Traditionally Baillie is believed to be a corruption of the once illustrious name of Balliol which was changed on account of the unpopularity of the two Scottish Balliol kings. Most authorities agree, however, that Baillie is derived from the office of bailie or bailiff, being either an officer administering an estate or the equivalent of a magistrate in a burgh. The earliest record of this name in Scotland occurs in 1311-12 when one William de Bailli appears as a jury member at an inquest concerning forfeited lands; he is also recorded as one of the witnesses to a charter by John de Graham, Lord of Abercorn in 1315. There are a number of prominent families of this name, most notably those of Lamington, Polkemmet, Jerviswood, Dochfour and Dunain. The William de Bailli mentioned above is believed to be "Baillie of Hoperig", ancestor of the Baillies of Lamington, who was granted the lands of Lamington by David II, with whom he fought at the Battle of Durham. The title, Baillie of Lamington, having often been held by females, finally fell vacant in 1880. The Baillies of Dochfour and Dunain in the Inverness area are descended from a son of the laird of Lamington who fought at the Battle of Brechin in 1452. The Earl of Huntly awarded his gallantry with the Dochfour lands. In 1894 Col. James Baillie, member of Parliament for Inverness, married Nellie Lisa Bass and brought the title of Baron Burton into the Dochfour family.
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