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Brodie


The Brodies are one of the original Pictish tribes of Moray, and the clan has always been associated with that area. King Malcolm IV confirmed land on the Brodies of Moray in the 12th century and Michael, Thane of Brodie, received a charter from King Robert Bruce shortly before the Battle of Bannockburn. Factual history on the clan is scarce since in 1645 all records were destroyed when Brodie Castle, near Forres was burned by Lord Lewis Gordon in the Covenanting conflict. Despite this the family have always been prominent in both local and national affairs. Alexander Brodie of Brodie was appointed Lord Lyon King of Arms in 1727 and throughout the long history of the family there has been connections through marriage with many of Scotland's greatest families. Brodie Castle, now restored, is the seat of the clan chief. One member of the family who is famed for his notorious and evil character is Deacon William Brodie who lived in Edinburgh in the 18th century, and was respectable by day, but by night, a thief, in the end he was hanged by a mechanism of his own devising in 1788.


BRODIE: This name is derived from the Barony of Brodie in Morayshire, where the kindred were one of the tribes who had held their lands from time immemorial. Their earliest recorded chief was Malcolm, Thane of Brodie in the reign of Alexander III, whose son Michael obtained a charter of his lands from King Robert Bruce in 1311 erecting the old Celtic thaneage into a barony. The name frequently appears in papers relating to other families, spanning dates in the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries, and from such we must deduce the medieval history of the Brodies, for most of their own papers were burnt or lost when Lord Lewis Gordon set fire to Brodie House in 1645. The clan under John Brodie of Brodie were amongst those who assisted the Mackenzies in their defeat of Alexander Macdonald of Lochalsh at Blar na Pairc in 1466, and in 1550 Alexander Brodie with a hundred others were denounced rebels for attacking Cumming of Altyre. During the Civil Wars of the 17th century Alexander Brodie of Brodie was responsible for the destruction of Elgin Cathedral in 1640, and ten years later was one of the Commissioners sent to persuade Charles II to sign the National Covenant and resume the Scottish Crown. He later became Lord Brodie as a senator of the College of Justice. In 1720 the chiefship passed to Alexander Brodie, Lord Lyon King of Arms between 1727 and 1754, and from James Brodie of Brodie, the 21st Chief (1759-1824), descend all subsequent chiefs of the name. A rare pontifical discovered in Brodie Castle in 1970 and now housed in the British Museum, indicates the family's existence from at least 1000 A.D. Cadet families include the Brodies of Lethen in Nairn, Idvies in Angus, and Eastbourne in Sussex. Sir Benjamin Brodie, Surgeon to the Royal Family, was made a Baronet in 1834, but Deacon William Brodie of Edinburgh was a less savoury character who at the end of the 18th century pursued a double-life as a worthy councillor by day and a burglar by night. The lifestyle of this gentleman, later hanged for his nocturnal activities, inspired R.L.Stevenson to write 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'. 


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