Origins of the Clan

The name Maitland is of Norman origin and was originally spelt Mautalent, Matulant or Matalan, it translates as “evil genius”. The Mautalents come from the village of Les Moitiers d’Allonne near Carteret in Normandy. The name is found to occur frequently in Northumberland during the 12th and 13th centuries. The first time it is found in Scotland was Thomas de Matulant who was of Anglo-Norman origin. He was the ancestor to this noble family in Lauderdale. Thomas flourished in the reign of William the Lion and died in 1288.

During the reign of King Alexander III of Scotland, Thomas’s grandson, Sir Richard Matulant was one of the most powerful Lowland magnates, owning the lands of Thirlestane, Blythe, Tollus and Hedderwick.



Wars of Scottish Independence

Sir Richard Matulant’s son joined King Robert the Bruce on his ascension to the crown. He supported the Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, however he died in 1315. Sir Richard Maitland whose distinguished exploits during the Wars of Independence earned him a place in Gavin Douglas’s The Palis of Honour.

Two of his sons died when the Clan Maitland fought at the Battle of Durham also known as the Battle of Neville’s Cross in 1346. However his son John who was also the nephew of Sir Robert Keith, Great Marischal of Scotland and obtained a charter of lands of Thirlestane and Tollus.



15th Century

Sir Robert Maitland was in charge of Dunbar Castle but surrendered it to the Earl of Mar on his return to Scotland. His son Robert Maitland was one of the hostages for King James I of Scotland on the liberation of England in 1424.



16th Century & Anglo-Scottish Wars

Robert’s descendant, William Maitland of Lethington was killed when he led the Maitland contingent at the Battle of Flodden Field during the Anglo-Scottish Wars of the 16th century. William’s heir Sir Richard Maitland, was a man of extraordinary talent who was appointed a judge of the Court of Session and Keeper of the Privy Seal. He was also a distinguished poet and historian, and died in 1586 at the age of 90.

William Maitland of Lethington was a conspicuous and distinguished politician of Queen Mary’s reign. He accompanied her north into the Scottish Highlands against the formidable and powerful Earl of Huntly chief of Clan Gordon. William led his troops at the Battle of Corrichie in 1562 where the Earl of Huntly was killed. He even composed a prayer, which has been preserved, supplicating divine support and protection for the Royal forces in the day of battle.

William continued in service to Queen Mary until her surrender to the insurgent nobles at the Battle of Carberry Hill, but after that incident he openly joined them and took part in all their councils and proceedings. He was also present at the Battle of Langside, which finally ruined Mary’s cause in Scotland.

Sir John Maitland was created the 1st Lord of Thirlestane and married the heiress of Lord Fleming. He was Lord High Chamberlain of Scotland in the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots and his son was created the first Earl of Lauderdale. His sister, Anne married Robert, Lord Seton son of the 1st Earl of Winton. Through frequent marriages with the families of Fleming and Clan Seton the Clan Maitland became loyal adherents to Mary Queen of Scots even when her fortunes were at their lowest.



17th Century & Civil War

The secretary’s only son, James, died without issue, and the estates passed to his brother, Sir John, first Baron Maitland. His only son was created first Earl of Lauderdale in 1616. He was President of the Council and a Lord of Session.

Chief John Maitland the 2nd Earl of was a staunch Royalist supporter of King Charles II and was made Secretary of State, Lord High Commissioner and Governor of Edinburgh Castle. In 1674 he was also made 1st Duke of Lauderdale. In 1674 the 1st Earl of Guilford built Thirlestane Castle in Lauder.

The earldom passed to his son, John, in 1645, when the fortunes of the family reached their zenith. He attended the Westminster Assembly of Presbyterian divines as a Scots commissioner in 1643. In 1647 he promoted the king’s cause, and the Scots Parliament agreed to send an army into England on behalf of Charles in return for certain undertakings from him concerning the Church. Lauderdale was sent to Holland to persuade the Prince of Wales to join with the Scots. He fought alongside Charles at the Battle of Worcester in 1651, where he was captured, and he spent nine years in the Tower of London.

After the Restoration, Lauderdale rose to become the most powerful man in Scotland, ruling virtually as viceroy. In 1672 he was created Duke of Lauderdale, but this title died with him. The duke employed Sir William Bruce to convert his castle at Thirlstane into a renaissance palace. The family earldom passed to his brother, Charles.



18th Century & Jacobite Uprisings

1715 Uprising

Charles Maitland the sixth Earl was appointed General of the Mint, and at the general election he was chosen one of the sixteen representative peers. He supported the British Government and was against Jacobitism. He served as a volunteer, under the Duke of Argyll, and fought with great gallantry at the Battle of Sheriffmuir against the Jacobites in 1715.

1745 - 1746 Uprising

Although the Jacobite leader Prince Charles Edward Stuart stayed at Thirlstane Castle and his army camped in the parklands after the victory at the Battle of Prestonpans in 1745, the Maitland family were not noted Jacobites, and they escaped the forfeiture which ruined so many other families after the Forty-five.

The estate and Castle of Lethington was acquired by Lord Blantyre in 1702, a gift from La Belle Stuart, Frances Stewart, Duchess of Richmond and Lennox. He renamed it as per her instructions, “Lennox’s Love to Blantyre’, which was shortened over the years to Lennoxlove.



Clan Maitland Today

Today the Earls of Lauderdale are Hereditary Saltire Banner Bearers of Scotland.



Clan Chief

The current Chief of Clan Maitland is Patrick Maitland, 17th Earl of Lauderdale.



Clan Castles

      Thirlestane Castle is the seat of the Chief of Clan Maitland.

      Tibber’s Castle was bought by the Maitlands of Auchen in 1489.

      Lennoxlove House, previously Lethington was owned by the Maitlands until 1682.



Clan Septs

Spelling variations, names associated with the clan and septs of the Clan Maitland include: Lauderdale, Maitland, Maltland, Mateland, Matelande, Matheland, Matilland, Matillande, Matlain, Matland, Mauteland, Mautelande, Mautelent, Mautlent, Metellan, Metlan, Mettlin.

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