Maitland Clan History
The name Maitland is of Norman origin and was originally spelt Mautalent, Matulant or Matalan. The Mautalents come from the village of Les Moitiers d’Allonne near Carteret in Normandy. The first time the name is found in Scotland was Thomas de Matulant, ancestor to this noble family in Lauderdale. During the reign of King Alexander III of Scotland, Thomas’s grandson, Sir Richard Matulant was one of the most powerful Lowland barons, owning the lands of Thirlestane, Blythe, Tollus and Hedderwick.

Sir Richard Matulant’s supported Robert the Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, however he died in 1315. Two of his sons died when the Clan Maitland fought at 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. 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.

Robert’s descendant, Chief William Maitland of Lethinton was killed when he led the Clan Maitland at the Battle of Flodden. 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. Another William Maitland became Secretary Lethington of Queen Mary’s reign. He accompanied her north into the Scottish Highlands against the formidable and powerful Earl of Huntly and his Clan Gordon. William led the Clan Maitland at the Battle of Corrichie in 1562. 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.

Sir John Maitland was created the 1st Lord of Thirlestane and married the heiress of Lord Fleming. His 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.

Thirlestane Castle in the 1670s

Chief John Maitland the 2nd Earl of was a staunch Royalist 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. 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 family earldom passed to his brother, Charles. Charles Maitland the sixth Earl was appointed General of the Mint. He supported the British Government and was against Jacobitism. He served as a volunteer, and fought at the Battle of Sheriffmuir against the Jacobites in 1715.

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 of Lethington was bought by Lord Blantyre during the 18th century. He renamed the Thirlestane Castle; Castle Lennoxglove.

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