BADGE: Buaidh craobh (laureola) spurge laurel
PIBROCH: Blar Auldearn (1645); Blar Raonruarai (1689); Cumha Chlabhers (1689)
Among the ancient names of Scotland there is none that can claim a higher antiquity than that of "the gallant Grahams". Though the spelling and pronunciation of the word Graham is now Saxon, there is every reason to believe that its earlier form was Celtic, Graem or Grim being said to be the Pictish word for soldier, and to be derived from Gruamach or Gramach, "one of stern aspect". A legend, recounted by the historians Fordoun, Boece, and Buchanan, runs that it was one of the race who first, about the year 183, broke through the Roman barrier-between Forth and Clyde, and that it is from this hero that the wall of Antoninus takes its popular name of Graeme's Dyke. It is possible, at the same time, that the name Graeme's Dyke may be less romantically derived from the word "grym" of the ancient Cymric or British language, which signifies strength. The Graemes or Grahams, however, appear in authentic history at a sufficiently early period. In 1128 William de Graeme was a witness to the charter by which King David founded the Abbey of Holyrood. In the following century the chief of the house married a daughter of Malise, Earl of Strathearn, and with her received considerable lands in that district. From that time the principal seat of the family was Kincardine Castle, on the edge of the beautiful Kincardine Glen, near Auchterarder in Strathearn. This Sir Patrick de Graham was one of the Scottish knights who in 1296 made the disastrous attempt to relieve the castle of Dunbar, held for King John Baliol against the English by the famous Countess, Black Agnes. The historian Hemingford tells how Sir Patrick, one of the noblest and wisest of the Scottish barons, disdained to ask for quarter, and fell in such gallant fashion as to extort the admiration of the English themselves. The son of the marriage with the daughter of the Earl of Strathearn was the famous Sir John the Graeme, hero of the Wars of Independence, who rescued Wallace at Queensferry, and was killed in 1298 at the battle of Falkirk, where his name is still perpetuated in the district of Grahamston. The lament for his death put into the mouth of Wallace by Henry the Minstrel forms one of the finest passages in the famous poem by that author.
"Quhen thai him fand and gud Wallace him saw,
He lychtyt doun, and hynt him fra thaim aw
In armys up behaldand his paill face,
He kyssyt him, and cryt full oft, Allace !
My best brothir in warld that euir I had !
My afald freynd quhen I was hardest stad !
My hop, my heill, thow was in maist honour!
My faith, my help, my strenthiast in stour !
In the was wyt, fredom, and hardines;
In the was treuth, manheid, and nobilnes;
In the was rewll, in the was gouernans;
In the was wertu withoutyn warians;
In the lawte, in the was gret largnes:
In the gentrice, in the was stedfastnes.
Thow was gret caus off wynnyng off Scotland,
Thocht I began and tuk the wer on hand.
I wow to God that has the warld in wauld
Thi dede sall be to Sotheroun full der sauld,
Martyr thow art for Scotlandis rycht and me;
I sall the wenge, or ellis tharfor de !"
The grave of this hero in Falkirk kirkyard is still to be seen, with table stones of three successive periods above it. As an evidence of the honour in which his memory was held, it, is recalled that, after the second battle of Falkirk in 1746, when the Highlanders wished to do special honour to one of their opponents, Sir Robert Munro, who had fallen, they opened the grave of Sir John the Graeme and buried him beside the dust of the hero. One great two-handed sword of Sir John the Graeme is preserved at Buchanan Castle by the Duke of Montrose; another was long in possession of the Grahams of Orchil, and is now treasured by the Free Mason Lodge at Auchterarder.
Sir John the Graeme was also owner of the estates of Abercorn and of Dundaff on the Carron. The latter, at the eastern end of the Kilsyth hills, was once a royal forest. It is in this ancient forest, on the lands of Halbertshire, now Herbertshire, that tradition places the incident which forms the subject of the famous ballad of "Gil Morice", on which John Home founded his still more famous "Tragedy of Douglas". The Earl's Burn and Earl's Hill are said to take their name from the incident, and the Earl's son of the ballad may possibly have been a scion of the House of Graham.
By way of contrast to the fame of Sir John the Graham, it is recorded that in 1320 Sir Patrick de Graeme was one of the five knights who took part with William de Soulis the seneschal, and David de Brechin, the King's nephew in the formidable Soulis conspiracy to overthrow the King and place the crown on the head of Lord Soulis as a lineal descendant of the daughter of Alexander II. The details of the conspiracy are unknown, but Graham, with several others brought to the trial, was acquitted, while David de Brechin was executed as a traitor, and Soulis himself died as a prisoner in Edinburgh Castle. A grim memorial of this conspiracy came to light in the nineteenth century, when the monument to Sir David Baird was being erected on the site of the old castle of the Earls of Strathearn near Crieff. Accidentally breaking into a vault, the workmen discovered, along with human remains, certain gold ornaments and domestic vessels which were identified as tragic relics of the Countess of Strathearn, through whose confession the plot was revealed, and who was sentenced to life-long imprisonment by Bruce.
Sir David Graham of Kincardine was also owner of the estate of Cardross on the Clyde, and exchanged it for the lands of Old Montrose in Forfarshire, from which his family was in later days to take its title. It was to Cardross that Bruce retired in his latter days, and in Cardross Castle (caer ros, "the castle on the point") occurred the scene, so touchingly described by John Barbour, when the great king bade farewell to his knights, entrusted the Good Lord James of Douglas with the carrying of his heart to the Holy Land, and peacefully breathed his last.
Another Sir David Graham, son of the purchaser of Old Montrose, was also remarkable for patriotism and valour. It was he who, at the approach of the English at the battle of Durham in 1346, earnestly besought King David II to order the Scottish cavalry to charge the English archers. "Give me", he cried, as these archers came nearer and nearer, "Give me but a hundred horse and I will scatter them all". Then, even this being refused him, the brave baron, followed only by his own vassals, rode against the bowmen. But it was too late; the deadly shower was already on the way, and the day was lost. Graham's horse was shot under him and he himself with difficulty escaped, while the King, grievously wounded by two arrows, was captured. Graham was one of the Scottish barons who afterwards secured the ransom of David II from the English. To secure the King's freedom, Sir David's son, afterwards Sir Patrick Graham, was for a time one of the Scottish hostages in England.
It is of this Sir Patrick Graham that the story is told in Winton's Chronicle, how, having returned from a visit to France, he was challenged by Lord Richard Talbot to run a course in a tournament, and was wounded through his habergeon. During the supper which followed, an English knight asked Graham to run three courses on the morrow. "Sir Knight", replied the Scotsman, "if you would joust with me I advise you to rise early and confess, after which you will soon be delivered". The jest proved true, for on the morrow in the first course Graham pierced the English knight deep through the harness, and he died on the spot.
Sir Patrick Graham was twice married, William, his son by his first wife, was his successor, and ancestor of the great House of Montrose. For his second wife Sir Patrick married Egidia, daughter: of Sir John Stewart of Ralston, half-brother of King Robert II, and by her he had four sons, of whom the eldest, Sir Patrick Graham, married Eupheme, Countess of Strathearn, only daughter of David, Earl of Strathearn, eldest son of King Robert II by his second marriage with Euphemia Ross. In right of his wife, Graham became Earl of Strathearn, and also brought himself and his descendants into the great struggle, in which the children by King Robert's second marriage claimed the crown on the pretext that the King's first marriage to Elizabeth Mure of Rowallan had not been a lawful one. This Sir Patrick Graham was killed in 1413 by Sir John Drummond, and left an only child, Malise, also known as Earl of Strathearn. It was he whom King James I deprived of the earldom, on the plea that it was a male fief, and made Earl of Menteith instead; and it was this action which moved the Earl's uncle, Sir Robert Graham, to renounce his allegiance, and to plot and carry out the assassination of the King at Perth. It should be remembered, however, that in this plot Earl Malise himself seems to have had no share. He lived till 1492, and left three sons, from the eldest of whom descended the Earls of Menteith and Airth, and from the second, Sir John Graham of Kilbryde, near Doune, known for his valour as "Sir John with the bright sword", the Grahams of the Debatable Land, now represented by the Graharns of Esk, of Netherby, and of Norton-Conyers, and of whom came Sir Richard Graham, Viscount Preston, who was twice arrested and twice pardoned for the part he played on the side of James VII during the troubles of_the_Revolution.
Of this Menteith family came William Graham, Earl of Menteith, Chief Justice and President of the Council of Scotland in Charles I's time, who petitioned that King, and had the earldom of Strathearn restored to him, but who foolishly proceeded to go about wagging his head and hinting significantly of "blood that was redder than the King's" and his "cousin Charles on the throne". The matter was brought to the notice of Charles by Drummond of Hawthornden in his "Considerations to the King", and as a result the poor nobleman was forthwith stripped of both his earldoms and all his offices, and only after a time re-admitted to the Scottish peerage as Earl of Airth.
After the accession of King James VI to the English throne, the Grahams of the Debatable Land, who by their turbulence had been something of a problem to both kingdoms, were transported to the north of Ireland, the county of Cumberland being taxed to the amount of £408, 19 shillings and 9 pence sterling for the purpose, and they are still among the stoutest of the Ulster men who form the backbone of Irish prosperity at the present hour. It is said to have been regarding this transportation that the song "Sweet Ennerdale" was written to the pathetic air "I will awa' and will not tarry". It is preserved in the Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, and runs as follows:
"Now fare thee well, sweet Ennerdale,
Baith kith and countrie, I bid adieu.
For I maun away and I may not stay.
To some uncouth land which I never knew.
To wear the blue I think it best
Of all the colours that I see.
And I'll wear it for the gallant Grahams,
That are banished from their ain countrie.
I have no gold, I have no land,
I have no pearl nor precious stane,
But I would sell my silken snood,
To see the gallant Grahams come hame.
In Wallace days, when they began,
Sir John the Graham did bear the gree,
Through all the lands of Scotland wide,
He was the Lord of the south countrie.
And so was seen full many a time,
For the summer flowers did never spring.
But every Graham in armour bright,
Would then appear before the king.
They all were dressed in armour sheen.
Upon the pleasant banks of Tay,
Before a king they might be seen.
These gallant Grahams in array".
Much interesting information regarding the later earls of Menteith - including that last, most pathetic figure of all the Beggar Earl who died under a hedge, and lies buried in Bonhill kirkyard - is to be found in the writings of Mr. R.B. Cunninghame Graham, late of Gartmore, now of Ardoch, who is said himself to have grounds for making a formal claim to the earldom.
Meanwhile the main line of the Grahams of Kincardine went on. Sir William Graham, son of Sir Patrick, was, like his father, twice married. By his first wife, Mariota, daughter of Sir John Oliphant of Aberdalgie, he had a son whose descendants carried on the Kincardine line; but secondly, he also made, like his father, a royal alliance, marrying the Princess Mary, second daughter of King Robert III. This lady had already been twice married, to George, Earl of Angus, and to Sir James Kennedy of Dunure, and after Sir William Graham's death she married a fourth husband, Sir William Edmonstone of Duntreath. By his union with this Princess, Sir William Graham became ancestor of the Grahams of Fintry, of whom one was the very useful friend to Robert Burns; likewise of the Grahams of Claverhouse, the most famous of whom was that John Graham, Viscount Dundee, immortalised by Sir Walter Scott in the song "Bonnie Dundee", who lives in Covenanting annals as the best hated of the royal officers, and in the history of his time as the brilliant commander of the forces of James VII in Scotland, who fell at the moment of victory at the battle of Killiecrankie in 1689. Another of the sons of Sir Walter Graham and the Princess Mary was Patrick, Bishop of St.Andrews, who prevailed upon Pope Sextus V to declare the Scottish Church completely independent of the Archbishop of York, and to erect St.Andrews into a bishopric, who was sent back to Scotland as papal legate, only to find his efforts at reform raise a storm among the Scottish nobles and bishops, who procured his ruin and his imprisonment in Loch Leven Castle, where he died in 1478. From the same pair were also descended the Graemes of Garvock, and the gallant Sir Thomas Graeme, the hero of Barossa, who was made Lord Lynedoch in 1814.
Sir William Graham himself was for a time, along with others of the first rank and consequence, a hostage in England for the great Earl of Douglas who had been captured at the battle of Homildon Hill and while there it is likely that he made the acquaintance of the young King James I, then also a prisoner at the English court.
He was succeeded by his grandson, Patrick Graham of Kincardine, who after acting as one of the lords of the Regency following the assassination of James I, was made a Lord of Parliament about the year 1445 by the title of Lord Graham. William, his son, the second Lord Graham, married Lady Ann Douglas, daughter of George, fourth Earl of Angus, "the Red Douglas" of James IIIs time, who in Scottish tradition is remembered as having "put down the Black". The third Lord Graham took part in 1488 at the battle of Sauchieburn, in which James III fell. In that battle the King's rearward division was commanded by Graham, Earl of Menteith, with Lords Erskine and Graham as his lieutenants, and, at a later day, in 1504, on account of his gallantry, Lord Graham was made Earl of Montrose. Still later, at the battle of Flodden in 1513, he led part of the Scottish vanguard along with the Earl of Crawford, and fell along with his royal master on the disastrous field. By his third wife, a daughter of Lord Halyburton, the Earl was the ancestor of the Grahams of Inchbraikie, while his eldest son, the second Earl, was ancestor, through the youngest of his four sons, of the Grahams of Orchil and Killearn.
The eldest son of the second Earl Robert, Lord Graham, fell at the battle of Pinkie in 1547. He had married a daughter of the third Lord Fleming, Great Chamberlain of Scotland, and his son John, the third Earl, who fought for the Regent Moray at Langside, was Chancellor of the Kingdom from 1598 till 1604, and afterwards Viceroy of Scotland, James VI having by that time crossed the Border to assume the English crown.
Lord Graham's eldest son, John, the fourth Earl, married the eldest daughter of William, first Earl of Gowrie, and sister of the luckless Earl who fell in the so-called Gowrie Conspiracy; and the son of the pair, James, the fifth Earl, born in 1612, was the most brilliant and illustrious of all his race, the Great Marquess of Montrose.
The story of this great leader is too well known to be repeated here. His succession of victories over the armies of the Covenant at Tippermuir, Alford, Aberdeen, Inverlochy, and Kilsyth, forms one of the most romantic chapters of Scottish history, and his surprise and defeat at Philiphaugh, with his later capture in the north of Scotland, his vindictive execution at Edinburgh on 21st May 1650, and his splendid second burial in the cathedral of St. Giles eleven years later, after the Restoration, have excited interest and sympathy hardly less than that excited by the careers and misfortunes of Mary Queen of Scots and Prince Charles Edward Stewart.
The estates and honours of the house were instantly restored to the Marquess's son by Charles II at the Restoration. This second Marquess, known as "the Good", married a daughter of the second Earl of Morton, and his successor espoused a daughter of the Duke of Rothes, Chancellor of Scotland. During the Great Marquess's campaign, at the instance of his implacable enemy, the Marquess of Argyll, the ancient family stronghold of Kincardine Castle was besieged, captured, and destroyed. Afterwards, for a time, the family residence was Mugdock Castle, near Glasgow, and there was a town house in the Drygate of that city. It was at Mugdock that in the days of Charles II, when the Earl of Middleton was engaged in the proceedings which brought about the persecution of the Covenanters, he is said to have engaged with his associates in wild bacchanalian revels. The stronghold is said to have been acquired by the Grahams as early as the twelfth century. But in 1682 the third Marquess acquired the extensive estates on Loch Lomond side, which had previously belonged to the chiefs of Buchanan, and from that time onward Buchanan House and its successor, Buchanan Castle, at the mouth of the Endrick, have been the chief seats of the family.
The fourth Marquess acquired the property of the Duke of Lennox in 1702, was made a Knight of the Garter and High Admiral of Scotland in 1705, and Duke of Montrose two years later, for his part as Lord President of the Council in Scotland in promoting the Union. On the accession of George I in 1714 he became one of His Majesty's principal Secretaries of-State.
To William, the second Duke, the Highlands owe the repeal of the Act of 1747 which suppressed the use of the Highland dress. For this service, performed in 1782, His Grace's memory is held in much veneration by the Gael. Duncan Ban Macintyre, the famous Gaelic bard, wrote a poem on the occasion, and for long the Highlanders gratefully drank as a favourite toast, "deoch slainte Mhon't-ros". It is interesting to remember that the daughter of this peer, Lady Lucy Graham, was married to Archibald Stewart, Lord Douglas, the gainer of the famous Douglas Cause, in which the House of Lords had decided that he was the actual son of Sir James Stewart of Grandtully and Lady Jane Douglas, sister of the first and last Duke of Douglas.
The Grahams successfully avoided the troubles of the Jacobite risings, though they had some minor difficulties with the wild caterans of Clan Gregor, to whose raids their estates, lying on the Highland line on Loch Lomond side, were exposed. During the Earl of Mar's rebellion in 1715, the Government placed a garrison on the Duke's property at Drymen, to defend the western passes from the Highlands, by Aberfoyle and Balmaha; and a little later there are stories of the "bold Rob Roy", whose headquarters were at Inversnaid, and who laid claim to Craigroyston on the lower slopes of Ben Lomond as his patrimony, seizing the Duke's factor, and compelling him by successive souzings in the loch to yield up the rents he had collected in that neighbourhood. But from the time of the Union downward the House of Montrose has been one of the most loyal and active in the Government service of the country. The third Duke, who succeeded in 1790, was a Knight of the Garter, Lord Justice-General of Scotland, Lord Lieutenant of the Counties of Stirling and Dunbarton, and Chancellor of the University of Glasgow. The fourth Duke was a Knight of the Thistle, Lord Lieutenant of Stirlingshire, and for a time Postmaster-General. The present Duke of Montrose was his third son, two elder brothers of the name of James having died in 1846 and 1872 respectively. His Grace is the holder of some seven titles in the peerage of Scotland and two in the peerage of Great Britain. He is hereditary Sheriff of Dunbartonshire, General of the Royal Archers of Scotland, and Lord Lieutenant of the county of Stirling. He is a Knight of the Thistle and an A.D.C. to the King, and has been Lord Clerk Register of Scotland since 1890. For a few years he held a commission in the Coldstream Guards and the 5th Lancers, and at a later day he was commanding officer of the Queen's Own Glasgow Yeomanry and the 3rd Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. During the South African War he volunteered for active service, and, with his battalion, was first on garrison duty for twelve months in Ireland, and afterwards, in South Africa, commanded the column which constructed the block-houses in the north-west of Cape Colony for a distance of 370 miles, thus contributing very substantially to the means by which the war was finally brought to an end. It is interesting to note that his marriage with the daughter of Sir Frederick Graham, Baronet of Netherby, in the old Debatable Land, the Duke linked up two of the most ancient lines of the House of Graham.
The heir again of the House's honours, the Marquess of Graham, has also done distinguished service to his country. In early life he went to sea, and very soon obtained the certificate of a master mariner. He served through the South African War in the Army Service Corps, and for his services received the medal and three clasps; and, more recently, with the rank of commander, he organised the Clyde Division of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, which amply proved its worth by sending strong contingents upon active service in the war of 1914. His lordship married in 1906 Lady Mary Douglas Hamilton, only child of the late twelfth Duke of Hamilton, and heiress of the island of Arran, which in the future is likely to form a notable addition to the family estates.
SEPTS OF CLAN GRAHAM