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Clan Bethune

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Clan Bethune

Clan Bethune
Macbheatha.[1]
Crest: An otter’s head erased argent.[2]
Motto De Bonnaire (Gracious)[2]
Profile
Region Lowlands
District Fife and Angus.
Clan Bethune has no chief, and is an armigerous clan
Historic seat Balfour in Fife.
Last Chief The Bethune of Balfour

Clan Bethune is a Highland Scottish clan. Historically, in the Scottish Highlands, the Bethunes or Beatons were particularly associated with the trade of medicine and were hereditary physicians to the chiefs of several recognized Scottish clans. The clan does not currently have a clan chief recognized by the Lord Lyon King of Arms and therefore it is considered an Armigerous clan. However, in America there is a "Clan MacBeth" society.[3]

History

Origins of the clan

Principally the name Bethune is believed to be derived from the French town of the same name in the department of Pas-de-Calais.[1] However there is a separate Scottish Highland derivation of the name which is anglicized from the Scottish Gaelic, Macbheatha, which means son of life.[1] Relationship, if any, to Macbeth of Scotland (d.1057) is unclear.[4] MacBeth is possibly the Anglicized surname Beaton, though the Scottish origin of the Beatons of Skye may be semi-legendary.[5] The first record of the name in Scotland was Robert de Betunia who appeared in around 1165 as a witness to a charter of lands in East Lothian.[1] Two learned families named Macbeth and Beaton or Bethune practised medicine in the Isles in the sixteenth century: The Macbeths practiced in Islay and Mull, and the Beatons in Skye.[6]

Wars of Scottish Independence

In 1296 Sir Robert de Betune appears on the Ragman Rolls rendering homage to Edward I of England.[1] However the Bethunes, despite appearing to support the English cause, became faithful supporters of king Robert the Bruce.[1] The king knighted Alexander de Bethune for his bravery in battle but the same Alexander was killed at the Battle of Dupplin Moor in 1332.[1]

Professional doctors and physicians

As a clan the Bethunes or Beatons were renowned physicians in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.[1] They were particularly associated with the trade of medicine, and were hereditary physicians to the chief of the Clan Donald. According to tradition, Macbheatha, came to Scotland from Ireland as part of the retinue of Margaret, wife of Angus, Lord of the Isles and chief of Clan Donald.[1] No less than seventy-six physicians called MacBeth or Beaton are found practising medicine in the Gaidhealtachd between 1300 and 1700.[7] According to Black[8] Bethune was confused with Beaton in the sixteenth century and Beaton was merged in English from Macbeth and Bethune.[9] Two "Beaton" families were hereditary doctors practising in Mull and Skye.[10] Those on Mull were doctors to Clan Maclean and later Clan Fraser of Lovat; they seem to have eventually been known as Beaton.[11] Also according to Black, the other Beaton family of hereditary doctors, those of Skye, were Bethunes, descended from the Bethunes in Fife, the Bethunes of Balfour.[12] This group were descended from the 5th Bethune of Balfour and settled on Skye in the sixteenth century.[13] The Beatons were also physicians to the Munros of Foulis, chiefs of Clan Munro,[14] as well as to the MacLeods of Dunvegan, chiefs of Clan MacLeod.[15] The influence and skills of the Beaton, Bethune and MacBeth physicians were lost in the upheaval brought to the Highlands and Islands in the wake of the overthrow of Stuarts as monarchs in 1688.[1]

The modern clan

The clan Crest as borne by the "Clan MacBeth" Society of North America blazon is a wyvern "holding in the dexter claw a sword in pale proper, the hilt entwined with two serpents argent and vert". The motto is Conjuncta virtuti fortuna.[16]

The official[17] Clan Bethune Scottish crest badge as recorded by the Lord Lyon King of Arms incorporates the last chief's crest: An otter’s head erased Argent with his motto De bonnaire (Gracious).[18]

Arms of the last clan chief, The Bethune of Balfour: Quarterly, 1st & 4th, Azure, a fess between three mascles Or (Bethune); 2nd & 3rd, Argent, on a chevron Sable, an otter’s head erased of the First.[19] These arms are now held by the Earls of Lindsay[20] whose surname is Lindesay-Bethune.

Other uses

  • SS Clan Macbeth[21]

See also

House of Bethune

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Way, George and Squire, Romily. (1994). Collins Scottish Clan & Family Encyclopedia. (Foreword by The Rt Hon. The Earl of Elgin KT, Convenor, The Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs). pp. 360 - 361.
  2. ^ a b Clan Bethune Profile scotclans.com. Retrieved 11 October, 2014.
  3. ^ Terry L. Griest Scottish tartans and family names 1986 "MacBeth Clan MacBeth has an active Society in North America. The Office of Chief is not filled at this time and the clan genealogists are actively seeking the rightful heir.".
  4. ^ MacBeth, John. (1921). Macbeth: king, queen and clan 1921
  5. ^ The Celtic Monthly 1903 Article suggesting that the Mac- was dropped to sound more courtly and Norman Page 120; reply following issue Page 210 suggesting Flemish descent from Bethune.
  6. ^ Black, George Fraser. (1946). The surnames of Scotland: their origin, meaning, and history. New York Public Library. pp. 838. "1685 BEATON".
  7. ^ Henderson Scott, Paul. (1993). Scotland: a concise cultural history. p. 327
  8. ^ The surnames of Scotland: their origin, meaning, and history by George Fraser Black; New York Public Library, 1946
  9. ^ The surnames of Scotland: their origin, meaning, and history by George Fraser Black; New York Public Library, 1946
  10. ^ The surnames of Scotland: their origin, meaning, and history by George Fraser Black; New York Public Library, 1946
  11. ^ The surnames of Scotland: their origin, meaning, and history by George Fraser Black; New York Public Library, 1946
  12. ^ The surnames of Scotland: their origin, meaning, and history by George Fraser Black; New York Public Library, 1946
  13. ^ The surnames of Scotland: their origin, meaning, and history by George Fraser Black; New York Public Library, 1946
  14. ^ Bannerman, John. (1986). The Beatons: a medical kindred in the classical Gaelic tradition. pp. 75.
  15. ^ Bannerman, John. (1986). pp. 56 and 122.
  16. ^ McLaren, Mike Book of Crests of Scottish-America 1991 Page 135
  17. ^ clanchiefs.org official web site of the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs
  18. ^ myclan.com
  19. ^ myclan.com
  20. ^ clanchiefs.org official web site of the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs
  21. ^ Ships and ship models: Volume 6, Issues 61-72 1937 "Clan Macbeth. Clan Line steamer, 4647 tons gross, built 1913. Sold to the Nailsea SS Co. for about 16,250 and renamed Nailsea Vale."

Further reading

  • Bannerman, John. (1986). The Beatons: a medical kindred in the classical Gaelic tradition.

External links

  • The ancestors of Norman Bethune (1890–1939) traced back to the Bethunes of Skye, leading members of the MacBeth/Beaton medical dynasty
  • Clan Macbeth
  • The Clan MacBeth Pipe Band, Groningen, The Netherlands
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