This pre-medieval surname is both Scottish, and later Irish. It mainly derives from the early Gaelic word of the pre 10th century 'laverd', meaning a land owner or land lord, and in surname terms is a 'status' name, although the modern meaning as chief of a clan, or minor nobility, is rather later, about the 15th century. The early recordings of Laird are from the famous Border Country, the fifty mile swathe of hills and valleys from Berwick on the East Coast to Carlisle on the West, an area which was fought over for at least fifteen hundred years.There is almost certainly some association between the words 'laird' and the English 'lord', although it is known conclusively that the English surname form is nearly always a nickname, for either an actor who played the part of a lord in the travelling theatres of the medieval period, or for a person who adopted 'lordly' manners and hence was called 'Lord' by his compatriots. The first known recording of the surname Laird is believed to be that of Roger Lawird of Berwick, who in the year 1257 made an agreement with his overload the Abbot of Kelso Abbey, in regard to lands at Waldefat, near Berwick. Another similar recording, is that of Thomas Le Loerd, who in 1296 rendered homage to the Scottish Repurblican Government, who reigned without success upto 1306, when Robert, The Bruce, swept it away. Later recordings in the modern spelling include Thomas Lairde of Glasgow, who was a witness at the Crown Court there in 1552, and David Laird, who seems to have been the vicar of Fovern in 1574 during the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots.
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