Clan Burnett

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Scotland Project > Scottish Clans > Clan Burnett


Welcome to Clan Burnett

Clan Burnett Team
Team Leader TBA
Team Members vacant
Clan Chief:
Slogan/War Cry:
Historic Seat:
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Gaelic name:

Clan Team

Team Goals

The focus of this team's work is to identify, improve and maintain profiles associated with the Lairds and Chiefs of Clan Burnett together with members bearing the name Burnett, the related families and those recognised as septs of Clan Burnett.

Team To Do List

This list will be developed by the Team. If you are working on a specific task, please list it here:

  • promoting the entries of those bearing the name Burnett on Wikitree.
  • ensuring entries appearing on Wikitree are as accurate as possible, correcting mistakes once spotted.
  • encouraging interest in and study of Clan Burnett.


Clan History

Alexander Burnard, almost certainly of Farningdoun, is considered "The first of the Deeside Burnards, or Burnetts as they were later called". A follower of Robert Bruce, later Robert I, he benefited from his association during the cleansing of the Comyn holdings in Kincardineshire. His loyalty was rewarded, in 1323, with land in Banchory and a position as the Royal Forester of Drum.

In 1553, Alexander Burnet of Leys, the ninth lord of Leys began construction on Crathes Castle, which was finished by his great-grandson, another Alexander, the twelfth lord, in 1596. Crathes remained in the ownership of the Burnett family descendants for over 350 years, until 1952 when it was given to the National Trust for Scotland as part of Scotland's heritage. The family continue to live in the nearby manor house and still enjoy the estates.

Officially known as House of Burnett

House of Burnett

The family of Burnett holds a distinction amongst Scottish families in that they chose to be called House of Burnett, rather than Clan. However they are recognised, by Lord Lyon King of Arms, and thus bear the same entitlements and legal protection as other Scottish clans.

The family originated as a Lowland and Border Scottish family, originally based in Roxburghshire, but is now composed of several branches. The Chief of the Name and Arms of Burnett is James Comyn Amherst Burnett of Leys, Baron of Kilduthie.

The Chief of the House resides in the House of Crathes, close to Crathes Castle, the ancient home of the Burnett of Leys.

There are a number of family lines under study. If one of these interests you please discuss a sub-project with the point of contact named above.

The oldest apparent record of a Burnett, in Scotland was a donation of lands of Letcassy, Perthshire, c. 1170. See:People of Medieval Scotland; Donation of lands of Letcassy Here, a Walter Burnett appears as witness to this transaction.

Clan Branches

  • Burnett of Leys - Chief branch
    • Burnetts of Craigmyle (Cadet Branch of Leys): A cadet of Leys, this line died out, in the male line, after 1750.
    • Burnetts of Crimond (Cadet Branch of Leys)
    • Burnetts of Kemnay (Cadet Branch of Leys)
    • Burnetts of Monboddo (Cadet Branch of Leys): Appearing in 1630, this line, a cadet of Leys, stems from James Burnet of Lagavin, the third son of James Burnett of Craigmyle and his wife Elizabeth Burnett.
  • Burnard of Fairnington: The Barony of Fairnington is in Roxburghshire and likely one of the earliest grants to the family. Likely held around 1230 the association with this Barony had all but disappeared by 1381.
  • Burnets of Burnetland and Barns: The Burnets held land in Peebleshire, either named after them or from which they took their name. According to a Will, dated 1656, the Burnets are said to have held the barony of Barns since the 14th Century. The property was sold in 1838 was this line was often seen as a contender for the Head of the House.
  • Burnard of Ardross and Currie: Likely a holding of, or part of the estates of, the Burnards of Fairnington. The property was held around 1340, if not earlier. The holder was declared a traitor in 1346 and the Barony forfeit. Although later restored to the heirs the mae line had expired and the property fell to a daughter, and then to William of Dishington.
  • Burnetts of Camphill: Of uncertain origins, this line is believed to stem from William Burnett of Craigour, Wester Camphill and Tillihaikie who fell at the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh in 1547.
    • Burnetts of Elrick: A cadet line of the Burnet of Camphill.
  • Burnetts of Kirkhill: Kirkhill, near Dyve in Aberdeenshire, was held by Alexander Burnet, a baillie of Aberdeen, in c. 1630. The male line died out in c. 1710 and the estates passed to the family of Bannerman of Frendraught.

Other Names Associated with the Clan

Allied Clans

Clan Research and Free Space Pages

Source Material

Image Credits and Acknowledgements

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