The surname of LESLIE was of territorial origin from the lands or barony of the name. The use of fixed surnames or descriptive names appears to have commenced in France about the year 1000, and such names were introduced into Scotland through the Normans a little over one hundred years later, although the custom of using them was by no means common for many years afterwards. During the reign of Malcolm Ceannmor (1057-1093) the latter directed his chief subjects, after the custom of other nations, to adopt surnames from their territorial possessions, and there created 'The first erlis that euir was in Scotland'. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. Early records of the name mention David, brother of William the Lion, granted in 1171-99, the lands of Lesslyn in the Garioch to Malcolm, son of Bartholf, a Fleming. Robert de Leslie was rector of the church of Slains in 1272. Symone de Lescelye of Lesellyn witnessed a quitclaim of Beeth Waldef in Fife, 1278. Sir Borman de Lechely of Aberdeenshire rendered homage in 1296. Norman of Lesley was a hostage for the king of Scotland in 1425. The Scottish family of Leslie who hold the earldom of Rothes, trace their ancestry to Malcolm, son of Bertolf, who was granted lands at Leslie in the 12th century. As a surname it was first used by Norman de Lescelin in 1214. The family was closely associated with the Scottish Royal House, and George Leslie was created Earl of Rothes in 1457. After this family split into two branches. One of these, the Balquhains, were Roman Catholic supporters of Mary, Queen of Scots. Both branches produced many soldiers, including two who fought for the Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus in the 17th century.
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