The Family of Baird

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The translation of the Gaellic word Auchmeddan means "the middle field". It was appropriate for Ken Baird and his wife, Yvonne, when developing their home in Marton, New Zealand, on three acres of land, that they should call their property "Auchmeddan". The natural progression in the establishment of a consultancy was to call it "The House of Auchmeddan".

The first of the name in Britain apparently came from William the Conqueror. In Scotland, the name appeared when some of that name came with King William the Lyon when he returned from his captivity in England in 1174.

Among early recordings of the name are:

    1066 - Le Seigneur de Bard, mentioned as one of the followers of William, Duke of Normandy to the conquest of England.
    1178 - Henry de Barde, witness to a charter granted by King William the Lyon to the Bishop of Glasgow upon some lands in the town of Stirling.

The name is both ancient and honourable in Scotland as well as England and France. We must remember it was never written Baird until the latter part of the Sixteenth Century. Due to different pronunciations between one nation and another and the phonetic spelling the name has been written, among others, as Barde, Bard, Beard, Byrd, Bayard, Bardt, Baard and Biard.

For saving his life from a wild boar, King William the Lyon is said to have made etensive grants of land to one of his followers named Baird, to whom he gave the motto: "Vi et Virtute’. During the reign of Alexander III, Richard Baird received the lands of Miekle and Little Kyp in Lanarkshire. Also on record is a charter granted by Robert the Bruce to Robert Baird for the Barony of Cambusnethan. The family spread to Branffshire and later to Auchmeddan in Aberdeenshire.

The most notable of the Bairds in the Northeast were the Bairds of Auchmeddan in the Parish of Aberdour, who retained the lands for almost three centuries. The estate was forfeited in 1750 because of the involvement of William Baird, then Laird of Auchmeddan, on the Jacobite side of the rising of 1754.

From the Bairds of Auchmeddan were descended the Bairds of Saughton Hall and Newbyth. From the Newbyth line descended the distinguished soldier, General Sir David Baird.

Another ancient branch of the Bairds is the Bairds of Posso in Pebbleshire, the first on record being Thomas de Bard, sheriff of Peebles in 1296. Sir Gilbert Baird of Posso fell at Flodden in 1513. After that time the representation of the family passed through a granddaughter to the Naesmiths through which the line is now traced.

The Bairds of Gartshire were among the pioneers in the development of the coal and iron industries of Scotland. James Baird founded the Baird Trust by giving 500,000 pounds to the church of Scotland..

Rev. Dr George Husband Baird born 1761 was principle of Edinburgh University and a regular correspondent of Robert Burns. A more recent Baird of international fame is John Logie Baird, born in Helensberg, educated at Glasgow University. Although much of his life was a struggle against poor health, he persevered with his experiments and in 1926 gave his first demonstration of television. Never reaping the material benefits of his efforts, he died almost penniless in 1946.

Other Facts of Interest

Crest Badge: An eagle's head erased proper enircled by a strap and buckle bearing the motto: "Dominus Fecit" (The Lord Made). All members are entitled to wear and display this badge.

Gaelic Name: Mac a'bhaird.

Plant Badge: Bog Myrtle and Fir Club Moss.

Tartan: Baird Hunting and Baird old Colours.

Bag Pipe Tune: "Baird of Auchmeddan's March", written for our Society in 1975 by Pipe Major Albert Richardson in Moffat.

Ken Baird is the New Zealand Commissioner of the Clan Baird Society and would welcome email from those interested in the activities of the Clan: baird@auchmeddan.co.nz