This is the name of a family who have held the title Mariscal of Scotland since the 12th century, They trace their descent from a certain Hervey, who in the 12th century, owned lands from which the name is derived. They have held the earldom of Kintore since 1677. This habitation name is from a place so called between Huntly and Elgin. The placename is first recorded in 1187 as GETH and in circa. 1220 as KETH. They are said to be descended from the Catti, a Germanic tribe, who in the early centuries of the Christian era, inhabited what is now Hesse in southwest Germany. A section of the tribe emigrated to Scotland at the beginning of the 11th century, under a leader named Robert, who helped defeat the Danes under Camus at Barry in 1010. Whether this is true fact is not positively known. A Malcolm de Keth witnessed a gift to the church of Molle in the about the year 1190, and is in record again as witness to a confirmation of the church of Lundoris to the Abbey of Lundoris in 1202. John de Keth, a cleric, was a charter witness in 1238, and Bernard de Keht was juror in an inquest at Berwick in 1296. Andrew Kethe of Enyrrugy was one of the hostages for King James 1 in 1425.
'The Keith of 1455 was first made Lord Keith and then the first Earl Mairschall. There was a line of ten earls between 1455 and 1715, and there is hardly a Scotch noble family who have not the blood of the Keiths in their veins'. In the 14th century one of the Keiths of the Earls of Marishcal family married one of the heiresses of the Cheynes of Akergill, and settled in the North, hence their North of Scotland connection.
The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. (Earl Masischal).
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