Aikenway Castle Elginshire - was the home of George Leslie of Drumbarrow, 1st Laird of Aikenway who was a son of George Leslie 1st Earl of Rothes and he was born in Fifeshire about 1470 and died sometime after 1535 at Rothes in Morayshire. While still in his teens his father gave him the lands of Drumbarrow, in Fife and made him Captain of Rothes Castle, after which he gave him the lands of Aikenway which is on a peninsular jutting into the River Spey, just opposite Rothes. There he built a Castle that commanded the passage up the River Spey, which, combined with Rothes Castle could block passage of the River Spey, if required.
A feu charter was granted to George Leslie of Drumbarrow on the 10th August 1530, on the lands of Aikenway as well as the fishing at the Bridge of Spey, by Master Gavin Lesly, Rector of the Parish of Rothes [Master Gavin Lesly was the father of John Leslie, Bishop of Ross.]
Of this family is Rev William Leslie DD, one of “The Aberdeen Doctors” and principal of Kings College Aberdeen 1632, who died at Spynie Palace Elgin, unmarried in 1654. The lands of Aikenway were held by the Lairds of Aikenway for many years, until William Leslie 5th Laird of Aikenway died in the Tollbooth in Elgin about 10th September 1683. He had apparently been held in the Tollbooth for refusing “The Oath” to change from Presbyterian to Episcopacy as demanded by Charles II. He married Beatrix Brodie on 12th May 1642 and after the 5th Laird died, Beatrix Brodie, with two of her daughters were also held in the Tollbooth for refusing the oath.
Beatrix Brodie and her daughters, Margaret and Christian had the liferent of the lands of Aikenway and other properties. By disposition and assignation, dated 4th July 1699, Beatrix Brodie, with the advice of her daughters and Duncan Forbes [her son in law], as a result of certain monies paid to her, sold to the Countess of Rothes, her life rent of Milltown of Wester Whiterae and what rights she had in Aikenway [GD 204/691. Her daughters must have retained their liferents. [see below]
The Forres Gazette for 24th January 1877, regarding the Leslie’s of Aikenway there appears this sentence:- "The last of the Leslie’s who lived at Aikenway were the two maiden ladies, Margaret and Christian Leslie. They occupied the house called the Castle of Aikenway - then called “Aikenwal” till they died; and this same Margaret, presented the family bible, to the late Minister of Llanbride’s, grandfather, so late as 1729".
The Minister of Llanbride was the Rev William Leslie, 4th of Balnageith who married Margaret Sinclair, daughter of Sir James Sinclair of Mey Bart. Both the Rev William Leslie and his wife Margaret Sinclair were laid to rest in the Leslie Aisle at Rothes cemetery, where the tombstone can still be seen. The lands of Aikenway were sold to the Grants following this family’s occupation.
After William Leslie 5th Laird of Aikenway died the representation of the Leslie’s of Aikenway was claimed by Robert Leslie of Ardcannie & Balnageith, son of the second marriage of William 2nd Laird of Aikenway and when that family died out with Archibald Leslie of Balnageith in 1851, the representation of the family of Aikenway was claimed by the descendants of John Leslie of Boat of Spey, second son of George 1st laird of Aikenway. Originally, Aikenway was called “Oaken Walls” as the interior walls were lined with oak timber, presumerably, to help retain the warmth from the fires.