Lairds of Leys

With the aid of and the Burnett family's research found on the web, I found that the earliest Jaffray I had traced back (Alexander, born 1560, died 1627) had married Christian Burnett, who was the daughter of Alexander Burnett of Kynneskie, who in turn was the son of the 9th Laird of Leys, Sir Alexander Burnet, 4th Baron. 

  Thanks to research carried out by James Burnett of Leys, Baron of Kilduthie, it was relatively easy to get back all the way to the 1st Laird, who was also called Alexander (1270 - 1348). 

  His job was Royal Forester of Drum, and is thought to have been the son of Roger Burnard of Farringdoun, (the name had changed slightly over the centuries). Nothing is known about his ancestry or early life but it would appear that he provided loyal service to King Robert (de Bruce) I.

He obtained a charter from King Robert de Bruce (I) in March 1324 for Killenacholerach and certain lands in the Forest of Drum.

The earliest base of the Burnard's was a natural defensive island structure called a 'crannog' on the Loch of Leys which lies to the north of the town of Banchory on Deeside.


Chief of this branch of the family, Alexander Burnard (Burnett) became an able and valued supporter of Robert de Bruce (King of Scotland) and was rewarded with grants of part of the Royal Forest of Drum as well as neighbouring lands which had been forfeited by the Comyns. As his badge of office as Royal Forester of Drum, Alexander was given the Horn of Leys (as pictured above) that still hangs on the wall at their ancestral home, Crathes Castle, just outside of Banchory, Scotland.

  Many generations later a later Laird and Baron built Crathes Castle in Aberdeenshire, which the family occupied for almost 400 years. 

  You can read more about this castle and its history here.

QUESTION: Why are around 50% of my male antecedents called Alexander?

Apparently the Burnards were Norman, and I believe that so were the Jaffrays (Joffroi).

Image of Crathes Castle by Ikiwaner on Wikipedia.

Crathes Castle - the family seat for nearly 400 years.