Motto: Hazard Yet Forward

There is some dispute as to the origins of the name Seton and spelling, ranging from Ceaton to Sattione and Seton.  It may derive from the Old English ‘Sey-tun’, meaning the farm or dwelling of Sey.  Perhaps of Norman French descent, the first name may be Secher, Saiker or Say, obtaining land in Haddingtonshire from David I; from this the Setons of Winton.  It may link to the village of Sai near Exmes in Normandy.  But others point to lands gifted by David I in East Lothian to Seiher de Sey, calling it Sayton.  

It appears the first authenticated record of the name is in c.1150 when Alexander Seton witnessed a charter by David I, and at about the same period he witnessed a grant by Gillemor filius Gilleconel to the Church of Lesmahagow.  He may well be the same Alexander de Seton who witnessed a charter by Alexander II in 1225, however this is thought extremely doubtful as at that period he would have been a very old man and it is far more likely to have been another of that name, perhaps his son.  

In 1320, Sir Alexander Seton signed the Declaration of Arbroath that asserted Scottish Independence.  Sir Alexander Seton was later Governor of Berwick from 1327-1333 when the town surrendered to the English.  The English had already hanged Seton’s son who they had held as a hostage.  Two further sons died in a sea battle and the other killed by Edward Balliol.  

George Seton, 5th Lord Seton died with James IV of Scotland at the Battle of Flodden.  The Setons were also supporters of Mary, Queen of Scots, and in 1557, George Seton, 7th Lord Seton, attended the queen’s wedding to the Dauphin of Viennois.  He went on to help her escape on the night of the murder of her secretary David Rizzio.  His son Robert was created Earl of Winton in 1600 by James VI of Scotland.  

The Setons were staunch Jacobites and James Seton, 4th Earl of Dunfermline forfeited his title for supporting John Graham, 1st Viscount Dundee in 1689 as did George Seton, 5th Earl of Winton after the Jacobite Rising of 1715.  The Setons were not a clan in the Highland sense, but rather a Lowland Family with strong connections with what is now Lothian and is also in the Dumfries district.  

There were four main families besides the Setons of Seton: Setons of Carriston in Fife, Setons of Pitmeddon in Aberdeenshire, Setons of Mounie also of Aberdeenshire and the Setons of Abercorn in Linlithgowshire.