Masterton, Newbattle


Newbattle, Lothian, Scotland

Just as Masterton in Fife was named after a Master tradesman (Aelric, the master mason who built Dunfermline Abbey) it seems likely that Masterton in Lothian was named after Master Robert the ironsmith (from a charter in approx 1170). There are no extant records to suggest that the surname Masterton was adopted by owners of the lands, in the way that it happened in Fife, but this cannot be entirely ruled out. In 1628, Thomas Megot (Meggat) of Masterton was a bailie in Dalkeith and was commissioned to try two suspected witches. In 1639, he was a signatory of the National Covenant. He was still an elder of Newbattle Kirk in 1643.

In 1735, the lands were sold by Robert Rocheid to Archibald Cockburn, an Edinburgh merchant. The last house on the site was demolished in the 1940's, but we are fortunate that a photographic record is preserved in the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

Masterton, Newbattle Map

From A new description of the Shyres Lothian and Linlitquo Be T. Pont. Judocus Hondius celavit sumptibus Andrae Hart. Timothy Pont 1630. Source: National Library of Scotland

References on Maps
 Mostertoun 1630 Hondius (Pont) Lothian
 Mostertoun 1636 Hondius (Pont) Lothian
 Mostertoun 1654 Blaeu Lothian
 Masterton 1744 Elphinstone Lothian
 Mostertoun 1745 Moll Lothian
 Masterton 1773 Armstrong Lothian
 Masterton 1821 Ainslie Southern Scotland
 Masterton 1843-82 OS 6-inch edition
 Masterton Mains 1843-82 OS 6-inch edition
 Masterton 1857 OS 1st edition
 Masterton 1898 OS 2nd edition
 Masterton 1904 OS 3rd edition
 Masterton 1926 OS "Popular" edition

Sources: Maps with permission from National Library of Scotland.


A critical examination of the genealogy of Masterton of that Ilk, Parkmill - 1878

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
Privately Printed, London
Mitchell and Hughes
24 Wardour Street, W

Regesta Regum Scottorum
The Acts of William I, 1165-1214

9: Confirms to Ralph Frebern Rosyth, Fife, and the land which belonged to Master Robert the ironsmith beside Newbattle (Masterton), as fully as he held it on the day King Malcolm IV granted it to Ralph; to be held as King Malcolm's charter bears witness, for the service of one knight. Perth. (1166 x 1171).

Willelmusa Rex Scottorum episcopis, abbatibus, comitibus, baronibus, justiciariis, vicecomitibus, prepositis, ministris, omnibus probis hominibus tocius terre sue, clericis et laicis, modernis et posteris, salutem. Sciant presentes et futuri me concessisse et hac carta mea confirmasse Radulfo Frebern Rossiue, per rectas diuisas suas, sicut aliquis eam melius et plenius tenuit tempore Regis Dauid aui mei, et terram que fuerat Magistri Roberti Ferronis juxta Neubottle, ita plenarie ut eam tenebat die illa quumb frater meus Rex Malcolmus eam dedit ipsi Radulfo. Tenend'c ita libere et honorificentius tenent et sicut carta Regis Malcolmi fratris mei testatur et confirmat, per servitium unius militis.

Testibus Dauid fratre meo, Nicholao cancellario, Ricardo de Morevill constabulario, Galfrido abbate de Dunfermelin, Comite Waldeve, Comite Waldeve, Comite Dunecano, Waltero filio Alani dapifero, Willelmo Carpentario, Galfrido Malevind, Jordano Ridel.
Apud Pert.

SOURCE. Spalding Misc., v., 242, no.2, printed from a transcript of Harry Maule of Kellie, titular earl of Panmure, made from the original in the possession of Mr David Freburn, some time minister of the gospel at Dunning (afterwards bishop of Edinburgh). Cf. RRS,i,no.256. Whereabouts of original now unknown.
PRINTED. Spalding Misc.,v,242,no.2.
a Punctuation editorial.
b Source places quum after Malcolmus.
c Source prints, etc., here, suggesting that clauses similar to those in RRS,i,no.256, lines 10-13, have been omitted by the transcriber.
d Sic; supply de before Malevin.
COMMENT. Cf. RRS,i,no.256. Robert Frembert was a Scottish hostage at the submission of Falaise in 1174 (Stones, Documents, 4), but whether he was related to Ralph Frebern is not clear. Roger Frebern, presumably Ralph's son, was granted land near Rosyth by Robert of London King William's son (Spalding Misc.,v,243).

Regesta Regum Scottorum
Volume II: Acts of William I
G.W.S. Barrow with W.W. Scott
Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 1971
p 128.

Regesta Regum Scottorum
The Acts of Robert I, 1306-29

168: Charter to Newbattle abbey of two thirds of Masterton (Midlothian) with the patronage of the kirk thereof, doing suit to the justiciar's court at Edinburgh.
Arbroath, 20 May a.r.15, 1320.

Robertus Dei gracia rex Scottorum omnibus probis hominibus tocius terre sua tam clericis quam laicis salutem. Sciatis nos pro salute anime nostre et pro animabus omnium antecessorum et successorum nostrorum regum Scocie dedisse concessisse et hac presenti carta nostra confirmasse Deo et beate Marie virgini de Neubotil abbati et monachis ibidem Deo seruentibus et in perpetuum seruituris duas partes terre de Maysterton prope Neubotil cum aduocacione ecclesie eiusdem, quas duas partes terre supradicte Nigellus de Karrik' et Mariota sponsa sua Gilbertus de Ayton at Ada de Rossyue vxor dicti Gilberti nobis per fustum et baculum in presencia nobilium de regno nostro sursum reddiderunt et omnino resignauerunt.

Tenendas et habendas dictis abbati et monachis et eorum successoribus in perpetuum de nobis et heredibus nostris per omnes rectas metas et diuisas suas vnama cum aduocacione ecclesie supradicte cum omnibus comoditatibus libertatibus aysiamentis et iustis pertinenciis suis in liberam puram et perpetuam eleminosinam adeo libere pure quiete et honorifice sicud aliqua eleminosa in regno nostro alicui monasterio seu pio loco per antecessores reges Scocie seu per nos data et concessa liberius et purius quiecius aut honorificencius tenetur aut possidetur.

Faciendo inde sectam ad curiam justiciarie nostre apud Edeneburgh quociens ibidem tenebitur pro omnimodis aliis seruiciis exaccionibus consuetudinibus et demandis ita quod de duabus partibus terre supradicte nichil per nos aut successores nostros exigi valeat in futurum preter sectam tantummodo superius specificatam at preter oracionum suffragia deuotarum. Quare firmiter prohibemus vicecomitibus nostris de Edeneburgh et eorum balliuis qui pro tempore fuerint quod dictos religiosos pro duabus partibus terre supradicte vltra concessionem nostram supradictam aliquid exigendo seu demandando nullatenus inquietare presumant. In cuius rei testimonium presenti carte nostre sigillum nostrum precepimus apponi.

Testibus, venerabilibus patribus Willelmo et Willelmo Dei gracia Sancti Andree et Dunkeldensi episcopis, Bernardo abbate de Abrebrothoc cancellario nostro, Thoma Ranulphi comite Morauie domino Vallis Anandie et Mannie dilecto nepote nostro.
Apud Abrebrothoc xxmo die Maii anno regni nostri quintodecimo et Domini mocccmoxxmovt supra.

NOTE. a Sic.
SOURCE. NLS, MS Adv. 34.4.13, fo.21v.
PRINTED. Newbattle Registrum, no. 58.
REGISTERED. R70; Index 87, 184, 525
COMMENT. The final 'vt supra' must have been added by the cartulary scribe and refers to the first document in the complex transactions preceding this act, Newbattle Registrum, no. 53. The date by AD may have been added in the same way, though this is not likely, since Newbattle Registrum, no. 53 uses anno Gratie. The AD date probably belongs to the original document and to that group of documents of 1320 with double dating.
See nos. 5, 24, 59, 60, 70, 134, 154, 155.

Regesta Regum Scottorum
Volume V: Acts of Robert I
Archibald A.M. Duncan
Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 1988
pp 443-4.

Register of the Great Seal of Scotland



14, 70....Mast'ton ppe Neubotill...Nigellis de Carrick, Mariota his wife, Gilbert of Ayton, Ada de Rossine, wife of Gilbert.

The Register of the Great Seal of Scotland
AD 1306-1424
by HM Command

Regesta Regum Scottorum
The Acts of David II, 1329-71

101: Charter to the abbey of Newbattle of exemption from suit of court at the justiciary court of Lothian for the land of Masterton in the sheriffdom of Edinburgh.
Dumbarton, 5 May a.r.17, [1346].

Dauid Dei gracia rex Scottorum omnibus probis hominibus tocius terre sue salutem. Sciatis nos pro salute anime nostre et pro salute animarum antecessorum et successorum nostrorum regum Scoc' remisisse et hac presenti carta nostra totaliter relaxasse religiosis viris abbati et conuentui monasterii de Neubotyll' et eorum successoribus imperpetuum ibidem Deo seruientibus et inperpetuum seruituris sectas curie ad curiam justiciarii nostri Laudonie de terra de Maystertoun que est dictorum religiosorum infra vicecomitatum de Edynburgh' debitas et consuetas. Quare dicto justiciario nostro Laudonie qui pro tempore fuerit ceterisque ministris nostris quorum interest districte precipimus et mandamus ne predictos religiosos aut eorum successores contra presentem concessionem siue remissionem nostram vexare grauare seu inquietare decetero presumant quoquo modo. In cuius rei testimonium presenti carte nostre sigillum nostrum precepimus apponi.

Testibus Roberto senescallo Scocie nepote nostro, Johanne Ranulphi comite Morauie domino vallis Anandie et Mannie consanguineo nostro, Patricio de Dunbarr' comite Marchie, Malcolmo Flemyng comite de Wygtona, et Thoma de Carnoto cancellario nostro Scocie, militibus.
Apud Dunbertan' quinto die Maii anno regni nostri septimodecimo.

ENDORSED. Neubotill (xiv cent.). Regis Dauidis (xvi-xvii cent.).
Also modern endorsements.
DESCRIPTION. 11.5" (29.2 cm) x 4.4" (11.2 cm) folded at the foot to a depth of 1.5" (3.8 cm). A fragment of the great seal 2.1" (5.3cm) across survives attached to a tag 8.4" (21.3 cm) long and 0.9" (2.3 cm) broad.
HAND. Scribe vi.
SOURCE. Original. SRO, Lothian muniments (GD.40), section I, no.49.
PRINTED. Newbattle Registrum, no. 272.
REGISTERED. See RMS i, app.2, no.1036.

Regesta Regum Scottorum
Volume VI: Acts of David II
Bruce Webster
Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 1982
pp 134-5.


[Previous to the Reformation the church, dedicated to St Mary, belonged to the Abbot of Newbattle.]

Fasti Ecclesiasticae Scoticanae
The Succession of ministers of the Church of Scotland from the Reformation
Hew Scott, D.D.
Oliver & Boyd. 1915

The Rare Adventures and Painful Peregrinations of William Lithgow

From Paris, in the year of God 1609, March 7, I set forward....Upon the fortieth day after my departure from Paris I arrived at Rome....

The period of time, after eight and twenty days' abode, wishing my departure, I hardly excaped from these blood-sucking Inquisitors, of which the most part were my own countrymen, the chiefest of whom was Robert Moffatt, a Jesuit born in St Andrew's; David Chambers; and of our college there, one Gordon, and one Cunningham, born in the Cannongate of Edinburgh. And to speak truth, if it had not been for Robert Meggat, born near to Newbattle, then resident in Burgo di Roma with the old Earl of Tyrone, who hid me secretly for three days in the top of the lord's palace when all the streets and ports of Rome were laid for me, who, conveying me away at the fourth midnight, and leaped the walls of Rome with me, I had doubtless died as hot a death as a Lady Prioress of Naples did afterward in my second travels.

The Rare Adventures and Painful Peregrinations of William Lithgow
edited, with an introduction by Gilbert Phelps
The Folio Society
London, 1974

National Archives of Scotland

Letters of Slains by Barbara Harlan, relict of John Heries, minister at Newbottle, mother, and John, Thomas, Isaac, Margaret and Elspeth Heries, brothers and sisters of deceased Abraham Heries, with consent of Alexander Hunter in West House, spouse of said Barbara, following on murder of said Abraham by Thomas Megot, son of Thomas Megot, elder, of Maistertoun, and Robert Hunter, son to the goodman of Williamlaw, in favour of said Thomas Megot, elder, who was present at the scene of the murder, 9, 15 January 1618.

National Archives of Scotland

Editor: "Letters of slains" - a letter signed by a relative of someone killed in a private feud, acknowledging payment of compensation, setting aside further claims for revenge and requesting the king to grant remission.

Register of the Privy Council of Scotland

Second Series Vol II. 1627-28.

29 July 1628, Holyrood House

Commission to the bailies of the regality of Dalkeith and others to try Margaret Unes and Janet Schitlingtoun for witchcraft.

Commission under the Signet to the bailies of the regality of Dalkeith, Sir James Dundas of Arnestoun, Archibald Weddell of Langsyde, Mr. Robert Case, apparent of Fordell, and Thomas Megot of Maistertoun, or any three of them, as justices, to hold courts and try Margaret Unes in Borthwick and Janet Schitlingtoun in Newbottle, who have long been suspected as witches, and have on examination "confest the raising of the devill, the renuncing of thair baptisme and the useing of diverse devilish practise" against the lieges. Signed by Mar, Hadintoun, Wintoun, Linlithgow, Wigtoun, Landerdaill, Hamiltoun, Sr Thomas Hoip and Scottistarvett.

The Register of the Privy Council of Scotland
P Hume Brown (ed)
Second Series, Vol II, 1627-28
p 410
HM General Register House
Edinburgh, 1900

Extracts from the Presbytery Books of Dalkeith


The National Covenant signed in August 1639 by Mr Andrew Cant, Newbottle, and other ministers in the Presbytery of Dalkeith, by the Earls of Lothian and Dalhousie, Thomas Megot of Maisterton, and other ruling Elders and several Expectants, in all about 100 persons, is preserved in the volume of the Records, 1639-1652.

Extracts from the Presbytery Books of Dalkeith
in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
Volume 4
p 463
Edinburgh, 1863

Blaeu Atlas of Scotland


The Tyne, rising a little above Crichton wood, descends four miles to the north-east within this province; then it cuts through East Lothian in a straight and placid course to Tyninghame, where it slips into the Forth. On this to the east lie within Mid Lothian Crichton Castle, Ford, Upper Cranston and Lesser Preston. Corresponding to these on the west are Loquhariot, Hagbrae, Vogrie, Ford and Lower Cranston. Between the Tyne and the South Esk, descending towards the north, the principal houses are Stobhill and Southside; houses to the west are Masterton and Bryans; houses to the east are Ovilia[?], Fordel, Langside, Carberry, Cousland and Wallyford.

Blaeu Atlas of Scotland
Provinciae Edinburgenae descriptio
Amsterdam, 1654

The House of Cockburn of that Ilk

On 20th May 1735 was given "sasine on disposition by Robert Rocheid of Masterton, with consent of Agnes Murray, his spouse, to Archibald Cockburn, merchant in Edinburgh, of the lands of Masterton, in the parish of Newbottle."

The House of Cockburn of that Ilk
Thomas H. Cockburn-Hood.
Scott & Ferguson, 1888

The Buildings of Scotland - Lothian

5 km. SSE of Dalkeith

The C17 L-plan house built for William Meggatt. The jamb is slightly later than the main block, which has a C19 buttress imitating the stair-turrett in the angle. The stair-turrett is round below, square above, and crowned with a doocot. Thus the RCAHMS. The house has been demolished.

The Buildings of Scotland
Lothian, Except Edinburgh.
Colin McWilliam
p. 320
Yale University Press, 2003

No trace remains of the former Masterton House near Newbattle. When I visited the site I met Stan Gowrie, near neighbour, and he identified this tree (looking east) as the nearest to the location of the old house....

Masterton, Newbattle Location

Image © Gordon Masterton

....and he was right! Below is a photograph taken in 1938 (looking west) from the collection of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

Masterton House, Newbattle, 1938

© RCAHMS (Ian G Lindsay Collection)

The view must have been magnificent, particularly before the industrial development of Lothian. Below is the view to the north-west, with Edinburgh Castle rock (far left) and Arthur's Seat (mid left) notable landmarks, with the Firth of Forth and the coast of Fife on the horizon.

The view from Masterton, Newbattle

Image © Gordon Masterton

Below is a closer view of Masterton House before it was demolished.

Masterton House, Newbattle, 1938

© RCAHMS (Ian G Lindsay Collection)