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LE CHEN, Reginald II 3rd of Inverugie, and of Duffus and Straloch, Sir
(About 1235-)
DE MORAVIA, Mary of Duffus
(About 1245-)
Malise (III) 6th Earl of Strathearn
(About 1261-1317)
COMYN, Agnes
(About 1266-)
LE CHEN, Reginald III 4th of Inverugie, and of Duffus, Sir
(About 1270-After 1345)
(About 1305-)
LE CHEN, Mary elder daughter and co-heiress (Duffus)
(About 1320-)


Family Links

1. SUTHERLAND, Nicholas of Duffus, jure uxoris

LE CHEN, Mary elder daughter and co-heiress (Duffus) 2

  • Born: About 1320
  • Marriage (1): SUTHERLAND, Nicholas of Duffus, jure uxoris 1

   Another name for Mary was LE CHEYNE, Mary.1

   User ID: X176.

  General Notes:

"6 Nov. 1312 Notification that no agreement should prejudice Mary le Chen inheritance in land of Duffus (MOR)(Role) Previous landholder (Source) 1/53/30 (RRS, v, no. 26)"

from poms.ac.uk website 2

  Research Notes:


There has been a good deal of confusion in accounts and sources regarding the given names of these two daughters of Reginald le Chen. Which was which?

We should bear in mind, while considering this, that the place of women, even in landed families, was an inferior one in past times, and that a woman's given name was relatively unimportant, compared with that of her father or her husband or the land they possessed.

In modern times we are familiar with 'Mary'. Its Christian associations have kept it in the forefront of popular culture. In Latin texts in translation, and in early Scots texts, especially where abbreciation is used, it is frequently confused with Marjory (Mariorie) and even Margaret, in abbreviated form (Marg. or Margt.). The Scots Peerage names the wife of Nicholas Sutherland as 'Mary' and as the elder daughter, and that arrangement has been used here, on the basis that it is reasonable to suppose that Reginald's first daughter was named for his mother, Mary, and that his daughter's portion of his estate, Duffus, came from there.

'Mariot' is less common to the modern ear. It too may be confused with Marjory, but it is more likely an older, possibly a Gaelic, version of Margaret. In the immediate historical past 'Pearl' was sometimes used as a nickname or alternate form of Margaret, based on the Greek word for 'pearl', and Mariota appears to be connected with that:

"Mairead, Máiréad or Mairéad, is a feminine name and the Irish variation of the given name Margaret, which is believed to mean "pearl". Another spelling variation is Maighread, which is the dominant Scottish Gaelic spelling of the name ..... Mariota, Countess of Ross" (wikipedia article)

This name featured in the above quote links in the article to 'Mariota, Countess of Ross', another Wikipedia article devoted entirely to her. It begins:

"Mariota, Countess of Ross (Mairead, also called Mary and Margaret; died 1440)"

'Mariot' or 'Mariota' is sufficiently liked 'Mary' or 'Maria' to be perceived as that name, particularly when abbreviated, or in Latin, but is not the same name.

Thus we have the name difficulty we are faced with in the Le Chen family summed up in one sentence relating to the Countess of Ross. The Gaelic form for 'Mary' is 'Mhairi'; the Gaelic for 'Margaret' is 'Mairead', or 'Maighread'. One can easily see how 'Mairead' might be pronounced 'Mariot' by a Scots-English, rather than a Gaelic, speaker, and also how it could be mistaken for 'Mary'.

'Margaret', or its equivalent, may have been somewhat fashionable, possibly more meaningful, with the generation of Reginald and his wife because of the tragic story of Margaret, Maid of Norway (1283-1290), whose mother Margaret was the daughter of King Alexander III of Scots. When Alexander fell, fatally, from his his horse in 1286, the little 'Maid of Norway' was the King's only surviving descendant and heir presumptive. She was the Queen of Scots who never was.

Reginald Le Chen's father in law, Malise, Earl of Strathearn, had played a leading part in recognising Margaret as heir, and in stabilising the kingdom of Scotland after King Alexander III's death. It would have been fitting, then, for a granddaughter of his to be named 'Margaret'.

It would seem, then that Mary was named for her father's side of the family, and Mariot ofr her mother's side. 3 4 5 6 7

Mary married Nicholas SUTHERLAND of Duffus, jure uxoris, son of Kenneth DE MORAVIA 4th Earl of Sutherland and Mary or Marjory of Mar.1 (Nicholas SUTHERLAND of Duffus, jure uxoris was born about 1313 and died about 1363.)

  Marriage Notes:

"He (Nicholas Sutherland) acquired part of the ancient barony of Duffus in Moray,
and also, it would appear, lands in Caithness, by his wife Mary, the elder daughter and co-heiress of Reginald le Cheyne and Mary, Lady of Duffus, his wife. Towards the close of his life he appears as Lord of the Castle of Duffus, showing that with his wife's portion of the barony he held the chief messuage."

from Scots Peerage (vol.3) 1


1 e-books, The Scots Peerage ed. Sir James Balfour Paul vol. 3 (1906).

2 Internet Site, https://www.poms.ac.uk/record/person/3291/ Reginald Cheyne younger Lord of Duffus.

3 Internet Site, The Scots Peerage ed. Sir James Balfour Paul vol. 3 (1906).

4 Internet Site, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mairead.

5 Internet Site, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mariota,_Countess_of_Ross.

6 Internet Site, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret,_Maid_of_Norway.

7 Internet Site, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malise_III,_Earl_of_Strathearn.

© Copyright 2024 Mary McGonigal

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