Stodart (1878)



Genealogy of Masterton






Genealogy of Masterton of that Ilk, Parkmill,


This pedigree is a good instance of the way in which fact and fiction are interwoven, and notices of several different families thrown into one so as to compose a long pedigree.

Crawford begins by the statement that the Mastertons of Parkmill "were probably the most ancient landed proprietors in Clackmannanshire, the traditional account of their origin being that one of the chief architects at the building of the Abbey of Dunfermline obtained from Malcolm Canmore the lands of Masterton, in Fifeshire, from which he and his posterity assumed their surname".

The church of the Holy Trinity and St.Margaret, at Dunfermline is believed to have been founded soon after the marriage of Malcolm and Margaret; the Abbey probably dates from the reign of their son David.

Malcolm IV. (1153-65), granted the lands of Ledmacdunegil, afterwards called Masterton, as formerly held by Magister Ailricus cementarius, to the Abbey church of Dunfermline. Ailric's designation has perhaps formed the ground of the fable of the architect, and it is evident that the lands not being then called Masterton could not have given a name to their owner.

The first we find is

I. Hugo de Villa Magistri, who about 1250 witnesses a charter of Petrus de Rupe; there is nothing to suggest a descent from the cementarius.

II. William de Maystertun, son and heir of Hugh, in 1272 enters into an agreement with Symon Abbot of Dunfermline as to the multures of his lands of Maystertun, he being a vassal of the Abbey; in 1278 and later, he is a witness to several charters, and in 1296 as "William de Meistreton del Comté de Feyf", he swears fealty to Edward I.

III. Duncan de Maysterton in 1316 witnessed the homage of Duncan, Earl of Fife, to the Abbot of Dunfermline, for lands held of the Abbey.

IV. Symon de Maysterton, in the reign of David II. (1329-71), witnesses the resignation of the lands of Wythker to the Abbey by Alan de Lybirton.

V. John de Maisterton was dead 23 March, 1419, when his son and heir

VI. William de Maisterton has sasine of the Villa de Maisterton, as formerly held of the Abbots of Dunfermline by his ancestors. In 1540 James II. granted to the Abbot and Convent of Dunfermline a Charter of Confirmation of all their possessions, including Mastirtone, the gift of King Malcolm. 1455, William Maistertoun was a Canon of Cambuskenneth; in 1471, Thomas Mastertoun was a member of that chapter, and at an earlier period John Mastertoun was a monk there.

VII. William Maistertoun was on an assize at Dunfermline, 1491.

Of these seven successive owners of Masterton, the only one mentioned in the published pedigree is (II.) William, and his homage to King Edward; there is, however, a statement which seems to be quite groundless, that William Masterton of that Ilk in 1442 "made a donation to the Abbey of Dunfermline out of his lands of Masterton pro salute anime sue;" this is not to be found in the chartulary. He is stated in the Baronage to have been father of Alexander Masterton of that Ilk, whose son and heir John Masterton had a crown charter in 1528 of the Mains of Bothkennar in Stirlingshire, to him and Grizel Mure his spouse.

The charter is merely to John "filio et filio et haeredi Alexandri Masterton" not of that Ilk. Crawford calls his wife "Dame Grisel Mure of Glenderston", but she could not be a daughter of that family, the first of which was at this time a youth.

There is not only nothing to connect these Mastertons of Bothkennar with the family of that Ilk, but their succession can be traced, and it differs from the alleged pedigree making them ancestors of the Parkmill branch. Thus,

Alexander Masterton.


John, and Grizel Mure his wife, 1528.




John, portioner of Bothkennar, 1579.   Married Marjory Forrester.


George, writer in Edinburgh in 1662, was heir to his father's lands at Bothkennar, and also succeeded to his mother in property in the same parish.


George, was served heir      
of his father in 1697,
and died in Sep. 1709.
Adam Masterton, of Bothkennar,    
heir of his brother,
and the last of that family.

The Mastertons of Masterton probably sold or lost their ancient patrimony at or shortly before the Reformation. A great part of the Fifeshire lands of the Abbey of Dunfermline are included in a charter to Mr. John Pitcairn of that Ilk, among them Maistertoun. In the rental of the Abbey lands, 1561, it is set down at £26 6s. 4d., and why the Mastertons should figure among the Barons of Scotland at all it is not easy to see.

They held the lands from which they took their surname as vassals of the Abbots of Dunfermline, and Parkmill, the property for about two centuries of the family claiming to represent the older race, was not held of the Crown at all, but under the Earls of Mar.

The lands of Masterton soon passed out of the hands of the Pitcairns, and were feued out in small portions, Robert Lundy getting one fourth, and persons of the name of Mudie, Durie, Kent, Stenhouse, Kellok, and Cunnand, each one eighth.

The descendants of some of these retained their shares for several generations, but the greater part of the lands about the middle of the seventeenth century belonged to Sir Henry Wardlaw of Pitreavie, baronet, who in 1675 founded an almshouse in the village of Masterton for the support of four widows, each of whom has a room, £2 a year, and half a boll of meal monthly.

Masterton now belongs to Miss Caroline Augusta Madox-Blackwood of Pitreavie, and is a farm of 338 acres rented at £600.

But while the main line thus disappears, we find persons of the name acquiring parts of the possessions of the Abbey of Dunfermline.

Robert Maisterton and his wife have a charter of two salt pans, probably about 1570, and in 1588 he has a lease of his part of the teinds of the lands of Balsusny and Smetoun.

John Walwod and Grizel Maisterton his wife have a feu charter before 1583 of half of the lands and mill of Touch; their descendant is the present Allan Maconochie-Welwood of Pitliver and Meadowbank.

In 1594 James Masterton was one of the surviving monks of Couper Abbey.

Alexander Masterton and Catherine his wife obtained a feu charter of their lands of Beath, called Masterton-Beath, and of four-sevenths of the lands of Grange; Alexander seems to have been son of Robert of Beath, and father of Andrew of Beath, living in 1593. Adam Maistertoune, probably of this family, is a witness 1568.

Before 1669 Masterton-Beath had been acquired by Wardlaw of Wester Luscar, but Easter Grange was retained by Adam Masterton, probably son of the above-named Andrew. In 1662 John Masterton was served heir of his father Adam in the lands of Easter Grange, and about 1673 Adam Masterton of Grange (? son of John) registered arms,

Argent, a chevron between two crescents in chief, and a mullet in base gules, on a chief azure an eagle displayed or ; crest, a dexter hand holding a scymetar proper; motto, Pro Deo et rege.

In 1690 he appears as tutor of John Philp, nephew and heir of Mr. John Philp, minister of Queensferry, who had died in 1688 a prisoner in the Bass, having been deprived of his benefice and fined in 1681.

We now come to the modern family of Masterton of Parkmill, which has been set up as representative of Masterton. 1646 is the first appearance of them in the Acts of Parliament.

I. Alexander and Janet Couston his wife had in 1547 a charter of the lands of Millerwood and Cumlybank, afterwards called Parkmill, in the county of Clackmannan, from John Lord Erskine; they are also stated to have been infeft in the lands of Bad in Perthshire, in 1544.

II. Ronald Masterton of Parkmill had a charter from John, Earl of Mar, 1570; married Marjory Bruce, of the Clackmannan family, daughter of Robert of Lintmill. Gilbert Masterton, who figures 1595-96 as a dependant of the Earl of Mar, was probably of this family. Mr. John Colville writes to Robert Bowes that he is to be there one of these days with Highland men from Mar; and later David Foulis advises Lord Burleigh that Gilbert is not presently in England.

III. Robert Masterton of Parkmill 1599, a member of the Committee of War, 1646, married Agnes, daughter of John Douglas of Rennieston in Fife.

IV. John Masterton of Parkmill was Sheriff Depute of Clackmannanshire, and a member of the Committee of War 1648; Robert, bailie of Clackmannan, is at the time on the Committee, and may have been his brother. John, who had a charter of Parkmill in 1632, married Mary, daughter of Mr. William Lindsay.

V. Francis Masterton of Parkmill, a graduate of Edinburgh University 1663, also Sheriff Depute of the county, appears as a Commissioner of Supply 1667-1704; married Christian, daughter of John Keirie of Gogar, in the parish of Blairlogie, and county of Perth, of a family originally belonging to Alloa, who had a grant of Arms 20th June 1673:

Argent, a fess counter-embattled between two cinquefoils in chief, and a cross crosslet fitchée in base gules. Crest, a hand holding a rose slipped proper; motto, Virtute Viget.

John Keirie, then designed "Servant to the Earl of Mar," married Isobel, daughter of Mr. John Craigingelt, minister of Alloa. Francis Masterton also registered arms about the same time;

Argent, a chevron gules and a chief azure; crest, A stag courant, bearing on his attyre an oakslip fructed proper; motto, Per ardua.

The history of the variations of the arms of the family is nearly as singular as the construction of their pedigree.

The seal of William appended to his Deed of Homage, 1296, bears a lion rampant; the next authority is an illuminated MS. of the middle of the sixteenth century, which gives,

Argent, a chevron gules, on a chief of the second a crescent or.

The seal of Robert Masterton of Bad, appended to a resignation of the lands of Keir in favour of Edward Brown, 1588, has

an eagle displayed, impaling a chevron with a crescent in chief, or on a chief.

This Robert of Bad does not fit into Sir Robert Douglas' pedigree at all, as it is stated that Alexander of Bad, 1544, had one son Ronald, and one daughter.

A later MS. has, Mastertoune of that Ilk,

Per fess azure and argent, in chief a crescent, or, and in base, a chevron gules, impaling or, an eagle displayed sable.

Sir James Balfour has,

gules, a unicorn trippant argent armed and unguled, or;

while Porteus 1661 gives,

argent, a chevron, and on a chief gules three crescents of the first.

Francis and Christian had issue,

  1. Charles.
  2. John, Merchant in Edinburgh, father of Colonel James Masterton, M.P. for the Stirling Burghs. It is added in Burke's Landed Gentry, that James acted as Aide-de camp to H.R.H. the Duke of Cumberland at Culloden, and had a sister Katherine, who married James Laurie of Burngrange, and had issue.

VI. Charles Masterton of Parkmill graduated at the University of Edinburgh 1697, married his cousin Mary, daughter of John Keirie of Gogar and Catherine his wife, daughter of Mr. Robert Wright, minister of Clackmannan, by Mary Craigingelt, whose sister was wife of John Keirie of Gogar, They had issue a daughter Katherine, who married James Christie, writer in Sterling, and one surviving son.

VII. Francis Masterton of Parkmill and Gogar who married Margaret, daughter of James Graeme, of Braco co. Perth, and Katherine his wife, daughter of Sir William Stirling of Ardoch, Bart., and had issue.

Thus far Douglas, who makes Francis the tenth in succession from William, living in 1422 inclusive. Crawford adds that the last of the family, John, died at Leyden at an advanced age and childless, about the end of last century, and that Parkmill became the property of the Mar family. Francis in 1720 was, along with his uncle Francis Keirie, served heir of provision general of his grandfather John Keirie, younger of Gogar; in 1747 he was served heir general of his father, Charles of Parkmill; in 1764 he was served heir of provision general of his cousin Edward Wright, of Kersie, co. Stirling, M.D., son of James Wright of Kersie and Janet, daughter of Mr. Robert Wright, minister of Clackmannan; finally, in 1766, being then styled of Gogar, he was heir of provision general of his cousin Mary, daughter of Mr. Robert Wright, minister of Culross, who was brother of Mrs. Wright, of Kersie, and of Mrs. Keirie of Gogar.

Francis had apparently succeeded to Gogar after the death of his uncles Charles Keirie of Gogar and Francis Keirie.

Francis Masterton, of Parkmill and Gogar, registered over again in his own name, 21 July, 1777, the arms recorded a hundred years before by his ancestor, and died 1795, in his 79th year; his widow died in 1806.

In 1791 James Masterton, Merchant in Madeira, was served heir of his brother Charles of Aucklandskyes, in Perthshire, Captain 31st regiment of foot, who died in June, 1789; these might be the two sons of Francis.

John Masterton of Braco, Perth, who has been stated to be a son of Francis and Margaret Graeme, married Anne Amelia Murdoch, who died 1806.

James Masterton of Braco Castle (their son?) had an only daughter Margaret Seymour, who married in 1823 Captain Elliot, eldest son of the Right Hon. Hugh Elliot, Governor of Madras.

Other persons of the name were Dewar Masterton, Advocate, who married in 1789 Helen, only child of Sir John Gibson, of Pentland, Bart., and died without issue in 1797, aged 31.

John Masterton, glazier to the King, had an Act in his favour in 1681 declaring that he should be free from all taxes, stent, etc; the name appears a hundred years before this in Edinburgh, borne by merchant burgesses of good position.

There are also lands in the county of Edinburgh named Masterton, and it is possible that they may have given name to a family in that quarter, who, however, never were owners of the estate. Robert I. granted a charter of half Masterton, near Newbottle, to the Abbot and Convent of Newbottle, on the resignation of Nigel de Carrick and Marion his spouse, and of Gilbert de Aytoun and Ada de Rossine his spouse ; a subsequent charter conveyed the patronage of the church of Masterton to the Abbey. David II. granted half of Masterton to Walter Dispensa ; Masterton was included in the great estate which was acquired by Mark Ker, last Abbot of Newbottle, as a hereditary barony, and was held by his descendants the Earls of Lothian till the middle of the seventeenth century, when it belonged to Thomas Meggat and descended to his heirs.


by R.R.Stodart

Depute Lyon King of Arms

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