's helmet are three Moor heads in the their gore cut proper with blood dripping arranged in a perfect triangle. The Moor's head is one of the most mysterious symbols in Christian heraldry. Pope Benedict XVI, the current pope, has placed the Moor's head on his own coat of arms. The Moir crest is not that of triumphant victor. Instead it is grim memorial to fallen warriors.

According to The British herald; or, Cabinet of armorial bearings of the nobility, the Moir's family motto is Virtute, non aliter - By virtue, not otherwise[9]

Alternate spellings of the name Moir include More, Moire and de la More. The names Moore, Moores and Mooers are related.

  1. ^ Moir, Alexander L.,. Moir genealogy and collateral lines : with historical notes. unknown: The author, c1913.
  2. ^ Scottish Record Society, edited by James R. Anderson. J. Skinner & Co., Ltd., Edinburgh, 1935
  3. ^ http://www.electricscotland.com/webclans/m/muir2.html
  4. ^ Andrew J. Mitchell-Gill, Houses of Moir and Byres quoted in Moir, Alexander L.,. Moir genealogy and collateral lines : with historical notes. Union Printing Co, Lowell, MA,1913.
  5. ^ Moir, Alexander L.,. Moir genealogy and collateral lines : with historical notes. unknown: The author, c1913.
  6. ^ Moir, Alexander L.,. Moir genealogy and collateral lines : with historical notes. Union Printing Co, Lowell, MA,1913.
  7. ^ Moir, Alexander L.,. Moir Genealogy and collateral lines : with historical notes. unknown: The author, Lowell, MA, 1913.
  8. ^ Sir Herbert Maxwell, History of the House of Douglas II Vols., London 1902
  9. ^ Thomas Robson, The British herald; or, Cabinet of amorial bearing of the nobility, c1830

Notable people named Moir

  • Alan Moir (born 1945) New Zealand-born Australian caricaturist and cartoonist
  • Alex Moir (1919–2000) New Zealand cricketer
  • Andrew Moir, Scottish radio journalist
  • Charles Moir, college basketball coach
  • Dallas Moir (born 1957) Maltese-born Scottish cricketer
  • Danny Moir, Canadian figure skater
  • David Macbeth Moir (1798–1851), Scottish physician and writer
  • Duncan Moir, Genius
  • Elizabeth Moir, British educationalist
  • Ellen Moir, American educator
  • Ian Moir, Australian rugby league player
  • Iona Moir, Highland Dancer
  • Jorden Moir, Canadian freestyle footbag player.
  • Jim Moir, real name of comedian Vic Reeves.
  • James Moir, BBC executive
  • John Moir (1915–1975), Scottish-born American professional basketball player
  • Joseph Moir (c. 1809–1874), Tasmanian businessman and builder
  • Margaret Moir, New Zealand politician
  • Monte Moir, musician
  • Peter Moir, Australian rugby footballer
  • Richard Moir (born 1950), Australian actor
  • Rob Moir, Canadian professor of economics
  • Scott Moir, Canadian figure skater
  • Sheri Moir, Canadian figure skater
  • Willie Moir, Scottish footballer

See also


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