Earls and Earldoms of Scotland
Chapter VI - Earldom and Earls of
Findlater, and Seafield
JAMES, FIFTH EARL OF FINDLATER AND
SECOND EARL OF SEAFIELD—HIS FAMILY, MARRIAGE OF HIS DAUGHTER TO THE LAIRD
OF GRANT—HIS DEATH—JAMES, SIXTH EARL—HIS EFFORTS TO INTRODUCE
IMPROVEMENTS—HIS DEATH—JAMES, SEVENTH EARL—SIR LEWIS ALEXANDER GRANT
— DEATH OF EARL JAMES—SUCCESSION
OF SIR LEWIS ALEXANDER
James married Lady Elizabeth Hay, a daughter
of Thomas, sixth Earl of Kinnoull, by whom he had a son and two daughters.
His eldest daughter, Lady Margaret Ogilvie, married Sir Ludovick
Grant of Grant, Bart., on the 31st of October, 1734. This was a very
important marriage, and some details associated with it are quite in
character. The marriage gave much satisfaction to
the Earl of Findlater, who on the occasion wrote to the
chief of the Grants thus:-
"The constant and uninterrupted
friendship which has always been
between our families, and the great esteem I justly have both for you and
your son, makes the honour you do me of proposing a third alliance between
our families most agreeable, and it is with great pleasure that I renew
our ancient ties of relation and friendship." After the consummation of
the marriage, the Earl again wrote :—"I have the pleasure to acquaint you
that your son was married on Monday last. We made all possible despatch,
because of his being obliged to be so soon in Edinburgh. . .
I have great satisfaction in this
alliance, because it strengthens and renews the ancient friendship which
has constantly been between our families, and which the instructions of my
father and grandfather had made habitual to me from my infancy. There is
sincerely nothing I wish more heartily than the prosperity of your family,
and that my daughter may have the happiness of contributing to it
according to her duty. My wife and my son join with me in offering you
their humble services, and I am, with the greatest truth and esteem, dear
sir, your most faithful and obedient humble servant,
FINDLATER AND SEAFIELD."
On the same occasion the famous Lord Lovat, who was
related to the Chiefs of Grant through marriage, wrote to Sir James Grant
as follows :—.
"My Dear Sir James,—It is with inexpressible joy that I
congratulate you on the marriage of your eldest son to the Earl of
Findlater’s daughter, whom I believe is the best match in Scotland. She is
a young lady not only beautiful in her person, but much more by her good
sense and understanding, and by her sweet and even temper, which I hope
will make him as happy as he was before, and I could not wish him better.
He sent me an express to go and solemnise the infer at Castle Grant with
the Earl and Countess of Findlater and his other friends; but my
chariot-wheels being broke I could not go but on horseback, and that I
durst not venture without the imminent danger of my life—which would be no
service done him or to your family —which I am resolved to stand by while
there is breath in me . . . I got here last night and my best friends of
the Aird and Stratherick, and put on a very great bonfire on the
castlehill, and there drank heartily to the bridegroom and bride and your
health and my Lord Findlater’s, and, in short, to all the healths that we
could think of that concerned the family of Grant, and then had a ball,
and concluded with most of the gentlemen being dead drunk. We fired a
random platoon at every health that was drank at the bonfire, where I
stood an hour and a half, and drank my bottle without water—and while the
bonfire was burning. I having sent my officers to the three parishes, all
the country of the Aird and Great Barony of Beauly was, I am sure, better
illuminated than London was on the 30th of October. . . . I. had at once
in this country about 200 bonfires,
which made as pretty a figure as ever I saw of fireworks.
. . . After our earthly
rejoicings we should all thank heaven for this happy event. May God bless
them and give them a very numerous offspring, and may you see their
grandchildren. . .
Yours against all quarrels,
The descendants of this marriage eventually succeeded
to the Earldom of Seafield.
Earl James died in 1764, and was succeeded by his only
son, James, sixth Earl of Findlater and third Earl of Seafield. He was
born in 1714, and completed his education by
In 1761, when Lord Deskford, he was appointed
Chancellor of the University and King’s College, Aberdeen, and held the
office for nine years.
He was appointed one of the Commissioners of Custom in
Scotland in 1754; he was one of the trustees for the
improvement of manufactures and fisheries; and also a member of the Board
of Commissioners for the management of the forfeited estates in Scotland.
He directed his attention to the business of these boards with much energy
and commendable assiduity. Through his efforts linen manufacture was
introduced in Cullen in 1748, and in 1732 he
established a bleachfield at Deskford.
His lordship made many efforts to introduce improved
methods of agriculture on his estates in the lower district of Banffshire.
Until the later part of the last and the first quarter of the present
centuries there was no regular rotation of cropping, while all the
agricultural implements and appliances in use were of a very primitive
description. The Earl, while Lord Deskford, introduced the alternate
method of cropping, and he was also among the first to introduce the
culture of turnips.
He married Lady Mary Murray, a daughter of John, First
Duke of Athole, by whom he had issue. Earl James died at Cullen House, on
the 3rd of November, 1770, in his 56th year, and was succeeded by his only
surviving child, James, Seventh Earl of Findlater and Fourth Earl of
At Brussels, in 1779, he married
Christina Teresa, a daughter of Joseph, Count Murray of Melgum, but had no
On the 6th of September, 1787, Burns stayed a night in
Cullen when on his Highland tour. On the 14th of December, 1788, Sir James
Clark, Bart., M.D., was born in Cullen House, where his father was butler.
He received the elements of education in the parish of Fordyce, and became
a distinguished physician.
It appears that the Earl was on the best terms with his
heir-apparent, Sir Lewis Alexander Grant, who, in the beginning of March,
1789, visited the Earl at Cullen House. On the occasion of the first
appearance of Lewis at the Scottish Bar, in January, 1789, the Earl of
Findlater wrote to Sir James Grant (Lewis’s father) thus:—"I
cannot delay congratulating you on the brilliant appearance which Lewis
has made on his entry to the Bar. Mr. Mackenzie wrote me wonders about it,
and Mr. Davidson wrote me that nothing had ever been heard equal to it for
wit, judgment, and eloquence . . .
I thought it proper to write Lord Henderland, acknowledging
my gratitude for the public commendations he had given of it
. . ." The Earl in another letter
says :—" I wrote my young
friend not to go on as he had began, otherwise the vanity of belonging to
him would prolong my life 20 years beyond its
Earl James died at Cullen House on the 5th of October,
1811, leaving no issue, and the titles of Earl of
Findlater and Viscount of Seafield, which were limited to heirs-male then
became extinct. But the titles of Earl of Seafield and Viscount Reidhaven,
created by the patent of 1701, were not so restricted, and accordingly
devolved with the whole of the family estates on Sir Lewis Alexander Grant
of Grant, Bart, a grandson of Sir Ludovick Grant of Grant, and his wife,
Lady Margaret Ogilvie. Thus Sir Lewis Alexander Grant became fifth Earl of
Seafield, Viscount Reidhaven, and Lord Ogilvie of Deskford and Cullen, and
assumed the surname of Ogilvie.
At this stage it is requisite to present a brief
account of the Chiefs of Grant prior to their succession to the Earldom of
Seafield. This will form the subject of a few sections.