MacBeath History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The western coast of Scotland and the desolate Hebrides islands are the ancient home of the MacBeath family. Their name is derived from the names of Macbeth and Bethune, or Beaton. The Macbeth and Bethune families, who were hereditary physicians to the Chiefs of Macdonald, practiced medicine on the Isles during the Middle Ages and their names merged in English into the one surname of Beaton. The Macbeths were concentrated in Islay and Mull, whereas the Beatons were concentrated in Skye.

Early Origins of the MacBeath family

The surname MacBeath was first found in the Isle of Islay, where legend has it that the progenitor of this Clan is none other than Macbeth (Mac Bethad mac Findláich) (1005-1057), the High Steward of Moray. As his mother was a daughter of King Kenneth III, and he married Grudoch, a daughter of the son of King Kenneth III, he had as much of a claim to the Scottish throne as King Duncan I. MacBeth, therefore, challenged Duncan and defeated him in battle in 1040, assuming the throne.

Known in English simply as Macbeth, he was last Celtic king of Scotland, ruling from 1040 to 1057, when he died in battle against future king Malcolm of the Canmore dynasty.

He is best known through the Shakespearean drama bearing his name. Thespians rarely mention the play by the name and typically call it "the Scottish play" as they believe that by uttering the name brings one bad luck.

Early History of the MacBeath family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacBeath research. Another 184 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1545, 1600, 1609, and 1763 are included under the topic Early MacBeath History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

MacBeath Spelling Variations

The medieval practice of spelling according to sound and repeated translation between Gaelic and English created many spelling variations of the same name. MacBeath has been recorded as McBeth, Beaton, Beeton, MacBeth, MacBeaton, McBee and many more.

Early Notables of the MacBeath family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early MacBeath Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Australia MacBeath migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

MacBeath Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William MacBeath, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Branken Moor" in 1849 [1]


The MacBeath Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Conjuncta virtuti fortuna
Motto Translation: Good fortune is allied to bravery


  1. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The BRANKEN MOOR 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849BrankenMoor.htm


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