Earls and Earldoms of Scotland
Chapter VI - Earldom and Earls of
Findlater, and Seafield
EARLY NOTICE OF THE GRANTS—THEIR TERRITORIES—CHIEFS OF
GRANT—PATRICK GRANT—JOHN GRANT—SIR DUNCAN GRANT OF FREUCHIE
— JOHN GRANT OF FREUCHIE —
JAMES OF FREUCHIE—JOHN OF FREUCHIE—DUNCAN GRANT—JOHN OF FREUCHIE
— LANDS OF ROTHIEMURCHUS —
SIR JOHN OF FREUCHIE—JAMES GRANT OF CARRON—DEATH OF SIR JOHN.
THE Grants appear in the national records about the
middle of the 13th century. They do not claim a Celtic origin, though they
became a great clan; and they were at one time or other associated with
many of the Highland clans.
Sir Laurence the Grant and Sir Robert Grant appear as
witnesses to a deed dated 1258. Sir Laurence the Grant was Sheriff of
Inverness in 1263, which then embraced an extensive and important
jurisdiction, including the counties of Inverness, Ross, Sutherland, and
Caithness. He was also Baillie of Inverquoich; and in
1266 he rendered an account for it to the Crown.
The Grants have been connected with Strathspey for a
period of over six centuries, and it was and still is their main district.
Yet it was not in Strathspey that the Grants first appeared in Scotland.
So far as has been ascertained, their original possession was Stratherrick,
a district in Inverness-shire, lying on the south-eastern side of Loch
Ness. In 1357 Patrick Grant was Lord of Stratherrick, and probably it had
been possessed by his grandfather, Sir Laurence Grant, Sheriff of
Inverness. The lands of Stratherrick continued in the possession of the
Grants till 1419, when they passed into the hands of the Frasers.
In the reign of Robert I. John Grant had acquired
possession of the lands of Inverallan, in Strathspey, the first territory
which the Grants obtained in this region. And gradually by grants from the
Crown, by purchase, and in other ways, they acquired possession of the
greater part of the lands in Strathspey—from Laggan, to a considerable
distance beyond lower Craigellachie, which stands near the confluence of
the Fiddoch with the Spey. Upper Craigellachie marks the boundary between
Badenoch and Strathspey, and was the meeting-place for the Clan Grant in
time of war. The war-cry of the clan was—" Stand fast, Craigellachie"; and
the onset of Craigellachie was not easily withstood.
Sir Duncan Grant was called Laird of Freuchie in a
precept addressed to him on the 31st of August, 1453, touching the
infeftment of John Hay in certain lands in the earldom of Moray. He was
the first Grant called Laird of Freuchie, and his successors became the
recognised chiefs of Grant. He was a man of energy and ability, and
extended the possessions of the family.
He married Muriel, a daughter of Malcolm, tenth chief
of the Mackintoshes, by whom he had issue, one son and two daughters. His
eldest daughter, Catherine, married Lachlan Mackintosh of Badenoch, and
had issue. Muriel married Patrick Leslie of Balquhain, and had issue.
Sir Duncan Grant died in 1483, and was succeeded by his
grandson, John Grant of Freuchie. He was an able and
determined man, and played his part well for a period of 43 years.
He was on intimate terms with the second and third
Earls of Huntly, and had several transactions with them touching the lands
of Urquhart and Glenmoriston, in Inverness-shire, and other matters.
In January, 1494, he resigned all his lands into the
hands of the king, who regranted them to him and his heirs, incorporating
them all into a barony, to be called the Barony of Freuchie. On the 8th of
December, 1509, James IV.
granted a charter of the lands and barony of Urquhart and Glenmoriston, to
John Grant, laird of Freuchie, and his sons.
He married Margaret Ogilvie, a daughter of Sir James
Ogilvie of Deskford, in 1484, by whom he had two
sons and five daughters. His daughter Anne married Hugh Fraser, Master of
Lovat; Agnes married Donald Cameron, the chief of Clan Cameron.
John Grant, second laird of Freuchie, died in May,
1528, and was succeeded by his son James, third
laird. He also extended the family possessions.
He married twice, his first wife being a daughter of
John, sixth Lord Forbes, and his second was Christina Barclay, and by
these wives he had four sons and five daughters. He died on the 26th of
August, 1553, and was succeeded by his eldest son
John, fourth laird of Freuchie.
On the 30th of October, 1554, he
was appointed baillie of the Abbey of Kinloss, an office which his father
had held. He was present at Holyrood with the Earl of Huntly on the night
of the 9th of March, 1566, when David Rizzio was slain. He joined Queen
Mary’s party after her flight into England, and acted with the Earl of
Huntly. In 1569 he
received from the Earl of Huntly a gift of the Abbey of Kinloss, with all
He married, first, Lady Margaret Stewart, a daughter of
John, third Earl of Athole, on the 19th of February, 1539;
and, secondly, he married Lady Janet Leslie, a daughter of
the Earl of Rothes, and by his two marriages he had two sons and seven
His eldest son, Duncan Grant, married Margaret,
daughter of William Mackintosh of Dunnachton, by whom he had issue, five
sons and two daughters. In 1578 Duncan Grant acquired the lands of
Ardneidlie, Corsairtly, and Cowperhill, in the parish of Keith. He died at
Abernethy in the spring of 1582, and was interred in
the family vault at Duthil.
John Grant died on the 3rd of June, 1585, at
Ballachastell, and was interred at Duthil. He was succeeded by his
grandson, John Grant (son of Duncan, noticed above) fifth Laird of
The possession of the lands and barony of Rothiemurchus
had long been a matter of dispute between the Mackintoshes and the Grants.
On the 14th of June, 1586, the Laird of Mackintosh
entered into an agreement with the Laird of Freuchie, by which Mackintosh
resigned all rights he had to the lands and barony of Rothiemurchus; and
he also became bound to assist in guarding the lands of Urquhart,
Glenmoriston, and other lands belonging to the Grants, against the raids
of the Clan Cameron, Clan Donald, or others. On the other hand, the Laird
of Freuchie undertook to infeft Mackintosh in certain lands in Lochalsh
and Kessoryne, and in the castle of Strome, with office of constable,
which had come into the possession of the Lairds of Freuchie. The Laird of
Freuchie further undertook to uphold the Laird of Mackintosh in peaceable
possession of Lochaber against the Clan Cameron and all others, excepting
the King and the Earl of Huntly.
John Grant greatly extended the territory of the
family. In 1606 he acquired the lower portion of the lordship of Abernethy
from George, First Marquis of Huntly, by exchanging for it the lands of
Blairfindy and others in Strathavon. And in 1609 he made arrangements with
the Earl of Moray, by which he obtained a charter of the lands and
lordship of Abernethy, and in return for it paid the earl a sum of money.
The same year he purchased the lands and barony of Cromdale from Thomas
He married Lady Lilias Murray, a daughter of Sir John
Murray of Tullibardine, by whom he had a son and four daughters. Agnes was
born in 1594; she married Sir Lachlan Mackintosh of Dunnachton, and had
issue. Her tocher was 10,000 merks. Jean married William Sutherland of
Duffus, and had issue. Lilias married Sir Walter Innes of Balveny, and had
The laird died on the 20th of September, 1622, and was
interred at the Church of Duthil. He was succeeded by his only son, Sir
John Grant, sixth laird of Freuchie. He was born on the 17th of August,
In his time there was often strife and disorder in the
north, and Sir John was frequently involved in these troubles. He was
convener of the Justices of the Peace in the counties of Inverness and
Cromarty, and he was also sometimes entrusted with special and general
commissions of justiciary in his own and other districts. He exerted
himself to keep order in his own territories.
But one of his own clan, James Grant of Carron, locally
called James an Tuim (of the Hill), was an extremely turbulent character.
His acts of violence caused much trouble to Sir John Grant. At last James
an Tuim was captured, conveyed to Edinburgh, and imprisoned in the Castle.
His trial, however, was postponed for some time, and one night he made his
escape from Edinburgh Castle, and returned to Strathspey. He was
proclaimed an outlaw, and great efforts were made to capture him dead or
alive. He committed more deeds of violence, and eluded all the attempts to
capture him. Eventually, through the influence of the Marquis of Huntly,
James an Tuim obtained a remission of all his crimes from Charles I. in
1639, and afterwards he entered the service of the Marquis against the
Sir John Grant married Mary, a daughter of Sir Walter
Ogilvie of Findlater, and afterwards Lord Ogilvie of Deskford, by whom he
had seven sons and three daughters. His eldest daughter Mary married Lord
Lewis Gordon, afterwards third Marquis of Huntly, and had issue, George,
who was created first Duke of Gordon, and two daughters.
In March 1637, he went to Edinburgh, and on his arrival
he was imprisoned on a charge of not pursuing the Clan Gregor, but shortly
after he was liberated. He died at Edinburgh on the 1st of April, 1637,
and was interred in the Chapel of Holyrood.