Sir Richard Melville, Lord of Melville, Sheriff of Linlithgow

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Sir Richard de Melville

Also Known As: "Richard of Melville"
Birthplace: Melville, Lasswade, Midlothian, Scotland
Death: circa 1215 (26-43)
Melville, Lasswade, Midlothian, Scotland
Immediate Family:

Son of Gregory De Melville and Agnes De Melville
Husband of Lady Margaret Pratt
Father of William de Melville and Lord Stephen Melville

Occupation: Lord of Melville
Managed by: Douglas John Nimmo
Last Updated:

About Sir Richard Melville, Lord of Melville, Sheriff of Linlithgow

The Melvilles, Earls of Melville, and the Leslies, Earls of Leven. Memoirs. (Correspondence. - Charters.) [With plates, including portraits and facsimiles, and genealogical tables.] by Fraser, William, Sir, 1816-1898.

Sir Richard Melville, Lord of Melville, Knight, c. 1180-c. 1215. Son of Gregory de Melville.

Richard Melville succeeded to his father and grandfather in the estates of Liberton and Leadburn, Granton, Stenhouse, and others, about the year 1178, and his rights were duly confirmed by King William the Lion. 1 This is not Richard Melville's first appearance in history, however, as he seems to have been one of the personal followers of King William the Lion, and accompanied that monarch on his hostile expedition into England in 1174, which ended in the capture of the king. The details of the story have been frequently told, but may here be briefly given. William crossed the borders with his army, which was partly composed of mercenaries from the Low Countries. He advanced through Northumberland, taking various small strongholds on his way, to the south bank of the Tyne, whence he meditated an invasion of Yorkshire. Learning, however, that the barons of that county were preparing to oppose his advance, he retreated towards Scotland.
On reaching Alnwick, the King of Scots despatched the greater part of his army, under the command of Duncan, Earl of Fife, to devastate the sur- rounding provinces. This the earl proceeded to do, and for greater effect divided his forces into three divisions, who ravaged the neighbourhood with ferocious cruelty. Meanwhile the Yorkshire barons marched to New- castle, and found that the Scottish army had retreated.
Notwithstanding this, they determined to press northward, as they had learned of the dis- persion of William's troops, and believed him to be ignorant of their approach. In the early morning of the 13 th July they hastened onward without inter- ruption, their small force being screened from sight by a dense fog while passing near Warkworth, wdiich the Scots were then burning and pillaging. The fog lifted as they neared the castle of Alnwick, and they hoped soon to gain its friendly shelter, when they perceived a small body of about sixty knights tilting in a neighbouring meadow. These were the King of Scots, with Richard Melville and other immediate followers, who were thus amus- ing themselves in fancied security, and paid no regard to the approaching band of horsemen until the latter were recognised as English. King William then, with rash gallantry, rushed against the enemy, but in a few minutes his horse was slain and himself a prisoner. His followers then surrendered, and, with their leader, were carried in triumph to Newcastle. 1
The Scottish king remained a prisoner until December, and Eichard Melville probably shared his master's captivity, both being liberated after the Treaty of Falaise. He may also have attended with King William at York in the following August, when the Scottish king and Earl David his brother, with the bishops, abbots, earls, barons, and knights of Scotland, joined in swearing fealty to the King of England, and ratified the Treaty of Falaise. 2
Richard Melville was present with his master, in 1178, on an important occasion, which arose out of the capture at Alnwick. This was the consecration of the first abbot of the new monastery which King "William founded at Arbroath in honour of Saint Thomas the Martyr, the very saint before whose shrine King Henry the Second had done penance a day or two previous to the Scottish king's capture, and to whose ageucy that event was ascribed. The first inmates of the new foundation were monks brought from Kelso, and Friar Eeginald, one of their number, was the first abbot, who was consecrated by Matthew, bishop of Aberdeen, the see of St. Andrews being then vacant. After the ceremony, the abbot of Kelso, who had been Abbot Eeginald's superior, formally freed him from all subjection and obedience, and declared that though monks had been taken from Kelso to build the new abbey, yet no abbot of Kelso should claim authority over any abbot, or over the abbey of St. Thomas. To this declaration King William himself was a witness, with various ecclesiastics and personal attendants, one of whom was Richard Melville. 3
The latter was himself a benefactor to the new foundation, bestowing upon the monks there and upon the chapel of St. Laurence of Kinblethmont en acres in the plain of Kinblethrnont, 1 and half an acre in the chapel toft, with the teind of the mill ; granting also such pasturage as might enable the chaplain serving the chapel to keep one horse, two oxen, four cows, and forty sheep. 2 At what date this grant was made is uncertain, but Eichard Melville appears to have conferred the church of Tannadice, in the county of Forfar, upon the canons of St. Andrews before the year 1187. 3
Besides these lands in Forfarshire, Richard Melville, as we have seen, held the lands belonging to his father and grandfather in Mid Lothian and West Lothian, and granted various charters in favour of his uncle Galfrid. He was also, towards the latter portion of the reign of King William, sheriff of Linlithgow. 4 It appears from a charter by his grandson, Gregory, that Richard Melville endowed, if he did not found, a chapel on his lands of Retrevyn or Tartraven in West Lothian. It was dedicated to St. Leonard, and received a grant of about fifty acres of land, which was continued and added to by Richard’s successors. 5
Richard Melville appears to have received the rank of knighthood before his death, as his grandson refers to him as Sir Richard of Melville. He appears to have died not long after the end of King William's reign, as no further record of him has been found.
Sir Richard Melville married, between 1189 and 1199, Margaret Prat, daughter of Eichard Prat of Tynedale, who granted to his daughter and her husband a large tract of land, called in the charter Morgunessete, but which from later writs is identified with a large portion, if not the whole, of the modern parish of Muiravonside, in the county of Stirling. The boundaries of the lands are defined to be : As the old road passes from Sauelmesford, as far as the seat of St. Morgan, and from the seat, as far as the stone which Eichard Melville fixed by advice of the granter, and from that stone as Witherlem holds itself, as far as the great road on the west side of Armethe, and as that road goes as far as the stream running from Monecapel, and from Monecapel towards the west to the head of the stream flowing as far as the South Moss, and as the moss and dry land extend themselves to the rock on the west side of the moss, and from the rock to the Little Black Hill, and from the hill to the west part of the peatary of Morgunessete, and as the peatary and dry land extend towards the east to the stream flowing from the peatary, and as the stream flows to the Avon. A right to the common pasture of Manuel is also included in the charter. It is probable that most of the boundaries indicated are not now traceable, but the lands granted lay near Melville's lands of Preston, Tartraven, and others in Linlithgow, the Avon flowing between.
Richard Melville had, so far as has been ascertained, only one son, who succeeded to his estates, William Melville, Lord of Melville, c. 1200.

“Charters“ By Sir William Fraser GoogleBooks

9. (charter by King William the Lion confirming the grant which Reginald Prat made to Richard of Melville, of the land of Murganesete, which Reginald gave to the foresaid Richard with Margaret, his daughter, in free marriage : To be held to him and his heirs, of the foresaid Reginald and his heirs, as the charter of the foresaid Reginald testifies, saving the king's service. Witnesses, Hugh, chancellor, William Cumin, Malcolm, son of Earl Duncan, William of Hay, Gervais Auenel, Henry, the physician, Hugh of Kaledoure, Simon of Hahelton, David of Graham. At Lillidqu (Linlithgow) (1189-1199)


  • The Melvilles, Earls of Melville, and the Leslies, Earls of Leven. Memoirs. (Correspondence. - Charters.) [With plates, including portraits and facsimiles, and genealogical tables.] by Fraser, William, Sir, 1816-1898. Page 3. Archive.Org Link

Richard De Melville was born in 1174, the son of Agnes and Gregory. He had two children with Margaret Prat between 1212 and 1220. He died in 1220 at the age of 46.

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Sir Richard Melville, Lord of Melville, Sheriff of Linlithgow's Timeline

Melville, Lasswade, Midlothian, Scotland
Melville, Lasswade, Midlothian, Scotland
Melville, Lasswade, Midlothian, Scotland (United Kingdom)
Age 35
Melville, Lasswade, Midlothian, Scotland