The mythological motif of saving the King through a feat of strength, common to other clan histories such as Baird and Turnbull, is also at the origin of the Baird clan. The legend recounts that the first Baird saved William the Lion from a wild boar – the killing of a wild boar also bearing similarities to the origin of Clan Campbell.
The Baird name seems to reflect the geographical location of lands held by the family in Lanarkshire near the village of Biggar in the thirteenth century. Early in the fourteenth century King Robert the Bruce bestowed the lands at Meikle and Little Kyp, also in Lanarkshire, to Richard Baird.
It is stated that Fergus Debard, John Bard, and Robert Bard, who swore submission to Edward I of England, were from the Kyp branch of the family. As the family expanded, however, the principal Baird family came to occupy lands in Auchmedden in Aberdeenshire.
A marriage with the neighbouring Keith family, Earls Marischal of Scotland, strengthened their influence in the country.
Thomas the Rhymer had created an ancient prophesy that was to hold true for the Bairds of Auchmedden: “there shall be an eagle in the craig while there is a Baird in Auchmedden.” According to local tradition, a pair of eagles that had regularly nested on the crags near Auchmedden left the area when the estates of Auchmedden passed into hands of the Earls of Aberdeen.
The eagles returned as the Bairds returned to the land through the marriage of a younger daughter of William Baird of Newbyth to Lord Haddow, eldest son of the Earl of Aberdeen. The prophesy continued to be fulfilled as the estate passed to another branch of the Gordon family.
The Mystery of the Baird Clan Crest
Baird is a confusing one
The wild boar appears on the arms and crests for several Scotland Baird families. But there is a bit of a mystery with this from what I understand, as there is no record of a Baird coat of arms containing a boar until over 450 years after the event. When the armorial rolls were set up in 1330 no Bairds were listed. Later in the 1670s The Bairds of Auchmedden registered their arms during this time.
Sir James Baird of Auchmedden, 1620-1691, had properly registered those Arms in accordance with the Act of 1672. Those Arms would have successively matriculated down to his great-grandson William Baird of Auchmedden, 1701-1775.
William Baird of Auchmedden was locally regarded as Chief but the Lyon Court does not recognize him as having that title.
No one has matriculated the undifferenced Arms of Auchmedden since William Baird 7th of Auchmedden died in 1775/7. The chiefly line was never continued and seems really hazy.
There were two legends one was that it was a boar and one that it was a bear that threatened the king – where the symbol is supposed to have come from. But there is no actual evidence of this.
Most of the Baird crests have either a griffin’s head, an eagle’s head, or a boar’s head. The Auchmedden Baird’s crest is supposed to have a griffin’s head, but the Clan Baird Society Worldwide shows an eagle’s head on their web page. I guess that is because of the eagle story associated with Auchmedden Bairds.
So the answer is – there are possibly 3 clan crests for Baird. The most agreed on one is ‘ gryphon’s head erased, Proper’ as this is the one that was registered. The boars head seems to be mostly legend from what I can see.