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The Arbuthnott Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: LAUS DEO (Praise God)

Let me regale you with the intriguing history of your family name, Arbuthnott. It hails from the ancient lands bearing the same name in Kincardineshire and is of territorial origin. In early documents, it was referred to as ‘Aberbothenoth,’ which has been translated as the ‘mouth of the stream below the noble house.’

Your family’s connection to Arbuthnott can be traced back to Hugh, who, it is believed, became part of the ‘noble family’ of Swinton. During the reign of William the Lion, Hugh married the daughter of Osbert Olifard, known as ‘The Crusader,’ and thus acquired the lands of Arbuthnott. Another Hugh, known as ‘Le Blond’ due to his fair hair, held the title of Laird of Arbuthnott around 1282. He can be found in a charter from that year, generously granting lands to the monastery of Arbroath for ‘the safety of his soul.’ Philip de Arbuthnott, described as ‘dominus ejusdem’ or ‘of that llk,’ appears in a charter in 1355, marking the first mention of the name in such a manner. Hugh Arbuthnott of that Ilk, son of Philip, was implicated in the murder of John Melville of Glenbervie, the widely despised Sheriff of the Mearns, around 1420.

The Lairds of Mathers, Arbuthnott, Pitarrow, and Halkerton cunningly invited Melville to a hunting party in the Forest of Garvock. Unaware of the impending danger, the unsuspecting sheriff was led to a predetermined location where he met his demise by being thrown into a cauldron of boiling water. It is said that the conspirators sealed their pact by each taking a sip from the fatal ‘brew.’ The laird of Arbuthnott was ultimately pardoned for his involvement in the affair and peacefully passed away in 1446. His direct descendant, Sir Robert Arbuthnott of that llk, staunchly supported Charles I and was granted a peerage in 1641, becoming Viscount of Arbuthnott and Baron Inverbervie.

Alexander Arbuthnott, hailing from a younger branch of the chiefly house, was a distinguished clergyman and fervent supporter of the Scottish Reformation. He served as the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, which convened in Edinburgh in April 1571. Another illustrious figure within your family’s lineage is Dr. John Arbuthnott, an esteemed physician and witty political commentator of the 18th century. Despite belonging to a different branch, he claimed close kinship to the chiefly family. Educated at the University of Aberdeen, he ventured to London to seek his fortune. In 1705, he happened to be at Epsom when Prince George, Queen Anne’s husband, suddenly fell ill, and Arbuthnott was summoned to attend to the royal sickbed. Thankfully, the prince recovered, much to the doctor’s relief, and Arbuthnott was subsequently appointed one of the royal physicians.

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Family Crest Motto: LAUS DEO (Praise God)

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