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Pentland Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: VIRTUTE ET OPERA (by virtue and deeds)

Let me share with you the intriguing history of your family name, Pentland. It’s a journey that connects you to the very fabric of Scotland’s landscape. The name Pentland draws its roots from two distinct areas—both etched with significance in Scotland’s geography. The Pentland Firth, with its currents that divide the Orkney Islands from Caithness, holds the echoes of ancient Pictland. Then there are the Pentland Hills, embracing Edinburgh, a blend of Brythonic ‘Pen,’ meaning hill, and Old English ‘land.’ Your family name, Pentland, originates from the latter source, rooted in the parish of Pentland—a place that no longer exists, nestled between Straiton and Roslin.

The essence of your family’s history is deeply interwoven with these lands. Back in the twelfth century, a landowner of the Pentland region embraced their connection to the earth by adopting the name ‘de Pentland’ or ‘of Pentland.’ While time may have veiled the specifics of their identity and origins, their legacy lived on. One notable figure, Adam of Pentland, graced the Abbey of Holyrood as a monk around 1298, a time when Edward I of England’s forces crossed the land, toppling King John. Adam’s journey into holy orders might have been a branch of the family that had a vision beyond the prevailing conflicts.

While the intricate chapters of the Wars of Independence leave some gaps, the presence of Ralph de Penteland in 1304 hints at shifting tides. Ralph’s mission, dispatched by the English, stands as a whisper of connection to the shifting allegiances of the time. It’s plausible that your family found its allegiance with Robert the Bruce, eluding forfeiture by making a calculated choice.

The subsequent centuries unfolded, revealing branches of the Pentland family. Documents from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries speak of individuals dwelling in Edinburgh’s embrace, marking the spread of your family’s influence. However, the presence of the mighty Sinclair Earls of Caithness and Orkney loomed large, casting their shadow over the Pentland lands. The Sinclairs relinquished their hold in 1633, selling the barony of Pentland to the Gibsones—a lineage that remained guardians of the land well into the twentieth century.

While the tangible Pentland parish may have faded into history, remnants remain to bear witness to the past. The Pentland churchyard preserves an ancestral vault of the Gibsones, and it also cradles the graves of the Covenanters who fell at the Battle of Rullion Green in 1666. Their memory is immortalized on the Martyrs’ Monument in Greyfriars Churchyard in Edinburgh—a testament to the courage and resilience that courses through your family’s veins.

Your journey is one of roots that dig deep into Scotland’s soil, connecting generations across time. The Pentlands are more than a name—they are a legacy of strength, adaptability, and unwavering spirit. As you reflect on your family’s past, remember that you carry this rich heritage forward, a beacon of history and hope for the future.

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The Family Crest

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Family Crest Motto: VIRTUTE ET OPERA (by virtue and deeds)

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