Nisbet states that Brisbane of Bishopton is the most ancient and principal family of this name. The name may be of Anglo–French origin, coming from ‘bris bane’, meaning ‘bone breaker’. Black lists William Bris Bone as an archer sent from Berwick to Roxburgh in 1298. Several de Bris Banes witnessed deeds in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The Brisbanes of Bishopton acquired the lands of Killincraig in Largs in the fifteenth century and by a royal charter, dated 1695, their estates were erected into a barony and thereafter they styled themselves ‘Brisbane of Brisbane’. Nisbet asserts that the cushions which appear in this family’s coat of arms are an allusion to an office of authority. General Sir Thomas Brisbane, Baronet, fought throughout the Peninsular War (1808–14), commanding a brigade in Wellington’s army. In 1820 he was appointed Governor of New South Wales in Australia. He founded an observatory during his tenure of office and in 1828 was awarded the gold medal of the Royal Astronomical Society. In 1833 he was elected president of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. The Australian city of Brisbane is a lasting memorial to his work.

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