Source: Davidson, John, Rev., Inverurie and The Earldom of the Garioch: A
Topographical and Historical Account of the Garioch from Earliest times to the
Revolution Settlement; A. Brown & Co., Aberdeen 1878. Page 440-42.
In 1420, Isabel Mortimer, widow of Sir Andrew Leslie of Balquhain, founded a
fourth chaplainry for her six sons slain at Harlaw, and for her husband killed
in rebellion at Braco. A mortification in 1425, for a chaplain performing
services for Sir Andrew's soul, was executed by Patrick Ogilvy, who had been the
instrument of his defeat and death, and was probably an augmentation of that
made by his widow.
Battle of Harlaw
The oldest vassal, David de Lesly, who had gone as a youth to the Holy Land, was
apparently not then in the country. His retainers were probably led by Sir
Andrew Leslie of Balquhain, the lawless baron of the stone rampart of Benachie,
Master of the Horse (it is said) to the Earl of Mar. Six of Leslie's sons died
in the fight.
[Benachie-a famous Aberdeenshire mountain]
The Earl's [Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar] "Master of Horse at Harlaw,"
Sir Alexander Leslie of Balquhain, was an example of wildly conspicuous in the
Garioch, of the uncontrolled state of social life then prevalent. He is said to
have been the builder of the rude fortress which occupies the summit of Benachie,
and of the causeway which leads to it over the marshy ground on its only
accessible side. To that lofty stronghold he carried off a young woman, whose
beauty excited his unbridled passions; and he had himself to take refuge in its
fastness from the displeasure of his lord superior, the Earl of Mar, after some
lawless proceedings of his family. One of his natural sons, it is said, had
carried off the daughter of Thomas Bisset of Balhaggarty, the Fair Maid of
Kenmay, who was at the time the betrothed of the Earl's Baillie of the Regality,
Sir John Forbes of Drumminnor. Sir John, raising his friends, attacked the
castle of Balquhain, and took and burned it; and Sir Andrew, in reprisal,
immediately afterwards harried the Forbes lands, with great slaughter of the
inhabitants. From the fortress on Benachie, the family traditions also say he
made an excursion, with his retainers and the chief of the clan Allan, into
Strathdon, and carried off a lady, called the Fair Maid of Strathdon. This lady
became the mother of one of the bastard lairds whom he planted in the Leslie
lands. A scandalous feud with the Forbeses afterwards drew the attention of
Regent Albany's Government upon Balquhain, and the Sheriff of Angus was sent in
January, 1420, to put down the insubordinate baron. Sir Andrew gave battle to
the Sheriff's force at Braco, and was slain in the conflict. His widow, Isabel
Mortimer, erected a chaplainry for his needy soul near the spot, and the
Sheriff's family mortified some lands in Angus, with the same benevolent
purpose, for another mass in the Chapel of the Garioch. Sir Andrew's son and
successor, Sir William, was the common ancestor of all the Leslie families
localized in the Garioch.
Isabel Mortimer, the lady of Balquhain, sought, in 1420, to perpetuate, in this
manner, the memory of her grief for her six sons slain on the fatal field [Harlaw],
and for her husband, Sir Andrew, less honourably brought to his end.
When Aquhorties, Blairdaff, and Aquhorsk were given by Sir Andrew de Leslie,
dominus ejusdem, to his sister and her husband, David de Ambercromby, in 1391,
the wife of the contemporary laird of Balquhain, Sir Andrew Leslie, was Isabel,
daughter of Bernard Mortimer of Craigevar.