So now we might return to the general history of the family. At some time between the reign of King David I, at the beginning of the 12th Century, and the reign of King Alexander II, at the beginning of the 13th Century, a family came to reside in the valley of the Clyde River, in the vicinity of a village known by the name of Muirhead. The village of Muirhead was located in the Barony of Bothwell, which was under the rule of the Norman, David de Oliphard (variously Oliphant) during the mid-12th Century.

  Whether the family of the 12th to 13th Centuries was descended from Norman ancestors is not known. It is quite possible that that was the case in view of the fact that historical references to any of its members do not appear until after the Norman Conquest of the Isles, and also because of the fact that they adopted the Norman convention of taking territorial-based surnames. It is known that the ancestry on the wife's side was French. They were perhaps fairly well-to-do, as evidenced by the fact that the family came to own a substantial amount of land in that region, prompting Alexander Nisbet to state that:(1.14)

"The truth is, the family of the Muirheads muフ have been a テt of people, that ナnce they never aピumed the arms, or any part thereof, from their reパective ブperiors or over-lords, as was very uブal, the preブmp-tion muフ be, that they were テated a family, and fixed there before the Oliphards had the barony of Bothwell; and that they were the liberi tenentes regis et coronae, before the crown gave the ブperiority of the Baronia de Bothwel to the Oliphards: and バ we may rationally, and without フretching Things, conclude, That the Muirhead Family were fixed, and Proprietors of the Lands of Muirhead, as far back as the Reign of King William, or バoner, for what we know, even up to the Time that Sirnames began to be taken up, and Men began to call themテlves after their own Lands; which, is agreed, was not the Cuフom generally gone into, before the Reign of King David I, Anno 1122."

  By the term, set, one might think of Nisbet's reference to the family as 'a group of persons of the same kind or having a common characteristic', which is how the word is defined by Merriam-Webster. The context in which Nisbet used the above statement was in commenting on the fact that the Muirhead armigers (i.e. those to whom grants of arms had been made) had not utilized elements from the various armigerous families who, in the span of recorded history, had held sway over the ancestral lands of the Muirheads. The custom of a family, if they were not landowners, was to take the arms of their superiors. To do so would exhibit a certain type of fealty or allegiance in the part of the armiger toward the "overlord", and is one form of the structure of the clan system of Scotland. Not all members of a clan are blood relations. The members, whether related or not, of a community might constitute a clan, and that is why, as Nisbet noted, it was common practice for an armiger to assume, in whole or in part, the arms of the community痴, or the clan痴, leading family. In this case, the Muirheads did not take the arms of the Oliphards (who bore crescents on their arms). Neither did they take the three stars of the arms of the Murrays. Sir Walter Murray succeeded to the lordship of the barony of Bothwell by his marriage to the heir-female of the Oliphant clan. By the time of the reign of King Robert II (1371 to 1390), the Earls of Douglass succeeded to the barony of Bothwell. The Muirheads did not take any of the armorial bearings from the arms of the Douglas clan either. Instead, they claimed their own arms, distinct from all others.

  The reign of King Robert II ended with his death in 1390. He was succeeded by his son, John, who changed his name to Robert III. The reign of King Robert III lasted until 1406. During that reign, in 1393, the surname of Muirhead appeared in a public record for the first time.(1.15) Archibaldus Comes de Douglas, earl of Galloway and Bothwell deeded to Willielmo de Muirhead "his Lands of Muirhead, in Baronia de Bothwel".

  In 1401 the name of William de Murehede was written by the man who witnessed a charter involving lands of the Cranshaws.(1.16) The charter between the Earl of Douglas and Sir John de Syntoun was recorded on 20 October, 1401 at Dunbar. Another charter witnessed by a Sir William Muirhead was recorded in 1407.(1.17)

  In Rymer痴 F彭era Angliæ of 1402 there is an entry naming Dom. Willielmus de Muirhead, miles.(1.18) The latin term for Lord or Master was Dominus. The latin term for soldier, or knight, was miles. It should also be mentioned that the latin term, dominus ejusdem might be compared to the common Scot phrase "of that ilk". In turn, the phrase, "of that ilk", when placed in conjunction with a man痴 name meant that his surname was the same as the estate he owned. Therefore, this entry in the Foedera Angliae would have referred to William Muirhead as Lord William of Muirhead, knight and owner of the estate of Muirhead.

  In the year 1404 Willielmo de Muirhead was commissioned, along with Sir David Fleming, whom King Richard III called his 礎lood relation, to act as emissaries to King Henry IV of England (or his commissioners). Their commission was to obtain the freedom of the Earls of Fife and of Douglas, who had been taken prisoner during the Battle of Homilden, in Northumberland, in 1402. Willielmo de Muirhead and David Fleming were also empowered to conclude a treaty of peace.(1.19) The two groups of commissioners met on 06 July, 1404 at Pontefract. They agreed to a truce, which was commenced on 20 July and which would continue until Easter of the next year. It was also agreed that during the period of the truce, a congress should be held at Handerstank for the purpose of completing a more complete treaty.

  Despite the commissioners efforts, the congress never took place. During this time, the Scottish King was ailing and the queen had died. King Robert痴 brother, the Duke of Albany attempted to seize the throne. By 1406 only the ailing king and his son stood in Albany痴 way. Prince James was seized as he was being smuggled toward safety in France and was taken and imprisoned by the English King Henry IV. The news filled the king with grief and he refused to eat, dying a few days after receiving the news.(1.20)