hundred years ago the first authentic record of the Graeme is found, when William appears as witness to the Charter of Foundation
of the Abbey of Holyrood, which was founded in A.D. 1125-8 by King David I of Scotland.
William de Graeme
stands out, from the tradition surrounding that period, as a historic personality; for we not only find him a witness to the
Holyrood Charter, but to that of the Priory of Durham in 1139, and also acquiring many and broad lands, including those of
Charleton and Burrowfield, near Glasgow; and the lordship of Kinaber, Co. Kincardine; together with the lands of Abercorn
and Dalkeith, all granted to him by King David. He gave to the monks of Haddington the lands of Clerken Town when Adda, Countess
of Northumberland, laid the foundation of that convent.
No facts of
William’s ancestery have reached us; tradition alone records that he sprung from a renowned "Graym", who was the father
in law of Fergus II, King of the Scots, and had come over with that monarch from Denmark, and their offspring became the wife
of Fergus. He also commanded the King’s army, during which period he attached and demolished the wall of Antoninus,
built across Scotland from the Firth of Forth to that of the Clyde, which marked the northern limit of the country conquered
by the Romans.
After the death
of King Fergus "Graym" became guardian to the young King Eugene (his grandson), and when he had restored religion, law and
order to the State he resigned his guardianship and placed the government of the kingdom in Eugene’s hands so soon as
that monarch reached full age.
descendant of the Montrose family accepts this tradition we must leave to their own decision, but it would seem that the characteristics
and records of the family point rather to the Scandinavian than normal descent, which is the other alternative of William
de Graeme’s origin.
For those who
accept the former, a very interesting account of the building of the wall of Antoninus, showing its date and progress, may
be found in Mr Gillespie’s edition of the "History of Stirlingshire", to which volume I am indebted for the following:-
parish Church (which had been built by Malcolm Canmore) was razed to the ground in 1011 a white marble slab was discovered
amongst the foundations, about one foot square in size. It bears two inscriptions – one relating to the foundation of
the monastery 1057, and the other to the memory of the Thane who broke down the great wall. The latter runs as follows:-
HIC DESN ROB GRAHAM
FERGVSIVS II R. SCO.
From the existence
of this slab it seems that the tradition must have been accepted as fact in the year 1057. That the remains of this wall in
that district are called to this day "Graham’s Dyke" cannot be disputed.
Mr James Brown’s
assertion that the whole tradition is "absurd fiction" is scarcely argument, and certainly not proof, especially as he appears
unable to give any reason for the name the Dyke bears; the etymology of which he says "has confounded antiquarians and puzzled
philologists", while he throws great doubt on its being derived from "Grym," which signifies strength, in the British and
Welsh languages of the period.
In an old black-letter
book in the library at Innerpeffray, Perthshire (the title page of which is very quaintly ornamented and bears the date 1577
as the year of printing), is the most detailed account of "Grym" that I have hitherto come across.
It is a history
of Scotland, dedicated to the Lord Robert Dudley, Earl of Lycester, Baron of Denbigh, Knight of the Garter, etc. etc.; the
author is one Raphael Holmshead.
are one or two extracts:-
"The Scots and
Picts being informed (of the building of the wall) they assembled together, and under the leading of a noble man called Graym,
they set upon the Brytagnes (who were building the Dyke from Abercorn to Dumbarton by order of the Romans, making it of ‘turfe’,
sustained with certain posts of timber passing athwart the border) as they were busie in working about the same, and slue
not only a great number of labours and souldiours, which were set to labour to defend the work, but also entering into the
British borders fetched from thence a great bootie of cattaile and other riches, etc.
who as I sayde was chief of the enterprys, was borne in Denmark (as some holde opinion) in the tyme of the Scottish men’s
banishment, and had a Scottish man to his father descended of a noble house, and a Danish lady to his mother; he himself also
married a noblewoman of that nation, and had by hir a daughter, whom Fergus by the perswasione of the King of Denmark took
to wife, and had issue by hir (before his coming into Scotland) three sons, Eugumius, Dongarus and Constantuos, of whom hereafter
mention shall be made.
that this Grayme was a Briton born, and that thro’ hate of the Romanes for their cruel government he fledde forth of
his native country, and continued ever after amongst the Scottes, first in Denmark and then in Albion."
The author goes
on to relate that whilst the Britons were busy sending "Ambassors" to Rome to consult about their defences the Picts and Scots
advanced under the leadership of "Graym". He was chief in repulsing the "Bretagnes, and razed down the wall of Abercorn, not
leaving one pieve thereon, so that only a few tokens are left to this day of that huge and wonderful work; it is called now
in these days Grams dyke, because that Grayme ye have heard was not only chief in repulsing the Bretagnes from the same, but
also at this time in the razing of it he was the greatest doer".
"History of Stirlingshire" tells us this wall runs along from Castle Cary parallel with Bonny water; after clearing Seabog
wood it passes on to Chapel Hill, where a small Castellum stood on the north side of the ditch. It is between this point and
Elf Hill that the wall bears the local name of "Graham’s Dyke", from the tradition that it was at this spot "Graym"
broke through the military cordon defending it.
For my purpose
the years 1125-39, with their indisputable proof of the tenure of the Graemes on Scotch soil, are sufficient. Certainly at
this period, William de Grame was a person of assured position and wealth and established (as many of his descendants were
to be also) in the confidence and friendship of his king.
It was his second
son, John de Grame, who was destined to continue the line of the Earldom and Dukedom of Montrose.
a charter of the Newbattle Monastery in 1170, and was present at the Court held by King Alexander at Alyth in 1200, when all
claims to certain lands of the Church of Glasgow were resigned by William Comyn.
There is a curious
coat represented in Mr Stodart’s "Scottish Arms" which was borne by John’s nephew at the siege of Caerla rock.
This Henry de Grame was in Curia Regis at Edinburgh in 1189-96.
John de Grame
was succeeded by his son William as third in line, the only special mention of him that I have met with is a charter of Alexander
of Seton, confirmed by William II, surnamed the Lion, in 1200, to which his seal is appended.
His son David,
fourth in line, was the first to hold lands near Montrose. To him also descended the lands of Kynabar, obtained by his great
grandfather, William de Grame – the first of our line – the grant of these lands were conferred on him as David
of Grame pater (senior) Knight of Kynaber, Charlton and Borrowfield, in shire of Forfar, together with the fishing of the
water of Northesk, in free Barony, for the service of a bowman in the King’s Army, and a suit of Court dress, and granted
under the Great Seal by William the Lion at the King’s head Court of Forfar.
He also obtained
a grant of lands in Midlothian from his cousin Henry of Dalkeith. Four sons were born to him – David, Sir Patrick (who
witnessed a charter by Alexander II to Newbottle Monastery in 1248) Sir Thomas and Sir William.
The eldest son
succeeded as fifth in line, and was known as Sir David of Dundaff, having obtained a charter of Dundaff and Strath-carron
(formerly the King’s forest) from the Earl of Dunbar; the charter of confirmation is dated at Scone, 1237, by Alexander
II to David of Graeme for his homage and service the whole "waste lands" of Dundaff and Strath-carron.
We find David’s
name as witness in a charter of the lands of Dunipace, by Adam of Morham, to St Mary’s Church, of Cambus; and soon after
he became one of the guarantees in a treaty with Henry III, A.D. 1244. He died, leaving by his wife, Agnes, a son.
Sir David Graeme
of Dundaff and Kincardine, sixth in line, was sheriff of the county of Berwick, and in 1242 had become husband of Annabella,
daughter of Robert, fourth Earl of Strathearn. By this time the broad acres, secured by his predecessors, had been enlarged
and strengthened, for we find the lands of Strathblane in Stirling and Mugdoc in Lennox (granted by Maldurin, "Earl of Lenos")
added to those of Dundaff and the lands before mentioned, and secured by charter under the Great Seal of Alexander III.
of Kincardine’s marriage with Annabella, he obtained further lands, being granted by her brother, Malise, Earl of Strathearn,
charters of the lands of Kincardine, Coule, Clune, Foscayle, Perny and Bardrals, in feu and heritage, for the payment yearly
of one penny in name of Blench farm.
The date of
this charter is circa 1260, and it is witnessed by Robert, Bishop of Dunclane, Sir Stephen of Moran, and Sir Nicholas, Rector
of Crieff. In the charter of confirmation of these lands granted to David’s son Patrick by Alexander III, at Scone,
1285, it is stipulated that , if these lands should fall to the King, three suits are to be rendered at Perth annually at
the three head plea.
mentioned in the above charter, forms part of the Barony of Aberuthven, which became the portion of the first Laird of Inchbrakie
and Aberuthven as son of William, first Earl of Montrose; and to this day the burial ground of that barony is held by the eleventh
Laird of Inchbrakie, descended for 770 years from father to son.
David and Annabella
had three sons, Patrick, John and David (all men of more than common note). We will for the moment pass over the eldest, and
turn to Sir John Graeme of Dundaff, their second son, the beloved friend and companion of Scotland’s chief flower of
chivalry, Sir William Wallace! There is not a more touching page in the annals of the Graemes than that which records through
the muse of "Blind Harry" Wallace’s lament for his comrade in arms –
brother that I ever had
friend when I was hard bestead;
my health! O man of honour great,
aid and strength in every strait!
wisdom cannot here be told
manhood, truth, and courage bold,
knew to rule and to govern;
hand, a heart as true as steel,
mind most curteous and genteel."
strong patriotism and valour made him a brilliant personage of his century, and he stands out conspicuously to us from amidst
the shadowland in which we seem to grope when garnering history of the period in which he lived.
He appears to
have been born previous to Kincardine (acquired by his father from Malise, Earl of Strathearn) becoming the residence of the
family, for tradition fixes his birthplace at Graham’s Castle, which stood near the source of the Carron, and close
to which was a chapel, with burial place, called Kirk of Muir.
find, often rested at this castle between his arduous campaigns, and we can fancy the two heroes in earnest consultation as
to the best means for releasing their beloved country from the miseries of civil war.
On the 21st
July 1298, Wallace, accompanied by Graeme, arranged his troops in fighting order at the Field of Falkirk, and charged them
in the following words –
Hig have pult
on into a gamen, happet gif ye kunnet
I haif brockt
you to ring, hop gif you cun;
and when, on
the 22nd Sir John fell on the disastrous field, Wallace, half broken-hearted for his friend and the reverse, traced (it is
said with his sword) the inscription, still to be read on Sir John’s tomb at Falkirk in Latin and which, roughly translated,
runs thus –
Heir lyes Sir
John the Graeme, both wight and wise,
And of the chiefs
rescewit Scotland thrise,
Ane better knight
not to the world was lent,
Not was gude
Graeme; of truth and hardiment.
plain slab was erected by Sir W. Wallace himself, a second slab with a renewed inscription was added, and the uppermost stone
placed, by Sir William Graham of Airth in 1772. This is believed to have been inscribed from the original, and bears the words
composed by Wallace himself –
potens, et Valloe fidus Achates,
Graemus bello interfeclus ab Anglis.
Xxii Julii 1298
The swords are
handed down by the family as those of Sir John de Graeme; the short single-handed sword in the possession of the Duke of Montrose,
bearing on its blade the following inscription –
" Sir John the
Graeme very wicht and wise
and of the chiefs
relievit Scotland thryse,
ys sword, and ner thout schame,
to Beir it Bot his name."
On the hilt
are initials, " S.J.G." date 1406.
The other sword
is a long two-handled one. It was for some time in the possession of the Orchill branch of the Graemes, but was presented
towards the close of the eighteenth century, by the late William Graeme of Orchill to the Masonic Lodge at Auchterarder (of
which he was at that time Grand Master), where it is now preserved.
The handle or
hilt measures 3 feet across, and the length of it is 1 foot 4 inches. The blade is 4 feet long, and tapers in width from 2¼
and 1¾ inches. Originally the blade was 9 inches longer, but for some reason was cut, so that the full original length of
the sword was 6 feet 1 inch. These two handled swords were usually borne by the leader’s men at arms.
lines on the first of these swords were engraved by Wallace’s desire, and expressed a wish of Sir John’s known
to him, or whether they are the work of the owner in 1406, who records thus the tradition of Sir John’s wishes, does
not appear, but they go to prove how the hero loved his sword, and how it has been the keeper of his fame!
brother of Sir John, and youngest son of Sir David, sixth in line, was named after his father David. He, however, took the
other side, and was a nominee of Balliol, when he claimed the Scottish Crown.
previously to 1268, Muriel, the daughter and co-heiress (with her two sisters) of Byset of Lovat, in Inverness. Muriel’s
grandfather had founded Beauly Priory in Ross-shire.
David had been
taken prisoner by the English, but was released from prison by Edward I in 1297 on condition that he served in the wars against France. There is a
seal of his in the Chapter House, Westminster (seme of crosses fitchee three escallops). They had a son called Patrick.
eldest brother of Sir John and David) carried on the line as seventh in succession, under the title of Sir Patrick of Kincardine,
and took an active and leading part in the events of his time. He negotiated the marriage of Prince Alexander (son of Alexander
III) with Margaret, daughter of Guy, Earl of Flanders, in 1281.
had, in 1272, been witness with Robert, Bishop of Dunblane, and others, to a charter granting lands by Alexander, Lord of
Strieveling, to the Church of St Servan of Alveth for ever.
On the Eve of
St Luke, 17th October, 1282 he is, with the abbot and convent of Cambuskenneth and Robert, Bishop of Dunblane, assembled in
full Court, under the title of Domini Patrick de Graym, vicecomitatus (sheriff) of Strieveling, and present at the witnessing
of a charter given by William of Kymonde (son and heir of Anne, daughter of deceased William of Ketilistowne) of the whole
lands of Badinath to the Abbot and convent of Cambuskenneth. Again, about the year 1285, we find him granted a charter by
Sir Thomas of Monymusk of the lands of Cuyle, in Strathearn, with Domini Johanne Abbate de Cambus Kenneth as his principal
The same year
Patrick Graym of Kincardine receives at Scone, in November the confirmation of his charter of the lands of Fosshall, in Strathearn,
from Malise, Earl of Strathearn. It is a charter of donation, and is confirmed by Alexander III.
The year before
had found him sitting in Parliament at Scone, when the "maiden of Norway" was acknowledged heir to the Crown of Scotland.
On the 12th
July 1292 he swore fealty to Edward I, accepting with many other of his peers, a money gratuity. He was present when Balliol
paid homage to Edward later in that year; but when Edward summoned Sir Patrick to attend him into France in 1294, Patrick,
disgusted with Edward’s
treatment of Balliol, and also with the King’s cruelty towards the inhabitants of Berwick, joined the Scottish army
and died (as so many of his line have done) fighting for his country at Dunbar, 28th April 1296, lamented by the English as
one of the "wisest and noblest of the Scottish barons". Some records state he had a son, Sir Nicol, who obtained the lands
of Esk by marriage with the heiress of Robert D’Avenel, and was thus the root of Abercorn.
and eldest son, David, first of Montrose and eighth in line, was, on his father’s death, taken prisoner to England,
but was released in 1297 on condition that he served Edward in his foreign wars.
the grants of many lands, given him by Robert the Bruce for faithful services, and exchanged those of Cardross, in Dumbarton,
with His Majesty for Montrose, in Forfar. He died shortly afterwards, and was succeeded by his son, Sir David of Kincardine
and Auld Montrose, as ninth in line.
In 1320 Sir
David of Kincardine signed the famous "Letter of Independence" to the Pope, to which his seal (but in an imperfect condition)
is still appended in the General Register House, Edinburgh. This letter was discovered and betrayed by the Countess of Strathearn,
the wife of Sir David’s kinsman, which betrayal caused her to to be imprisoned for life. In the trial regarding this
letter the name of a Sir Patrick de Graym appears. He must, I think, have been an uncle of Sir David’s. He was, however,
acquitted with the others, and is probably the Sir Patrick de Graym in the list given by Dalrymple as slain at Halidon, July
Sir David of
Kincardine appears as a guarantor of a treaty with England in 1322, and dying, was succeeded by his son, Sir David of Kincardine
and auld Montrose, as tenth in line, and took a very prominent part in the days which proved that might must support right.
For the first
time in the Cambuskenneth charters the spelling of the name is written Graham in 1361. Hitherto, both in these charters and
the various seals, it has been spelt Grame or Graym, and this spelling was adhered to in the charter of Robert the Bruce,
when in exchange for the lands of Sokach and Earldom of Garrick, the islands of Inchkillach and Inchfode, in the Earldom of
Lennox, Sir David receives further lands in Charlton and Kynabar, their confirmation being dated Edinburgh, January 11th,
We find his
name appended to no less than five of the Cambuskenneth Charters –
(1) A charter
by Robert Erskine of that ilk and the Brony of Kinnoul, granting to the Covent of Cambuskenneth the patronage of the Church
of Kinnoul, dated at Stirling, 27th January 1361.
(2) A charter
by King David II confirming the above, dated Edinburgh 7th April, 1361.
(3) A charter
by David II from "motives of piety" for the welfare of the souls of himself and his Queen Margaret of Scotland, to the Church
of St Mary of Cambuskenneth of an annual rent of ten pounds of silver due to the King from the lands of Plane (Pleane), Stirlingshire,
dated at Perth on 13th August 1364.
from King David II confirming the said grant to St Mary’s Church (notwithstanding the revocation of all the King’s
grants made by a Parliament held at Scone), dated at Edinburgh, 25th February 1366.
(5) Sir David
witnesses the Bull of Pope Urban V. confirming the Charter at Perth, and dated at Mount Flasco, 15th June 1369.
Sir David was
one of the Scottish Barons employed to negotiate the ransom of David II, King of Scotland, and sat in the Scottish Parliament
in 1367. He appears to have enjoyed a long life for those troublous times, for we find him taking oath of homage and swearing
fealty to Robert II, King of Scots, at Scone on 27th March 1371.
On April 4th
1373, he is witnessing the second act of Settlement of the Crown of Scotland, and the last time his name appears is in March
1374, when a decreit of Parliament of Robert II, held at Scone, confirms Sir David’s claims to the lands of Auld Montrose,
"notwithstanding anything shewn on behalf of Sir John Lindsay of Thurston"; but it is 1404 before his son and successor, Sir
Patrick, eleventh in line makes his appearance as having succeeded to his father; he had previously acted as hostage for the
release of King David.
There is an
anecdote of previous years regarding a Scottish Knight, by name St Patrick Graym, who, returning from abroad, took part in
the jousts which were held in the intervals of attack, between the Scottish and English armies then lying before Berwick.
The story runs as follows, and is most probably an exploit of the boyish days of Sir Patrick Graeme, of Kincardine, Lord of
and Scottish armies were lying before Berwick wearied with the inactivity engendered by the truce of the summer of 1336, and
to vary the monotony Henry of Lancaster challenged the Knight of Liddesdale to combat in the lists.
During the joust
the Scottish Knight was wounded by his own spear, which would have brought the entertainment to a speedy end had not Lancaster
requested Alan Ramsay to bring up twenty Scottish gentlemen of arms to meet the same number of English.
English had been slain, and William de Ramsay and John Hay had already shared the same fate, when at this juncture Patrick
Graym arrived from abroad, an English Baron, Richard Talbot, requested to run the courses with him, and was wounded; had Talbot
been armed according to the arrangements laid down for the joust, he would have been killed on the spot; as it was, Graym’s lance pierced through the two breastplates which
Talbot wore, and sunk an inch into his breast.
At the supper
held afterwards, an English Knight, whose name is not given, challenged Graym to fight. As Patrick responded he added pleasantly,
"Brother, prepare for death and confess yourself", and so it fell out, for Graym transfixed him with a spear and left him
dead upon the field.
There are at
least two charters extant in which Sir Patrick is mentioned:
/1) A charter
of Impignoration, dated at Kynacardyne 10th November 1382, by Simon of Moravia, of his whole lands of Ardaych moir in Dumbarton,
to Sir Patrick for 40 pounds sterling, to be held as freely by him, as Simon and his predecessors had held them. (A seal showing
Or, a Chief, three escallops, with remains of a label, and surrounded by tracery and words "S.Patric ii Grame," is appended
to Indenture for the maintenance of a Chaplain at Holyrood Alter Church, Dumbarton, 10 Feb. 1372.
By Sir Patrick’s
first wife, Matilda, he had a son and heir William, and one daughter, Matilda, who married Sir John Drummond, Knight of Concraig.
We do not know the surname of this first wife Matilda; it is just possible she may have been a sister of the above-mentioned
Simon of Moravia.
By Sir Patrick’s
second wife, Euphame, daughter of Sir John Stewart of Rolston, he had four younger sons.
The second charter
I have alluded to is dated at Perth the 10th of March, the date of the year is worn away, but it proves Sir Patrick’s
second marriage. It is a Charter of Impignoration by Walter Stewart of Raylistown, to Sir Patrick Grame, Lord of Kincardine,
of the lands of Cultchermeny and Bodraym, to be held by him and his heirs by the Lady Euphania, his spouse, the sister of
the granter; whom failing, then by the true and lawful heirs of the said Sir Patrick for the rendering of the services due
and wont to the lord and superior of the said lands.
eldest son of Sir Patrick and Euphania Stewart, his second wife, married Euphame, the only heir of the Earl of Strathearn
by Euphemia Ross, his countess. They had a son Malise, who exchanged the lands of the Earldom of Strathearn for various lands,
all given under one charter as the Earldom of Menteith; now said to be extinct. Of the three sons of this Malise, the eldest
succeeded him in the Earldom; the second, Sir John of Kilbride; the third, Walter, founded the family of Graham of Buchquhaple.
With regard to the remaining sons of Sir Patrick and Euphame Stewart we can learn but little, except in the case of Robert,
who appears to have been a very prominent personage in the reign of James I of Scotland, and to have become instrumental in
the conspiracy which ended in taking the life of that benevolent and energetic monarch who, in his conscientious endeavours
to restore law and order to the nation, had, however, acted unjustly towards the individual.
In Sir Robert’s
earlier years, circa 1399, his fther and Sir John Oliphant of Aberdalgie had drawn up an indenture, in which they proposed
"God willand", that Marion Oliphant whould wed Robin de Graeme their respective son and daughter.
was apparently never carried out, and "Robin’s" eldest and half brother appears to have married Mariotta.
of the Earldom of Strathearn by Robert’s nephew Malise, to which we have alluded above, had been in reality a seizure
by James I of the whole of the earls lands in Strathearn. Malise was absent in England at that time, but his uncle Robert
greatly resented this confiscation. Robert also was, like many other of the Scottish nobles strongly attached to the House
of Albany, which attachment had been in no way lessened by one of the first acts of James I in imprisoning Robert as an adherent
of that house.
Such an indignity
to the person of a Graeme, and inflicted by a Soverign, was not one to be lightly held or forgotten, and it aroused in Robert
the strong instinct of feudal revenge, which he permitted to burn hotly to the last hour of his life.
The story is
a matter of history, and well known, and those who wish to renew acquaintance with it must brace themselves to read of bitter
and cruel deeds. Two bright spots of relief in the tragedy cannot be passed over without allusion: the heroic act of Catherine
Douglas in using her fair white arm as the bolt of the door, until the arm was broken by the pressure without; and the defence
of the Queen by the young son of Robert Graeme who thereby saved the life of Her Majesty.
life ended as the lives of all those who are traitors to the king deserve that they should end, but to the last he declared
that he had long ago renounced his allegiance under "hand and seal", and defied the King as his mortal enemy, that it became
lawful for him to slay him should they meet, or opportunity occur.
The old chronicle
adds of Sir Robert –
"He was a man
of great heart and manhood and full
a great scholar of laws positive,
civil, both; and yet he was condemned!"
We now return
to his father, Sir Patrick, whom we find witness to a chrter, 6th May 1400, by Robert III, between David Flemying Lord of
Bygar, and Lenze and his "beloved and special friend Sir John of Dalyck". Sir Patrick must have died a few years after this,
and been succeeded by his eldest son, Sir William Graeme, Knight of Kincardine, the twelfth in line, who held a Charter of
Entail from Robert, Duke of Albany, of the lands of Auld Montrose, dated February 1407.
Like his father,
he married twice; his first wife being Mariotta Oliphant, - the young lady who had been previously destined to be the bride
of his half-brother Robin. She bore Sir William two sons, Alexander and John. After her death he married (about 1400) the
Lady Mary Stewart, daughter of King Robert III, and had by her five sons, all of whose descendants are entitled to wear the
double tressure on their coats, signifying their royal descent; they were –
1. Robert of
Strathcarron, of whom are the Grahams of Fintry and Claverhouse;
who became Archbishop of St Andrews;
from whom descends the Graemes of Garvock and Balgowan (the progenitors of Lord Lynedock);
4. Harry; and
5. Walter of
Wallacetown, of whom came the Grahams of Knockdolian.
These five sons
of Lord Graham were all nephews of James I).
I have been
unable to find any charter or circumstance of importance in which Sir William took part. His eldest son Alexander having predeceased
him, leaving two sons, named Patrick and Alexander, Sir William on his death, circa 1444, was succeeded by his grandson, Patrick,
the fourteenth in line, and the first Lord Graeme.
one of the Lords of the Regency during the minority of James II and was created a Lord of Parliament in 1445, with the title
of First Lord Graeme. It was just about this time that he succeeded his grandfather, for he was given sasine at Kincardine
by Andrew Mercer (then owner of Inchbrakie) the King’s Bailie, of the Arony of Kincardine.
letters patent, under "the rede wax and the quhite" stating he had given sasine of the lands and Barony of Kincardine in the
shire of Perth to a noble and worthy man, Patrick the Graeme; according to the charter of new infeftment made thereon.
This was executed
at Kincardine and sealed with the seal of Andrew Mercer, King’s Bailie, together with those of Sir John Haldane of Gleneagles
Knight, Edmund, the Har of the Leys, and Patrick Morai (of Abercairny), as witnesses.
The old yew
tree at Kincardine, under which the courts of the Graemes were held and their charters signed, is still standing in excellent
condition. It and the ruins of the old Castle are carefully preserved by Mrs Johnson-Browne of Kincardine, in whose family
that property has been for some time.
In 1459, Patrick,
First Lord Graeme, obtained from James II, a warrant to build creeves on the water of Allan, near Stirling, also to dam and
stank over said water on the King’s lands, and to apply the profit of the said creeves to his own use. This is dated
at Stirling, 27th March 1459.
were already deeming it necessary to obtain and guard their rights to the salmon fisheries, the results of which, at that
date, were one of the chief means of supplying the table of the upper classes.
Just one more
charter we find Patrick Lord Graeme connected with.
On January 13th,
1460, he and his eldest boy join in an indenture on the one hand, with Robert Graham of Fintry their uncle and his son David,
on the other, to bind themselves by payment respectively of 1000 merks to the King, and 2000 merks by the party failing the
other; that Patrick Lord Graeme, and his son William, shall not impugn the rights to the lands of Fintry and Bucklyvie in
Lordship of Menteith; and that Robert Grame of Fintry and his son David shall not impugn the rights of Patrick and his son
to the lands of old Montrose, Kynaber, and Charleton, nor to the fishings of the waters of Northesk and Southesk.
had two children by his wife Elizabeth. His only daughter Katherine married Sir Humphrey Morai of Abercairny, most probably
son and successor of the Sir Patrick Morai who witnessed the Sasine (previously mentioned) of the lands of Kincardine given
by the King’s Bailie. His only son succeeded in 1465 at his father’s death, and was William, second Lord Grame,
fifteenth in line. He married Lady Ann Douglas, daughter of the Earl of Angus, and had two sons – William, first Earl
of Montrose, and George (from whom sprung the Grahams of Callendar) both of whom were destined to fall at Flodden. His daughters
were Jean, married to John Ogilvy, Lord Airlie; a daughter, Cristian, married to James Halden of Gleneagles, second to Sir
Thomas Maule of Panmure.
We know that
the second Lord Graham was a man who traveled, for a safe conduct pass was granted to him on 23 November 1466 to enable him
to travel in England, or to pass through that country on his way abroad; but we know little beside, for his tenure of the
honours and lands was short. Seven years after his father’s death his own is recorded in 1472, and he is succeeded by
his son, William, the first Earl of Montrose, and sixteenth in line, who married three times. His first wife was Annabella,
daughter of the Lord John Drummond, and she died leaving an only son, who was to carry on the line.
On the death
of Annabella, Lord William Graeme married, for the second time, his wife Janet, daughter of Sir A. Edmonstowne. She became
the mother of three daughters –
married to William, eldest son of the second Earl of Lennox
married in 1513 to Walter, the Master of Dummond;
married in 1539 to John Moray of Abercairny, her first cousin.
In 1501 William
added to his many lands the estate of Inchbrakie which had already been possessed by two or three different families in succession,
those just previous to the Grames being the Mercers of Innerpeffray.
first Mercer who held Inchbrakie, had a younger son, Andrew Mercer, who had married Margaret Murray of Tullibardine, and he
obtained the appointment of Chamberlain to the Earldom of Strathearn from the King.
father and elder brother were both dead, and Innerpeffray and Inchbrakie were in possession of his nephew, Robert Mercer,
About 1440 Robert
the laird appears to have been pressed for money for in that year his uncle Andrew obtained a mortgage over the lands of Inchbrakie,
which he foreclosed; and thus the King’s Bailie became the owner of the estate whose castle was burnt down and left
a ruin by Cromwell 160 years later.
We have already
alluded to this Andrew Mercer of Inchbrakie as having in 1444-5 given Sasine "under the reade wax and the quhite" to William’s
father (the first Lord Graeme) of the Barony of Kincardine under charter of new infeftment.
Mercer’s lifetime, in 1471-2, on February 24th, his son Peter had obtained a royal charter of the lands of Inchbrakie,
on his mother, Margaret Murray’s, resignation of them.
Mr Fittis suggests
that this resignation was probably owing to the fact that her dowry had been employed for their mortgage.
died shortly afterwards in 1473, and his son Peter, the Laird of Inchbrakie went as ambassador to Denmark in 1494.
absence abroad or the expenses his position as ambassador entailed induced to the sale of Inchbrakie it is impossible to say,
but on 4th December 1501 (five years subsequent to his appointment) Inchbrakie is sold by him to William, second Lord Grame,
the future Earl, who in 1502 obtains the royal charter to the barony, which (eleven years later he settles on his second son
(Patrick, first Graeme of Inchbrakie) just before the Earl and its late owner Andrew Mercer, lay down their lives at Flodden.
is confirmed at Stirling 20th January 1504. It states that Inchbrakie, with the lands pertaining, are sold and alientated
by King James IV to William, Lord Grame, his heirs and assignees, he to pay annually to the King one silver penny in name
of blanche ferme. This charter is witnessed by M. Alex Muncreyf, rector of Menmure; John Graham, Patrick Graham; D. Andro
Graham, vicar of Creyf, D. Will.Johneson, chaplains; and D. John Brown, chaplain and notary public, at the toun of Kincardine
4th Dec. 1501.
are the turns of Fortune’s wheel! If these men could have looked down the long vista of 317 years they would have seen
the descendant of Andrew Mercer become the owner of Braco in Stirlingshire, which estate is sold by a descendant of Patrick
after his purchase of Inchbrakie, Lord Grame was created the first Earl of Montrose. He was a gallant soldier, and his title
was accorded him as reward for his brilliant action at the battle of Sauchieburn in 1488 which, however, had failed to save
the life of his royal master, James III.
One of the Earl’s
first actions after his creation was to settle lands on his Countess, for there is a warrant by James III for a charter under
the Great Seal on 3 March 1504 in favour of Janet Edmonstone, wife of William, first Earl of Montrose, of lands and Barony
of Aberuthven, excepting lands of Inchbrakie and Pitencleroch, to be held of the King, for services used and wont. Thus it
would appear that Aberuthven was for the time settled on the Earl’s second wife, which disposition he altered after
his third marriage.
did not long enjoy her rank as Countess of Montrose, and two years later the Earl was widowed for the second time; thus entering
into his third alliance after an interval of two or three years.
third choice fell upon Cristane Wavane (pronounced Wane). She was the daughter of Thomas Wavane of Stevinstone, in Fifeshire,
and Cristane Cant, his third wife. A mutilated notarial instrument narrates that in the presence of a noted venerable man,
James Allirdes, Provost of the Church and Chapel of St Mary (de Rupe) at St Andrews, Archdeacon of Moray and Canon of Glasgow,
Nicholas Cant and Cristane Berklaw, his spouse, resign the lands of Lethyn and Carnegowre, called Kynninis, in Fife, in favour
of Adam Wavane, son and heir apparent of Thomas Wavane of Stevinstone and of Cristane Cant, his wife, daughter and heir apparent
of the said Nicholas Cant.
we are told, took place 26th November 1481, in the lodging of William (Shevez), Archbishop of St Andrews (probably in Edinburgh)
and in presence of many notable people, among others, John Halden of Glenegas (Gleneagles). Cristane Berklaw’s husband,
Nicholas Cant, is not present, so she ratifies the charter in his absence by the extension of her right hand over the book
in the hand of the notary.
sister of the above Adam, married for her first husband, Patrick Lord Haliburton, and the Barony of Segy in Kinross is confirmed
to him on 24th May 1505, when he resigns it to the longest liver of them two or their lawful heirs.
was the sixth lord; his ancestor had been slain at the battle of Durham, 17th October 1346, and he married Cristane Wavane
as his second wife, and died in 1506 when his widow, styled Cristane Wavane Lady Segy, marries the Earl of Montrose and becomes
the mother of Patrick, first Baron of Inchbrakie and Aberuthven, and his brother Andrew, afterwards Bishop of Dunblane.
indentures are examples of the means by which at this time the larger as well as small proprietors endeavoured to protect
and support each other against those who were inimical to them.
I have met with are dated 1471 in April and September of that year, the former between "Andro Rolhoc, Baron of Duncrup, Robert
Rolhoc, his son and heir apparent, and David Rolhoc, second son of the said Andrew," are bound to Laurence Lord Oliphant for
the whole term of their lives, the said Andro and Robert binding themselves, also that the son and heir of Robert shall marry
only with consent of Lord Oliphant.
The latter is
between Lord Oliphant and "Umfra Moray of Abercarny for ten years for ‘bondinman’, except for such alleguince
til his Sovrand Lord the King and the Lord Grame".
I cannot refrain
from quoting one more, dated 1495, between "Lucas Bruiss of Coppillindy, all the days of his life", to Laurence Lord Oliphant,
for which he said Lucas has given "the bodeley aith ye haly Wangeles traith".
oath was witnessed by Thomas Spens of Kinspindy, Alex. Dundass of Fingask, etc. etc.
on the 11th April 1500, is drawn up an indenture of friendship between John Lord Oliphant and William (then) Lord Grame, and
signed and sealed by the former declaring "that they should stand by each other during their lives".
Again at Edinburgh,
on 25th February 1507, Ninian Bonar of Keltie, Knight, signs a bond of man-rent, by which he becomes "Man" to William, Earl
of Montrose "all the days of his life for services done him by the Earl".
At this date,
and for many years to come, there were no legal authorities to maintain order, or to restrain the disposition of surrounding
lairds of greater or lesser degree. Neighbouring landowners bound themselves to serve each other in times of emergency, and
thus mutually to defend, protect, and preserve their lands, at a period when many of their acres, and often whole properties,
were "appraised" from the weaker by the stronger arm.
of Montrose bore the Earl two boys, and almost as soon as their little fee had learnt to walk alone, they were left fatherless
and their mother again a widow.
was destined to be the most fatal year for Scotland’s warriors, had dawned, and ere the summer leaves had begun to fade
the Battle of Flodden had been fought, and lost, and the flower of Scotland’s chivalry had been mown down, never more
to life their swords for Scotland’s honour.
James IV, beloved
and popular as he was, seems mainly to have been the cause of the slaughter of Flodden. We are told he missed the hour of
his victory whilst he dallied by the side of the beautiful but crafty Lady Heron; at any rate,there is little doubt that had
he listened to the advice of his most trusty councilors, or even to that of his queen, Flodden would never have been lost.
Instead of this, he turned a deaf ear to the mother of his heir, and taunted his bravest nobles with cowardice, whilst with
an infatuation that amounted to fatality, he allowed himself to be lured down from the heights to meet the English (who had
skillfully arrayed their forces between the Scotch army and its country) in the open plain, and resisted all the entreaties
of his commanders to attack the enemy whilst they were crossing the River Till.
was Master of the Artillery, went down on his knees to the King, beseeching his royal master to give him permission to bring
the guns to bear on the foe as they defiled across the narrow bridge, but the King was inexorable and his own life was the
penalty he paid.
the war had been to the Scots, they had to a man gathered loyally round their King at his summons; and one of the first to
do so had been William, first Earl of Montrose; the descendant and progenitor of many heroes. We know he had seen James III
fall at Sauchieburn; little could he foresee that it was to be his fate to see a second king slain in battle, and that he
himself would never return to his home in one of the fairest of Scotland’s straths.
With him went
George of Callendar, his brother, and many others – indeed, almost all of his kin and kith; and we know, how when James
IV was slain his nobles closed round the royal corpse, guarding it against English hands and swords from daylight, until night
falling relieved them from their obstinate defence. And when the dawn broke once more it found 8000 dead upon the field; not
a Scottish castle or cottage but wept its chief or son.
that the hearts of Scotland’s children swell at the memory of their forbears who died like heroes, whose names shall
never be forgotten in Scottish story, and whose deeds of prowess have fired their descendants to do and die in the succeeding
generations, and will continue to do so in the years still to come.
On the children
of William, first Earl, his eldest son William carried on the succession as Second Earl of Montrose; he was a youth when his
father was slain at Flodden, and later on married the Lady Janet Keith, daughter of the third Earl marischal, and left a large
family. His grandson continued the line as third Earl, and two of his younger sons founded the families of Graham of Orchil
(carried on in the eighteenth century by the House of Inchbrakie) and Graham of Knockdolian.
The first Earl’s
daughters all married brilliantly as became their station, the two elder becoming the wives of the Earl of Lennox and Lord
Drummond respectively, the youngest, Nichola, marrying John Moray, Baron of Abercairny, a wealthy and influential Great Baron.
His lineage was as ancient and honourable as that of the Graemes, and he was Nichola’s first cousin twice removed. Like
herself he had been left fatherless for Scotland’s sake, both his father and grandfather having fallen on "Flodden’s
fatal field". They married in 1539, and their descendants in the fifth and seventh generations married daughters of the House
The will of
the Lady Nichola Moray, a most interesting document of the time is extant, and bears the date 5th December 1582. A redemption
by Laurence Lord Oliphant from Nicolace Graham, Lady Abercairdny, of three eighteenth parts of the lands of Findo Gask wadset
to her for 800 merks is dated 13th May 1559.
the moment an account of the first Earl’s second son, Patrick of Inchbrakie, we will glance at the life of his third
and youngest son, Andrew, Inchbrakie’s brother-german and Bishop of Dunblane.
Andrew or Andro
Graeme must have been a mere infant at the date of his father’s untimely death, and his mother, Christian, Countess
of Montrose (probably his guardian) had him educated for the Church.
We have no records
of his boyhood and early years, which in the intervals of his education were most likely passed at his mother’s home,
and very few indeed of his long life, for he not only outlived his elder brother, the Laird of Inchbrakie, but Inchbrakie’s
son, and lived on into the life of the third Laird.
The first record
I find of him is so late as 1574, when he must have been over sixty years of age; he is mentioned then as Vicar of Wick. The
Grame clan must have had some strong interest in the North, for later on we shall find Andrew’s nephew, Robert Graeme
of Inchbrakie, holding livings and an Archdeanery there. I think it is possible this northern link may have been the result
of the connection with the descendants of David, son of the sixth in line, who became (through his marriage) Lord of the lands
had probably been holding the living of Wick (or Weik as it was spelt in old documents) for some years, and held religious
views which enabled him to follow in the steps of the Reformation, for the year following on it, in 1575, he is appointed
to the Bishopric of Dunblane as its first Protestant bishop.
Grub, when recording
the appointment, states (without deducing his authorities) that Andrew Graham, "son to the Laird of Morphie", was elected
Bishop of Dunblane in the summer of 1575; but the genealogies of the Dukes of Montrose and of the Inchbrakie family have always
adhered to the statement that he was the youngest son of the first Earl of Montrose. An old document in the General Register
House, and mentioned by Keith, confirms this. He writes: "On the 17th May 1575 there is a mandate in the MS Register of the
figts of pensions, etc, for the consecration of Andro Graham, whom the Dean and Chapter had elected. This Andrew Graham has
no designation at all in the mandate. However, by a "Presentation" to him by the infant King (in custody of the noble house
of Montrose), it certainly appears that he was uncle to that nobleman. The presentation bears date July 28th 1575.
was in reality grand uncle to the Peer of 1575, whose father (the Bishop’s full nephew) had fallen at the battle of
Pinkie before his succession to the title. These documents prove Andrew’s descent without a doubt.
In the same
MS. There is a writ entitled "The Bishop’s admission to the Temporality of Dunblane, 28th July 1575, and another bears
the title of the "Ressitution of the Temporality of the Bishopric of Dunblane; this is of the same date, but further styles
Andrew "Preacher of the word of God".
On the 16th
June 1579, his name appears for the first time in a
sederunt of Stirling Castle, and again in a charter of confirmation
on 1st June 1582, by James Chisholm, Archdeacon of Dunblane, who, "with consent of Andrew, Bishop of Dunblane, etc. (Andrew
Grame, Bishop of Dunblane, A. D. 1587) Eight years later, we know that the bishopric, which has been passing
troublous times, is at rest again; for in February 1587, there is a royal proclamation at the Market Crosses of Edinburgh,
Stirling and Dunblane, stating that, notwithstanding the restoration from sentence of forfeiture of William Chisholm, former
Bishop of Dunblane, that Andrew Grame, Bishop of Dunblane, "had full rights to all the emoluments of the said benefice," and
the Lords of Council and Session are required
"to grant letters in all the four formes, upoun the persons addettit in
the saide fruites," to answer and obey the said Andro and his factors (Ibid). We scarcely feel surprised when, seven years
later, in 1594, a strong endeavour is made to deprive Andrew of his bishopric on the plea that, in consequence of his age,
he has not been able to preach or administer the sacraments. This was more than possible, for he must have been fully eighty
years of age. But it does not seem clear what the result of the petition was; certainly no name appears on the list of the
bishops of Dunblane between Andrew's and that of his grand-nephew and successor, George Graeme, eleven years later; and presumably
his mitre to the close of his long life, which must have counted at least ninety odd years.
Here we leave the story of the House of Montrose, which, in 1644, became a marquisate in the person of James
Graham, the fifth Earl and nineteenth in lineal descent, one of the greatest and most important characters of his day ; and
it was further raised to a dukedom in 1707. It would be impossible, in the compass of a work like this, to enter further
into the particulars of the descent of the House of Montrose, or continue it to the present day. Such a task has too large
a scope for a mere sketch like the present, and must be left to the charge of a more competent pen.
With the second Earl the close kinship ceases between the House of Inchbrakie and that of Montrose, though
the loyal devotion of a clan is ever given to their chief; and, of course, during the sixteenth and part of the seventeenth
centuries, Inchbrakie's relationship of half-brother to the second Earl and his sisters, and in the following generations
that of nephew and cousin, were strong and binding ties, causing continual intercourse between the members of the two families.
The task now before us is, by slow and careful steps at first, guided only by the scanty information to
be found of the early part of the sixteenth century (until one moves more freely in the brightening light of the succeeding
years), to trace the story of the boy and his heirs who built the line of the Barony of Inchbrakie and Aberuthven and its
many branches, together with that of many other Graemes and Grahams whose pride it is to claim descent from the scions of
the Noble House of Montrose.