We believe that we descend from one common ancestor; a Mautalent of Les Moitiers d’Allonne, in the Cotentin Peninsula of Normandy. See the map alongside and use the + and - keys to enlarge the map to locate Les Moitiers d’Allonne.   King David I of Scotland, on the introduction of King Henry I of England who had purchased the Cotentin in 1088, granted lands in Scotland to younger sons of families from the Cotentin Peninsula. A Mautalent was given a fief in what was then the southern part of Scotland. For more details, see Origin of the Maitlands. It is now Northumberland in England. This took place around 1130. We believe that we are all descendants of that individual making us all truly kinsfolk. It is a very rare and unusual name. Mautalents are still living to-day in Normandy and sixty Mautalen families live in the Bearn area of France near Pau just north of the Pyrenees.

The Border Clan of Maitland is one of the oldest Clans and its history interwoven into the rich and beautiful tapestry of the Border history. Are we a clan? Yes - clan means family, and in 15th and 16th century Scots legislation referred to "clannis, both hieland and lowland".

Various spellings of our name were used, based mainly on Mautalent until around 1345 the use of Maitland became more frequent.  From 1450 the spelling settled down as Maitland.

Maitland has evolved through the ages with a number of  spellings. In the Middle Ages very few people were literate, and the nobility used priests to write for them. Hence, they told their names to scribes who interpreted them in their own way, as they thought it to be. In some cases, our name is spelled two ways in one sentence! So don't be put off by spelling variants when researching your own history.

Mautalent 1066 Montalent 1066
Robert Maltalent 1138 Richard Maltalent 1170
Robert Maltalent 1196 William Maltalent 1200
William Mautalent 1209 Thomas Maitland 1213
Gilbertus de Maltalent 1215 W Mautalent 1221
Thomas de Matulent 1227 Thomas Mautalent 1227
William Matalent 1228 William Matalent or Mautalent 1220-40
Richard Mautalent 1230-36 Robert Mautalent 1252
Sir Richard de Mauteland 1258 Ricardus Mantaland 1258-60

 See more detail at Mautalent to Maitland (PDF file 650kb).

Richard Mautalent is first recorded in 1230 in connection with a lawsuit in Northumberland and is recorded as Steward to the Vescy family who held Alnwick Castle. (The steward ran the castle and estate in the Lord's absence, so this was a very responsible post).  In 1258  Sir Richard Maitlant made a gift of land in Lauderdale to the Abbey of Dryburgh. Sir Richard was probably one of the younger sons of Richard Mautalent of Northumberland. Richard's eldest son (name unknown)  would have inherited the land in Northumberland, whilst the younger one sought his fortune in Lauderdale.

The first official records of the name in Scotland date back to 1221 when W Mautalent was one of a number appointed to settle a dispute between churches of Glasgow and Kelso. In 1227 Thomas de Matulant appears as witness to a charter by John de Landeles of Hownan to the monks of Melrose, and is described as a Knight (this time as Thomas Mautalent - no 'de'). In another charter to Melrose, William Mautalent later witnessed a grant by Hugh de Bygis in 1228. Between 1220 and 1240 William Mautalent appears as witness in other Kelso charters in which he and others are described as 'servientes abbatis’ (this means one of the administrative, lay staff of the abbey). William witnessed many charters and was engaged in much legal work, so appears to have been trained as a lawyer.

'de Mautalent' occurs as a name from time to time, but the 'de' means 'of' in French, i.e. Richard of Thirlestane, whereas Mautalent is a nickname or family name, not the name of a place, so a reference to 'de Mautalent' is generally an error.


The Mautalent at Hastings

We know nothing of him, apart from the entries in the lists of the Companions of William – the Normans who accompanied William the Bastard to Hastings, where they helped him become William the Conqueror. 

We can infer a fair amount of background.   

William’s list is thought to have been compiled from the pay list he would have had to organise the invasion. 

Mautalent was a Norman – although William recruited knights from Brittany and Flanders to join his army and share the loot, the list of Companions contained only his Norman vassals.

We have a record of a Mautalent in Les Moitiers d’Allonne in 1492, and earlier charters link the Mautalents with families from this part of Normandy. Since there are many records of Mautalents in Les Moitiers d’Allonne, and very few elsewhere, this looks like our place of origin in France.

Mautalent was probably the son or grandson of the Mautalent who landed in Normandy and seized the village of Les Moitiers d’Allonne.  It would have taken time, perhaps two or three generationBayeux tapestry carrying armour 5cms to accumulate the wealth needed to acquire the armour and a war horse required to qualify as a Companion -  to have the resources to recruit the followers needed to maintain the war horse and important enough to be on William’s pay list as the leader of a fighting unit.

Mautalent was physically powerful – armour was heavy – see the illustration from the Bayeux Tapestry of men carrying suits of chain mail.

Finally, Mautalent seems to have died during the campaign. Had he survived, he would surely have been rewarded with a fief of at least one manor important enough to be listed in the Domesday Book of 1087, and either he or his heir would have appeared on the list.

We might be descended from him, if he left a family behind in Normandy when he set out in 1066, but we can be reasonably sure of descent from his father or grandfather.