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Pentland


The badge of the clan Pentland is a red lionshead with a silver collar charged with 3 red crescents. The clans motto is virtute et opera "by virtue and deeds". The clans war cry is "Akue Aie".   The plant badge of the clan is Juniper and Butchers broom. The clan septs are Pentlend, Paintland, Petland, Penland, Penlend, Petlend, Pendland.

The clan Pentland derive their name from the norse name Petland or Petlandi which meant land of the Picts. The chiefs of the clan Pentland are descended from Galam Cennalath the ancient Pictish king of insi orc "Orkney" and Gallaibh" Caithness".  The clans principle seats were dalr in N.E.Sutherland and Lyth in Caithness. The clan married with the norse jarls of Orkney and Caithness for many generations. In 1211 a.d. Jarl David of Orkney asked Thorkel Petlandi "his brother in law" to take his son William out of harms way, for he feared for his life if he stayed in Orkney or Caithness. Thorkel "Torquil" Petlandi gathered some clansmen and moved south to Edislaw in Perthshire. There William grew and married Margeret Murry, they had 3 sons Adam, Christian and David. The brothers moved around the firth of forth.and the name was changed from Petland to Pentland. Adam became a monk in hollyrood abbey and had to swear on copis chritie to be loyal to king Edward "the longshanks" of England.  He signed his name Adam de Pentland.  Christian was a lord of a castle near Kynel and signed the ragmans rolls as Christian de Pentland Lord of Pentland. His brother David also signed his name David de Pentland. All of the clan Pentland and its septs can claim descent from these 3 brothers.   The Pentland tartan is similar to that of clan gunn. with the addition of a brown line next to the red of the clan gunn. If you need any more info on my clan please contact me by E-Mail at thepentland@hotmail.com


Our thanks to Graham Marshall for this account which is his copyright but has allowed us to use here.

Geographic uses of the Pentland name include the hills, which protect the southern approaches to Edinburgh and the firth which separates the Orkney Islands from mainland Scotland. Less well known are Pentland Hill in Dumfries & Galloway, the Pentland Skerries in the Orkney Islands and Pentland Mains, which lies in what was the tiny parish of Pentland between the Midlothian villages of Straiton and Roslin. All that remains is the churchyard containing the family vault of the Gibsones and the graves of many Covenanters slain at the Battle of Rullion Green in 1666. There is but one mention of a Pentland on the memorials which bears the legend "Here lyes John Pentland who dyed 2nd. May 1786".

The word Pentland is believed to have more than one root. Room, in 2003 suggested that it was derived from the Old Welsh or Cumbrian word 'penn' meaning 'hills' – as in the south of Scotland uses. Two years earlier Nicolaisen had attributed the name to the Old Norse 'Péttar', meaning 'Picts' a more comfortable fit in the north. Early mentions of Pentland as a family name suggest it is a geonimic with the largest number of examples coming from around Edinburgh. Surviving early church records place Pentlands and Paintlands (probably a phonetic difference caused by accent) principally around the borders of the parishes of Inveresk, Newton, Liberton and Carrington; the last being that into which the pre-reformation parish of Pentland was subsumed.

The earliest recorded mention of the surname is Adam of Pentland, a monk of the Abbey of Holyrood who in January 1298, along with his brethren, swore on Corpus Christi to be loyal to Edward I of England. Four years later Royal Accounts record the expenses of the successful mission of Ralph de Pentland, who with John Pollock, two grooms and a clerk was sent from Aberdeen to Montrose to arrest a vessel laden with rebel merchandise and to bring her to Aberdeen. Shortly after that Radulphus de Pentland was paid "10 lire ferandum pomelle" (£10 for carrying a message on horseback) and John de Pentland was paid forty-six shillings and eight pence for unloading a cargo of coal.

For centuries there have been Pentlands in England and Ireland of whom the earliest known record on July 28th 1480 shows William, a Scotsman in Oxford, granted letters of denization to change his name to Godechild. Several fourteenth and fifteenth documents refer to Pentlands living around Edinburgh including a sasine of October 26th, 1513, which transferred the barony of Pentland and its attached lands to William Sinclare of the noble Caithness and Orkney family. He sold it in 1633 to the Gibsones who in their turn held the lands into the twentieth century.

The real story of the family is, however, not of knights and politics but of the unsung men and women, boys and girls who toiled on and under the land. A storyof farmers and labourers, tailors and blacksmiths, cork cutters and publicans but most of all of coalhewers.

It was on the skirts of the Pentland Hills coal was first hewn by Pentlands and other ordinary country folk for the medieval monks of Newbattle. They were still toiling beneath the land when Jamie Saxt enslaved colliers not long after his move to London and so they remained for almost two hundred years until the eighteenth and early nineteenth century emancipation acts enabled them to live in freedom on the lands that gave the family their name. Now the family is scattered to the four corners of the globe, indeed there are many more people of the name (not clan, that’s for the Highlands) in America than there are in Scotland.


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