Lennox Surname Meaning, History & Origin

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

Lennox Resources on

Lennox Ancestry

Scotland. The 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

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

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
line died out in 1658. Robert Lennox, a
merchant from Kirkcudbright, emigrated to New York in 1784.

England. 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.

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
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

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

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

Lenoxes of Scottish origin here

  • 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
    moved to what was to become the nation’s capital, Washington DC. Peter’s son Walter was mayor of Washington in
  • 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
  • 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
in the 1860’s. They settled in
Clarksville along the Red river and became wealthy in ranching, timber,
later in oil and gas production.

Lennox historic home in Clarksville was completed by Charles Lennox and
wife Sallie in 1897. Upon the death of
their daughter Martha in 1993, the home and contents were given to the
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
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
before his death in 1933.

Australia. 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
on the Theresa in 1842. They
settled near Mudgee, NSW.


Lennox Miscellany

Lennox in Scotland.  Lennox is a region of Scotland centered on the Vale of Leven that includes Loch Lomond.

The Gaelic name of the river there was Leamhn,
meaning “the smooth stream,”
which anglicized as Leven.
The surrounding area was called “the field of the
smooth streamor Leamhnachd in
Gaelic.  An alternative derivation, from
the Gaelic leamhan, was “elm

The word was anglicized as Levenachs in 1175,
then softened to Levenax and
Lennax, and eventually the area was known simply as Lennox.

Lennox formed as a
province of Scotland sometime in the Middle Ages. The district embraced
whole of the ancient sheriffdom of Dumbarton and was within the
ruled by the Earls of Lennox. 

Origins of the Earl of Lennox.  The ancient Celtic Mormaers of Levenax had become the Earls of Lennox.  The origins
of that earldom, established in the 12th century, have been disputed.

One theory
was that a Saxon baron from Northumberland named Arkyll crossed the
border into
Scotland and received from Malcolm III lands in Dumbartonshire and
Stirlingshire. The
same Arkyll married a Scottish heiress and had a son who was Ailin I,
the Earl
of Lennox.

Other historians have said that the earldom of Lennox was
to David, Earl of Huntington from his older brother, William the
Lion, and
that the Lennox family was not established until after the reign of

This is one lineage reported of these early Lennoxes:

– Muireadhach, Mormaer of Lennox and founder of the Lennox line; born around 1050.

— Maoldomhnaich, Mormaer of Lennox; born circa 1075.

— Muireadhach, Mormaer of Lennox; born around 1100.  He married a daughter of Alwyn MacArkyl who was prominent at the Court of King David I in the mid-1100’s.

—- Ailin/Alwyn, last Mormaer and first Earl of Lennox; born around 1125. He died before 1177 when King William the Lion put the earldom under his brother the Earl of Huntingdon.

The Lennox Sisters.  Stella Tillyard’s book Aristocrats:
Caroline, Emily, Louisa and Sarah Lennox, 1740–1832
came out in 1984 and was made into a BBC TV mini-series in 1999.

Of the four sisters,
Caroline was in some ways the most interesting.
She was seduced by the attentions of Henry Fox, a short, stout,
genius only four years younger than her father, with whom she eloped.  Their home, Holland House, though kept
freezing cold, became an extension of London coffee houses, frequented
by all
the big political and artistic figures of the day.
She was a great one for medical theories and
owned endless books on the subject.

Emily was the glamorous, extravagant one.  Painting
her, Joshua Reynolds remarked that she
had ‘a sweetness of expression hard for a painter to capture.’  For her doting husband, the Earl of Kildare,
Emily and expenditure were coupled together. The more she spent, the
excited he became. The result was huge debts and a family so large that
sometimes failed to recognize her children.
In the end Emily ran off with her children’s tutor and presented
with the last four of her twenty-two offspring, managing to pick up a
house and
some cash on the way and – miraculously – to retain a virtuous

Louisa was childless, though married to the
richest man in Ireland, an affable chap whom she thought of as her
flea: ‘He
hopped about, guileless and full of muscle.’
Discreet and sympathetic, she was everybody’s favorite.

Sarah, the youngest
to survive infancy, was dandled by George II, pursued by George III,
married to
a useless fellow called Bunbury, carried off by another lover and only
down when she was thirty-six by George Napier, ‘the most perfect-made
ever.’  Then she became a devoted wife
and mother to eight little Napiers.  When
her husband died, she managed to acquire a pension from the King in
of his own youthful passion.

Lennox Becoming Lenox in America.  Examples of how Lennox lost its “n” to become Lenox in its
travels to America can be found in Massachusetts and New York.


Those who have visited Tanglewood in the
Berkshires will have been aware of the nearby town of Lenox.  The town was named in 1767 after Charles
Lennox, the 3rd Earl of Richmond who was admired by colonists for
speaking for
their point of view in the English House of Lords.

The Lenox Hotel in Boston, situated
next to
the Boston Public Library, was completed in 1900.  At
eleven stories high, it was the tallest
building in Boston at the time.  The
hotel was named after Lady Sarah Lennox, an intended wife of the
English King
George III. 

New York

In 1784 a
Scottish businessman from Kirkcudbright came to New York as Robert
Lenox where
he prospered as a merchant.  He was
President of the New York Chamber of Commerce from 1826 to 1839 and
died a
wealthy man.

His son James was even
more well-known as a bibliophile and philanthropist.
His collection of paintings and books was
known as the Lenox Library and became part of the New York Public
Library in
1895.  Lenox Avenue in Harlem was named
in his honor.

Walter Scott Lenox and His China.  In 1826 Congress had mandated that any furnishings
purchased for the White House must be made in America.
However, Presidents repeatedly ignored this
law when it came to their dinnerware, because porcelain made in Europe
China was far superior.

Walter Scott
Lenox was determined that his American pottery could and would produce
fine china.  Woodrow Wilson, also from
New Jersey, was the first President to officially acknowledge his
success.  In addition to President Wilson,
FDR, Harry
Truman, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton have all chosen Lenox to
produce their
official White House china.


Lennox Names

  • 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 Numbers 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)


Select Lennox and Like Surnames 

These are surnames from the Scottish Lowlands.  Some are clan names; some – like Gordon, Graham and Hamilton – have Anglo-Norman antecedents that crossed the border into Scotland; and some – like Douglas and Stewart – were very powerful in early Scottish history.  Stewart in fact became the royal Stuart line.




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