RAIT, or RATE,
a surname, originally Rhet, supposed to have been derived from a German,
who came to Scotland in the reign of Malcolm the Maiden, from the
country of Rhetia, whence the name. He is said to have got from that
monarch some lands in Perthshire, which he called after his own name. In
the reign of John Baliol mention is made of Sir Gervase Rait of that
ilk. The name appears in the Ragman Roll as that of one of the Scots
barons who swore fealty to Edward I. of England in 1296. In the reign of
Robert III., Sir Alexander Rait of that ilk having killed the thane of
Calder, fled to the Mearns, and obtained the protection of the earl
Marischal. His son, Mark Rait, married the heiress of Hallgreen, named
Dunnet or Durand, and got with her that estate, which became the
designation of the family. David Rait of Hallgreen and Drumnagar had a
charter from King James III. of these lands. A second son of this family
was ancestor of the Raits of Pitforthie.
The Raits of Anniston
House, Forfarshire, are also a branch of the Hallgreen family.
John Rait, D.D., bishop
of Aberdeen in 1351, is witness to a charter the last day of February in
the 23d year of David II. He died in the 26th year of the same king,
viz., 1355. Another of the family was minister of Inverkeillour,
Forfarshire, and died about 1688.
There was likewise a
Capt. Rait, R.N., of whom honourable mention is made in the Life of
William IV., as the gallant Rait.
Dr. George Rait, brother
of Rait of Hallgreen, married Catherine, daughter of Bishop Douglas of
Dunblane, and had, with a daughter, Lady Ramsay of Banff, a son, William
Rait, Esq., whose son, John Rait of Anniston House, married in 1799
Elizabeth, daughter of James Guthrie, Esq. of Craigie, Forfarshire, with
His son, James Rait of
Anniston House, born Nov. 20, 1805, educated at Eton, Edinburgh, and the
University of St. Andrews; major of the Forfarshire militia, and a
magistrate and deputy lieutenant of the county; was formerly Captain
15th Hussars. He commanded a regiment of lancers in the British legion
in Spain in 1835-7, and gained the 1st class medal of St. Ferdinando. He
was also decorated by General Cordova in the field with the 2d class
medal of the same. He married July 17, 1838, Lady Clementina Drummond
Ogilvy, 2d daughter of the earl of Airlie, with issue.
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