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CLAN GRANT OF GLENMORISTON

BADGE: Giuthas (pinus sylvestris) pine

Of the Siol Alpin, or Race of Alpin, descended from that redoubtable but ill-fated King of Scots of the ninth century, there are to be counted Clan Gregor, Clan Grant, Clan Mackinnon, Clan MacNab, Clan Macfie, Clan MacQuarie, and Clan MacAulay. These, therefore, have at all times claimed to be the most ancient and most honourable of the Highland clans, and have been able to make the proud boast "Is rioghal mo dhream" - Royal is my race. It was unfortunate for the Siol Alpin that at no time were all the clans which it comprised united under a single chief. Had they been thus united, like the great Clan Chattan confederacy, they might have achieved a greater place in history, and might have been saved many of the disasters which overtook them.

After the young Chief of the Grants, with the help of his father-in-law, the Chief of MacGregor, had established his headquarters at Freuchie, now Castle Grant, by the slaughter and expulsion of its former owners, the Comyns, the race of the Grants put forth more than one virile branch to root itself on fair Speyside and elsewhere. Among these were the Grants of Ballindalloch, the Grants of Rothiemurchus, the Grants of Carron, and the Grants of Culcabuck. In the days of James IV, the Laird of Grant was Crown Chamberlain of the lordship of Urquhart on Loch Ness, which included the district of Glenmoriston. In 1509, in the common progress of events, the chamberlainship was converted into a baronial tenure, and the barony was granted to John, elder son of the Chief. The change, however, instead of aggrandising the family, threatened to entail an actual loss of the territory, for John died without issue, and the barony, under its new tenure, reverted to the Crown.

A similar, but much more disastrous set-back was that which happened about the same time to the ancient family of Calder or Cawdor, near Nairn. In the latter case the old Thane resigned his whole estates to the Crown, and had them conferred anew on his second son John, and shortly afterwards John died, leaving an only child, a girl, Muriel, who ultimately, by marriage, carried the thanedom away from the Cawdors, into possession of the Campbells, its present owners.

The case of Glenmoriston was not so irretrievable, for the barony was acquired by Grant of Ballindalloch. The latter in 1548 disposed of it to his kinsman John Grant of Culcabuck, who married a daughter of Lord Lovat, and John Grant's son Patrick established himself in the district, and became the ancestor of the Grants of Glenmoriston. It is from this Patrick Grant first of the long line of lairds, that the clan takes its distinctive patronymic of Mac Phadruick.

Patrick's son John, the second chief, married a daughter of Grant of Grant, and built the castle of Glenmoriston, from which fact he is known in the tradition of his family as Ian nan Caisteal - John of the Castle.

In James VI's time Glenmoriston had its own troubles, arising from an act which, one would have supposed, would have been looked upon by any Scotsman as a warrant against oppression. Clan Chattan, it appears, had been faithful friends and followers of the Earls of Moray, and in particular had been active in avenging against the Earl of Huntly, the death of the "Bonnie Earl" at Donibristle on the Forth. For these services they had received valuable possessions in Pettie and Strathnairn. But presently the Bonnie Earl's son became reconciled to Huntly, and married his daughter; then, thinking he had no more need of Clan Chattan, proceeded to take back these gifts. By way of retaliation, in 1624 some 200 gentlemen and 300 followers of the clan took arms and proceeded to lay waste the estates of the grasping Moray. The latter failed to disperse them, first with three hundred men from Menteith and Balquhidder, and afterwards with a body of men raised at Elgin. He then went to London and induced James VI to make him Lieutenant of the North. Returning with new powers, the Earl issued letters of intercommuning against Clan Chattan, prohibiting all persons from harbouring, supplying, or entertaining members of the clan, under severe penalties. Having thus cut off the clansmen's means of support he proceeded to make terms with them, offering them pardon on condition that they should give a full account of the persons who had sheltered and helped them in their attempt. This Clan Chattan basely proceeded to do, and the individuals who had rendered them hospitality and support were summoned to the Earl's court andheavily fined, the fines going into Moray's own pocket. A striking account of the proceeding is furnished by Spalding the historian. He relates how "the principal malefactors stood up in judgment, and declared what they had gotten, whether meat, money, clothing, gun, ball, powder, lead, sword, dirk, and the like commodities, and also instructed the assize in each particular what they had gotten from the persons panelled - an uncouth form of probation, where the principal malefactor proves against the receiptor for his own pardon, and honest men, perhaps neither of the Clan Chattan's kin nor blood, punished for their good will, ignorant of the laws, and rather receipting them more for their evil nor their good. Nevertheless the innocent men, under colour of justice, part and part as they came in, were soundly fined in great sums as their estates might bear, and some above their estates was fined, and everyone warded within the tolbooth of Elgin, till the last mite was paid".

Among those who thus suffered was John Grant of Glenmoriston. The town of Inverness was also mulcted, and the provost, Duncan Forbes, and Grant, both went to London to lay the matter before the king. They did this without success, however, and in the end had to submit to the Earl of Moray's exactions.

In the latter half of the seventeenth century, John, the sixth Chief of Glenmoriston, married Janet, daughter of the celebrated Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel, and earned the name of Ian na Chreazan by building for himself the rock stronghold of Blary. Like Sir Ewen Cameron, his father-in-law, he raised his clan for the losing cause of James VII and II, and fought under Viscount Dundee at Killiecrankie. The clan was also out under the Earl of Mar in the rising for "James VIII and III", in 1715, and as a result of that enterprise the chief suffered forfeiture. The estates, however, were restored in 1733.

Patrick, the ninth chief, who married Henrietta, a daughter of Grant of Rothiemurchus, undeterred by the misfortune which had overtaken his family on account of its previous efforts in the Jacobite cause, raised his clan for Prince Charles in the autumn of 1745. He was not in time to see the raising of the Prince's standard at Glenfinnan, but he followed hotfoot to Edinburgh, where his clansmen formed a welcome reinforcement on the eve of the battle of Prestonpans. So eager was he, it is said, to inform Charles of the force he had brought to support the cause, that he did not wait to perform his toilet before seeking an interview. Charles is said to have thanked him warmly, and then, passing his hand over the rough chin of the warrior, to have remarked merrily that he could see his ardour was unquestionable since it had not even allowed him time to shave. Glenmoriston took the remark much amiss. Greatly offended, he turned away with the remark, "It is not beardless boys that are to win your Highness' cause !".

This, however, was not the last the Prince was to know of Glenmoriston, or the last that Glenmoriston was to suffer for the cause of the Prince. When Culloden had been fought, and the Jacobite cause had been lost for ever, Charles in the darkest hours of his fate, wandering a hunted fugitive among the glens and mountains, found a shelter with the now famous outlaws, the Seven Men of Glenmoriston. Only one of them was a Grant, Black Peter, or Patrick, of Craskie, but it was in Grant's country, and the seven men, anyone of whom could at any moment have enriched himself beyond the dreams of avarice by betraying the Prince and earning the £30,000 set by Government upon his head, proved absolutely faithful. These men had seen their own possessions destroyed by the Red Soldiers because of the Prince, and they had seen seventy of the men of Glenrnoriston, who had been induced by a false promise of the Butcher Duke of Cumberland, at the intercession of the Laird of Grant, to march to Inverness and lay down their arms, ruthlessly seized and shipped to the colonies as slaves, but they treated Charles with Highland hospitality in their caves of Coiraghoth and Coirskreaoch, and for that the Seven Men of Glenmoriston will have an honourable place for ever in Scottish history.

While the Prince was in hiding in the Braes of Glenmoriston, two of the Seven Men, out foraging for provisions, met Grant of Glenmoriston himself. The chief had had his house burned and his lands pillaged for his share in the rising, and he asked the two men if they knew what had become of the Prince, who, he heard, had passed the Braes of Knoydart. Even to him, however, they did not reveal the secret of the royal wanderer's hiding. And when they asked the Prince himself whether he would care to see Glenmoriston. Charles said he was so well pleased with his present guard that he wanted no other.

In the first bill of attainder for the punishment of those who had taken part in the rebellion the name of Grant of Glenmoriston was included, but, probably at the instance of Lord President Forbes, it was afterwards omitted, and the chief retained his estates.

Patrick Grant's son and successor, John, held a commission in the 42nd Highlanders, and highly distinguished himself during the brilliant service of that famous regiment in India, rising to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. He died at Glenmoriston in 1801. His elder son died while a minor, and was succeeded by his brother James Murray Grant. This chief married his cousin Henrietta, daughter of Cameron of Glennevis, and in 1821 succeeded to the estate of Moy, beside the Culbin Sands in Morayshire, as heir of entail to his kinsman Colonel Hugh Grant.

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