To all Maitlands:

As you read these articles about historic Maitlands, remember that they are your kinsfolk - we are not writing about strangers, but members of your own family. You may not know exactly how you relate to them, but that does not matter - records were scanty until recently for all the population, apart from landowners, and even then it was the land which was recorded, not the owners.  But the land records included information about the people who lived on it, and from these we derive much of our early history. Gifts to the Church were especially informative because the clergy used to include details of the donors' wife and eldest son in the deed of gift. This was not out of kindness, or interest in the family, but to associate both wife and son with the decision to give the land, so that they could not challenge the transaction after the donor's death.

Read on, and learn about your forefathers.... 


Sir Richard Mautalent

Sir Richard Mautalent,– lived say 1230 – 1296 ? -  the earliest undoubted ancestor of the family of whom any substantial amount is known, probably came from ‘Chivington’ (Chevington), in Northumberland. He married Avicia, daughter and heiress of Thomas de Thirlestane and thereby acquired the lands of Thirlestane, Hedderwick and Blyth  before 1258. The area has has long been known as Lauderdale, a valley running south-east of Soutra Hill, south of Edinburgh

Sir Richard defended his castle against English invaders including Edward I of England (1272 — 1307). He married Avicia, daughter of Thomas de Thirlestane, from an old established Northumbrian family, whose wife Agnes had held Thirlestane, and another castle at Abertarff on Loch Ness for about twenty years after her husband's death until her daugher was old enough to marry Richard.

William Mautalent

William Mautalent of Thirlestane - before 1258 - 1315 - was a follower of Robert the Bruce (1276 — 1329).William called Burd—alane, eldest son of Sir Richard, referred to himself as ‘Willelmus Mautaland filius Ricardi Matalent'. He was in possession of Thirlestane by 1293. Note the variant spellings - Mautaland & Matalent in one sentence.

Robert Mautalent 

Robert Mautalent ca 1290 - 1346 is traditionally the eldest son of William Burd-alane. He had from King David II of Scotland (1329-1371) a charter of the lands of "Ladystoun, Bagvie and Boltoun juxia aquam de Tyne’ and confirmation from the same King in 1345 of lands of Lethington which he held from Giffard of Yester. From the terms of a charter to their son, his wife appears to have been a sister of Robert Keith, Marshal of Scotland.

With his brother, Robert was killed at the Battle of Neville’s Cross, near Durham on October l7th, 1346. Twelve thousand Scots were defeated by an English army led by King Edward III. Approximately seven years later King Edward invaded Berwick; a campaign of flame that was called the Burnt Candlemass. The tallest candle was the abbey church of Haddington. This was at the very doorstep of Lethington (now Lennoxlove) which was also a Maitland stronghold.

Sir Robert had four sons, John, William, Robert and Alexander. The eldest, John Mautallent, died in 1395. He and his younger brother was the founder of the two earliest Maitland lines as these are now known.

The Aberdeenshire Maitlands

The Aberdeenshire Maitlands stem from Robert Matilland who married the daughter and heiress of Schivas of that Ilk: he was alive in 1380:and is described in 1417 as "Dominus de Schewes" near Aberdeen (i.e. Lord of Schivas).  The Maitlands of Balhalgardy, near Inverurie live close to the site of the Battle of Harlaw (July 24, 1411). 50,000 highlanders fought against 10,000 defenders of Aberdeen. The conflict was bloody and indecisive, as both parties retreated under the cover of darkness. Maitlands have farmed this area since that battle in which their forebear left his plough to join the conflict.

John Mautallent of Thirlestane and Lethington

John Mautallent of Thirlestane and Lethington  ca 1330 – ca 1380  married first Felicia in 1350 and secondly Agnes. Agnes was the sister of George Dunbar, Earl of March; from whom John had a charter dated August 23rd, 1369 for the lands in Dumfriesshire of Tybres (Tibbers) excluding the castle. 

Sir Robert Mauteland

Sir Robert Mauteland, Knight of Thirlestane   before 1364 – about 1434. He was knighted by 1390, and in 1401 obtained a crown charter of the lands of Tibbers, less the castle formerly held by the Earl of March. In 1422 he is described as Lord of Lethington. Robert married Marion Abernethy in 1392. They had three sons: James Maitland of Auchenbreck in Dumfriesshire; Robert Maitland, one of the hostages for the ransom of King James 1st in 1424; and William Matelande of Thirlestane. James Maitland of Auchenbreck was the forebear of the Maitlands on south-west Scotland,  including later on the Fuller-Maitlands and the Maitlands of Loughton in Essex. Some fifteen generations later the family live at Cumstoun, Kirkcudbrightshire in the south-west of Scotland. Robert died without issue. His son William became Matelande of Thirlestane.

William Matelande de Thirlestane and of Ledington

William Matelande de Thirlestane and of Ledington after 1392 – after 1464   mortgaged Thirlestane in 1450 (old Thirlestane, the peel tower two miles south of the present castle) to Alexander Forrester of Corstorphine whose family retained technical possession until the debt was cleared by Sir Richard Maitland in 1586. By 1404 he is described as "of Ledington" and married to Margaret Wardlaw. His son, John Maitland, is described as heir apparent in 1404.

William Maitland of Lethington

William Maitland of Lethington
William Maitland of Lethington

William Maitland of Lethington  before 1471 - 1513  was heir to his grandfather William of Ledington. His Aunt Margaret Edmonstone who sought to bastardise him, but he maintained his claim to Lethington and recovered his inheritance. He married Martha or Margaret, daughter of George, 2nd Lord Seton.  William was killed alongside King James VI of Scotland and twelve Scottish Earls, when they were defeated by the forces of King Henry VIII at Flodden, near the River Tweed, on September 9th, 1513.