Select Lennox Surname Genealogy

The Lennox surname came from the place-name Lennox, originally Levenax, in lowland Scotland.  Those who held sway there became the Earls of Lennox.  Lennox sometimes lost an “n,” becoming Lenox, in its travels to America.

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ScotlandThe Celtic mormaers of Lennox in the ancient sheriffdom of Dumbarton gave way to the Earls of Lennox sometime in the 12th century.  The Lennox spelling did not become common until the 1500’s, however.  It was John de Levenax, for example, who was granted the safe conduit to England in 1400.

By that time these Earls had risen to be among the most powerful nobles in Scotland.  Malcolm, the 5th Earl, was one of the mainstays of Robert the Bruce in his struggle for Scottish independence.

However, they then conspired against the Scottish king and Donnchadh, the Earl at that time, was beheaded in 1425 at the age of eighty.  The title passed into other hands.
  • in 1488 it was the Stewarts of Darnley who assumed the title and took possession of the Lennox castle at Balloch in Dumbartonshire.
  • and in 1587 the title went to King James VI of Scotland, soon to be King James I of England.
A cadet line, the Lennoxes of Woodhead, assumed leadership of the line in Dumbartonshire.  Lennox Castle there remained with this family until 1927. 

An early history was Sir William Fraser’s 1874 book The Lennox. 

SW Scotland
.  The Lennox name extended to Kirkcudbright in SW Scotland when William Lennox (originally Levenax) became the first Lennox of Cally through marriage in the late 1400’s.  Their family seat was Plunton castle which they held until their male line died out in 1658.  Robert Lennox, a merchant from Kirkcudbright, emigrated to New York in 1784.

.  There was some spillover of Lennoxes across the border to Cumberland in England.  One Lennox line has been traced from William Lennox who had been born at Aikton in Cumberland in 1788.

But it was a royal connection that brought prominence to the Lennox name in England.  The name and title passed from James I to Charles II of England and from him to his illegitimate son Charles Lennox, created the Duke of Richmond.  He made his home at Goodwood House in Sussex.

Charles Lennox, the 2nd Duke of Richmond, had four famous daughters – the Lennox sisters - whose stories were told in Stella Tillyard’s 1994 book Aristocrats: Caroline, Emily, Louisa, and Sarah Lennox.  The family lived for a short time - from 1813 to 1818 - in Belgium. 

“On June 15, 1815 the Duchess of Richmond gave a famous ball in Brussels at which Wellington learned of Napoleon’s advance into the Netherlands.  The Battle of Waterloo occurred three days later.” 

Ireland.   Lennoxes had come to Ireland at the time of the Scottish plantations in Ulster in the 17th century.  A large proportion of them settled in Derry.  Indeed 60% of the Lennoxes in Ulster in Griffith’s Valuation of the mid-19th century were from Derry. 

James Lenox was the mayor of Londonderry in 1689 and was one of the leaders of its defence that year.   His descendant George Lenox married into the Conyngham family of Spring Hill and adopted the name of Lenox-Conyngham. 

In the 19th century,
there were Lennoxes to be found at Kilrea and at Magherafelt.  John and William Lennox from Kilrea emigrated to Simcoe, Ontario in the 1820’s.  James Lennox and his family departed Aughrim in the Magherafelt area for Australia later in the 19th century.

  Both Lennox and Lenox appear as surnames in America.  Today the Lennox spelling is slightly the more numerous.  But Lenox seems to have had the earlier history. 

Lenoxes of Scottish origin here included: 
  • Walter Lenox who settled in Williamsburg, Virginia in the 1760’s where he was a wigmaker and tavern operator.  He lost most of his property at the time of the Revolutionary War and his son Peter, a carpenter by trade, moved to what was to become the nation’s capital, Washington DC.  Peter’s son Walter was mayor of Washington in 1850.  
  • Robert Lenox who arrived in New York in 1784 and prospered there as a merchant.  His son James became well-known in New York circles as a bibliophile and philanthropist.  
  • and Samuel Lenox who was born in Trenton, New Jersey around the year 1785.  A descendant was Walter Scott Lenox, a potter by trade, who in the early 1900’s made the first American-made porcelain to appear in the White House. 
David Lenox and his family from Indiana changed the spelling of their name to Lennox after their arrival in NE Texas sometime in the 1860’s.  They settled in Clarksville along the Red river and became wealthy in ranching, timber, and later in oil and gas production. 

“The Lennox historic home in Clarksville was completed by Charles Lennox and his wife Sallie in 1897.  Upon the death of their daughter Martha in 1993, the home and contents were given to the local Historical Society.” 

The land they had acquired nearby in 1863 remained with the family through four generations and is now known as the Lennox Woods Preserve.

In 1854 Martin Lennox emigrated from Ireland to Detroit where he worked as a machinist.  He fought in the Civil War but died in battle in 1862.  His wife Ellen moved with their son David to Iowa where David founded in 1895 a
furnace manufacturing business.  This has evolved into Lennox International, a global corporation specializing in air conditioning, heating, and commercial refrigeration.

  Edward J. Lennox was born in Toronto in 1854, the son of an Irish immigrant who had arrived from county Antrim some twenty years earlier.  He trained to be an architect and has been called the builder of Toronto because of the number of buildings he designed before his death in 1933.

.  David Lennox from Ayr in Scotland was also a designer, but of bridges.  He arrived in Sydney in 1832.  His legacy was the number of bridges he built and left behind in New South Wales.

Meanwhile Thomas and Anastasia Lennox from Dunmurry in county Kildare left Ireland for Australia on the Theresa in 1842.  They settled near Mudgee, NSW

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If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

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Malcolm, Earl of Lennox, was one of the main supporters of Robert the Bruce in his struggle for Scottish independence in the early 14th century. 
Charles Lennox
, an illegitimate son of King Charles II, was created Duke of Richmond in 1675.  He made his home at Goodwood House in Sussex. 

James Lenox
was a noted bibliophile and philanthropist in 19th century New York. 
Edward J. Lennox has been called the builder of Toronto because of his legacy of buildings he designed there. Annie Lennox was the lead singer of the Eurythmics, a popular British pop band of the 1980’s.

Select Lennox Today
  • 4,000 in the UK (most numerous in Lanarkshire)
  • 3,000 in America (most numerous in North Carolina) 
  • 3,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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