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Genealogical Collections : The Auchmedden Genealogy

Andrew Baird of Lavoroklaw, I.1

On the north coast of Fife, opposite to Broughty, was a younger son of Gilbert Baird of Posso, and born about the year 1475, the impression of his seal being the Arms of Posso. In Lord Newbyth's genealogy, it is said he was a great favourite of King James V., and that that Prince died in his arms, Dec. 13, 1542. When or from whom he got the lands of Lavoroklaw does not appear, but, in 1533, he disponed them to William Balfour, and Janet Annan, his spouse; and February 23, 1539, John Earl of Buchan disponed the lands of Auchmedden2 to him for a sum of money then paid, but under reversion. The disposition is dated at Dundee.

Andrew Baird married Bessy Lermont, daughter to the Laird of Balcomy, a very good old family in Fife, her mother was daughter to Wauchop of Niddry. He died February 10, 1543, at Auchmedden, and left a son George, his successor, and several other children, both sons and daughters, who were married (some in the south), and had children; but their posterity, at least on the male side, is now extinguished, for what I ever heard. He had by one of his younger sons a grandson, called Andrew Baird, merchant at Banff,3 whose daughter, Janet, was married, January, 1637, to Gilbert Mair of Awads; and their son, William Mair, was settled in business at Newcastle, in 1673, and corresponded frequently with Sir James Baird for many years after, and his posterity may very probably still continue in that country.

George Baird of Auchmedden, II.

Married Elizabeth Keith, daughter to Alexander Keith of Troup, who was brother to the then Earl Marischall. Their contract of marriage is dated 10th August, 1550. Her aunt, Lady Anne Keith, daughter to William Earl Marischall, was first married to James Earl of Murray, Regent of Scotland (to whom she bore a daughter from whom the present Earl of Murray is descended), and next to Colin Earl of Argyll, grandfather of the Marquis.
This marriage acquired to George Baird the Regent's friendship in a very particular manner, and it appears that he employed him much in his affairs, and placed a great deal of confidence in him. For by a deed, dated at Glasgow May 10, 1568, the Regent, then Wardator of the Estate of Buchan, discharges the Reversion of the Estate of Auchmedden, and dispones the same, heritably and irredeemably, to George Baird, and the onerous cause is " for many acts of utility and friendship done to me, and sums of money given out by him in my service." This was just eight days after Queen Mary's escape from Lochleven, which threw the Regent into a great consternation.

George Baird continued Popish all his lifetime, and (notwithstanding of his connection with Regent Murray) in the friendship that had long subsisted between his ancestors and the family of Gordon. For October 28, 1562, he attended the Earl Huntly at the fight of Corrichie, and endeavored to get him transported safe to Aberdeen, having, after the engagement, caused set him on a cadger's horse with croils, being a fat and unwieldy man, but through weakness he died by the way.
Anno 1589:- George Baird was at the insurrection at Aberdeen on the Roman Catholic side, and got a pardon for it from King James VI, who is forced to suppose that the allegation of his being present was a mistake, as follows :-

"Justice-Clerk and your Deputys, We greet you well, forasmeikle as we understand, that our lovit George Baird of Auchmedden, being an aged and decrepit man, was summoned to the Court of the Sheriffdom of Aberdeen, for assisting the Earl of Huntly and his complices in the last Insurrection made at Aberdeen, and passing from that to the Brig of Dee in the month of April last bypast, whereof he was convict by an assyse, howbeit wrongously, seeing, we are assured, that he was not within xxiv miles at the time of the said Insurrection to the Burgh of Aberdeen; wherefore we command you, that incontinent after the sight of this, ye delete the said George's act of conviction furth of the buiks of adjournal, sa that he na ways be callit, troublit, molestit, poindit, or distressit be virtue thereof, and the same be as delete as if he had never been challengit for the said crime in time coming, discharging our Treasurer and Treasurer-Deputy of all extracting thereof, and of troubling the said George thereby, and your officers in that part, and that ye pointedly fully and sufficiently grant an sufficient bond for deleting of the said Act of Conviction, subscribed with our hand at Aberdeen, the 4th day of August 1589. Signed: James Rex. Sr. Robert Melville. and T. Mathy."

The King came to Aberdeen, about the 27th of July, on his return from the north, as far as Ross and Cromarty, where he held Justices' Courts and deputed Justices everywhere, and remained there till the 4th of August, upon which day, a little before his Majesty took horse to go to Doun, the Earl of Errol, the Lairds of Auchindown, Balquhain, and Cluny, came to his Majesty with full resolution to request his Majesty's pardon, and they, with sundry others of the sirname of Gordon, were all at that time received into his Majesty's mercy and favour.4 George Baird died May 29, 1593. His sons were, 1. Gilbert, his successor; 2. Andrew; 3. Alexander; 4. Patrick; and 5. George.

Andrew got an university education in Scotland, and was sent to France to finish his studies, where he became one of the best scholars in that kingdom. He was made Professor of Philosophy and other Sciences at Lyons. His letters 5 to his eldest brother, which still remain, show him to have been a man of learning, virtue and sense. They are writ from 1595 to 1619. At last he embraced a Monastic life. He came over from France at least once to see his friends in Scotland. He had a good income by his Professor's chair, became rich, discharged his patrimony to his own family, conferred several liberalities to his nearest relations and lived in great esteem. The time of his death is not known, only he was alive in 1632, by a letter of the Commissary's, so that many of Andrew's letters must be lost.

Alexander traded from Banff to Norway, married one Helen Kennedy, and left two daughters, Magdalen and Janet, who, for anything that appears, died unmarried. Patrick is only once mentioned in a letter of Andrew's to his eldest brother, as living in the North of Scotland, which is all now known about him. George was a wine-merchant, and went frequently to Bourdeaux in that way. He bought the lands of Corskie,6 married and had two sons, George and Andrew. The last married, and had a son James, and he a son William, but no remains of any of them now. How many daughters, or if any, this George Baird of Auchmedden had, and their fate, no account can now be got.

Gibert Baird of Auchmedden, III.

His eldest son, who married the heiress of Ordinhnivas in 1578,7 had by her thirty-two sons and daughters, as is the unvaried tradition amongst their descendants, both in the North and South; of these sons, several went into the Church abroad, whose names are not known; and two went to Orkney and settled there; and of the daughters, one married to a Scotch merchant in Denmark, and two became nuns abroad, neither of their names known. Three sons went to Ireland as adventurers in the beginning of King James VI.'s reign in England; of nine sons, George, who succeeded his father, Branden, Andrew, James, John, Thomas, Walter, Hugh, and Magnus; and five daughters married, Elspet, Margaret, Anne, Katherine, and Janet, some account can be given; and a sixth daughter seems to have lived in her brother's family and never married, by a letter of the Commissary's.

Branden was an honest, industrious, peaceable man, who followed a country life, and made a good stock by husbandry. He married the widow of Keith of Northfield, who was daughter to Ogilvie of Glassaugh, and purchased the estate of Northfield, which was much in debt, but having no children, left it to his son-in-law, John Keith, who had married his sister, Anne. In 1619, Branden went over to France to see his uncle, Mr Andrew, as appears by a letter his father sent by him, of which a copy remains.8 Branden died anno 1661, above fourscore years old. Old Troup9 remembered to have seen him when he was a child, and said he was a worthy, in offensive, honest man. He left by his will the stocking of the Mains of Northfield, valued at 3000 merks, to his eldest brother's son, Sir James, in place of the patrimony he had got from their common father.

Andrew was bred to the law, and entered writer, to the Signet. He married Helen Harvey, daughter to Harvey of Ward of Kilmundy. Their contract of marriage was signed at Banff, Oct 15, 1619. They had one son, Captain Walter Baird who was killed at the battle of Dunbar, Sept. 3, 1650. James as this was a very eminent man in his time, and the founder of two families still flourishing in the Lothians, a particular account of him and his posterity will be given last by itself, as it was sent me in June 1754, by Mr James Baird, his great-grandson. John was educated at Edinburgh under his last-mentioned brother's inspection, and by his interest was made Sheriff Clerk of Banff in 1638, which is all I can find of him. It is probable he died soon10

Thomas went over to France in 1607, recommended to his uncle, Mr. Andrew Baird. But he writes in his letters to his father that he was of a hard "ingyne" as to a learning, and incapable of any of the sciences. He became minim Friar 1609 in a monastery of that order at Besancon, in Burgundy, anno 1615. But he had an excellent turn to mechanics, of which a very good sample is still to be seen. It is an oblong, small chest of ivory11 10 inches long, 5 broad, and 4 high, delicately carved in bas-relief, with the chisel, upon the top and sides into figures of knight errants, distrest damsels, and enchanted castles, taken from some of the old romances which were so much in vogue in that age. Walter died a young lad in November 1613. Hugh served in the Archduke Albert's troops, got a commission, and was stationed in garrison at Aldemay in 1611, a town in Friseland. He married in that country, but whether he has any posterity remaining is uncertain. Magnus was settled at North Mawe in Shetland, and married there; he had one daughter, Janet Baird, who was married in 1636 to a merchant at Bergen, in Norway; she wrote frequently to Sir James Baird, and used to send him presents of the product of that country. She was alive in 1673. As to the posterity of Gilbert's three sons that went to Ireland to push their of fortune, several inquiries have been made in that country, but no account to be depended upon is yet received.

Of Gilbert's daughters, Elspet was married to James Stewart in Newton of Balveny. Their contract of marriage is dated at Aberdeen, August 18, 1614. Margaret married to James Harvey, of Ward of Kilmundy at Banff, December 1, 1618, from whom is lineally descended Mr. John Harvey, proprietor of several fine estates in Granada and Antigua, and Mr. Alexander and Dr. Robert Harvey, his brothers. Anne married in April 1631 to John Keith of Northfield. Katharine to Alexander Gordon of Blelack, ancestor of the present Blelack, November 26, 1604. Janet was marrried, April 1609 to Robert Ogilvie, son to Sir George Ogilvie of Dunlugas, ancestor to Lord Banff, and after his death to Mr. John Brown, a merchant of St. Andrews, who went frequently to Bourdeaux in the wine trade. There was likewise some old relation between him and Gilbert Baird. Probably he was a grandson of Andrew Baird of Lavoroklaw. All Gilbert's daughters who were married had issue, except Lady Blelack, Who had none.

Mr James Baird, fourth son to Gilbert Baird of Auchmedden, was brought up to the law, and became a person of great reputation in his business. He was much trusted by King Charles I., and by him appointed sole Commissary of the Ecclesiastical Court of Scotland, an employment in these days of great honour and trust, in which he continued till the time of his death. He purchased the lands of Byth in the Shire of Aberdeen, which lie not far from the water of Devern, and had King Charles' Warrant for making him Lord Devern, but he died before the patent was expede. He married Bathia, daughter of Sir John Dempster, of Pitliver, a very old family, in the county of Fife. She was sister to the famous Sir John Dempster, so remarkable for his disputations among the foreign schools. From this marriage sprung the two families of Newbyth in the Shire of Haddington, and Sauchtonhall in the Shire of Edinburgh. Mr James Baird died in the year 165-, leaving two sons and two daughters- viz., John and Robert, Bathia and Euphan.
The eldest daughter, Bathia, was married to Sir Andrew Ramsay, of Whitehill, in the Shire of Edinburgh, of the family of Dalhousie, but by default of issue-male, these lands are now become the property of Balfour Ramsay, of Balbirny, by marrying the only sister of the last Sir John Ramsay, of Whitehill. The second daughter, Euphan, was married to Sir Patrick Murray, of Deuchar, second son to Murray, of Philiphaugh. He was a merchant of good reputation in France, and purchased the lands of Deuchar and Temple, in the Shire of Edinburgh. Their eldest daughter, Euphan, was married to Sir Archibald Hamilton, of Rosehaugh, in the Shire of Lanark, of whom there are several descendants. The second, Elizabeth, was married to the Lord Somerville, and was mother to the late Lord Somerville.

Mr. James Baird's eldest son (John Baird) was also brought up to the law, and having travelled much in foreign parts, became a man of great knowledge in his profession. Upon the Restoration of King Charles II., he was made a Knight Baronet, and soon after one of the Senators of the College of Justice, and known by the name of Lord Newbyth.12 He first purchased the Lands of Gilmerton, in the Shire of Edinburgh, and Parish of Libberton, from Crichton of Lugton, and as his business prevented him going to his North Country estate, he sold the lands of Byth in Aberdeenshire, and purchased those of Foord and White Kirk, in the Shire of Haddington, and got them erected into one barony, by the name of Newbyth. He married Margaret, only daughter to Sir James Hay, of Linplum, in the Shire of Haddington, second son to the Earl of Tweeddale. By this marriage he had one son, William, and a daughter, who was betrothed to the Lord Balmerinoch, but in going to her uncle, the Earl of Tweeddale's house, at Yester to be married, was overturned in a coach and died in a few hours after.
Sir John's only son, William who afterwards became Sir William Baird of Newbyth, being a member of the Scots Parliament, was sent by them to London, in 1680, on a deputation to King Charles II., and was by that Prince created a Knight Baronet13 in his father's lifetime, he having executed his commission to the satisfaction of all parties. Sir William Baird married to his first wife, Margaret, daughter to Sir John Gilmour, of Craigmillar, Lord President of the Council and Session. Her mother was daughter to Sir Alexander Murray, of Blackbarony, by which marriage he had two sons, John and Alexander. Sir William married to his second wife, Margaret, third daughter to the Lord Sinclair, by whom he had no children. He died in 1737, and was succeeded in his estate and titles by his son. John, who had been elected member of the First Parliament of King George I, in 1715, for the Shire of Edinburgh. He married Janet, only daughter of Sir David Dalrymple, of Hales, fourth son to the Lord Stair, by whom he had no children. Sir John died at Berwick in September 1745.14
[For table of Succession click here]
Alexander, the second son of Sir William Baird, married first Anne, daughter to Mr. Wauchope, of Niddry, and afterwards to Margaret, only daughter to the Lord Belhaven; by neither of whom he left any surviving children. He died himself in 1743.

We now come to Robert, the second son of Mr. James Baird, and his posterity, who are numberless. He having received a large patrimony from his father, became a merchant at Edinburgh of the greatest reputation and credit in his time. In 1660, he purchased the lands of Sauchtonhall and others, in the Shire of Edinburgh, and in the year 1695 he was created a Knight Baronet. He married Elizabeth Fleming, daughter to Mr. Malcolm Fleming, brother to Sir William Fleming, of Ferm, by whom he had six sons and five daughters, viz.-
Sir James, who succeeded him. 2. John, who was a merchant at Dantzig. 3. Robert, who was an officer in the Dutch service, and was the first Governor of Surinam after the Dutch got possession of it. 4. Andrew, who died in the East Indies, also in the Dutch service. These last three: sons of Sir Robert Baird all died unmarried. 5. William, who, by the extinction of three elder brothers became Sir Robert's second son. 6. Alexander, who retired to New York, married there, and left children. To all these sons, Sir Robert gave large patrimonies in his own lifetime.

Sir Robert Baird's eldest daughter, Bathia, was married to Sir Robert Barclay of Pierston, in the Shire of Ayr. The second, Margaret, to Sir, Patrick Hume, of Coldingham, in the Shire of Berwick. The third, Mary, to Robert Watson, of Muirhouse, in the Shire of Edinburgh, and their daughter was married to the Lord Arniston, and was mother to the President of the Session. The fourth, Elizabeth, to Sir David Cuningham, of Milncraig, in the Shire of Ayr. The fifth, Agnes, died unmarried. Sir Robert died in the year 1696, and was succeeded by his eldest son.

Sir James, who married to his first wife, Margaret, the eldest daughter, and one of the co-heiresses of Hamilton, of Mountainhall in the Shire of Edinburgh, by a daughter of Sinclair of Hermanstoun, in the Shire of Haddington. By which marriage he left two sons and two daughters. Robert, who succeeded him, and James, who died a Major of Foot in the Island of Minorca, in 1750. His two daughters were married Agnes, the eldest, to John Lewis, of Merchiston, in the Shire of Edinburgh; and Bathia, the second, to John Watson, of Sauchton, to whom she had issue, and after his death, to Carse of Cockpen, both in the County of Edinburgh. Sir James married to his second wife, his first cousin by the mother's side, Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of Sir John Gibson of Addiston, in the Shire of Edinburgh, by whom he had several children, but none now alive. The last who died, in 1761, at sea, on his return to Britain for recovery of his health, was Captain Patrick Baird,15 an officer in the Royal Navy, a brave honest man. In 1740, he was principally recommended to Admiral Anson, as a proper person to attend him in his voyage on the South Sea Expedition, and was the only naval officer in the whole fleet who ever had been in those seas.

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(1) Auchmedden here begins the history of his own direct ancestors in the male line, who were sprung from the family of Posso in Tweeddale, a family quite distinct from that of Ordinhnivas, of which he has been previously writing, and which only represents the family of Ordinhnivas through the female line, Lillias Baird the heiress of the latter family, having married, in 1578, Gilbert Baird, third of Auchmedden. -Ed.
(2) There is a property of the name in the parish of Lesmahagow in Lanarkshire; the Aberdeenshire property may have been so called after the former. -Ed.
(3) A red-hot covenanter, member of the famous Assembly of 1638. See Stevenson's history.-Ed
(4) Moysis Memoir. -W.B.
(5) See some of his letter postea. -Ed.
(6) There are two places of this name one in the parish of Aberchirder, and the other on the Dovern in Buchan, both held by members of this family at this date. See a note of Auchmedden's to one of the Commissionary's letters in the Appendix where he says "Corskie was Chesterhall's ancestor," and more on the same point in the deduction of the latter family. -Ed.
(7) See previous notes pp. 14 and 17. -Ed.
(8) See letters, No XVII. -Ed.
(9) Keith of Troup. -Ed.
(10) He died in 1649 and Robert Sharp, the Archbishop,s brother, succeeded him. -W.B.
(11) This relique is in my possession. -W.N.F.
(12) He was the Collector of the Decisions of the Court of Session and the "practiques." See note to "Preface to the Account, &c." He died 1690. See Register of Funeral Escutcheons, Lyon Office, Vol V, p 150, Vol. VII, p 9. -Ed
(13) Through the kindness of Richard Almack, Esq., of Melford, in whose possession the original is, I have been favoured with a copy of the following letter of Sir William Baird's to the Duke of Lauderdale:- Edr. ye 12 of Februarie, 16 80/79. MAY IT PLEASE YOUR GRACE, The great sence I have of this mark of your Grace's favour in the honor the King hath conferred upon me doth obledge me to all acknoledgment I am capable of making it the design of my wholl life to studdie how I may express my Loyaltie, and how I am engadged hereby to be with all faithfulness and sinceritie, Your Grace's Most obliged and most humble servant, W. BAIRD. (Endorsed) For My Lord Duke of Lawderdaill his Grace Whitthall. -Ed
(14) His brother Alexander having died two years before him, the estate of Newbyth passed by entail to William Baird, grandson of Sir Robert of Sauchtonhall, the Commissary's second son. [For table of Succession click here]
(15) Captain Patrick Baird was a Lieutenant of the " Gloucester " when she circumnavigated the world, under Commodore Anson. He was afterwards appointed Commander of the " Fly," in which he maintained a very gallant encounter with a French privateer of superior force, and received a desperate wound. After his recovery he was successively appointed Captain of the "Rainbow" and the "Portland." The last-mentioned ship of fifty guns, was one of those employed under Admiral Edgecumbe, and afterwards under Admiral Byng, in the Mediterranean station. His conduct was intrepid during the action. He was one of the witnesses on the trial of his unfortunate commander and gave evidence which might be construed in his favour, declaring, in express terms, that when the French fleet bore away, that of the English was in no condition to pursue them, or even to renew the action on the succeeding day. It is said, that when the Court asked his opinion with respect to the practicability of throwing succours into Minorca, he replied with a roughness naturally peculiar to him:- "If I had been ordered to throw relief into hell, I would at least have attempted it." Soon after the trial of Admiral Byng, he was promoted to the " Defiance," of sixty guns, one of the fleet under Admiral Holburne, on the unsuccessful expedition against Louisburgh, as well as that more fortunate one in 1758, conducted by Admiral Boscawen, against the same place. In 1759, he served in the Channel fleet under Sir Edward Hawke, and greatly distinguished himself in the defeat of the French fleet under the Marquis de Conflans. Being afterwards ordered to the West Indies, he died at sea in 1761, being on his return from thence for the recovery of his health, as a passenger on board the "Enterprise" frigate.

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