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Spottiswood Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: PATIOR UT POTIAR (I suffer that I may obtain)

Let me share with you the vibrant tapestry of your family’s legacy, bearing the name Spottiswood, a name that resonates with history and distinction. The roots of your family name stretch back to the barony of Spottiswood, nestled within the parish of Gordon in Berwickshire. The tale commences with Robert de Spotteswode, a figure of significance, who in 1296 emerged on the stage of history, inscribing his name upon the Ragman Roll—a record of those pledging allegiance to Edward I of England for their lands in Berwick.

A heraldic emblem, a wild boar, graced the seal of Robert de Spotteswode—a symbol that would later grace the arms of Spottiswood of that Ilk, an indelible mark of identity. William Spottiswood of Spottiswood, a name etched in valor, met his fate at the Battle of Flodden in 1513, leaving a legacy intertwined with that of Henry Pringle of Torsonce, through his marriage to Elizabeth.

From this union emerged generations marked by two illustrious Scottish clergymen. The Reverend John Spottiswood of that Ilk, a luminary born in 1510, traversed a transformative path. The halls of the University of Glasgow echoed with his pursuit of divinity, leading to his conversion to the Protestant faith. His journey extended to England, where Archbishop Cranmer ordained him, and back to Scotland as part of the entourage of Mary, Queen of Scots, during her union with the Dauphin of France. John Spottiswood’s steadfast advocacy for the Reformation, in alliance with John Knox and fellow compatriots, cast him as a defender of faith. His words reverberated against Queen Mary, painting her with the hue of iniquity.

His lineage unfurls to the next generation, where the mantle of influence was assumed by another John. Born in 1565 during his father’s tenure as minister at Mid Calder, this John Spottiswood’s trajectory unfolded differently. Despite the fervor of his father’s stance against the late queen, this scion ascended the ranks of royal favor in the realms of Mary’s son and grandson. His unwavering support for the king’s vision of an Episcopal church in Scotland led him to become Archbishop of St Andrews, appointed by Charles I in 1629. In 1633, he presided over Charles’ coronation, a moment steeped in controversy, and ascended to the role of Lord Chancellor of Scotland. Amidst the echoes of history, your family’s legacy intertwines with the bold presence of Jenny Geddes, who made her stand known within the Cathedral of St Giles in Edinburgh, casting her stool in protest.

Generations unfolded, each with their own tales. Your family’s resilience coursed through the veins of John Spottiswood, who battled the forces of the Covenant, paying the ultimate price in 1650. The threads of influence reached further still, embracing Sir Robert Spottiswood, Secretary of State for Scotland, who faced the blades of ‘the maiden,’ the Scottish counterpart to the guillotine.

Your family’s name, Spottiswood, is etched with stories of ministers, defenders, and statesmen. As the chapters of history unfold, remember that you are part of a lineage that has left its indelible mark on the tapestry of Scotland and beyond.

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Family Crest Motto: PATIOR UT POTIAR (I suffer that I may obtain)

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