Edgar, the Aetheling, was the son of Prince
Edward of the ancient and royal Saxon House of Wessex and his mother,
Agatha, was the daughter of Henry II, emperor of Germany.
his mother Agatha, and his two sisters Margaret and Christina, came to
England to the court of Edward the Confessor, bringing with them a large
number of Hungarian attendants.
Edgar, the Aetheling, had in his
own person the Anglo-Saxon claim to the crown of England, but before he
could act, William, Duke of Normandy, landed an army in England, gained
the throne, and was crowned in London before the end of the year
Edgar abandoned his claim to the throne and swore loyalty to
William at Berkhamstead on December 25, 1066. In return, William gave
Edgar an earldom with large possessions.
Edgar later became
suspicious of William, and taking his two sisters, his mother Agatha, and
their attendants, fled England and sailed for Scotland. High winds drove
their ship into the Firth of Forth at St. Margaret's Hope, Queenferry,
Scotland. They were received by King Malcolm II, Canmore of
King Malcolm II was the son of King Duncan of Scotland.
King Duncan had been killed in a battle with MacBeth. Afterwards, Malcolm
II defeated MacBeth and took the Scottish crown as Malcolm II,
Later, King Malcolm offered his hand to Princess Margaret,
daughter of Agatha, and sister of Edgar. Margaret accepted and became the
Queen of Scotland.
The Garoich is a
fertile district in Aberdeenshire. It is bounded on the south by the river
Don, which separates the Garoich from Mar, on the east and north by
Formartine and the hills of Foundland, and on the west by the river Bogie.
It is overlooked by the beautiful hill Bennaths. This district of the
Garioch was erected into an earldom by King Malcolm in favor of his
brother, David, Earl of Huntingdon, about 1160.
Lesslyn in the Garioch
Bartholomew: Founder of our
Among the noblemen who traveled from Hungary to
England then on to Scotland with Edgar, Agatha and family was Bartholomew.
He became Queen Margaret's most trusted assistant. King Malcolm, Canmore,
appointed him governor of the Edinburg Castle, honored him with the
dignity of knighthood, and gave him large grants of land in Fife, Angus,
the Mearns, and Aberdeenshire.
According to tradition, King Malcolm
promised Bartholomew all hereditary rights to all land within a radius of
one mile where he was forced to stop and feed his horse on a journey,
starting at Deinfermline and proceeding northward. He first stopped at
Frechil in Fife, next at Innerlessad in Angus, then at Feskie in the
Mearns, and last at Cuskine in Mar. His horse failed him in the Garioch.
On his return, the king asked him where he had left his horse, and he
answered in metrical style,
"Between a lesse ley and a mair
horse it tyrd and stopped there."
The king replied in the same
"Lord Lesse ley shalt thou be
And thy heirs
and gave him the grant of land.
later married Beatrix, sister of King Malcolm and became the king's
From the "Genealogist of Tree of the Royal Family
of Scotland", by John Brown of Scotland, published in March 1792, comes
"Beatrix, daughter of King Duncan and sister of
Malcolm II, Canmore, married Bartholomew of whom all the Lesleys in
Scotland are descended."
From this union came many noble and famous
men who have risen to great splendor and wealth from distinguished service
or intermarriages with other noble houses in not only Scotland but France,
Sweden, Germany, Russia, and Austria.
The land of Lesslyn in the
Garioch about 19 miles north of Aberdeen is a fine agricultural area of
Scotland. No doubt, this is where Bartholomew built his castle.
Bartholomew was the first possessor of the land of Lesslyn.
of the family name, Bartholomew died as an old man about 1121 and was
succeeded by his son Malcolm. Malcolm died about 1176 and was succeeded by
his son Norman, about 1248.
Norman married a daughter of Stuart,
Earl of Lion. They had issue:
Norman and married Catherine Muir. His issue:
Norman, the fifth
possessor of the land of Lesslyn, was the first to use the family surname
as he styled it in most public documents as "Sir Norman de Lesslyn" and
"dominus de Lesley". He married the daughter and heiress of Watson of
Rothes. He died about 1320.
Sir Andrew de Lesslyn
succeeded his father in 1320. He received several baronies through the
rights of this wife, Mary Abernethy. He was the sixth possessor of the
land of Lesslyn and conveyed to his son George the Baronies of Balquhain.
He also obtained from King David II a charter under the great seal, making
all the lands into one free barony called the Barony of Balquhain. George
became the first Baron of Balquhain.
George Lessley, First
Earl of Rothes
King Robert Bruce granted a charter to his
nephew, Randolph, Earl of Moray, of all the king's land in Moray as they
were held by Alexander, King of Scotland, together with all the other
adjacent lands contained within the limits and boundaries, beginning at
the river Spey where it falls into the sea and ascending by the same
river, comprehending the lands of Fochabers, Rolhenayks, Roths, Bakarm,
and other lands. It was granted in 1312. The first Earl of Rothes was
George Lessley. George, the son of Norman de Lessley, was born about 1417
and through his father and mother was descended from both the royal
families of Bruce and Stewart. He was created Earl of Rothes by King James
II by charter of March 20, 1457.
The Lesleys of Rothes and
Balquhain became the principal branches of the family.
of Ballybay North Ireland are a branch of the family of the Earl of
The Leslie House in County
Antrim, North Ireland, descends from the Ballybay branch.
Lesleys of Tarbet in Ireland descend from the Wardis branch of the family
The Lesleys of Glassbough of Ireland descend from the
Wardis branch of the Barons of Balquhain.