House of Newbyth
c1660 to Present
The Newbyth line is both place and title. The older Auchmedden Baird line declined and the house itself was pulled down in the 1750s. James Baird (1588-1655) bought land at Byth in Aberdeenshire and was a member of the Scottish Parliament. His eldest son, John Baird (1620-98) inherited Byth but found the estate too far from Edinburgh so it was sold in favour of an estate in East Lothian – Newbyth. He was appointed Lord of Session as Lord Newbyth and was an MP for Aberdeenshire. His son, Sir William Baird (1654-1737) was created Baronet of Newbyth. In turn, his son Sir John Baird (1686-1745) inherited the baronetcy and Newbyth and was an MP for Midlothian. On his death in 1745 the first Newbyth baronetcy became extinct.
The Newbyth estate was inherited by a cousin and two generations later David Baird (1757-1829) fêted as a national hero, was created 1st baronet of Newbyth in 1809 recreating the title.
His nephew Sir David Baird (1795-1852) became the 2nd baronet and was Captain of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club at St Andrews. His son Sir David Baird (1831-1913) inherited Newbyth. His son Sir David Baird (1865-1941) had no children and the title passed to his nephew Sir David Baird (1912-2000). The current baronet is Sir Charles Baird (1939- ) who is Sir David’s nephew. The heir presumptive is Andrew Baird, cousin of Sir Charles.
Sir David Baird, 1st Bt ((c) National Portrait Gallery, London, Creative Commons licence NPG D21214)
Coat of Arms
Original 1672 Blazon: The right worshipful Sir John Baird of Newbyth, one of the Senators of the Colledge of Justice, Bears gules, a sangier, Or; on a canton ermine a sword in pale proper; above the shield ane Helmet befitting his degree; mantled gules doubled argent and wreath of his collours is sett for his crest a boar’s head erased, Or; The Motto in ane Escroll Vi et virtute
General Sir David Baird, 1st Bt. of Newbyth, 1757-1829
Sir David Baird was the fifth son of William Baird of Newbyth, a merchant in Edinburgh. The death of his eldest brother who had purchased a commission to join the army enabled David to take his place in the 2nd Foot (Queens Regiment) aged 14, in 1772. He served with distinction in India, South Africa, Egypt and Europe, ending as a general and commander-in-chief in Ireland and resigned in 1822. He captured the imagination of the British public when he led the storming party on the assault of Seringapatam (now Sriringapatna) in India - where he had previously been held prisoner, in 1799. He followed up by conducting a textbook combined forces amphibious landing operation and marched his army 400 miles across the desert to Cairo to face Napoleon in 1801 - with the loss of just 3 men. His next highlight was capturing Cape Town in 1805/06, which secured the safe passage of English ships to India. His last major campaign was with Sir John Moore in Spain, which ended with the loss of his left arm at Corunna. After a convalescence in Hertfordshire, he married Anne Preston in 1810. He died in 1829 in Crieff, Scotland and his widow had an obelisk erected to his memory, identical to one Baird had captured in Egypt but been unable to bring home. On the south side of the monument is a plaque commemorating the march of the Anglo-Indian army across the Great desert from Kosseir to Alexandria. The baronetcy was created in 1809, with a remainder to his elder brother.
Arms of General Sir David Baird, 1757-1829
Lieutenant General Sir David Baird (1757-1829), matriculated including the Mameluke, related to the period of his arrival in Cairo, August 10, 1801 and departure back to India on about Nov. 6, 1802. On Oct, 20, 1802, His Majesty confirmed his approval that Major General Baird and others to accept and wear the Honours and Badges conferred upon them by the Grand Seignor of the Ottoman Court, being the Order of the Crescent of the First Rank. Lieut.-Gen. Sir David Baird was created a Baronet (U.K.) on March 28, 1809.
Arms-Gu., in chief within an increscent and estoile of eight points arg., in base a boar passant or, on a canton erm. a sword erect ppr., pommel and hilt gold. Crest: 1st a Mameluke mounted on a horse and holding in his dexter hand a scimitar all ppr. 2nd A boar's head
erased or. Motto: Vi et virtute (' By strength and valour ').
Sir David Baird, 2nd Bt. of Newbyth
Painting - Sir David Baird 2nd Baronet (© Andrew Baird)