Near Beauly, in the Highlands, there is a Wardlaw, “the hillock where watch and ward was kept by the retainers of the Norman lord of the Aird, John Byset,” which appears as early as 1210 (though as Wardelaue) and it shows the early introduction of the English language to the area.
The first reported of this surname in Scotland seems to be Henricus de Wardlaw who was given a charter for half of the barony of Wiltone in Roxburghshire by Robert I.
In 1358, in Aberdeen, Master Walter de Wardlaw (d. 1387) was a doctor, ‘sacre pagine’, and canon of the city.
The same Walter de Wardlaw was, in 1363, archdeacon of Lothian, and was later a popular and celebrated bishop of Glasgow for twenty years, between 1367 to the year of his death, 1387, probably in the September. During the Western Schism, when, in 1383, Scotland sided with the Avignon Papacy, Avignon Pope Clement VII made Wardlaw a cardinal priest. He was also an ambassador to England.
Henry Wardlaw, the nephew of Walter Wardlaw, was the bishop of St. Andrews between 1403 and 1440, and he was said to have been one of the most famous person of his time, and the founder of the University of St. Andrews. The Wardlaws of Pitreavie descended from Henry’s brother William (d. 1420).
A charter by Hugh Fraser of Lovat was witnessed by Sir Patrick of Warlaw in 1436, and in 1467, Alexander Wardlaw, or Warlaw, of Warenston was recorded as being a witness in Edinburgh.
In 1397, Henry of Wardelawe was allowed safe conduct into England, and in 1467, John of Wardlawe of Recardton also received safe conduct into England.