MAITLAND, SIR RICHARD (LORD LETHINGTON) (1496-1586), Scottish lawyer, poet and collector of Scottish verse, son of Sir William Maitland of Lethington and Thirlestane, who fell at Flodden, studied law at the university of St. Andrews, and afterwards in Paris. Hic castle at Lethington was burnt by the English in 1549. He was in 1552 one of the commissioners to settle matters with the English about the debatable lands. About 1561 he seems to have lost his sight, but he continued to attend to public business, and was the same year admitted an ordinary lord of session with the title of Lord Lethington, and a member of the privy council. In 1562 he was appointed keeper of the Great Seal, resigning in 1567, in favour of John, prior of Coldingham, his second son. He sat on the bench until his eighty eighth year. He died on March 20, 1586.
The poems of Sir Richard Maitland are for the most part satirical, and are principally directed against the social and politi cal abuses of his time. He collected and preserved many pieces of Scots poetry. These were copied into two large volumes, one in folio, written by himself, and another in quarto, written by his daughter. These volumes were purchased at the sale of the Lauderdale library by Samuel Pepys, and have since been pre served in the Pepysian library, Magdalene college, Cambridge.
They lay there unnoticed for many years till Bishop Percy pub lished one of the poems in his Reliques of English Poetry. Several were included by John Pinkerton, in Ancient Scottish Poems (2 vols., 1786).
For an account of the Maitland Folio MS. see Gregory Smith's Specimens of Middle Scots, 1902 (p. lxxiii.). Maitland's own poems were reprinted by Sibbald in his Chronicle of Scottish Poetry (1802), and in 1830 by the Maitland Club, named after him, and founded for the purpose of continuing his efforts to preserve the remains of early Scots literature. Sir Richard left in manuscript a history of the family of Seton, and a volume of legal decisions collected by him between the years 155o and 1565. Both are preserved in the Advocates' Library, Edinburgh ; the former was published by the Maitland Club, in 1829. The Scottish Text Society published The Maitland Folio Manuscript (ed. W. A. Craigie, 1919, etc.) and the Maitland Quarto Manuscript (ed. W. A. Craigie, 192o, etc.).