Tragedy and Transition for the Leasks post 1500

A considerable variety of opinions have been put forward regarding the origin of the name of Leask. Separating these opinions and family stories can be a difficult task and requires a significant amount of research. Please feel welcome to share your research, opinions, and family stories so we can further document the history of the Leasks through the ages.

In 1513 the Line of Leask Chiefs suffered a double tragedy when both William Lask of that Ilk, 5th Chief, and his son, Alexander Lask of that Ilk, Younger, dsp, were both killed at the Battle of Flodden; the latter’s younger brother, William Lask, Burgess of Aberdeen, then became the 6th Leask Chief. William Lesk of that Ilk, the seventh chief supported the infant James VI in opposition to his mother Mary Queen of Scots after the murder of Lord Darnley and her scandalous marriage to Bothwell.

Between 1615 and 1616 there appears to have been a disagreement of some sort between the Leasks and the neighboring Gordons. In all the recorded cases the Gordons appear to have been the aggressors; Adam Gordon, brother of the Laird of Gight assaulted Alexander Leask, then the son of the chief was attacked by George Gordon and finally William Leask of that Ilk was ambushed by John Gordon of Ardlogy and a party of armed men.

In the seventeenth century the Leasks suffered terribly by investing heavily in the Darien Venture. The venture was a disaster with a vast amount of Scotland’s wealth being lost which in some part led to the union of Scotland and England Alexander Leask of that Ilk, the thirteenth chief was forced to give up his estates which were taken over by Robert Cumming.

There are few family records until the latter half of the nineteenth century. With the assistance of well-known Leasks such as Lieutenant General Sir Henry Leask, General Officer commanding the Army in Scotland, some of the estates were bought back in 1963 and the Clan Leask Society was established in 1982. In 1968 the Lord Lyon recognized the present Chief’s grandfather as Chief of the Clan Leask.