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The Scottish Nation

LAUDER - a surname said to have been originally de Lavendre. The first of the name is stated to have been one of those Anglo-Norman barons who accompanied Malcolm Canmore to Scotland in 1056, and obtained from that monarch certain grants of land, particularly in Berwickshire, to which he gave his own name, being also invested with the hereditary bailieship of Lauderdale. The surname, however, is more likely to have been derived from the Leader water, called by Camden in his Britannia, Lauder; the vale through which it flows being, from a very early period, called Lauderdale. The Celtic word Laudur, signifying the lesser river, or the river which breaks forth, is thought by some to apply to the Leader, which occasionally, after heavy rains, overflows its banks and overspreads the neighbouring lands. Nisbet (vol. i. p. 351) says that, sometimes written Lauther, the name is local, from the town and lands of Lauder, that is “Lower than the hills that surround it.”

        Robertus de Lavedre, the fifth in descent from the first Anglo-Norman of the name, accompanied David Earl of Huntington, brother of William the Lion, to the holy land.

        Another Robertus de Lavedre witnessed a charter of John de Mautelant, ancestor of the noble family of Maitland, to the abbey of Dryburgh.

        William de Lawedre of Lawedre, sheriff of Perthshire in 1251, witnessed a charter of Alexander III.

        Sir Robert de Lavedre of the Bass fought at Stirling Bridge in 1297. The family of Lauder were the earliest proprietors on record of the island of the Bass, in the firth of Forth, and were usually designated the Lauders of the Bass. According to Henry the Minstrel, Sir Robert de Lauder of the Bass was the associate of Wallace in many of his exploits. In the aisle of the lairds of the Bass, in the old church of North Berwick, a tombstone once bore the following inscription, in Latin-Saxon characters – “Here lies the good Robert Lauder, the great laird of Congalton and the Bass, who died May 1311.” (Nisbet, vol. i. p. 443.)

        His successor, also Sir Robert de Lauder, had a charter from William de Lamberton, bishop of St. Andrews, of that portion of the island of the Bass, over which the abbey of St. Andrews had until then retained a right, the Lauders having, as stated already, possessed the larger part of it for many generations. This charter, dated 4th June 1316, was carried off from the Grange house near Edinburgh, with a number of other documents and articles, by a housebreaker, in the night between the 18th and 19th September 1836, and has never been recovered. This Sir Robert de Lauder was ambassador to England from Robert the Bruce upon various occasions. In 1323, he was one of the proxies in the oath of peace with Edward II. He was justiciary of the Lothians and that part of Scotland to the south of the Forth in 1328, and in 1333 he and his son, Sir Robert de Lauder, of Quarrelwood in the county of Nairn, who held the office of justiciary of all the country to the south of the Forth, were present at the disastrous battle of Halidon, under Archibald Douglas, lord of Galloway, regent of Scotland, called the Tyneman, who was slain in the fray.  Sir Robert Lauder, the son, was constable of the royal castle of Urquhart on Loch Ness, and bravely defended that stronghold, one of the four which successfully held out against the power of Edward III. By the title of Sir Robert Lauder of Quarrelwood he granted a charter of lands in and near “his borough of Lauder,” to Thomas de Borthwick, which is witnessed by John de Mautelant, the sixth of the Lauderdale family, and his brother, William, and also by his own son, Sir Alan de Lauder, and by his grandson. His only daughter, Ann, heiress of Quarrelwood, married in 1335 Sir Robert Chisholme, who in 1364 succeeded his father-in-law, as constable of Urquhart castle.

        Sir Robert’s son, Sir Alan de Laudere of Hatton in Mid Lothian, had several charters for different lands about 1370, in the shire of Berwick, from Robert earl of Strathern, afterwards Robert II. From him descended the Lauders of Hatton. He had three sons, namely, Robert, his successor; William, bishop of Glasgow and chancellor of Scotland in 1423, who built the steeple of Glasgow; and Alexander, bishop of Dunkeld in 1440.

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