Traditional Porteous Coat-of-Arms


The Porteous family is known to have lived in Peeblesshire, Scotland as early as 1439. These lands had originally been granted to the Lindsay family by King Robert the Bruce in 1369, and were later held by the Maxwells.

Their land originally covered a relatively small area, bordering on the River Tweed and close to the village of Tweedsmuir, on the present A701 betweeen Moffat and Biggar, south of Glenholm and Drumelzier in that part of Scotland now called the Borders.

The family in the fifteenth century seems to have had three distinct groups, the Porteouses of Hawkshaw, Glenkirk and Broughton. Of these three villages, Hawkshaw is on the River Tweed just two miles southwest of Tweedsmuir; Glenkirk is situated on the hill road southwest from Rachan Mill just to the south of Whitslade and Broughton; Broughton is four miles east of Biggar at the crossroads of the present A701.

It can be inferred that, in the course of time, the Porteous families spread out over the subsequent decades, firstly perhaps to Lamington, just over the fells in present-day Lanarkshire, then northward to Peebles, and finally southwards to Annandale and Applegarth in Dumfriesshire, and eventually as far afield as Craiglockhart and Cockpen, Newbattle and Lasswade in the region of Midlothian.

Note the variations in spelling of the Porteous name before written records came to be consistent. This has lead to a variety of forms of the family name, even to this day. This author has become aware of spellings with almost every possible combination of vowels after the first syllable!

  1     Porteous of Hawkshaw (2 miles SW of Tweedsmuir)
William Porteous, Laird of Hawkshaw

  2     Pertus of Glenkirk and Whitslade (SW of Rachan Mill, S of Whitslade and Broughton)
William Porteous bestows in a charter half of Logan to William Brown
John Pertus, Laird of Glenkirk, also owned lands in Edinburgh and Fife
Glen Potwis held the lands of Glenkirk
John Portewis had a charter of the lands of Glenkirk

  3     Portus of Broughton, Kilbucho and Biggar (Broughton is 4 miles E of Biggar at the crossroads of the A701)
Rev Sir William Portus, Vicar of St Bega, Kilbucho

  4     Porteous of Peebles
John Porteous, appointed Peebles town watchman

  5     Porteous of Craiglockhart (2 miles W of Edinburgh)
Robert Porteous, Merchant Burgess of Edinburgh and Snowdon Herald (d 1694)
George Porteous, Burgess of Edinburgh and Marchmont Herald (d 1698) bought the Craiglockhart estate from Sir Alexander Gilmour 1691

  6     Porteus of Newbattle (Midlothian, 10 miles SE of Edinburgh)
Robert Porteus, Baillie of Newbattle

  7     Porteus of Devenish, Enniskellin (Co Fermanagh, Ulster)
John Porteus, possibly an immigrant from Scotland

  8     Porteous of Annandale (N of Dumfries)
James (Dunty) Porteous, miller of Linn Mill, imprisoned and died in Spedlin's Tower

  9     Porteous of Jedburgh (Roxburghshire)
Thomas Porteous, Provost of Jedburgh 1695, owned nearby farmstead at Ancram (possibly descended from Porteous of Craiglockhart)

10     Porteous of Lauriston Castle (St Cyrus, Kincardineshire, 7 miles N of Montrose)
c 1660
James Porteous, dyer in Killin
(possibly descended from Porteous of Hawkshaw)

11   Porteous of Cockpen, Newbattle and Lasswade (Midlothian)
c 1670
William Porteous, possibly a blacksmith
(at least three Porteous families in Cockpen and Lasswade parishes in 1640, possibly descended from Porteous of Hawkshaw and Glenkirk)

We also know of other early families, possibly branches of the Hawkshaw or Glenkirk families, including Patrick Porteous, farmer in the parish of Lamington, across the fells in Lanarkshire in 1647.

A cluster of Porteous families can be found in the parish of Applegarth, (N of Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire) in 1684 – not far from Spedlins, the home of the Jardine family and scene of the imprisonment and subsequent death of Dunty Porteous the miller c 1650 (see Family No 8 above).

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