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Rowell/Rowle/Rule and Turnbull were accepted by CDSNA as septs and allied families in July 2012.

Other names associated with the family: De Rollo, De Rue, De Rule, Rule, Ruhl, Rewel, Rowle, Rouley

Variations: Turnball, Trimble, Trimbell, Trumbell, Trumbill, Turnbul, Turnbell, Trommel, Turnbow

The following information is from Electric Scotland and describes the Rule/Turnbull relationship:

This information kindly provided by Sandy Turnbull of Australia

Hector Boece in his History of Scotland, tells of the legend that William Rule saved King Robert Bruce (Robert the Bruce) by wrestling a charging bull to the ground in the Caledon woods. As a reward for his feat, William was awarded rich lands and became known thereafter as TURN-E-BULL.

Although there is a counter-claim that Turnbull is a derivation of Tumbald, meaning ‘Strong and Bold’, the name had never been recorded before 1315, when a charter granted William Turnebull estates in Philliphaugh, located on the Scottish/English border. From this time, mention of the Rules diminished and the new name of Turnbull rose.

One of the more infamous of the Turnbull clan was John, lord of Minto, nicknamed “out with the sword” because of his fiery temperament. He was taken prisoner in 1399, and imprisoned in the tower of London until 1413. He was later killed supporting the French in 1424 during the battle of Cravat.

William Turnebull, on the other hand, lost his life in 1333 at the battle of Halidon Hill. Historians tell of how he stood before the English army, with a mastiff dog by his side, challenging any of the English to single combat. Sir Robert Benhale, an English Knight accepted, slaying the dog, removing one of William’s arms followed by his head.

The Turnbulls became well known for their misdoing and their name frequently appears in Pitcairns Criminal Trials. Their reputation for unruliness and disrespect for authority was so great, that in 1510 two hundred Clansmen were arrested by officers of King James IV and forced to stand before him wearing linen sheets, swords in hands and halters around their necks. Some of them were eventually hanged while others were imprisoned.

The mercenary tactics of King James caused many of the Clan to flee. Some went to Europe and joined mercenary bands, while others went further North.

The Turnbull castles comprised of Barnshill, built in the sixteenth century near the base of Minto Crags and Bedrule, in the Rule Valley which was destroyed by the English in 1545. They also held Fulton Tower, on the right of of the Rule Water and Minto Estates. These lands eventually came in possession of the Elliots.

The Turnbulls owned Philiphaugh estates in the Ettrick Forest for 300 years. The Murrays aquired part of these lands through marriage, followed by the remaining lands in 1572 when the last of the Turnbull Chiefs died. Today there are an estimated 750,000 Turnbulls throughout the World.

In a Turnbull Family history found at Tosczak.com, is found,

Further back in history, the Turnbull's were know as "de Rule" or "Roule", from the Rulewater area where they were already present in the 13th Century. and they were probably of French or Anglo-Norman origin like many other families throughout Central and Southern Scotland.

William de Rule, a friend and hunting companion of Robert the Bruce and Sir James Douglas, is said to have acquired his new name, and quite a lot of land to go with it, through a remarkable incident a year after Bannockburn. While hunting near Callander, King Robert de Bruce was suddenly charged by a wild white bull and de Rule, a massive and fearless man, seized the bull by the horns and twisted its neck round, thus killing it and saving the King. For this he was rewarded with a grant of land and the name of Turnebull (turn ye bull); the name of de Rule disappears from the records about that time, which seems to show the story is genuine.

Scot’s Connection gives the following history for the Turnbull Clan:

History of Clan Turnbull:

In the 14th century, William of Rule, a Borders man, saved the life of Robert the Bruce when he was attacked by a wounded bull. He was well rewarded and thereafter was known as Turnbull.
The Rule Water, home of the Turnbulls, was a baronial possession of the House of Douglas, so often in conflict with the ruling House of Stewart. By 1510, the Turnbulls had become so resistant to the authority of James IV that he decided to make an example of them and 200 members of the family were summoned to appear before him wearing linen sheets, swords in hands and halters around their necks. Some were hanged and others imprisoned.

In the following century, the unsettled character of the Borders continued and caused James VI and I to instruct his Wardens to use 'hostile feud in hostile manner against all malefators.' A large scale dispersal began at this time, especially after the Chiefly branches of Bedrule and Minto became financially broken and quantities of clansmen sailed to the Carolinas, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland

The Turnbulls had owned the Philiphaugh Estates in the Ettrick Forest for 300 years. The Murrays acquired part of the lands through marriage, then all of them after the last of the direct Turnbull line died in 1572.

Wiliam Turnbull (c.1410-54) was Archdeacon of Lothian and became Bishop of Glasgow in 1447. He obtained the go-ahead for the foundation Glasgow University. Sir Winton Turnbull (1899-1980) was born in Hamilton, Victoria, of Scottish descent, and became a prominent Australian politician. Stanley Clive Perry Turnbull (1906- 1975) was born in Glenorchy, Tasmania and became a distinguished Australian author.

From the selection above, it can be seen that the Turnbulls enjoyed a close association with the Douglases.  The association is further documented by Fraser in The Douglas Book with two records of the Douglas lords.  The first, a Bond of Service described in abstract as…

214. Bond of Service by Sir Thomas Turnbull of Bedrule, knight, Walter Turnbull his son, John Turnbull of Mynto, and others of their surname, binding themselves and their friends, for the favour and maintenance already received from Archibald, eighth Earl of Angus, and to be bestowed on them by him, to serve his Lordship faithfully in all his just actions against all except his Majesty the King. Dalkeith, 25th December 1574,

The actual text of the Bond states…

214. Bond of Service by Sir Thomas Turnbull of Bedrule, and others of his name and friendls, to Archibald, eighth Earl of Angus. 25th December 1574.

Be it kend till all men be thir present letters, Ws, Thomas Turnbull of Bedroule, knight, and Walter Turnbull my sonne, Johnne Turnbull of Mynto, George Turnbull of Halrowll, William Turnbull of Bernhillis and vtheris, oure kin and freindis, vndersubscriuand, that, forsamekle as oure forbearis of a langtyme hes servit and dependit vpoun the hous and erlis of Angus, as oure kyndlie gude lordis, resaving of thame greite fauoure, gudwill and mantenance in all oure and thair honest and lauchfull causis, quhairfore, and in respect of the like fauoure, gudewill and mantenance, already experimentit and found toward ws, oure kin and freindis, be the noble and michtie lord Archibald, now erll of Angus, lord Douglas and Abirnethy, and of large benefites and gude dedis bestowit and to be bestowit be him and be his procurement upoun ws, to be bundin and oblist, and, be the tennour heirof, faithfullie bindis and oblissis ws, that we, be our selffis, oure kin and freindis of oure surnames, and all that will do for ws, sail trewlie serve the said erll, ryd and gang, and tak anfald, trew and plane part with him in the avancement and furthsetting of oure souerane lordis seruice, and in his awin honorable and gude actionis and causis quhatsumeuir, aganis all that leif or dee may, oure souerane lord and his auctoritie allanerlie exceptit, and sail anfaldlie and trewlie ryse, concur and assist togidder in the said seruice, and nevir knaw the skaith, hurt or displeasoure of the said erll quhairof we sail nocht, with all possible speid, gif him warning, and stop and impeid the same at oure vttermaist, as we will answer to God vpoun oure trewth and honestie, and vnder the pane of reproche and infamy for euir : In M'itnes heirof, we haue subscriuit this oure band and faithfull promise M-ith oure handis as followis, at Dalkeith, the xx\- day of December, the zeir of God Im vc thre scoir, fouretene zeris, befoir thir witnesis, Johnne Carmichaell, zounger of that ilk, Eichard Eutherfurd, prouest of Jedburgh, Mr. Johnne Provand, prebendar of Colsy, with vtheris diners. Thomas Trunbull of Beddrowll, knycht. George Turnbull of Halroule, and Johnne Tutinbull of Mynto. William Turnbull of Bernehillis, witht our handis at the pen led by James Millar, notar, at our commandis, because we can nocht write.

Ita est, Jacobus Millar, notarius, de mandatis dictorum Joannis, Georgii et Willelmi Turnbull, scribere nescientium, vt affirmauerunt.

Further evidence of association with and service to the Douglases is given by Fraser:

451. Charter by Archibald Earl of Angus, lord of Douglas and Abirnethy, and of the lordship and regality of .Jedburgh Forest, granting to his well-beloved old tenant David Turnbull of Wauchop in liferent or frank tenement for all the days of his life, and to Hector Turnbull, his son and heir apparent, and his heirs heritably, all and sundry the twenty pound lands of Wauchop of old extent, with castle, tower, fortalice, and mill thereof and their pertinents, lying in the said lordship and regality of Jedburgh Forest and sheriffdom of Roxburgh, which the said David and his predecessors formerly held heritably of the Earl and his predecessors ; to be held to the said David in liferent. Hector, his son and apparent heir, and his heirs, of the Earl and his successors, in fee and heritage for ever, for rendering the rights and services formerly due and wont. With clause of warrandice. Dated at Edinburgh 30 Januarj- 1551.

Witnesses, John Carmichael of that ilk, John Carmichael, younger, Captain of Craufurde, John Dowglas of Androschaw, Matthew Dowglas, John Wemis, William Dowglas of Brery-yardis, and William Turnbull, burgess of Edinburgh. Seal attached. A precept of sasine follows, same place and date, and subscribed Master of Angus." [Original Charter and Precept in Douglas Charter-chest.]

And finally, the Turnball tartan is identical to the Douglas of Roxburgh tartan.


Sources: Rowell/Rowle/Rule 

George F. Black. The Surnames of Scotland; 1946 New York Library; 1999 Birlinn Limited, Edinburgh; pp. 782

Turnbull. http://www.electricscotland.com/webclans/stoz/turnbul2.html

Turnbull Family. http://tosczak.com/turnbull.html


Sources: Turnbull

Fraser, William. The Douglas Book: In Four Volumes. Burlington, Ont: TannerRitchie Pub. in collaboration with the Library and Information Services of the University of St. Andrews, 2005. Internet resource.

Turnbull Clan. http://www.scotsconnection.com/clan_crests/Turnbull.htm

Turnbull Clan Association. http://www.turnbullclan.com/tca/index.php/history/septs.html

Turnbull Tartan. http://www.tartanregister.gov.uk/tartanDetails.aspx?ref=4161