Skip to content Skip to footer

The Burnett Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: VIRESCIT VULNERE VIRTUS (her virtue flourishes by her wounds)

Although Burnetts were thought to be of Norman descent, it is also possible that they are connected to the Saxon family of Burnard who had estates in England before the Norman conquest. The name Burnett is a variant of Burnard from the Old Saxon personal name ‘beornheard’ meaning ‘bear hand’, sometimes romantically translated as ‘brave warrior.’ Alexander Burnett was a faithful supporter of Robert the Bruce and, after the defeat of the English, was rewarded with a grant of land in the Royal forest of Drum together with the title of forester.  In the main hall of the ancient seat of the Burnetts, Crathes Castle, the magnificent and ancient ivory horn named ‘The Horn of Leys’, said to have been presented by Bruce as a symbol of the barony and title bestowed upon Burnett, can still be seen to this day.

The Burnetts were great benefactors of the church, granting lands and other endowments throughout the fifteenth century. Sir Thomas Burnett was created a Baronet in 1626. Although related to the great Marquess of Montrose, he was a staunch supporter of the Covenant. The 3rd baronet was Commissioner for Kincardineshire in the last Scottish Parliament and strenuously opposed the Union which ultimately came about in 1707. The 7th baronet served throughout the American Wars as an officer in the Royal Scots Fusiliers and was taken prisoner after the surrender of General Burgoyne in 1777. More recently, the 13th baronet, Major General Sir James Burnett of Leys, commanded a brigade in the First World War and was Colonel of the Gordon Highlanders.

The distinguished eighteenth-century lawyer, philosopher and judge, James Burnet of Monboddo, born in 1714, was the son of George Burnet and Elizabeth Forbes, sister of the Laird of Craigievar. A descendant of the eleventh Laird of Leys, he studied law in the Netherlands and at the University of Edinburgh before being admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1737.  He gained his reputation as one of the counsel in the famous peerage case known as ‘The Douglas Cause.’ He became a sheriff in 1764 and, three years later, a supreme court judge with the title Lord Monboddo. The poet Robert Burns was a frequent guest at Lord Monboddo’s house in Edinburgh. The present chief still lives on the family lands, although Crathes Castle is now in the care of the National Trust for Scotland.

SHARE WITH OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

The Family Crest

Wherever in the world you live, embrace your family heritage and adorn your home with a timeless symbol of your family legacy with our crafted Family Crests.

Family Crest Motto: VIRESCIT VULNERE VIRTUS (her virtue flourishes by her wounds)

$99.00

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

Copyright Notice: This artwork is protected by copyright law. Unauthorized reproduction, distribution, or usage of this artwork without explicit permission from ScottishFamilyCrest.com is strictly prohibited.