The Fortunes of the
Family at Home and Abroad
From Hugh of Swinton to the present holder, the lairds of
Arbuthnott have remained on their lands, adapting themselves through succeeding
generations to the changing times and conditions. It is for this reason that the family
have managed to stay in one place for so long, and for this reason also that few lairds
have made their mark on the world outside, most preferring to husband their estate
themselves rather than leave it to others while seeking power through politics or by
courting royal favour. Thus they avoided the extremes of fortune experienced by other
Scottish noble families.
It was left to the younger sons to set off into the wider
world to find fame and fortune. The partnership, later company, known as Arbuthnot Latham
& Co was set up by descendants of Sir William Arbuthnot, 1st Bt of Edinburgh - see occupations.
The first known migrations were in the fifteenth and
sixteenth centuries, when Arbuthnots settled in Aberdeenshire and Edinburgh. In the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries others went to France, strengthening the historical
link between Scotland and France - 'the auld alliance'. Then in the eighteenth and
nineteenth centuries they started their travels to England and Ireland, then India,
America, Canada, South Africa, and finally the Antipodes.