It is believed that all Maitlands are descendants of one common ancestor; a Mautalent of Les Moitiers d’Allonne, in the Cotentin Peninsula of Normandy. King David I of Scotland, on the introduction of King Henry I of England who had purchased the Cotentin in 1088, granted lands in Scotland to younger sons of families from the Cotentin Peninsula. A Mautalent was given a fief in what was then the southern part of Scotland. It is now Northumberland in England. This took place around 1130. We believe that we are all descendants of that individual making us all truly kinsfolk. It is a very rare and unusual name. Mautalents are still living to-day in Normandy and sixty Mautalen families live in the Bearn area near Pau just north of the Pyrenees.
The Border Clan of Maitland is one of the oldest Clans and its history interwoven into the rich and beautiful tapestry of the Border history. Are we a clan? Yes – clan means family, and in 15th and 16th century Scots legislation, directives referred to “clannis, both hieland and lowland”.
Maitland has evolved through the ages with a number of name spellings. In the Middle Ages very few people could pen their own name, the nobility used priests to write for them. Hence, they told their names to scribes who interpreted them in their own way, as they thought it to be. In some cases, the Maitland name is spelled two ways in one sentence!
The Maitland tartan
The Maitland Clan has its own unique tartan, this tartan which adorns the Lauderdale Angus logo is the birthright of all Maitlands and their descendants. By wearing the tartan you show your allegiance to the Chief and to your kinsfolk. The Chief has gracefully given his permission for the use of the Maitland tartan exclusively on the Lauderdale Angus logo.
Questions regarding the proper tartan to be worn by Maitlands, and those of Maitland descent and connection, have been reviewed by the Lord Lyon King of Arms (Lyon), presiding over the Scottish College of Heralds. They arose when, on the occasion of the Queen’s Progress through Edinburgh after her Coronation in 1953, it fell to the then Master of Lauderdale to deputise for his brother, the Sixteenth Earl, as Hereditary Bearer for the Sovereign of the National Flag of Scotland, the Flag of St. Andrew.
The authorities argued that the Bearer should appear in the Clan Tartan, but it was not clear what that should be. The Lyon agreed to review the matter. The Lyon made clear that although the Maitlands are by origin Lowlanders, it is fully proper for them to wear tartan.
He suggested a modification of the known and accepted Lauder tartan in respect that the Maitland Chief was Earl of Lauderdale. He proposed bordering its thin red line on either side with two yellow lines to reproduce the colours of the lion and tressure of the Maitland arms — or, a lion rampant gules couped at all the joints of the field, within a double tressure flory counterflory azure.
Upon the Lyon’s advice this was ordained by the XVIth Earl as Chief and in turn officially “Recorded in the Books of this Court by Order of the Lord Lyon King of Arms, conform to his Lordship’s Warrant”. The Warrant for Recording accepted the deed as ‘defining the proper Tartan of the Clan Maitland’