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The Scottish Nation

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 issue.

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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