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The Rickarton Estate, Kincardineshire, with its beautiful scenery of rich woodlands, heather hills and abundance of wildlife, has been home to the Baird family for over 150 years. Bought by John Baird of Urie in the mid 19th century along with the Urie Estate, the land then passed to his eldest son Sir Alexander Baird of Ury, 1st Baronet, GBE who was Lord Lieutenant of Kincardineshire from 1889 to 1918. Sir Alexander spent a large portion of his life in Egypt, and later served as president of the Permanent Arbitration Board in Egypt. He spoke fluent Arabic and was heavily involved in philanthropic projects in the country. He married the Honourable Annette Palk, the eldest daughter of the 1st Baron Haldon with whom he had a son named John who went on to inherit the estate.
John Baird, 1st Viscount Stonehaven, GCMG, DSO, PC, JP, DL was a British Conservative politician, who served as a Member of Parliament, government minister, and was later the eighth Governor-General of Australia. After he returned to Britain he was appointed as chairman of the Conservative Party in 1931. He was responsible for rebuilding Ury House and constructing it as it stands today. Lord Stonehaven married Lady Ethel Keith-Falconer, daughter of the 9th Earl of Kintore, in 1905 and their son Ian took on the estate after his father’s death in 1941.
James Keith, 12th Earl of Kintore was born James Ian Baird but he changed his name from Baird to Keith by Interlocutor of the Lyon Court 28 June 1967. After the war Keith lived in South Africa and while he was out there in 1949 the Ury Estate was sold due to death duties caused by his father’s death eight years earlier. In 1952, he returned to manage the estate and in 1974, he succeeded his mother as twelfth Earl of Kintore.
At this point the titles and the land split paths and the rest of the estate ended up in the hands of John Holman of Rickarton, OBE the husband of Keith’s oldest daughter Lady Diana Baird; John and Diana moved up from Sussex with their four children, Richard, Alex, Gorgina and Emma. The estate then passed to John's son Richard Holman-Baird of Rickarton, Ury and Lochwood who owns it today.