MONYPENNY, Lord, a
title in the Scottish peerage, which became extinct about the beginning
of the 16th century. The surname of Monypenny is one of great antiquity
in Scotland. Ricardus Monypenny obtained from Thomas, prior of St.
Andrews, in 1211, the lands of Pitmullen or Pitmilly in fife. John
Monypenny of Pitmilly was one of the Scottish barons whose name appears
in the Ragman Roll as having sworn fealty to King Edward I. of England
in 1296. Another, or probably the same John Monypenny, was one of the
ambassadors from the pope and the French king to solicit Edward III., on
behalf of the Scots, and he obtained a safe-conduct to pass into
Scotland, 22d January 1336.
The Monypennys carry a
dolphin in their arms, which has led some writer to conjecture that they
are originally from the province of Dauphiny in France. That province,
it is historically recorded, in the year 1343 was transferred by Humbert
II., Dauphin de Vennois, its sovereign, having no issue, to Philip of
Valois, on condition that the direct heir of the French crown should be
called the Dauphin, and wear a dolphin in his arms.
Thomas Monypenny and
Christian Keith, his wife, had a charter from Robert III. of the third
part of the lordship of Leuchars in Fife, which third part was
afterwards called Leuchars-Monypenny. Another third part, that to which
the castle was attached, was conferred on Sir Alexander Ramsay, whose
only daughter married Eustachius de Monypenny, and their successor
leaving only a daughter, she married Ramsay of Colluthis, and this
portion of the lands, with the castle, passed to that family.
Thomas Monypenny is
supposed to have b4een the father of John Monypenny of Pitmilly and Sir
William Monypenny. The latter’s son, William Monypenny, had a
safe-conduct, dated December 5th, 1444, to go to England, to the
coronation of Henry IV. He acquired the lands of Congressault in France,
and appears to have resided, in the latter part of his life, in that
country. He had another safe-conduct, 14th July 1447, in which he was
styled Natif d’Escosse, escuier d’escuieres of the king of France, to
negotiate the marriage of the princess Eleanor of Scotland to the
dauphin. Three commissions passed the great seal of Scotland, 8th
November 1458, to the same William Monypenny, baron of Retre, lord of
Conquersault in France, and John Kennedy, provost of St. Andrews, to
proceed on an embassy to the French king, to demand the earldom of
Xantoign, which had been granted to James I. They were also directed to
form a treaty with the king of Castile, to settle the debt due by
Scotland to the king of Denmark, and afterwards to pass to Rome, to
testify the king’s obedience to the new pontiff Pius II.
This William Monypenny
was created a peer of Scotland, under the title of Lord Monypenny of
Conquersall, a corruption of Congressault, by James II., before 1464. He
was ambassador from France to England, 16th February 1471. His son,
Alexander, second Lord Monypenny, having no male issue, exchanged, in
1495, his barony of Earlshall, in Fife, with Sir Alexander Bruce of the
Airth family, for his lands of Escariot in France, and on his death the
peerage became extinct.
David Monypenny of
Pitmilly, an eminent lawyer, born in May 1769, (eldest son of
Lieutenant-colonel Alexander Monypenny of Pitmilly of the 56th foot, who
died in 1800,) passed advocate 2d July 1791, was appointed
sheriff-depute of the county of Fife, 7th February 1807,
solicitor-general, 22d February 1811, admitted a lord of session, 25th
February 1813, when he took the title of Lord Pitmilly. He also became a
lord of justiciary, and at the original constitution of the jury court
in civil cases in Scotland, he was nominated one of the lords
commissioners, 13th June, 1815. His lordship retired from the bench in
October 1830. In 1831 he published a pamphlet on the Scottish poor laws.
With one sister he had two brothers, Alexander Monypenny of Edinburgh,
and William Monypenny, collector of customs, Kirkaldy.
A branch of the Pitmilly
family is settled at Hole House, Rolvenden, Kent, which property was
acquired by the marriage, 31st May, 1714, of a Monypenny with Mary,
daughter and heiress of Robert Gybbon, Esq. of Hole House.