Tradition states that a Baird rescued King
William the Lion from being savaged by a wild boar and was rewarded with extensive grants
of lands. The first record of the name occurs around 1202-28 when Henry de Barde witnessed
a charter by Thomas de Haya to the House of Soltre. Later in 1296 there were four
individuals of this name among those bearing homage to King Edward I. A charter was
granted to Richard Baird of Meikle and Little Kyp in Lanarkshire in the 13th century and
King Robert the Bruce granted the barony of Cambusnethan to a Robert Baird. This family of
Cambusnethan spread to Banffshire and later to Auchmeddan in Aberdeenshire. George Baird
of Auchmeddan married the niece of the Earl Marischal and the family increased in
importance, and supplied a long line of sheriffs to that county. There is a curious
prophecy about this family from Thomas the Rhymer which states that when the eagles who
nested in the craigs at Auchmeddan disappeared the estate would pass from the Baird
family. This indeed came true when the estate was bought by the Earl of Aberdeen, however
the eagles returned when the Earl's heir married General Baird's sister, but disappeared
again when the estate passed to the Gordons. General Sir David Baird was noted for his
exploits in India and in the expedition to recapture the Cape of Good Hope from the Dutch
in 1807. He lost an arm at the battle of Corunna in 1809 but assumed command of the army.
Before he died in 1829 he had received many honours for his bravery. James Baird of Blyth
was created Baron Deveron by Charles I but he died before the patent passed the Great
Seal. His second son was created Sir Robert Baird of Saughton Hall and his eldest son,
Lord Newbyth, was a Lord of Justiciary. John Logie Baird, the television pioneer was born
in Helensburgh in 1888.
BAIRD: The origin of this name may lie in France, for in chronicles relating the Norman Conquest of Britain appears 'Le Signeur de Barde' a follower of Duke William of Normandy. The earliest record of the name in Scotland is of Henry de Barde who, as 'Mariscallus apud Strivelin', witnessed a charter by William the Lion in 1178 of some lands in Stirling to the Bishop of Glasgow. A charter was granted to Richard Baird of Meikle and Little Kyp in Lanarkshire in 1240, and Robert Ba(i)rd was reputedly the Sheriff of Lanark in 1329 who received the barony of Cambusnethan from King Robert Bruce. The records trace numerous instances of Baird families in Lanarkshire and surrounding counties and in 1465 a Martin Baird had a charter of Halidon Hill in the Borders under the Great Seal. The earliest reference to Bairds in the Highlands is of William Baird who received a charter of Balmaduthy and Indety in Easter Ross in 1526. Notwithstanding, the principal family in the north were those of Auchmeddan in Aberdeenshire who had arrived there from Banffshire. Descendants of George Baird of Auchmeddan, who married a daughter of the powerful Keiths, became hereditary sheriffs of Aberdeen, and from this House came the Bairds of Newbyth and Saughtonhall. Before 1698 John Baird was created a Baronet with the courtesy title of Lord Newbyth and this baronetcy passed to William Baird whose second son David was one of the leading generals during the Napoleonic wars, among whose many exploits was the capture of the Cape of Good Hope from the Dutch in 1807. The name is common in the Stirling Records between 1607 and 1800, and John Baird, formerly of Kirkintilloch, was responsible for the construction of New York's elevated railroads on 2nd and 6th Avenues. The most universally celebrated to bear the name was John Logie Baird - born in Helensburgh in 1888, he gave the world's first demonstration of television in 1926. Arms were recorded in Lyon Register for Sir James Baird of Auchmeddan in 1672, but this hereditary estate passed to the Gordons and the chiefly line of Auchmeddan is now either extinct, or dormant.