Leslie's of Australia & New Zealand

Ptuj Castle Slovenia

Ptuj Castle

James 2nd Count Leslie was the nephew of Count Walter Leslie who was 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 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.
Count James Leslie joined the Imperial War Council in 1681 when 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 James married he gave Schloss Pernegg to his nephew and retired to Ptuj, where he died in 1694, he 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.

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.

Stari Grad Castle Varazdin Croatia

Stari Grad Castle

Thun Palace Prague


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.

Walter Leslie, Captain of the Imperial guard was granted Nove Mesto for his services to the Hapsburgs. Walter Leslie was a son of the 12th Baron of Balquhain.
In 1640, at the age of 34, Walter Leslie married Princess Anna Francesca von Dietrichstein, daughter of Prince Maximilian von Dietrichstein, Grand Chamberlain, a member of one of the oldest and most powerful families in Austria. Walter Leslie sent much financial aid to his family at Balquhain and when it was realised that Walter and his wife, Princess Anna, could not have children, Walter asked that his brother Alexander, 14th Baron of Balquhain be made a Count of the Holy Roman Empire. Walter also made his nephew, James his heir and gave him a first class education and James continued the Leslie branch in Austria, until it died out in the 19th century.
In 1663, the Turks began an invasion of Austria and were finally stopped only 125 miles from Vienna. For his part in the defence of Austria, Walter was made a Knight of the Golden Fleece and the Emperor then entrusted Walter Leslie with the delicate task of arranging a peace treaty with the Turks. Upon the successful conclusion to the signing of the treaty, Walter retired to his Castle at Putj and died there 4th March 1667. He received a State funeral and was buried in a stone sarcophagus in what became known as the Leslie Chapel of the Scottish Church of the Benedictine Abbey in Vienna. Sadly, many years later the troops of Napoleon vandalised the sarcophagus and the monks gathered up the bones and walled them up in a vault, where they remain today.

Nové Město nad Metují

Nove Mesto nad Metuji

Bishops Palace Raphoe Ireland

Bishops Palace Raphoe

Raphoe, Co Donegal Ireland was the home of the Right Reverend John Leslie D.D. He was the grandson of William Leslie 4th Baron of Wardis and was born in Crichie Aberdeenshire in 1571, the second son of George Leslie of Crichie and his wife Janet Innes. He studied at Marischal College Aberdeen, and after his studies there, he went to Oxford and France.
In 1633 he was sent as Bishop to Raphoe Co Donegal Ireland. He had to enter into litigation to recover the church lands, which had been seized by "lay usurpers". He had to fortify the Episcopal mansion with the help of his cousin, Colonel James Leslie who supervised the fortification and defences. In 1641, the Irish rebellion broke out and unspeakable atrocities were carried out on both sides and more than 500,000 people lost their lives until the rebellion was finally crushed by Oliver Cromwell. The Rev James Leslie managed to hold out with the help of his cousin Col James Leslie. After the execution of Charles I in January 1649 he left London to return to Raphoe and had to defend his Palace against the Cromwellian forces. His friendship with Oliver Cromwell's son, Henry, ensured that as the only surviving Anglican Bishop his outspoken royalist views were tolerated.
Charles II rewarded his loyalty by restoring him to his Raphoe see and in 1664 gave him the bishopric of Clogher and £2000. He bought a property in County Monaghan that he called Castle Leslie, afterwards called Glaslough.. He then married 18 year old Catherine Conyngham and had six sons and two daughters.
He died at Glaslough, five weeks short of his one-hundredth birthday, having been a Bishop for fifty years. His youngest and only surviving son, Rev Charles Leslie, born 17th July 1650, who married his cousin Jane Leslie, succeeded him in the Glaslough property.

At Prospect, Ballymoney Co Antrim, Ireland stands a lovely old home built about 1750, by one James Leslie on the site of an older Leslie Castle. The present owner, another James Leslie, is directly descended from Henry Leslie, Chaplain to King Charles I. [Bishop of Down & Connor in 1635] and back to the 4th Earl of Rothes by his marriage to Agnes Somerville. Leslie Hill, and the old castle have been occupied continuously by the Leslie family.
In 1778, while the United States was trying to retain the Independence it had declared in 1776, the American frigate "Ranger" under John Paul Jones, opened fire on the Castle if Carrickfergus [Belfast] and attacked the British warship "Drake" putting it out of action. This attack by John Paul Jones and the fact that the French had allied themselves to the colonists in the American revolution, caused alarm in Ireland which at that time was practically bereft of British forces. This led to a demand for the local volunteers, a citizen's militia, recruited mainly from the protestant middle class and led by the aristocracy, at their own expense, to defend the coast of Ireland and guard life and property. Leslie Hill was used as a bivouac and for drilling purposes. The estate was of considerable acreage and a progressive farm, but much of the land was sold to the tenants under the Act of 1903.

Leslie Hill Ireland

Leslie Hill

Castle Leslie Glaslough Ireland

Castle Leslie

The family of Leslie of Glaslough, Co Monaghan, Ireland is descended from the Barons of Wardis. George Leslie of Crichie, Aberdeenshire was the second son of William 4th Baron of Wardis and his wife, Janet Innes of the Innermarkie family, and their eldest son, John, was the founder of the Leslie's of Glaslough. Interestingly enough, their third son, Henry, had a son who became the Right Rev John Leslie DD, Bishop of Dromore, and who was translated to the See of Clogher in 1671 and his daughter; Jane married the Rev Charles Leslie of Glaslough.
The Rev Charles Leslie was the sixth and only surviving son of the Right Rev John Leslie of Glaslough [see Raphoe Palace] who went to England to study law, but found it rather uncongenial and after further studies on the continent to decided to return to Ireland, where he married his cousin, Jane. They had two sons, Robert and Henry. Henry went to Spain and married, but died childless, Robert succeeded his father as 3rd of Glaslough and married Frances Rogerson. They had two children, Charles Powell and Annabella and when their father died 17th December 1744, Charles Powell Leslie succeeded his father, as 4th of Glaslough.
Charles Powell Leslie, 4th of Glaslough married Prudence Penelope Trevor 22nd May 1765 and their first son and heir was another Charles Powell, while their second son was the Right Rev John Leslie, D.D. Bishop of Dromore. Charles Powell undertook the education of the fourth son of his wive's sister, who became the great Duke of Wellington, of Waterloo fame. Charles Powell Leslie, 4th of Glaslough was the member of Parliament for the County of Monaghan until 1800, when he died and was succeeded by his son, Charles Powell Leslie, 5th of Glaslough.
Charles Powell Leslie, 5th of Glaslough, represented Monaghan during seven successive terms and was also the High Sheriff of Monaghan. He married secondly, Christiana Fosbery of Clorane and had a son, Charles Powell Leslie, 6th of Glaslough, who was born 13th September 1821. Charles Powell Leslie, 5th of Glaslough, died 15th November 1831 and was succeeded by his son, Charles Powell Leslie, 6th of Glaslough, who also represented Monaghan in the Parliament.
John Leslie, 7th of Glaslough, later 1st Baronet rebuilt Castle Leslie as it is today. He married Constance, the daughter of Minnie Seymour, reputed to have been King George IV daughter by Mrs Fitzherbert. Sir John Leslie 2nd Baronet of Glaslough met and married Leonie Jerome, sister of Jennie Jerome, Winston Churchill's mother. Winston spent many hours at Glaslough, but the Leslie's were considered to be the "poor relations".
Sir Shane 3rd Baronet was a poet, author and an ardent speaker as well as an passionate Irish nationalist. He turned Roman Catholic and retreated into a monastery. He then met Marjorie Ide, daughter of Henry Clay Ide, Chief Justice of Samoa and married. He found that he was not interested in running the Estate and made it over to his eldest son John, who became the 4th Baronet on his father's death. John's health was not very robust from spending five years as a prisoner of war and he made the Estate over to his younger sister Anita, the famous author. He then spent 40 years in Rome but returned to Glaslough, where he now lives. You will remember that he kept the secret of Sir Paul McCartney's wedding very quiet, until he asked the waiting news media to keep it secret.
The daughter of Sir John's younger brother, Desmond, who was a wartime fighter pilot and well-known author, now runs the Glaslough Estate. He co-authored the book " Flying Saucers Have Landed". Desmond's daughter Samantha Leslie runs the Estate as well as an equestrian centre on the Estate.

The family of Leslie of Warthill are descended from William Leslie 1st Laird of Warthill, who was the first son of the third marriage of John Leslie, 2nd Baron of Wardis [a branch of the Balquhain family] and Margaret Forbes of the family of Echt. William Leslie 1st Laird of Warthill, born in 1490 in Aberdeenshire, was a prudent and clever man and was Baillie of the Courts of his father, John, 2nd Baron of Wardis and his brother Alexander 3rd Baron of Wardis.
William married firstly in 1511, a daughter of William Rowan, burgess of Aberdeen and had by her a son, John, who was slain at the Battle of Pinkie in 1547, along with William's uncle Robert Leslie. William married secondly in 1518, Janet Cruickshank, only surviving child of John, son of Adam Cruickshank, who in 1482 had acquired the Lands of Little Warthill and two ploughgates of the lands of Harlaw. With his marriage to Janet Cruickshank, William became the 1st Laird of Warthill, in the name of Leslie. William and Janet had twenty-one children of whom, Stephen, born in 1520 was his successor. William, 1st Laird of Warthill, built the house of "Warthill" and died in 1561.
Of most interest to Australian and New Zealand readers is that Patrick Leslie, born 25th September 1815, who re-discovered and settled the Darling Downs in Queensland in 1840, was the second son of William Leslie, 10th Laird of Warthill. Patrick's brothers, Walter and George also accompanied Patrick to Australia and helped him settle the Darling Downs. Patrick also laid out the site of Warwick in Queensland and bought the first block of land sold.
When he returned from a trip to Scotland in 1845, Patrick bought 34 acres at the junction of Brisbane River and Breakfast Creek and Built Newstead House. It was his intention to supply Brisbane with fruit and vegetables. The wish for his own station was too strong and he sold Newstead House and bought Goomburra Station in 1846. In 1851, he also bought Gladfield Station. Goomburra was sold to two of the Tooth [brewers] brothers in 1857. The family returned to England in 1858.

Warthill Aberdeenshire


Remains of Aikenway Castle Elginshire

Aikenway Castle

Aikenway Castle 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 married Beatrix Brodie on 12th May 1642. 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], 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.

The first mention made of the Barony of Rothayes [Rothes] is in 1238 when Eva de Mortach, granddaughter of Petrus de Pollock was Domina, or Lady of Rothes. The de Pollocks were no doubt introduced into the area about 1160 by King William The Lion, in an attempt to bring the lawlessness in the area to an end. Eva de Mortach married a knight by the name of Watson [some say Wiseman] and had a daughter. This daughter was supposed to have married a Norman Lesly of Lesly, but this is not confirmed, and it has not been ascertained how the Barony of Rothes came into possession of the Rothes of Leslie family.
King Edward I was a guest of Sir Norman de Lescelyn when the King came to visit Sunday 29th July 1296 and Sir Norman pledged his fealty to King Edward I. Sir George Leslie, grandson of Sir Andrew Leslie VI Dominus Ejusdem, was styled Dominus de Rothes when he witnessed a contract of marriage 26th April 1392.
All that remains of the magnificent Castle of Rothes is a fragment of the massive outer wall overlooking the High Street of Rothes town. The Castle was four storeys high, with a portcullis guarding the entrance to the inner courtyard and a drawbridge crossed the dry moat, which ran between the outer wall and the hill on which the Castle stood.
The town of Rothes did not exist in the time that the Leslie's owned the Castle, which was sold to the Grants of Elchies in 1711 who in turn sold it to the Earl of Findlater in 1758. It could be said that the town of Rothes is built from the Castle, as the stones from the Castle were taken by villagers to build their houses and a very interesting event took place in 1662, after the Castle was set alight and destroyed.
The following apology is recorded as having been given by a villager, named John Innes on 17th March 1662: " Whereas the Right Noble Earl of Rothes is highly irritated for burning the House of Rothayes, therefore, I John Innes, testify my submission and repentance for the same".

Remains of Rothes Castle

Rothes Castle

Balgonie Castle in Fife

Balgonie Castle

George Leslie, of Balgonie was the second son of George Leslie 1st Laird of Drummuir and his wife Margaret Stewart. The Leslie's of Drummuir were descended from Sir William Leslie 4th Baron of Balquhain and his wife Agnes Irvine of Drum. George Leslie of Balgonie was Captain of the Castle of Blair Athol and was held in high esteem for his bravery. He married Sybil Stewart of Ballathan and had several children. He also had an illegitimate son, called Alexander who was later to become, Earl of Leven.
When his wife, Sybil Stewart died, he married Alexander's mother to legitimate Alexander, who was by then a General. Alexander took to the profession of arms very early in life, and served as a Captain in the Regiment of Horatio, Lord Vere, in Holland, and served with the Dutch against the Spaniards. He was recognised as a very good officer and he then entered the service of Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden.
In 1641, General Alexander Leslie was created Lord Balgonie and Earl of Leven by patent to him and his heirs, whomsoever, dated 11th March 1641. In 1642, Alexander, Earl of Leven was appointed General of the Scottish forces for suppressing the rebellion in Ireland from whence he was recalled in 1643, to command of the Scottish Army of 21,000 men, assembled at Berwick. The Scottish Army crossed the Tweed and defeated the Royalist Army at Marston Moor, 2nd July 1644. While at Dunbar 28th August 1651, Alexander, Earl of Leven was captured by the garrison and taken to London where he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. Due to the intercession of Queen Christina of Sweden he was released without penalty and returned to Scotland in May 1654.
Alexander, Earl of Leven acquired great landed property, but his favoured property was Balgonie in the Parish of Markinch on the river Leven in Fife. He spent much time and money on improvements to the castle. The property had formerly belonged to the Sibbald family. Sir Henry Sibbald of Balgonie, who died in the reign of James IV, left an only daughter, who married Robert Lundin, a younger son of the Baron of Lundin.
The ancient Baronial Castle of Balgonie stands on a steep bank, overhanging the river Leven. The basement story is dimly lit by a narrow slit in the massive walls; it and the story above are both vaulted. The summit has projecting battlements with turrets at each angle, the roof being flat and laid with slabs of freestone. On the roof is a lodge or watchtower, with a sloping roof. Besides the additions made to it by the 1st Earl of Leven, one of his successors added another wing on the foundations of the former structures, thus forming two sides of a quadrangle, the other two sides being formed by a strong wall.
The main entrance to the court is an arched gateway flanked by two towers. Over the arch was a chamber, which communicated with the main tower or keep, by a passage through the walls.The Castle was formerly surrounded on three sides by an earthen rampart and deep fosse, the inaccessible nature of the position on the side, next to the river, requiring no other defence.
In 1823, David, 10th Earl of Leven and 7th Earl of Melville sold Balgonie, to James Balfour of Whittingham, for £104,000. The Castle was greatly damaged by vandals in the 1960s and was bought by David Maxwell, from Edinburgh in 1971, who restored the Tower and then in 1985 sold Balgonie to Raymond Morris, who, as the owner of Balgonie Castle, acquired the title of 30th Laird of Balgonie and Eddergoll.

Positioned on the south bank of the river Tay in Fife, Ballinbreich estate became the property through marriage of the Leslie family around 1312, although records show that as early as 1160 the land originally belonged to Orm, son of Hugh of Abernethy.
The name Ballinbreich is derived from an ancient Celtic name and is a corruption of "Balan-breac", meaning "town of trouts" - most appropriate with the castle overlooking the river Tay with its reputation for fishing.
The Leslies began to build a castle soon after they took over the estate, using an L-plan layout with a typical tower and internal stair at the re-entrant angle. A curtain wall was then built to create a rectangular courtyard.
The castle was considerably modified and extended in the 16th century. Mary Queen of Scots, on one of the many tours of her realm, visited the Leslies in 1565.
The Leslies were elevated to the title of Earls of Rothes in 1457 and then became Dukes of Rothes in 1680. Their coat of arms includes the Red Lion of Abernethy with a sable riband through them, showing their roots in that 14th century marriage. The battle cry of Clan Leslie is "Ballinbreich".
The estate and castle were sold to the Dundases of Kerse in the 19th century in order to finance the rebuilding of Leslie House in Fife. The Dundases became the Earls of Zetland (Shetland) in 1838 and subsequently Marquises in 1873. With their involvement in estates in Shetland, Ballinbreich was allowed to deteriorate and has become an impressive ruin.

Remains of Ballinbreich Castle

Ballinbreich Castle

Leslie House Fife

Leslie House

The first mention of Leslie in Fife, in the family history, is when Bartholomew, on his historic ride from Dunfermline, made his first stop at Fythkill in Fife, later to be known as Leslie. Later in 1282, Norman de Lesly is said to have acquired lands at Fetkill, or Fythkill and a hundred years after that, Sir George Leslie and his new bride, Elizabeth Hay, the Kings niece, were granted the Barony of Fythkill in 1396. The annual rent was a pair of gloves!
In 1457 George, 1st Earl of Rothes, was granted the Barony of Leslie in Fife, the first mention of the place of Leslie. Undoubtedly the first Earl and probably some of his predecessors had a house of some note at Leslie. It is definitely stated in some sources that there was a house on the site, dating from the 14th century, but unfortunately there is no record of the building. It was John, 7th Earl and 1st Duke of Rothes who first built a grand palace on the site, about 1670, part of which is now the present house.
After the Restoration of Charles II to the throne, classical architecture started to appear in Scotland and for the first time country houses were being built that were not fortified in any way. Building grand houses was the fashionable way to display one's wealth and people vied with each other to build the biggest and best. John, 7th Earl had been a staunch supporter of King Charles against Oliver Cromwell and after the restoration [1660] the King rewarded him with several High Offices, including that of Lord High Chancellor of Scotland for life and also made him the Duke of Rothes. He was a highly cultured person with a good knowledge of art and architecture.
Now being wealthy, he could and did commission the building of a large and sumptuous country mansion. He employed a well-known Italian architect, Sebastian Serlio, to draw up the plans, which included a large formal garden. The house was to be after the style of the Royal Palace at Holyrood, in Edinburgh, and the gallery was to be three feet longer than the one at Holyrood. The contract was drawn up in 1667, building work started soon after and it was completed five years later, although completing the garden took another three years.
Since the Earl had to be away in London at Court much of the time, his wife Anne Lindsay, daughter of the Earl of Crawford and Lindsay, undertook much of the supervision, and as the surviving correspondence shows, she was intelligent, hardworking and very attentive to detail. Her husband's visits to London were of some benefit, however, since they ensured that he was up to date with the fashions for interior design and fabrics.
According to a contemporary description, one entered "the Palace" by two spacious courts, with a pavilion at each end of the first court; the house is a large square with a paved court in the middle. You enter it by a vestibule ballustraded with marble, into a large hall, paved with black and white marble, Above the hall was a huge salon extending the full length of the west side, set between two drawing rooms, one of which led to the 157 foot long gallery, hung with family portraits on one side and those of friends on the other. The whole including the furniture was most luxurious.
The main elevation of the house showed clearly the new architectural style with tall windows on all three floors and dormer windows above, although some relics like the protruding angle towers with spiral service stairs served as a reminder of the older Scottish style.