Grant Histories : Shaw Text

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[Transcription Note: Marginal notes have been incorporated into the text - shown intalics.]


From what country to fetch the Grants originally I know not. Some make the names Suene, Allan, &c., indications of a Norwegian extraction. Others make the surname, Grande, of French original. These two may be compounded by fetching them from Norway into Normandy in France, and thence into Britain with William the Norman Conqueror. But, if we allow them a Scottish origin, the name will bear us out. For, in the Irish, Grant signifies Gray or Hoary. And one tribe of the Grants is called Keran, or Kiaran, much the same with Gray or Grant. But in this I determine nothing.

Not to carry up their antiquity (as an inexact and unchronological Tree of the family doth) to Woden the Heathen, their descendants can be traced back 500 years, with strong presumptions of a much higher antiquity. (1) In an Agreement betwixt the Bishop of Moray and Bisset of Lovat, anno 1268, "Robertus do Grant vicecomes de Inverness" is witness (Chart. Mor.). (2) Joannes de Grant was one of those Barons, with Radulphus his brother, whom King Edward I sent prisoners from Berwick to London, anno 1296. They were not liberate till 30th July 1297 when they were obliged to engage to serve King Edward abroad "contra quoscunque inimicos d. d. Regis" (Rym., vol. ii., p. 776). (3) Robertus de Grant is one of the Barons in Ragman`s Roll (Prynne, vol. iii, p. 657) about anno 1300, and the author of the Remarks on that Roll calleth him the ancestor of the family of Grant (Nisb. Herald, vol. ii, Remarks on Ragman`s Roll, p. 35). (4) John de Grant was one of the commanders in the battle of Halidonhill, anno 1333; and, anno 1359, the same gentleman, with Sir Robert Erskine and Norman Lesly, were ambassadors to the Court of France to renew the ancient league (Abercr. Hist. Folio, vol. ii., p. 124); and (5) Robert Grant, Esq., was much in favour with King Robert II; and in 1381 was one of those Barons among whom were distributed 50,000 crowns of gold, remitted from France to animate the Scots to invade England (Rym.). Men of such distinction and eminence in those early ages are an undeniable historical presumption, that the Name and Clan were, even in these days, numerous, powerful, and much respected.

I cannot, indeed, instruct that these five gentlemen were the successive representatives of the family, although I think it highly probable. But the following descents, from father to son, admit of no question, viz: (6) Maude or Matildis, heiress, married Andrew Steuart, son of Sir John Steuart, Sheriff of Bute, who was son of King Robert II, (Geneal. Tree); and their son was (7) Patrick, who married the daughter and heiress of Wiseman of Mulben, and by her was father of (8) John Roy. This gentleman married Bigla Cumming, heiress of Glenchernich [or Duthel]. He had two sons, viz., Duncan, his heir, and Duncan, progenitor of the Clan Donachie or family of Gartenbeg. (9) Duncan, whom in 1479 I find designed Duncan Grant of Freuchie (cart. pen. Kilr.), married Muriel, daughter of Malcolm, Laird of McIntosh, by whom he had John, his heir, and Patrick, ancestor of the family of Ballindalach. (10) John, the Bard-Roy, or Red Poet, married Elizabeth Ogilvie daughter of Findlater, by whom he had John, his heir. He had likewise a natural son, called John More, ancestor of the family of Glenmoriston. (11) John, by his lady, a daughter, it is said, of Rothes had three Sons, viz., James, his heir; John, of whom Corimonie is descended; and Patrick, ancestor of Bonhard. (12) James, called Shemuis nan Creach, i.e., the Ravager, married a daughter of Lord Forbes, and dying anno 1553, was succeeded by his son (13) John Baold ie, Simple, who, by his first wife, Margaret, daughter of Steuart, Earl of Athole, had Duncan, his heir, and Patrick, ancestor to Rothiemurchus; and by his second wife, Isobel Barclay, daughter of Towie, he had Archibald of Bellentom. (14) Duncan died 1581, before his father, who died 1585 and his wife, Margaret, daughter of the Laird of McIntosh, left John, his heir; Patrick, of whom is Easter Elchies; and Mr. James, of whom are Moyness and Lurg. (15) John of Freuchie who died anno 1622, leaving by his wife Lilias Moray, daughter of Tullibardin (16), Sir John, called Sir John Sell the Land, who, by Mary Ogilvie, daughter of Finlater, had eight sons of whom James succeeded him. Colonels John and Patrick left no male issue, nor did Alexander nor George, governor of Dumbarton. Of the other three, Mungo of Kincherdie was ancestor to Knockando and to Kincherdie; the 7th was Robert of Muckerach; and the 8th Thomas of Belmacaan. Sir John died anno 1637. (17) James married Mary Steuart, daughter of the Earl of Moray, and dying anno 1663 left two sons, Ludovick and Patrick of Wester Elchies. I need not descend farther to mention (18) Ludovick, who died in 1718, father of (19) Brigadier Alexander, who, dying 1719, was succeeded by his brother (20) Sir James. He, dying 1747, was succeeded by his son (21), Sir Ludovick, to whom, anno 1773, succeeded his son (22), Sir James, now living.

I have dwelt thus much on the descents of the House of Grant, that the branches of it might appear, and to avoid repetitions. Besides the branches above-named, there are other three that claim a higher antiquity, viz: The Clan Alan, or family of Achernack; the Clan Chiaran or family of Dillachaple; and the Clan Phadrick or family of Tullochgorm. These contend that they sprung from the House of Grant before they came from Stratherick into Strathspey. That the ancient residence of the Grants was in Stratherick cannot reasonably be questioned. The names of their ancient or old seats in Stratherick (as Gartmore, Gartbeg, Dillachapel, &c.) are given to their new seats in Strathspey. But at what precise time they came into Strathspey (surely not all at one time) I pretend not to determine. The Laird of Grant was designed of Freuchie before 1479, and I think it probable that they began to come to Speyside about, or before the year 1400.

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