Motto: Virtutis regia merces (A palace the reward of bravery)
Traditionally the progenitor of the Skenes was a younger son of Roberson of Struan in the 11th century, who saved the life of the king by killing a wolf with his sgian. The armorial bearings of the Skenes contain three sgians (daggers) surmounted by wolves’ heads. They also contain the earliest official description of Highland Dress. Young Robertson was given lands which formed the old Barony of Skene in Aberdeenshire. The first record of the surname was in 1296 when John de Skene signed the Ragman Roll. It was his grandson Robert, who was a faithful follower of Robert the Bruce.
Three Skene chiefs were killed in battle. Adam was killed in 1411 at Harlaw, Alexander at Flodden in 1513 and his grandson, also Alexander, fell at Pinkie in 1547. James Skene of Skene was a strong supporter of the Royalist cause during the reign of Charles I. He served in the army of Gustavas Adolphus.
In 1827 the direct line of Skene became extinct and the estates passed to James, the nephew of the last Skene of Skene. James was the fourth Earl of Fife. The main branch of the Skenes then became the Skenes of Hallyards. They were descended from Andrew of Auchorrie, second son of James Skene, 12th Chief. Andrew’s second son, Patrick, was the progenitor of Skene of Preraw in Austria.
Other cadet branches of the family include Dyce, Cariston, Curriehall and Pitlour in Fife.
Choose from one of the Skene Tartans listed below
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