The title of Laird conjures up images of royalty ~ perhaps of a lord and master ~ perhaps of a clan chieftan ~ or even perhaps of a regional kingship. In most cases, the title’s connotation is a bit greater than the actual reality. The title of Laird essentially refers to the owner of a tract of land; it is a word used primarily in Scotland.

  Anyone can be a Laird. If I purchase and own simply a square inch of land in Scotland, I have the right to use the title of Laird. There are companies which make money selling actual square inches of land in Scotland, providing to the purchaser a regal looking document announcing that the new owner of land in Scotland may use the title of Laird. Of course, every landowner in Scotland does not use the title; it tends to be one of those things that non-Scots find fascinating, but which indigenous Scots take for granted.

  Historically, the actual use of the title of Laird tended to fall somewhere between the two points of grand master and simple landowner. Although the title could be employed by any landowner, it was primarily the owners of large tracts of land, with their estate mansions, who used the title. And because of the fact that estates tended to be handed down from the father to the eldest, or, in some cases, the most deserving son, the title of Laird was something that demanded respect and was coveted within a family. The Laird was not necessarily a clan’s chief, though he often was considered such, and wielded similar authority over his relatives.

  The problem for genealogists in regard to the use of the title of Laird is that, down through the ages, some families felt that only the Laird and his direct family was worthy of being documented. Therefore, names of some individuals are missed in the official genealogies, and the names of other individuals are found in public records which cannot be matched to the genealogies.

  The following is a listing of the so-called Lairds of the Muirhead estates. Of course, not being a clan per se, into the present times, the owners of the Muirhead properties were simply Lairds in title and not clan chiefs.

Lairds of Lachop (variously, Lauchope)

Sir Willielmo de Muirhead (1st) of Lachop ~ Jean Hay
Sir William Muirhead (2nd) of Lachop ~ Mariota Hamilton
John Muirhead (3rd) of Lachop ~ Margaret Hepburn
John Muirhead (4th) of Lachop ~ Margaret Borthwick
James Muirhead (5th) of Lachop ~ Jean Fleming
James Muirhead (6th) of Lachop ~ Janet Baillie
James Muirhead (7th) of Lachop ~1st Janet Hamilton
     -1622                    ~2nd Jonet Aikenheid
James Muirhead (8th) of Lachop ~1st Elizabeth / Jean Houstoun
     1573-1633                    ~2nd Margaret Somervile
James Muirhead (9th) of Lachop ~ Marie Dalziel
Claud Muirhead (10th) of Lachop ~ Jean Dalziel
Gavin Muirhead (11th) of Lachop ~ Janet Douglas
James Muirhead (12th) of Lachop ~ Elspeth Fairly

     The estate of Lauchope House was sold to William Robertson in 1710, ending the Muirheads’ Lairdship of it.

Lairds of Bredisholm ~ “Muirhead of Bredisholm”

John Muirhead (1st) of Bredisholm ~ ----- Oliphant
     1550-           {Purchased Bredisholm estate}
James Muirhead (2nd) of Bredisholm ~ Margaret Drummond
James Muirhead (3rd) of Bredisholm ~ Grizel Hamilton (of Bathgate)
     1620-1664          ~2nd Grizel Hamilton (of Westport)
                    ~3rd Bessie Crawfurd (of Kiphyre)
James Muirhead (4th) of Bredisholm ~ Helen Stewart
John Muirhead (5th) of Bredisholm ~ Lilias Hamilton
James Grossett-Muirhead (6th) of Bredisholm ~ Leonora de Miranda
John Grossett-Muirhead (7th) of Bredisholm ~ Jane Murray
Miriam Grossett Muirhead Gall (8th) of Bredisholm ~ Abraham Du Vernet
Henry Du Vernet Grossett Muirhead (9th) of Bredisholm
     1787-1843          ~ Martha Maria Ygnacia Van Kempen
Henry Robert Du Vernet Grossett Muirhead (10th) of Bredisholm
     1818-1849          ~ Lydia Eleanor Bayly
Emily Eliza Du Vernet Grossett Muirhead (11th) of Bredisholm
     1841-1864          ~ Robert Dalrymple Steuart Muirhead
Emily Gertrude Lilias Muirhead (12th) of Bredisholm
     1864-1902           ~ Arthur Lewis George Gould
Gerald Charles Muirhead-Gould (13th) of Bredisholm ~ Grace Riseley

     The Bredisholm estate was demolished in the 1940s.