BARON OF THE BARONY OF
The first and
second Lairds of Inchbrakie were conspicuous by their early marriages, and very soon after his father’s death we find
George our second laird contemplating matrimony, or perhaps we should say, having it contemplated for him! Probably it was
hastened to suit his mother the Lady Margaret Stewart, who was anxious to betake herself to her new home in Argyleshire; but
it must remain an open question whether his marriage really occurred at the time the following Frank is dated, for he cannot
have been much more than fourteen years of age.
King James V.
gave a letter or Frank dated 1538 to Robert master of Montrose of the ward of the lands of "Strathie-bowie" (which had belonged
to the deceased Patrick Graeme of Inchbrakie) on the marriage of George Graeme "sone and are of the said umquhile Patrick".
Such a grant
shows that George was still a ward when the marriage was contemplated.
of Strathiebowie and Nether Pernzie in the Stewartry of Strathearn became in this generation as in the previous one, the subject
of a special retour; in 1555 (3 October) we find George retoured heir to his father Patrick in them, just as in 1516
that same Patrick the first baron, had been retoured heir to his father the Earl of Montrose. This pointedly corroborates
the descent of the older Inchbrakies, though curiously enough (says Mr Riddle) it was never adduced at the noted service in
1770 when the Inchbrakie of that day was served heir male to Patrick first of Inchbrakie. It appears more probable that this
retour of 1555 was made with regard to marriage settlements as it occurred so long after his succession and when he was not
more than about twenty four years of age.
We also find
another retour to our Laird at this date, of the lands of Crago –
This paper is
docketed Nota Andrew of Fawdouryd (?) gift of Maintenance of lands of Crago to George Graeme of Inchbrakie.
The tenour of
this document is, that Andrew Ker son and Heir of the late Margaret Haliburton one of the ladies of Dirleton, assigns to his
cousin George Graeme of Inchbrakie son to the late Patrick Graeme of Inchbrakie "brother to my said Mother" the power to uptake
and intromit to his own use and profit all rents etc, of the farms and lands of Crago.
What I should
like to draw attention to is the statement in the document that, Margaret Dirleton and Patrick Graeme the first laird are
spoken of as brother and sister; if they were so, then Cristane Wavane Lady Haliburton and Countess of Montrose must have
been the mother of Margaret as well as of Patrick, hitherto there has been no mention of her having any children while Lady
wife was Marion Rollo or Rollock, daughter of the Laird of Duncrub, which property marches with the Graeme land at Aberuthven
and as she afterwards married a second time (and could not have done so until twenty one years later) when she became the
mother of the Laird of Balgowan, we may safely fix upon this latter date 1555 as about the period of the marriage of George
and Marion Rollo.
name is rarely recorded in the public archives. Apparently of a retiring character and gentle dispostion, in strong contrast
to that of the forcible Archdeacon of Ross, his brother, he led a somewhat uneventful life.
Many of his
earlier days must have been spent with his mother at her new home in Glenurchy, and later on he lived the quiet, busy life
of a country gentleman of that period with large estates to manage, but without means of locomotion the present day affords
for reaching the outlying parts.
Now, and for
many a year after, money was almost an unknown commodity in the country, just as it is in the present day in many parts of
had to look for their rents not in coin, but in so many bolls of "meall" and "beir" in "heads" of oxen, sheep and poultry.
The greater the supervision exercised over the many farms, the more likely were these commodities to come in punctually and
in prime condition; and nin broad miles separated Inchbrakie from Aberuthven.
Since the foundation
of the barony Scotland had been recovering from the disastrous effects of Flodden, which had so long paralysed the whole country,
and a quieter era had settled down on the cultivated and more populous straths, and though the death of the studious and artistic
James V. brought to light again the many points of dispute between the Catholic and reformed Churches, as between the English
and Scotch kingdoms which resulted in the battle of Pinkie in 1547, yet the country was not devasted in the same manner as
in 1513, and rapidly regained its position during the earlier years of Queen Mary.
was at first too young, and then either too wise or too indifferent, to mix himself up in the discussions of this period.
His sister Nichola’s father-in-law, the Laird of Ochtertyre, and his first cousin, the young Master of Montrose, had
both fallen at Pinkie. When the country had quieted down sufficiently to permit private interests to resume their sway, George
married, and he and Marion Rollock, daughter of the Baron of Duncrub, settling down at Inchbrakie Castle, tried to forget
the continual discord and clashing of Church and State which occurred from time to time, while they devoted themselves to
rearing the large family that sprung up around them of two sons and four daughters, who grew p within the moat of Inchbrakie’s
Castle, playing many a game with their cousins the young Abercairny’s running across the park which separated their
homes by little more than a stone’s throw, while George and Marion could walk over discreetly to benefit from the matronly
and experienced counsels of their aunt, the Lady Nichola Moray, who at this period was sadly mourning the loss of her husband
and her young nephew at Pinkie.
encouragement of the graces and culture of life was telling on this generation, and it is quite possible that George Graeme
was of a studious turn of mind, which kept him thus quietly at home surrounded by his children. It was at this period Sir
Phillip Sydney in England was writing his MSS. With the refined grace which hereafter was to charm the world, and the Book
of Common Prayer, the Geneva Bible, the Bishop’s Bible, all saw the light during George’s life.
of Leyden was being founded, and the arts were not neglected. Enamelled and Venetian glass was invented in Germany and England,
and (with Bernard Palissy’s ceramic art) were beautifying the houses of the rich; while the Escurial was being designed
in Spain, and Italy and Holland were flooded with the glorious canvases and colours of some of the world’s most famous
the whole of Europe was awakening, may not some of the light have reached our northern island, and filtered into the lives
of those of its sons who were scholars before they were soldiers!
in the French language, being the "book of Sir J. Ogilvie, Master of the household to Queen Mary of Scots", gives us an interesting
record of the journey of that queen through Perthshire. It is dated 1st August 1562. On the 12th August
the Queen and part of her train dined at Callendar and slept at Stirling, where she was joined by the rest of her train, who
had dined at Lithgow. She continued at Stirling till the 18th August, when she set out from thence with part of
her train and dined and supped at Kincardine (Castle). On the 19th she left Kincardine after dinner, sleeping that
night at St Johnstone (Perth), where she remained until the 21st.
would be held at the castle of the Earl of Montrose to welcome his Queen, and his cousin George and his wife would be among
the guests. The Rollos must have added to the throng of courtiers who paid homage to the most beautiful woman of her day within
the walls of the old keep.
of George Graeme’s was living near him at Madertie, the beautiful and fascinating Lilias Ruthven, daughter of his step-aunt
Lady Janet Dirleton, and Lord Ruthven, and wife of David, second Lord Drummond.
between the Inchbrakies and Dirletons had not been forgotten, though the kinship was not of blood; and as Patrick Graeme,
the first laird, witnessed the charter at the marriage of Elizabeth Ruthven, so George his son is witness to the precept of
settlement for Lilias Ruthven’s daughter, while George’s daughter was Lady Drummond’s god-daughter.
that George witnessed was in 1562, when Lord Drummond’s daughter Jean marries John, now Master of Graham (heir to the
earldom of Montrose through the death of his father at Pinkie) and her father bestows the handsome dower of 6000 merks on
his fifth daughter.
bears the names of William Murray of Tullibardine, Alexander, William, and Mungo Graeme; of Cambuskenneth, Killearn, and Rotearnes
respectively, (sons to the Earl of Montrose and uncles to the bridegroom), followed by the names of George Graeme of Inchbrakie,
Malcolm Drummond of Borland, and John Drummond of Pityallonie.
The other (and
I believe only) instance of George’s signature is found just before his marriage (ten years earlier), when he witnesses
a deed of confirmation of lands between Andro and William Murray of Arngask on 10th December 1553.
The autumn of
1565 was notably troublous in the county with which we are concerned. In Strathearn and Glenalmond specially, great "heirships"
and oppression took place; the men of Athol and the Stuarts of Lorn slew many in their combats in Strathardle; and the dry
summer of 1567 brought its attendant scarcity and misery in the ensuing winter. In spite of Regent Moray’s endeavour
to repress crime by justice dealt out with no niggard hand, lawless vengeance and outrage broke loose and held strong sway,
and we find the bonnie woods of Ochtertyre a scene of wild disorder when "mad Andrew Murray", having shot Touran Murray, brother
to the Laird of Tullibardine, holds Ochtertyre for several days, slaying any person who attempted his capture, and finally,
with his followers, making his escape. A curious note in the Privy Council Records show, the calls of the State to which landed
proprietors were subject in a form of taxation.
The King and
Queen (Francis and Mary) order "divers noble men" to surrender to John Chisholme, "Controller of artillery", as much Tymmer
(Timber) as he may require, and it goes on to state, "As certain tymmer had been cut, at Kincardine, Aberuthven, Abirdagy,
and Moncrieff, that William Earle of Montrose, and David Lord Drummond, are ordained to divide the labour of conveying it
to the mouth of the water of the Earn" by the oxen of their tenantry; whilst that previously cut at Aberuthven, and transported
to the Tay was to be sent to Leith and then conveyed to Edinburgh Castle.
So the lands
of Aberuthven had contributed their portion, and many of George’s trees had fallen!
In 1571 the
laird attends the obsequies of his first cousin and chief, the second Earl of Montrose.
will is not proved for five years later by his daughter the Lady Tullibardine, and his younger son, Mungo Graeme; but in it
are the following directions for his burial. He desires that if he "departs" in Strathearn he may be buried at Aberuthven,
but that should he "depart" at old Montrose, then his funeral is to take place at the church of St Mungo there.
In his will
reference is made to his mansion of Kincardine and its plenishings.
1575 George Graeme knows that his time has come and with the calm and orderly mind produced by a well spent life he proceeds
to make his will, and yield up the care of his children to his wife and friends.
makes special mention of grain and cattle on the lands of Beldhill, Crago and Inchbakie. The harvest had just been gathered,
and the "barne yaird" of Inchbrakie holds a full complement of stacks of oats and barley, with the fodder. The tenants of
the lands of Pittenclerock, Perny, Ochterardour, all owe rent for their ingathered crops; whilst the Laird of Kinfauns, "Dene"
George Spens, the Laird of Callendar, the Laird of Duncrub, Patrick Murray of Ochtertyre (his brother in law) and others,
are all debtors of money.
in turn, owes to Murray of Letterbandochie and David Sutherland small sums of money, various teinds to the Abbot of Inchaffrey,
to the Laird of Tullibardine, and Mr Robert Mercer (former owner) for the rest of the teinds of Inchbrakie of the crop "4
bollis mele and tua bollis beir; and to the Abbey of Inchaffry for the teing of "Streiththic nine bollis vittale," with various
small bills and wages.
His letter will is made
at Inchbrakie on the 1st November 1575, and runs as follows:
- "I George
Graeme of Inchebreky being in my lege pousta, veseit be the hand of God with sair infirmitie of seiknes,
makis and dispones
my latter will and Testament in presens of the Almyehtie God to quhome I rander my saule, perpetualie with him to regne in
eternall fruitioun etc. etc.; and I desire you all that be heir present, to assist me in my prayer and making of my confession
to the eternall God saying ‘oure father’ etc."
The will goes on to constitute
his "wele beloved spouse in the Lord, Mairjorie Rollok tutour testamentrix, and onlie intramissatrix with my bairns thair
leving, in soumes of money etc. etc, to be governet be hir in during her wedoheid and thair minoritie; and als I constitute
my honorabill and welbelovit freindis Johne Campbell of Laweris, George Rollok of Duncrub, Robert Graeme my bruther germane
Archidene of Ross, and Maister Johne Stewart constable of the Castell of Striviling, Tutouris and curatoures to my foresaid
spous and bairnis, and my chief John, Erle of Montroise, overman to my spous and bairnis."
In case of his
wife’s "default or inabilities" he constitutes the foresaid friends in her place, providing that nothing is done for
the children except, with the advice and councel of "foresaid chief overman."
to the will are Johne Grahame, son to the Laird of Garvock, two servants belonging to the Laird of Lawers and Andro Drummond
(doubtless the man who would draw up the will), notair publick, "with utheris diverse."
The will is
an index of the man’s nature, still in the zenith and prime of his life, at 45 years of age. He not only has the usual
religious preamble recorded, but it is a more earnest and complete one than is commonly used; and the request for the Lord’s
Prayer to be said with him at the close is a somewhat singular one, showing the reverent side of his character, while his
expression of love to his wife, and warm confidence in his friends and relations show an affectionate nature, which must have
shone through most actions of his life.
May we not picture
the grouping of that solemn scene? The central figure of the man who though still almost young, was leaving all he loved,
so humbly and so patiently, going forth to meet his Redeemer, his mind at rest as to his worldly affairs, his eyes fixed on
his weeping wife, the solemn little knot of witnesses, and the grey light of the November day struggling through the deep
embrasures of the castle walls, the bare branches of the beeches swaying fitfully in the wintry breeze.
A few days pass
of suffering and weakness, more or less prolonged, and George Graeme’s spirit had gone to its eternal home.
Thus his children
will be cared for by John Campbell of Lawers (his half sister’s husband), George Rollo (his brother-in-law), Robert
Graeme the "Archidene," his brother; and John Stewart, Constable of Stirling Castle, his uncle (his mother’s brother).
the chief witness to the will is John, second son of Graeme of Garvock, afterwards Graeme of Balgowan, the man who in a year
or two will win the heart of George’s widow Marion, and who will faithfully care for the children of his friend.