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****    The Ancient History Of the Distinguished Surname - Yuill    ****

Also, for more information regarding the Yuille name, visit

The Viking settlements in the 9th Century on the northern Isles of Scotland injected a fiercely aggressive ethnic group into Scottish society. Despite many attempts to repel these intruders, Scottish Kings finally came to accept them as part of society. It was from this Viking group that the family name Yuill emerges.

Your name, Yuill, occurred in many references. From time to time the surname was spelt Yell, Yul, Yuel, Yule, Youll, Yulle, and these changes in spelling frequently occurred between father and son. It was not uncommon for a person to be born with one spelling, married with another, and yet another to appear on his headstone.

In researching the origin of this surname Yuill the historians probed such documents as the Viking Saga, the Orkneyinga Sagas, the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, the Inquisition and translations of local manuscripts, parish records, baptismal, and tax records, found in the north at Dingwall, and in the Orkneys and Shetlands.

The first record of the name Yuill was found on the Island of Yell in the Shetlands.

The family name Yuill emerged as a Scottish Clan or family in this northern territory of Shetlands on Yell, the principle island of that group. By the 13th Century they had branched south and became established as a Perthshire family name, and may have been a branch of the celebrated Dal-Yel Clan. They became merchants of Edinburgh and Haddington and John Yule was recorded in Haddington in 1374. Another John Yule was a Chaplin in Aberdeen in 1391. By the mid 15th century the Yules had established branches, one in Aberdeen, and one in Haddington where they were seated at Gladsmuir. In 1503 Sir Robert Yule was a Taxman in the Orkneys, and Inza Yule held lands in Firth in the Orkneys. In 1676 the Yules emerged with two senior houses, the Yule of Darleith, and the Yule of Leyhouses. In later years James Yule was a poet in Paisley, and Sir Henry Yule was a military engineer in 1870. Darleith is their present family seat in Dumbartonshire. Notable amongst the Clan from early times was Sir Henry Yule.

In North America, one of the first migrants which could be considered a kinsman of the family name Yuill, of that same Clan or family, was Alexander Yuill who settled in New York in 1774.

Campbell Chronicles and Family Sketches (Virginia)

Charles Yuille (or Ewell, as a branch of this family is now called) came to Virginia from England in 1690 under contract to build the capital at Williamsburg, accompanied by two brothers. They were said to be the sons of John Yuille, of the clan Buchanan. A stone in Bruton church-yard is inscribed to the memory of John, son of Thomas Yuille of Darleith, Scotland, Dumbarton County. John died in 1746, aged 27 years. Thomas, a descendant of Thomas Yuille of Darleith, married Lucy Fletcher, of England, settled in a place now called Clarkton, in Halifax County (Virginia). Children:

  • -Frances, born 1806.
  • -George, built a home, Prospect Cottage, at Lawyers (Virginia) in 1840; married Amanda V. (daughter of John Payne, of White Hall).
  • -Jane, married Winston Henry, lived in Charlotte County, near Brookneal, Campbell County.
  • -Mary, married ______ Hairston.
  • -Antoinette, married Colonel John McCraw.
  • -Melvina, married Colonel Daniel Easley.
  • -Alexander unmarried.

In 1770 Thomas Yuille patented 473 acres on the south side of Troublesome creek and in 1780 patented 1180 acres on the north side of Otter, both sides of Troublesome creek.

-Capt. Thomas Yuille served in the Revolution from 1777 to 1781.
Children of George and Amanda V. Payne-Yuille:
  • -William Murdock, married Lillian Winfree, lived in Lynchburg.
  • - Thomas, married Miss Hunter, moved to Kansas, lived for some years in Campbell County.
  • - Sue, married Colonel Richard Burks of Rockbridge County.
  • - Andrew, unmarried.
  • - John Matteau (named for Dr. Matteau, friend of the family, of Prince Edward County), married, 1st, Susan Burks of Rockbridge County; 2nd, Nancy Coleman Hundley (his first cousin) and lived in Halifax County; A son of the first marriage, Thomas Burks Yuille, of New York City, was Vice-president of the American Tobacco Company, until its dissolution, President of the Universal Tobacco Company, now owner of Prospect Cottage, his great-grand father's old home.
  • - Phillip Payne, married Nannie Wyatt, lived near Lynch's Station.
  • - Alexander Campbell, married, 1st, Sally Moon of Halifax County; 2nd, Sue Massie of Nelson.
  • - Helen, married, S. Flynn of Culpeper County, lived Danville and Washington, where she died.
  • - Horace, died.
  • - Fletcher Campbell, married, 1st, Sally Butler Scott, 2nd, Addie Armistead, Great-grand-daughter of Patrick Henry, resided at Prospect Cottage.
    John Matteau, Philip Payne and Alexander Campbell Yuille served in the Confederate army, and in engagements around Lynchburg; John Matteau with General McCausland's command.

    Five generations of Yuilles have lived in Campbell County. An old diary written by Thomas Yuille 1785-87 is preserved by the family. George owned a great deal of land and many Negroes; he died in 1961 aged 51 years. His wife lived to be 90 years old and died in 1905. both died at Lawyers where they were buried in the family graveyard.


    Until 1100 A.D., most people in Europe had only one name, and this is true in most primitive countries even today. As the population increased it became difficult to live in a village where 1/3 was named John or William. To solve this problem, it was decided to add a second name (surname) to the first. There were four ways that people chose to accomplish this:

    1. occupation
    2. location
    3. the father's name
    4. some characteristic peculiar to the person

    The builder, farmer, tailor, carpenter, cook, miller were part of the first (a) group. Over the hill, near a stream, on a moor, near a brook became Overhill, Stream, Moore and Brook and were part of the (b) group. Fitz, son, von, sen, ben, abu, ap and mac meant son and were added to the first name for the (c) group. Small, large, fox, long, longfellow, short, grand became the (d) group.


    It is the consensus of opinion that this name (Yuille) began for children born on Christmas Day. Then children born within the two week period of Christmas. The name is spelled Yuill, Yuile, and Yule. Johannes Yhole was burgess of Haddington 1374, and Aberdeen 1391. The origin of the name is definitely Scotch in this spelling, but was originally Zuille. This later was changed to Idill and later to Yuille. The family seems always to have been in Aberdeen and is very ancient in origin. The Greek meaning for this word is a wood or forest.