The Clan Leslie Charitable Trust
A ‘First’ in Fife for GAHC & Clan Leslie Charitable Trust
In April 2010, whilst working on the pilot for GAHC, a large cache of papers were donated anonymously to the GAHC Founder, Linda Ballingall. The papers, had been discovered during the demolition of centuries-old outhouses on the Rothes Estate in the 1950′s and, for the next 60yrs, had lain untouched in an attic.
The centuries old papers, of which there were 500 pieces, proved to be highly significant as they referred to the Duke of Rothes and his ancestral home; the ‘Palace of Leslie’ in Leslie, Fife. The papers dated from 1624 to late 1700s, contained information on the day- to- day running of the estate eg: the apothecary’s prescriptions for the Countess’s various minor ailments. Purchases made by the Duke. Legal papers and the plans and costs for a large water wheel to pump water into the mills.
Of significance and interest to locals will be the ledgers giving the names of the local families who worked on the building of the great house, the lady’s maids, pages, cooks and servants. The names of the estate farm workers and their families. All in all they reveal a window into the lives of the aristocracy and those of a servant in the 17th & 18th century within Fife.
In September 2010, Alastair Leslie, 1st cousin to the Earl of Rothes and a Trustee of the Clan Leslie Charitable Trust met with Linda to view the papers and in February 2011, the Leslie family invited Linda and local historian Bill Fiet to view some of the many Rothes artefacts which included portraits, swords, jewellery etc.
During the visit Linda suggested that the Trust, who have looked for many years for a suitable premise from which to display the family collection, consider Glenrothes & Area Heritage Centre as a site for a permanent display. Pointing out that The Kingdom Shopping Centre was built on land once belonging to the Rothes Estate, was close to Leslie House, the ancestral family seat - making it an ideal and most suitable choice.
Further meetings resulted in an agreement between Clan Leslie Charitable Trust and GAHC for the Glenrothes hub to be the first and only venue from which to view the Rothes family artefacts, paintings, furniture, swords and charters. One charter being the creation of the first and only Dukedom of Rothes in 1680. The ‘Rothes Papers’ are presently with conservationists at Dundee University for restoration. Once this has been done, copies will be available for public viewing at GAHC, whilst the originals will be stored by the Clan Leslie Charitable Trust.