Scott of Melby – Revised Descent

Scott of Melby - correcting their descent in the male line from Sir John Scott of Scottstarvit.


In regard to the origins of the Scotts of Melby, in Shetland, their descent from John Scott of Gibliston, younger son of Sir John Scott, 1st of Scottstarvit, by his first wife, Anna, daughter of Sir William Drummond of Hawthornden, is proved by several items of evidence including the following;

Charter under the Great Seal confirming the half-part of the lands of Gibliston, in the parish of Carnbee and sheriffdom of Fife, to John Scott, second legitimate son of Sir John Scott of Scottstarvit, one of the Senators of the College of Justice and Director of the Chancery, and Anne Aytoun, his affianced wife, third daughter of the deceased Mr. James Aytoun of Grange, following acquisition from Archibald Drummond of Gibliston and Helen Acheson, his wife. Dated 11 July 1635. [NRS C2 vol. 55, 115].

It is uncertain if John Scott's marriage to Anne Aytoun ever took place and she had died without issue before 9 October 1647 when her three sisters, Grisel, Elizabeth and Barbara Aytoun had service as heirs portioners to her in their father's share of the lands of Auchtermuchty. [The absence of a husband's name in those entries is, in itself, reasonable evidence to prove that the marriage was not fulfilled. See NRS C22/19/267 & 268].

John Scott of Gibliston married secondly to Margaret Gordon of Earlston, which is proved by the baptismal entry for their son, George, in the Edinburgh OPR;

5 May 1644
Johnne Scotte sonn to Sir Johnne Scotte of Scottistarvet. Margaret Gordon a S.N. George. Witn George Lord Gordoun, Sir Alexander Damahoy of that Ilk. Doctour George Sibbald. Mr Johnne Eleis adv. and Mr George Brisbeane. [Edinburgh OPR 685/1 50/94].

That son, George, is the only recorded issue to John Scott, 1st of Gibliston, and succeeding on his father's death, he had service as heir to him in the lands of Gibliston on 27 January 1657 [NRS C22/24/187]. He married at Edinburgh, on 8 December 1665, Elizabeth, daughter of Willliam Maxwell of Springkell [see both Edinburgh OPR and NRS RS1/96/f.148], by whom he had issue, a son, John, who is next to be dealt with;

In relation to the ancestry of the Scotts of Melby, it should be noted that all accepted accounts state George Scott, 2nd of Gibliston, to have died without issue and that he was succeeded in his estate by his brother, John. That, however, in incorrect. The Sasine entry NRS RS1/9/f.115 specifically refers to John Scott, son of George Scott of Gibliston, and in addition to that child, a daughter, Margaret, was baptised at Edinburgh, on 27 December 1670. That John Scott, succeeding his father, became the 3rd Laird of Gibliston. He married Grisel, daughter and co-heiress of James Mitchell of Girlesta, and their issue was;

1. James Scott of Gibliston, who succeeded to his father's estate and died without issue.

2. John Scott of Melby, in favour of whom his maternal grandfather, James Mitchell, conveyed the lands of Foula, Vaila, Melby and others by Disposition of 14 January 1736, in which he is styled second son of the late John Scott of Gibliston. He had issue for which see the Scott of Melby entry in the Red Book of Scotland.

3. Lilias Scott, who was baptised at Edinburgh on 14 September 1706 and was Godmother to her brother, John Scott of Melby's daughter Grisel, at her baptism in 1738.


Melby House, Shetland, circa 1900.


Gordon MacGregor
7th March 2020.





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