Preston Clan Crest: An Angel Proper.
Preston Clan Motto: Praesto Ut Praestem (I undertake what I may perform).
History of Clan Preston:
This surname originates from the Barony of Preston, later known as Gourton, and now as Craigmillar in Midlothian. Alured de Preston appears as a Charter witness in 1222, and around 1240, Lyulph, son of Lyulph de Preston, had a Charter from John Albus for a piece of land at Linlithgow which he made over to Newbattle Abbey. There is also a traditional link between this family and the de Prestoun Family in Ireland who later became Viscounts Gormanston.
Nicol de Prestoun rendered homage to Edward I of England in 1296, and Sir John de Prestoun was with David II at the Siege of Durham and Battle of Neville's Cross in 1346 and was taken prisoner with his King. Both were later released, but only after the payment of a significant ransom.
In 1374, Sir Simon de Preston bought Craigmillar Castle which in later centuries became a favourite retreat for both James IV and Mary Queen of Scots.
Sir Simon Preston of Craigmillar was Provost of Edinburgh in 1567, and it was one of the family, William Preston, who brought the arm bone of Saint Giles to Scotland from France and gifted it to the Kirk of St Giles, Presbyterianism's mother church in Edinburgh. The family also acquired the Barony of Valleyfield and lands in Perthshire, and in 1637, George Preston, 6th Laird of Valleyfield, was created a Nova Scotia Baronet. His son George was in command of Edinburgh Castle when Prince Charles Edward Stuart entered the city with his Jacobite Army in 1745.
John Preston of Fenton Barns in East Lothian was Lord of Session from 1596 to 1609, and Lord President of the Court of Session between 1609 and 1616. He settled Fenton Barns on his second son, Sir Michael Preston, who, in 1631, in a quarrel with two brothers of the name of Smith from Drem, killed one. He was tried before the High Court of Justiciary, and was convicted and beheaded at the Cross in Edinburgh.
Sir Charles Preston, 5th Baronet, commanded Fort John, Quebec, during the American War of Independence and on his return, in 1784, became Member of Parliament for Dysart.
Sir Robert Preston (1740-1834), known as 'Floating Bob,' made a fortune in the East Indies. He inherited the Valleyfield Baronetcy and estate in 1800.
Surname distribution in Scotland: The Preston name is most commonly found in Stirlingshire, Edinburgh and the Lothians.
Places of Interest:
Craigmillar Castle, Edinburgh. Strategically situated, it was built in the early 15th century by the Preston family. It was sold to Sir John Gilmour, Lord President of the Court of Session, in 1661 and having fallen into disrepair is today managed by Historic Scotland.
Culross, Fife. Culross Palace and Abbey were purchased and restored by Sir Robert Preston (1740-1834). Now owned by the National Trust for Scotland.
Fenton Barns, by Drem, East Lothian. Estate owned by the Prestons.