Clan Bethune

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Clan Bethune
Clan member crest badge - Clan Bethune.svg
Crest: An otter’s head erased argent.[1]
MottoDe Bonnaire (Gracious)[1]
DistrictFife and Angus
Arms of Bethune of Balfour.svg
Clan Bethune has no chief, and is an armigerous clan
Historic seatBalfour in Fife
Last ChiefThe Bethune of Balfour

Clan Bethune is a Lowland Scottish clan. The clan does not currently have a clan chief recognized by the Lord Lyon King of Arms and therefore it is considered an Armigerous clan. It is a branch of the noble House of Bethune.


Origins of the clan[edit]

The surname Bethune is derived from the French town of Béthune, in the arrondissement of Béthune, in the department of Pas-de-Calais.[2][3] The first record of the name in Scotland is that of Robert de Betunia, who appeared in around 1165 as a witness to a charter of lands in East Lothian.[2] By the 13th century, Bethunes were established in Fife and Angus.[3]

Wars of Scottish Independence[edit]

In 1296 Sir Robert de Betune appears on the Ragman Rolls rendering homage to Edward I of England.[2] However, the Bethunes, despite appearing to support the English cause, became faithful supporters of king Robert the Bruce.[2] The king knighted Alexander de Bethune for his bravery in battle but the same Alexander was killed at the Battle of Dupplin Moor in 1332.[2]

Later history[edit]

The Bethunes of Balfour were established after Robert de Bethune married into the family of Balfour of that Ilk in the late 15th century.[3]

The modern clan[edit]

The official[4] Clan Bethune Scottish crest badge as recorded by the Lord Lyon King of Arms incorporates the last chief's crest: An otter’s head erased Argent with his motto De bonnaire (Gracious).[5]

Arms of the last clan chief, The Bethune of Balfour: Quarterly, 1st & 4th, Azure, a fess between three mascles Or (Bethune); 2nd & 3rd, Argent, on a chevron Sable, an otter’s head erased of the First.[5] These arms are now held by the Earls of Lindsay[4] whose surname is Lindesay-Bethune.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Clan Bethune Profile Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e Way, George and Squire, Romily. (1994). Collins Scottish Clan & Family Encyclopedia. (Foreword by The Rt Hon. The Earl of Elgin KT, Convenor, The Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs). pp. 360 - 361.
  3. ^ a b c Munro, A; Macintyre, IMC (2013). "The Ancestors of Norman Bethune (1890–1939) Traced Back to the Bethunes of Skye, Leading Members of the MacBeth/Beaton Medical Dynasty". Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. Vol. 43: 262–269. doi:10.4997/JRCPE.2013.315.
  4. ^ a b official web site of the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs
  5. ^ a b