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"There are two tartans: Leslie Hunting (or green) and Leslie Dress (Red). There are three shades of each - the bolder, darker colours are called 'modern', the lighter colours 'vegetable dye', and the muted, almost pastel colours are 'ancient'.

All are correct but there are definitely only the two Leslie tartans. There are rare references to a 'blue' Leslie tartan but we do not acknowledge this as anything to do with the Leslies. Technically a tartan is described by the thread count of the sett. (Griffin Rp. #3)"... Rothes
Ancient (muted) Leslie Tartan
Leslie Dress Tartan

Clan Leslie Crest Badge

"Every member of the Clan, including all septs, whether or not members of the Society, is entitled to wear the Clan badge.

The important bit is the strap and buckle transforming the Crest into a Badge - worn to show allegiance.

The Chief used to hand out these badges to his followers so he controlled the design and for obvious reasons it was important not to have too many versions)".--Rothes

Clan Leslie Badge

Clan Leslie Society Crest

This crest is recommended by the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs with the approval of the Lord Lyon. It is the official crest for the Clan Leslie Society.

'An Sirean Ceann Sinnidh' translates to 'Crest of the Chief of the Clan'.

"The gaelic circlet makes the crest badge specifically that of the Society, only to be displayed on something belonging to the Society - publications, stationery etc - and websites !"--Rothes

Clan Leslie Society Crest

The Thistle - Scotland's National Flower

Tradition says that the Founder of Clan Leslie was Bartolf, or as he is also known, Bartholomew. He was said to be a Hungarian nobleman, whose father was Walter de Leshlin, descended from Almos, one of the nine Hungarian Dukes who invaded Hungary. It is said that he came to Scotland in 1067, in the retinue of Princess Agatha, mother of Edgar the Atheling and his sisters, Margaret and Christina, who were fleeing from the Court of William the Bastard of Normandy, or as he is known, the Conqueror.

The Scottish King, Malcolm III "Caenmor" was much taken by the beauty of Margaret, and after his wife, Ingiborge disappeared from the scene, Malcolm III and Margaret were married. Meanwhile Malcolm III had promised his sister Beatrix, in marriage to Bartolf and they were married in 1070. Malcolm III was also supposed to have made Bartolf, Governor of Edinburgh Castle.

There is another school of thought, who say that Bartolf was a Flemish nobleman, who came to Scotland, with Maude de Lens of Boulogne, when she came to Scotland to marry King David I " the Saint", about 1114. It is said that Maude de Lens was accompanied by many of her kinsmen of the House of Boulogne and they were the progenitors of many of the Scottish clans, these included amongst others, Seton, Abernethy, Cameron, Fraser, Hay and Leslie.

Until more research is carried out and more records come to light, it is impossible to say which version is correct. The Chief of Clan Leslie, the 21st Earl of Rothes, says that the official position of Clan Leslie is that the Hungarian story is the correct version.

Be that as it may, either Bartolf or his son Malcolm was given grants of land in Aberdeen, Angus, Fife, Mar and the Mearns. The story is that King Malcolm promised Bartolf, that wherever he had to stop to rest and feed his horse, he would be given, in hereditary right, all the land within a radius of one mile. Finally his horse collapsed in the Garioch in Aberdeenshire and Bartolf rode back to King Malcolm at Dunfermline and reported to the King that:-

"Between a lesse ley and the mair my horse it tyred and stopped;
{"Lesse" means sheltered, "ley" a pasture and "mair" the sea}
to which the King is said to have answered:-

Lord Lessley shalt thou be and thy heirs after thee"

The site of the present Leslie Castle is the third building on the site, with the present Castle being more or less what the Castle was, when it was rebuilt by the Forbes family of Leslie Castle, in the early 1660s. The Castle was purchased in the early 1980s, in a very dilapidated condition, by David Carnegie Leslie and his wife Leslie of Aberdeen and restored to the condition that it is today. The present day Castle is the site of the first grant of land to Bartolf or Malcolm. It is not sure whether the original grant was to Bartolf or Malcolm as the grant was made by David Earl of Huntingdon, brother to King William The Lion, to Malcolm filio Bartholff totam terram Suam de Lessly Sicut { Malcolm son of Bartholf} and the copiers have dated it between 1171- 1199, due to Malcolm, Bishop of Aberdeen being the only witness to the document who could be identified by the copiers.

Leslies have played many important roles in Scottish history, such as Sir Andrew Leslie who was one of the eight Earls who signed the Declaration of Arbroath and Bishop of Ross, John Leslie, champion of Mary Queen of Scots. Of the early Earls of Rothes, many were active in government, such as John 7th Earl who became Lord High Chancellor of Scotland and was created a Duke. There are many more outstanding Leslie's as well as those of the Leslie septs of Abernethy, Lang and More. The current Earl of Rothes was entitled to attend the House of Lords as a hereditary peer, until this right was abolished in 1999.

There were four major lines of Leslie families. The direct Leslie line, the Leslies of Ross, the Leslies of Balquhain and finally the Leslies of Rothes who were the junior line until the direct line and the Ross lines died out and then the Rothes line was elevated to the peerage and became the senior branch. The other family, the Leslies of Balquhain are by far the most numerous and most of the Leslies in North America are descended from the Balquhain line who went to Ireland under the Plantation Settlement Schemes and from there went to America.

Over the centuries many Leslies have gained fame as soldiers in the armies of Scotland, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Poland Russia, Austria and Russia until the 1917 revolution.

Clan Leslie Society of Australia and New Zealand is one of only two official Clan Leslie Societies in the world, that have been approved by the 21st Earl of Rothes. The other is Clan Leslie Society in America, which was established in 1978 by an American diplomat,
Alexander Leslie Klieforth.

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

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