From the place name Aberbothenoth, which lies on a narrow peninsula on the north side of the river Bervie. On the north east side the land falls steeply down to the burn, once called Buthenot, and on the south side it slopes more gradually down to the river Bervie. "Aber" means the influx of a small stream into a greater stream. "Aber" can also mean "mouth of" as in Aberdeen. "Both" or "Bothena" is a baronial residence. "Nethea" has been described as the stream that descends or is lower than something else in the neighbourhood.
The lands of Arbuthnott are believed to have come into the possession of the Swinton family during the reign of William I of Scotland through the marriage of Hugh, to the daughter of Osbert Olifard (or Oliphant) 'The Crusader'. The first recorded instance of the family acquiring the name Arbuthnott is in 1355 with Philip de Arbuthnott described as 'of that ilk'.
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