The Scottish Listons

Coat of arms taken from Memoirs of my ancestors; a collection of genealogical memoranda respecting several old Scottish families by Hardy McCall 1884, privately printed by Watson and Ball, Birmingham

Like the Alston coat of arms these arms show the crescent and star quartered with those of the McCall family.

The earliest record of someone carrying the surname De Liston occurs in Scotland when Roger De Liston witnesses a grant by the Bishop of St Andrewes in the 1160’s.

Ref Paradox of Medieval Scotland Roger De Liston …..

Then we have a William Chaplain of Liston  as a witness to a settlement between the church of Linlithgow and the chapel of Torphichen in Scotland , this is the first link between the Liston name and the  brothers of the Hospitallers of Jerusalem or Knights of St John as they were to be known as later.

Ref Paradox of Medieval Scotland William Chaplain of Liston …..

Eilif of Elliston is mentioned as the  father of John who is father of Avicia  between 1220 and 1240.   Elliston is a small parish near Melrose where the Cistercean Abbey was founded in the time of King David of Scotland.  It is the only parish in the vicinity that was not held by the abbey.  Many of the early Scottish Kings were buried at Melrose.  Eilif is an interesting name as it is mentioned in connection with the hereditary priests of St Cuthbert who guarded his bones and the small bible associated with St Cuthbert.  In Kirkliston where many of the later Scottish Listons are mentioned the church in which they are baptised is dedicated to St Cuthbert.
In this early period the Liston family seem to have given the name Liston to quite a few areas in the border regions.  I say this because we know Liston was already established in Essex in the 900’s as Æthelflæd of Damerham  the Queen of England ( married to King Edmund of Wessex 944 ) had mentioned Liston her will.  King David was the son of Saint Margaret of Wessex who herself was descended from King Edmund of Wessex, husband of AEthelflaed.
Margaret had spent much of her life in Exile in Hungary with her brother who had a claim to the throne of England.
The Liston place name seems to have gone from South to North when Godfrey the Chamberlain married Avicia De Liston.
Alliston and Elliston are both mentioned at this time, one in Essex / Suffolk and one in Scotland.

Ref: Paradox  of Medieval Scotland ….

Ref:   St Cuthbert and the Normans ….

Ref: Margaret of Wessex ….

From the 1300’s on many Listons are mentioned in relation to St Andrews where many of them took on clerical work.

Memoirs of my ancestors; a collection of genealogical memoranda respecting several old Scottish families by Hardy McCall 1884 lists the genealogy of the Scottish Liston family from about the 1500s with references to earlier records.

Ref ….

There also seems to have been a second migration from Essex in the form of the Alston surname when Hugh De Alston accompanied Lord Hamilton after he killed Lord Spencer in England in the 1300’s to fight with Robert De Bruce.

Charles Alston’s manuscript is in Edinburgh University Library (Ms Cat. La III 375).

Ref ….


In the time of Edward III there are references to Richard Liston and Peter Liston  Arms given as bend dancetty acc. mullet in chf sn

Ref ….  ( 1513 and 1514 )

Origins of the surname Liston and Alliston