CLAN BAIRD History
Clan Baird is an ancient family of Scotland.
Historical documents place the beginning of the family
in Biggar, Lanarkshire
on an estate called Cambusnethan
Modern Bairds mostly live in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, as a result of the great diaspora from Scotland over the last 300 years.
In fact, there are only about 5000 families of Bairds left in Scotland and England. As to percentages, approximately 32% of Bairds live in the United States, 30% in Canada, 22% in Australia, and 12% in New Zealand. The others are in the UK and scattered around the world.
This diaspora was due to many factors, from being transported out of the UK for political and religious differences with authorities, the Highland Clearances, economic opportunity in the new colonies and world of several centuries, or simply the need for survival of those who emigrated.
According to the website 'Friends of Cambusnethan Priory': "After the Wars of Independence, we find Cambusnethan granted by Robert the Bruce to Sir Robert de Baird. He built what we know as the Baird Tower which apparently provided the only accommodation on the site until at least 1490. Baird seems to have switched allegiance during the reign of DavidII, and was declared forfeit for having supported the campaign of Edward Balliol to take the Scottish Crown. Cambusnethan was granted to Sir John Edmonstone, but charter evidence confirms that it then passed to the Stewarts of Darnley. They provided it as a dowry on the marriage of a daughter to Somerville of Carnwath c 1390.
‘The Memorie’ describes the Baird Tower as 20 feet square,and 4 storeys high, so slightly smaller in dimension than nearby Hallbar. The Bairds were wealthy and extensive landowners, also having been in possession of the Barony of Avondale, and its likely they would have had proclaimed their status with a larger tower, where the 20ft quoted may well have been an internal measurement. The basic plan would have been the same, vaulted single chamber inthe basement with no external access, entry via a hatch from the hall which would have occupied the whole of the floor above. The entrance would have beenat the level of the hall, via a removable ladder or possibly a drawbridge from the battlement of the surrounding wall (enceinte). Above this would have been a private chamber for the lord. The fourth story may have been identical,possibly providing a room for the lady of the house and her children, or it may have been in the form of a garret, a little bungalow type room as we see at Hallbar, with a wall walk along a battlemented parapet. It’s more likely to have been 4 storeys plus a garret. Garrets often provided accommodation for a constable, or retainer who would have administered the castle and estate in the lord’s absence. Other servants and the like would have slept on the floor of the hall."
Bairds began to move northward, after much feuding with each other. One branch of the Cambusnethans, now called the Gartsherries, remained in Lanarkshire, the Possos were also Cambusnethans who moved from that area to Pebbles, close by in Pebbleshire. The group that became the Ordinhavas Bairds (Walter Baird was called chief first in primary documents; a letter between brothers), moved across the river into the Boyne Forest, with the help of Lord Huntly. They eventually settled somewhere in the western islands close to the mainland of Scotland, and were thought to be Gaelic speakers. At some point they were in charge of most of the Boyne Forest, which reached almost to Banff, on the northern coast.
The senior line of Ordinhivas Bairds ended in the marriage of Walter Baird's daughter, Lillias, to Gilbert Baird of Auchmedden. Research continues to show many branches of Ordinhivas Bairds in the Highlands, long after this marriage. Gilbert was the son George Baird of Auchmedden and Elizabeth Keith, the daughter of the Earl Marischal of Aberdeen. Gilbert and Lilias reportedly claimed 32 children, of course, not all were their blood children, thus the many difficulties with our DNA results now. The Saughtonhalls and Newbyth Bairds descended from younger sons of Auchmedden, over many generations.