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In the Shadow of Cairngorm
VIII. Lands and Land-holders


BACK of the thirteenth Century, all is dark. The first name that we come upon is "James, the son of Morgund," who is mentioned in a transaction as to land with Andrew Bishop of Moray, in 1226. This Morgund is said to have been a son of Gillocher, Earl of Marr, but nothing is known of his connection with Abernethy. There is an entry in the " Registrum Moraviense" of later date, 1376, which is of some interest. It is as follows :—Quod a tempore morlis Crislini McCrath usque ad tempus quo Dominus Alexander intravit ad Baroniam de Abernethy, nihil est locutum; i.e., "But from the time of the death of Christine McCrath to the time of the entry of Lord Alexander of the Barony of Abernethy nothing is related." This only lifts the curtain for a moment, and then lets it fall. Darkness reigns again. Christine McCrath is as much a mystery as James, the son of Morgund. But it is significant that Alexander, Lord of Badenoch, is named as proprietor of the Barony of Abernethy. The tradition of the country is constant that of old the Comyns held sway in Abernethy, with Castle Roy as their stronghold. They were a Norman family, and, like many others, are said to have come over with William the Conqueror. William Comyn, or Cumming, about 1210, married, as his second wife, Marjory, heiress of Buchan, and thus seems to have succeeded to the rights and powers of the Celtic Mor-maors under the title of the Earl of Buchan. His son, Walter, was Lord of Badenoch and Kincardine (1229), and he probably held Abernethy also. In 1234 we find him settling a dispute with the Bishop of Moray as to Church lands in Kincardine. He was succeeded, in 1257, by his nephew, John, called "The Red," and he by his son, John, "The Black," in 1274. This latter, John’s son, the nephew of Baliol, was the Comyn whom Robert Bruce so foully slew at Dumfries in 1306. Bruce was inveterately hostile to the Comyns, and once he was firmly seated on his throne, he took means to break their power and to divide their lands among his own followers. The Earldom of Moray, reaching from the Spey in the east to Glenelg in the west, he gave to his nephew Randolph, who thus became Lord and feudal superior of all the smaller Barons who had held lands in the district. Randolph died in 1332. The Lordship of Badenoch was bestowed by Robert II., in 1371, on his son, Alexander, but Abernethy seems to have been held by the Comyns for some time after. It was finally resigned by John Comyn, at Montrose in 1381, into the hands of King Robert in the presence of his court. This fact is stated in a Charter of the Lands of Abernethy granted by King Robert to his son, Alexander, Earl of Buchan, dated at Perth, 7th October, 1384. Alexander is the man so well known, on account of his strength and ferocity, as The Wolf of Badenoch. In Gaelic tradition he bears the nobler name of Alasdair Mòr mac-an-Righ, "Alexander the Big, Son of the King." These old Comyns have left a bad name in the North. It was common to condense into a phrase or proverb the popular estimate of the character of families and clans, and for the Cummings the word was Foill, "Cunning." The Gaelic proverb is very emphatic :—

Fhad a bhitheas craobh ‘sa choille
Bithidh foille ‘s na Cuiminich :

"So long as there is a tree in the wood there will be guile in the Cummings."

In the able and elaborate "History of the Grant Family," by the late Sir William Fraser, it is shown that the original country of the Grants in the north was Stratherrick; that their earliest possession in Strathspey was Inverallan, 1316; and that they were not finally established at Freuchie, now Castle Grant, till about 1493. But there is some reason for believing that their first holding in Strathspey was at Congash, in Abernethy. In 1281—1298 Gilbert of Glencairny granted to Duncan of Feryndrawcht in free marriage with his daughter, and to their heirs, the East davoch of the lands of Conynges in the holding of Abernethy with the homage and service of his tenant of the davoch of Wester Conynges, with all right and lordship competent to the granter or his heirs in any case whatsoever, both in the said davoch of land, and in the tenant thereof, namely, the davoch which Cecilia the daughter of the deceased Sir William Rufus, Knight, then held of the said Gilbert, in feu and heritages for homage and service, to be held by the said Duncan and Marjory and the heirs of their bodies in free marriage, as freely as any one in the realm of Scotland held or possessed any land by gift of any Baron. Witnesses Archibald, Bishop of Moray, Henry, Bishop of Aberdeen, Sir Reginald le Chen, Sir William of Dolays, Knights and many others. (This charter is printed in "The Chiefs of Grant," Vol. III., p. 7). Then in a Retour dated 25th February, 1464, Duncan Grant, Knight, is declared heir to his grandfather, Gilbert of Glencairnie, in the lands of Kunnyngais (Congash). The land had been held for some time by the Crown, and in a second Retour, 7th February, 1468, it is stated that Gilbert had died about thirty years before, and the Sheriff was directed to take security for £60 of rents due, the rental being 40s annually. Then in 1489 John Grant, who had succeeded to his grandfather, Sir Duncan, in 1485, was infefted into the half of Freuchie, the two Culfoichs, the two Congashes, and Glenlochy, including Aldcharn, all in the Shire of Inverness. The infeftment was completed on the 17th June at Freuchie, and Congash, upon the soil and messuages of the same, which implied that there were mansions or manor houses at both Freuchie and Congash ("Chiefs of Grant," Vol. III., p. 37). There have been great changes since then. Freuchie has become the Castle, and Congash has sunk into the farm-house.

In 1501 James IV. bestowed the Earldom of Moray on his natural son, and on the same day a separate grant was made of the Lands and Lordship of Abernethy, which had, on failure of heirs, reverted to the Crown. From the Earl of Moray the Laird of Grant obtained the Lands and Lordship on feu, at a fixed rent of £40 Scots, and this arrangement continued, as the receipts show, from 1516 to 1578. After a time the nominal was converted into a real possession. In 1609 James Stewart, second Earl of Moray, Lord of Doune and Abernethy, son of "The Bonnie Earl," entered into an agreement with John Grant of Freuchy, granting to him by charter "the Lands and Lordship of Abernethy with the Manor place thereof, woods and all other pertinents irredeemably, and without any condition, provision or obligation of reversion or redemption whatever." For this the Lairds of Freuchie were to continue to pay annually to the Earls of Moray the sum of £40 Scots, the same sum as they had been paying all along. This Charter was confirmed by James VI., 17th June, 1609. Traditions as to the Lords of Moray still linger in Abernethy. There is a hillock, a little to the east of Castle Roy, called Torran Mhoid, "The Mote Hill," and it is said that Lord Moray reserved it so as to secure the title of Lord of Abernethy. The Laird of Grant pressed to have it along with the rest of the lands, but Lord Moray said, "No, though you were to cover it with golden guineas, I wouldn’t part with it." This is still believed by many.

About the middle of the 16th century the Grants had a closer connection with Abernethy than ever afterwards, as from 1566 to 1582, Duncan Grant, younger of Grant, resided at the Manor House of Coulnakyle. There is much difficulty in redding the marches between the Church and the laity as regards land and power. The following facts may be noted :—In 1364, Alexander, Bishop of Moray, was invested by King David II. with powers of Justiciary within the districts of Strathspey and Badenoch, and two years later these powers were further confirmed. These lands were afterwards consolidated into a temporal Lordship or Barony under the name of the Barony of Strathspey. In the Rental of the Bishopric of Moray, compiled in Strathspey is named as one of eight Baronies paying rent to the Bishop. From Laggan, in Inverness-shire, to Arndilly, in Banffshire, the Bishop had jurisdiction. The rent was £187 3s 9d, besides payment, in some cases, of cattle and grain. In 1539—40 there is agreement between James Grant, the Third Laird of Freuchie, and Patrick, Bishop of Moray, by which certain lands were feufarmed to the Laird and seven other persons of his name.

The history of the Grant Family can be but briefly sketched:-

I. According to Sir William Fraser, Sir DUNCAN GRANT was properly the FIRST of FREUCHIE (1434—1475). He was the son of John Grant, Sheriff of Inverness, and Matilda of Glenchairnie. This Matilda was, according to tradition, a Cumming, and there are many curious legends concerning her. But Sir William holds that he has proved that she was really not a Cumming, but descended of Malise, Earl of Strathearn, "the proud Noble who claimed the foremost place in the Battle of the Standard on 22nd August, 1138." "From this point of the pedigree" (1434), says Sir William, "down to the present day, all is clear, each link in the long chain of ancestry being attested by authentic evidence."

II. Sir Duncan was succeeded by his grandson, JOHN GRANT, Second of Freuchie, called "The Bard," who held the estate for the long period of 43 years (1475—1482), and during that time acquired Tullochgorm, Mulben, Urquhart, Ballindalloch, and other lands. He entered into a matrimonial contract in 1484 with Margaret Ogilvie of Deskford, and between the families similar alliances afterwards took place, ending at last in the union of the titles and estates in 1811. It was in Sir John’s time that the term "Clan" first came into use. The consolidation of the Clan under the name of Grant was gradually carried out. In 1527 there are Tribal agreements in which the Clan Grant is named, one drawn up at Dilmorar (Dalvorar), within the parish of Strathawin, 8th October, 1527, between the Grants and the Farquharsons. Ten years later (1537), in an instrument narrating the induction of a minister to Duthil, some 70 of the parishioners are named, almost all bearing Celtic names, "Macs" of all sorts. But in 1569 we find another document in which all the names, 47, are Grant. This indicates the transition period. An example illustrative of the change may be given from the family of Gartinbeg. In 1537 John is called John McConquhy. In 1581 his son is designated Duncan Grant, son and heir to umquhill John Mak Connachie Grant. The same course was adopted by other old families, doubtless for prudential reasons, and this may account for many of the septs into which the Clan was divided.

III. The Third in the succession was James, called SEUMAS-NAN-CREACH, "James of the Forays" (1528-1533). Shaw says that he got this name because of his "bold and daring character, which, in conformity with the genius of the times, led him to resent any injury or insult offered to his Clan by ravaging the territory of their enemies." The King, James V., seems to have had great confidence as to his capacity in this way, for he issued a royal mandate, in 1528, to him and others, dooming the Mackintosh Clan to destruction, no creature to be left, "except preistis, wemen and barnis" (the women and children were to be shipped to Norway) and again, in 1534, he wrote to him, "praying and charging him, with his kin, friends and partakers, to pass with his Lieutenant General upon Hector Mackintosh cawand himself Captain of the Clan Chattan, and others his accomplices and partakers, and inward them to slachter, hership and fyir &c. taking their goods to himself, for his labour." Happily, these savage commands were not carried out, and the Mackintoshes remain a powerful Clan to this day.

IV. JOHN GRANT, the "Gentle," son of James, held the estates from 1533 to 1585. He took a prominent part in public affairs, and was a member of the famous reforming parliament that established the Presbyterian Church in Scotland (1560). Betwixt him and his people there seems to have been strong attachment. In 1584 the Chief complained that he had been "mishandlit," and the Clansmen at once replied that they would support "their Chief and Maister against all invaders not only with their goods, but with their bodies."

V. The next Laird was JOHN (1585—1622). He was the son of Duncan, younger of Freuchie, who died before his father at Culnakyle (1582). In this Laird’s time there was much trouble from Clan fights and raiders. Tytler says that after the murder of the Earl of Murray, the "Bonnie Earl," the strife "spread, like the moor-burning of their own savage districts, from glen to glen, and mountain to mountain, till half the land seemed in a blaze." The King’s Commissioners reported that the lawless, broken Highlanders of the Clan Chattan, Clan Cameron, Clan Ranald and others had sore 'wrakit and schakin’ the north countrie," and that murders, houseburning, spuilzies, &c., went on "with far greitar rigour nor it war with foreyne enemyis." In 1594 Argyll was defeated by Huntly at Glenlivat, and John Grant of Gartinbeg, who commanded the Grants, is said to have contributed to this result by withdrawing his men early from the battle (left wing). It was by this Laird, as already stated, that Abernethy was acquired from the Earl of Murray. The lands of Tulloch were acquired later from George, Marquis of Huntly, in exchange for the lands of Blairfindy and others in Strathavon. "In the deed of Excambion," as Shaw states, "Huntly reserved a servitude upon that part of the woods of Abernethy which lie westward of Star-na-Manach (the Monk’s Bridge), at the foot of the hill of Rymore, for repairing the House of Gordon Castle and Blairfindy, which servitude was abolished by a Decree Arbitral settling the marches betwixt the Families of Gordon and Grant recorded in the Books of Session 21st December 1771."

VI. Sir JOHN GRANT, only son of John of Frenchie, was the next Laird (1622— 1637). He married Mary Ogilvie, daughter of Sir Walter Ogilvie of Findlater, by whom he had a family of eight sons and three daughters. His seventh son, Mungo, was the first of the Grants of Kinchirdy. Sir William Fraser says that Sir John "wielded a salutary influence in the pacification of feuds among his neighbours, but that he was greatly harassed in his own country, by turbulent spirits of his own name, for whom the Government held him in a measure responsible.’ Robert Grant of Lurg, his uncle, acted as his Chamberlain, and is highly commended in a letter, 24th January, 1631, for his "great care and diligence in holding Courts, and purging the Countrey of knaverie and pyckeries" ; and he is earnestly exhorted "to go on in that good course, that our countrey be not any longer evill spoken of by any of our neighbours." Sir John was one of the first to recognise the value of the woods on his property. In 1631 he entered into a lease of the woods of Abernethy and Duthil with Captain John Mason, acting for the Laird of Pullibardine, for the sum of £20,000 Scots.

VIL Sir John was succeeded by his eldest son, JAMES (1637—1663). This Laird was first on the side of the Covenant, and afterwards on that of the King. He took part in the plundering of Elgin, but was saved from the awkwardness of spoiling the House of his friend, Lord Findlater, at Cullen, this duty having been committed to the Farquharsons, who carried it out "without mercy." Sir James married (1640), at Elgin, Lady Mary Stewart, daughter of James, Earl of Murray. The ceremony was performed, without proclamations, by Mr Gilbert Marshall, Minister of Cromdale, and for this the Synod of Moray suspended him "from his chairge for the space of three Sabhaths." Lady Grant lived and died a Roman Catholic. It is said the Crucifix was carried, for the last time in Strathspey, at her funeral at Duthil, 30th December, 1662. In 1663 Sir James went to Edinburgh "to see justice done to his kinsman Allan Grant of Tulloch, in a criminal prosecution for manslaughter, and although he was successful in preserving the life of his friend, he could not prolong his own. He died there that year, and was buried in the Abbey Church o Holyrood" (Shaw).

VIII. The next Laird was LUDOVICK GRANT (1663—1716). In 1671 he married Janet Brodie, only daughter and heiress of Alexander Brodie of Lethen. She was a zealous Protestant. Lorimer mentions in his MS. Notes that "the people of Murray say it was Janet Brodie that first introduced the Bible into Strathspey, owing to her having a greater strictness in Religion than was common there before; and by the figure which all her children made in the world, it is evident that she gave them, a good education." In 1685 Sir Ludovick was fined £42,500 Scots by the Commissioners for Church Disorders, "in respect the Lady Grant confesses two years and ane haifa withdrawing from ordinances; having and keeping an unlicensed Chaplain; heating outed ministers preach several times," and for his and his Lady’s "delinquencies, singularities and disorders," This heavy fine was ultimately remitted, but it cost the Laird much trouble, and some £24,000 (Scots) to obtain the remission. The Laird in the end became a strang supporter of King William, and joined in the campaign of Mackay. He was one of the Lord Commissioners for the Plantation of Kirks, and it was probably by this Commission that so many Kirks, such as Insh, Rothiemurchus, Kincardine, Inverallan, and Advie, were suppressed on Speyside. There is a touching story told, in a MS. of Anecdotes at Castle Grant, of the Laird’s last days. It is stated that a Gathering of the Clan took place at Ballintomb in 1710, when the men appeared armed, wearing whiskers, and in plaids and tartans of red and green. The Laird presided, and made a speech, in which he said that as he was now old, and no longer fit to command them as formerly, he devolved the leadership upon his son, who "they saw promised as well, if not better than ever he did," He expected, therefore, they would maintain "the same good character with regard to courage and unanimity which they bore when he commanded them." Then turning to his son, he said, "My dear Sandy, I make you this day a very great present, viz., the honour of commanding the Clan Grant, who, while I conducted them, though in troublous times, never misbehaved, so that you have them this day without spot or blemish. I hope and beg that you will use them as well as I did, in supporting their public and private interests, agreeable to the laws of liberty and probity as are now happily established in our land. God bless you all."

IX. Sir Ludovick was succeeded by his second son, ALEXANDER (1716—1719). He served with distinction in the wars of Marlborough, and rose to the rank of Brigadier-General. In the first Jacobite rebellion he rendered great service to the Government, but was very ungraciously treated in return. It was his youngest sister, Margaret, who was married to Lord Lovat (1716). The wedding was celebrated in Strathspey and the Aird in grand Highland fashion, with much feasting, and bonfires blazing on the heights.’

X. The next Laird was JAMES (1719—1747). He loyally supported the Government during the rebellions of 1715 and 1745. Prince Charles made an earnest appeal to him (22nd August, 1745), but the letter was handed unopened to the Secretary of State. Yet though Sir James himself stood by King George, some of the ablest of his clansmen, such as Colquhoun Grant of Burnside and the Grants of Glenmoriston, fought on the Prince’s side, Sir James was a member of Parliament for a quarter of a century. It is said that the family of Grant is one of four Scottish families that could claim an unbroken succession in Parliament for seven generations. Sir James married Ann Colquhoon, daughter and heiress of Sir Humphrey Colquhoun of Luss, and had by her five sons and five daughters. Sir James took much interest in his forests. He is said to have been the first to introduce larch and spruce into the country ; and in correspondence with his son, he refers repeatedly to the steps which had been taken for this purpose.

XI. Sir LUDOVICK GRANT succeeded his father (1747—1773). He married Lady Margaret Ogilvie, eldest daughter of James, fifth Earl of Findlater and Seafield, and by this marriage the Ogilvie estates ultimately came (1811) into the Grant family. Sir Ludovick resided much at Castle Grant. He was a great improver. He took means by proclamations and by the appointment of foresters (three Grants for ABernethy, who received the farm of Rhynettan valued at £100 Scots, as salary, with the common addition of Wedders and Hens, and half the fines for stolen wood, also 1/- sterling for every man who got warrant for timber for his house) for the protection and increase of the woods, He also encouraged the cultivation of kale, turnips, and potatoes, and the use of lime, with improved methods of husbandry. He commuted the custom as to Tythes by which every removing tenant had to leave to the incoming tenant the tenth part of his corn, which belonged to the Heritor, a custom which, Lorimer says, was introduced during the stress and trouble of the great famine in King William’s time, 1695—1701, when many tenants died and much land was unpossessed. Then to assist poor tenants to take farms, the Heritor advanced corn or money to the value of the tenth part of what might grow in a year on their respective farms, and this they were bound to leave to their successors. Lorimer says that Sir Ludovick within seven or eight years had settled 200 tenants on new grounds. He calculated that these would increase in 20 years to 1000 people, who would "cultivate more land, and enable him (the Landlord) to spare in case of great necessity, and indeed it should only be great necessity, a hundred men or two for the army and navy, besides increasing his Rent roll by 2 or £300 a year." Then he adds, in the spirit of Goldsmith, "So that an Improver in this way is one of the greatest Patriots of the Kingdom. He acts quite contrary to the Plan of those who inclose large Farms, and turn out Cottagers, who produce children the pillars of the State. These people may be called Depopulators rather than Improvers." Sir Ludovic was also zealous for the social and moral improvement of his people. He reduced the number of Ale houses, holding that 7 or 8 were sufficient for all Strathspey. He said, "They are generally the pest of the Tenants’ morals. In them they spend their time and money, make quarrels and idle bargains, and occasion great dissolution and vice of every kind." Mr Patrick Grant of Duthil, in the statistical account of his parish, fully confirms this opinion, but laments how Ale was giving place to Whisky, "a beverage which seems fit only for demons.’ It was by Sir Ludovick that the Strathspey Academy, at Cromdsle, was projected, and to him also belongs the honour of having founded the Village of Grantown. Sir Ludovick was ably supported in his various schemes by his son, the Twelfth.

XII. Laird of Freuchie, commonly called "THE GOOD SIR JAMES" (1773—1811). He was remarkable, not only for his justice and benevolence, but for his patriotic spirit. Residing as he did, like his father, mainly at Castle Grant, he was brought more into touch with his people, and was able to take more direct and personal interest in all that concerned their welfare. Shaw, who must have known him well, speaks of him in the highest terms. "He was affable and courteous in his deportment; distinguished for his charity, hospitality, and beneficence ; of a generosity that anticipated the wishes of his friends and exceeded the expectations of strangers; and of exemplary attention to all the offices of religion. He was dignified without pride; affible without meanness; and courteous without deceit. At different periods he represented the Counties of Moray and Banff in Parliament. In 1793 he levied the first Regiment of Fencibles Infantry, and in the year following the 97th Regiment of the Line." General Stewart of Garth is equally laudatory. Sir James married, in 1763, Jane Duff, only child of Alexander Duff of Hatton, by Lady Anne Duff, eldest daughter of William, first Earl of Fife, by whom he had seven sons and six daughters. He died on the 18th February, 1811, and was succeeded by his son.

XIII. LEWIS ALEXANDER (1811—1840). His life was marked by singular and affecting reverses. Educated at Westminster and Edinburgh University, he studied for the Bar, and was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1788. His first case was in January, 1789, before Lord Henderland. He spoke for an hour. The Judge complimented him highly, and Mr Henry Mackenzie, "The Man of Feeling," who was married to his Aunt Penuel, wrote to Castle Grant, with "joy and pride," of his "appearance," the "elegance and animation of his style," aND his high "prospects in public life." It was then what might be called "the Burns season" in Edinburgh, and young Mr Grant seems to have entered with much zest into all the excitements and gaieties of the time. He says in his letters that he was on "intimate terms with Adam Smith and all the philosophers"; and again, that "his head was in a perfect whirligig with balls, dinners, and suppers, and speeches and law papers." Probably he suffered, as others did, from what his friend Corriemony called "the dissipation of the age." In the General Assembly of 1789, Mr Grant spoke with much ability in the contest between Professor Dalziel and Dr Carlyle of Inveresk ("Jupiter" Carlyle) for the Clerkship. Dr Carlyle, No mean judge, wrote that his speech was "the most admired" of all,’—that it was a "consummate specimen of popular eloquence." In 1790 Mr Grant was elected member for Elgin and Nairn, and in the famous Warren Hastings Debates he made his first speech, which drew forth the commendation of Fox. Up to this time all had been bright and full of promise, but suddenly darkness fell, and the career which began so well was stopped, and the fond hopes cherished by loving friends were blighted for ever. In 1791 Mr Grant had to withdraw from public life. For some time he was under medical care. During this period his mind seemed entirely engrossed with what he called "his case," and he wrote endless letters, full of rambling and confused complaints and arguments, couched in legal phraseology. Then he appears to have settled down, and for many years he lived a life of quiet retirement, chiefly at Cullen House, and Grant Lodge, Elgin. He was fond of whist, which he played with much skill, and sometimes, if his partner pleased him, he would present him with one of his silver counters, which bore the Grant Arms. James, 7th Earl of Seafield, having died in 1811, his nephew, Sir Lewis, succeeded to the peerage and estates. He died 26th October, 1840, and was succeeded by his brother.

XIV. FRANCIS WILLIAM (1840—1853). Colonel Grant, as he was commonly called, was born 6th March, 1778, He entered the military service when only 15 years old. After holding appointments in the 97th or Strathspey Regiment, and the Fraser Fencibles, he was in 1799 made Lieut.-Colonel in the Colonsay Fencibles, or Colonel McNeill’s Regiment, with permanent rank in the Army. This Regiment was bound, if required, to serve abroad, and in 1800 it was sent to Gibraltar. When stationed there a call was made for Volunteers to join the army of Sir Ralph Abercromby, and Colonel Grant used to relate, with pride, that when the Regiment was paraded his men answered to the call to a man. But their services were not required; the French were defeated at Alexandria, 21st March, 1801, and the Regiment was ordered home and reduced. Colonel Grant was elected to the Inverness Burghs in 1806; to Elgin in 1807 ; and to the United Counties of Elgin and Nairn in 1833, which seat he held to 1840. He had been a member of Parliament for 38 years. The Rev. Dr Nicoll, of Mains and Strathmartin, said of Colonel Grant, " He is naturally shy, and it is not easy to get the better of natural shyness; but he is one of those who improve greatly on acquaintance, and whom you like the more you know them. . . . He is a man of the strictest honour, integrity and virtue." This was written when Colonel Grant was only 26 ; and this was the character which he maintained all through life. For about 30 years he acted as Curator for his brother, the Earl, and administered all the affairs of the estates with much prudence and success. He was one of the largest planters in Scotland; and it is recorded, in the Annals of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, that at the date of 1847 he had planted over 8223 acres, and 31,686,482 young trees, Scots firs, larches, and hard-wood. He also did much to improve the policies of Cullen House and Castle Grant, in which he was greatly assisted by his accomplished Lady. Colonel Grant was twice married. His first wife was Mary Ann, only daughter of J. C. Dunn, Esq. When his eldest surviving son, Francis William, came of age (1835), there were great rejoicings in the country. Mr Grant, "The Master," as he was always called, was at the time travelling abroad, but when he returned the festivities were renewed, and a public dinner was given him at Grantown 3rd January, 1838. He also visited some of the Gentlemen of the country, and spent some happy days at the Dell. The following extracts from private letters will show how much he was charmed with the country and the people, and especially with Abernethy. Writing to Mr Forsyth, Dell, from Collen House, 18th December, 1837, he says :—" I look forward with much delight to my visit to Strathspey, and although it will not be so long as I could wish, I will stay as long as I possibly can." Then when the visit was past, he writes from Milton Brodie, 21st January, 1838 :—" The people down here are talking a great deal about our doings, and I am praising Abernethy up to the skies for dancing and everything that is good. I cannot repeat to you too often how very much I feel indebted to yourself and to Mrs Forsyth for all your kindness to me, for I must say,. and / hope you will let it be known, that a happier fortnight I never spent. If I omitted calling on any one, it was not that the wish, but that the time was wanting. I only hope that you and Mrs Forsyth have not suffered from your exertions. I trust that you will keep me in the remembrance of the people of Abernethy, and keep alive the Kilt, Games, and Highland Fling, for next summer I hope to see all in perfection. Remember me to all my friends, and your neighbours, at Rothiemoon, and particularly to Lewis Grant, as I depend upon him to throw the hammer next time far beyond the Mason of Grantown." (Thomas Stewart and Grigor Burgess, Grantown, had carried off the first prizes at the Games]. Mr Grant was MV. for Inverness-shire for three years (1838-1840). He was universally beloved, and his sudden death came as a great shock to all who knew him. His mother died 27th February, 1840, and "The Master" and his brother hurried down from London to attend the funeral. He arrived at Cullen House on the 10th March, and his servant found him dead in his bed next morning. He seemed to have passed away gently in sleep. The mother and the son were buried in the Mausoleum at Duthil on the same day, and so mournful and affecting a ceremonial had never before taken place in Strathspey. The next Chief of Grant was

XV. JOHN CHARLES (1853—1881). He was born 4th September, 1814. At the age of fourteen he entered the Navy as a Midshipman, and for some time served under Sir John Franklin, but retired on the death of his elder brother. He succeeded to the title and estates on the death of his father, 30th July, 1853. The same year he was elected one of the representative Peers of Scotland, which position he held till 1858, when he was created a Peer of the United Kingdom, with the title of Baron Strathspey of Strathspey. Lord Seafield, like his father, was a man of a shy and retiring disposition. He had his own convictions, but he did not choose to mix in the conflicts of political life. He preferred a quiet life upon his estates and amongst his own people. "In all relations of life he was good and true. He was loyal to the principles of his House and the history of his Clan. He was an Elder of the National Church—a Presbyterian of Presbyterians—which counted for much in a country where there is too often for the general well-being and union of classes a religious separation that divides ranks and sympathies." "He possessed in a large degree the spirit of justice, kindness, and liberality ; and it was his sincere wish, as it was his constant endeavour, that every one of his numerous dependants should be happy and comfortable. He did not like changes on his estates, and when in the administration of these, any tenant objected to a renewal at a liberal valuation, no one regretted the fact more than the landlord. If any tenant fell into arrears, in the payment of his rent, great consideration was shown by Lord Seafield, who granted indulgence after indulgence till better times came to the unfortunate tenant. Lord Seafield’s improvements upon his estates took a very practical form, the erection of new steadings and farm-houses, the reclamation of waste land, and the construction of roads. He also enlarged the extensive plantations made by his father "—(Sir W. Fraser). Thus, whilst adding to the amenity, he largely increased the value of his estates. Sir W. Fraser states that during the 27 years of Lord Seafields possession, the sum expended in improvements amounted to upwards of half a million pounds sterling. It is easy to see how the expenditure of such an enormous sum must have contributed largely, both directly and indirectly, to the comfort and advantage of his tenants. "In other things, also, Lord Seafield was thoroughly sensible of the responsibilities of his high position. As a holder of many ecclesiastical preferments, he was always careful and conscientious in the exercise of his duties as patron, till the Act of 1874 abolished the exercise of these patronages" (Sir W. Fraser). Lord Seafield married, on 12th August, 1850, the Honourable Caroline Stuart, youngest daughter of Robert Walter, eleventh Lord Blantyre. His death took place at Cullen House on the 18th February, 1881, when he was succeeded by his only son.

XVI. IAN CHARLES GRANT (1881—1884). Earl Ian’s life, though brief, was bright, and enriched by many good deeds and the charm of a delightful personality. At his birth there were great rejoicings over the estates; and when he came of age the rejoicings were renewed with still greater zest and splendour. A banquet, followed by a ball, was given to the Strathspey tenantry and friends in a magnificent pavilion erected in front of the Castle, and a portrait, with an address with about a thousand signatures, were presented to the young Chief. The Master replied in very felicitous terms. He said :—" Sir Patrick Grant and Gentlemen, I would that I knew of, or could for the occasion coin, a word of stronger, deeper meaning than gratitude; but even were there such a word, it would not in the very least express the very half of what my heart feels to you all for this magnificent token of good-will and affection— affection to me, as the son of your Chief. The liberality and unanimity of the whole proceeding are all but unprecedented, and show how the Grants retain the old Clan feeling, even to having my portrait painted by a P.R.A., himself a Grant, and with Craigellachie introduced into it, to remind me always to ‘stand fast.’ What you have done, and what Sir Patrick has today said as spokesman for Strathspey will, please God, make me more earnestly strive to pass my life so as best to repay the love of my parents, and the anxiety the Chin have felt that I should follow in their footsteps, and endeavour to be a worthy inheritor of our grand old name—a name made famous by so many and nobly and well did he strive to act up to this high ideal. Born of a great house, with great traditions, one "to whom a thousand memories called," it was his ambition to make for himself a noble name.

"The world that cares for what is done,
Is cold to all that might have been."

But with Lord Seafield there was not only promise, but performance. Modest, gentle, kind-hearted, courteous; faithful to his convictions, he earnestly endeavoured, to the best of his ability, to discharge all the duties belonging to his position. It could not be said of him that his titles were borne without desert. And more and more, as he gained confidence and experience, the hopes of his friends were raised and the future grew brighter with the promise of honour and usefulness. It seemed as if he was to be a power for good amongst his people. All the more painful was the shock, and all the more poignant the grief caused by his early and unexpected death. Lord Seafield died in London, after a short illness, 31st March, 1884. The funeral took place from Castle Grant on the 9th April. When Lord Seafield’s father was interred, it was winter, and the storm without harmonised with the gloom within; but when the son was carried to his long home, it was spring; the time of the singing of birds was come, and all around were the signs of reviving life and gladness. It was all the sadder, at such a time, to think how a life so precious, and so rich in promise, had been cut short. Lady Seafield, by her son’s will, succeeded to all the estates, and she has proved herself worthy of this high trust. By her abundant charities; her generous treatment of her tenants, to whom once and again in bad years she has given large reductions of rent; and her steadfast support of all measures fitted to promote the social and religious interests of her people, she has shown that it was her aim to follow in the steps of her husband and son, and to fill up what had by them been left behind of good works to be done.

Lady Seafield has caused a handsome marble tablet to be placed in the Parish Church, and in other Churches on the Estates, with the following inscription :— 

IN MEMORIAN
Sir JOHN CHARLES OGILVIE GRANT
7th Earl of Seafield, K.T.
Born 4th September, 1815.      Died 18th February, 1881.
And his only child,
Sir IAN CHARLES OGILVIE GRANT,
8th Earl of Seafield.
Born 7th October, 1851.      Died 31st March, 1884.
Generous supporters of the Church, and devoted to the true welfare
of their people.


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