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The Scottish Nation

MORTIMER, the surname of an ancient potent family of Norman descent, who possessed the lands of Aberdour in fife. At an early period these lands belonged to a family of the name of Vetere-Ponte or Vipont, a surname still known in Scotland, under the latter form, though now very rare. This family ended in an heir female, Anicea, only daughter and sole heiress of ‘Johannes dominus de Vetere-ponte or Vypont, anno 2 regni Davidis I.’ She married, in 1126, Alanus de Mortuo-Mari or Mortimer, who thereby acquired right to her lands. The name, though fancifully supposed to have been first borne by a crusader, and said to be derived from “De Mortuo Mari,” “from the Dead Sea,” was taken from a place in Normandy, the great ancestor of the family being a relative by blood of William the Conqueror. In the Register of the abbey of St. Colme there is the following entry in Latin: “Sir Alan Mortimer, lord of Aberdour, gave the half of the lands of his town of Aberdour to God and the monks of St. Colme’s Isle for the benefit of a burial-place to himself and his posterity, in the church of their monastery.” Sibbald (History of Fife, page 92, edition 1803) says, “It is reported that Alain the founder being dead, the monks carrying his corpse in a coffin of lead, by barge, in the nighttime, to be interred within their church, some wicked monks did throw the samen in a great deep, betwixt the land and the monastery, which to this day by the neighbouring fishermen and salters is called Mortimer’s Deep.” With the Mortimer family the lands of Aberdour continued for more than a century, when they came to the ancestors of the earl of Morton, the present proprietor.

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