The Lineage of Bethune of Balfour
Burke's Landed Gentry, 10 Edition (1900)
The following is the lineage of the Bethune of Balfour family as given in Burke's Landed Gentry of Great Britain, 10 edition (1900). Although I am virtually certain that we are not descended from this family, this is probably the source for the name, "Beaton." Burke's is notorious for errors and this account is no exception. Burke's should have known that no contemporary of Mary Queen of Scots could possibly have married any Viscount Dundee because the first Viscount Dundee was a well-known late 17th century historical figure, known in poem and song as Bonnie Dundee. On the other hand, without the hint supplied by the mistaken entry, I'd not have known to investigate further. There is a connection and it appears that Bonnie Dundee is a distant cousin of this family. I suppose that's why Burke's made the "error." Everything in this lineage should be regarded as tentative. It provides an interesting starting place for further investigation. It is not the last word.
I have only copied the lineage supplied by Burke's as far as the family of Cardinal David Betune. There is a story that a physician cousin of Cardinal David, Peter Beaton, was the ancestor of the Beatons of Clan Donald. This story is unlikely, but it has not been completely disproven.
Lineage.--Scotch historians and geneologists all agree that the BETHUNES of Scotland came originally from France , in some of the later ages; but the cause or period of their advent has not yet been determined with certainty.
In the reign of WILLIAM (who s. to the crown in 1165, only seventy-five years after the death of Malcolm III .), Robertus de Bethune is witness to a charter of Rogerus de Quincy, Earl of Winchester, of an annuity out of the Miln and Miln lands of Tranent.
DAVID DE BETUN, and JOANNES DE BETUN, are witnesses to a royal charter by ALEXANDER II. (who began his reign 1214, and d. 1249) to the abbey of Aberbrothick "de Terris, in territorio de Kermuir, in com. De Angus." It was in that county the family of the Bethunes was then most considerable. The chief of them was the laird of Westhall, of whom the rest are descended. Again, in that neighbourhood we find in the beginning of the reign of ALEXANDER III. About 1250, Dominus David de Betun and Robertus de Betun, are with several other honourable gentlemen, witnesses to a charter of Christiana de Valoines, Lady Panmure, to John Lydell of the lands of Balbanin and Panlathine. But a stronger evidence of the high station of the family of Betune in those early times is, that both Mr. Prynne and Mr. Rymer mention Robert de Betune, as swearing fealty to, and being present with EDWARD I, King of England, at the discussion of the pleas for the crown of Scotland, betwixt John Baliol and Robert Bruce, which is confirmed beyond all doubt by some of the seals, yet preserved, that are appended to King EDWARD'S decision, 1292, amongst which is sigillum Roberti de Betune de Scotia, which is a fesse, and on a chief a file of three pendants.
DAVID DE BETUN (Miles) and ALEXANDER DE BETUN, were in the parliament of Cambuskenneth, 1314; and to the act of forfeiture passed in that parliament is appended one of their seals, which is the same coat of arms that is upon the forementioned seal of Robert de Betune. Alexander, continuing loyal to the royal family of Bruce, was knighted for his valour, and is mentioned, amongst other great men, by Hector Bruce, as one of the chiefs who were killed in the great battle of Dunnlin, 12 Aug 1332.
ROBERT DE BETUNE, Familiarius Regis, a younger son of Sir Alexander, m. Janet Balfour , dau. of Sir Michael de Balfour, of that ilk, co. Fife, who had also a son, John de Balfour, but the son dying without issue, Janet became heiress to the Balfour property. By the heiress of Balfour Robert left a son,
JOHN BETUNE, who s. to the property of Balfour, in Fife, on the death, issueless, of his uncle, and was the first laird of Balfour, of the name of Bethune. He m. Katherine Stewart, dau. of the laird of Innermay, and was s. by his son,
JOHN BETUNE, the second laird of Balfour, who m. the daughter of Stewart of Rosaith, and was the father of
ARCHIBALD BETUNE, third laird, whose son,
JOHN BETUNE, fourth laird of Balfour, m. Katherine Stirling, dau. to the laird of Kier, and was the father of
JOHN BETUNE, fifth laird, who, marrying Margary Boswell, dau to the laird of Balmuto, had by her, with five daus., six sons, JOHN, his heir; David, treasurer to James IV., founder of the family of Betune of Creich; Robert, abbot of Melrose; Archibald, laird of Pitlochie; Andrew, prior of St. Andrew; and James, Archbishop of St. Andrews and chancellor of Scotland.
JOHN BETUNE, the eldest son, sixth laird, m. Elizabeth Monypenny, dau. of the laird of Kinkell, by whom he had, with five daus. (Beatrix, m. to the laird of Balumbree; Elizabeth, m. to Sir John Wardlaw, of Torrie; Katherine, m. to
Sir Willian Graham of Fintrie
; Janet, m. to Hay of Mountain; and Margaret, m. to
Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee
), seven sons,
1. JOHN, his heir.
2. JAMES, laird of Balfarge, father of James Betune, Archbishop of Glasgow, who d. in 1603.
3. David, the celebrated CARDINAL BETUNE, b. in 1494, murdered in 1545.
4. Walter, Minister of Balange.
5. Thomas, who d. young.
6. George, parson of Govan.
7. James, laird of Meglund.
John Balfour d. in 1524, and was s. by his son
France: The town of Bethune (the presumed place of origin of the Bethune/Beaton family) is in modern France in the Pas de Calais very close to the Belgian border. The Bethunes are often said to be of Flemish origin. This may be true. Borders are not a reliable guide to nationality in this part of Europe as our Hansen ancestors knew well.
Malcolm III: Malcolm III is the Malcolm in Shakespeare's Macbeth. He reigned for 35 years and every succeeding King of Scotland, save one, was his descendant. In fact, his daughter married Henry I of England so every King of England starting with Henry II was also his descendant. Further, because he married Margaret, a descendent of the Saxon Kings of England, every King of Scotland and England who is his descendent is also a descendent of the Saxon Kings. The only King of Scotland after Malcolm who was not his descendent was his brother, Shakespeare's Donalbain (Donald the Bonny). Donalbain remained in exile for the entire 53 year period comprising the reigns of Macbeth and Malcolm III. He was deposed after a five year reign. I don't believe there is a connection between Donalbain and Clan Donald.
Balfour: The lineage of the Balfour family as given in Burke's
The very ancient family of Balfour, long heritable Sheriffs co. Fife, derive their name from Balfour Castle, in that county, built upon their earliest possessions in Scotland, the vale, or strath, of the Or, a tributary of the Leven. Their first recorded ancestor was SIWARD, living in the reign of Duncan I (the father of Malcolm III and the King Duncan in Shakespeare's Macbeth--HEC); 4th in descent from whom was
MICHAEL DE BALFOR, who left two sons, between whom Octred de Strathor, their grandfather, divided his lands, viz.,
1. WILLIAM (Sir) of that ilk, Sheriff of Fife, ancestor of the BALFOURS of Balfour, extinct in the male line but represented through the female line by the BETHUNES of Balfour.
Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee: The big surprise of this list. Margaret Bethune cannot have actually married a Viscount Dundee because the very first Viscount Dundee wasn't born until 1648, at least a century after the marriage. Instead, Margaret married a John Graham of Claverhouse, Constable of Dundee. Her great great great grandson, also a John Graham of Claverhouse, was the first Viscount Dundee. As such, he has gone down in history as a famous leader of Scottish Jacobites and a hero of Sir Walter Scott's poem, Bonnie Dundee . Therefore, as Margaret was a sister of Cardinal David, a cousin of Peter Beaton, who founded the MacDonald Beaton family, Bonnie Dundee is a very distant, any only tenuously connected, cousin. The lineage of the Graham of Fintry family, as given in Burke's is also included in this site. Only the portion from the beginning of Burke's lineage through Sir William Graham and Viscount Dundee is given.
Sir William Graham of Fintrie: The first of two links between the family of Cardinal David Betune and the Grahams. Katherine married into the senior line of Grahams. Her sister Margaret married Sir William's first cousin once removed.
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This page last modified on Thursday, November 22, 2007