John, 5th Earl of Lauderdale, 1655 - 1710

John, 5th Earl of Lauderdale
John, 5th Earl of Lauderdale

The younger son of Charles Maitland, John was made a Baronet of Nova Scotia in 1680, as Sir John Maitland of Ravelrig, and was a Senator of the College of Justice, sitting as Lord Ravelrig. From 1691 until he inherited the Earldom from his brother in 1695 he bore the name of John Lauder of Haltoun - see below.

In 1691 after his brother had fled the country after the Battle of the Boyne, which confirmed William III’s control of the kingdoms of England and Scotland, he was given a charter of the Lauder family Barony of Haltoun and assumed the surname and designation of Lauder of Haltoun as provided in the marriage contract betwen Charles Maitland and Elizabeth Lauder. The contract, confirmed by a writ issued under the Great seal of Scotland in 1660 also provided that the Earl of Lauderdale could continue to use the name of Maitland.

Read more: Charles Maitland Writ Under Great Seal (Adobe PDF file 302kb)

When his elder brother Richard died without issue in 1695, he inherited the Earldom and reverted to Maitland.

He married Lady Margaret Cunningham, daughter of the Earl of Glencairn. Through this marriage subsequent Earls of Lauderdale were descended from the Stuart and Plantagenet king, and hence from William the Conqueror’s wife Matilda, herself a descendant of Charlemagne the Great.

As a result of his descent from the Earls of Glencairn, the present chief was offered the opportunity to become Chief of the Cunninghams, on condition that he resigned the Earldom of Lauderdale and the name of Maitland. He declined the offer...

Charles, 6th Earl of Lauderdale, 1688 - 1744

Charles, 6th Earl of Lauderdale (painting by William Aikman 1782-1731)
Charles, 6th Earl of Lauderdale (painting by William Aikman 1782-1731)

He succeeded his brother, was Lord Lieutenant and High Sheriff of the County of Edinburgh and also Master of the Mint. He was one of the sixteen Scottish Peers in the ninth Parliament of Great Britain. On July 15, 1710 he married Lady Elizabeth Ogilvie, daughter of James, Earl of Findlater and Seafield. Charles was the last Lord Chancellor of Scotland. His children included:

  • James, 7th Earl of Lauderdale
  • General Sir Alexander Maitland, 1st Baronet of Cliftom
  • Captain Frederick Lewis Maitland of Rankeilour
  • Col Richard Maitland, Deputy Adjutant General of North America
  • Col John Maitland, saviour of Savannah

James, 7th Earl of Lauderdale 1718 - 1789

James, 7th Earl of Lauderdale
James, 7th Earl of Lauderdale

He was a Lieutenant Colonel of the 16th Foot. and also the High Sheriff to the County of Edinburgh and a Representative Peer of Scotland. He married Mary Turner Lombe, the daughter and co-heir of Sir Thomas Lombe who was an Alderman of the City of London. During the 1745 rebellion he kept a low profile, and did not support the Jacobites. Prince Charlie did, however, stay at Thirlestane in his absence.

His children, six sons and seven daughters, included Sir Thomas Maitland, King Tom, see below

James, 8th Earl of Lauderdale 1759 -1839

James studied at the universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow before going on to Paris, where he developed his youthful enthusiasm for the French Revolution. He witnessed the September Massacres of 1793 from his hotel a few yards away. He left Paris for Calais in a hurry, but returned soon after. He knew many of the key revolutionaries. He created a great furor by appearing in the House of Lords in ‘sans culotte” rig - literally “without breeches”, but in fact wearing trousers, at that time only worn by the poor.

James Maitland, 8th Earl of Lauderdale (painting by Thomas Gainsborough 1727-1788)
James Maitland, 8th Earl of Lauderdale (painting by Thomas Gainsborough 1727-1788)

His real claim to fame is his work "An Inquiry into the Nature and Origin of Public Wealth" as one of Britain’s early economists. He was the first person to recognise the significance of budget surpluses and deficits and originated the line of economic thinking which was systemized by John Maynard Keynes in the 1920’s.

It was the first work to draw attention to the economic consequences of a budget surplus or deficit and its influence on the expansion or contraction of the economy. This continues, along with monetary policy, to be one of the two principal means of regulating national economies all over the world.

James was a doughty pamphleteer and the first serious commentator on and critic of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations. His library is now at the Tokyo Keizai (Economic) University.

He married Eleanor Todd, an heiress and daughter of the Postmaster General. 

James was given a United Kingdom peerage, Baron Lauderdale of Thirlestane, to enable him to sit in the House of Lords without the need to be elected as a representative peer of Scotland.

He was the only member of our family to be appointed a Knight of the  Thistle, and was the great grandfather of Arthur Balfour, our only Prime Minister.

The Rev. John Maitland in the 1745 Jacobite rebellion ca 1719 – ca 1795

During the 1745 rebellion John Maitland,  from Forgue, Aberdeenshire, born ca 1719, son of James Maitland, grandson of John Maitland, Minister of Inverkeithny administered Holy communion to the dying Earl of Strathallan, using oat cakes and whisky for lack of bread and wine on the battlefield at Culloden Moor near Inverness. He escaped to France but returned to Edinburgh where he died at extreme old age at the end of the 18th century.

Colonel The Honourable Richard Maitland, 1724 -1772

Colonel The Honourable Richard Maitland
Colonel The Honourable Richard Maitland

The present Chief is descended from Colonel Maitland. His military career began as a second Lieutenant in the Marine Regiment of Foot in 1743, promoted Ensign in 1744, Captain Lieutenant in Colonel Kennedy’s 43rd Regiment of Foot about 1750. There is then a gap in the record and in November 1762 the King approved his promotion to Lieutenant Colonel in the army. He was Deputy Adjutant General to all HM forces in Quebec in August 1760 to December 1763. In May 1764 he was appointed Deputy Adjutant General to all HM forces in North America, and also appointed to the 43rd Regiment of Foot. In May 1766 he was promoted Colonel. He appears to have retained the rank and pay of Captain in the 43rd as well as Deputy Adjutant General.

He distinguished himself at the capture of the capture of Quebec in 1759, became Deputy Adjutant General of Quebec in 1760 and for North America in 1764.

In 1760, there was correspondence with his brother regarding the possibility of becoming a Member of Parliament

He commanded the British Garrison in New York, and was married on his deathbed by the Curate of Holy Trinity Church, Wall Street. He died in 1772.

Colonel The Honourable John Maitland, after 1734 -1779

Colonel The Honourable John Maitland
Colonel The Honourable John Maitland

John Maitland of the 71st Foot distinguished himself on several occasions during the American Revolution particularly at Stoneferry (1779) when he was able to repulse 5000 men under Lincoln with his own force of 100 men.

In September 1779 he was commanding a garrison at Beaufort, about 50 miles from Savannah when he received orders to bring his troops as quickly as possible ot Savannah. He took then through swamps to avoid the French squadron at sea and an American army on land to reinforce the garrison, and by his resolute action successfully defended Savannah from the American attack. (For a full account see below.)

He died as the result of his efforts in defending Savannah, Georgia against French and American forces. This exploit is commemorated at the US Marine Corps Museum at Parris Island, the only American memorial that we know of which commemorates the action of an opponent!

Captain Frederick Lewis Maitland of Rankeillour 1730 - 1786

cap frederick lewis maitland of rankeillour
Captain Frederick Lewis Maitland of Rankeillour

Frederick Lewis Maitland – (FLM) – was the sixth son of the VIthEarl of Lauderdale. He made a successful, naval career, culminating in command of the Royal Yacht Princess Augusta.

His paternal inheritance was modest, consisting largely of influence and connections, but he made the most of them by efficient and energetic command of the ships entrusted to him and by marriage to an heiress, Margaret Dick, owner of Nether Rankeillour.

Together they founded the great section of the Maitland family with multiple surnames – Maitland Makgill Crichton, Crichton Makgill Maitland, Maitland Heriot, Heriot Maitland, Maitland Dougall. They were able to pass on to their descendants the estates in Fife of Rankeillour (or Rankeilour, spellings vary), Lindores, Ramornie, and Rank.

Through Margaret's mother, sister of James Makgill of Rankeillour her descendants claimed the Viscountcy of Oxfuird. Descended also from the Crichtons, her descendant Charles Maitland Makgill Crichton of Monzie was able to secure recognition from the Lord Lyon of his position as Chief of the Crichtons, and the Monzie Maitlands are now styled Crichton.

FLM also founded a family in Jamaica – took as a mistress Mary Arnott, had four children by her, whose births were registered. They prospered in Jamaica.

He was a career naval officer, the first record of service being in 1748; he was stationed much of his early life in Jamaica (1748-64, covering the period of the 7 Years War), for his middle life on half pay (1765-78) and in later life commanding ships of the line in the early part of the French wars of the latter half of the 18thC.

Admiral Frederick Lewis Maitland of Lindores 1777 - 1839

Admiral Frederick Lewis Maitland of Lindores
Admiral Frederick Lewis Maitland of Lindores

Frederick Lewis Maitland was a lucky officer as well as a very able one. It started when he was born, a nephew of the Earl of Lauderdale, which was a great advantage in the 18th century navy, for whilst competence was essential, good connections and political influence gave a good officer an edge over an equally efficient but less well connected one when appointments were made. 

His luck continued with his first command, HMS Kingfisher, which was wrecked in 1798 on leaving the Tagus. Honourably acquitted by the court martial, he was appointed Lord St Vincent’s Flag Lieutenant. His luck was exemplified by his capture by a Spanish ship when commanding a cutter in 1799, and his instant exchange by theSpanish Admiral because he owed Lord St Vincent a favour, and repaid it by releasing his flag lieutenant.

He was a highly successful frigate captain, commanding HMS Loire 38, and received the thanks of the City of London for his part in the capture of the frigate Libre in 1805, and went on to command HMS Emerald, 36, also with considerable success.

He is famous for taking the surrender of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Napoleon on HMS Bellerophon
Napoleon on HMS Bellerophon

Maitland took command of H.M.S. Bellerophon, a 74 gun ship of the line, in 1815 to blockade the French coast. He intercepted Napoleon’s attempt to escape from La Rochelle in western France to America after the Battle of Waterloo. His negotiating skill and seamanship with an inadequate squadron kept Napoleon confined to La Rochelle until advancing French Royalist forces, combined with the advance of Prussian forces compelled Napoleon to accept British terms, essentially of unconditional surrender. Napoleon had very little choice at this stage, as capture by the French Royalists would have led to trial in Paris, followed by execution, whilst if taken prisoner by the Prussians, he risked immediate execution without trial.

Maitland's luck continued, as he managed to secure Napoleon’s person as the British  admiral appeared on the horizon and threatened by early arrival to steal Maitland’s glory. He took Napoleon’s surrender, transported him to Torbay in England, whence the former emperor was sent to St Helena in the south Atlantic. 

This outstanding success ensured his continued employment after the end of the Napoleonic Wars.

Despite his ability, he never served in a major fleet action.  His longest action was his defence of the Admiral’s House in Portsmouth against the Commander in Chief, Home Fleet.   He had been appointed Admiral Superintendant of the dockyard at Portsmouth in 1832, just as Thomas Telford was completing the great harbour works which are the basis of the present dockyard. Amongst them was a commander’s house, a particularly grand affair with perhaps 20 bedrooms, a banqueting area, and facilities to entertain royalty. As the senior shore based officer, and in command of the dockyard, Maitland took up residence there, with no one to say him nay. However, after a year or so of undisputed tenure, Admiralty policy changed, and the Commander in Chief, Home Fleet was instructed to take up residence at Portsmouth. He naturally chose the largest and most splendid house available, that occupied by the Admiral Superintendant, who did not take kindly to receiving notice to quit his palatial premises. The bureaucratic battle went on for about 18 months, until Maitland found other accommodation in the Dockyard.

Appointed Commander in Chief East Indies and China Station in 1837, Maitland hoisted his flag in HMS Wellesley, which he had commanded in 1827- 30, and died off Bombay in 1839. However, his memory still lives on in the Dockyard, in the form of a memorial in the Dockyard Church.


HMS Bellerophon at Torbay

Sir Thomas Maitland 1760 -1824

Thomas, son of the VIIth Earl, known as ‘King Tom’, was successively appointed Governor General of Ceylon (1805 -1811) and then of Malta (from 1813) and the Corfu & Ionian Islands (from 1815). He was also an MP and a Privy Councillor. He had also originated the idea to create the British Order of St. Michael and St. George (1818). It is now reserved for members of the Diplomatic Service who attain high rank.

Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Maitland (1759 - 1824)
Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Maitland (1759 - 1824). Painting by John Hoppner (1759 - 1810)

Web sites of the governments of all three refer affectionately to King Tom’s governorship, which is a great tribute. King Tom used violent abuse and rough language as a substitute for force which he was reluctant to employ, thus saving lives in his own and also his opponents forces.

Sir Thomas had a distinguished military career before becoming a colonial governor. In the Santo Domingo campaign he extricated British troops without loss after negotiating with Toussaint L’Overture, leader of slave revolt. In 1812 he put down a serious Luddite revolt in Lancashire without his troops firing a single shot. Contrast this with the Peterloo massacre in Manchester a few years later when an undisciplined militia regiment killed 15 people and injured 400 at a demonstration.

In Ceylon his instruction to the Government Collectors (senior regional administrators), Sir Thomas wrote “The sole object of Government is and always ought to be ….to ensure the prosperity of the island solely through……increasing the prosperity and happiness of the natives.”

This pattern was followed in his administration of Malta and the Ionian Islands. In Malta his reforms included the abolition of torture, establishment of a High Court of Appeal (to hear appeals from Commercial and Civil courts), a Supreme Council of Justice, separation between legislative, executive and judicial authorities and suppression of the grain monopoly.

Sir Peregrine Maitland 1777 - 1854

Sir Peregrine Maitland 1777 - 1854
Sir Peregrine Maitland 1777 - 1854

He was born at Longparish House, in Hampshire. His father Thomas Maitland of Lyndhurst, Hampshire, had been educated in Aberdeen and was possibly from the Pittrichie branch of the Aberdeenshire Maitlands.

Thomas Maitland owned plantations in the parish of St. Thomas Middle Island on the island of St. Christopher in the West Indies, and so was probably a man of some wealth – certainly a commission or “pair of colours” in the foot guards plus the cost of equipment would have been expensive. However, when Peregrine came to marry, his lack of wealth was a problem, see below.

He joined the 1st Foot Guards as an Ensign in 1792 aged fifteen and received his Lieutenancy in 1794. He served in the Peninsula campaign and was promoted to Lt Colonel in 1803. He was second in command of the regiment during the Battle of Seville, 1812, which ended French occupation of the city.

The army reorganization of 1814 following Napoleon’s exile to the Island of Elba sent many of the most talented officers abroad, so Napoleon’s return to France early in 1815 created a great opportunity for Maitland, who was appointed Major-General in command of 1st Brigade of Guards.

At the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, Bounaparte faced with a threat to his flank by the Prussian army, made his last desperate attempt to win the battle and sent the Imperial Guard, the Grenadiers to attack what appeared to be a gap in the Allied line.

On Wellington’s orders the Foot Guards were concealed by a fold in the land and in high corn. The Duke stood close by Maitland as the Imperial Guard attacked. At the last moment Wellington gave the order: "Now, Maitland, now's your time". At that Maitland gave his order: "Up Guards and at em". The resultant volleys (three to four shots a minute - from his regiment of 900 men over 3,000 rounds a minute at a target 20 yards wide at a range of only 20 yards - destroyed the French Imperial Guard, and was the decisive moment of the Battle of Waterloo. The Imperial Guard was destroyed and with it Napoleon’s empire.

The 1st Foot Guards were re-named the Grenadier Guards in honour of this exploit.

Romance has contributed a little glamour. Maitland had proposed to the daughter of the Duke of Richmond at the Duchess' Ball in Brussels on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo. As an officer living on his pay, Maitland was not considered a suitable match, but Wellington interceded for him with the Duke of Richmond.

The Duke agreed to the marriage, and when he went to Canada to become Governor-in-Chief,  appointed his new son-in-law with him to be Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada. Maitland governed from 1818 to 1828. He took an active interest in the condition, prosperity and education of the indigenous population.

He was appointed to a series of senior colonial positions including Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia in 1828 - 1834 (settlements of Canada are named after him), in 1836 Commander-in-Chief of the Madras Army,  and in 1844  Governor of the Cape Colony (a suburb of Capetown is named after him). He died in 1854 at the age of 76 in his home in Eaton Place in London. 

In addition to his military and official career, Peregrine was also a cricketer, and  a member of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). He represented both Surrey and Hampshire in first class matches.