Borthwick, Lord Borthwick.


b. = born

bap. = baptised

c. = christened

c/m = marriage contract

d. = died

d. vita patris = died in the father's lifetime

dsp(decessit sine prole) died without issue

m. = married

This draft version of the early ancestry of the Lords Borthwick is published here for the purpose of correcting existing accounts. New evidence proves Sir William de Borthwick of that Ilk, (married Beatrice Sinclair), to not have been the first Lord Borthwick, but instead, to have been succeeded by an eldest son, John, and he by a younger brother, Sir William, who was raised to the peerage in 1452.







Sir William de Borthwick of Catcune and that Ilk, has generally been considered to have identical to William de Borthwick of Ligertwood although that is incorrect. Whereas he had been knighted by 8 April 1389, when he was one of the militibus who witnessed an indenture between Margaret Stewart, Countess of Mar, and Sir Richard Comyn,[1] his namesake, William de Borthwick of Ligertwood, although a frequent witness to documents from 1375 up to 1408, had not yet been knighted by May 1397 but had been by November 1407, at least a decade after Sir William.

He witnessed another charter by the Countess of Mar by which she granted the lands of Littlepoty to Sir Walter de St Clair on 21 November 1389[2] and is styled of “Catkwyne” when witness to a charter by Archibald, Earl of Douglas, granting the lands of Douglasferme to William de Crawford on 21 May 1400.[3] He also witnessed a charter by Archibald, Earl of Douglas, granting the lands of Tulliallan to Sir John de Edmonstone on 21 May 1402[4] and is styled one of the “knyghtes of Scotland” when he witnessed the indenture between Henry IV. of England and Archibald, Earl of Angus, setting down the terms by which the latter could return to Scotland, dated 14 March 1407.[5] He had a charter under the Great Seal for the lands of Borthwick and Thoftcotys on 4 June 1410, on Robert Scott’s resignation,[6] and is styled both a knight and Lord of that Ilk on 4 December 1411, when he witnessed a charter by Archibald, Earl of Douglas, granting the lands of Mouswald to Simon de Carruthers.[7] He is named with his eldest son, Sir William, in a number of charters up to 28 November 1424[8] and appears to have have died soon after that date. He was father of,

  1. Sir William de Borthwick of that Ilk, (see below).
  2. Mr. John de Borthwick, who as son of Sir William de Borthwyke, “kinsman of Robert, duke of Albany and governor of Scotland”, was a student of arts and aged eighteen years, and had a Papal indult on 20 December 1411, “to hold a benefice with cure even if it is an elective dignity or parish church provided it is not a major or principal dignity in a cathedral or collegiate church, notwithstanding his defect of age”.[9] He studied at the University of Paris from where he graduated M.A., and returning to Scotland he was appointed Vicar of Linton but it was “asserted by some that after gaining peaceful possession of the vicarage, [he] did not have himself promoted to Holy Orders within lawful time, nor dispensed for defect of age, and that he offered various rewards to obtain the consent of the patron.” He was transferred from there to the church of St. Mary in the Forest, at Selkirk, in 1419[10], which, at the time was thought to have been vacant by the removal of the previous priest, Matthew de Gedes, “on the ground that he was notoriously stricken with leprosy and utterly debarred from the society of men” although this was disputed, and he sought and obtained confirmation from the Papal See on 20 December 1421.[11]
  3. Mr. George de Borthwick, who was a student at Paris by 1 March 1418 when he had a Papal indult to have his ecclesiastical duties carried out by a suitable person and for them to collect procurations and other dues for two years whil he is studying at university.[12]
  4. Margaret de Borthwick, m. William de Abernethy, (he was k. at the battle of Harlaw in 1411), and is styled daughter of William de Borthwick in a charter to her for the lands of Butelands, in the sheriffdom of Edinburgh.[13]
  5. Janet de Borthwick, who was contracted to marry Adam de Hepburn of Hailes, for which a Dispenstion was issued on 2 November 1411.[14]

Sir William de Borthwick of that Ilk, the eldest son, is named with his father in a number of charters up to 28 November 1424 and succeeded him in his estate soon after that date. He m. Beatrice Sinclair, (Papal Dispensation dated 1 May 1411[15]), and last appears in record in a Bond by Sir William of Crichton of that Ilk for the relief of the King 10 March 1434.[16] He was father of,

  1. Sir John de Borthwick of that Ilk, had succeeded to the lands of Borthwick by 20 February 1440, when under the designation “lord of ye same,” he witnessed a Notarial Instrument recording a protest of Alexander Seton, Master of Gordon.[17] He died before 15 May 1449.
  2. Sir William de Borthwick of that Ilk and 1st Lord Borthwick, (see below).
  3. Janet de Borthwick, who is generally conflated with her aunt of the same name. She m. firstly, to James Douglas of Morton, (he was widow of Elizabeth, daughter of Robert III. by whom he had issue), who was many years her senior, and is styled wife to him and daughter of the deceased Sir William de Borthwick of that Ilk in a charter to her of 26 February 1439.[18] Surviving that husband she either married or at least had been contracted to marry Sir Colin Campbell, 1st of Glenorchy, although this was annulled on 7 May 1449, on the grounds of his having had carnal relations with Alice Lindsay to whom her own relationship was in the forbidden degrees of consanguinity.[19] She afterwards m. George Crichton, Earl of Caithness.

Sir William de Borthwick of that Ilk and 1st Lord Borthwick, had succeeded by 15 May 1449 when a precept was issued by William, Earl of Douglas, instructing his baillies to give Sasine of the lands of Nenthern, Bourehouse and Colilaw to William Borthwick of that Ilk.[20] He was raised to the peerage as Lord Borthwick at the Parliament at Edinburgh on 12 June 1452. He d. in December 1483 and was father of,

  1. William, 2nd Lord Borthwick, (see below).
  2. James Borthwick of Glengelt, to whom his father assigned the lands of Glengelt by charter of 19 December 1467.[21]
  3. Thomas Borthwick of Colilaw, to whom his father conveyed the lands of Bourehouse and Colilaw in about 1473.

William, 2nd Lord Borthwick, succeeded his father and was served heir to him on 13 February 1484. He had issue.




[1] Douglas Charters, No. 41.

[2] Douglas Charters, No. 42.

[3] Douglas Charters, No. 342.

[4] Douglas Charters, No. 346.

[5] Douglas Charters, No. 52.

[6] RMS Duke of Albany.

[7] Douglas Charters, No. 363.

[8] GD119/167.

[9] Reg. Aven, 339, 606v-607. See Papal Letters to Scotland of Benedict XIII of Avignon, 1394-1419. P. 246.

[10] Calendar of Supplications to Rome, 1418-1422. PP. 94-95.

[11] Calendar of Supplications to Rome, 1418-1422. PP. 278.

[12] Calendar of Supplications to Rome, 1418-1422. PP. 368.

[13] Robertson’s Index.

[14] Calendar of Supplications to Rome, 1418-1422. PP. 244.

[15] Calendar of Supplications to Rome, 1418-1422. PP. 234.

[16] Yester Writs. No. 64.

[17] A1440/2/1.

[18] C2/4/6.

[19] GD112/25/3. If she had been identical to her aunt, Campbell would have been several decades her junior.

[20] NRAS832/77.

[21] C2/7/25.

Draft version as of 6/2/2020.

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