Castle Leslie Estate’s colourful history is awash with politics, royalty and war. The Leslie family has lived on the Estate since 1665. The land was purchased with a £2000-reward given to John Leslie, the fighting bishop, by King Charles II. The Family’s non-conformist ancestors include warlike bishops, politicians, social reformers, agricultural innovators, philanthropic wives, fine pre-Raphaelite painters, writers and war heroes. They've been connected with royalty, ambassadors and prime ministers, and regularly visited by foreign émigrés, wits, poets and infamous kleptomaniacs.
The Leslie Family can trace its ancestry back to Atilla the Hun. The first Leslie came from Scotland and was a Hungarian nobleman called Bartholomew Leslie. He was the chamberlain and protector of Margaret Queen of Scotland. The family motto ‘Grip Fast’ originated through him. While fleeing enemies Queen Margaret rode pillion on the back of Bartholomew's horse. When fording a river, the queen fell off and Bartholomew threw her the end of his belt and told her to grip fast the buckle. He saved the Queen's life & from that day onwards she bestowed the motto Grip Fast on the Leslies.