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Leask Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: VIRTUTE CRESCO (I grow by virtue)

Let me share with you the remarkable history of your family, the Leasks, passed down through generations:

Your family, the Leasks, has a rich and diverse history with several possible origins. One theory suggests that the name might be a diminutive of the Saxon word “lisse,” meaning happy. The Leasks have strong associations with Aberdeenshire. The earliest mention of the family dates back to 1296 when William de Laskereske is recorded on the Ragman Roll, submitting to Edward I of England. In 1345, another William Leask was granted a charter by David II, the son of Robert the Bruce, for his lands at Leskgaranne. It is believed that this William Leask may be the same individual who, in 1380, bequeathed a pound of wax each year for the church altar in the local parish records.

The second known chief of the Leasks also served as the Baillie of the barony of Findon and appeared as a witness to a charter by the Earl of Orkney in 1391. During the mid-fifteenth century, a younger son of the family journeyed to Orkney at the request of the Earl, becoming the progenitor of a branch that boasts the longest unbroken male lineage. In Aberdeenshire, the family’s land holdings gradually expanded, leaving a lasting legacy reflected in the prevalence of place names such as “Leask.” Tragedy struck in 1513 during the Battle of Flodden, claiming the lives of William Lask of that Ilk and his son, Alexander Lask of that Ilk, Younger. In 1574, William Lask of that Ilk demonstrated allegiance to the young King James IV following the deposition of his mother, Mary, Queen of Scots.

Alexander Leask of that Ilk recorded his arms in 1672. However, misfortune befell the chiefs when they heavily invested in the ill-fated Darien scheme, resulting in Alexander being forced to sell his lands. He became the last known chief until the twentieth century. Fortunately, his younger brother had settled in Orkney, and his three sons became ancestors to numerous descendants across Canada, the USA, Australia, and New Zealand. Notable among them was Dr. John Leask, who held the esteemed position of Director of Singapore General Hospital for many years. His son Kenneth eventually became an early member of the RAF, rising to the rank of Air Vice-Marshal. In 1963, the Clan Leask Society was established, and in 1968, Madam Anne Leask of Leask, formerly Moira Anne Helgeson, was recognized as the chief by the Lord Lyon. More recently, she was succeeded by her son, Johnathan Leask of that Ilk.

Furthermore, the surname Leask is said to originate from the lands of Leask, now known as Pitlurg, in the Parish of Slains, Aberdeenshire. Another theory suggests a possible connection to Liscus, Chief of the Haedui, a Gaulish tribe. Additionally, a Norman provenance has been proposed, tracing back to the Castle of Boulogne, which was once held by a family known as de Lesque.

Throughout history, your family, the Leasks, has witnessed notable figures and accomplished individuals. From the early engagements with Edward I of England to the influential roles in politics, medicine, and the military, your ancestors have left an indelible mark. Embracing the resilience and determination inherent in your lineage, you can take pride in the rich heritage of the Leasks.

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Family Crest Motto: VIRTUTE CRESCO (I grow by virtue)

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