The surname Paterson is derived from "Son of the devotee of Patrick" ie St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Patrick initially became a popular first name. Later, as surnames started to be used, there was a Clan Pheadirean (the Gaelic name is MacPhadraig) on the northern shores of Loch Fyne, Argyllshire> in the 13th century. The name spread across the Lowlands of Scotland and nowadays Paterson/Patterson is amongst the 20 most frequently found surnames in Scotland. Other variants on the name include Peterson and Patison.
In the 15th century, William Paterson became Provost (mayor) of Aberdeen> and in the 16th century Fyndlay Patersoun leased land from the Abbey of Cupar in Angus>. The most famous bearer of the name was William Paterson>, a Dumfriesshire farmer's son, who founded the Bank of England> in 1694 and, later, promoted the disastrous Darien Scheme in Panama which collapsed in 1700.
During the 1745 Jacobite Uprising, Sir Hugh Paterson of Bannockburn entertained Prince Charles Edward Stuart> in January 1746. Sir Hugh's niece, Clementine Paterson, became the Prince's mistress and bore him a daughter in France in 1753.
Castle Huntly> in Perthshire belonged to a Paterson family from 1777 to 1948.
The Paterson clan motto is "Huc tendimus omnes" which means "We all strive for this".
Paterson was the 18th most frequent surname at the General Register Office> in 1995.
Return to Index of Clans/Family Histories.
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