William the Lion bestowed the manor of Hauden on Bernard, son of Brien, between 1165 and 1171. A cadet of this house is believed to have settled in Strathearn, where he acquired lands which were later incorporated into the barony of Gleneagles, where the chiefs still reside today. The family charters include one from William the Lion to Roger de Hauden of the lands of Frandie near Gleneagles. Aylmer de Haldane appears in the Ragman Roll among the Scots barons swearing fealty to Edward I of England in 1296. He soon, however, allied his fortunes with those of Robert the Bruce in the struggle for Scottish independence. Sir Simon de Haldane received a charter of part of the lands of Bardrill in Strathearn from Sir John de Logy in 1312. He married Matilda de Arnot, and by this marriage he obtained extensive lands within the ancient earldom of Lennox. Sir John Haldane, third of Gleneagles, was Master of the Household under James III, sheriff principal of Edinburgh, and Lord Justice General of Scotland beyond the Forth. He resigned his lands in Perthshire, Stirlingshire and Fife to the Crown in 1482, and received a charter erecting them into the free barony of Gleneagles in 1482. Through his marriage to Agnes, daughter of Murdoch Menteith of Rusky, he claimed the earldom of Lennox. He began a lengthy lawsuit with John Stewart, Lord Darnley, which was finally concluded by a settlement whereby Lord Darnley retained the title to the earldom, and Gleneagles received as compensation one quarter of the lands. Sir James Haldane, fourth of Gleneagles, was appointed Governor of Dunbar Castle in 1505. In 1508 his son, the fifth of Gleneagles, obtained a charter erecting all his lands in Lennox and in Perthshire not already forming part of the land of Gleneagles into the barony of Haldane, with its chief seat at Rusky House. He was killed, along with many other Scottish nobles, at Flodden in 1513.
The Haldanes soon embraced the Reformation, and played a prominent part in the political upheavals which followed the overthrow of Mary, Queen of Scots. In 1585 they were part of the force which laid siege to Stirling Castle in an attempt to persuade the king to rescind the sentence of banishment on the Earl of Angus and other unruly Protestant nobles. James Haldane, brother of the Laird of Gleneagles, led an attack on the west port of the castle and engaged Sir William Stewart, colonel of the Royal Guard, driving him back. On the point of victory, however, Haldane was shot by Colonel Stewart’s servant.
Sir John Haldane, the eleventh Laird, was a professional soldier who, with his brother, James, fought for Henry, Prince of Orange, in the Netherlands. He returned to Scotland and was knighted by Charles I in 1633. He represented Perth in Parliament, and was fervent in his support of the National Covenant. He heavily burdened his estates with debt by raising men and supplies. He is credited with the building of the present House of Gleneagles. He fought with the royalist army, leading his regiment against the forces of Parliament at the Battle of Dunbar in 1650. The Scots army, although numerically superior, was heavily defeated and Haldane was killed.
The sixteenth Laird, Patrick Haldane, had a remarkable career. He was Professor of Greek at the University of St Andrews and entered the University of Leyden in 1711. He turned to the law, and rose to be Solicitor General for Scotland in 1746. He was nominated to the Supreme Court Bench, but his appointment was opposed on the grounds that the Crown did not have the right to appoint a judge without the consent of the Court itself. The matter was taken to the House of Lords, which ruled in favour of the Crown. However, Patrick Haldane did not take up his seat on the Bench, having received another government appointment in the meantime. It was said that the objection, although raised on technical grounds, was in truth motivated by Haldane’s political enemies. Patrick’s son, General George Haldane, a professional soldier who fought at Dettingen in 1743 and Fontenoy in 1745, served under the Duke of Cumberland against the Jacobites in the campaign of the ‘Young Pretender’ between 1745 and 1746.
In 1820 the estates passed to the cousin of the eighteenth Haldane of Gleneagles, Admiral Adam Duncan, Viscount Duncan of Camperdown. One of Britain’s most celebrated naval heroes, he took his title from his most renowned victory, at the Battle of Camperdown in 1797. The admiral’s son, who, in 1831, was raised to the title of Earl of Camperdown, assumed the additional surname of Haldane. In 1918 the fourth Earl of Camperdown resigned his rights in the estate of Gleneagles in favour of his kinsman, James Chinnery-Haldane, who held the position of Bishop of Argyll. The bishop’s sons, Alexander, who succeeded as chief, and Broderick became well-known in Scottish society. Broderick was a renowned portrait photographer and lived in Edinburgh until his death in 1997. Alexander died in 1994 and the chiefship and estates passed to his nephew, Martin. The Haldanes also held, at one time, Airthrey Castle, which now forms the centre of the campus of Stirling University.