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Clan Baird

Clan Baird is a Scottish family, or kin-group, which does not have a recognised chief and is therefore considered an armigerous clan.


This family, like many others, have an origin legend which involves a feat of strength saving the life of a king. <ref>George Way of Plean and Rommily Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, 355</ref>This myth states that the first Baird saved William the Lion from a wild boar.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 355</ref> The actual origin of the name is uncertain. <ref>David Dorward, Dictionary of Scottish Surnames, 10</ref>it may be derived from the Gaelic word 'bard' which could mean either 'poet' or 'enclosure'. <ref>Dorward, Surnames, 10</ref>It may even be Flemish. <ref>Dorward, Surnames, 10</ref> It may be territorial, from lands held by the family in Lanarkshire near the village of Biggar.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 355</ref>

In 1770, William Baird argued that the name Baird was Norman and came to Scotland with William the Lion in 1174. <ref></ref>

Middle Ages

In 1178 Henry de Barde, Mariscallus apud Strivelin, was witness to a charter granted by King William the Lion to the Bishop of Glasgow, upon some lands in the town of Stirling. <ref></ref>

Henry Debard witnessed a deed by Thomas De Hay between 1202 and 1228. Richard Baird received land at Meikle and Little Kyp in Lanarkshire, during the reign of Alexander III. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 355</ref>

1228 Richard de Baird made a donation to the Abbot and Convent of Kelso.<ref></ref>

Anderson states that Fergus Debard, John Bard and Robert Bard, who swore submission to Edward I of England at the end of the thirteenth century, are supposed to be of the family of Baird of Kyp.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 355</ref>

Baird of Auchmedden

The main Baird family came into possession of lands in Auchmedden in Aberdeenshire. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 355</ref> They increased their influence by marrying into the powerful Keith family. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 355</ref> James Baird, a younger son of the house of Auchmedden, became an advocate in Edinburgh.

Baird appears to have been knighted by Charles II on his accession to the throne of Scotland in 1651. <ref>,_John_(1620-1698)_(DNB00)</ref> His eminence at the bar, however, could not be ignored, and in 1664 he was created an ordinary lord of session, as Lord Newbyth. <ref>,_John_(1620-1698)_(DNB00)</ref>He invested £500 in the ill-fated Darien scheme as did his son, William. <ref>John Samuel Barbour, a History of William Paterson and the Darien Company, 256</ref>Baird's house at Newbyth in East Lothian still stands. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 355</ref>

Eighteenth Century

Sir David Baird of Newbyth

Sir David Baird of Newbyth (1757- 1829) was a leading soldier who fought in India and in the Napoleonic Wars. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 355</ref> While in India Sir David was seriously wounded and captured at Madras and chained to another officer. <ref></ref> 'God help the chief that's chained to oar Davy,' exclaimed his mother when the news reached her, knowing only too well that her son would not take kindly to such captivity. Nevertheless, Sir David had to endure captivity for four years. <ref></ref>After securing release, he was at the capture of Pondicherry in 1793, and six years later he took Seringapatam. After a career crowned with many honours he died in 1829, and an exact copy of Cleopatra's Needle stands in the grounds of his home near Crieff as a memorial.<ref></ref>

Bairds of Posso

Another, if lesser known, branch of the Baird family are the Bairds of Posso, south-west of Peebles.<ref></ref> The first member of this family recorded on the historic record is Thomas de Bard, Sheriff of Peebles in 1296. <ref></ref> He appears on the Ragman Roll.

Sir Gilbert Baird of Posso fell at Flodden in 1513, and in the absence of male descendants the representation of the family passed through a grand-daughter to the Nacsmiths, through whom the line of the Bairds of Posso is now traced. <ref></ref>

References <references/>