- The Clan
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The Churches in Grant Country
Seafield Memorial Inverallan Church of Scotland, Grantown on Spey, was endowed in 1889 by the Hon. Caroline Stuart, Dowager Countess of Seafield. The church was constructed as a memorial to the Countess’ husband, the Rt. Hon. Sir John Charles Ogilvie-Grant, Bt., 7th Earl of Seafield, 1st Lord Strathspey, KT, who died in 1881, and to her son, Ian Charles Ogilvie-Grant, Bt., 8th Earl of Seafield, 2nd Lord Strathspey, who died in 1884. Both were Chiefs of the Clan Grant.
Duthil Kirk was closed in the early 20th century and the congregation moved to the Church of Scotland in nearby Carrbridge. In the 1980’s, the Duthil kirk, the churchyard and the Seafield Mausoleum was sold to the Clan Grant Society in the United Kingdom. The church is now the clan centre of the Clan Grant Society in the United Kingdom. The centre is open to clansmen for meetings and social gatherings each August during the Abernethy Highland Games.
The old Abernethy Parish Church, near Nethybridge, had two well-known and much-admired ministers. The Rev. John Grant was locally known by his parishioners as the ‘Minister of the Gazette.’ Rev. Grant was a former army chaplain who was always interested in military affairs. During the Napoleonic Wars in the early 19th century, he would give his congregation weekly news updates by reading the newspaper to them after his sermons. The Rev. Dr. William Forsyth was an avid local historian and author of the now-famous history of the parish of Abernethy, In the Shadow of Cairngorm, published in 1999.
Cromdale Parish, Church of Scotland, was one of the mustering points for the men of the Clan Grant when they marched on Elgin during the heated election campaign of 1820. The citizens of Elgin, many of whom favored an opposing candidate, had essentially blockaded Grant Lodge and harassed Sir Lewis Alexander, 5th Earl of Seafield, Chief of the Clan Grant, and his sisters on a daily basis.
Cullen Auld Kirk is situated on the estate of Cullen House, the former residence of the Earls of Findlater and Seafield. The following Earls of Seafield were Chiefs of the Clan Grant and resided at Cullen House: Sir Lewis Alexander Grant-Ogilvy, Bt., 5th Earl of Seafield; Col. Sir Francis William Ogilvie-Grant, Bt., 6th Earl of Seafield; Sir John Charles Ogilvie-Grant, Bt., 7th Earl of Seafield, 1st Lord Strathspey, KT; Sir Ian Charles Ogilvie-Grant, Bt., 8th Earl of Seafield, 2nd Lord Strathspey; and Capt. Sir James Ogilvie-Grant, Bt., 11th Earl of Seafield, 3rd Lord Strathspey.
Kilmore Church of Scotland, Parish of Glenurquhart & Glenmoriston, is situated at Drumnadrochit, Glenurquhart, near the famed ruins of Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness. The Church of Scotland at Invermoriston, Glenmoriston, closed in the 1970’s and was consolidated with Kilmore Church.
Elgin Cathedral was the heart of the Diocese of Elgin in the 13th century. The historic ruin is coincidentally situated near Grant Lodge, the terminus of the famous raid on Elgin by the Clan Grant during the election campaign of 1820.
In 1224, the cathedral was established on land granted to the church by Alexander II, King of Scotland. It replaced a building formerly located at Spynie, just to the north of Elgin. The Cathedral was staffed by as many as two dozen canons in 1242. The cathedral was damaged extensively by fire in 1270, but later rebuilt and enlarged. It was damaged again by fire in 1390, when Robert III’s brother, Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan, “the Wolf of Badenoch,” led a raid on Elgin. It was attacked again by the Lord of the Isles in 1402.
At the time of the Reformation in 1560, the cathedral was abandoned and its services transferred to Elgin’s parish church of St. Giles. In 1567, the lead waterproofing was removed from the roof and the cathedral steadily fell into decay. By the 19th century the building was a ruin.
[A much more comprehensive article on the churches in the Country of the Grants can be found under the heading “For Members Only” at “A History of the Clan Grant.”]
James Grant, historian
Clan Grant Society –USA