This is a very famous and honourable Scottish surname. It derives from the barony known formerly as 'The lands of Lesslyn' in Garioch, Aberdeenshire, as early as the 13th century. It is apparently recorded that the brother of King William The Lyon of Scotland granted these lands to Malcolm, the son of Batholf, the Fleming, in about the year 1190, although the surname is not recorded for sometime after that date. Certainly by the end of the following century the name was already amongst the Scottish nobility Sir Norman de Lechelyn of Aberdeenshire rendering homage to the interim government of 1296. The ancient coat of arms born by this Knight had the blazon of a silver shield charged with a blue bend, and thereon three gold buckles, and this arms with slight variation, is still born by the Clan Leslie and its chief, the Earl of Rothes, in the 20th century. In fact the 'Leslie' name probably holds more noble grants than almost any other, and these include Lords Lindores, Newark, Leven, and Leslie itself, as well as several baronetcies. Altogether some twenty nine grants of arms have been made to this famous surname. Further examples of the recordings include Symon de Lesellyn who was a charter witness in Fife in 1178, whilst Norman de Leslie was a hostage for the Scottish king in the year 1425. The name is also recorded in France as 'de Lisle', nameholders having joined the Scottish regiments of the kings of France. Here they were rewarded by being appointed the Viscounts de Fussi. Variant spellings include Lesley, Lesslie, and Lesly, all have the same origins. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Leslie, which was dated 1272, the rector of the church of Slains, Scotland, during the reign of King Alexander 111 of Scotland, 1249 - 1286. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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