THE BURNETS OF BARNS
In the 1200s the ancestors of the Burnets of Barns settled in an area near Peebles in southern Scotland
known as Burnetland. Most scholars agree that the Burnets of Barns are a branch of the
Faringdoun Burnetts (Burnards), but a family history written in the 1880s claimed descent
from a "Robertus de Burneville". At that time there was some friction between
the Burnet of Barns branch of the family and the Chiefly branch, the Burnetts of Leys,
which may explain the desire to claim a different ancestry.
This family was originally known as the Burnets of Burnetland. The first of the family to be known as Burnet of Burnetland was John Burnet (1400-1469). He married Marion, daughter of George Claverhill of that Ilk; through this marriage the family acquired the lands of Barns, from which they afterwards took their designation.
William Burnet of Barns, born about 1546, became perhaps the most famous of the branch. He was known as the "Hoolet of Barns", due most likely to his keenness of sight. He is said to have been of great stature and great bodily strength and lived to the ripe old age of 107. Some of the Hoolet's children became prominent in local and national affairs. His second son, James, graduated from the College of Edinburgh in 1609 and was admitted Minister of Lauder in 1615. He remained at Lauder until 1635 when King Charles I inducted him to Jedburgh. Another of the Hoolet's sons, Alexander, was a Treasurer-Clerk of Scotland until 1639 and also served as HM Advocate-Deputé. A third son, Robert, also became an advocate and was designated "The Younger" to distinguish him from Robert Burnett of Leys, who was an advocate as well.
Captain William Burnett, great-grandson of the Hoolet, joined the army with the Earl of Mar's Scottish Fusilier Regiment, "The Gray Breeks". He was wounded at the Battle of Steinkirk in 1692 and died four months later, unmarried. His brother Walter was killed in Flanders, also unmarried.Since there were no other males in the direct line, William Burnet of Kailzie and Barns, first cousin to Captain William and Walter, succeeded to the estates. This William's great-grandson, James Burnet of Barns, was born May 16, 1776 and sold the Barns estates in 1838. He died in 1855.
Although there is no "legal" representative of the Burnets of Barns at this time, it is known that many members are still in Scotland, while others are to be found in various parts of the world.
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