A Sampling Of Our Burnett Heritage

Written by: Michael E. Burnett

According to The House of Burnett, The ancestral lineage goes back to a written history before the 1st century. People find it hard to understand that the lineage (like the one’s that are listed below) is a results of numerous other families that are related in one sense or another. According to James C.A. Burnett, there are approximately 1,300 to 1, 500 different names that make up the family of today’s Burnett’s. There are two fairly recent relatives  that connect us to most of the nobility listed below, and that is Alexander Burnett, 11th Laird of Leys and his cousin, Katherine Arbuthnott, who is also his wife, our 9th great grandparents. Who are both “related to Kings and Queens of  Europe and Asia,” according to genealogical records and written texts.

Beli Mawr "the Great" King of the Britons (110 BC to 72 BC) and Anna (or Dôn) verch Mathonwy (100 BC to 81 BC)

The first "Real King" of Briton, he was the first official King of the Druids.  Beli Mawr organized the different tribes in what is now known as Lower England and Wales into a formidable fighting force against the sparse Roman Army first sent to Briton to lay the ground work for their invasion (which wasn't until 43 AD)

Beli Mawr is also the legend of myths started in the 1st and 2nd centuries when refering to scare the conquering Romans in their advance into what is now Scotland (which the Romans never defeated and eventually built "Hadrian's Wall" beginning in 122 AD by Roman Emperor Hadrian.

Niall “Noigillach” (of the Nine Hostages), King of the Connachta (High King of Ireland) and Ine (311 to 378) and Roigneach ingen Meadaib  (370 to 401)

One of the greatest Irish kings. He was said to have consolidated his power by    leading raids on the Roman Empire,  taking hostages from rival Irish royal families,    Britain and the European mainland,  thus earning the name Niall of the Nine Hostages?  Saint Patrick was said to have been kidnapped and brought to Ireland as one of his hostages during his raids.

Researchers indicate that there could be as many as 3 million descendants of Niall alive today. Most of his descendents are concentrated in northwest Ireland, an area where DNA testing has shown that one in every five males have inherited his Y-chromosome. Studies also that outside of Ireland, approximately one in 10 men in western and central Scotland also carry the gene, and 2% of European American New Yorkers carried it as well,  likely due to the historically high rates of Irish emigration to North America.

Merovech des Francs I, King of the Salian Franks (Progenitor of the Merovingians) (415 to 456) and Chlodeswinthe (Verica) von Köln (418 to 449)

Other names for Merovech were Mérovée, Meroveus, Merovius, and Merowig.    An early king of the Salian Franks, who succeeded to Clodio in the middle of the  5th century, and soon became a legendary figure. At the great battle of Mauriac (the Catalaunian fields), in which Aetius checked the invasion of the Huns (451), there were present in the Roman army a number of Frankish foederati, and a later authority states Merovech (Merovaeus) was their leader. Merovech was the father of Childeric I (457-451), and grandfather of Clovis.  Legend has it that the Merovingians were a line of "Sorcerer Kings" and had supernatural powers to cure illnesses and telepathic powers.

Charlemagne, Holy Roman Emperor  (742-814) and Hildegard (758-783)

Charlemagne, also called Charles I, byname Charles the Great, French Charlesle Grand, Latin Carolus Magnus, German Karl der Grosse, king of the Franks (768–814), king of the Lombards (774–814), and emperor (800–814).

On Christmas Day 800, as Charlemagne knelt in prayer in Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, Pope Leo III placed an Emperor's crown upon his head. It is not clear that Chartlemagne expected this but whether he did or not the people assembled in the church acclaimed him the great, pacific emperor of the Romans. Western rulers and popes had tender to regard the Emperors in Constantinople with the respect due to a sovereign previous to this but a disputed succession to that title helped to clear the  way for this coronation.

Kenneth (King Kenneth I) MacAlpin, King of Scots (810-858) and "King of the Kingdon of Alba" (814 to 890)

King Kenneth MacAlpin's mother was sister of Constantine King of Picts and he is the 33rd great grandfather of Elizabeth II.  He is also regarded as the founder of medieval Scotland.  Battling against Norse (Viking) raids, he brought some unification between the Gaels and the Picts to found a united kingdom of Alba or Scotia. The Picts had been weakened by incursions from the Vikings and Irish tribes who under Fergus Mor (498 - 501) had settled in the area of Argyll. The term Scots came from the Latin Scotti which was Latin for Irish.

The map of ancient Scotland comprised Scotia (known as Alba in Gaelic) covering the Pictish Fortriu region and the Dal Riada kingdom of Irish king Fergus Mor, the Norse settlements from Viking incursions around the coastal regions and islands, the Men of Moray in the Northern highlands, Strathclyde in the West and the northern Anglo-Saxon realm of Northumbria (Bernica)

Kenneth transferred some of St Columba’s relics from Iona and made Dunkeld the new ecclesiastical capital. Iona was regularly attacked by Viking raiders. He is also credited with setting the ancient Stone of Destiny at Scone.  According to legend the Stone of Destiny was brought to Scotland by Fergus Mor from Ireland, which it had reached by way of Spain and Egypt from the Holy Land.

Kenneth MacAlpin is considered by some as the founding father of Scotland and often compared to Alfred the Great in England.  Kenneth is believed to have died from a tumour at Forteviot near Perth and was buried at Isle of Iona.  He wa succeeded by his brother Donald. Kenneth MacAlpin is considered by some as the founding father of Scotland and often compared to Alfred the Great in England.  Kenneth is believed to have died from a tumour at Forteviot near Perth and was buried at Isle of Iona.  He was succeeded by his brother Donald.

Rhodri Mawr “The Great” ap Merfyn, Prince of Wales (820-878) and Anghard of Seisyllwg  (825-900)

Rhodri ap Merfyn, known as Rhodri Mawr (Rhodri the Great), was the most notable Welsh ruler prior to the Norman Conquest. He was the first High King of all Wales. By the time of his death, his power and influence extended over much of Wales.

Rhodri’s rise to prominence came from his success as a warrior His victory in 856 at Anglesey over Horn, the leader of the Danes, won him widespread acclaim.

After becoming ruler of Powys – his mother’s homeland – in 855, Rhodri led the kingdom against attacks by his Anglian enemies. (Rhodri Mawr Tomb in Wales) Rhodri and his son, Gwriad, were killed in battle against the English in 878.

Alfred “The Great”, King of Anglo-Saxons (849-899) Ealhswith of Gaini (852-905)

King Alfred the Great was one of the best kings ever to rule mankind. He defended Anglo-Saxon England from Viking raids, formulated a code of laws, and fostered a rebirth of religious and scholarly activity. His reign exhibits military skill and innovation, sound governance and the ability to inspire men and plan for the future, piety and a practical commitment to the support of religion, personal scholarship and the promotion of education. King Alfred is from the House of Wessex.

King Alfred was also the God Son of Pope Leo IV (Saint Leo), 790-855 (Pope 847-855)

Rodrigo “El Cid Campeador” Diaz de Vivar (1043-1099) and Jimena Diaz (1054-1115)

Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, Ruy Díaz de Vivar (also spelled Bivar), and El Campeador ("the Champion").  His title of "the Cid" comes from a Spanish dialect of Arabic, sidi, meaning "sir" or "lord," and was a title he acquired during his lifetime.

Born into minor nobility, Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar was raised in a royal household and was appointed the standard-bearer and commander of troops by Sancho II. Fighting for Sancho against Sancho's brother, Alfonso, would prove awkward to Díaz when Sancho died childless and Alfonso became king. Though he lost some prestige, he married Alfonso's niece, Jimena, and despite his presence serving as a magnet for Alfonso's opponents, Díaz served loyally for several years. Then, after leading an unauthorized raid into Toledo, Díaz was exiled.

Diaz then fought for the Muslim rulers of Saragossa for almost 10 years, scoring significant  victories against Christian troops. When Alfonso was defeated by the Almoravids in 1086, he recalled Diaz from exile, though the Cid did not stay in the kingdom for long. He embarked on a long campaign to take over Valencia, which he successfully captured the city 1094 and ruled in Alfonso's name until he died. After his death, literature and poetry lionizing the Cid would obscure the facts of Díaz's life.   (Point in common…. The movies "El Cid", 1961, with Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren).

William “The Conquerer”, King of England (1028-1087) and Matilda of Flanders (1031-1083)

Also known as William of Normandy and William the Bastard, King William I of England was the illegitimate son of Duke Robert of Normandy, France. Though his blood claim to the throne of England was slim, he set his sights on the land once governed by his cousin Edward the Confessor, and claimed the old king had named him his heir. In October of 1066, William the Conqueror successfully invaded England and defeated Harold Godwinson to win the crown.

As King of England William initiated or oversaw numerous changes, including an extensive plan of castle-building and a more rigidly structured system of feudal government than England had previously known. The Anglo-Saxon population was ruled primarily by William's Norman comrades, resulting in a gulf between two classes that took centuries to shrink.

One of King William's most significant acts was to commission the Domesday Survey, which catalogued the population of England and to this day serves as useful data for the historian.  William also ordered the building of the Tower of London and Battle Abbey

Alexander Burnard (1274-1329) (Progenitor of the Burnett Family)

Alexander Burnard, who fought in support of Robert the Bruce for Scottish independence from England. For his outstanding service, he received a grant of a part of the Royal Forest of Drum on Deeside and neighboring lands forfeited by the Comyns in March 1324.

The Burnard's share was called ILLENACHCLERACH and included the now    drained loch and island of Banchory, known as Loch of Leys.  For the first 200 years of the family's residence on Deeside, this was the site of their principal stronghold. Alexander was also awarded the title "Royal Forester of Drum".  As his badge of office he  received the "Horn of Leys", a carved ivory horn, decorated with guilt medal badges and semi-precious stones.

Robert Burnet of Leys, Alexander's grandson, changed the spelling of the name to Burnet, and was one of an inquest upon the service of Alexander Auchterlony in 1409.  It is thought that Robert was the deputy of Kincardineshire and, in July 1411, fought in the Battle of Harlaw Hill, the bloodiest battle in Scotland's history.  Robert's father (Alexander's son) was Symond Burnard (1317-1370).

Edward I “Longshanks”, King of England (1239-1307) and Eleanor of Castile (1241-1290)

Known as "Longshanks" for his extraordinary height, Edward, son of King Henry III, was a strong-willed, militaristic king who succeeded in subduing Wales but failed to conquer Scotland. He made significant changes to feudal law, strengthening both the Crown and Parliament at the cost of the old nobility and gaining the appellation "the English Justinian" thereby.

A Scot by the name of William Wallace banded together the Scottish families of Scotland, with the Scottish Prince Robert the Bruce after Edward removed the Stone of Scone (or, the Stone of Destiny) to London and placed in the Coronation Chair in Westminister Abby.

In 1298, the Battle of Falkirk took place and William Wallace was defeated.  However, Wallace escaped but was later captured and in 1305 was executed in London.  In 1306, Robert the Bruce was crowned King of Scotland.  Edward died in 1307 knowing that he never defeated the Scottish Highlands.

Sir James “The Black” (or) “ Douglas, Lord of Douglas" (1286-1330)

Eldest son of Sir William Douglas, known as "le Hardi" or "the bold", who had been the first noble supporter of William Wallace (the elder Douglas died 1298, a prisoner in the Tower of London).  His mother was Elizabeth Stewart, the daughter of Alexander Stewart, 4th High Steward of Scotland, who died 1287.  Douglas was sent to France for  safety in the early days of the Wars of Independence, and was educated in Paris. There  he met William Lamberton, Bishop of St. Andrews, who took him as a squire. He returned to Scotland with Lamberton.  His lands had been seized and awarded to Robert Clifford.  Lamberton presented him at court to petition for the return of his land shortly after the capture of Stirling Castle in 1304, but when Edward I heard whose son he was he grew angry and James had to leave.

Douglas, in retailiation for the loss of his ancestral lands, joined Robert the Bruce in battle against Edward I forces and was a key element in the later victories by Robert the Bruce.

Robert (King Robert I) the Bruce (1274 to 1329), King of Scotland and Elizabeth de Burgh (1284-1327)

(Note:  Was also a Knights Templar at birth, known as "Priest-Knight-King")

King Robert I of Scotland (also Robert de Bruce and de Brus) freed his land from English rule, suppressed rebellion, and became one of the greatest heroes in his country's history.

Although he was descended from nobility and was crowned King at Scone in 1306 he had to fight with great courage and determination to prove himself, to gain the confidence of his people and gradually defeat his enemies, and to win back all the castles taken by the English until the final great victory at Bannockburn in 1314 where his 6000 man army defeated the army of 20,000 combined English, Irish, and French men.

His body is buried in Dunfermline Abbey, while his heart is buried in Melrose Abbey.  His heart was to be taken on crusade eventually to the Holy Land, but only reached Moorish Granada in Spain, where it acted as a talisman for the Scottish contingent (led by Sir James ("The Black") at the Battle of Teba.