AND WATT OF
FROM THE HOUSE OF MONTROSE
OF GEORGE GRAEME
(SON OF INCHBRAKIE
DUNBLANE AND ORKNEY
CRICHTON, HIS WIFE
inventories have elucidated the exact place in the fmily, of John Graham, founder of Breckness; he was the fourth son, Gorthie,
Graemeshall, and Mungo, having preceded him.
The Bishop built
and finished the House of Breckness in 1633; and when a couple of centuries later it fell into disrepair, Mr William G. Watt
his descendant had the stone with coast of arms removed to Skaill House, where he resides, and which had also been a residence
of the Bishop, who dates a letter from it before Breckness was finished.
John, the Bishop’s
fourth son, became the owner of Breckness and Skaill on the Bishop’s death, or more possibly previous to that event
which occurred about 1647 when David Gorthie his eldest son was retoured heir to the lands of Myreside in Methven, Perthshire.
Mr Craven gives
us the first mention of John Graham of Breckness in 1628, when he cannot have been more than 12 years old, and with his mother
"Mareon Creeghtoun" (Marion Crichton) he obtains sasine in the lands of Francis Mudie in Stromness.
In 1654 a note
amongst Methven papers shows that Barbara Stewart was wife to John Graham and that in 1656 he is styled of Breckness. The
date of his marriage is given as September 22nd, 1645, and in 1663 John Graham of Breckness
is J.P. or Sheriff.
John and the
Smythes were great friends, as indeed were most of the lairds on the island; difficulty of access to the mainland three them
on each other for entertainment.
In 1665 Patrick
Smythe the second, the Bishop’s grandson, and John Graham’s nephew, had just disposed (on his father’s death)
of his Orkney lands. A gathering of friends and relations is collected at Brabarter, Sheriff Patrick Blair’s home, and
the Sheriff writes an invitation in rhyme to Patrick Smythe, who must be in the neighbourhood, to come over and sup. It is
given in full as it must interest many descendants of Orkney families. The eighth couplet may refer to the purchase of Meall
Brabarter, 3rd Nov.
To write to you in the new fashion and mode
As we have need when we write to a lad
We are almost sunk in sad melancholy
As you are (we think) in foibles and folly
Rapness is sad untill you come
He hath brewed good ale but no good beer
We take our cups and handie and dandie
And still we enlarge with a
cup of good brandie
Come hither at sight or the dogs shall eat you
Choose you who will, good Rapness shall meet you
Your glaring bailiff 'bring you along
All your vassels of him, will sing a sad song
We think he'll care to save
all your trees (barrels)
Shame fall his face?look you to his eyes
As for your good uncle leave him not in bands
well has he payed for your house your lands
Bring him then with you thro' hills and thro' cairns
He ought to be loved
for all and such bairns
Rothsome is here and his mother also
God save his friends yet I am his foe
Here is Breckness
also your pupil most kind
May he still thrive to yours and my mind
Burray must hear a preachment at Holme
swears he will hear it before he go home
Come hither this night or sorrow o'ertake you
For three or four friends are
here for to back you
Our names are better that you may understand
We'll send you them here under our hand P. B.
Burray most grave
Rothiesholme that knave (?)
Rapness most kind
to your mind.
Postscript by the Mistress Rapness his mother.
I here remember him in a hearty good cup
hopes he will be here for to sup.
These are direct
To quondarm Maell
With much respect
These are direct
We are all in our ale
These are direct
To quondem Meall.
The "Rapness" referred to is George Smythe, Patrick’s first cousin, who married Annas, daughter
of Black Pate of Inchbrakie. Mistress Rapness who writes the couplet forming the postscript is the widowed mother of Rapness; her husband had died in 1648.
first of Breckness, had by his wife Barbara Stewart twelve children as follows:
1. Ann, born
1647, married 1663 John Buchanan of Sandsyde, Orkney
2. Harie, born
1648, married 1669 Euphame Honeyman, daughter of Bishop Honeyman.
the fyft day of Febry,1690, Wame, Craigie of Gairsay wes maried to Anna Grahame, relict of John Buchanan of Sandsyd, at the
kirk of St Androis, and the brydall holden at the sd.houses, and in respect that it is observed be traditione, no persones
that is married in the kirk of Deirnes haith any good success or thriving, and thairfoir they went and wes married in the
sd. Kirk of St Androis be Mr Jon. Shilps minister at the said Unitit kirks.
dedicated to St Peter, has two steeples, said to be monumental, being placed over two sons buried there. In the case of Lady
Sandside the ill luck followed her, and she died in two years. Issue extinct.
Mary, born 1649, married 1669 George Traill, second laird of Holland;
she died 7th October 1686.
4. Katherine, born 1651,
married Harie Mudie, younger son of James Mudie of Millsettar; she died 19th November 1686.
5. James, born 1652, Minister
of Evie and Rendall.
6. Barbara, born 1654, married
Thomas Stewart, notary at Skaill in Sandwich, the 24th January 1678, and died November 19th 1679. (Skaill was probably the dower house of Breckness).
7. Margaret, born 1654.
8. Isabella, born 1656, married
9. Patrick, born 1657.
10. John, born 1658.
11. Marion, born 1662, married
James Nisbet, minister of Stromness, Sandwich.
12. Thomas, born 1662.
"The 24th of June being Thursday, 1680, Thomas Grahame broyr to Harie Grahame of Breckness,
hade his hand shott of be axedent and who depairted this lyfe in Burgh’s house in Sanday on Fryday nixt yraftr, and
buried in his tom at Marie Kirk there."
Of this large
family Barbara and Margaret, and Marion and Thomas appear to have been twins respectively.
up the story further with the Harie who heads the family, attention must be drawn to the dates above mentioned, in relation
to one found of a Harie Graham (of Breckness) side by side with the name of his cousin Black Pate of Inchbrakie and many others,
"Harie Grahame" appears, as being granted by General Middleton in 1647 a pass for going about his business after the ways
of the Great Troubles. The entry does not state of Breckness, and it may not refer at all to the Orkney family. It is mentioned
because the fact of the pass proved "Harie Grahame" of Orkney may prove who was the bearer of the pass.
The only way
to account for a Harie in the Montrose wars is that John Grahame, the first of Breckness, had married early in life and had
an elder son Harie who died previous to the birth of the Harie by the second wife; at any rate I leave the matter to be solved,
if there is a solution, by better heads. The year 1647 seems a late date for the first marriage of the Bishop’s son.
However, the more certain record remains and John Grahame of Breckness, of whose death I have no record, was succeeded at
its occurrence by:
Who proved an
able supported of the previous family history. He appears to have been a man equal to taking his place in the world and the
various incidents of his life show more or less prominent action.
In 1670 his
father is certainly dead, for in a retour charter of that year, on February 25th, Harie Grahame
"of Breckness obtains the church lands of the lands of Outterstromness." It seems Bishop George Graeme was not the only bishop
who could be accused of granting church lands to his relations! It was, in fact, a very common occurrence all over the kingdom
and merely equivalent to an ordinary lease.
married, previous to 1670, Euphame, daughter of Andrew Honeyman, Bishop of Orkney. Lamont tells us how in October 1662 Mr
"Andro Hunnyman" was married at St Andrews, admitted "Archdeane of St Andrews." At his admission he received from Archbishop
Sharp in the town church "the Bibell," the keys of the church door, and the bell tower "all in his hand."
In 1675, Harie
and his father in law, the Bishop of Orkney, are on a Court together, and in April commence examining witnesses in the case
of Henry Insgair against Wame. Douglas Egilshay.
At thirty years
of age he takes his place among the County Sheriffs or J.P.’s and between the years 1678 and 1698 his name is frequently
recorded in that office.
In 1686, Euphame,
his wife, the Bishop’s daughter, died at Skaill as Mr Thomas Brown tells us.
"Sabbath, 17th October, 1686, Euphen Honyman, spous to Harie Grahame of
Breckness, depairted this lyfe at Skaill in Sandwick."
Harie had two losses that year, for his sister Katherine died four weeks after his wife; he was much
engaged with public duties, and his flock of young children needed a woman’s care. In April 1691, a daughter styled
"Ewphem, eldest daughter to Harie Grahame of Brackness," is married to Hugh Baikie of Burnes. Probably the loss of this eldest
girl from his home incited him to find a second wife. He takes a journey into Fifeshire and arrives "from the south" with
a wife; Thomas Brown records it as a great event. "Ffriday about sunset or y’by the eighteen of Septer, 1691, Harie
Grahame of Brecknes came from the south to Kerkwall with his second wfe called Jonet Law."
her at Anstruther, not very distant from Cambo, where sixty years previously his uncle, David Graeme of Gorthie, chose his
wife from the Myrtouns.
By 1685, he
was a Member of Parliament, and in 1701 laid a petition before the House in the name of all the "unfrie" traders with the
islands and parishes of Orkney, for the encouragement of trade there, "being few traders there at present"; he begs that the
sums of two shillings Scots which is the quota imposed for the past years and which is the greatest proportion the islanders
are able to bear of the tax roll of the Royal Burrow be payed monthly.
When Sir Charles
Erskine made his tour round Scotland, Harie employed him to blazon his Arms for him.
was the Lyon King at Arms, empowered by King Charles II to visit all the noblemen and prelates, barons and gentlemen within
the kingdom to distinguish them with difference and also to give arms.
matriculates Harie "descended by progress of the Inchbrakie family" as follows:
"Or, a Lyons paw erased and erected betwixt 3 Roses Gules on a Chiefe sable as many escallops of the
first on ane Helmet befitting his degree with a mantle Gules doubled Argent and wreathe of his ‘cullours’ is set;
for his crest a Lyon’s paw as the former grasping a sword erected in pale proper, and for his motto in ane ‘scrull’
This was registered and signed by Sir Charles at Edinburgh 9th December 1676.
Harie has been granted the lion’s paw instead of the lion of Graemeshall.
and Euphame Honeyman had nine children:
Euphame married Hugh Baikie in 1691
Ann, born 1671
Andrew who succeeds, born 1672.
Margaret born 1675, married William Leddle of Hammer, 1696.
James born 1676, a Merchant in Anstruther, Fifeshire, married Helen
Cecilia born 1680, married 1699 Robert Honeyman of Graemsay; their
daughter, Euphame, married Andrew, (her uncle) third of Breckness; their grandson, Sir William Honeyman of Graemsay, became
Katherine, born 1681
William, born 1682, married Mary Graham.
Marion, born 1684.
Grahame, M.P., died 20th June 1718. Of late matters had not been going so well with him, and
his will shows that money had been lent him by
his son James.
On the 4th of
February 1719, the will dative of Harie Grahame of Breckness is given up; it states he died in the July of the previous year
late Bailie in Anstruther, gives it up as creditor of a bond dated in the April of 1718, and that owing to his having obtained
decreet against "Will Graham third lawful son to the defunct, Annas Graham late relict of New Backie of Bowness, Mary Graham
spouse to William Leddle of Banner and he for his interest, Marion Graham, spouse to Mr Alex. Nisbet, minister of the Gospell
at Theysmshay, Catherine Graham, lawful daughter to the defunct, Cicell Graham spouse to Mr Robert Hanneman of Graemesay;
therefore he James Graham is to have sole executorship of his guides and abulements."
this is mentioned a "little silver handle sword and kane, ane old watch in tortoishell case and a ring."
Will does not quite agree with the MS. pedigrees. Harie Grahame was succeeded by his eldest son and heir in 1718.
THIRD OF BRECKNESS AND SKAILL.
the lands for three years only and married when twenty-two years old, a namesake of his mother's. The younger, Euphame,
who became Mrs
Grahame of Breckness was the daughter of Mr Robert Honeyman, who became of Graemesay, and Cecilia Graham (daughter to Breckness),
his wife; this estate was partly left to Robert and partly to Harie Graeme (his father-in-law), by Mr James Stewart,
fourth of Graemesay.
had an only son, Andrew, who was brother to Mrs Harie Grahame of Breckness, and Sheriff of Orkney; this Sheriff was
the father of Robert, owner of Graemesay, whose daughter, Euphame, married secondly his kinsman (second cousin), Patrick Graeme,
the third laird of Graemeshall. I have met with no record of Andrew`s life beyond his marriage and the three
children born to him and Euphame:
Robert, born 1696.
Mungo, born 1697
pedigree and Burke both make no further mention beyond his birth of Harie the eldest son, and state that
SUCCEEDED AS FOURTH LAIRD OF BRECKNESS AND SKAILL.
1696, he married his first cousin Margaret, daughter of his uncle Mr James Graham (and Helen Graham his wife), who had left
Orkney to become a merchant in Anstruther. He is served heir to his father, Andrew Graham younger of Breckness, in 1721.
and Margaret Graham are stated to have had three children:
I. . Robert,
Euphame, born 1728, married Mr Cleghorn.
Helen, born 1731.
He was succeeded
by his son,
ROBERT GRAHAM, FIFTH OF BRECKNESS,
born in 1724, married in 1744 Margaret Brown, was served heir to his great-grandfather Harie to various lands, 8th October
In the year
1747 we find him (or his father) giving in his claim as holder of the hereditary Bailiery over the Parishes of Sandwich and
Stromness; he died in 1780, and his wife died at her house of Skaill, Orkney, on April 9th, 1792.
are recorded as follows:
John Graham, born 1747, d.v.p.
I I. Patrick,
born 1748; he sold the lands of Breckness to his brother-in-law Mr William Watt. Died in 1800.
born 1749; married daughter of Mr Smith of Turmiston, Orkney; his name appears in a law-suit regarding a wreck,
he is described as Robert Graham late "residenter" in Skaill, he had two daughters who died unmarried.
Margaret, born 1752; married 20th June 1775 Mr William Watt, merchant in Kirkwall, son of Mr William Watt, by Katherine,
daughter of Rev. J. Gibson of Evie and Rendall, son of Alex., Archdean of Caithness, Dean of Watten and Bower, by Katherine
his wife, daughter of James Sinclair of Assery.
husband brought the lands of Breckness and Skaill to that family, and their children carry on the line; like all the houses
of Bishop George Graeme, it passes to the distaff to be carried on.
Mr and Mrs
Watt had three children:
William Graham, born 1776.
born 1779; married Eliza Rae, and had issue?William Watt, Belfast, married Agnes Arthur, Belfast, and had issue
Graeme Watt, Esq., member of Ulster Club, Belfast.
born 1778; married her cousin James Stewart Watt, M.D., and has issue.
GRAHAM WATT, SECOND LAIRD OF THE WATTS OF SKAILL AND BRECKNESS,
in 1776. He married, 1811, Anne, daughter of Thomas Traill of Frotoft, Orkney, and died on 23rd October 1866, leaving
W. Watt Graham Watt, born 1815, married Barbara, daughter of Rev. William Logie, of Kirkwall. He died without issue,
Thomas Traill Watt, born 1819, married Miss Eliza Strang, and left two daughters.
Graham, born 1825, married Elizabeth, daughter of George Dale, Esq., and died 1862, leaving a son, W. G. T. Watt, who succeeds,
and a daughter Robina Graham.
Grant, born 1813, married James W. Moffatt, surgeon, R.N., they had a son James W., died unmarried.
Margaret Graham, born 1814, died unmarried 1891.
Traill, born 1817, married John Balfour, of the Pilrig family, and had issue a son, Walter Brunton, and a daughter, Helen
Traill, born 1819, died unmarried.
of Holland and Westhove are as previously mentioned, connected with the Graemes in Sketch XX IX. as well as with Breckness;
in Sketch XVII. will be found mention of Traills who settled in Perthshire and were friends of the Inchbrakies; a Traill
of Aberdalgie is mentioned as marrying a daughter of George, fourth of Inchbrakie.
Graham Watt was succeeded in 1866 by his eldest son,
WATT GRAHAM WATT, THIRD WATT OF SKAILL AND BRECKNESS.
in 1875 without issue and was succeeded by his nephew,
GEORGE T. WATT, J.P., D.L., FOURTH WATT OF SKAILL AND BRECKNESS, NINTH IN DESCENT FROM BISHOP GEORGE GRAEME, THROUGH HIS GRANDMOTHER.
Watt married in 1885 Mary Charlotte, daughter of Lt. Robert Barry, K.M., and has issue.