Extract from the Thanage of Fermartyne

Extract from the Thanage of Fermartyne

Extract from the Thanage of Fermartyne

Beauly Priory
Beauly Priory

by Rev. W.M. Temple

“Lessendrum” – Abscissa Viresco

The Bissets of Lessendrum were one of the most ancient families in the County of Aberdeen and were in possession of that Barony long before the War of Independence. During their sojourn there they had many changes of neighbours at Ferndraught, Strathbogie, Cobeirdy and Rothiemay but there have always been Bissets at Lessendrum.

The name Bisset

Biset, Byset or Bisailte as it was sometimes spelt was of Norman extraction and belonged to a family who came to Scotland in the reign of William the Lyon. The “Scalcronica” states the “William of Lyon in 1174 on his return from captivity in Falaise and England brought back young Englishmen of family to seek their fortunes in the Scottish Court and among these were named the Bisseys”.

One branch settled in the County of Berwick and another in the North of Scotland where they had possessions in the Counties of Ross, Banff and Aberdeen.

In the latter county they had Aboyne and probably Lessendrum. Beaufort, Beauly was one of their seats where in 1230 John Bisset founded the “Priory of Beauly”, the remains are still there to this day.

the original John Bisset

  • 1226 he also founded a Lepers Shrine in connection with the Church of St. Peters, Rathven in the County of Banff.
  • 1226 John Bisset granted to the Church of St Peters the use of the Shrine of Lepers at Rathven and the brethren serving there in the Church of Kiltarity and it’s pertinants.
  • 1222 Alexander II by a Charter dated at ******* (Fyvie) 22 Feb. and witnessed by Robert his Chaplain, John Byset, Walter Byset and confirmed by William Comyn Earl of Buchan, grants to the Monks of Abroath the church of Buthcharry (now Meldrum).
  • 1221-1236 Walter Byset (Aboyne) founded the perceptory of the Knights Templar at Culter on Dee and in 1277 Alexander II granted the Knights a Charter of Liberty to acquire the lands. The building included a chapel and Walter Byset also gave to the preceptory the Church of Aboyne.
  • 1233 (17th August) Walter & William Byset both witnessed at Strivelin a Charter of King Alexander II to the monks of *********?

1240 according to the author of the “Priory of Beauly”, the Bysets possessed the following estates:

  • Walter Byset was Lord of Aboyne and resided at Aboyne Castle
  • Sir John Byset, his nephew, was Lord of the Aird and resided at either Lovat or Beaufort.
  • William, another nephew, was patron of the Church and probably owner of the estate of Abertay.
  • Robert, cousin of Walter, was Lord Epsethington in the County of Berwick.

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