Maule De Valoniis and Brechin

The following article appeared in JFA newsletter no. 11, May 1996.[1]

The Honorable Henry Maule of Kelly, a gallant soldier and accomplished historical antiquary: "Maule…as ancient a name in Scotland as any name ever found there, and as ancient in England as the Conquest, found an age before we have anything certain of other Scots families, and traced in France a century before that. Their continuing male line has seven hundred and sixty years, and five hundred or more of those enjoying the same principal barony and style of Panmure in Scotland. The family has flourished in France, England, and Scotland, they were involved in all the wars of these three Kingdoms, the Holy Wars, the wars of Italy, Greece, and Hungary. They have enjoyed peerage and dignities in all these Kingdoms, and are allied to the noblest families of France, the Low Countries, England, Scotland, and Ireland."

The Maules are a family of Norman origin and derive their surname from the town and lordship of Maule, in Normandy, which for four centuries were in possession of the family. Many graphic sketches of the various members of the house in these early days are to be found in the 'Chronicle of Ordericus,' and it is interesting to note that the prominent features of their characters closely resemble those of their descendants in Scotland in later times.

Peter Maule

He was much beloved by his tenants and neighbors, because his manners were frank, and he did not use craft and deceit. His alms were bountiful, and he delighted in giving.

Ansold Maule

A son of Peter…tall and powerful and a most gallant soldier. When just a youth he joined the brave Duke Guiscard in his expedition into Greece, and fought gallantly in the battle near Durazzo, in which Alexius, Emperor of Constantinople, was defeated on October 18, 1081. He was constant in attending Church and his habits were strict and frugal. All the knights of Maule gave freely to the Church during their lives.

Lord Maule

Another son of Peter…the first Lord Maule accompanied William The Conqueror into England in 1066, and received from him a part of the lordship of Hatton de Cleveland, in Yorkshire, and other extensive estates.

Robert de Maule

One of Lord Maule's sons, became attached to David, Earl of Huntingdon, afterwards David I of Scotland, and obtained from him a grant of lands in Midlothian.

William de Maule (abt. 1100-1160)

Robert's oldest son was with King David at the Battle of the Standard in 1138, and received from the King a gift of the lands of Fowlis, in the Carse of Gowrie. He died without male issue and the line of succession was carried on through Roger Maule, his youngest brother.

Roger Maule

Roger Maule was the progenitor of the Maules of Panmure.

Sir Peter Maule

Sir Peter Maule married Christian, only child and heiress of William de Valoniis. A great Norman family that settled in Scotland at the end of the reign of Malcom IV. Sir Peter obtained with Christain at the baronies of Panmure and Benvie in Forfarshire, and other estates both in England and Scotland, thus uniting the fortunes of two ancient houses. They had two sons, William and Sir Thomas.

Sir Thomas Maule (d. 1303)

He was governor of Brechin Castle, the only fortress in the north, which shut its gates against King Edward I in his progress through the country in 1303. Trusting to the strength of the castle walls, the governor made no account of the war machines brought against them. The King's men incessantly threw great stones against the castle walls with their catapults without effect. Sir Thomas held the castle for twenty days against the assault of the English army, and was so confident of its strength that he stood on the ramparts and contemptuously wiped off with a towel, the dust and rubbish raised by the stones thrown from the English battering engines. But, he was at last mortally wounded by a splinter broken from the wall by the force of a stone missle. While he lay expiring on the ground, his men asked if the castle should now be surrendered and he cursed the men as cowards who made the suggestion. Sir Thomas died and the castle was surrounded the next day.

William Maule

Second son of Sir Peter Maule, and brother to Sir Thomas Maule, succeeded Sir Peter Maule. His son, Henry de Maule, fought on the patriotic side of the war of independence, and was knighted for his services by King Robert Bruce.

Sir Thomas Maule (b. ca. 1390, d. 1411)

Head of the family at the beginning of the fifteenth century, fought under the banner of the Earl of Mar at the optimistic battle of Harlaw, in August, 1411, and was among the slain.

Thomas Maule (b. 1412, d. 1450)

This posthumous son was heir to his father in 1412. A portion of the estate was annexed to the crown by the policy of the King to diminish the power of the great nobles. He was succeeded by his son Sir Thomas Maule.

Sir Thomas Maule

Sir Thomas Maule married Elizabeth Lyndsay, daughter of Alexander, first Earl of Crawford. He later disavowed Elizabeth because of his great anger toward her father, Alexander. Thomas took, as his second wife, Catherine Cramond, daughter of the Laird of Aldbar. After his marriage to Catherine, when riding at the hunts near the green lawns of Brechin, he suddenly became blind and lost his sight. Thereafter, he was called the "blind knight."

Alexander Maule

Alexander Maule was the oldest son of Sir Thomas and predeceased his father. He was an extravagant man and did not do well for his house. He quarreled with his father and carried an evil opinion of him and, therefore, was not in good favor with him. Alexander and his second son left Scotland and went to England in 1498. He was said to have a hatred for his wife and her friends because of her behavior. He took great sums of money with him and thereafter was never heard from. It is thought that they fell into the hands of burglars and were killed for their money. His first son, Thomas, succeeded to the heritage and for many years after, looked for his father's homecoming or some word from him.

Sir Thomas Maule

Son and successor of this ill-fated laird, Thomas, was noted for his generosity to the Church, but was somewhat rambunctious in his youth and that he was "subject to women." Later in life, he became very repentant of the offenses of his youth and all other offenses committed against God and his nieghbors as can be seen by his many donations to the Church and his many pilgrimages.

1. Taylor, James, MA, DD, FSA. The Great Historic Families of Scotland, Volume I. J.S. Virtue & Co., Limited, 26 Ivy Lane, London, 1889.
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