PATERSON or PATRICKSON simply means 'son of Patrick', and as such has been a favourite Christian name throughout Scotland since pre-Reformation times. Surprisingly, in Ireland it only became popular as a forename after 1600, probably due to its introduction by the Scots settlers in Ulster. As a surname Paterson belongs to no one district, and appears first in old Scottish records in 1446 when William Patrison and John Patonson appear as witnesses in Aberdeen. By the 16th century a dynasty of Patersons were landholders in Fife, and of this line Hew Paterson became a writer in Edinburgh before purchasing the Barony of Bannockburn, near Stirling. His son, also Hugh, became the first Baronet of a line of Jacobite sympathisers who entertained Prince Charlie following the battle of Falkirk in the '45 Rising. Here the Prince met Clementina Walkinshaw, whose mother was the sister of the previous Baronet. She followed him to France in 1751 and bore him a child, Charlotte, 'Countess of Albany', but whether or not they married remains conjecture. William Paterson (1658-1719) was author of the ill-fated Darien Scheme to settle Panama and was originator of the plan for the Bank of England. Paterson is a Lowland rendering of MacPatrick, a name occurring in bonds of manrent given by the Maclarens of Balquidder to the Campbells of Glenorchy in the 16th century and it is probably for this reason that the MacPatricks and Patersons are claimed as a sept of MacLaren. Likewise, some MacPatricks, Patersons, or Patricks, not related to those of MacLaren stock, are said to have been aliases of Lamonts, descended from Baron MacPatrick, ancestor of the Lamonts of Cowstone. The former claim that Patersons are also a sept of Clan Farquharson will not stand examination and such is now largely discredited. Another source of Paterson may also have been MacPhedran or MacFetridge (son of Peter or Patrick), and reference is made to a 'Clan Pheadirean' (Patersons) whose home was on the north side of Lochfyne, but they are said to be a sept of the MacAulays of Ardincaple. The MacFatridges in Nova Scotia are equated to Patersons. Those considering themselves members of the clans MacLaren or Lamont, may wear their tartans and display the relevant crest and motto of the present Chief. Loyalty must be based on available genealogical or geographical evidence but in the absence of any such definite evidence the MacLaren connection is the strongest.
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