Máel Bethad of Liberton

Máel Bethad of Liberton was a powerful landowner in Lothian in the reign of King David I of Scotland. Although he was a Gael, his estate may have been predominantly Middle English-speaking, as it bears the name "Liberton", which, unless it is an improbable Anglo-Romance compound meaning "book settlement" or "free settlement", is a corruption of early Middle English hlith bere tun, "barley hill settlement".[1] Liberton is about two and a half miles (4 km) south of Edinburgh's Old Town, and is now a suburb. Liberton parish consisted of 6,600 acres (27 km2) of land, and it is likely that Máel Bethad owned the upper part of the parish.[2] Máel Bethad's name occurs as a witness on many of King David's charters, where it is rendered in a number of corrupt forms, e.g. "Malbead de Libertona",[3] "Malbet de Libertune",[4] "Malbeth de Libertona",[5] "Makbet de Libertona",[6] "Malbet de Libertone",[7] and perhaps "Macbetber"[8] Two of these names represent a confusion with the name Mac Bethad ("son of Life"), whereas the name is certainly Máel Bethad ("tonsured devotee of Life"); "Life" here is an abstract Gaelic religious concept meaning "eternal life" or "christian immortality".

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Alternatively, it may be leper settlement, leper tun, but this is unlikely. see David Ross, Scottish Place-Names, (Edinburgh, 2001), s.v. "Liberton", p. 141.
  2. ^ Sir Archibald Lawrie, Early Scottish Charters Prior to A.D. 1153, (Glasgow, 1905), p. 384.
  3. ^ Lawrie, op. cit., charter no. LXXII, p. 59, as a witness in a grant to the Church of St. Cuthbert in Edinburgh (c. 1127).
  4. ^ Lawrie, op. cit., charter no. CXXXIV, p. 101, as a name in a charter of David I granting "Clerchetune" to the Church of St. Mary in Haddington (c. 1141).
  5. ^ Lawrie, op. cit., charter no. CXXXV, p. 103, as a name in a charter of David's son Earl Henry granting "Clerchetune" to the Church of St. Mary in Haddington (c. 1141).
  6. ^ Lawrie, op. cit., charter no. CXLVIII, p. 114, as a name in a charter of King David granting "Ruchale" to Newbattle Abbey (c. 1142).
  7. ^ Lawrie, op. cit., charter no. CLX, p. 123, as a witness to a charter of King David granting 52 acres (210,000 m2) of Dalkeith land to Holyrood Abbey (c. 1144).
  8. ^ Lawrie, op. cit., charter no. CLII, p. 116, as a name in a charter confirming the rights of Holyrood Abbey.

References

  • Lawrie, Sir Archibald, Early Scottish Charters Prior to A.D. 1153, (Glasgow, 1905)
  • Ross, David, Scottish Place-Names, (Edinburgh, 2001)

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