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Arms of Dalziel, matriculated with the Court of the Lord Lyon around 1672-7: Sable a naked man, his arms expanded proper.

Dalziel, Dalzell or Dalyell (/diˈɛl/ (About this soundlisten) dee-EL) is a Scottish surname.


The unintuitive spelling of the name is due to it being an anglicisation of Scottish Gaelic Dail-gheal, meaning bright dale. The sound now spelled with a ⟨y⟩ or ⟨z⟩ is historically a lenited slender /ɡ/, which in Gaelic is pronounced [j] (like English ⟨y⟩). The English/Scots form of the name was originally spelled with a yogh (ȝ) as Dalȝiel; this was later replaced with either a ⟨z⟩, the letter of the modern alphabet which most looks like yogh, or a ⟨y⟩, which more closely represents the sound.


The name originates from the former barony of Dalzell in Lanarkshire, in the area now occupied by Motherwell. The name Dalzell is first recorded in 1259, and Thomas de Dalzell fought at Bannockburn. The Dalzell lands were forfeited later in the 14th century, but regained through marriage in the 15th. Sir Robert Dalzell was created Lord Dalzell in 1628, and his son was further elevated in the peerage as Earl of Carnwath, in 1639. In 1645 the Dalzell estates were sold to the Hamiltons of Orbiston, who held them until the 20th century. Scottish emigration has dispersed the Dalziel family across the English-speaking world.

The Dalziel coat of arms is sable, a man's body proper, i.e. the flesh-coloured silhouette of a man against a black background. The origin of this peculiar arms was written about by Sir Robert Douglas, 6th Baronet, in 1764:


People with this surname include:




Fictional people

  • Andrew Dalziel, fictitious detective in literature and television, part of the team Dalziel and Pascoe created by Reginald Hill.
  • Royce Varisey, tenth Duke of Wolverstone went by the codename 'Dalziel' (his mother's family name) throughout the Napoleonic Wars in the Bastion Club series of romance novels by Stephanie Laurens.
  • The would-be heroic Willie Dalzel, a boy of about six or eight and friend to Jimmie Trescott, is a minor character in Stephen Crane's novella, The Monster (1898).
  • Clay Dalzell, lawyer/detective played by William Powell in the movie, "Star of Midnight" (1936), based upon the novel by Arthur Roche.

People with the given name:

Other usesEdit

Motherwell still contains Dalziel Parish, a congregation of the Church of Scotland, as well as the Dalzell Steelworks, now owned by Liberty House. The estate of Dalziel House, the former home of the Baron Hamilton of Dalzell, is now a country park on the south side of the town. Dalziel Rugby Club play at Dalziel Park in nearby Carfin. The name is also used by several Motherwell-based institutions, including Dalziel High School and the former Dalziel Co-operative Society. Dalziel Park Stadium was a nineteenth-century football stadium that was the home of the town's football team Motherwell F.C..

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Douglas, Robert (1764). The peerage of Scotland : containing an historical and genealogical account of the nobility of that kingdom, from their origin to the present generation: collected from the public records, and ancient chartularies of this nation, the charters, and other writings of the nobility, and the works of our best historians ... Edinburgh : Printed by R. Fleming.

External linksEdit