Bisset Clan

Bisset Crest: An Oak tree trunk, sprouting, proper.

Bisset Clan Motto: Abscissa Virescit (Love is the token of peace).

Bisset Clan History:

When William the Lion returned to Scotland from captivity in France and England in 1174 , he brought with him a group of young Anglo-Normans whom he had befriended, and among them was one Henricus Byset, who is on record as having witnessed a Charter c.1198. John Byset, the son of Henricus, was granted lands in Morayshire.

Bisset fortunes unfortunately suffered a severe blow in 1242 when, at a tournament held at Haddington, Walter Byset, Lord of Aboyne, was "worsted" by the young Earl of Atholl.  In revenge, he is alleged to have set fire to the Earl's house while he slept, an act for which he and his nephew John were banished from the Kingdom, his lands being dispersed among other members of his family.  It is nonetheless uncertain that the crime was actually committed by Walter since in an attempt to free himself from suspicion, he requested that the Bishop of Aberdeen issue a statement excommunicating all of those who had taken part in the murder.

It did not end there, however, as a pardon was later granted to the son of the Earl of Atholl for killing some Bysets in Ireland, presumably Walter and John. Nevertheless. John Bisset's descendants appear to have survived, and the name is still found in Antrim, where they became known as the MacEoin Bissets of the Glens.

In the late 13th century, Sir Simon Fraser of Oliver in Peeblesshire acquired the Bisset lands around Beauly through marriage, and other Bisset family members married into the Grants. The Bisset surname is therefore often given as a Sept of these Clans. The principal surviving line of Bisset is held by the Bissets of Lessendrum near Huntly in Aberdeenshire.

Around 1301, Baldred Bisset, Parson of Kinghorn and an "Official" of St Andrews, wrote a letter to the Pope in Rome denouncing the behaviour of Edward I of England towards Scotland. 

An Andrew Bisset fought with the 76th Regiment of Foot/Macdonald Highlanders in the American Revolutionary War. A family of Bissets are today located in Nova Scotia.

Surname distribution in Scotland: The Bissett name is most commonly found in Perth and Kinross (Perthshire and Kinross-shire), Stirlingshire, Falkirk, Clackmannanshire and Fife.

Places of Interest: Aboyne Castle, Aboyne, Aberdeenshire. A stronghold of the Bissets in the early 1200's, but passed to the Knights Templar in 1242, after a feud between the family and the Earls of Atholl. Kilravock Castle, Croy, Inverness-shire. Held by the Bissets in the 12th and early 13th centuries. Knock Castle, nr, Ballater, Aberdeenshire. A stronghold of the Bissets in the 13th century. Lessendrum, nr. Huntly, Aberdeenshire. The main line of the Bisset Clan held Lessendrum from the early 1300's until the 1960's. The last building, Lessendrum House, was destroyed by fire in the 1920's and remains an attractive ruin. Maryculter House, Peterculter, Aberdeenshire. Walter Bisset, Lord of Aboyne, established a preceptory of the Knights Templar here in the early 1200's. The currently mansion house was built in the 17th century and operates as a luxury hotel. Redcastle, Muir of Ord, Ross-Shire. Ruined tower house on a steep riverbank by the Beauly Firth, held by the Bissets in the early 1200's.

Clan Bisset membership certificates.