A Book of the Graemes


Title Page
Preface (v)
Sketch of Graeme Decent Through the Noble House of Montrose (xvii)
Images to Sketch of Grame Decent
Sketch I Patrick Graeme, 1st Great Baron of Inchbrakie and Aberruthven (1)
Sketch II The Younger Children and Widow of Patrick, the First Great Baron of Inchbrakie (6)
Sketch III Robert Graeme, Archdeacon of Ross, Younger Son of the First Great Baron (10)
Sketch IV George Graeme, 2nd Baron of Inchbrakie (19)
Sketch V Widow and Children of George Graeme (27)
Sketch VI George Graeme, Bishop of Orkney, Retland and Dunblane (35)
Images to Sketch VI
Sketch VII Patrick Graeme, Third Baron of Inchbrakie (66)
Sketch VIII Widow and Younger Children of Patrick Graeme (90)
Images to Sketch VIII
Sketch IX George Graeme, Fourth Baron of Inchbrakie (104)
Images to Sketch IX
Sketch X The Younger Children of George and Marget Keith, his Wife (118)
Sketch XI Patrick V of Inchbrakie 'Black Pate' (134)
Images to Sketch XI
Sketch XII Col Patrick Graeme of the Town Guard and his Family (186)
Images to Sketch XII
Sketch XIII John Graeme, Postmaster General (216)
Sketch XIV James Graeme, Solicitor General (223)
Sketch XV Daughters of Black Pate (230)
Images to Sketch XV
Sketch XVI George Graeme, 6th Baron of Inchbrakie (248)
Sketch XVII Younger Son & Daughters of George Graeme (259)
Sketch XVIII Patrick Graeme, 7th Baron of Inchbrakie (262)
Images to Sketch XVIII
Sketch XIX George Graeme, 8th in-line, son of Patrick (276)
Sketch XX Patrick Graeme, 8th Baron of Inchbrakie (284)
Images to Sketch XX
Sketch XXI Younger Sons and Daughters of the 8th Baron (317)
Images to Sketch XXI
Sketch XXII George Graeme, 9th Baron of Inchbrakie (340)
Sketch XXIII Patrick and Younger Sons and Daughter of George Graeme, 9th of Inchbrakie (360)
Images to Sketch XXIII
Sketch XXIV George Drummond Graeme 10th of Inchbrakie and Patrick Graeme 11th (395)
Images to Sketch XXIV
Sketch XXV The Witch's Relic (406)
Images to Sketch XXV
Sketch XXVI Graemes of Monzie, Pitcairns & Buchlyvie (413)
Sketch XXVII The Graemes of Orchill (432)
Images to Sketch XXVII
Sketch XXVIII The Graemes of Gorthie and Braco (454)
Images to Sketch XXVIII
Sketch XXIX The Graemes of Graemeshall in Orkney (497)
Sketch XXX The House of Graham and Watt of Breckness and Orkney (513)
Sketch XXXI Kathrine Graeme, Daughter of George, Bishop of Dunblane (524)
Sketch XXXII Graemes of Drynie (540)
Images to Sketch XXXII
Sketch XXXIII Graeme of Damside and Graeme of Duchray (547)
Sketch XXXIV The Graemes of Garvock (557)
Sketch XXXV The Graemes of Balgowan (572)
Images to Sketch XXXV
Sketch XXXVI Grames, Greymes, Grahams of Callendar; Aberuthven, Kernock, Kinross Cossington (592)
Sketch XXXVII Grahams of Airth & Graham-Stirling of Strowan (604)
Sketch XXXVIII The Graemes of Fintry, Claverhouse, Duntrune and other Cadets (616)
Images to Sketch XXXVIII
Appendix I
Appendix II
Appendix III
Appendix IV
Appendix V
Appendix VI
Index A
Index B
Index C
Index D, E & F
Index G
Index H
Index I, J, K & L
Index M & N
Index O, P, Q & R
Index S
Index T, U, V, W & Y

Sketch VI







The second cleric of distinction in the Inchbrakie line was George, the younger son of the second laird, and great grandson of the Earl of Montrose. He was bishop successively of two sees, viz, Dunblane about 1606, and was translated to Orkney in 1615.

From him sprang the houses of Gorthie, Graemeshall, and Breckness, three spurs from the older barony of Inchbrakie and Aberuthven.

As we gather up the threads of the broken life lines which have floated down to us, the remnants we draw together weave themselves into the semblance of a large and tender nature, exhibited in the varied interests and movements of his life, and we note the deep family affection and warm friendship which breathes in his letters, stirring with a human touch the hearts of those living three hundred years later. Surely the sympathy that can influence us through three centuries of time must fain make us love the man, though a few may blame the prelate.

His father had married early Margaret Rollo or Rollock, a daughter of the house which now bears the title of Baron Rollo of Duncrub. It was probably about 1565 that the future bishop first saw the light, but of the years of his youth and boyhood nothing reaches us, with the exception that in 1575 his father dies, and the widowed mother marries for the second time, becoming the wife of John, younger son of Graeme of Garvock, first Laird of Balgowan, and we may naturally suppose that George, as one of the youngest of her children, goes with her. At any rate, we know he learns to love the boy born to Balgowan, "my brother John", always thus alluded to in his letters, whereas (with one exception) his own and eldest brother he always entitles "the Laird of Inchbrakie".

St Andrews University

We meet George first at the University of St Andrews, surrounded by the youth of rank and learning of that century, while he himself shared in both, as the following lines and his pedigree show:

Gramus orcadensis

Dum corpus tuen quantillus homuncio Graeme er

Ardua dam mentes culmina, quantus Altar

Sibaldi Elogia

Winning his "honors", he is laureated, and becomes in 1587 Maister George Graeme. But we may be sure the scholar played, too; frequent games of golf must have been won and lost on the breezy dunes of St Andrews, and the short turf is witness to many a light and boyish footstep which, later on, had to tread with care and circumspection – aye, and sorrow, too – the thorny path of future years, beset with all the dangers that fell to those who were loyal to Church and Throne!

Too short a space is given to those happier days, and in 1590 we find George settled into harness in his first ministry in the parish of Clunie, while the cares of life and some tokens of the romance of love are already showing themselves on his horizon.

Clunie was a parish in the Presbytery of Auchterarder, about six or eight miles in breadth and several in length. At the time of which we write it had already attained the distinction of having been chosen as the site for two castles. The older one stands on the shores of the loch, and its foundations, now grass-grown, alone are visible, standing on high ground, in the form of a tumulus, which contains an even older British house.

This castle is said to have been a royal residence, and was burnt to the ground in the time of King Edward I.

The Clunie Castle which claims our special interest is an old Scottish keep in almost perfect preservation at the close of the 19th century.

It was built circa 1440 as a house of rest and convalescence for the priesthood, and was the property of the Diocese of Dunkeld.

It is situated on a small island in Clunie Loch (much resembling Ellen’s Isle on Loch Katrine), one of a picturesque chain of lochs in the Blairgowrie-Dunkeld district. The shores are clothed with varied and hanging woods to the water’s edge, and the old white keep stands like a pearl in their setting.

There is extant an interesting letter to a late minister of Clunie, which I have been permitted to see. It is dated 1791, and in compliance with a special request, the writer gives a short history of the Barony of Clunie, so far as he has been able to trace it from the title deeds which have been at one time in his possession. He continues:-

"The Loch, Island, and Chapel of Saint Katherine within the Loch, together with other parts of the Barony, and teinds of the whole, anciently belonged to the Bishop of Dunkeld; the rest of the Barony to the Herons of Glasclune.

"About the time of the Reformation that part which pertained to Heron was apprised from him by Robert (afterwards Sir Robert) Crichton of Elliok, king’s Advocate to James VI, and at the same time the Bishop of Dunkeld (then a brother of Sir Robert’s) disponed to him his whole property in the Barony, with this remarkable reservation, that it should be in the Bishop’s power at any time he pleased to require it and incumbent on the disponee to yield it and all title thereto, and to remove therefrom upon fourty days warning.

"The reason for this is very obvious. The two brothers had considered that, if the alteration in religion should take effect, the Church would be plundered of its patrimony and it would therefore be as well Sir Robert should get a part of that which belonged to the See of Dunkeld as any other; and if the old Establishment should prevail again, the Bishop would have been restored to his own.

" Upon the rights I have mentioned Sir Robert Crichton procured the a Charter of Confirmation and Novo damus from King James VI., of the whole Barony of Clunie, Loch, Isle, etc., within the advocation, donation, and right of Patronage of the Parish, and Parish Kirk of Clunie, and Chapel of St Katherine within the Loch, and the same were enjoyed by him and by his son and successor until they were apprised from the latter by
John Stewart of Denally, John was succeeded in the property by Walter, his son, who married a daughter of Nairne, Lord Strathurd ; and Walter dying and leaving his widow and an only daughter behind him, the widow was married to James Ogilvy of Muirtown, and he, upon some claims which he had on the Estate, apprised the Barony of Cluny and its whole appendages from Miss Stewart, whilst she, having married John Ogilvie of
Tushewan, with the consent of her husband, and in consideration of a sum paid, renounced all right to the Estate."

The writer then gives the Ogilvie succession to the Earldom of Airly, and continues: "There is nothing in what I have said, that contradicts the opinion which my Lord of Buchan has formed, that the Mirabilis Crichton was a son of Sir Robert Crichton of Elliok, as Sir Robert might at one time be designed of Elliok and at another of Clunie.

" Vide Vale si quid novisti rectius istis.
"Candidus imperti ; si non his utere mecum."

At the date therefore of George Graeme’s appointment as minister of Clunie, Sir Robert Crichton was the great man of the parish. He had been Lord Advocate not only to Mary Queen of Scots, but continued to hold this appointment under James VI; in spite of his great business capacity and his learning he appears to have been strongly susceptible to the charms of domestic life, for notwithstanding fate snatching from him two young wives in succession, he carried a third bride to the altar, and she outlived Sir Robert.

Sir Robert’s first wife had been the mother of the Admirable Crichtoun, she was the grand daughter of Sir James Stewart of Beith, being the only daughter of his third son, Henry Stewart of Bucklivie, but she did not live to learn the terrible fate of her son, the most brilliant and versatile of boys, whose short career terminated miserably; he was stabbed to the heart one evening in an Italian city by the Prince of Mantua, his pupil. Sir Robert’s second wife was Agnes Mowbray, and the third wife, Isobel Borthwick, became the mother of many children, some of whom were to be founders of families, and to take active and leading parts in the Great Troubles.

Here then at Clunie began the romance of George Graeme’s life; here he learnt to love the little Marion Crichtoun who grew up in the old white castle he could see from his church, and he wooed her amidst the silvery birches, to the accompaniment of the whispering voices of the summer winds, and of the lapping wavelets on the shores of her island home.

On Sir Robert’s death Lady Crichtoun married Mr James Stirling of Feddal, and we find his brother, Mr Henry Stirling of Ardoch, undertaking to complete Marion’s education at his house, but more conflicting matters must have been at work than the simple education of a young girl; as far as we can see Ardoch possessed no great advantages over Feddal in learning, and we can only surmise that the marriage with George, approved by Marion’s brother, Sir Robert, found no favour in the eyes of her mother and her new connections; Marion was dowered in the lands of Eister Crago, so this made her guardianship a matter of contention in the family, and she was sent to Ardoch as a home of greater security.

But such precaution was useless; love defies all bolts and bars, and, apparently in the 16th century, all legal restraints as well, for on the night of June 29th 1592, Sir Robert Crichton, accompanied by Graeme of Inchbrakie, Rollock of Duncrub (the latter’s uncle), and forty horsemen, fully armed, rode up to Ardoch House and demanded admission.

The three young men "under pretence" of seeking Lord Bothwell and failing to be granted entrance "forcibly obtained it", and in spite of Henry Stirling’s remonstrance, they treated the Lady of Ardoch most roughly, and then departed carrying with them Marion and "other valuables".

This indictment was a pretty still one, but we shall never know how much of it would have been proved, for when the day came which had cited Crichton and his friends to appear before the Court there were no accusers to meet them. The matter had fallen through or been privately arranged.

George Graeme, however much his wishes may have inclined towards it, is not with his friends. By this time he had been a minister three years and was also a member of the General Assembly, and in spite of the traces of unfettered will and action which we find in perhaps marked degree, it is hardly likely that he would so openly have belied the conduct due to his position as to join personally in the raid upon Ardoch but would leave the matter in the hands of his friend Sir Robert, his uncle Rollo and his brother, who accomplished the rescue of the future bishop’s bride.

In 1595 we find George minister at Auchtergaven, which he held in conjection with Logiebride; a few years later in 1599 he became minister of Scone and a new friendship is formed (which lasted through their lives) between him and David, Lord Scone, afterwards Viscount Stormount.

We can feel how strongly the loyal instinct of the Graeme’s would be aroused in George, when the following year the attempt was made by the Earl of Gowrie to take their sovereign’s life, and how the young minister would share the indignation of Lord Scone, known at that time as Sir David Murray of Gospertie, now cupbearer to his monarch, and one of the most active in saving the life of the King from the conspiracy which so nearly proved fatal to him. And as George’s half brother, young John Graeme of Balgowan was also in the King’s suite at that time, George would hear every detail, especially the finding of the garter (with which Lord Ruthven was supposed to have attempted to strangle the King) by John of Balgowan, Senior. Sir David was somewhat close of kin to George Graeme, for his father, Sir Patrick Murray of Arngask, was, like George’s father, grandson to the Earl of Montrose, and a fresh bond of interest was formed in this generation by George’s brother, the Laird of Inchbrakie, and Sir David’s brother having married sisters.

Later on when in 1615 Andro Henderson of Latown and John Mathews of Boosie have a disagreement regarding the payment of a debt which Mathews is obliged to discharge, it is recorded that in the first instance the matter had been sent to arbitration, and arbitrators are the Lord of Scone, and George, the Rev. Father in God, now Bishop of Orkney, this Andro Henderson was in the Gowrie Conspiracy.

Whatever the Bishop’s enemies might say in depreciation of his good qualities, we find the fullest confidence placed in him by friends old and young alike.

In 1604, Mr Smyth of Braco (progenitor of the present Colonel Smythe of Methven Castle, Perthshire) died leaving his two orphaned grandsons to the guardianship of George Graeme. That this confidence was not misplaced is shown by the Bishop being afterwards styled "their excellent guardian," that a strong attachment was formed between him and his elder ward, is evident by the constant reference the Bishop makes to Patrick Smythe in his letters and wills, turning to him and leaning on him for help and advice, apparently with more confidence than on his own boy, the somewhat hot headed David of Gorthie.

And as the years pass on, many close ties are formed between the families of the Bishop and of Inchbrakie, with the Smythes of Braco and Methven.

Keith and some other authorities fix George’s appointment to the Bishopric of Dunblane in 1606, but there are various papers and letters which prove at least the possibility of the appointment being made known in 1603; and Grubb states he was made bishop in 1604.

Some authorities give him Brechin in 1603 but I have found no record of it in his papers, and Mr D. Black (in his History of Brechin) states that Bishopric was held by Alexander Campbell of Ardkinglass who became a Protestant in 1572 and held the see until his death in 1606.

It will be remembered that George succeeds his great uncle Andrew (son of the first Earl of Montrose) in Dunblane, who had held the Bishopric since 1575.

It must be borne in mind that George was one of the so called titular bishops, he had not been consecrated by the Archbishop personally, but by one of the bishops who Cantuar had consecrated, and who had been sent down to perform that ceremony on the majority of the Divines who at that time were appointed to the Scottish sees: but the Act passed by "the Red Parliament" which concluded its sittings on 11th June 1606 had considerably strengthened the position of Episcopacy in Scotland, and had greatly added to the social dignity of those who were already titular bishops; they were ten in number and amongst their names we find that of George Graeme "formerly Parish Minister of Scone, now Bishop of Dunblane.

While at Scone he had sat as a member of the General Assembly in 1602, and no small stir was created amongst the brethren in the Ministry by his acceptance of the See of Dunblane.

Amongst those who disapproved his action, he had no more bitter assailant than Mr Adam Ballendyne of Falkirk.

Mr Fittis gives interesting extracts from letters written at this time to the young Bishop both by Ballentyne and Mr William Coupler of Perth for his "falling off" in the matter of the Presbytery.

Couper writes, "Ye scare at them ye were once blithe to meet, ye can not abyde the light ye once loved, ye count those preachings unpleasant wherein once ye were wont to rejoice, this may tell you, ye have fallen away and apostatized – consider with yourself were ye was, and where ye are now."

In the above expostulation is to be found the earnest appeal of a man strong in his conviction of right, and the endeavour to impress it earnestly on a friend and constant companion.

Far differently do the heated taunts flung at Bishop George Graeme by Adam Ballendyne strike on our ears even from the distance of years through which they travel.

From stubborn self-righteousness comes the virulence of his attack.

"I see nothing in thee but a man sworn. Man, if the brethren would follow my counsels we should presently give thee over to the Devil, but because they pity thee let this advertisement move thee, that thou mayest cast off that unlawful place and calling which thou has taken to thee."

Fortunately for Bishop George Graeme, we may hope that Ballentyne’s counsels were not followed, and that he himself (when he stopped into the Bishopric of Dunblane, vacated by George’s removal to Orkney nine years later), did not all under the Powers of Darkness to whom he had been so anxious to consign his predecessor!

What a change of mind had occurred in the man who wrote the preceding words of condemnation, who nine years later we find sitting on the Commission with George Graeme, not only as a Bishop, but for the purpose of proceeding against any ministers, preachers, or teachers, in schools or Universities, who discourse against Established order in Church or State!

We can fancy the Bishop’s comical smile, as he heard of the appointment, and thought of the impulsive and hot-headed man in whose convictions nine years had wrought so great a change. Maybe a letter was penned of good-natured raillery, but when in 1613 Couper had been appointed to the See of Galloway, a kindlier geeling would warm George’s heart as he wrote his congratulations.

Six years later, in 1619, when writing from Orkney to his ward and son-in-law Patrick Smythe of Braco, and expressing the deepest regret at Couper’s death, and his affection for the man, he says:

"Let me have ane it war a schoolachet of his for my remembrance, Quhill I leive I will never sei, na nor heir of his maik – I heir how Breichane sall be Galloway, and Dumblane Breichane, and David Lindsay Dumblane,"

so again preferment had fallen on Ballendyne’s shoulders.

During the years of Bishop George’s residence in the Palace of Dunblane we have few private records, and still fewer official ones to guide us.

On June 7th, 1605, he is in Edinburgh, and present at a Sederunt, when a Convention of "Nobilitee, Council and Estates" are held, on June 11th 1607, he gives his oath of Allegiance as Bishop of Dunblane.

He is also in Perth in June 1607 attending when there is prosecution of the Synod for contumacious proceedings in the matter of the constant Moderator.

On July 31st 1607, he attends a meeting of the Council in Edinburgh. During October 1609 it had been decided that a new bridge should be built over the Tay at Perth. The Bishop took an active interest in the work, and on 3rd October 1609 is appointed (with other gentlemen) by a letter from H.M.’s Council, to supervise the expenditure for the "new Brig," so the Bishop audits the accounts.

As Bishop of Dunblane, he, with the consent of the Dean and Chapter, confirms a charter of the lands of Cleavage to John Mercer and his heirs.

How little is known what lies in the future, or the Bishop could have read that eighty years later a Mercer would be the companion of young Inchbrakie, who was entangled in suspicious circumstances regarding a murder.

George is also present at Scone, where the Blairs of Balgray, in consequence of their being set free from the Tolbooth in Edinburgh, sign a bond under a penalty of 10,000 pounds to appear the following January before Council, touching the accusations which they have brought against Harry Freeland still in Tolbooth.

This bond is signed on 16th September 1610 by Mr W. Oliphant and in presence of David, Lord of Scone, and George, Bishop of Dunblane.

During 1600, and for a few years, the Scottish bishops had sat as Privy Councillors; but in 1610 under the new construction of the Privy Councillors, and in consequence of the absence of the Bishops in their dioceses, only the Archbishops and "Ross" were retained, though all Bishops received the right to sit, and take their due precedence in Parliament and in the Convention of Estates.

In accordance with this arrangement, George Graeme’s name appears as attending the Convention in Edinburgh successively on 2nd February, 7th November, 12th December, and 19th December, in the year 1609, also on 15th February 1610.

On 22nd May 1612, he is again in Perth, and witnesses in conjunction with his half-brother, John Graeme of Balgowan, a curious deposition by a Mr George Orme, concerning the "Guids" of the late Lord Sanquhar, declaring that there are no more goods than those already mentioned left in the Burgh of Perth. "Lord Sanquhar himself at his departing fra this Burgh tuik with him to Edinburgh the haill silver work with any part of his Lordship’s abuilziements writtis and Jewillis." We may suppose that his Lordship’s valuables had not been forthcoming.

In a letter from the Privy Council bearing date 20th October 1609 the Bishop is summoned (with others) to appear on 6th November and bring with him a

"trew athentik rentaill of your benefice, with a perfyte ample and cleir role and catalogue of all and evrie deed done by your Lordship since your entrie into that benefice in disposing of landis, Kirks, or teynds, in alteration of holding, in conversion of dewties," etc. etc.

A large order, but easily by the clear head and orderly organized habits of the bishop.

A stray letter here and there marks that his interests in the events of the day never slacken, and the Kirk Session records give us a picture of him once more near his old quarters when in 1613, jointly with Alexander Lindsay (of Evelick), Bishop of Dunkeld, he ordains Andrew Playfair to the parishes of Aberdalgie (then in Bishopric of Dunkeld) and Duplin (then in Dunblane Diocese).

Both these parishes in 1613 were the property of the fifth Lord Oliphant (he sold them shortly afterwards) who on this occasion was asked to "big a seat" for himself and his lady.

Six years before this Sir James Oliphant of Condie and Newton had married the Bishop’s niece, and we may picture Margaret Graeme and her husband coming across the river from their home on the other side of the hill to be present at the ordination, thus taking advantage to meet her cheery, warm-hearted uncle.

Neither at Scone nor Dunblane do the Registers commence until the Bishop has left for Orkney; and the earlier volumes of the Presbytery records are not known to exist.

In 1610 the Bishop is granted a pension of 1000 merks scots by King James VI, to be paid yearly, in consideration that the Bishopric and living of Dunblane "is very small, and somewhat dilapidated, being left in the condition by the last possessors," etc.

This is no doubt partly the result of the statement made to the Privy Council by order in 1609.

In 1612 he visits the scene of his early youth – St Andrews – and we know how he would renew acquaintance with the many memories of his boyhood both in and outside the University: surely he would not leave it without a heavy score in his favour as to the matter of "holes" won on its famous golf links, just to show that his arm had not lost its skill in "driving"; and while at St Andrews he witnesses the Ratification between that city and its Archbishop.

On 1st April 1610 he was constituted by King James VI, a member of the High Commission.

About 1614 the Bishop receives a commission under the signet, with Sir A Stirling of Keir, James Haldane of Gleneagles, Kinross of Kippenross and Harry Drummond of Balloch, or, "any three of them the said Bishop being one" to try Watty Bryis and Jonet Murriach who are in the Tolbooth at Dunblane, on charge of witchcraft; where on examination they confessed to the same.

As one of the charges brought against the Bishop in later years was "his indifference to Witchcraft", we may rest assured that the examination and sentence were as light as it was possible to make them.

Certain it is that his wards and his children were growing up around him, and though his quiver was not yet full, already a family of three boys and four daughters, cheered the home of himself and Marion Crichton, the bonnie young bride who had been woo’d and won in so reckless a fashion for him!

Her girlish days are past, and the Bishop’s lady is sobering down into a gentle matron with many a care on her shoulders, despite the ringing laughter and the pattering feet which rejoice her heart as they echo and re-echo down the passages and through the tumbledown rooms of the Palace of Dunblane.

The Bishop is granted a bond by James Murray younger of Strowan, with the consent of John Murray his father for ninety years (on various lands besides Strowan, including Dalginross), who binds himself and his heirs to "scaithless keep the said Reverand Father and every Bishop of Dumblane for the tyme being," in supplying the bread and wine to the Kirk of Strowan, and give help and assistance to the Edifice of the Kirk of Comrie, and the maintenance of its Minister in pro rata of value of said lands, according to the amount of them, in each of these parishes. This is signed at Crieff 27th July 1615 before the Bishop’s brother and others.

The demands on the parental purse become stronger and more relentless, and at last force George to apply for preferment to some better endowed See.

In 1615 we find him applying for the Archbishopric of Glasgow, but it was given to James Law and he was obliged to be content with Orkney, to which he was appointed on August 26th, 1615.

To a genial and social nature what an exile this must have appeared! All his life had, so far, been spent in sharing the keen interests of existence not only with the many friends that draw round the minister of a parish, but amidst the large circle of relations and connections who specially surrounded his life.

Though the pressure of time at the commencement of this twentieth century is slowly but surely loosening their strength, the ties of our distant blood relationships count very much more strongly in a Scottish than an English heart; and the kindly interests of those alive of the elder generations is drawn closely round, and will follow a young bride, as she leaves the shelter of the parent house, and gain new strength in lingering over her coming joys and sorrows; weaving fresh visions of the future of her children, and her children’s children!

And what of nearly three hundred years ago, when every interest almost, began and ended around the house where you were born, and in those of your neighbours whose lives were inextricably mixed up with your own?

And what a group of living personalities in kinsmen and kinswomen Bishop George Graeme must have surveyed, take the more distant first, these were his second cousins, a relationship which brought him close to royalty; for his grandmother had been "oy" to the Duke of Albany, brother to King James IV; a further addition to the circles of relationship had that same grandmother brought to the Inchbrakies by her second marriage with Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenurchy.

Then came the Bishop’s first cousins, the children of his uncle Robert, the Archdeacon of Ross, and though they are living with their father in the Black Isle, one can fancy how in their childhood’s day he would bring them for a visit to the old house now and then: another batch of first cousins are living just across the Strath, in the grand wild beauties of Ochtertyre, which were as wild and grand then as now, though perhaps not so extensive, for at the time of which we write the Tosheoch of Monzievard held much of the lands now included in those of Ochtertyre.

Another batch are of Ardkinglass, where the Bishop’s second aunt had settled as the wife of young Campbell, and at Duncrub, uncle and cousins are living near enough to be often met with, and keen interest taken in their weal or woe.

There is the eldest brother the "Laird of Inchbrakie" as the Bishop loves to call him, head of the house and staunch friend and comrade too, when he rode armed cap-a-pie to rescue the Bishop’s bride. The "brother John" the heir to Balgowan, and the other half brothers and sisters growing up round Marjorie Rollo’s and Balgowan’s knees, and with them are the group of blooming girls, the Bishop’s own four sisters, Anne, Cristane, Lilias, and Nicholas, who all find lovers and husbands in the fair Strath of their county. Faskally and Cultoquhey each in their turn carries off his bride from the moat-guarded walls of Inchbrakie’s Castle; or from the tamer surroundings, but pleasant house of Balgowan.

The descendant of Marjory and Cultoquhey is three hundre years later to inherit the "Guidis and Geir" of the great Lynedoch, descended from father to son of the Balgowan who had married the Bishop’s mother, and who had proved a second father to the baby Nicholas Graeme.

Balloch too bears off Cristane an Inchbrakie bride; and later on the Bishop will nurse upon his knee her child, the father of the boy who is to hold Kincardine Castle so bravely for his King and Chief.

But fairest of the group there steps forth to our view Lilias, and two husbands successively claim her, first Colville of Condie, but for a brief space; and then the fair young widow with the sad brown eyes is won by Laurence Oliphant to reign as mistress of his stately grass glades, and dwell in peace and comfort under the shadow of the walls of the "Auld House at Gask": from them are to spring, sire, and son, each vieing with the other in giving freely their brave, strong, and earnest service to their "bonnie Prince Charlie".

We can well picture to ourselves in fancy Lilias, the darling sister of the jovial Bishop, and how closely he guards her interests is fully shown by many a signature of Maister George Graeme, Minister, which he has appended to her settlements.

But the list seems only half begun as the years troop forward. Look at the nephews and nieces which spring up around him and play with his little ones; first and foremost are Inchbrakie’s children headed by George, who is destined to take so great a part in "the troubles" towards the middle of the century, and to be father of the gallant soldier, "Black Pate" noted in Scottish history as the companion and bosom friend of the "Great Montrose"; dwelling, foo, first at Inchbrakie and then at Newton, was Marion, who seems to have borne the name of her aunt of Clunie,.and who became the wife of Sir James Oliphant.

Even now as we write her descendants may see her Arms, impaled with those of her husband, carved on a stone standing in the woods of Duplin.

We can picture the Bishop a few years later on, with the airy genial smile gone from his saddened face, as he rides up the Strath to condole in subdued tones with his niece, the Lady Monzievaird, whose bright young son in all the glory of his early manhood had ridden one morning from his castle home at Monzievaird, to be foully slain at the gates of Perth!

Again, Robertson of Lude bears off an Inchbrakie bride, and if the list is not yet long enough, we could name many a friend, and boon companion, all holding the Bishop’s heart strings fast to Perthshire soil.

But the fiat has gone forth, and Bishop George Graeme bracing himself to the effort, sets out to take up his new charge accompanied by Marion and their bairns, now nine in number, and by the two well-grown lads who call him guardian.

The churches in which he served now exist in name only, either new buildings have arisen on the old foundations, or they have been completely swept away.

Auchtergaven and Logiebride have vanished, though the kirk of the latter was remembered by an old man of eighty, who died previously to 1879.

The present church at Clunie was built in 1840, and it does not appear certain whether it stands on the site of the old church or not.

And of the royal city of Scone and its old abbey, what remains?

Scarce a vestige of the church which had witnessed the crowning of so many kings; there stands but one aisle now transformed into the burial place of the Earls of Mansfield.

This probably was part of the old church in which George Graeme officiated; but as it 1624 the first Lord Stormount rebuilt the ancient church we cannot tell whether this aisle, which now alone remains, was part of the older, or a portion of the restored building.

The dilapidations of the Palace of Dunblane seem to have gone from bad to worse, for we can only trace the spot where it stood on the south of its cathedral, which a few years ago was restored and roofed; among the stalls was one used by the Bishop, rich in exquisite carving of the days when every workman was an artist, in the execution and finish of his work.

When George Graeme reached Orkney in 1615, how rejoiced he must have been to look on the noble pile of building which he was so honoured as the Bishop in possessing.

The Cathedral Church of St Magnus in Orkney is too well known to antiquarians to require any special description; but as all the Bishop’s descendants may not know it, I may mention that it is one of the finest Cathedrals in the Scottish kingdom, and the only one (with the exception of Glasgow) which is built in the form of the cross, which form has been preserved to the present day in a perfect state. It may be that the Bishop, when yielding in after years to the pressure of the General Assembly was in some degree instrumental in preserving, from the fury of contending factions, the beautiful structure which he had learned to love, with increasingly fonder and more holy affection.(1)

As George and his family sail up to the shores of the distant island, their future home, how impressed they must have been by the view of the two noble piles of building, standing up as beacons to the sailors; the cathedral on the one hand, and close beside it on the other, the Earl’s castle, the home of the Earl of Orkney, who had earlier that year, paid the heavy price of his rebellion by the loss of his head.

Then, as they reached Kirkwall, how gladdened they must have been, at a time when such rebellions were rife, and when men’s lives were carried in their hands, to find the Bishop’s palace not "delapidat" like Dunblane, but with noble walls and a strong round tower (built square within) a safe hiding place for women and children, and fitted to stand a siege if need be.

(1) After the bishops death in 1649, the heritors permitted the Earl of Morton to remove the marble slabs from the floor to use as a tomb for his father, on condition that he replaced them by "hewen stones". In 1845 the throne and gallery erected by Bishop George Graeme which had been repaired by Bishop Honeyman previous to 1676 were broken up and removed. Some of the panels are now in Graemeshall.

The arrival in Orkney must have taken place in the early autumn of 1615, for the Bishop’s appointment was made in August, and we find him installed in October, and on December 21st taking a public and official part as a member of the Court of High Commission of the island.

In 1614, all lands of the Church had been placed in the hands of King James, who granted a fresh charger of lands in the Parishes of Ham, Ophir, Stromness, Sandwick, Shapenshae, Waes, Hoy, St Ola, Evic, Burra and Flolla, to be a patrimony to the bishops for ever, and with right to present to "Vicaridges."

The bishops also were to have heritable and perpetual rights of Jurisdiction, Sheriff and Bailie of the Bishopric; they could ordain Commissioners, Clerks, and other of the Court members.

The establishment of the Cathedral consisted of 7 Dignitaries, 7 Prebends, 13 Chaplains, 1 Sacristan, and 6 Choristers, so if the revenues were large they had to suffice for many salaries; but for further particulars of the Bishop’s life in Orkney I would refer my readers to the Rev. J.B.Craven’s delightful work, "The History of the Church in Orkney."

We wonder if George was tested by the Great Cup of Scarpa about a mile from Kirkwall, which was filled with strong ale and handed to the new bishops when they landed; if they drank it off cheerfully the people took it as a sign of future prosperity and of a noble bishop, and we think our Bishop’s genial nature and courteous bearing would carry him successfully through this test.

Just before he left Dunblane, we meet with the first proof extant of George Graeme’s methodical and orderly mind in the form of several inventories. It would weary the reader were all given in detail, but various facts have been gathered from them of great interest. From them we know the names of his sons and daughters, of various lands and monies in his possession at that date; of names of friends and relations, and many other interesting details.

One is of especial value, as it proves the Bishop’s descent beyond doubt; in it he speaks of "my brother the Laird of Inchbrakie," while of Balgowan he writes, "my brother John and his father."

Already in 1617 the magnet was drawing him back to the old scenes that he loved so well. Business as well as pleasure mark the visit; he stays with Sir David Murray, formerly the King’s Cupbearer, now Lord Scone and in possession of all lands of the Abbey of Scone awarded to him for his loyalty.

He grants a charter to his kinsman Colin Campbell, Glenurchy, by permission of Dunkeld Chapter on the 8th March, and on the 22nd of the same month is witness with his ward Patrick Smythe (of Braco) styled here "of Holl" to the sale of certain lands in "Fyffe" called Freertown, and Glendook in Perthshire, by Andrew Murray of Balvaird to Peter Hay of Durdie.

And now careful George writes two more "inventors" disposing of his lands and monies to his bairns, and we learn by the new name of a seventh daughter, that the Bishop’s lady has been left in Orkney, detained by fresh domestic cares.

She was somewhat needed by her lord, and it might have been better for him had her gentle counsels been at hand to prevail; for then we think the public records would have been free from the Bishop’s name, but they bear testimony that the jovial nature after long months of exile and official cares is lured away by the pleasures of mingling with old friends, and he is cited for curling on the ice on Sunday, a grave offence in any minor person, but amounting almost to a crime in one of his rank and age, and so the record of the offence is left.

Whilst in Perth he is appointed by James VI, one of a Commission of Bishops, Noblemen and Knights, who are directed to plant, "Kirkis in dyvers districts where by want of the same ignorance and Atheism abound," and on May 7th he sits at a Sederunt which passes an Act desiring the several Bishops, Kirkis, etc, to call their people together for taxation.

His visit this time was not a long one, the calls of his new position were many and frequent, and in 1618 marriage bells were clashing in the fine old cathedral, for the eldest daughter Catherine has consented to become the wife of Patrick Smyth of Braco; the friendship of the boy and girl who have played together has ripened into love and marriage.

The year 1619 finds him still in Orkney, sitting as High Commission in June, and writing to his son-in-law the letter of regret on the death of his old friend W.Cooper, Bishop of Galway.

And this year through the medium of John of Balgowan (his half brother) the purchase of Myreside is made; Balgowan buys in the name of George, Bishop of Orkney, for the sum of ten thousand merks, "the lands of Myreside, from Gilbert Moncrieff," who consents to sell to the said George Graeme, "all the lands of Myreside in the Lordship of Methven, Perthshire." Patrick Smythe of Braco and John Graeme, younger, of Balgowan witness this charter, 12th May 1619.

It is 1621 ere we find records of the Bishop having again left Orkney for a season, and during these years he has been busy adding to the beauties of his loved St Magnus – the rich oak carving which formed the gallery of the Cathedral and bore his arms (now the screen of St Olaf’s Episcopal Church in Kirkwall) has been erected. The carved Bishop’s Throne has also been finished, and just before he leaves he sees completed the Cross which is placed in front of the Cathedral; when perfect it stood 7ft. 9in. high, was of red freestone mounted on a pedestal of three steps and dated 1621.

It must have been on his arrival in Edinburgh that he purchased the two chalices which he presented to St Magnus. Mr Burns has engraved and described them fully in his valuable work.

They are of an elegant form and 9˝ inches in height, the bowls being a trifle over 13 inches in circumference. They bear no date of presentation, but the Bishop’s monogram B G G is on them, and the marks they bear prove their purchase from Gilbert Kirkwood, goldsmith; and the Deacon’s Punch, is that of John Lindsay, who was deacon of the Goldsmith’s Company from 1617-19.

The Bishop is south on August 4th, and votes in Parliament confirming the five Acts of Perth. The visit is a protracted one, and must have extended late on into the spring of the following year, for he sits as Moderator of the Perth Presbytery on 22nd April 1622; this circumstance was probably due to an act of kindly courtesy on the part of the Bishop of Dunkeld who was a staunch friend.

Then a long, long silence, broken only by the knell for a little daughter, Jean Graeme, who died in 1623.

During this space the Bishop seems to have been much engaged both for himself and others in Orkney; in 1625 we find his name on a commission for collecting taxes to defray the Coronation expenses of the ill-fated King Charles I, and his signature is seen amongst those of all the bishops and clergy of Scotland in their submission to Charles I, anent the right of teinds.

His large family are growing up and marrying, and he is occupied by the cares of this world in his busy life; truly a man of active mind as well as body is Bishop George Graeme.

Rapness is bought by his youngest ward (not without the Bishop’s guidance we may be sure), who settles there and marries, becoming the father of the boy who in later years will wed the Bishop’s great-niece Black Pate’s daughter.

Skaill (?) and Breckness are purchased for himself; his sons Patrick and John succeeding to them; for his many sons and seven daughters there is much to be done. Most of the family settle down, many of them in the island, except David, who has been little there, his university terms and his vacations keeping him near to, and in the old county.

In 1630 we find an animated correspondence betwixt the Bishop and this eldest boy anent the purchase of Gorthie.

Of young David’s letters on the subject we have only one, apparently returned him by his father, who to save time, hus numbered the paragraphs in David’s letter and replied to them by closely written annotations on the margin correspondingly numbered. There can be little doubt of David’s keen wish for the purpose, and though the Bishop’s letters are always strongly urging prudence in the matter, and begging David to take advice from older and wiser heads near to him in Perthshire, his father also inclines to it in spite, perhaps of his better judgement.

The somewhat reckless steps taken by the son in the matter of deeds, bonds, etc, point to the hot-headed nature of the youth, apparently unbalanced by any share of the cooler head possessed by the Bishop; and once or twice this leads him to adopt actions and expressions that gravely offend even the indulgent father.

At such a point the letter in reply begins sternly, "Sone," and ends "your ffather Geo. B. Orcad"; but this is of rare occurrence, and for the most part the father’s letters overflow with affection and indulgence to "My bairne," or "Lovinge sone."

There is one long letter, written from Kirkwall on a certain 2nd of March, which shows the indulgence in a marked degree but qualified as we have reason to believe most of his actions were, by a stern sense of justice and religious duty.

In it, too, are traces of the weariness of the gathering years, and we see that they are leaving their mark, and that weakened health and heavy cares are telling on the Bishop’s cheery spirit.

It seems there has been a letter from David with urgent demand to close with the purchase of Gorthie, it is possibly owing to the fact that his future bride has become an indispensable personality to him, and that he wishes a home, but whatever the cause, the son has ventured to charge the father with "avarice and falsity" towards him.

The temperate reply to this unfilial and incorrect charge, is in the letter we have alluded to, in which the Bishop with a spirit as touching as it is grand, while stooping to reason with and explain matters to his child, yields not one jot of his dignity as Bishop or as father, and while pointing out his duties as the one (duties he means strictly to adhere to) he yet lets his affection be shown by his appeals to the filial devotion of his son.

He commences by telling David he is "no wise" in the charge he has brought against his father, explains fully the difficulty of obtaining his revenue of rents or dues, in kind, and that the "scarcitie of victuals" is very great, he even offers to send him the letters proving that for two years the Bishop’s dues have been in arrears.

"Ye are where thair is monies, and thair fore" the old yearning after his beloved Perthshire and its greater advantages showing here "think it easie to get monies, sed si hic eses aliter senties, I am a chammerlan in a great part of my stat, because among ye tenants there was no possibility of obtaining 10 lib, I have taken a boll for a boll, of both this yier and the yier bygone. I never thought sone that the excreasings of my rents (?) was proper to my children only, nor never will while I live; there is a part that more properly does appertain from my hands in the place where I stand, ad pios usus (pious use) that the blessing may be so much the more yours – it is not monzies that makes men rich, but monzies with the blessing of God (as truly I dout not)that ye may be as filiall as I sall be fatherly to you."

The letter continues, giving various directions regarding some money he sends and asking for information regarding "Mr John Dyeks tak" or lease, and then the Bishop continues:-

"If thou be good I cannot be evill to ye, but if disobedient in a iota thou wilt brake my hart; I can give no particular advyse bot quhat Sir Mungo, my tua brothers, and young Inchbrakie does conclude, I cannot well refuse for thee."

The Bishop asks for news; "let us hier something of all things," he says, and then descants on the destitute state of Orkney adding "many landes sall be east bye if He mitigate not his dealing" but sees little hope for the better without the assistance of an act of Parliament. Truly we have made little progress during the three centuries which have nearly elapsed since Bishop Graeme wrote, in righting matters connected with the settlement of the land question!

He requested that David should get him "a potion" or two of "prepared cassias fra the apothecary, and inform me how I sall dissolve and use terebuidthina cocta, and in what quantities for a dose; do this with the first care, for" (he adds quaintly), "I am tho’ not seik yet very seikly and far chein{ged}.

"As thy greatest contentment on earch I think is that I live, so myne is that thou live well and with credit; I desire to see you bot I know it cannot well be for the businessis at the terme."

"I would have written mony things to you, bot frettis on the ane part and impashimentis of company on the other part, seeing that I stay not many days in Kirkwall, has med me comit thee to thy God and my God, who of his mercy may gyd thee thro’ this pilgrimage and vale of misere, quilk everie day grows more and more miserable.

The Lord be with ye so T rest

Yrr ffather G e. B off. Orcad

There is a postcript which tells us that the Bishop feels more "sick" than the letter allows; he says he is now getting "truly infirm thro’ aig, unable to travel or eate anything at all," owing greatly to the fact that he "is in daily grief for a multitude of beggars pulling" him he wots not where as though he "were a load of hay," he knows not whether it "would be better to be at home hier or south, but south I think not to come. I pray thee, as I cannot have occane to see ye, that thou omit no occane to visit me with your letters," and he shows that these attacks of fever and ague are trying the usual serenity of his temper by the somewhat vehement reproof to David regarding the illegibility of his writing. "Ye are so schort, yet understanding, I understand not your letters; if ye vold wret all things, ye say that buikis vold not contene them; ye heve not much ado, and it var bot to lern to vret, man; to reid your letters all the clerks in the towne must be convened, wret better and spell better in God’s name" (?).

During the year 1630 there are further letters on the Gorthie matter full of difficulties, doubts, and fears as to the wisdom of the purchase; but the son’s wishes prevail, and in spite of "my other children being all at the flight, and wold fain fly if I could furnish them with feathers." David obtains the money for the purchase, and in 1631 a Crown Charter conveys Gorthie to his son.

David’s own story will follow presently, as he joins with all the zeal and ardour of an Inchbrakie Graeme in sharing the fortunes of his chief the "Great Montrose"; but we pause to wonder if the Bishop’s clear, astute mind sees that the cloud even now overhanging the Church would not be long in breaking and thus secures Gorthie to his son.

The Bishop bore the love, which one at least of his descendants does, for carved oak; his throne in St Magnus bore his arms (as still seen on the chimney-piece of Graemeshall), and was otherwise richly decorated by the work of the carver. As before mentioned, the gallery in the Cathedral was due to his erection, and the panels were elaborately carved with his arms.

As long before as 1617, in one of his "inventors" the Bishop wills two oak beds, "the one I leve to my successor, the other I leve to Patrick Smythe, in remembrance of his master; I leve him the red bed." Both are now in the possession of kinsmen. His generosity to his beloved cathedral was further proved by the chalices, already referred to, which he presented dto it, and two very large alms dishes of elaborate Dutch brass work 2ft. 5in. in diameter, with designs of figures, and inscription bearing the date 1636, must have been almost the last addition to the decoration of St Magnus during his Episcopacy.

There were home expenses also to be met, as we see by an account receipted by "John Watsone, Tailyeour, "which is here transcribed, but in somewhat modernised English:

To 16 Ells black flanders watered camlet to your
daughter ane gown, 36s an Ell 28 16 0
Black Flanders silk thereto at 36s the oz 14 8 0
15 drop fine black fringe Waltings 30 0
11/2 oz black silk thereto, 32S an oz 48 0
2 doz black stone buttons thereto . 12 0
Buckram, black linings bacs (?) cramoisie spanish
taffeta thereto red silk ribbons 3/4 ell poldew-
rie (?) thereto, to follow
9 ells silk figured to be a waistcoat thereto 19 16 0

The total cost of this young lady's dress amounts to 88:17:6 (pounds scots) as far as it goes; but it will be observed that the Bishop has not finished with the matter yet, for there are many items for which the amount is still to follow! The date is June 1st, 1630.

The year 1632 is dawning now, and at its close a joyous gathering must have assembled in the Church of Scone, and the Bishop’s old haunts know him once again, while holy thoughts and memories must throng his mind as he blesses the first-born son, who is plighting his troth to Catherine the daughter of Sir Thomas Myrtoun of Cambo.

Did Marion Crichton go south with him? And was the long journey too much for the frail body which had borne trials and blessings both during the long years of her wedded life with a patient sweetness? Who can say. But 1633 has come, and its early spring must reveal the sorrow which awaits the Bishop, for in April Marion Crichton passes to her final rest, and the bride of George Graeme’s youth, the faithful partner of his joys and sorrows, of his struggles and successes is taken from him, just at the moment when with prescient foresight he, discerning the time approaching when the Episcopal Palace may be their home no longer, has completed the new house at Breckness for their future dwelling. But it is not to be; Marion’s life is to end during their joint habitation in that palace, which has been her home for seventeen years of storm and sunshine, weal and woe.

Her will is extant, and gives us most realistic touches of the last scene. She leaves all that she dies possessed of to their only unmarried daughter Marion, their youngest child, with instructions to give one legacy to a faithful servant David; she ordains her body to be buried in St Magnus Church of Kirkwall, as become the "spouse of ane Reverend Father in God, Bishop of Orkney and Zetland."

The Notary Public subscribes these presents and forms, "because I cannot nor may not writt myself." And the witnesses are Patrick Graeme (son to the late Archdeacon of Ross), her husband’s cousin; Andro Smythe of Rapness, their late ward; with the Bishop and one or two others. The will is made on the 8th April, and on the 10th she who was "verie sick in bodie", so ill that she may not sign her will, ends her days and we feel that the guiding spirit of the Bishop’s life has been too early lost to him.

If the surmised date of his birth be correct, he is well advanced in the seventies now, and the fine old head is bowed with a sorrow which will only end with his life, as the memories of her life and love unroll before him.

But his energetic mind cannot rest long in gloomy inactivity, his heart begins to surmount its first expression, by the spirit in him ever ready to be up and doing; there is Breckness to finish, the marriage arrangements to complete between his daughter Marjory and George Drummond of Blair (their descendant is at the end of the nineteenth century to purchase the Barony of Inchbrakie from the representative of that house); both these are completed, and the Bishop’s love of carved work is shown again in the stone with his coat of arms dated 1633, which taken from the old house at Breckness, now surmounts the hall door at Skaill House, the property of one of his descendants, Mr Graham Watt of Breckness and Skaill.

Still more had to be accomplished in February 1634, the grant of a charter of the lands of Gorthie, to the wife of David is obtained; in May 1635 the wife of Patrick Smythe of Braco (the Bishop’s eldest daughter) obtains life-rents over all her husband’s lands in Orkney. She predeceases her husband, Patrick in 1638 (but transfers these lands to one of his younger sons), so another grief has fallen on the Bishop.

This year Patrick Smythe is called on to execute (surely) an elaborate list of commissions for the Bishop and his son, and there is so much to interest in its details that I quote it at length. It is written out by the Bishop himself, as the handwriting proves, and we see he is as particular in the minutić of his commission list as in his inventories; the "neat leather shoon" refers to those of neat’s hide, that is ox-hide.

Docketed. To Patrick Smythe of Braco. Memorandum for my Lord Bishop of Orkney and Mr Patrick Graeme, his sone.

Ane stik Cambridge for ruffis

Ane whyt woven wylicot to my Lord

Or els as much shag, with the

Furnishing to a Wylicot.

Ane Stik of sad callorit mixt minim

Cloth for my Lord and Mr Patrick –

Twa pair neat leather shone to my Lord

A paid dog lether pantons,ane feolding

Buird for Breckness, a woven scarlet nyt cap for my Lord

To send to London for 2 mattis, any red and ane grein.

For Mr Patrick to cover his old saidle

To bring it home with the saidle gier.

To buy a new saidle and a carpet

Two pair neat lether shone with letherheels;

Any pair pantones red or yellow (?)

Ane pair spurris lyk your awin

Ane etuie with guid scheirs in it

Twa paid gloves, ane staigis lether, the uther half staigis

To sell or change Mr Patricks horse for a better

A box for the Church at Holme and twa fardens (?)

Therein for the bell

Als meikle black padua serge as will be two pair

Shanks to Mr Patrick.

There is also a long list sent from "Mr Andro Smythe" and a list of victuals sent by ship to Mr David Murray, merchant, by "my Lord and Mr Patrick."

These no doubt were the payment for all the before mentioned articles.

The paper shows how carefully Mr Patrick Smythe has executed the commissions, each has a + put to it,as it is accomplished. But Mr Patrick has tried the powers of the executant just too far.

Patrick Smythe with all the will in the world cannot accomplish that very careful gentleman’s wish, that his horse should be sold or exchanged for a better, and that item on the paper is the only one not crossed out.

Then comes the lull – from 1635 – 1638 – for three (let us hope) restful years, during which time the Bishop writes to his son at Gorthie, sending "all loving dewty to Ket and her boy," and we feel that his heart is gladdened by the knowledge that his line is continued.

Then the tempest, which has long been gatherine, breaks, and its full strength falls on the Bishop’s head.

To "curling on the ice on a Sabbath" is added "neglecting his preaching," "indiffernce to witchcraft" – (in this we can fancy his thoroughly practical mind could have no belief) – and graver charges still, of giving "tacks" to his sons in prejudice of the Church’s property.

Old and becoming feeble, sad at heart at the recent death of his first born girl, with no counsels from his faithful wife to help him, and apparently urged strongly by the Minister of Holm, his second son, Patrick Graeme (a strong Presbyterian), the Bishop yields, and his submission speaks of his age and feebleness, and of his inability to travel from Orkney to present himself to the General Assembly of 1638 and so his son Patrick appears for him.

The Bishop’s submission was a matter which was much commented on by the English Church dignitaries.

We find Bishop Hall of Exeter writing to Archbishop Laud, in order to lay before him for approval "the plot of a work he has undertaken", and mentioning that he intends to take George Graeme to task, and to expostulate the matter somewhat warmly with him.

The Archbishop, in reply, dates from Lambeth, Nov. 11th 1639, and says: "And first for George Graeme. I leave you free to work upon his baseness or his ignorance as you please, assuring myself that you will not depart from the gravity of yourself or the cause therein."

In direct opposition to the Archbishop’s estimate of George Graeme’s character, I will quote here from the "Sibbaldi Elogia," "Gramus Orcadensis:-

"Dum corpus tuer quantillus homuncio Gramei, es?

Ardua dum mentis culmina quantus Atlas?"

And for the benefit of the Bishop’s descendants whose Latin may have grown rusty, I will give two examples of construing it:-

"When I look upon your body, Graeme, what a very little man you are;

While I look on the lofty heights of your mind, how great at Atlas!’


"Tho’ in form, my good Bishop, you are puny and small,

In the height of your knowledge you overtop all."

Mr Craven gives us yet a third in his "Church in Orkney."

In 1639 his submission is complete, and he is formally deposed to end his days as he began his life when leaving college, as "Maister George Graeme."

He has been so far leniently treated, that they stop short after deposing him, many of the other bishops being also excommunicated. This sentence saved Gorthie and the large sums the Bishop had in bond. Had the more severe sentence been passed on him by that "extravagant Assembly in Glasgow," writes Keith, all would have fallen under escheat.

A somewhat unworthy ending to so stirring and active a life, do we call it? A life to which had been given some of the highest hopes a man can cherish, some of the holiest charges which can be laid upon him.

But in this our happier century of advanced civilization, of less cramped movement of though, of wider horizon and higher aims and teachings, shall we not judge less harshly the man whose time and surroundings we can so little grasp or realize, or if we can realize, would so earnestly shrink from sharing.

Times, when the criminal records of the country are filled with the grave charges of manslaughter, raid and reeving, alleged against men whose names and whose records in other matters show them to have acted honourably and well, and to have been among the first gentlemen of their day.

At any rate Bishop Graeme kept his name free from all such charges. The only ones made (and these were unsubstantiated) were preferred by those who in the heat of fanatical religious zeal may, like Ballandyne years before, have made their wishes father to their thoughts!

If we must judge, can we not suppose it possible that Laud’s Prayer book startled the Episcopacy from the heart of the man who had perhaps never loved it very deeply, whose earlier forms of worship had been more in accordance with the Reformation, and whose conscience may not have been fully able to accept the book.

However this may be, his punishment was far from light.

The Bishop lives so far as lands and houses are concerned a secluded life: we know not how or where; his children owners of the land that he has gathered, his heart racked for them and his country, for king and chief, in the great troubles; and when on June 17th 1647, we find David Graeme of Gorthie retoured as heir of the lands of Myreside in the lordship of Methven, and of those of Callender more and Callender beg in the barony of Kincardine, being heir of his father "Maister George Graeme formerly Bishop of Orkney", we know how small a portion of his property had remained his own for the latter years, and that Bishop George Graeme is at last laid to his longed for rest in what is now an unknown grave.

In the retrospect of the Bishop’s latter days and sadly altered circumstances, when all earthly ambitions are at an end, and life itself is closed; let all caviling tongues be silent in the shadow of solemn death.

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