Edgar, the Aetheling, was the son of Prince Edward of the ancient and royal
Saxon House of Wessex and his mother, Agatha, was the daughter of Henry II,
emperor of Germany.
Edgar, his mother Agatha, and his two sisters Margaret and Christina, came to
England to the court of Edward the Confessor, bringing with them a large number
of Hungarian attendants.
Edgar, the Aetheling, had in his own person the Anglo-Saxon claim to the crown
of England, but before he could act, William, Duke of Normandy, landed an army
in England, gained the throne, and was crowned in London before the end of the
Edgar abandoned his claim to the throne and swore loyalty to William at
Berkhamstead on December 25, 1066. In return, William gave Edgar an earldom with
Edgar later became suspicious of William, and taking his two sisters, his mother
Agatha, and their attendants, fled England and sailed for Scotland. High winds
drove their ship into the Firth of Forth at St. Margaret's Hope, Queenferry,
Scotland. They were received by King Malcolm II, Canmore of Scotland.
King Malcolm II was the son of King Duncan of Scotland. King Duncan had been
killed in a battle with MacBeth. Afterwards, Malcolm II defeated MacBeth and
took the Scottish crown as Malcolm II, Canmore.
Later, King Malcolm offered his hand to Princess Margaret, daughter of Agatha,
and sister of Edgar. Margaret accepted and became the Queen of Scotland.
The Garoich is a fertile district in Aberdeenshire. It is bounded on the south
by the river Don, which separates the Garoich from Mar, on the east and north by
Formartine and the hills of Foundland, and on the west by the river Bogie. It is
overlooked by the beautiful hill Bennaths. This district of the Garioch was
erected into an earldom by King Malcolm in favor of his brother, David, Earl of
Huntingdon, about 1160.
Lands of Lesslyn in the Garioch
Bartholomew: Founder of our Lessley Name
Among the noblemen who traveled from Hungary to England then on to Scotland with
Edgar, Agatha and family was Bartholomew. He became Queen Margaret's most
trusted assistant. King Malcolm, Canmore, appointed him governor of the Edinburg
Castle, honored him with the dignity of knighthood, and gave him large grants of
land in Fife, Angus, the Mearns, and Aberdeenshire.
According to tradition, King Malcolm promised Bartholomew all hereditary rights
to all land within a radius of one mile where he was forced to stop and feed his
horse on a journey, starting at Deinfermline and proceeding northward. He first
stopped at Frechil in Fife, next at Innerlessad in Angus, then at Feskie in the
Mearns, and last at Cuskine in Mar. His horse failed him in the Garioch. On his
return, the king asked him where he had left his horse, and he answered in
"Between a lesse ley and a mair
My horse it tyrd and stopped there."
The king replied in the same metrical style,
"Lord Lesse ley shalt thou be
And thy heirs after thee."
and gave him the grant of land.
Bartholomew later married Beatrix, sister of King Malcolm and became the king's
From the "Genealogist of Tree of the Royal Family of Scotland", by
John Brown of Scotland, published in March 1792, comes the following:
"Beatrix, daughter of King Duncan and sister of Malcolm II, Canmore,
married Bartholomew of whom all the Lesleys in Scotland are descended."
From this union came many noble and famous men who have risen to great splendor
and wealth from distinguished service or intermarriages with other noble houses
in not only Scotland but France, Sweden, Germany, Russia, and Austria.
The land of Lesslyn in the Garioch about 19 miles north of Aberdeen is a fine
agricultural area of Scotland. No doubt, this is where Bartholomew built his
castle. Bartholomew was the first possessor of the land of Lesslyn.
Founder of the family name, Bartholomew died as an old man about 1121 and was
succeeded by his son Malcolm. Malcolm died about 1176 and was succeeded by his
son Norman, about 1248.
Norman married a daughter of Stuart, Earl of Lion. They had issue:
Norina succeeded Norman and married Catherine Muir. His issue:
Norman - succeeded.
Norman, the fifth possessor of the land of Lesslyn, was the first to use the
family surname as he styled it in most public documents as "Sir Norman de
Lesslyn" and "dominus de Lesley". He married the daughter and
heiress of Watson of Rothes. He died about 1320.
Andrew - succeeded.
Sir Andrew de Lesslyn succeeded his father in 1320. He received several baronies
through the rights of this wife, Mary Abernethy. He was the sixth possessor of
the land of Lesslyn and conveyed to his son George the Baronies of Balquhain. He
also obtained from King David II a charter under the great seal, making all the
lands into one free barony called the Barony of Balquhain. George became the
first Baron of Balquhain.
George Lessley, First Earl of Rothes
King Robert Bruce granted a charter to his nephew, Randolph, Earl of Moray, of
all the king's land in Moray as they were held by Alexander, King of Scotland,
together with all the other adjacent lands contained within the limits and
boundaries, beginning at the river Spey where it falls into the sea and
ascending by the same river, comprehending the lands of Fochabers, Rolhenayks,
Roths, Bakarm, and other lands. It was granted in 1312. The first Earl of Rothes
was George Lessley. George, the son of Norman de Lessley, was born about 1417
and through his father and mother was descended from both the royal families of
Bruce and Stewart. He was created Earl of Rothes by King James II by charter of
March 20, 1457.
The Lesleys of Rothes and Balquhain became the principal branches of the family.
The Lesleys of Ballybay North Ireland are a branch of the family of the Earl of
The Leslie House in County Antrim,
North Ireland, descends from the Ballybay branch.
The Lesleys of Tarbet in Ireland descend from the Wardis branch of the family of
The Lesleys of Glassbough of Ireland descend from the Wardis branch of the
Barons of Balquhain.