Show ContentsMajoribanks History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Majoribanks family

The surname Majoribanks was first found in Renfrewshire in the lands of Ratho-Marjori, "so named from their having been bestowed on the Princess Marjorie, daughter of Robert the Bruce, on her marriage in 1316 with Walter the High Steward. The lands subsequently called 'terre de Ratho-Marjoribankis' came into possession of a family of the name of Johnston, who from them assumed the name of Marjoribanks, though they continued to bear in part the Johnston arms. Also said to be from barony of same name which formerly comprised the greater part of the eastern division of West Calder parish. Also from their lands in Dumfriesshire. " [1]

One of the first records of the family was Thomas Marjoribankis, Clerk of Rolls. "A payment was made to Thomas Meriory Banks in Aberdeen, c. 1548. John Mairjoribanks, attorney in Glasgow, 1550, and in the same year Mr. John Marjorybankis was retoured heir of John Marjoribanks his father. Thomas Marjorybankis in Glasgow had a precept of sasine in 1554, James Marjoribanks was notary public in Edinburgh in the same year, and Mr. Thomas Marioribankis of Ratho was witness, 1557." [1]

"When, Walter, High Steward of Scotland, and ancestor of the royal house of tewart, espoused Marjorie (Margaret), only daughter of Robert Bruce, and eventually heiress to the crown, the barony of Ratho was granted by the king as a marriage portion to his daughter, by charter which is still extant; and these lands, being subsequently denominated 'Terra de Ratho Marjorie-banks,' gave rise to the name of Marjoribanks." [2]

Samuel Marchbanks is a fictional character created by Canadian novelist and journalist Robertson Davies who wrote editorials for the Peterborough Examiner newspaper. He wrote four novels about the character. Marchbanks was in fact, a pseudonym used by Davies.

Early History of the Majoribanks family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Majoribanks research. Another 127 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1316, 1554 and 1554 are included under the topic Early Majoribanks History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Majoribanks Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Marjoribanks, Majoribanks, Marchbanks, Marjorum and many more.

Early Notables of the Majoribanks family (pre 1700)

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

United States Majoribanks migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Majoribanks Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Majoribanks, who settled in Philadelphia in 1774

New Zealand Majoribanks migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Majoribanks Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Alex Majoribanks, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Bengal Merchant [3]
  • Mr. Alexander Majoribanks, British settler travelling from London, UK aboard the ship "Bengal Merchant" arriving in Port Nicholson, (Wellington Harbour), New Zealand on 20th February 1840 [4]

The Majoribanks 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: Custos et pugnax
Motto Translation: A preserver and a champion.

  1. Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  2. Burke, John Esq. A Genealogical and Heraldic History of The Landed Gentry; or Commoners of Great Britian and Ireland. London: Henry Colburn Publisher, 13, Great Marlborough Street, 1837, Print.
  3. Shadow Time Settlers (Retrieved 5th November 2010), retrieved from
  4. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from on Facebook