Clan Bissett

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Arms of Bissett: Azure a bend argent

Clan Bissett (Bisey, Byset, Bisset or Bissert) is a Scottish clan of Anglo-Norman origin. It does not have a clan chief recognised by the Lord Lyon King of Arms, therefore the clan has no standing under Scots Law. Clan Bissett is considered an armigerous clan, meaning that it is considered to have had at one time a chief who possessed the chiefly arms, however no one at present is in possession of such arms.


The Bysets settled in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire in England.[1] King Malcolm IV having subdued Moray and Inverness, gave lands to the crown's supporters. William the Lyon made Henricus de Byset (Henry Byset) constable of Redcastle in c.1170. King David I placed Robert Byset in Upsettington, Berwickshire c.1140. His descendant was John Bisset, the first Lord of the Aird.

12th century[edit]

The Bysets appeared to consolidate the lands granted to them with the beginnings of construction of a number of castle fortifications in the Beauly, Muir of Ord and Struy area. The family was also gifted the title Lord Lovat.[clarification needed]

13th century[edit]

Henry Byset was appointed constable of the royal castle known as Edradour Castle, on the northern shores of Beauly Firth. John Byset, Lord of Aird founded Beauly Priory at Beauly, for the Valliscaulian Order of the Roman Catholic Church in 1230. It is believed that Aboyne Castle, Beauly Castle, Beaufort Castle and Erchless Castle were constructed in the early 13th century by the Bysets.[citation needed]

Walter Byset and John Byset were accused of the murder of Padraig, Earl of Atholl at Haddington in 1242. It is alleged Walter was accompanying the Queen at the time and could not have started the fire. Walter and John sought the protection of King Alexander II and were expelled from Scotland and were forfeited of their lands and peerage. John Byset the son of John Byset was reinstated with the lands and titles of his father and uncle. Walter Byset and John Byset were able to flee to Ireland and later gain an audience with King Henry III of England, who happened to have been saved by Margaret Byset, a relative of Walter and John, from an assassination attempt. As a result of the King Henry III rode with his army to towards Scotland and was met at Newcastle by King Alexander II and his army and after talks they signed the Treaty of Newcastle on 14 August 1244.

14th century[edit]

Collateral lines from Upsettlington produced Baldred Bisset, crucial to the construction of the Declaration of Independence and Thomas Bisset, third husband of Isabella, Countess of Fife.

21st Century[edit]

North Wales artist Santino Cara is a Bisset. The artist is also known as Bizet and has illustrated under the name of Brother Wolf. He is renowned for a painting of the famous Welsh Gospel Translator William Morgan, titled Ein Gwaredwr a William Morgan (Our Saviour and William Morgan), and for his most recent work 1400, a painting of the famous Welsh Prince Owain Glyndŵr.

Clan profile[edit]

Motto: (Latin: Abscissa Virescit - English That torn down re-grows) Crest: The trunk of an oak tree sprouting a fresh Proper.




  1. ^ "Battle Abbey Roll - Byseg". 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Temple, Rev. William. The Thanage of Fermartyn, quoted on, History of Bissets of Lessendrum 1251-1894