Estate History


Situated at the gateway to Royal Deeside, Leys Estate has evolved dynamically over the years, reflecting the needs of a changing world but staying true to its family and community-centred ethos.


Virescit Vulnere Virtus

Virescit Vulnere Virtus (Courage flourishes at the wound)

The Burnetts of Leys have held lands in the north-east of Scotland since receiving a royal charter from King Robert the Bruce in 1323 for their support during the Wars of Scottish Independence.

The designation ‘of Leys’ as applied to the heritor of these lands emerged about 1446 and referred to the property and area around the Loch of Leys, to the north of the town of Banchory and west of Crathes Castle.

The early family home was located on a crannog on the Loch of Leys, sometimes referred to as the ‘Castle’ of Leys.

The family later built Crathes Castle, which remained the family home until it was gifted to the National Trust for Scotland in 1952.

Crathes Castle

Crathes Castle, Gardens and Estate

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