This is a very early Scottish surname. It is locational and is believed to originate from the lands of Wardlaw, near Beauly, in Inverness-shire. According to various sources the name means "The hill where the watch was kept", from the Olde English pre 7th century "Geard-hlaw". It is said that the place name as Wardelaue is recorded as early as the year 1210, however the first certain recording of the surname occurs when Henricus de Wardlaw was given a charter for half of the barony of Wiltone, in the county of Roxburgh. This was from the hands of King Robert 1st of Scotland, known as "The Bruce", in about the year 1310. Locational surname usually were "from" names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original homes to move somewhere else. However an alternative which applies to this surname, is when a family inherited an estate, they took as their surname the name of the place itself. This surname has always been prominent in the affairs of Scotland from the medieval times. Examples of the early recordings include: Walter de Wardlaw who in 1363 combined the posts of being bishop of Glasgow, with that of ambassador to England. Henry Wardlaw, the nephew of the bishop, was founder of the University of St Andrews, and it is said that the main branch of the family descend from his brother William Wardlaw, who died in 1420.
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