House of Bethune

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The House of Béthune, or House of Bethune as it is usually written in English, is a French noble house dating back to about 1000 CE. From Béthune in the former province of Artois in the north of France, they were traditionally Lords, in French seigneurs, of the town and castle of Béthune and Advocates of the Abbey of St. Vaast at Arras. Later branches included hereditary princes, dukes, marquesses, counts, viscounts and barons as well as cardinals and archbishops.

The original House of Béthune[edit]

Lords of Béthune and Advocates of Arras[edit]

  • Robert I (died about 1037), called Faisseux, Lord of Béthune, Richebourg and Carency and Advocate of Arras, was the first of the house of Bethune, said to be descended from the Counts of Artois.[1]
  • Robert II (died before 1075), elder son of Robert I, 2nd Lord.[1]
  • Robert III (died 1100), elder son of Robert II, 3rd Lord.[1]
  • Baudouin, younger son of Robert I, became Lord of Carency and founder of a separate branch.[1]
  • Robert IV (died 1128), son of Robert III, 4th Lord.[1]
  • Guillaume I (died 1138), son of Robert IV, 5th Lord.[1]
  • Robert V (died 1191), called Le Roux, 6th Lord, was son of Guillaume I and died during the Third Crusade at Acre in Palestine.[1]
  • Robert VI (died 1194), eldest son of Robert V, 7th Lord.[1]
  • Guillaume II (died 1213), second son of Robert V, 8th Lord, married the heiress of Dendermonde.[1]
  • Bauduoin or Baldwin (died 1212), third son of Robert V, a close companion of King Richard I of England, he married Hawise of Aumale and thus became Count of Aumale.[1]
  • Jean (died 1219), fourth son of Robert V, was Bishop of Cambrai and died during the Albigensian Crusade at the assault on Toulouse.[1]
  • Conon (died 1219), fifth son of Robert V, a poet who served on the Fourth Crusade and settled at Adrianople, now Edirne, becoming Regent of the Latin Empire.[1]
  • Daniel (died 1227), eldest son of Guillaume II, 9th Lord.[1]
  • Robert VII (died 1249), second son of Guillaume II and 10th Lord, died in Sardinia while on the Seventh Crusade.[1]
Seal of Mathilde
  • Mathilde or Maud or Mahaut, daughter and heiress of Robert VII, married Guy, Count of Flanders and became mother of Robert III, Count of Flanders, known as Robert of Béthune. The principal honours and lands of the Béthune family went with Mathilde to the Counts of Flanders. A younger son of Guillaume II was Lord of Loker and his family later achieved prominence in France.[1]

Béthune of Palestine & Cyprus[edit]

Béthune of Loker and Meaux[edit]

  • Guillaume III (died 1243), a younger son of Guillaume II, was Lord of Loker and Meulebeke.[1]
  • Guillaume IV (died before 1255), a younger son of Guillaume III, was Lord of Loker and married the heiress of Hébuterne.[1]
  • Guillaume V, eldest son of Guillaume IV, was Lord of Loker, married Jeanne de Nesle, daughter of Jeanne, Countess of Ponthieu and Aumale and former Queen Consort of Castille and León.[1]
  • Guillaume VI (died 1340), son of Guillaume V, was Lord of Loker and Hébuterne, married the Lady of Vendeuil.[1]
  • Jean I (died 1378), younger son of Guillaume VI, was Lord of Vendeuil. He married Jeanne, daughter of Enguerrand VI, Lord of Coucy, Viscount of Meaux.[1]
  • Robert VIII (died 1408), elder son of Jean I, left three daughters as co-heiresses, among them Jeanne, Viscountess of Meaux, who looked after Joan of Arc during her captivity. The line was continued by his younger brother Jean II.[1]

Béthune of Baye and Rosny[edit]

Castle of Rosny, by J B C Corot
  • Jean II (died 1415 at the Battle of Agincourt), younger son of Jean I, was Lord of Mareuil and Baye.[1]
  • Robert IX (died before 1476), son of Jean II, Lord of Mareuil and Baye, was a Councillor and Chamberlain to King Charles VII of France.[1]
  • Jean III (died before 1512), son of Robert IX, was Lord of Mareuil and Baye.[1]
  • Alpin (died 1545), son of Jean III, became Baron of Baye and Mareuil.[1]
  • Jean IV (died about 1554), Baron of Baye, married Anne de Melun, who brought him the barony and castle of Rosny.[1]
  • François (1532-1575), son of Jean IV, was Baron of Rosny. His eldest son Louis died in 1578.[1]

House of Sully[edit]

Maximilen de Béthune

Béthunes, Dukes of Sully[edit]

Castle of Sully
  • Maximilien II (1588-1634), son of Maximilien I, was Marquess of Rosny, Prince of Henrichemont and Baron of Bontin.[2]
  • Maximilien François (1614–1661), son of Maximilien II, was 2nd Duke of Sully.[2]
  • Maximilien Pierre François (1640-1694), son of Maximilien François, was 3rd Duke of Sully.[2]
  • Maximilien François Pierre (1664-1712), elder son of Maximilien Pierre François, was 4th Duke of Sully.[2]
  • Maximilien Henri (1669-1729). younger son of Maximilien Pierre François, was 5th Duke of Sully.[2]
  • Louis Pierre Maximilien (1685-1751), third cousin of Maximilien Henri, was 6th Duke of Sully.[2]
  • Maximilien Antoine Armand (1730-1786), first cousin once removed of Louis Pierre Maximilien, was 7th Duke of Sully but called Duc de Béthune.[2]
  • Maximilien Alexis (1750-1776), elder son of Maximilien Antoine Armand, was 8th Duke of Sully.
  • Maximilien Gabriel (1756-1807), younger son of Maximilien Antoine Armand, was 9th Duke of Sully
  • Maximilien III (1784-1807), son of Maximilien Gabriel, was 10th and last Duke of Sully.


  • François (1598-1678), second son of Maximilien, 1st Duke of Sully, was created Duke of Orval and Peer of France by King Louis XIII but the grant was not registered and so could not pass to his heirs.[2]
  • Maximilien Alpin (1631-1692), eldest surviving son of François, was Marquess of Béthune and Count of Orval.[2]
  • Louis Pierre Maximilen (1685-1751), grandson of Maximilien Alpin, became 6th Duke of Sully (see above).[2]


Arms of Philippe de Béthune
  • Philippe (1566-1649), younger brother of Maximilien I, Count of Selles, Chârost and Mors, Marquess of Chabris, was a diplomat and art connoisseur who was made a cardinal.[2]
Philippe de Béthune
  • Henri (1604–1680), second son of Philippe, was Bishop of Bayonne and of Maillezais from 1630, then Archbishop of Bordeaux from 1646.[2]
  • Louis (1605–1681), third son of Philippe, became 1st Duke of Chârost.[2]
  • Louis Armand (1640–1717), son of Louis, was 2nd Duke of Chârost.[2]
  • Armand I (1663–1741), son of Louis Armand, was 3rd Duke of Chârost and Baron of Ancenis.[2]
  • Paul François (1682–1757), son of Armand I, was 4th Duke of Chârost and 1st Duke of Ancenis.[2]
  • François Joseph (1719–1739), son of Paul François, was 5th Duke of Chârost and 2nd Duke of Ancenis.[2]
  • Armand II Joseph (1738–1800), son of François Joseph, was 6th and last Duke of Chârost and 3rd and last Duke of Ancenis.[2]


  • Hippolyte I (1603-1665), eldest son of Philippe, was Marquess of Chabris and Count of Selles.[2]
  • Henri (1632-1690), second son of Hippolyte I, was Count of Selles.[2]
  • Armand (1635–1703), fourth son of Hippolyte I, was Bishop of Le Puy from 1661.[2]
  • Hippolyte II (1643–1720), sixth son of Hippolyte I, was Bishop of Verdun from 1681.[2]
  • Louis (1663-1734), son of Henri, was Count of Béthune.[2]
  • Louis Armand (1711–1792), son of Louis, was Marquess of Béthune.[2]
  • Armand Louis (1756-1833), son of Louis Armand, was the last Marquess of Béthune.[2]


  • François Gaston (1638-1692), 5th son of Hippolyte I, Marquess of Chabris and a Lieutenant-General in the French army, married Marie Louise de La Grange, sister of the Queen Consort of Poland. Two daughters of François Gaston married important members of the Polish–Lithuanian aristocracy and have numerous descendants.[2]
  • Louis Marie Victor, son of François Gaston (1670-1744), Count of Béthune, was a Field Marshal in the French army and Grand Chamberlain to Stanislaus Leszczyński, former King of Poland, when he became Duke of Lorraine and Bar in 1737.[2]
  • Joachim Casimir Léon (1724-1769), son of Louis Marie Victor, a Field Marshal in the French army, was the last Count of Béthune.[2]

Béthunes in Poland and Lithuania[edit]

  • Jeanne Marie (about 1673–1744), daughter of François Gaston, married Count Jan Stanislaw Jablonowski (1669-1731) and had five children, all of whom married.
  • Marie Christine Cathérine (1677–1721), daughter of François Gaston, was married first to Prince Stanislaw Kazimierz Radziwill (1648–1690), without children, and then to Prince Aleksander Pawel Sapieha (1671–1734), leaving three married children.

Other French branches[edit]

Béthune des Planques[edit]

Claiming lineage from the Lords of Carency, a disputed descent, a family called des Planques adopted the name Béthune. The first undoubted member was Michel des Planques (died before 1554), whose son Pierre had two sons. Jean, the elder, gave rise to the family of Béthune-Hesdigneul while Georges, the younger, led to the family of Béthune-Saint-Venant which later became Béthune-Sully.[3]


Princely arms of Béthune-Hesdigneul
  • Jean I (died after 1593), elder son of Pierre des Planques.[3]
  • Jean II, son of Jean I, started using the name de Béthune des Planques.[3]
  • Charles Jacques François (died 1673), son of Jean II, became Marquess of Hesdigneul.[3]
  • Eugène François (died 1761), son of Charles Jacques François, Marquess of Hesdigneul.[3]
  • Joseph Maximilien Guilain (1705-1789), son of Eugène François, Marquess of Hesdigneul.[3]
  • Eugène François Léon (1746–1823), son of Joseph Maximilien Guillain, Marquess of Hesdigneul, Count of Noyelles, Viscount of Nielles, was made a hereditary Prince by Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor in 1781. His descendants are titled either Prince of Béthune, Marquess of Hesdigneul (for the first successor) or Count of Béthune Hesdigneul (for other children of the Prince).[3]
  • Maximilien Guillaume Auguste (1774–1856), elder son of Eugène François Léon, 2nd Prince of Béthune.[4]
  • Albert Marie Joseph (1776–1868), younger son of Eugène François Léon, 3rd Prince of Béthune.[4]
  • Albert Maximilien Joseph (1809-1881), son of Albert Marie Joseph, 4th Prince of Béthune.[4]
  • Maximilien Marie Joseph (1858-1886), son of Albert Maximilien Joseph, 5th Prince of Béthune.[4]
  • Auguste Albert Ferdinand (1868-1933), descended from a younger son of the 1st Prince, 6th Prince of Béthune.[4]
  • Robert Antoine Louis (1900-1943), elder son of Auguste Albert Ferdinand, 7th Prince of Béthune.[4]
  • Maximilien Hector Arthur (1913-1976), younger son of Auguste Albert Ferdinand, 8th Prince of Béthune.[4]
  • Henri Marie Ghislain (born 1945), descended from a younger son of the 1st Prince, is 9th Prince of Béthune, Marquess of Hesdigneul, Count of Noyelles, Viscount of Nielles, and Baron of Bousbecque.[4]


  • Georges (died after 1617), younger son of Pierre des Planques.[3]
  • Jean, son of Georges.[3]
  • Adrien I François, son of Jean, in 1681 married the heiress of the Count of Saint Venant & Viscount of Lières.[3]
  • François Eugène Dominique (1693-1760), son of Adrien I, became Count of Saint-Venant & Viscount of Lières.[3]
  • Adrien II Joseph Amélie Ghislain (1736-1793), son of François, Count of Saint-Venant & Viscount of Lières.[3]
  • Marie Louis Eugène Joseph (1771-1812), son of Adrien II, Count of Saint-Venant & Viscount of Lières.[5]


  • Maximilien (1809-1871), elder son of Marie Louis Eugène Joseph, acquired the lands of the last Duke of Sully from his widow and, adopting the name Bethune-Sully, became Count of Béthune.[5]
  • Charles Louis Marie François (1812-1871), younger son of Marie Louis Eugène Joseph, was 2nd Count of Béthune.[5]
  • Eugène Charles Philippe Marie (1843-1908), son of Charles, was 3rd and last Count of Béthune.[5]

Early Bethunes in England[edit]

In 1101 King Henry I of England, raised an army of 500 knights, two of its leaders being Robert IV of Béthune and his eldest son Baldwin, Lord of Chocques. When in 1104 the force was doubled to 1000 knights, Robert was again one of the most prominent.[6] Before his death in 1128 he had been granted the lands of Chedworth and Yanworth in Gloucestershire.[7] By 1165 his grandson Robert V was Lord of Gayton, Northamptonshire,[8] his principal seat in England, and held many other manors in Northamptonshire as well as lands in Hertfordshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire. All were sold in 1242 by his grandson Robert VII.[9]

Baldwin of Bethune, the third son of Robert V, gained extensive lands in England, both in his own right as companion of successive kings and in right of his wife, the Countess Hawise of Aumale. On his death in 1212, his estates went to his son-in-law William Marshal, 2nd Earl of Pembroke while his wife's holdings went to her son William de Forz, 3rd Earl of Albemarle. After 1242, no mention of members of the Bethune family living in England is found until 1709.

Bethunes of Scotland[edit]

Further information: Clan Bethune

Early Bethunes in Scotland[edit]

According to Bishop John Leslie, there were members of the Bethune family in Scotland before 1093.[10] However the first surviving evidence is a century later, when around 1192 a charter of Lindores Abbey[11] mentions Robert de Bethune, probably Robert VI (died 1193) of the Artois family. Before 1210 the cartulary of Arbroath Abbey records a cleric John de Bethune. Around 1220 Robert de Bethune is mentioned in connection with St Andrews Cathedral Priory and Sir David de Bethune, a knight, in another Arbroath document. From then on the names of clerics and knights called Bethune occur increasingly in Scottish records, mainly in the counties of Angus and Fife, but it is not possible to link the scattered references into a family tree. For that one has to wait until the knight Sir Alexander de Bethune who, according to Hector Boece, in 1314 sat in the Parliament of Scotland held at Cambuskenneth and in 1332 died fighting for the Bruce legitimists against the Balliol rebels at Dupplin Moor. Tradition makes him the father of Robert, who married the heiress of Balfour.

Balfour House before demolition

Over the centuries the pronunciation of the family name shifted from the original French bay-tune to the Scots bee-tn, usually written Beaton. From about 1560, members of the family started using the French spelling again. In the funeral oration delivered for Archbishop James Bethune in 1603,[12] the Bethunes in Scotland are said to descend from a member of the French family who went to Scotland around 1449 and married the heiress of Balfour. The man in question is named as Jacques de Béthune, also known as Jacotin, whose father Jean died at Agincourt in 1415. No Scottish records bear out this assertion.

Bethune of Balfour[edit]

Balfour House before demolition
  • Robert I (died before 1378) married Janet Balfour, heiress to her brother.[13] Their home was the castle of Balfour, in 2011 a ruin, between the rivers Ore and Leven just south of Milton of Balgonie.
  • John I (died before 1386), son of Robert 1.[13]
  • Archibald (died after 1421), probable son of John I, 3rd Laird.[13]
  • John II (died after 1421), probable brother of Archibald.[13]
  • John III, son of John II, son of John II, was 5th Laird.[13]
  • John IV (died before 1502), son of John III and 6th laird, was father of: John V; David, founder of the Bethune of Creich family; Robert, abbot of Coupar Angus, Melrose and Glenluce; Archibald, laird of Pitlochie and Capildrae; James, Archbishop of Glasgow and Archbishop of St Andrews; and Andrew, prior of St Andrews Cathedral Priory.[13]
Cardinal Bethune
Memorial to Archbishop Bethune
  • John VI (died before 1546), son of John V.[13]
  • John VII (died 1560), son of John VI.[13]
  • John VIII (died 1591), son of John VII, had no children.[13]
  • Robert II (died before 1610), brother of John VIII, was 1Ith Laird.[13]
  • David I (died after 1635), son of Robert II.[13]
  • John IX (died before 1676), son of David I.[13]
  • James I (died 1690), son of John IX.[13]
  • David II (died 1708), son of James I, a Member of the last Parliament of Scotland.[13]
  • James II (died 1719), son of David II and also a Member of the last Parliament of Scotland, died in France without issue, having fled there as a rebel after the failure of the 1715 Jacobite rising.[13]
  • David III (died 1731), nephew of James II, had no sons.[13]
  • Henry (died 1757), brother of David III, had no children.[13]
  • Anne (died 1785), daughter of David III, 19th and first female laird of Balfour, had no children.[13]
  • William Congalton (died 1798), great-nephew of Anne, assumed the name Bethune and became 20th Laird but died unmarried.[13]
  • Gilbert (died 1836), brother of William, was unmarried.[13]
  • Eleanor (died 1848), sister of Gilbert, married Colonel John Drinkwater, who changed his name to John Drinkwater Bethune.[13]
  • John Elliot (died 1851), eldest son of Eleanor, was unmarried.[13]
  • Admiral Charles Ramsay (died 1884), brother of John Elliot, became 24th laird.
  • Charles Congalton, eldest son of Charles Ramsay, sold the Balfour estate and so ceased to be laird. His younger brother, Lieutenant-General Sir Edward, commanded Bethune’s Mounted Infantry in the Second Boer War.
Creich Castle

Bethune of Creich[edit]

  • Sir David I (died 1505), son of John IV of Balfour, was Lord High Treasurer and in 1502 acquired the castle of Creich in Fife, in 2011 a ruin.[14]
  • Sir John (died after 1524), son of Sir David I, was 2nd Laird of Creich.[14]
  • Janet, sister of Sir John, married secondly James Hamilton, 1st Earl of Arran.[14]
  • Grisel, sister of Sir John, married John Lyle, 4th Lord Lyle.[14]
  • David II (died 1539), 3rd Laird, eldest son of Sir John, was unmarried.[14]
  • Robert (died 1567), younger son of Sir John, was 4th Laird.[14]
  • Elizabeth, sister of Robert, was one of the mistresses of King James V of Scotland.[14]
  • Janet (1519–1569), sister of Robert, became Lady of Branxholme and Buccleugh.[14]
  • Mary, daughter of Robert, was one of the Four Maries who accompanied Mary, Queen of Scots to France. In addition to Mary, the queen's retinue included two other members of the Bethune family. John, a younger brother of Archbishop James Bethune, became her Master of the Royal Household but died in 1570 at Chatsworth House where his monument can be seen in Edensor church. His brother Andrew, who wished to marry her attendant Mary Seton, was then appointed to fill the vacancy.[14]
  • David III (died 1579), eldest son of Robert, was 5th Laird.[14]
  • James (died 1618), younger son of Robert, was 6th Laird.[14]
  • David IV (died about 1628), son of James, was 7th Laird.[14]
  • David V (died 1660), elder son of David IV, was 8th Laird.[14]
  • William (died 1670), younger son of David IV, was the 9th and, on selling the estate, last Laird.[14]

Bethune of Langhermiston[edit]

  • Alexander I (died after 1641), son of Robert II of Balfour, became a Member of the Parliament of Scotland for Kilrenny and 1st Laird of Langhermiston.[14]
  • Alexander II (1615-1672), son of Alexander I and also Member for Kilrenny, was 2nd Laird but left no son.[14]
Bandon Tower

Bethune of Bandon[edit]

Bethune of Craigfoodie and Rowfant[edit]

Craigfoodie House
  • William (died 1699), second son of Robert, 1st of Bandon, married his first cousin Mary, daughter of Andrew, 1st of Blebo, and became 1st Laird of Craigfoodie in the parish of Dairsie.[15]
  • John I, 2nd of Craigfoodie (1670-1734), elder son of William, shortly after the Act of Union 1707 united Scotland and England sold his Scottish lands and settled in England,[15] where his two sons grew up.
  • John II (1702-1775), elder son of John I, a surgeon in East Grinstead, married Mildred Thorpe, whose aunt Hannah Thorpe was the mother of William Nevill, 16th Baron Bergavenny.
  • Andrew (1705-1767), younger son of John I,[15] married Mary, widow of Charles Goodwin, the owner of the Rowfant estate at Worth.
Rowfant House
  • George (1746-1803), elder son of John II, in 1771 married his first cousin Catherine, daughter of Andrew,[16] and inherited Rowfant, which remained in the family until 1849.
  • John III (1762-1830), younger son of John II, has descendants including the advertising magnate David Mackenzie Ogilvy and Belinda Blew-Jones, niece of Freda Dudley Ward and wife of Antony Lambton, 6th Earl of Durham.
  • George Maximilian (1772-1840), elder son of George, married Anna Maria Ewart,[17] granddaughter of John Manship, director of the British East India Company.
  • George Cuddington (1807-1898), elder son of George Maximilian,[17] married Julia Hole, granddaughter of Robert Hawgood Crew and great-granddaughter of George Horne.
Denne Park

Bethune of Massachusetts[edit]

Mary Faneuil (1732-1797)
George Bethune (1769-1859)
  • George I (died 1735), younger son of William, 1st of Craigfoodie, settled in Massachusetts, where he married Mary Waters in 1713 in Boston and had ten children.[19] including two who have descendants in the twenty-first century.
  • Jane (1714-1795), daughter of George I, by her first marriage to Moses Prince (1697-1745) produced Jane (1740-1800), wife of Chandler Robbins.[19]
  • George II (1720-1785), only son of George I to leave children, in 1754 married Mary Faneuil (1732-1797), niece of Peter Faneuil.[19]
  • George III (1769-1859), only son of George II to have male children, left two sons who did not marry, George IV (1813-1886) and John (1817-1873).[19]

Bethune of Blebo[edit]

  • Andrew I (died 1653), third son of David, 12th of Balfour, became 1st Laird of the Blebo estate at Blebo Craigs in Fife.[14]
  • Andrew II (died 1661), eldest son of Andrew I, was 2nd Laird.[14]
  • John I (died 1708), younger son of Andrew I, was 3rd Laird.[14]
  • James (died 1709), son of John, was 4th Laird.
  • John II (died 1779), son of James, was 5th Laird.
  • Henry (died 1782), son of John II, was 6th Laird but died childless.
  • Margaret (died 1791), daughter of John II and heiress of her brother, had a son Alexander with Sir William Sharp (6th Baronet), ancestor of the Bethune baronets of Scotscraig.
Andrew Bethune of Blebo


  • Mary (born 1726), a granddaughter of James, 4th of Blebo, in 1749 married Colonel Henry Patton.[20] During the nineteenth century some of their descendants adopted the name Patton-Bethune, examples being General Walter Douglas Phillips Patton-Bethune and Patricia Mary Patton-Bethune, the wife of Ian Oswald Liddell VC.

Descendants of the Cardinal[edit]

Carving of the Cardinal's Arms
  • Marion Ogilvy, lifelong partner of David, Cardinal Bethune, had at least eight children, whose descendants have spread throughout the world.[21]
  • Margaret, their eldest daughter, in 1546 married David Lindsay, 10th Earl of Crawford.[21]
  • David, their eldest son, 2nd Laird of Melgund, in 1553 married Margaret Lindsay, daughter of the 5th Lord Lindsay of The Byres.[21]
Melgund Castle before restoration
Melgund Castle before restoration

Bethune of Sweden[edit]

Arms of Bethunes in Sweden

Around 1630 a Scot named Hercules Bethune emigrated to Sweden, became an officer in the Swedish Army and married a Swedish woman. His descendants, who were naturalised and ennobled, provided generations of army officers until the last male died in 1800. The family, written Bethun in Swedish records, claimed descent from Archibald Bethune, second son of James (died 1618), 6th Laird of Creich, and used a version of the arms of Bethune of Balfour.

  • Herkules I, army major.[22]
  • Paul I (died 1677), son of Herkules I, army lieutenant-colonel.[22]
  • Herkules II (1660-1711), elder son of Paul I, artillery officer ennobled in 1693.[22]
  • Paul II (1665-1729), younger son of Paul I, army colonel ennobled in 1693.[22]
  • Carl Isak I (1694-1747), elder son of Paul II, army captain.[22]
  • Georg Johan (1708-1750), younger son of Paul II, army officer.[22]
  • Paul Johan (1725-1783), eldest son of Carl Isak I, army lieutenant-colonel.[22]
  • Carl Isak II (1727-1794), second son of Carl Isak I, army major.[22]
  • Peter Gustaf (1733-1800), fourth son of Carl Isak I, army colonel and last male.[22]

Arms of the Bethune family[edit]

Argent, a fesse gules
Bends or, on a field azure

Originally, the arms of the Lords of Béthune were the same as those of the town they ruled, that is Argent, a fesse gules. When at an early date they became Advocates of the Abbey of Saint Vaast at Arras, they adopted new arms suitable to their higher status, which were Bends or, on a field azure. After the marriage of Guillaume II to the heiress Mahaut, at her request their son changed his arms to those of her Dendermonde family. As it happened, these arms were the same as the old arms of Béthune, Argent, a fesse gules.[1]

Bethune of Balfour with mascles

When knights of the Bethune family started affixing their seals to documents in Scotland, they used the same fesse as their relations in France. Examples are Sir David de Bethune in 1286 and Sir Andrew de Bethune in 1292. Through marriage with an heiress, the Scottish family altered to Azure, a fesse between three mascles or and this shield was then quartered with that of Balfour to produce the arms used by the Bethunes of Balfour from about 1350 to 1672. By a law that year, all Scottish arms had either to be matriculated by the Court of the Lord Lyon or forfeited. Lyon then changed the ancient Bethune shield slightly to Azure, a fesse between three lozenges or. However, when Eleanor Bethune of Balfour matriculated her arms in 1837, Lyon changed them back to the original Azure, a fesse between three mascles or. Her descendants in the male line have not matriculated the arms.[23]

Junior branches of the Scottish Bethunes used the family arms with slight variations, three sets being matriculated in 1672: Bethune of Bandon, Bethune of Blebo, and Bethune of Langhermiston who died out in the male line almost immediately. The arms of Bethune of Blebo descended to the Bethune Baronets, who have also died out in the male line, while the arms of Bethune of Bandon descended to the Bethunes of Craigfoodie and Rowfant, who continue in the male line but have not matriculated the arms.[23]

Unrelated Bethunes[edit]

Medieval scholars called Bethune[edit]

No connection has been established with the grammarian Eberhard of Béthune, while Robert de Béthune, Bishop of Hereford, may be related but proof is lacking.

Béthune barons of Belgium[edit]

There is no known relationship with the Belgian family of de Béthune, made Barons of Belgium in 1855 and Papal Counts in 1866, which includes the architect Jean-Baptiste de Béthune, the artist Ade Bethune, and the politician Sabine de Béthune.

Bethunes of the Highlands and Islands[edit]

In 1778 a book by the Reverend Thomas Whyte, minister of Liberton, claimed that many families in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland called Bethune or Beaton descend from a Peter Bethune, said to be a member of the Bethunes of Balfour.[24] Nobody has yet produced any evidence for this link, which remains unproven and was almost certainly mistaken. Many of the people covered in his work were members of the Beaton medical kindred, an unrelated Scottish family commonly confused with the Bethunes of Fife.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae (French) André Du Chesne, Historiographe du Roy (1639). "Histoire Généalogique de la Maison de Béthune, Justifïee par Chartes de diverses Églises & Abbayes, Arrests du Parlement, Titres particuliers, Epitaphes, & autres bonnes Preuves". Aux Cicognes, Rue Saint Jacques, Paris: Sebastien Cramoisy, Imprimeur ordinaire du Roy. pp. 75 et seq. Retrieved 2 January 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab (French) de La Chenaye-Desbois; François Alexandre Aubert (1771). "Dictionnaire de la Noblesse, Contenant les Généalogies, l'Histoire & la Chronologie des Familles Nobles de France" (2 ed.). Paris. p. 418 et seq. Retrieved 19 January 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l (French) Baert, Philippe; Beydaels, Charles Jean; Cuypers, Joseph Ferdinand Ghislain (1779). "Suite du Supplément au Nobiliaire des Pays-Bas et du Comté de Bourgogne". Mechelen/Malines: P J Hanicq. pp. 178 et seq. Retrieved 6 January 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h (French) d'Ursel, Comte Baudouin (2009). "Princes de Béthune-Hesdigneul". Retrieved 12 January 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c d (French) Favre, Jean Hervé. Retrieved 12 January 2016.  Missing or empty |title= (help)[not in citation given]
  6. ^ Rymer, Thomas, ed. (1739). Foedera, Conventiones, Literae, Et cujuscunque generis Acta Publica, inter Reges Angliae, et alios quosvis Imperatores, Reges, Pontifices, Principes, vel communitates, ab Ineunte saeculo duodecimo, viz. Ab Anno 1101 ad nostra usque tempora, habita aut tractata (in Latin). 1. The Hague. p. 22. 
  7. ^ Hart, W H, ed. (1863). Historia et cartularum monasterii Sancti Petri Gloucestriae (in Latin). I. p. 72. 
  8. ^ Adkins, W R D; Serjeantson, R M, eds. (1970). "The Victoria History of the Counties of England: Northamptonshire". London. p. 373. Retrieved 16 January 2016. 
  9. ^ Black, J G, ed. (1906). "Calendar of the Patent Rolls preserved in the Public Record Office". London. p. 322. Retrieved 16 January 2016. 
  10. ^ (Latin) Leslie, John (1675). "De origine moribus et rebus gestis Scotorum libri decem: e quibus septem veterum Scotorum res in primis memorabiles contractius: accessit nova & accurata regionum & insularum Scotiæ, cum vera ejusdem topographia tabula descriptio". Rome. p. 201. Retrieved 16 January 2016. 
  11. ^ (Latin) Dowden, John, ed. (1903). "Chartulary of the Abbey of Lindores". Edinburgh: Scottish History Society. p. 17. Retrieved 16 January 2016. 
  12. ^ (French) Cayer, Pierre (1603). "L'oraison funebre de hault et puissant Monseigneur Reverendissime l'Archevesque de Glasco, melort Iames de Bethunes". Paris: Bourriquant, F. Retrieved 16 January 2016. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y Burke, John; Burke, Bernard (1847). "A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain & Ireland, Volume 1". London: Colburn, H. pp. 90–91. Retrieved 12 January 2016. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Clark, James Toshack, ed. (1900). "Genealogical Collections concerning Families in Scotland made by Walter MacFarlane". pp. 3 to 35. Retrieved 18 January 2016. 
  15. ^ a b c Lyell, James Patrick Ronaldson (1894). Hallen, Reverend A W Cornelius, ed. "The Scottish Antiquary, or Northern Notes & Queries". Edinburgh. p. 189 et seq. Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  16. ^ England Marriages, 1538–1973 database, FamilySearch George Bethune and Catherine Bethune, 10 Jun 1771; Worth, Sussex, England, reference ; FHL microfilm 0919105-6, 0413753, 0919105-6, 0416753 Accessed 18 January 2016
  17. ^ a b England Births and Christenings,1538-1975, database, FamilySearch George Cuddington Bethune, 05 Apr 1807; Worth, Sussex, England, reference item 2; FHL microfilm 1,041,590 Accessed 18 January 2016
  18. ^ England Marriages, 1538–1973 database, FamilySearch : Charles Goodwin Bethune and Ann Isabella Mary Eversfield, 08 Jun 1838; Warnham, Sussex, England, reference p.49; FHL microfilm 1,068,519. Accessed 18 January 2016
  19. ^ a b c d Weisse, Jane Lee Hunt (1884). A History of the Bethune Family Translated from the French of André Du Chesne, with Additions from Family Records and Other Available Sources Together with a Sketch of the Faneuil Family, with Whom the Bethunes Have Become Connected in America. New York. ISBN 978-5518624399. 
  20. ^ "Scotland Marriages, 1561-1910," database, FamilySearch Henry Paton and Mary Bethune, 25 May 1749, St Andrews And St Leonards, Fife, Scotland, FHL microfilm 1,040,175. Accessed 15 January 2016
  21. ^ a b c d e Sanderson, Margaret H. B. (2005). "Ogilvy, Marion (d. 1575)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (subscription required (help)). 
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i Adelsvapens genealogi Wiki (in Swedish), retrieved 7 January 2016 
  23. ^ a b Bethune, Alexander Sharp (1997). Bethune, Lucy Sharp, ed. Fife Sharps and Bethunes. London. pp. 49–56. 
  24. ^ Whyte, Reverend Thomas (1778). An Historical and Genealogical Account of the Bethunes of the Island of Sky. Edinburgh: Neill. Retrieved 30 December 2015. 


NOTE: The cited sources vary in their accuracy and in places give conflicting information.

Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Béthune (family)". Encyclopædia Britannica. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

  • Bethune, Sir Alexander Maitland Sharp, Baronet (1997). Fife Sharps and Bethunes. London.
  • Burke, John (1836). A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland Enjoying Territorial Possessions or High Official Rank but Uninvested with Heritable Honours. London.
  • Burke, John, and Burke, John Bernard (1847). A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain & Ireland. London.
  • (French) Cayet, Pierre Victor Palma (1603). L’Oraison Funèbre du haut et puissant Monseigneur reverendissime l’Archevesque de Glasco, Melort James de Béthune. Paris.
  • Clark, James Toshach (1900). Genealogical Collections Concerning Families in Scotland Made by Walter Macfarlane 1750-1751. Edited from the Original Manuscripts in The Advocates’ Library. Vol 1, Edinburgh.
  • Conolly, M. F. (1866). Biographical Dictionary of Eminent Men of Fife, of Past ond Present Times, Natives of ihe County, or Connected with It by Property, Residence, Office, Marriage, or Otherwise. Edinburgh.
  • (French) De La Chenaye-Desbois, François Alexandre (1771). Dictionnaire de la Noblesse, 2nd ed, vol 2. Paris.
  • (French) De La Chenaye-Desbois, François Alexandre (1864). Dictionnaire de la Noblesse, 3rd ed, vol 3. Paris, Schlesinger.
  • (French) Denele, Gilbert (2007). La Maison de Béthune
  • (French) Denele, Gilbert (2007). La Famille de Béthune: Généalogie de la Branche de Bessan
  • (French) Denele, Gilbert (2007). Les Béthune en Angleterre et en Écosse: Les Béthune de Balfour
  • (French) Denele, Gilbert (2009). Conon de Béthune
  • (French) Du Chesne, André (1639). Histoire Généalogique de la Maison de Béthune. Paris.
  • (French) d'Ursel, Comte Baudouin (2009). Princes de Béthune-Hesdigneul
  • Farrer, William (1923) Honors and knights' fees : an attempt to identify the component parts of certain honors and to trace the descent of the tenants of the same who held by knight's service or serjeanty from the eleventh to the fourteenth century. Vol 3 London, Spottiswoode, Ballantyne & Co.
  • Gordon, John (editor) (1845). The New Statistical Account of Scotland, Volume 9: Fife & Kinross. The Society for the Benefit of the Sons and Daughters of the Clergy.
  • Lennox, Charlotte (translator) (1756).Memoirs of Maximilian de Béthune, duke of Sully, prime minister to Henry the Great. Containing the history of the life and reign of that monarch, and his own administration under him, Vol 1. London.
  • Lyell, James Patrick Ronaldson (1894), in Hallen, Reverend A W Cornelius, editor The Scottish Antiquary, or Northern Notes & Queries, Vol 8. Edinburgh.
  • MacGeorge, Andrew (1834). Miscellaneous Papers Principally Illustrative of Events In the Reigns of Queen Mary and King James VI Presented to the Maitland Club. Edinburgh.
  • (French) Moréri, Louis (1731). Le Grand Dictionnaire Historique. Basel.
  • (German) Schwennicke, Reverend Detlev (1979). Europäische Stammtafeln, Band VII, Tafel 57-61. Frankfurt am Main, Vittorio Klostermann.
  • Weisse, Jane Lee Hunt (1866). Records, Genealogical Charts, and Traditions of the Families of Bethune and Faneuil from Authentic Documents including Records of the Families of Hunt and Weisse. New York.
  • Whyte, Reverend Thomas (1778). An Historical and Genealogical Account of the Bethunes of the Island of Sky. Edinburgh.
  • Wood, Reverend Walter (1862). The East Neuk Of Fife: History And Antiquities, Geology, Botany, And Natural History In General. Edinburgh.
  • Wood, Reverend Walter, and Wood Brown, Reverend James (1887). The East Neuk of Fife Its History and Antiquities. Edinburgh.