A name which, like so many others, is derived from an occupation: in this case, that of baker. The importance of bread as a staple food meant that the baker’s was a role of importance and was vital to the existence of any household. The name appears throughout Scotland, and those on the west coast are generally held to be dependents of the Clan Macmillan. In Fife, however, the name achieved independent prominence, and Baxters are found witnessing important documents in the thirteenth century.
Black lists Reginald Baxter as a witness to a gift to the church of Wemyss between 1200 and 1240, and Jeffrey le Baxtere of Lissithe in the county of Forfar taking an oath of fealty in 1296. He suggests that, as Forfar maintained a royal residence at that time, these Baxters may have been bakers to the royal household – an early version of ‘by appointment’. The name is still prominent in Fife, where until recently, the Baxters of Earlshall resided in their baronial castle which has one of the finest painted heraldic ceilings in Scotland.