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The Baillie Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: QUID CLARIUS ASTRIS (what is brighter than the stars?)

Let me share with you the rich history of your family name, Baillie. The most likely origin of this name is the French word “baillie,” which means “bailiff” or “steward.” During medieval times, this was a position of great significance. Your family’s earliest recorded appearance dates back to 1311 when William de Baillie served as a juror in a land dispute in Lothian. Your ancestor, William Baillie of Hoprig, was knighted by King David II in 1357 and received a royal charter to the barony of Lamington, located near Biggar, in 1368.

Another notable figure in your family’s history is Alexander Baillie, a younger son of Lamington. He fought in the Battle of Brechin in 1452 and was rewarded by the Earl of Huntly with the lands of Dunain and Dochfour near Inverness. Alexander was also appointed as the constable of Inverness Castle. Your family played a prominent role in the affairs surrounding the Highland capital and established alliances through marriage with many distinguished local families.

Cuthbert Baillie of Carphin, a member of the Lamington family, served as a cleric and administrator. He held the esteemed position of Lord High Treasurer to King James IV in 1512 but unfortunately passed away shortly after the disastrous Flodden campaign. Charles Baillie, also known as Bailly, acted as an agent for the imprisoned Queen Mary and endured imprisonment and torture in the Tower of London. Another noteworthy figure, Sir William Baillie of Provand, was appointed to the Bench in 1566, acquiring the title of “Lord Provand.” He served as the Lord President of the Court of Session from 1565 until his death in 1595. The main branch of the Lamington house experienced fluctuations in fortune, despite having enjoyed high favor with the royal court when Sir William Baillie married Janet Hamilton, daughter of James, Earl of Arran and Duke of Chatelherault. Sir William was appointed Master of the Wardrobe to Queen Mary of Guise in 1542.

One of the renowned descendants of Sir William Baillie was General Baillie, who became famous for his involvement in the Battles of Alford and Kilsyth in 1645, where he was defeated by the Marquess of Montrose. Another notable figure, Reverend Robert Baillie from the house of Jerviston, served as a prominent Protestant minister and chaplain to the Covenanter armies in 1639. Robert Baillie of Jerviswood, also a Presbyterian, fearlessly expressed his views on civil and religious liberty, which ultimately led to his demise during the reign of James II.

In 1894, James Evan Baillie of Dochfour married the daughter of the first Baron Burton, a prominent Victorian industrialist. With the passing of the Baron without male heirs, the peerage has now been inherited by the Baillies of Dochfour, who continue to possess a magnificent estate on the shores of Loch Ness. This legacy remains a testament to your family’s enduring presence and influence.

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Family Crest Motto: QUID CLARIUS ASTRIS (what is brighter than the stars?)

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