Early in the nineteenth century, Alexander Arbuthnot left
Scotland for Australia. He settled in a small hamlet on the Murray River in Victoria and
founded a saw-milling business. His descendants continued the business and also built
river boars and barges. There have been five successive generations, each giving their
eldest son the name Alexander. The third Alexander had a steamboast named after him. The
'Alexander Arbuthnot' is being restored as a tourist attraction.
James Arbuthnot of Co.Down, whose mother's name was Sarah
Dunbar but whose father's Christian name is unknown, went to Queensland after his marriage
to Rose Johnson in 1853. They had five sons, Thomas, James, Robert, William and John, also
three daughters, Margaret, Sarah, and Rose. Six generations of their descendants have
lived in Queensland.
Also living in Queensland are the descendants of Samuel
Arbuthnot who went to Australia in 1886. He was the son of Alexander Arbuthnot of
Cookstown, Co.Tyrone. He settled at Homebush, Mackay, Queensland as a sugar farmer. His
farm has passed from his son Alexander to his grandson Stewart.
The descendants of Robert Arbuthnot of Rouen are believed
to be among those Arbuthnots still living in France.
There are several Arbuthnots buried in the English cemetery
at Florence in Italy. They belonged to the British expatriate community which lived there
during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Many of them had retired there from
India. Elnyth Arbuthnot, whose parents were members of this community, married an Italian
nobleman, Count Capponi. The Count was a naval officer who fought with the Allies during
World War II. Countess Capponi had Germans billetted in her country house, south of
Florence, while her husband and son were hiding on the estate. For many months she
concealed their whereabouts, while providing them with food after dark. After she was
widowed in 1965, she went to live in the family house in Florence with her mother, Mrs
Arbuthnot, a remarkable old lady, who had known the Brownings when a child and who lived
until she was 101.
This brief outline of the history of the family had been
compiled from facts available at the time of writing. Hopefully there are not too many
important omissions. However knowledge in some areas is very sketchy, particularly
concerning the first settlers in Ireland and those in New Zealand. It is hoped that anyone
who feels they have more information to contribute will do so. Some may recognise
ancestors among those mentioned and may thus be able to trace more easily their own family
The Arbuthnott Missal, with the Prayer-book
and Psalter may be seen at Paisley Museum, it is advisable to give advance notice of an
intended visit. These books were written in manuscript and illuminated by the incumbent
priest at Arbuthnott under the patronage of Robert Arbuthnott of that Ilk. All three were
commissioned by him, for use in the Church, between 1480 and 1500. The Missal is the only
Pre-Reformation Mass Book remaining in Scotland. The rest were all burnt at the
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