The Seton Family



Overview

 

'HAZARD YET FORWARD' - 'INTAMINATIS FULGET HONORIBUS - INVIA VIRTUTE VIA NULLA'

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OUR NAME WAS GIVEN US BY THE KING

King Malcolm Canmore "gaif to the predecessour and forebear of my Lord Seytoun the surename of Seytoun... appearandlie be ressoun that the gentilman... possessit the landis of Seytoun for the tyme... thay landis ar callit Seytoun for ane grit caus, becaus thay ly hard upon the Sey cost and the Toun thairof is neir to the Sey."

Historic view of the Palace of Seton, within the Barony of the same.
The Palace from Blaeu's Atlas c.1654.
© National Library of Scotland
 

 

The Seton's magnificent Collegiate Church.
The remains of Seton Collegiate Church founded by George, 3rd Lord Seton.
The Seton Collection © 2005
 

 

Queen Mary Stuart at a Game of Archery at Seton.
Mary, Queen of Scots at a game of archery at the Palace of Seton, 1560's.
The Seton Collection © 2005
 

 

The Palace of Seton, circa 1635.The Scottish Seton's of Seton, Knights of Seton, Lords Seton, Winton and Winchburgh, and Earls of Winton and Dunfermline, etc.

Medal struck to mark the marriage of George Seton and Isabel HamiltonThe manuscript at the British Museum from the 16th century it states that "their surnam came home with King Malcolme Camoir foorth of Ingland". Chalmers in his "Caledonia" states that the first Setons were members of a Norman (Flemish) family named "Say", which was incorrect and should read 'de Lens', and that they obtained from David I Charters for their land and Estate in East Lothian which they called Sey-tun.

Sir Richard Maitland of Lethington wrote a "Historie or Chronicle of the Hous and Surename of Seytoun" down to the year 1559, wrote that King Malcolm Canmore "gaif to the predecessour and forebear of my Lord Seytoun the surename of Seytoun... appearandlie be ressoun that the gentilman... possessit the landis of Seytoun for the tyme... thay landis ar callit Seytoun for ane grit caus, becaus thay ly hard upon the Sey cost and the Toun thairof is neir to the Sey."

While Maitland of Lethington had reference to the East Lothian lands of the family as being the originator for King Malcolm's giving of the family name, it was in fact the King's referring to the Northumberland lands of Staithes, the secret port or Sea-town there, for which the King made reference to and thence we had given likewise to the lands in East Lothian as a result. 

The mark of honour however, of being given the name to the family by the King, has never been forgotten and is maintained to this day. The family serving with absolute loyalty to the Royal House.

The centerpiece of the Seton Family was the Palace of Seton, standing on the same spot on the Seton baronial lands for upwards of eight hundred years, and where the original castle was a square tower built during the time of Seier de Seton sometime after 1066.  It was continually rebuilt and expanded by the successive heads of the family, becoming a castle-complex, after the time of William Seton, 1st Lord Seton, c1348.It was George, 6th Lord Seton, under James V, who was responsible for the splendid re-creation of the Seton House, and Mary de Guise, the French wife of Scotland's King James V, was often present. 

Prior to this, the Seton's had been much involved in the affairs of Scotland's Royal Family, having the privilege of their presence on many occasions, over successive generations, with the family's munificent tastes being much sought after by the Scotland's Monarch's as a place of relaxation and refuge.

The Palace continued to be enlarged to become a more commodious residence to serve the Royal Court, with a military character and Italian and French styling and courtyards. However it wasn't until after the "rough wooing" by England's King Henry VIII that it became known as the "Palace of Seton": the magnificent Palatial gallo-scottish residence by the 6th Lord Seton, and continued by his son and heir, the famed George, 7th Lord Seton, and continued still by their heirs the 1st and 3rd Earls of Winton.

George 7th Lord (called 5th of that name, referring to that of 'George') "repaired the forepart of the house of Seton, and especially that room called Samson's Hall (40 feet in height), which he adorned with a roof of curious structure, whereupon are twenty-eight large achievements, being those of Scotland, France, Lorraine, and the noble families that were allied to his family, curiously embossed and illuminate — the most exact pieces of armories that are to be met with..." The Seton Necklace, won by Mary Seton from Queen Mary Stuart in the famed golf match at Seton Palace.

His younger half-sister Mary Seton (1549–1615), served as courtier to Queen Mary Stuart. She was the daughter of George Seton, 6th Lord Seton and Marie Pyeris, a French-born lady-in-waiting to Marie de Guise, consort of King James V of Scotland. As a child, Mary Seton became a lady-in-waiting to the young Mary, Queen of Scots, along with three other girls of similar age and of a similar standing in Scots society.

They were famously known as "The Four Marys": she and Mary Beaton, Mary Fleming and Mary Livingston. They were chosen by Marie de Guise, with the exception of Mary Fleming, for their Franco-Scottish parentage. The Four Marys accompanied Queen Mary to France where she wed the Dauphin.

Mary Seton was the only one of the four not to marry, and continued all of her life in the unswerving service with Queen Mary, in France, Scotland and during her captivity in England. In her later life, aged with her Queen, she retired to the Convent at Rheims in France where Renée de Guise her beloved Queen's aunt was Abbess, and died there in 1615.


Arms of the Seton Earls of Winton © The Seton Family 2005

Arms of the Seton Earls of Dunfermline © The Seton Family 2005

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

     

 

 

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Overview
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 The Seton Armorial
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