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Clan Auchinleck

☀☀ Officially registered clan, without a Clan Chief, registered with the Lord Lyon Court.

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  • Crest/Badge
  • Gaelic Name:
  • Motto: Pretiosum Quod Utile (What is useful is valuable)
  • Origin of Tartan:
  • Name Variations: Affleck, Auchinlec, Haghenlek, Aghleke, Achenleck, and Aathelek
  • Lands Barony of Auchinleck in Ayrshire.
  • Seat: Affleck Castle - historic seat.

The Auchinleck family are on record at Affleck Castle since 1306, and Affleck Castle (originally called Auchinleck Castle) also dates from the 14th century. The Auchinlecks held the property until sometime in the middle of the 1600s when it passed to the Reids. The castle is now unoccupied.

  • Clan Chief: None, armigerous clan

The above map shows the suggested locations of Angus and Ayrshire

Origins of the name

One theory about the origin of the name is that it is probably descriptive of their lands i.e. 'auchen' seems to be applied to areas of high land separating areas of water, while 'lech' may indicate dead in the sense of barren or sterile.

Historical references

Nicholas of Haghenlek recorded in 1292 is likely the same Nicol de Achithelege of the county of Are who rendered homage in 1296.

Patrick de Aghleke of Lanarkshire who also rendered homage in 1296 is again mentioned as Patrick de Achenlek , juror on inquest at Lanark in 1303. He is most likely the same Patrick de Auuynlec who witnessed resignation of the lands of Grenrvg around 1311.

The barony of Auchinleck is in Ayrshire, and in 1300 the Laird of Auchinleck is reputed to have followed Sir William Wallace to Glasgow where he fought and slew the Northumbrian Earl Percy.

There were also Afflecks in Angus, the first on record being John of Aghelek who paid homage in 1306.

In 1370 the lands of 'le Greynryg et de le Tathys' were resigned to Kelso Abbey by Adam de Aghynlek. Andrew Athelek and James Athelek of Scotland petitioned for safe conducts to travel in England in 1464.

The Angus Afflecks were hereditary armour bearers of the Earls of Crawford and lived in the tower known as Affleck near the village of Monikie. The tower passed out of the family hands but still stands. The family married into the distinguished family of Boswell, through one of the daughter of Sir John Auchinleck of that Ilk, and adopted the style 'of Auchinleck'. John Athlyk was burgess of Inverness in 1499.

In 1504, the Auchinleck family forfeited the land, and King James IV gave the land to Thomas Boswell from Baluto, Fife. The original structure was built sometime in the 1500's.

The family married into the distinguished family of Boswell, through one of the daughters of Sir John Auchinleck of that Ilk, and adopted the style ‘of Auchinleck’. The Auchinleck family had had a major feud with the Clan Colville in the 15th century. The Boswells acquired the lands of Auchinleck and were to become lawyers of great eminence. Robert Boswell became a High Court judge, assuming the title of ‘Lord Balmuto’.

Auchinleck People

  • James Boswell 9th Laird of Auchinleck the famous biographer of Samuel Johnson, was a member of this family.
  • General Sir Claude Auchinleck was commander in chief in India in 1941 when Winston Churchill assigned him to lead the Allied offensive in the western desert of Egypt and India.He led the British Eighth Army at the first Battle of El Alamein in 1942. The battle was indecisive and Auchinleck was replaced by Field Marshal Montgomery.

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