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History Index : Grant
The first Grant at Monymusk was Sir Francis, Lord Cullen, who was married three times. In the 18th Century wives very often died in childbirth or from other illnesses and their husbands usually married again very quickly, as they needed someone to run their house and manage the children and family. Lord Cullen had three sons and about five daughters, the second son William, Lord Prestongrange, was a lawyer whose daughter Catriona is mentioned by Robert Louis Stevenson in one of his books.
Sir Francis Grant lived at Ballintomb on Speyside and was a well known judge of his day. He was one of the law lords who wrote the legal constitution for the 1707 Act of Union between the English and Scottish Parliaments, for which he received a Baronetage from Queen Anne. Understanding the economic necessity for Union, the Grant family were most unlikely to turn round in 1715 or 1745 to fight the English - they simply stayed at home.
Lord Cullen's third son Francis was a church comissioner and merchant. His eldest son, Sir Archibald (2nd Bt), the agricultural reformer, married four times. His first wife, Anne Hamilton, died in childbirth after their second daugher. His second wife Anna Potts, who he married in 1731, came from Castleton in Derbyshire and produced his heir. She, her mother and a daughter all died within two weeks of each other of an infectious illness. Archibald's third wife was Elizabeth Clark, who was the widow of a doctor from Jamaica called Dr. Calender. Elizabeth and Dr. Calender's daughter, Mary, married Archibald (3rd Bt.) in 1755.
The Scottish painter John Smybert painted Lord Cullen with his 8 children, and also Sir Archibald (2nd) with his 2nd wife Anne Potts. Smybert left Scotland as a young man, took some art lessons in Italy and spent the rest of his life in America. He is better known in America though he returned to Scotland a couple of times and painted a handful of Scottish families. Nathaniel Dow 1732-83 wrote a Scottish reeling strathspey in honour of Sir Archibald's fourth marriage to Jane Miller to celebrate their love.
There is a small painting in the House of the second Sir Archibald (3rd Bt) with his wife and family in the 1750s. The painting is full of musical and scientific instruments, these show the family were completely up to date with all the new ideas of the Enlightenment in the eighteenth century - equivalent to our most modern computers and technology today.
Their son, Sir Archibald (4th Bt.) had four sons but only the youngest married and had children and his grandsons had no children. The eldest son was lost at sea on board the Abergavanny Indiaman, aged only about 16. The next two sons, James (5th Bt) and Isaac (6th Bt), never married and their youngest brother, Robert Grant of Tillyfoure, factored for them each in turn. Robert's two sons both inherited Monymusk.
The older brother, Sir Archibald (7th Bt.) was a very good Laird and the kitchen garden was in its heyday during his time, producing grapes and melons to compete with Cluny Estate's! At this time Monymusk Estate must have been benefitting enormously financially from the improvements and the trees planted in the 18th Century. However, he gave away 4 estates, a hundred thousand pounds in cash and the unentailed contents of the House to his sister. She married an English army officer and they restored Place of Tillyfoure. They had an only son and by the 1930s Tillyfoure was sold out of the family.
Sir Archibald (7th Bt.)s younger brother, Sir Francis (8th Bt.), only ran Monymusk for just over a year before he died, leaving a widow of 13 months who told everyone she was 'expecting'. After a year she was told she wasn't (!) and Sir Francis' nearest male cousin, Sir Arthur Henry (9t Bt.) inherited Monymusk. Sir Arthur's father was a Commander in the Royal Navy and his father, Francis James Grant was a younger son of Sir Archibald (3rd Bt). Francis James was a Rector in Sussex and apparantly was a very kind man, who was much loved and respected.
Sir Arthur (9th Bt.) and his wife, Mary Douglas, had two sons and built the present drawing-room in the 1880s - there had really been no need for a larger drawing-room for fifty years, as there had been no wives for so long at the House. He also embarked on a massive programme of renovating most of the housing on the Estate, including the village. When slates started to fall off the church he removed the spire, reducing the height of the church by 17 feet, and built the present flat crenellated roof there today. Mary Douglas had four brothers who all emigrated to New Zealand and there are now many cousins who are their descendants in the South Island.
Sir Arthur (10th Bt.), was in the 16th Lancers, he fought in the Boer war and was badly wounded in 1915 in World War I. His younger brother, William Douglas, married a very sweet American who had exquisite taste, her family have lived at Mount Kisco in New York state since the 1600s. They had one son, Francis Husted Grant, born just before the Great War but who died within three weeks of birth.
After Sir Arthur (11th Bt.) was killed in action at Caen, his wife Priscilla went on to become a Member of Parliament and later sat in the House of Lords in her own right. She married secondly, Lord Tweedsmuir, the author John Buchan's eldest son in 1947.
Sir Francis (12th Bt.) inherited Monymusk after his brother's death in 1944. He married in 1953 and died suddenly in 1966 leaving his wife, Lady Jean Grant nee Tollemache, with five children under twelve. At the same time Lady Grant's cousin had married her husband's distant cousin, Col. J P (Ian) Grant of Rothiemurchus. So the two Grants were more closely related through their wives than through the Grant family.
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Sunday, March 29th 2015
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