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Middleton Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: FORTIS IN ARDUIS (Brave during adversity)

There are various areas called Middleton in Scotland, but it is believed that the family took its name from lands so called near Laurencekirk in Kincardineshire. The lands were confirmed by a charter of King William the Lion. Humfrey de Middleton of Kincardyn rendered homage to Edward I of England in the Ragman Roll of 1296, and in the same year Robert de Middleton was taken prisoner at Dunbar Castle. The family came to prominence in the seventeenth century. John, son of Middleton of Coldham, was a professional soldier who joined Hepburn’s regiment in the service of the king of France. He returned to Scotland in 1642 to enter the service of the opponents of Charles I, first as a cavalry commander and later as a general. He was with Leslie’s cavalry which surprised Montrose at Philiphaugh in 1645 and pursued him northwards. When the marquess received direct orders from Charles to disband his forces in 1646, it was General Middleton who negotiated the terms which allowed the king’s captain general to take ship for the Continent.

However, Middleton was deeply unhappy at the decision to surrender the king to the Parliamentarian army, and subsequently he joined the forces under the Duke of Hamilton which attempted a rescue of the king in 1648. He was to be tried for treason, but escaped to France. In 1654 he again returned to Scotland to join forces with the Earl of Glencairn, but was defeated by General Monck and once more went into exile on the Continent. At the Restoration a grateful Charles II created him Earl of Middleton and Lord Clermont and Fettercairn. He was appointed Lord High Commissioner by the Scots Parliament, and in 1667 was made Governor of Tangier in Morocco, where he died.

His only son, Charles, second and last Earl of Middleton, was ambassador to the imperial court at Vienna, and Secretary of State for Scotland. He did not approve of the actions of James VII, but he refused to recognise the Revolution of 1688 and the subsequent accession of Queen Mary and William of Orange. He was imprisoned in England but, following his father’s example, he contrived to escape and fled to France. His sons were captured attempting an invasion of Scotland with the assistance of French troops and were sent to the Tower of London. They were later released, but the title was forfeited and never restored.

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Family Crest Motto: FORTIS IN ARDUIS
(Brave during adversity)

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