Very  Ancient Baird Family History

As written by William Baird in about 1770 or earlier -


        THE Sirname of BAIRD is originally of the South of France where there were several Families of it in the reign of Louis IV, and it is said are still, but the first of the name mentioned in Britain came from Normandy to England with William the Conqueror.

And from the time when it first appears in Scotland, there is reason to believe that some of that name came here with King William the Lion Heart, when he returned from his captivity in England, anno 1174, as it is agreed by all our historians, several English gentlemen did. For it is certain that in less than sixty years after that period, they posessed fine estates, and had made good alliances in the South and South West counties of  Scotland.

        And although, in times so remote, and in which most other families, as well as those of that name, have suffered eclipses, or removal from one part of the kingdom to another, whereby their old writings have been frequently lost, it may be now impossible to make out a regular genealogy of anyone of them, yet the following extracts, from authors of unquestionable credit, will show that the name was both ancient and honourable in Scotland, as well as in France and England.

        I must first premise that the old spelling was Bard, Barde, Beard, Byrd, and Bayard, and that it was never written Baird till the latter end of the sixteenth century. This is common to all old names, and must have been owing to the different pronunciation between one province of France and another, and in Germany and Holland, and New York, which was long possessed by the Dutch, I have observed it spelt Bard and Bardt, and Baort.


There is a tradition that as King William the Lion Heart was hunting in one of the south-west counties of Scotland, and happened to straggle from his attendants, he was alarmed at the approach of a wild bear, and cried for help; upon which a gentleman, of the name of Baird, who had followed the King from England, ran up and had the good fortune to kill the bear, for which signal service the King made a considerable addition to the lands he had given him before, and assigned him for his coat-of-arms a bear passant, and for his motto, Dominus fecit; and if it will contribute to the credibility of this story, one foot of the bear came north with the Ordinhnivas Baird ancestors, and is still preserved and indeed it well deserves it, because of the enormous size, being fourteen inches long and nine broad, where it is cut from the ankle. (This curious relique is in my possession W.N Fraser 1857)

My Notes I have noticed that commercial and modern books on heraldry depict it as a boar, not a bear, but if you look at the original seals it is hard to depict because the bear does look like a boar and spelt similar.


1066:   Le Seigneur de Barde, mentioned as one of William Duke of Normandy's (William the Conquerer),  followers in the conquest of England. (A large old History of Normandy in the Advocates' Library, and Hollingshed's Chronicle, who calls him the Seigneur de Beart.) Library at Glasgow.

1178:   Henry de Barde, Mariscallus apud Strivelin, witness to a charter granted by King William the Lion Heart to the Bishop of Glasgow, upon some lands in the town of Stirling, The Chartulary of Glasgow, sent lately from the Scotch College at Paris.

1194:   Winchester, April 17 In a safe conduct granted by King Richard I to King William the Lion, in which large appointments of money and provisions during his going and coming and stay in England are ordered for him, Hugo de Baird is one of the subscribing witnesses. Rymer's Foemdera, v 1,p. 88.

1224:   Magistrus Riccardus de Barde, witness to a charter granted by the Bishop of Glasgow Chartulary.

1228:   Richard de Baird makes a donation to the Abbot and Convent of Kelso, dated at Lismahago, (a cell belonging to that abbacy) and the signing witnesses are William de Maitland, ancestor of the Earl of Lauderdale, Archibald Lord Douglas, William Fleming, ancestor to the Earl of Wigton, Malcom Lockhart, &c Chartulary of Kelso, p. 160.

1233:   Robert Baird.- Chartulary of Paisley.

1240:   Richard.-Ibid.

1240:   May 26, King Alexander II, confirms a donation made by Richard de Baud to the Monastery of Kelso, Rudulf de Dundas and Walter son of Allan, Justiciarius Scotiae witnesses, Douglas Baronage.

1240:   Robert, son of Waldevus de Biggar, grants a charter to Richard Baird, upon the lands of Little and Meikle Kyp in the County of Lanark. Dalrymple's Collections, p. 397 and Nisbet's Heraldry.

1270:   Peter Bulkeley, second son to Robert Bulkeley, by a daughter of Butler of Bewsey in Lancashire, married the daughter of --Baird. Robert Bulkeley, ancestor of this family, was Lord of the Manor of Bulkeley in the county Palatine of Chester, in the reign of King John. His descendant was made Viscount Bulkeley in 1643, by King Charles 1 Lodge,s Peerage of Ireland.

1292:   And following years, in the Ragman's Roll or Submission, sworn and subscribed by the nobility and principal gentry of the Scotch nation, to King Edward 1 of England, the following three gentlemen are found:

 l. Fergus de Baird, of Meikle and Little Kyp according to Mr. Nisbet, who says it was a great and very considerable family.
 2. John Baird, of Evandale, as the same author thinks.
 3. Robert Baird. Mr. Nisbet thinks that this was Baird of Cambusnethan, and says that estate went to Sir Alexander Stuart, afterwards of Darnley, by marrying the heiress, Jean Baird, about 1360, and that in1390 he gave it with his daughter to Sir Thomas Somerville of Carnwath, Lord Somerville's ancestor, upon their marriage.

1296:   Duncan, Fergus, John, and Nicol Bairds, all mentioned this year as men of rank and property in Pryn's Collections.

***1297 to 1305: Jordan Baird was a constant companion of the brave Sir William Wallace, ("Braveheart" re: Movie 1998 Mel Gibson- note by TLVD) in all his warlike exploits, and mentioned with great honour in all the accounts of that heroic gentleman.

       (In Apri11768, Sir William Johnston of Hilton told me that he (Sir William) saw some years ago a lineal genealogy from this Jordan Baird to Sir James Baird of Auchmedden.)-William Baird 1770:

Note: That would be our Sir James Baird father of Sir Robert Baird of our direct line
whose son Alexander Baird settled in New York to establish our Baird line in New Jersey.

1308:   Baird of Carnwath, in Clydesdale county of Lanark, with other three or four gentlemen of that name, being convicted of a conspiracy against King Robert Bruce in a Parliament held at Perth, were forfeited, and put to death, and the lands of Carnwath given to Sir Alexander Stuart of Darnley by that Prince. Dalrymple's Collections, p.394.

1310:   There is a Charter extant, granted by King Robert Bruce to Robert Baird, upon the Barony of Cambusnethan. Ibid.2

        This estate lies in the Upper Ward of Clydesdale, county of Lanark. Cambusnethan was long possessed by the Bairds and the late Lord Somerville told me, (Auchmedden) at his own house of Drum, in 1731, that there is a part of the old house still called  " The Baird's Tower."*

        *See the Memorie of the Somervilles, where it is described as "a building some twenty foot square and four storie  high, which was still standing in the same forme and fashion until the year, 1661, that it was demolished by Sir John Harper, when he rebuilt the house of Cambusnethan." ED.

1313:  March 4 King Edward II of England signs a commission to Peter Baird and John Sturmy, conjunctly and severally, to be Admirals of England, and Commanders of his own fleet of Ships of War then fitted out, and of all others that may be afterwards sent by him to annoy the Coast of Scotland. Rymer's Foedera, tome iii., p. 475.

1317:   Edmund Baird, with a great many other nobility and gentry, obtained a pardon from King Edward II. for an insurrection made by them against Pierce Gaveston, and killing him. Ibid.,-p. 444.

1318:   Edward II gives a commission for levying men to carryon the War against Scotland, which amongst others is directed to one Simon Baird. Ibid.

1328:   A Treaty of Peace was concluded at Northampton between King Edward III. and King Robert Bruce, by which it was agreed that King Robert should pay to King Edward 30,000 merks in consideration of the damage done last year by his army in England. The last payment of this money, being 10,000 merks fell due at the Feast of John the Baptist, being the 24th of June 1331.

King Edward then assigns King Robert Bruce's obligation to Bartholomew Barde and others of that name, called the Company of the Bairds trading to Florence, and sends them to Scotland to receive the said sum from David Bruce, then King; and in a letter writ two days after, Edward recommends them to David's special affection. That Prince likewise employs them in several other important transactions during the course of his reign, and calls them his beloved and trusty " Bankiers," the Company of the Bairds. Rymer, tome iv., p.463, et passim.

1333, March 24, In a skirmish on the Borders between a Scotch and an English party, Sir William Douglas, Governor of Lochmaben, and Sir William Baird, were routed by Sir Anthony Lacy, and taken prisoners with 100 gentlemen, 160 more being slain on that occasion. Cartes' History of England, vol. ii, p.414.

On March 28, King Edward III, then at Pomfret Castle, being informed that the above two gentlemen were taken prisoners, and in the custody of Ranulph de Dacre, Governor of Carlisle Castle, sends his mandate of this date, to the said Governor commanding them to be kept securely till further orders. Rymer, vol. vi., p. 255

1338:   Kennington, Aug. 8 Complaint being made by the Duke of Gelders to King Edward III, that some of the transports which had carried his Majesty and his forces to France, and on their return met with some merchant ships belonging to the Duke's subjects on the sea, between Blaunkebergh and Hest, near the Flemish coast had violently plundered them of goods to a considerable value, the King issues his commission to Peter Baird, Admiral, from the mouth of the Thames over all the west coast of England, of Kent, Sussex, Somerset, Dorset, Cornwall, Devon, and Gloucester, to inquire into the matter, and to arrest all who shall be found to have been guilty. Rymer, tome v., p.76.

1338:   Windsor, Sept. 23. Edward III. being informed that several galleys equipt for war, and filled with armed men to a considerable number from the coast of France, Normandy, and other parts, had  attacked some English ships, partly belonging to himself and partly to his English subjects on the coast of Zealand, in a hostile manner, and greatly injured both the sailors and passengers on board, gives a commission to his beloved Peter Baird, Admiral, from the mouth of the Thames over all the west coast of England, to go to sea with a naval force, and to pursue, attack, and annoy the said
galleys wherever he can find them. Ibid, p. 83.

1350:   Sir Walter Murray of Tullibardine, ancestor to the Duke of Athol, married Margaret la Baird, and by this lady had a son, his heir and successor, Sir William Murray .Nisbet's Heraldry, p.52, and in p.195 of the Appendix, he says, " The lady was of the ancient family of Cambusnethan, which had  long continued in lustre."

1356:   Sept 19, Sir William Baird of Evandale, accompanied the Earl of Douglas at the battle of Poictiers, and his family had been long in use to join the Douglases on every occasion. lnformed of this by a letter of Mr. James Baird's, in 1767.

1364:   Or about that time Sir Lawrence Baird, of Posso, in the county of Peebles, married the second daughter of Sir Thomas Somerville, Lord Somerville's ancestor, by Lady Elizabeth Douglas, daughter to Sir James Douglas, ancestor to the Earl of Morton. MSS. of Lord Somerville's family.

1377:   Ricardus de Barde, (son to former,) witness to a charter of the Archbishop of Glasgow Chartulary.

1388:   TJTestminster, August 11 In a commission issued by King Richard II. for observing the terms then agreed on between the French King and him, addressed to Seneschals or High Sheriffs, and other principal officers in the different provinces of his French dominions; the Sieur de la Barde, and his lieutenants for the time being, are named in the Counties and Marches of Agenoys and Guertyn.  Rymer, tome vii., p. 640, and frequently afterwards during the course of that reign.

1398:   October, In a treaty concluded between the Commissioners of both nations at Hawdenstank, it is agreed that Adam de Gordon, William le Barde, and Adam French, being notorious truce-breakers, shall appear in the next day appointed for the meeting of the great Commissaries of " baith Realms," under the penalty of 3000 lib. Rymer, tome viii., p. 55.

1405:   March 11, Thomas de Lancastre, son to King Henry IV., Admiral of England, and appointed by the King, his father, Lieutenant for the Irish war, is sent to that island with an armed force, viz. 2 earls, 12 barons, 80 knights, 605 esquires, 700 men-at-arms, and 1400 archers, and among the volunteers who accompanied him to that expedition with armed men, paid out of their own money, and for which they had the King's licence to continue in force for six months after that date, is Walter de Barde, of the county of Devon. Rymer, tome viii., p. 389.

1408: Westminster, Jan. 28. King Henry IV, grants letters of legitimation, under the Great Seal of England, to Leonard Baird, bastard son of Sir Anthony de Baird, both living at Bourdeaux, with all the privileges of a son born in lawful wedlock. Rymer, tome viii., p. 510.

1409:   Westminster, Dec.11 In a grant by King Henry IV. to the city of Leybourne, in the province of Bourdeaux, of the tithe of wine and all other commodities that came down the river Dordogne to that city, a special grant which that King had formerly made to his well-beloved Le Seigneur de la Barde and other three of the noblesse of that county is excepted. Rymer, tome viii., p.614.

1412:   Bourdeaux, Feb 12. In a charter of confirmation granted by Thomas Duke of Clarence to John Dupont, his secretary, of lodgings or dwelling-houses in the city of Bourdeaux, which are there particularly described, it is said that they had been formerly given by his father, King Henry IV,  to Bos de la Barde, Esquire, and were by him sold to the said John Dupont. Rymer, tome viii., p.774.

1427:   March 11 King Henry VI. being afraid of insurrections from domestic, and invasions from foreign enemies, sends out his commission of Arroy. That for Estrythyngem, a part of the county of York, is directed to Sir Richard Nevyll, Sir Henry Percy de Athel, Sir Richard Hilton, Robert Barde, &c. Rymer, tome x., p.373.

1460:   The lands of Kilkerran belonged to the name of Baird before King James IV, as appears by a charter of that Prince in 1509, upon those lands, (which lie in the shire of Ayr,) to David, Earl of Cassils, in which it is said that they belonged formerly to John Baird, of Kilquhenzie. Nisbet's Heraldly

Notes of William Baird, Author, 1770--

My notes.
In 1429, Kilhenzie belonged to Thomas Kennedy of Kirkoswald; afterwards it passed into the hands of the laird of Bargany; subsequently it became the residence of the Carrick branch of the Bairds; and finally, it became the property of the Fergussons of Kilkerran.

Kilhenzie Castle was once owned by John Baird.

Kilhenzie Castle

See Kilhenzie Castle Restored Today !


1465:   Martin Baird got a charter under the Great Seal, upon the lands of Halydon Hill in the Merse. Records.

1487,   August 6. William de Baird, de Posso, witness to a charter upon the lands of Manorhope, in the shire of Peebles, by John lnglis to his son.- Douglas' Baronage.

1490:   Margaret Inglis, sister to Inglis of Murdiston, and widow to John Burnet of that ilk, is served in a terce of the lands of Barns and Burnet Land, before the Sheriff of Peebles and these gentlemen witnesses, viz: William Fraser of Fuird; Alexander Veitch of Dawick; Gilbert Baird of Posso; John Govan of Cardrona; James Sandilands of Bold; David Tait of Pirn; Thomas Dickson of Ormistoun Ibid.

1526:   William Baird has a charter, under the Great Seal, upon the lands of Balmaduthy, Indety &c. Both these estates lie in East Ross the parish of Indety and shire of Ross and are presently possessed by two gentlemen of the name of Mackenzie. These Bairds were an ancient family.

1537:   William Baird, of Indety, has a charter, under the Great Seal, on several other lands.

1541-1548:   &c. Several charters to the Bairds of Glencopock. Besides the foregoing, it appears from the public records that a great many other lands belonged to the name of Baird of old. A Letter to Sir Robert Douglas in 1767.

1550:   One William Baird was Scout or Sheriff of Amsterdam, a man of great abilities, good esteem, and substance, but was suspected of being a Protestant, and a plot laid against his life by the violent party of the Roman Catholics, which, by the address of himself and several friends of power and interest, he narrowly escaped. The story is very remarkable. Brandt's History of the Reformation in Germany.

1580:   Sir Anthony Wingfield, of an ancient family in the county of Suffolk, where they had a seat before the Norman conquest, was knighted, and made Sheriff of Suffolk 39 of Elizabeth, and married Mary, daughter to John Bird, of Denston, Esq., in that county. His collateral descendant was created Baron Wingfield and Viscount It.. Powerscourt, in 1747. Lodge's Peerage.

1620:   Sir William Baird, Dean of the Arches, employed afterwards in several commissions of honour and trust by King James I. In 1624, he is called Doctor of Civil Law, and one of the commissioners appointed by that Prince for recording petitions from any of the three kingdoms.  Rymer, tome xvii., pp. 201, 555, &c. He was also Judge of Prerogative. Wood's Athen. Oxon, who spells his name Byrd, as it is spelt in an old seal of George Baird, of Ordinhnivas.

1643:   Sir Henry Baird, of Stains left Cambridge and joined the King's army, in which he did very good service. He, with Sir George Lisle, led on the left wing at Naseby, and brought off the whole brigade. He was after- wards created Viscount Bellamont by King Charles I. He is mentioned in the Marquis of Worcester's Apophthegms as a brave commander. He attended King Charles II. at the time of his exile. Lloyd's Memoirs, p. 668. Heath's Chronicle.

1644,   July 2. Captain John Baird, slain on the King's side at the battle of Marston Moor. England's Black Tribunal.

1648:   In Joly's Voyage, or Minutes printed at Amsterdam, in 1610, when he mentions the public ministers at the treaty of Westphalia, he says, " For the King of France, in the first place, was sent Monsieur de la Barde, not in the character of resident, as the lists of the Plenipotentiarys, printed first at Cologne and afterwards at Paris, call him. It is a mistake. For he had been formerly sent by the King as ambassador into Switzerland, and was acknowledged and treated as such at the congress by Monsieur de Longueville." He has written the History of Queen Anne of Austria's Regency with great distinctness, elegance, and judgment.

1720:   About this time, Baird of Weston, in England, died and left three daughters, co-heiresses, of whom one was this year Countess of Castlehaven.-lrish Peerage.

        And there are still some gentlemen of the name in the counties of Buckingham, Gloucester, Hereford, Middlesex, Somerset, Stafford, and Sussex. And in the south-west counties of Scotland, there are still some gentlemen's families of the name, particularly one in the shire of Lanark, and another in the shire of Ayr, and a number of the Commons of Lanark, Renfrew, Peebles, and the Merse, and about Glasgow; and in Glasgow are several gentlemen of the name in trade, and others in good circumstances and esteem.

                                        -- William Baird, 1770