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Melville

Denique Caelum - Heaven at Last

Melville Tartan
©2016 Gazetteer for Scotland

Melville Tartan

A name which derives from several settlements called Malleville in Normandy (France) and came to Scotland with the Normans in the 12th century. The first record of the name is Galfrid de Maleville was a guardian of Edinburgh Castle in 1162. Others in the family may have origins as 'followers of St. Michael', who are Maoilmhichil in Gaelic. The name became associated with estates in Fife and Midlothian.

The Earldom of Melville was created in 1690, for George Melville of Raith, 4th Lord Melville, and was soon united with the Earldom of Leven. In 1802, the title of Viscount Melville was conferred on the powerful politician Henry Dundas, Baron Dunira (1742 - 1811) who had gained the Midlothian estates of the Melvilles through marriage. Andrew Melville (1545 - 1622) was a radical Presbyterian, while his nephew James Melville (1556 - 1614) was also a clergyman and a noted diarist. Captain John Melville Keay (1828 - 1918) held the record for sailing a tea-clipper to China. Other notable family members include soldier Robert Melville (1723 - 1809) who invented the carronade; all-round sportsman Leslie Balfour-Melville (1854 - 1937), artist Arthur Melville (1855 - 1904), and Sir Harry Melville (1908 - 2000) a chemist whose work underpinned the development of modern plastics and man-made fibres.


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