| Origins of the Melville Family Name
Melville name and where it came from
The name originated from the barony of
Malaville or Malleville in the Pays de Caux in Normandy .
Guillame (William) de Malleville accompanied William the
Conqueror to England and fought at the Battle ofHastings .
Like many of major Scottish families, the de Mallevilles came
to Scotland with King David I when he returned
in 1124 after 30 years spent at the English court. They were
granted lands in Midlothian, outside Edinburgh by
King David. The first record of the name was as a witness to a
charter granted by Malcolm IV, later in the 12th century.
Galfrid de Maleville was a guardian of Edinburgh
Malcolm's reign. A Richard Maluvell was one of those captured
with King William at the Battle of
Alnwick in 1174. Richard Maluvell's grand-daughter inherited
the Barony of Melville which passed to the Ross family when
she married Sir John Ross of Halkhead and the barony remained
in that family until 1705.
Members of the family spread across Scotland and
there are a number of documents with their signatures during
the 12th and 13th century. When King Edward I of England
demanded that all Scottish landowners and clergy should render
homage to him and sign the "Ragman
1296, there were signatures from no less than twelve
"Maleuill" (and other variant spellings), from as far afield
as Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Stirling, Fife, Roxburgh and Peebles.
Sir Johannes Maleuill, who signed the Rolls, was one of the
major barons of Scotland at
that time. His descendant, Sir John Melville of Raith was a
favourite of King James Vin
the 16th century and obtained lands at Murdocairnie in Fife . Despite the
royal patronage, he was an early supporter of the religious
Reformation. As a friend of some of those who conspired to
kill Cardinal Beaton of St Andrews , he was
subsequently executed in 1550 on the evidence of a forged
Sir Robert Melville of Murdocairnie was
the keeper of the Palace of
the end of the reign of Mary Queen of
Scots. Twenty years later, as an ambassador at
the court of Queen Elizabeth, he was so outspoken about the
sentence of death which had been pronounced on Mary by an
English court, that he was threatened with imprisonment,
despite his diplomatic status. Later, he became
Vice-Chancellor ofScotland and
took the title "Lord Murdocairnie". In 1616 he was created
Baron Melville of Monymail. His son, also a judge, was given
the title Lord Monymail in 1627 by King Charles I.
The fourth Lord Melville, a staunch
Protestant, supported an unsuccessful rebellion by James, Duke
of Monmouth, the illegitimate son of King Charles II. He had
to flee abroad but returned with Queen Mary and William of Orange and became
Secretary of State for Scotland and
the first Earl of Melville. Despite trying to exercise a
moderating influence on the conflict between the presbyterian
and episcopal factions, there was nevertheless a witch-hunt of
episcopalian ministers by the Church of Scotland. He married
the granddaughter of the Covenanting general, Sandy Lesley and
through his wife inherited the title of the earldom of Leven
and the Castle of
Balgonie in Fife . Subsequent
heirs have held the courtesy title of Lord Balgonie.
The family seat is Glenferness in
Nairnashire. Melville Castle in Lothian, the original family
home, was rebuilt by the Dundas family who took
the title "Viscount Melville" although they have no connection
with the Melville line.
The Melville clan has two mottoes - "Pro
rege et patria" which means "For king and country" and
"Denique coelum" which means "Heaven at last".
(Reproduced from www.rampantscotland.com/clans/blclanmelville.htm)
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