The fourth Laird
of Inchbrakie, George Graeme, son of Patrick Graeme and Nicolas Browne of Fordell, succeeded his father in 1635, and enjoyed
tenure of his lands for nineteen years, during which he went through the great troubles, and his estate bore the heavy taxes
of that period, fire, raid and destruction, his own person was imprisoned, and finally acre upon acre which his father had
added and preserved to the large barony was to pass from his descendants, leaving only the knowledge that to their king, and
great chief Montrose, they had proved their loyalty and service to the hilt.
years of his life must have been while still "fiar" (heir) of Inchbrakie he became the husband of Margaret Keith of Ludquhairn,
and with the freedom of a son enjoyed all the broad acres which were to become his own.
married in 1608, Margaret, daughter of Sir Alexander Keith of Ludquhairn by his wife, who was sister of George, fourth Earl
Sir William Keith of Ludquhairn, had, like her husband’s progenitor, fallen at Flodden, and her father had married his
family is stated to have been of German extraction who settled in Batavia (now called Holland); the Dutch became jealous of
their prosperity and encouraged them to leave the country, expediting their departure by provisions of ships, etc. The Chattie
or Keiths, who did leave Catwick op Zee, were overtaken by a tempest and cast on the coast of Scotland: from that time Caithness
bore its present name. They were overpowered by the inhabitants and were driven to Lochaber, forming the clans of McIntosh,
Farquharson, and McPherson, but not until 1005 were they allowed by their own prince to intermarry with the Scots.
The representative of their
prince ultimately became Robert Keith; he had slain Camus the Danish General in single combat, and was granted the lands of
Keith in East Lothian.
So runs the story
of the Keiths' origin in the interesting little volume I quote from. Margaret Graeme's grandfather had died previous to his
father, the third Earl. His wife was the daughter of the seventh Earl of Errol, Elizabeth Hay; they were married in
1543, and their son George succeeded as fourth Earl Marischal; their daughter Margaret married Sir Alexander Keith of Ludquhairn,
and they became the parents of George Graeme's wife. Her father, Sir Alexander, died in 158o, so that Margaret Keith
must have been about twenty-seven years old when she married Inchbrakie, and her brother, the seventh in line, was granted
a Nova Scotia Baronetcy in the time of James Sixth.
The uncle of
our Great Baron’s wife was perhaps the most notable member of a brilliant race; he and his brother William traveled
in France in early youth and attained to many accomplishments. The Earl brought Queen Anne to Scotland in 1589, and settled
the peace for the Scottish King in the discords of 1593, founding the College of Aberdeen. The same year he was given the
honour by King James VI of Lord High Commissioner of the Scottish Parliament in 1607, and died in 1623, aged 70 years.
of Tulliebelton was purchased in 1610, two years after George’s marriage to Margaret Keith; there they lived and added
to the house. A carved stone, removed from the old house of Tulliebelton some time in the nineteenth century, shows us the
"coat" of George and his wife on its face, it also bears their initials and the date 1619; there were the children born, amongst
them the gallant Black Pate, Montrose’s chief captain and close friend, and
here Montrose rested and sheltered while forming his plan of campaign.
Those who travel in the
morning hours to the north from Perth, may mark the site of this historic house (nine miles after leaving Perth), by the long
white walls of the home of the Richardsons of Tulliebelton gleaming, as the rays of the south eastern sun falls on it.
But the years are racing over George and Margaret and we must trace their record.
On Nov. 13, 1613, his name first appears as Commissioner for the Sheriffdom of Perth,
and in company with him are his connections, Drummond of Balloch, John Grahame of
Balgowan, William Murray of Ochtertyre with John Campbell of Lawers.
A letter addressed to the
Right Honble. The Laird of Inchbrakie, which is unsigned, adds, after some business preamble, "your son was with me in the
Tollbooth, but because I was with (sic) Colonel John, Alexander Powis took him to his home and intertenit him lauffinglie"
The writer cannot be traced
nor does it appear who Colonel John is with whom he was occupied while young Inchbrakie, the subject of our sketch, went off
with Powis to a merry meeting.
George obtains in 1627 final possession of Tulliebelton
by Retour. The resignation of the lands of Monzie by himself and his father were also occupying him about this date
(1619) as he must have obtained some equivalent it is likely that he was thus enabled to enlarge his house of Tulliebelton.
In 1632 Parliament was caring for the well-being of the parishes in Scotland,
and we find the signatures of several Grahams headed by their chief "Montrois" (the great Marquis), to a document granting
a glebe of four "akers" for a manse and "yaird" to Mr John Graham, minister at Aberuthven who is already living there; this
deed guards against any future minister claiming them by law. The document is signed by the Earl; Graeme of Morphie; J. Graham
of Balgowan; J. Graham of Orchill. The original document being in possession of the Inchbrakies makes it appear as if
the grant had been made to a member of the family, and it may point to Mr John Graham, the minister of Aberuthven, being the
brother of George Graeme whose existence hitherto has not been fully proved. The kirk of Aberuthven was called St Kattans.
The Montroses, and Graemes of Inchbrakie, Damside and Orchill still hold rights of burial there.
In October 1633, Mr George Graeme still "Fiar" of Inchbrakie is curator to his cousin,
young Browne of Fordell; the Brownes had been short-lived, and he was George's first cousin three times removed.
In 1635 the third Great Baron Patrick dies, and George his son succeeds as the fourth
to the estates of Inchbrakie and Aberuthven. By this time his eldest son Patrick, the renowned "Black Pate" of the Great
Troubles has grown up, and has married the Honble. Jean Drummond, daughter of Lord Madertie; they take up their abode at Tulliebelton,
vacated by Inchbrakie who moves down the Strath to Inchbrakie Castle, and thenceforth the records speak of George as "Inchbrakie"
from this time onward.
George enjoys but a year or two of peaceful inheritance; already the clouds are gathering
heavily over his aged uncle, the Bishop of Orkney; Montrose takes the Covenanting side, and with him follow the majority of
Graemes and of the gentlemen proprietors of the Strath; foremost amongst them stands Inchbrakie, as one of the Committee of
War for the parish of Auchterarder.
A paper of detailed instructions shows there is a strong feeling among the soldiers
against being sent "South." The Committee assemble on the 22nd May 1639 to enquire into the movement of the company raised
by the Master of Madertie; if it moved forward it has "fled back," and "discreet gentlemen" are appointed to take notice of
it to try all those "who are brought back to Perth " to take "notice and tryell " on May 22nd and transported to Leith under
penalty following; that the "recusant persons" are to be "hangit" when apprehended; and the heritor or gentleman of the parish
to which these men belong to be censured, and their names sent to the Committee of War at Edinburgh, and "these presents"
were ordered to be published in all the parish churches "nixt Sunday by the minister or reader. For "making advertisement
of this" in the parish of Auchterarder is "Inchbrakie " and " Ardock." The next agenda is regarding two letters, one
from the Committee of War sitting at Burntisland, and one from the "erle of Montrois" Colonel. Both these ask for 400
men to be sent with 15 days' provision to the island, and that the same number relieve them from time to time.
Perth and various parishes forming one quarter of the Sheriffdom are to supply this
order; the young Laird of Inchture is to command 200, and in case he refuses another captain is to be furnished; the other
200 are to be commanded by.. ; they are to choose their lieutenant and under officers, furnish themselves with drums and handswords,
15 days' food, and come to Burnt Island. Lists are to be taken of horses and of owners who are fit for service.
To assist him in this matter, each Commissioner is to appoint two other gentlemen
to work with him. George Graeme and Ardoch with the Laird of Comrie take Auchterarder, Lord Kilpont and Laird of Kippenross
for Dunblane, Graham of Balgowan for Tibbermair, Methven and Redgorton. They must also state who can "entertain hors
and men," and who has land rent "abill to sustain the rank of horsemen." The report states there are only two horses
of anti-Covenanters, and they belong to my Lord Erle Tullibardine, and Lord Stormont has seized them.
Every parish is to supply men between 16 and 6o years with one month's provision
at 24 hours' notice; they are to report on what armour can be supplied, when horses are to be had which belong to foot
captains, and report on all money to be obtained by the 29th inst.
From the above it will be seen that the Committee of War was not only ably organised,
but that the greatest speed and strictest surveillance was exacted of the gentlemen forming the Commission. Almost every
name appears on the roll of Commission, but Lord Madertie, Gorthie, Monzie are conspicuously absent. These were Royalists
from the first. On October 12th, 1640, George Graeme receives a letter from his chief, dated at Newcastle, and signed
"Your loving Chieffe Montrosse."
The Erle is evidently disappointed at the results of the Commission; "the uncertainty
of affairs has made him delay here"; he would rather that they were "disappointed than unsteady." All goes well at Newcastle
and still points to be better, and as those appointed to the Commission "wreat in a very smooth way," it affords him much
matter of good hope that all their "distance at present is anent the proportions of moneys for the armies."
The gentlemen of Perthshire appear rather lukewarm in the Covenanters' cause
even when led by Montrose.
In February 1644 Patrick Murray
of Ochtertyre convenes a court. George Graeme of Inchbrakie is present in company with Sir James Drummond of Machany, James
Stewart of Ardvorlich, Mr Murray, the Chamberlain and the Parish Clerk of Tulliebardine: they direct that Mr Francis Hay of
Balhousie do relieve the Laird of Gask from the maintenance of the lands Kierprone, as they belonged to Mr Hay, whose lands
Then in October
of the same year George Graeme is imprisoned (by the Convention of Estates) in Edinburgh and remains under supervision until
1645, when he gave them satisfaction of his neutrality, for in that year an act is passed in his favour by the Estates of
Parliament then convened, and having considered the report for the process concerning Mr G.Graeme of Inchbrakie, together
with the opinions of the said Commission in 1641 (which was the last Parliament holden by his Majesty) that they "find nothing
proven against the said Mr George Graeme of Inchbrakie" and will not "detain him longer, and he may be dismissed without fine
The Act states that he has
compeared personally and bound himself over "to good carriage and behaviour" to do nothing indirectly to the prejudice of
the Eastates of the realm, but assist to the utmost of his powers against the enimies of the realm, and gives him full liberty
to pass and repass about his business.
The part taken by George Graeme in the affairs of Scotland from 1644-49 show that though not actually able
to take up arms personally for the Marquis after 1647 when he was released from prison, that he had in his politics followed
those of his leader, Montrose. Like him, he was a believer in the religion of his country; but when once the leaders of that
religion threw off allegiance to their King and mutinied then Inchbrakie left them and remained a Royalist.
the more active part to be taken by his dashing Royalist son; the former however did not escape further imprisonment in 1642,
and his Castle of Inchbrakie in 1651 was wrecked by Cromwell, whose troops burnt all that was available, including the larger
part of the family papers. His sufferings did not end here; his "Lady" and her servants were frightened and insulted and his
estate ruined and ravished.
show the public offices he held during those years: -
Sheriff and Justice of the Peace
Commissioner for Perthshire and convenes a meeting
He is Convener in the absence of Sir G. Preston(Valleyfield)
Inchbrakie appointed Commissioner to uplift the rents of such persons as "shall be excommunicate" by the Kirk; appointed by
Convention of Estates.
January 11th, his name appears on the Convention and Commission to Parliament, which recommends
the Committee of Estates to take such course for apportioning some allowance of the Earl of Kinoul’s estate for the
maintenance of his ladie and children and paying of the annual rents.
A remission is given in favour of all creditors of and cautioners of the Erle of Montrois, granting that his estates be liable
for the same for all such as were contracted previous to the forteiture of the said Montrose.
Sir Robert Graeme
Mr G. Graham
Sir John Rollock
"friar" of Duncrub
Sir John Graham
Graham of Monorgund
In 1647 Middleton
grants him a "pass".
of Commission and Committee of War.
In 1650, June
25, he is still being harassed; this time it is to produce papers proving Montrose’s right to certain lands "of old
called "Mugdock", but now the Baronie of Neillstowne, belonging now to "The Marquis of Argyle". A messenger of arms was sent
to warn and summons and charge the Erle of Tulliebardine, Laird of Fintrie. James Graham of Monorgon and the Laird of Inchbrakie,
who hold these old writings, to bring the documents with them six days hence, and to "heir and see the same" delivered to
the Marquis of Argyle.
No record of
the old lands of Mugdock being handed over to Argyle appears. The part Inchbrakie took in public affairs was disastrous to
the welfare of his private life and estates, and to follow the events of the family we will retrace our steps to 1625, when
his eldest child – her mother’s namesake – Margaret, marries the heir of Strowan, Alexander Robertson, "Fiar"
to the tenth laird.
Struan, was one of the finest great baronies in the country. The estates lay in Northern Perthshire, and stretched from Loch
Tummel to Loch Rannoch right and left.
The child bride
is taken from Inchbrakie in her seventeenth year to the lovely home of her Highland bridegroom, on which Dunalister, the burying
place of the Strowans, still rears his crest.
In 1640, George
Graeme’s younger daughter, Beatrice (who has already been wife to, and is now widow of, Robertson of Lude), is married
a second time to Donald Robertson, the younger brother of her sister Margaret’s husband.
first cousin and neighbour, William Maxtone of Cultoquhey, is dead (the son of George’s aunt), Cultoquhey’s father
in law, John Oliphant of Bachiltown is curator, having gift from the King of Cultoquhey lands till the young heir’s
entry in 1642. John Maxtone will soon assume his lands for his is on the point of marriage to Isobel Graeme, daughter of Balgowan.
And now we draw
close to the time of the Great Troubles which, briefly put, are as follows:
at the demands of the Covenanting party, their determination to ignore King Charles I, and trespass on his rights as Soverign,
signed the Cumbernauld Bond with sundry nobleman and gentry, amongst them the Earl Marischal, the uncle of Margaret Keith,
George Graeme of Inchbrakie’s wife; and finally, in 1644, Montrose, separating from Leslie, disguised as Colonel Sibbald’s
groom, and having Walter Rollock for his guide, came north to Perthshire in trooper’s dress. At this time the Inchbrakies
were still living in their sturdy old castle within the moat, and a hearty welcome was accorded to the "Chieffe" and his friends
Sibbald and Rollock, the latter a cousin of Inchbrakie’s; but it was impossible for the Earl to remain in the home of
so prominent a man as George Graeme, whilst his plans were still immature, and his army uncollected, so he traveled on to
Tulliebelton, to his devoted friend and kinsman Patrick, the heir of Inchbrakie.
between the first cousins, Gask and Inchbrakie, must have been somewhat strained at this time (for the son of Lilias Graeme
remained quiet, adhering to the old Covenanting party), if so, the friendship was all the closer in the days to come!
But the Committee
of Estates heard of Montrose’s presence at Inchbrakie, and, determined to check any movement on his (Montrose’s)
part, imprisoned Inchbrakie "with several utthurs" in the Castle of Edinburgh. Montrose’s friends, "the Laird of Fintrie,
the Lairds of Brako and Urchill, with Inchbrakie the elder to bear them company."
Alas for Margaret
Keith, Lady Inchbrakie, who is left behind; what horrors she witnessed, what indignities and hardships she endured!
Across the Strath
Kincardine Castle was soon to be in flames, while between her and it, lay troops of the enemies’ horse, whose delight
was to harry every farm, and frighten and insult all those of gentle birth they came across.
There is a closely
written document of an appeal from George Graeme to the Lords, which shows some of the damage done to his property between
1644 and 1652. The garrison stationed at Fordie was commanded by Captain Schaw, a grandson of Duncrub, so that Inchbrakie
was his second cousin, and Schaw’s force seems to have been composed of Campbells and McIntyres, etc., all unruly and
difficult to restrain. George states he has always endeavoured to be obedient to all public orders since the beginning of
this business, yet his estates have been ruined and spoiled by violence; that he is unable to live at his home, and that not
enough is left to support his "poor family."
When he was
"detained at their Lordship’s pleasure" for six months in Edinburgh, his "stabill dorrs in Inch(ko) were broken open
and three mares and a pony foal stolen, 50 pounds Scots in value. Men (some of them the sons of fleshers), and others under
Glenorchie and Lawers, break down the byre doors and stole six of his "best kyne", value 24 pounds Scots a piece. On his return
on September 12th 1645, from his imprisonment in Edinburgh, the soldiers of the garrison at
Fordie took out of the "fauld" of Inchbrakie six oxen, 40 merks a piece, "having such interest in" the Captain that my father
and his mother were brother’s and sister’s sons".
over and proved his oxen, coming to the house "where he commandit". Schaw replied his men had no orders to take them, he was
"sorie such reiving had been done," assured him the oxen were killed before he knew of it, and were they alive they should
be sent back with Inchbrakie; as they were dead, "I cannot mend it," but promised and sent him a letter of protection from
those under his command.
Yet after all
these promises, the lieutenant of that garrison, James Campbell, with eighteen men, in October came requiring "ane house to
ryd, for some sojour." Inchbrakie asked for their order; they told him they should "make him repent his refusal." Then up
spoke Lady Inchbrakie (Margaret Keith) at this. "Their sall nothing tbe refusit," she said, "where ye have orders, but if
not by orders ye will be maid answerable for it"; whereon, with drawn sword and dirks and with "bent" pistols, "Guidwife,"
replied one, "If I heir ane word moir in your hoed, I sall cleive your guidman’s heid in two pieces before your eine,"
and turning, went to where the cattle fed, and before Inchbrakie’s eyes bore off to the Fordie 6 kyne, 2 stots, 2 quirks.
He offered them a dollar a piece to leave them, but they were all killed, and later on 70 geese shared the same fate. Gavin
M’Owine (the Laird being absent) went to Inchbrakie, and with drawn dirks "boasted my wyffe and her woeman," struck
one to the ground, broke the staff of the Leddy Inchbrakie, and then began to rifle the home. Some neighbours stopped them,
but the same men returning, stole all the sheep, took every lamb but ten, and shot one of the lambs with a hagbut. Again Margaret
Keith interfered, and, trying to pacify them, begged they would come into the house as friends and they should have more meat
and drink than the lamb was worth. Cried one to the other, "talk the plaid from the carline," and so "boasted her away," and
took the lambs with them. Next three horses and a mare were stolen, and on Michaelmas Day 1646, in Crieff "Mercat, in audience
of many," John Campbell of Fordie’s garrison most "opprobiously boasted my wyffe," calling her a "carline", and vowing
she should not be left a four-footed beast.
soldiers of that garrison with men of Tullibardine and" "boys of Glenurchies, came in silence of night, broke up the byre
doors" "and took three of the best oxen, so that now my family must lie waist" "the whole of the rent and yet payment of publick
dues to make. Item" "Captain Schaw’s garrison stole my own young horse."
"My white horse
out of Inchbrakie, by Alexander Menzies. 1 stot and 7 kye, which they took to the Baron of Comries Close. The Baron, on his
return, sent back 10 merks for each kow; but for the oxen and stot no restitution was made.
broke into the "Scheipp Coatt and took 36 scheipp, the other 30 were taken by William Murray Baillie to my Lord Tullibardine."
"My Lord Tullibardine’s" men also went to Pernie, stealing 29 cattle and 4 "hors", and "I following" to see if they
had orders; out started the leader, William Roy, with a "bent Haigbut, and cried out, if ye approach one foot nearer, I sall
make drop off ye like any corbie." The same day Inchbrakie’s tenants were forced to pay 200 merks for their own goods,
and had 6 bulls stolen.
1646. Item –
When General Middleton lay at Kincardine, 8 troopers courteously desired food, which was willingly given, but they took "my
cload, of drap de berrie which cost me £90 money, and my coatt a litel hagbuit and a pellet bore" (sic). At Lord Balcarres’
order he had to give his grey mare, 5 years old, for £10, she being worth double.
with the carriage of baggage from Perth to Coupar on promise of their restoration, he lent six horses and a mare, but never
saw them again nor was given any restitution.
Then, in 1648,
six score sheep were taken from Beldhill and Pernie, "whereof three score were his own special breed which had been on the
farm over 300 years; these were "lifted by Bredalbane."
showing the heroism and pluck of his "Lady" Margaret Keith, is told with regard to his grey mare taken by Lord Balcarres,
worth 20 pounds. "On the morrow his wyffe, knowing that he lovit the beast," rode to Drummond of Ballock; where she dined
and then lay; and where the mare was for which she took her own horse, hoping to exchange it for, "expecting in courtesie
to have obtainit that favor"; but all the brave lady could do, they not only retained the mare, but "kept the lady’s
horse and forced her to come home on foot with but a ticket of receipt which amounted to half the value of the two animals".
At this date
Margaret Keith must at least have been 58 years of age.
pleads that Lieutenant General Leslei, quartered at Dunning, took from Pernie four pairs of horses.
The Rebels quartered
in the parish of Foulis, took from Pittencleroch two pairs.
At several times
the Rebels took all the "ready meat and dining" that was in the house, cut the "cornis" in harvest, and nor withstanding the
above written losses, the collectors of the Tax load would not abate id. but forced the Heritors to pay for full value "whereof
the discharge is extant". The lands of Inchbrakie were at the point of lying waste, "so that he will neither be able to live
himself or give satisfaction to public order". These losses were beside the plundering of the poultry "yairds" and that of
all his tenants, and of the six hundred pounds due at Martinmas from Inchbrakie’s lands in Aberuthven, "the Master has
not received a saxpence nor never will."
So matters went
on from bad to worse and finally the climax was reached, when after another imprisonment in 1649 George’s castle was
stormed by Cromwell’s men in 1651, the flames destroying all that the bullet spared, but the old yew tree still stands,
the second largest in Scotland; it saved the life of the great Marquis, when on a flying visit to Inchbrakie, while his men
were quartered in McCallum’s woods. Cromwell heard of his movements and sent a large body of men to storm the castle;
how, or by what means the household escaped we do not know, if they did escape. But Montrose was prevailed on to ascend to
the thick branches of the old yew and there lay perdu, till the violence of the troops subsided, and then sullenly left, disappointed
of their chief prize. Sheltered either at Tulliebelton, the home of his early married life, or in one of his large farms at
Aberuthven, George and his wife must have passed a year or two of their lives of trouble and turmoil, and into the years 1653
and 1654 crowd rapidly the last events of the Laird of Inchrakie’s life. On August 1653, the castle was restored sufficiently to hold the
family for "at Inchbrakie" is signed the contract of marriage for his young granddaughter Annas Graeme, Black Pate’s
child, who married George Smythe of Rapness. Some idea of the Inchbrakie’s losses at this period may be gained by the
dower of 60000 merks settled on the bride (on a bond given by Lord Madertie, her grandfather), being paid in yearly instalments
1645, Inchbrakie’s only brother died, the Laird James Graeme of Monzie, and in July, the fourth Great Baron of Inchbrakie
passed to his rest; a very small inventory, besides his crops show how sadly his "guids and geir" had dwindled in his king’s