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The Lauder family & Robert The Bruce
by Gregory Lauder-Frost, F.S.A.(Scot).


In an essay by Alexander Grant entitled Extinction of Direct Male Lines he states that the Lauders were one of only 31% of the great families of the time of Robert the Bruce who survived in the direct male line beyond 1500. Grant also says: “It has been pointed out that the Declaration of Arbroath does not give a complete roll-call of the leading barons of Robert 1st’s regime. Professor Barrow has referred to ‘the omission of men such as Andrew Murray of Bothwell, Robert Lauder [of The Bass] and Robert Menzies [of Weem]’”. The family of Lauder are recorded as “prominent from 1320” and amongst those “below the rank of earl who have been considered as belonging to the Scottish higher nobility between 1325 and 1349.” (Essays on the Nobility of Medieval Scotland edited by K.J.Stringer, Edinburgh, 1985, pps: 214, 225, and 229; citing Barrow’s Robert Bruce, London, 1965, p.430).

Professor Barrow himself states: “from a study of the nobles who either made or improved their family fortunes under Bruce besides the King’s close relatives was a small group of specially trusted specially favoured men, who though not personally related to the King were obviously his intimate counsellors, prominent in every department of royal service………of this small group of key men were…….Sir Robert Lauder, one of the very few men rewarded by King Robert with substantial grants of land and high office.” (Robert Bruce by G.W.S.Barrow, London, 1965, pps:399 & 401) To examine these claims more closely we need to look at Sir Robert Lauder the father (d.1311) and then father and son’s involvement, where known, in what is commonly referred to as the Wars of Scottish Independence.

Sir Robert de Lawedre of the Bass, knight, the father, was a known companion of the great Scottish hero, Sir William Wallace. (Abercromby’s Martial Atchievements of the Scottish Nation, Edinburgh, 1711, vol.i, p529; John Burke, Peerage of the British Empire 1845, p.591). He died in May 1311 so was possibly born circa 1260.

On 28th April 1296, Patrick 8th Earl of Dunbar and Earl of March (d.1308) a ‘Competitor’ for the Scottish Crown, was besieged in Dunbar Castle by Sir John de Warenne, Knt., Earl of Warenne and 7th Earl of Surrey (d.Sept.1304) with 12000 men. Hume states that the castle was defended by “the flower of the Scottish nobility”. A relief by an undisciplined force of the Earls of Buchan, Lennox, and Mar with, it is said, 40,000 men, failed utterly with at least 10,000 dead. The castle surrendered to King Edward 1st the next day. Sir William Wallace now arrived on the scene, accusing the Earl of Dunbar of going over to the English interest, and so of treachery. “Wallace was joined by Robert Lauder at Musselburgh, and afterwards by Crystal de Seton [also on record]. They were met at [East] Linton by Squire Lyle [of Stoneypath tower] who informed them that the Earl and his 900 men were now at Cockburnspath and were marching [back] to Dunbar. Wallace was cautious but Lauder was in a hurry to engage Dunbar. After a terrible conflict in a field near Innerwick, the Earl retreated to Cockburnspath”. (The History of Dunbar by James Miller, Dunbar, 1830, p.30-1).

Blind Harry records of Wallace that “he gaiff Stentoun to Lawder in hys wage” (Book viii, line 419). The Lauders of The Bass held the feudal barony of Stenton, in East Lothian, continuously until the 17th century.

The Scottish Nation (by William Anderson, 1861, vol.2) states that “Sir Robert de Lavedre of The Bass fought at Stirling Bridge in 1297”; and James Young (Historical References to the Scottish Family of Lauder, Glasgow, 1884) also states that he was a companion of Sir William Wallace and took part in the battle of Stirling Bridge on 12th September 1297. J.Stewart Smith (The Grange of St. Giles, Edinburgh,1898, p.155) also notes him with Wallace at Stirling Bridge and adds that “of this chief of the family we have much more detail, as he was the inseparable associate of Sir William Wallace, the grand champion of Scotland, his faithful companion in arms, and his trusty friend from the beginning of his career to the sad ending of his heroic life. Sir Robert defended his fortress of The Bass with great determination against Edward I and in his staunch loyalty to his country none could seduce him from his allegiance. Such was his eagerness to march with Wallace against the Earl of Dunbar, who had espoused the English cause, that he would rather have lost his beloved Bass than have been denied this gratification.” The writer quotes Blind Harry’s Poem book vii. lines 1170 to 1214, and Blind Harry’s Wallace, Book viii.

Blind Harry mentions Lauder and Seton with Wallace numerous times in Book XI of his famous chronicle Wallace. In July 1298 Lauder fought in the disastrous battle of Falkirk and he and Sir John Graham (who was later killed) had to be rescued by the wounded Wallace with 300 men. Harry then records that “Wallace himself, Lauder, and Seaton”, led “5000 valiant brave men” to ‘Richardtown’. Later (chapter 3) it is recorded that “Seaton and Lauder in The Bass did dwell”. Seaton was later captured and beheaded ( see The Genealogy of the House & Surname of Setoun by Sir Richard Maitland of Lethington, 1561, reprinted 1830).

In the Acts of the Lords of Council in Civil Causes (vol.II, 1491-1501, page 487) there is mention that on 17th March 1501 the Prior of Pluscardy had been granted permission to have copied a charter to Dunfermline Abbey given by Robert the Bruce [r.1306 - 1329] and which “Roberto de Lawder, militibus” was a witness. (May be father or son).

J.Stewart Smith (1898,p,156) relates that this Sir Robert “was buried within the ancient church on the shore at North Berwick”. (By 1656 this church was ruinous). Part of his gravestone is preserved in the care of the East Lothian County Council, the original inscription of which was described in detail by Alexander Nesbit, who had examined it, in his famous work Systems of Heraldry (1722, p.443) and reads: “here lies the good Robert Lauedre the greate Laird of Congaltoun and The Bass Maii MCCCXI”. As the superiority of Congaltoun was soon afterwards invested in “Sir John Congaltoun de eodem” the first of that family to be styled ‘of that Ilk’, it confirms the accuracy of the year. His son was:

Sir Robert de Lawedre, Knt., of Edrington & The Bass, etc., (c1275 – Sept 1337) (Dictionary of the Peerage & Baronetage of the British Empire by John Burke, 8th edition. London, 1845, volume 1, pps: 591; and Sir Bernard Burke (1870, 32nd edition). J.Stewart Smith (1898, p.159) relates that this Sir Robert “had been a follower of Sir William Wallace as a squire in his father’s lifetime, and fought bravely in the repulsion of Edward II from Scotland; also in the subsequent reprisals made by Robert Bruce in the north of England.”

In The Great Seal (printed editions) under charters of King Robert I Bruce dated between 1315 and 1321 there are several (nos.55, 62, 68, 89 and 92) where the King granted confirmations to Sir Robert Lauder of the Bass, knight, “for his homage and service” of various properties, including tenaments of lands at Penkaitland & Nisbet in Haddingtonshire, and Lethberd Mill, near Aldcathy in Linlithgowshire. (The family retained the lands at Aldcathy until the 17th century.) The King also confirmed to him “all the lands of Coldene within the barony of Dalkeith” (all mentioned by Barrow, Robert Bruce 1965, p.401). Two charters (numbers 92 & 93) signed at Berwick-upon-Tweed, confirmations to the Monastery of Jedburgh, have as one of the witnesses, Robert de Lawder, knight. They are both dated 20th December 1316(?).

In Miscellany of The Scottish History Society, (Edinburgh 1933, vol.5), Miscellaneous Charters 1315-1401’ (edited by William Angus, from translations in the collections of the late Sir William Fraser, KCB, LLD, pps: 6; 50/51) there is mention of a ‘Roberto de Lawedir, clerico’, who witnessed a charter by Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray to Sir Adam Gordon, knight, and his son, of the lands of Stitchell, circa 1315. Robert Lauder also had a charter on 4th March 1316, from John Graham of Abercorn of his ‘dominical lands’ in the tenement of Dalkeith and of the lands of Coldenfeld [presumably that mentioned above as Coldene], the latter subject being confirmed by King Robert 1st on 8th March 1316. The same Robert Lauder witnessed a charter by Patrick [Dunbar], Earl of March to the Abbey of Dryburgh in 1317 “and is probably identical with Robert Lauder, ‘tunc nostro seneschallo’, who witnessed a charter by the same Earl to the Monastery of Melrose about the same period. The fact that he is designed ‘clericus’ would imply that he had received the tonsure, but the term was occasionally applied loosely to men of learning” which appears to be the case here.

Towards the southern end of Lauderdale is the town of Earlston, an ancient superiority of the Earls of Dunbar or March. James Young (1884, p.19) records that "Robertus de Lauuedirr tunc noster seneschallus" witnessed a charter of "Patricii de Dunbar, comitis Marchie" during the reign of Robert the Bruce, and "Robetus de Lawedre, consanguineus noster" (a cousin) witnessed a charter of "Georgii comitis Marchie" relating to Sorrowlessfield, a still extant property on the (A68) road south of Earlston in the reign of Robert III.

On the 4th June 1316 William Lamberton, Archbishop of St.Andrews conveyed by charter to this Sir Robert “our part” of the Bass, (Nisbet, 1722, vol.1, p.344) - full title of which had been until then retained by The Church by virtue of the existance there of the Holy Cell of St.Baldred. J.Stewart Smith (1898) states that “these documents prove that the father of this Sir Robert de Lawedre already possessed the most important part of the island of Bass, which was in itself too small a territory to be divided or to be held by two masters.” In any case that is clear from the tombstone inscription of this Sir Robert’s father, which already called him the “laird of Bass” in 1311. Other evidences allude to ownership from the 11th century.

In the National Archives of Scotland (GD220/6/126) is a Charter of King Robert I, dated at Scone on the 1st June 1317, to Robert Skene of the lands of Skene and lake/loch thereof in sheriffdom of Aberdeen. Witnesses were Bernard, Abbot of Aberbrothoc [Arbroath], Chancellor, Thomas Randulphe, Earl of Moray, Lord of Annandale and of Man, King's nephew, Walter, Steward of Scotland, James, Lord Douglas, Sir Alexander Fraser, Knt., Sir David Berclay, Knt., and Sir Robert Laweder, Knt.

In the National Archives (GD86/4) is a (Haddingtonshire) charter by Hugh de Gourley, lord of Merkil, granting to Robert de Lawedir, (now) ‘the father’, that carucate of land with toft and croft within the town and tenement of Popil which Roger de Gourlay, his brother, held of him and delivered up by staff and baton: To be held ‘de me’, rendering annually at Michaelmas twelve pennies Sterling of blench duty, dated circa 1318.

At about this time, or earlier, Sir Robert had been appointed Justiciary of the Lothians and the south of Scotland (except Galloway) by Robert The Bruce. Scotland was divided into two Justiciaries, one upon the south side of the Forth which was called 'Justiciarius Lothaniae', and in old charters sometimes spelt 'Judex Laudoniae'; and the other the North of the Forth, sometimes called ‘Justicarius Scotia’. Sir George Mackenzie relates that these positions were generally possessed by noblemen. (Precedency, page 39; and also Alexander Nisbet, Systems of Heraldry vol.II, part 4, p.63, 1722/1984 facsimile reprint).

James Young (1884, p.19) cites a document written in French, and dated 4th September, 1319. It is entitled: “Lettre d’attorne pur doner seysine,” and is granted to “Robert de Lawedir Justice de Lounes, [Lothians]....Donez a la langley en la terre de Meuros [Melrose] le quartior de Septembre en lan de grace MCCC et disneifme.”

In the Calendar of the Laing Charters, A.D.854 - 1837 (edited by Rev. John Anderson, Edinburgh, 1899, page 9, number 27) there appears a charter by Hugh de Gourlay, son and heir of Sir Hugh de Gourlaye, lord of Merkil, [Haddingtonshire], ratifying to his brother (?), Hugh de Gourlaye of Linton [Haddingtonshire] a grant to him by their father of 12 acres of land with malt kiln &c., in the town and holding of Linton, with other pertinents &c. Witnesses were Patrick de Dunbar, Earl of March, Sir Robert de Lowedre, knight, Justiciar of Lothian, amongst others. Said to be circa 1320.

In the National Archives (RH1/6/33) is an Indenture betwixt Simon, Abbot of Holyrood convent, and Sir Gilbert de Haya, lord of Erole [Erroll], dated 22nd January 1320-1321 witnesses included Alexander de Seton and Robert de Lawedir, knights. [See also Spalding Miscellany. Vol. 2. P.319).

Robert de Lauder, Alexander de Seaton, James, Lord Douglas, knights, Walter, Steward of Scotland, and the Earl of Murray, witnessed a charter on 31st January 1321 by King Robert 1st settling the Lordship of Sprouston in co.Roxburgh on the King's son, Robert. Signed at Berwick-upon-Tweed. (Charter Chest of the Earldom of Wigtown 1214-1681 edited by Francis J. Grant, W.S., Rothesay Herald, Scottish Record Society, Edinburgh, 1910, p.7, number 30).

With Duncan, Earl of Fife, Walter, Steward of Scotland, Gilbert de Hay, Constable of Scotland, Robert de Keith, Marischal of Scotland, Sir Robert de Lawedre, Knt., was a witness to a charter by King Robert 1st to Malcolm, Earl of Lennox, dated 14th July, 1321. (The Lennox by William Fraser, Edinburgh, 1874, vol.ii, Muniments, pps: 20-22).

"Robert de Lawedre, knight," was a principal witness to a charter by Robert The Bruce to James, Lord of Douglas, knight, of the barony of Stabilgorton, circa 1319, and another charter between the same parties of half the barony of 'Watstyrker' on 20th April 1321. The second charter was signed at Berwick-upon-Tweed. (The Douglas Book, by William Douglas, CB., LL.D., vol.3, pps:10-11, Edinburgh 1885).

In a charter dated 1st September 1321 by James, Lord of Douglas, of his lands of Fala to Roger of Moray, we find “domino Roberto Lauwedre” as a witness. (The Elphinstone Family Book, vol.II, p.218.)

“Roberto de Lauwedir tunc justiciario Laudonie” [Justiciary of Lothians] is a witness to a charter by Walter, Steward of Scotland, to John St.Clair, his valet, of the lands of Maxtone, Roxburghshire, circa 1320/1326. (Miscellaneous Charters 1315-401 edited by William Angus, in Miscellany of The Scottish History Society , vol.5, 1933, p.9).

"Roberto de Lawedre, Justiciaro Laudonie, Militibus", is a witness with Bernard Abbot of Arbroath, Chancellor, Walter, Steward of Scotland,, James, Lord Douglas, Robert de Keith, Marischal, and others, on the 18th May 1322, to a confirmation of a feu charter by King Robert to Thomas de Morham, senior, knight, of all the lands and tenements in the feudal baronies of Donipas, Duncanlaw, and Morham, the superior of which is Sir John Giffard, Knt., Lord of Yester. (Calendar of Writs Preserved at Yester House 1166-1625 compiled by Charles C.H.Harvey and John MacLeod, Scottish Record Society, Edinburgh, 1930, p.14, no.19).

Robert de Lawedre, chevalier, took part in a King's Council held by Robert 1st at Berwick-upon-Tweed on 7th June 1323. (The Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, vol.I, 1124-1423, London, 1844, p.110).

Rymer’s Foedera (vol.iii.p.1022) also tells us that in 1323 Sir Robert Lauder was one of the Scottish plenipotentiaries who signed the truce between The Bruce and King Edward II of England.

In a confirmation by William Prior of Durham, dated 25th June 1326, "Robert de Lawedre, the father, then Justiciar of Lothian" was the first witness following the Prior of Coldingham to a charter by Agnes de Mordington, widow of Sir Henry de Haliburton, and daughter and heiress of Sir Peter de Mordington, to John de Renton, Burgess of Berwick-upon-Tweed, of all her lands and tenements of them in Upper Lamberton, to be held of Coldingham Priory and the Prior of Durham who are described as "chief lords of the fief" (i.e: superiors). Dated 21st November 1325 at Upper Lamberton. (Durham Priory Register II, folio 94r-v).

He was again Ambassador to England on 17th March, 1327 (see Robertson's "Index" p.101): a famous treaty, usually known by the name of Northampton, where it was confirmed, was actually issued at York, with the remaining terms being settled at Edinburgh on March 17, 1327-28 between the Kings of England and Scotland, which included the promise of a union between “David, the eldest son and heir of the King of Scotland, and Joan, the sister of the King of England. For the assurance of the marriage, Hugh Earl of Ross, [signed] in the presence of the King of Scotland; and by His special command, and on His soul, and for keeping, holding and accomplishing, in good faith, without infringement, all the above things, and each of them, Robert de Lawedre, Justice of Lothian, in the presence of the King of Scotland, and by his special command, and on His soul, have taken oath on the Holy Gospels.” On 4th May 1328 he was present at Northampton for further treaty discussions. The same year, on the 28th July, Robert the Bruce granted a charter of restitution to Sir Henry Percy of all of his father’s lands and rents, etc., in Scotland. Witnesses to this charter included Roberto de Lawedre, father (or senior), Knight. (Anglo-Scottish Relations, 1174-1328 edited & translated by Professor E.L.G.Stones, Oxford, 1965, numbers 170, p.341, and 172, p.345).

About 1327 "Roberto de Lawedir, patre [the father], Justicario Laudonie" is a witness, with Patrick de Dunbar, Earl of March, and Robert de Keith, Marischal of Scotland, Alexander de Setoun, patre, all knights, and others, to a charter of John Giffard, Lord of Yester, East Lothian. (Calendar of Writs preserved at Yester House 1166-1625 compiled by Charles C.H.Harvey and John MacLeod, Scottish Record Society, Edinburgh, 1930, p.17, no.22).

Robert de Lawedre, Justiary of the Lothians, sat in Parliament at Edinburgh, in 1327. (The Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland), vol.I, 1124-1423, London, 1844, p.126.

On the 16th March 1328 Robert de Lawedre is one of the illustrious witnesses, including the Bishops of St Andrews, Glasgow, and Moray, Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray & Lord of Annandale and Man, King's nephew, the "Lord of Douglas", Gilbert de Hay, Constable, Robert de Keith, Marshal, and Alexander de Seton, to a Charter of Patrick, Earl of Dunbar, son of Waldef granting the monks of Coldingham the village and church of Edrom, the village of Nisbet, and the chapel of Earlston all in Berwickshire. (Durham Miscellaneous Charters, number 635).

On the 28th July 1328, Robert the Bruce granted a charter of restitution to Sir Henry Percy of all his father's lands and rents, etc., in Scotland. Witnesses to this charter included Roberto de Lawedre, father (or senior), Knight. (p345, [172])

(Anglo-Scottish Relations, 1174-1328 edited & translated by Professor E.L.G.Stones Oxford, 1965).

John J.Reid, B.A., F.S.A.,(Scot) writing in The Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries (14th December, 1885), on Early Notices of the Bass Rock and its Owners stated: “Sir Robert of Lauder of The Bass was, in 1329, employed on a mission to England, no doubt diplomatic in its character, and payments out of public funds amounting to 60 were made to him for the expense of his journeys to London and York.” This is confirmed in The Exchequer Rolls of Scotland (editors: John Stuart, LL.D., & George Burnett, Lyon King of Arms, vol.1, 1264-1359, Edinburgh, 1878, p.213) where “Domino Roberto de Lawedir” received these expenses for his journeys to London, &c. Mr Reid adds: In 1330 he possessed hereditarily the fishings of Edrington [Berwickshire] and was Keeper of Berwick Castle and Sheriff there.” In the same Exchequer Rolls (pps: 279 & 313) in 1330, “Domino Roberto de Lawedre” described as Custodian or Keeper of the Marches and the Castle of Berwick-upon-Tweed, received, apparently upon the termination of his employment there, 33.6s.8p, plus a similar amount. He is described elsewhere in the same year (p.339) as Sheriff of Berwick, for which he received a further payment.

A charter of 18th October 1161 made between the Bishop of Durham and Kelso Abbey, was reconfirmed on 30th November 1330 in the presence of Patrick (de Dunbar), Earl of March, John Stewart, Earl of Angus, Lord Robert de Lawedre, Justiciar of Lothian, Alexander de Seton, knights, and others.(Durham University Archive - Miscellaneous Charters, no.5989).

In the accounts of Sir Alexander de Seton, Collector of the Burgh of Berwick 16th March 1331, it states: “Allowed to accountants for the fisher of Edermouth [to the mouth of the river Adder, today the Whiteadder] now in possession of Sir Robert de Lawder by right of inheritance; paid to Robert de Lawder balance of his fee of 50 merks, 6.13s.4p; and for his fee due at Martinmas, 33.6s.8p.” (Berwick-upon-Tweed, The History of the Town & Guild by John Scott, London, 1888, pps.248/9.) This is confirmed in the Exchequer Rolls (as above, 1878, p.361) where he is described as Domini Roberti de Lawedre” and the sum stated is 20.

Roberto de Lawedre, Militibus, Justiciario Lowdonie” was a witness in a charter granted by Randolph, Earl of Moray, to John, Earl of Angus, of Morthyntoun [Mordington], Berwickshire, in 1331. (The Douglas Book by Sir William Fraser, charters, No.16, p.14). Lauder’s estate of Edrington lay in Mordington parish.

On the 26th May 1331 a quitclaim charter of Thomas, son of Ralph de Swinewood, to the Prior & Convent of Durham, was witnessed by, amongst others, "Lord Robert de Lawedre, father, Justiciar of Lothian, Lord Robert de Lawedre his son, and Henry, Lord of Swinton. (University of Durham, Miscellaneous charters no.1004).

On 20th September 1331 Robert de Lauder, Sheriff of Berwick-upon-Tweed, having received a Writ from David, King of Scots commanding him to summon all bishops and others within his bailliary to attend his Parliament at Scone on Friday next after...., orders John of York the King’s sergeant-of-fee, to summon the Bishop of Durham at his land of Wester Upsettlington, to attend in person. Signed at Berwick-upon-Tweed, Friday next after the Exhaltation of the Holy Rood”. (Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland by Joseph Bain, vol.III, 1307-1357, Edinburgh, 1887, p.187-8). A debate then ensued into at least October 1331 between the Bishop of Durham and the King of Scots as to authority of the latter over West Upsettlington, and the manor and castle of Norham, with further papers being served by Robert de Lauder, Justiciar of Lothian, on the Bishop of Durham’s bailiffs.

An indenture of 11th May 1332 whereby the Prior of Coldingham "demises" some lands, was witnessed by Lord Robert de Lawedre, Justiciar of Lothian and Sheriff of Berwick, Lord Robert de Lawedre his son, Gilbert de Lumsden, John de Renton, and others. Refer: (University of Durham, Miscellaneous Charters, no.1169).

In Bain (as above, vol. III, number 1063, page 193) we find the following order: “The King [of England] empowers John Darcy and William de Denum to go to Newcastle-upon-Tyne to treat with Sir Robert Laweder, knight, and Ranulph de More [Moray] who have been sent by the Guardian of Scotland to the King, but are detained there by the dangerous illness of Sir Robert”. Dated 26th October 1332.

Both this Sir Robert de Lawedre of The Bass and his son Sir Robert were present at the battle of Halidon Hill, on 20th July 1333. The chronicler Knyghton records that Sir Robert, senior was present, but did not take part due to the fact that he was unable to dismount from his horse in full armour owing to his advanced age.

In Rotuli Scotiae in Turri Londinensi et in Domo Capitulari Westmonasteriensi asserervati (London,1814-19, 2 vols., folio) there is a Letter of Protection by Edward III for Robertus de Lauder of Berwick-upon-Tweed dated 26th July 1333; and there is a mandate for the freeing of lands in Berwick-upon-Tweed being granted by King Edward III dated 4th March 1334 to Robert de Loweder senior and Robert ‘fils’ or junior. There is a further Safe-Conduct dated 15th June 1334 to “Robertus de Lowedre constituitur justitiarius regis Angliae in Laudonia [Lothian].”

John J.Reid (1885) notes: “For a short time after [King] David’s accession Sir Robert held the high office of Chamberlain of Scotland, for he is so styled in the Chartulary of Aberdeen in September 1333; and in the following December the Black Book of Arbroath also describes him as holding this dignity.” In The Douglas Book (by Sir William Fraser, vol.ii - The Douglas Correspondence, p.587) under date 10th September 1333 “Sir Robert de Lawedre, Chamberlain of Scotland” was present at an inquest held at Aberdeen. In the statutes of King Malcolm Canmore, the Great Chamberlain of Scotland was the third great officer of state, (refer: Sir George Mackenzie, Precedency, p.40; and Alexander Nisbet, vol.II, part 4, page 63. 1722/1984 reprint). In The Exchequer Rolls of Scotland (edited by George Burnett, Lyon King of Arms, vol.II, 1359-1379, Edinburgh, 1878) there is an appendix to the Preface which contains a list of Chamberlains of Scotland. On p.cxxiii, Sir Robert of Lauder is listed as Chamberlain “for a very short time, 1333”, possibly because of his age and infirmity.

On 29th October 1335 The [English] King confirmed a Safe Conduct issued by his Chancellor to Sir Robert de Lowedre to come with 20 or 30 persons to Dryburgh to treat with his Council; but for certain reasons wishes it altered so that Sir Robert may go to Sir Andrew de Moray, wherever he is in Scotland, and return with news if Sir Andrew is inclined to treat with the Council, pending the truce with him.(Bain, vol.III, no.1185, page 214).

There also appears a charter dated circa 1335 which mentions numerous properties in and around Berwick-upon-Tweed which Robert the Bruce had granted to Sir Robert de Louwedere (another spelling in the same charter is Lowedre) senior, and his son Robert. Berwick having now fallen into the hands of the English, Robert de Lawedre junior is forfeited of these properties which are now granted by Edward III of England to Adam of Corbridge. (Bain, vol.III, no. 1193, pps: 218/219)

In 1337, in the printed Exchequer Rolls (vol.1, p.452-3) there is an entry showing a sum of 18 shillings was paid for bringing a boat hired by Sir Robert de Lauder, Justiciarius Laudonie, from The Bass to Aberdeen. In the same year he is again noted as “Robertum de Lawedre. Justiciarium Laudonie”, a member of the Council of the Regency.

In The Elphinstone Family Book there appears a charter by Thomas of Erth [Airth], knight, Lord of Waughton, to Alexander of Elphinstone, son of the late John of Elphinstone, of the lands in the tenement of Erthbeg. One of the witnesses is “domino Roberto de Lawedre, justiciario Laudonie.” The date given is simply “circa 1340.” However, as his son was Justiciary North of the Firth, not Lothians, this charter must be before then and have been witnessed by this Robert who was dead by then.

There are long lists of Scots who have been forfeited of properties by King Edward III between 1335 - 1337. Robert de Lawedre (who could be either father or son) was forfeited of the lands of “Balmegon” [Balgone?], “Balnegog”, Wester Crag [Craig], Garvald, Fanulton [Fenton], Newhall, Popil, all in Haddingtonshire, and lastly Auldcathy in Linlithgowshire, where it appears Robert senior has died in September 1337. (Bain, vol.III, pps: 337-8, 346, 386,& 391)

Sir Robert’s relict (widow), Elizabeth (died after September 1360), received a pension of 7 shillings a week from the Exchequer, by order of King Edward III of England dated 2nd September 1337:- “De pensione septem solidorum quaque hebdomada Elizabethae de Lowedere solvenda”. (Rotuli Scotiae in Turri Londinensi et in Domo Capitulari Westmonasteriensi assertvati, London, 1814-1819, 2 volumes). In his Preface, Bain (vol.III, p.lxix, 1335-46) states that “though the Lauder family were in the patriotic [Scottish] interest, one member, Elizabeth, seems to have take the other [English] side, and was pensioned in England by King Edward III for 20 years or more. As the Lauders make no appearance in the English public records before the time of Robert Bruce, who seems to have given them extensive properties in Lothian this exception is curious.” He also quotes the pension details and adds that on 13th October 1337 it was increased by Writ to 10 shillings per week “in recompensation of the great losses and damages sustained by Elizabeth de Loweder in Scotland”. (Bain, vol.III, no.1242, p.227).

This was later increased again to 13s 4d. weekly (a very substantial sum) until 16th November 1346, in a back-payment dated 14th December 1346. And to the same, “a lady of Scotland at the King’s faith and peace” with a further arrears up to 30th October 1358 being granted in September 1360. (Bain, vol.III, no.1471, p.268).

Robert de Lawder, Justiciary of the Lothians, was also a witness, with James Lord Douglas, Robert de Keith, Henry St.Clair, Alexander de Seaton, (all knights), plus the "Lord" William, Rector of the parish of Morham, to a charter of Euphemia, the widow of Sir John Giffard, [Lord of Yester], relating to the tenement of land of "Barow" (today: Bara), near Morham, East Lothian. (Refer: Calendar of Writs preserved at Yester House 1166-1625, compiled by Charles C.H.Harvey and John MacLeod, Scottish Record Society, Edinburgh, 1930, p.19, no.24).

In The Great Seal appendix 2, number 753 (reign: David II: 1329-71) there appears mention of a “Carta Remissionis Eustachii............pro intterfectione Roberti Lauder.” Nothing further is said.

It is clear from his activities and the many charters that Sir Robert de Lawedre of The Bass was part of the most confidential circles of the King and of the nobility.

This article is an excerpt from a book on the Lauder family currently in preparation by the author, who retains copyright.


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