James 2nd Count Leslie was the nephew of Count Walter Leslie who was made famous by his execution of the Austrian Field Marshall Albrecht von Wallenstein. Count Walter Leslie brought his nephew, James over to Austria and made him his heir. When the Emperor Leopold succeeded in 1658 Count Walter was promoted to Field Marshall and was given, in hereditary right the fortress Castle of Ptuj in Slovenia. It dominates a broad section of the Drava River and valley, which was one of the main invasion routes into Austria.

Count James Leslie joined the Imperial War Council in 1681 when the Turks under the Grand Vizier of Turkey, Kara Mustafa invaded Austria. On the 12th September 1681, James Leslie's artillery engaged the Turks and then engaged in an overall assault on the Turks who were completely defeated. With all the booty from the Turks, Count James Leslie bought a castle, Schloss Pernegg on the River Mur near Graz. When his nephew Francis James married he gave Schloss Pernegg to his nephew and retired to Ptuj, where he died in 1694 and was buried in the Leslie vault in Vienna. The Leslie's owned Ptuj Castle from 1656 to 1802.

Because of its strategic location, Ptuj was inhabited as early as 3000 BC, but the Castle as it is now seen was begun in the 11th century, when both the town and castle belonged to the Archbishop Konrad of Salzburg. The Lords of Ptuj, who also founded the Minorite and Dominican Monasteries, rented the property for over three hundred years. The tombstone of the last Lord of Ptuj, Friedrich IX was built into the castles ground floor.

On the top of the hill are the living quarters, while the western area was reserved for military buildings, among them a tower, which is part of the oldest preserved part of the Castle. The central part of the building was built in the 12th & 14th centuries to resist Hungarian invasions and was then extended in the 16th century, when the Leslie's were in occupation, to resist the Turkish invaders, Today, Ptuj Castle is a museum with many artefacts from the Leslie years.

Stari Grad was another of the residences of Count Walter Leslie. Verazdin was the town where the rich and famous of their time had holiday residences and Count Walter Leslie was no exception. There is not much recorded to show what impact Walter Leslie had on Stari Grad, or indeed, when he acquired and disposed of the property

THE THUN PALACE (The Present Day British Embassy)

The Thun Palace was yet another of the residences of Count Walter Leslie. There has been a house on the site since before the 14th century. The original house was burnt down in 1420, during the Hussite Wars. The house was forfeited by the then owner in 1634, when it passed into the possession of Count Albrecht von Wallenstein, who was assassinated later that year by Walter Leslie.

After lengthy negotiations, Walter Leslie acquired the house in 1652 and sold it four years later, at a great profit, to Count Quibold Thun, Papal Legate and Prince Archbishop of Salzburg, whose family retained possession of the house until it was leased to the British Government in 1919 by Count Thun-Salm and then sold it to the British Government in 1925 for the sum of 67,000 pounds sterling, who use it to this day as the British Embassy in Prague.

The picture shows the Thun Palace built into the hillside, in front of and below Prague Castle in the Mala Strana district, known as Prague’s little quarter.

For all enquiries, please contact Barrie Leslie, Convenor of CLANZ

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