Burnett Clan

Burnett Crest: A hand with knife pruning a vine tree.

Burnett Clan Motto: Virescit Vulnere Virtus (Courage flourishes at a wound).

Burnett Clan History:
Although the family claims Norman descent, there is also thought to be a connection with the Saxon family of Burnard who held large estates in England. A Roger Burnard made grants to the monks at Melrose c.1200, and in the early 13th century, Randulph Burnard granted fuel to the Bishop of Glasgow and his successors for a house at Ancrum in Roxburghshire. 
Patrick Burnard held lands in Berwickshire in 1250, and during the reign of Robert I, Alexander Barnard or Burnett received charters for lands in the forest of Drum in Kincardine. This Alexander was a staunch supporter of Robert the Bruce who gifted him an ancient ivory horn which can be seen today in the hall at Crathes Castle.

For the first 250 years of their tenure, the Burnett family lived in a crannog, a lake dwelling on Banchory Loch, otherwise known as the Loch of the Leys, now drained. By the 16th century, they had prospered significantly and were sufficiently established in the region to build the castellated L-plan Crathes Castle which exists today.  It was acquired by the National Trust for Scotland in 1951.

In the 17th century, Sir Thomas Burnett of Leys was a passionate supporter of the National Covenant and accompanied the 1st Marquis of Montrose on his march on Aberdeen. Sir Thomas's son, a Commissioner in the first Scottish Parliament, was bitterly opposed to the Act of Union

The 7th Baronet of Leys fought with the Royal Scots Regiment during the American Wars and taken prisoner in 1777 at Saratoga. During the Second World War, the 13th Baronet, Major General Sir James Burnett of Leys, was awarded the DSO twice, became a Companion of the Order of the Bath, and was decorated with the Legion d'Honeur by France.

The Burnets of Barns who gave their name to Burnetland in the parish of Broughton, in Lanarkshire, claimed descent from Robertius de Burneville who was alive in the reign of David I.

James Burnett, Lord Monboddo (1714-99). Scottish Lord of Session and well-known eccentric. He wrote The Origin and Progress of Language in which he explored the relationship between men and monkeys.

Surname distribution: The Burnett name is most commonly found in Aberdeenshire (includes the historic county of Kincardineshire and part of Banffshire), Moray (merged with a large part of Banffshire), Angus (formerly Forfarshire), Stirlingshire, Falkirk, Clackmannanshire and Edinburgh and the Lothians.

Places of Interest: Crathes Castle, Banchory, Aberdeenshire. 16th century home of the Burnetts of Leys. Owned and managed by the National Trust for Scotland.
Muchalls Castle, near Stonehaven, Kincardineshire.  Built 1619-27 by the Burnetts of Leys. An important gathering of Covenanters assembled here in 1638.
Monboddo House, Auchenblae, Kincardineshire. Birthplace of Lord Monboddo.

Clan Burnett membership certificates.