Meldrum of Fyvie – New evidence of origins

Meldrum of Fyvie - new evidence relating to their acquisition of Fyvie

William de Meldrum of Fyvie, is styled “of Petkary” in a notarial instrument of 4 April 1423 relating to the grant of his lands of Tulenab to Alexander Irvine of Drum[1] and had acquired the half of the barony of Fermartyn, including the lands of Fyvie with the castle, by 17 April 1425 when, under that designation, he was a member of the inquest at the service expede at Aberdeen of John de Johnston as heir to Stephen Clerk, his father, in the lands of Kynbroun.[2] The appearance in record of this William both corrects and adds to existing accounts detailing the ownership and inheritance of the lordship of Fermartyn in the early 15th century and proves that it must, therefore, have been William Meldrum, and not, as has commonly been accepted, his son Alexander[3] that married one of the daughters and heirs of Sir Henry de Preston, Lord of Fermartyn. In addition to clarifying that aspect of inheritance, this new evidence proves succession to those lands to have been after 22 November 1417, when Sir Henry de Preston, Lord of Fermartyn, was a member of the inquest at a perambulation of the marches of the lands of Tarwas and Uldny,[4] and by 17 April 1425, when William Meldrum was in full possession. In considering the manner of acquisition, inheritance via Sir Henry de Preston is proved by the arms of Sir George Meldrum of Fyvie which are thus emblazoned on his seal appended to a document dated 1547: “quarterly: first and fourth, a demi-otter issuing from water in base, for Meldrum ; second and third, three unicorns’ heads erased, for Preston.”[5]

William died before April 1438, and probably in 1437 when his half of the barony of Fermartyn including the castle of Fyvie, is stated to have been in ward of the crown,[6] and had issue, for which see Meldrum of Fyvie entry in Volume 5 of the Red Book of Scotland.


Gordon MacGregor

18th August 2019.





[1] GD248/397/3. His great-grandson, Sir George Meldrum, was also so-styled during his father’s lifetime.

[2] GD86/89.

[3] See Spalding Club, The Thanage of Fermartyn, by Rev. William Temple, 1894. PP. 17-22.

[4] Reg. Arbroath. No. 53.

[5] Impressions from Ancient Scottish Seals, Henry Laing, 1850. No. 577.

[6] Ex. Rolls. Vol. 5. P. 8 & 9.