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Clan Castles and Manor Houses
Castle Grant, Grantown-on-Spey, Morayshire – A manor house existed on the site of Castle Grant as early as 1489. At that time, it would have been part of the Barony of Freuchie. The barony was held in the mid-15th century by Sir Duncan le Graunte of Fruychy. The castle was known as Balachastell, the town of the castle. In 1694, the Laird of Freuchie obtained a Crown Charter erecting all his lands into the Regality of Grant. From that time forward, the castle was known as Castle Grant. It was the principal residence of the Chiefs of Grant for almost five centuries. Unfortunately, it had to be abandoned in the mid-20th century due to dry-rot infestation and the building fell into disrepair and ruin. The castle was restored during the last two decades of the 20th century by several entrepreneurial owners not related to the Chiefs or the Clan Grant.
Ballindalloch Castle, Inveravon Parish, Strathspey – The first Grants of Ballindalloch reportedly descended from Patrick Grant, who held the estate circa 1520. A lentil stone in the castle bears the incised date of ‘1546’. Unfortunately, the family became inextricably encumbered with debt in the late 17th century and the property was eventually taken over by creditors. In 1727, Ballindalloch was sold to Col. William Grant, a younger son of the Laird of Rothiemurchus. His son was General James Grant of Ballindalloch, a distinguished army officer and Member of Parliament. For his lifetime of service, General Grant was presented life-sized portraits of King George III and Queen Charlotte. The estate is still owned by General Grant’s descendants and those paintings still adorn the walls of the dining hall at Ballindalloch.
Cullen House, Cullen, Morayshire, formerly Banffshire, was the former principal residence of the Earls of Findlater and Seafield. The Earls of Seafield were Chiefs of the Clan Grant from 1811 until 1915, when the 11th Earl, Sir James Ogilvie-Grant, Baronet, was killed in Belgium during World War I. After his death, the Earldom of Seafield and the vast Grant and Ogilvie estates were inherited by his daughter, Nina Caroline, Countess of Seafield. The Earl’s younger brother, the Hon. Trevor Ogilvie-Grant, became 4th Lord Strathspey, Baronet of Nova Scotia, and Chief of the Clan Grant. He was the grandfather of our present Chief, the 6th Lord Strathspey, Sir James Patrick Trevor Grant of Grant, Baronet.
In the last quarter of the 20th century, Cullen House was apportioned into luxury apartments and sold to private investors.
House of Monymusk, Aberdeenshire – The estate of Monymusk was purchased by Sir Francis Grant from Sir William Forbes of Monymusk in 1713. The castle has been the home of the Grant family, Baronets of Monymusk, since that time. Sir Francis Grant of Monymusk, Baronet, studied law at the University of Aberdeen and at Leyden in the Netherlands. He was admitted to the bar in 1691, created Baronet by Queen Anne in 1705, and elevated to the Court of Session as Lord Cullen in 1709. Lord Cullen was succeeded by his son, Sir Archibald Grant, 2nd Baronet of Monymusk. His second son, William, became Lord Prestongrange, an eminent Lord of Session.
Invermoriston House, Glenmoriston, was the former residence of the chieftains of the Grants of Glenmoriston. The original castle, said to have been on the same site, was burned to the ground by government troops during the Jacobite uprising of 1715 and the lands were forfeited to the Crown. The lands were eventually bought back and another castle was built, but it was also destroyed in the aftermath of the battle of Culloden Moor in 1746. Fortunately, some of the government troops, who happened to be related to the Grants of Glenmoriston, took pity on the elderly Lady of Glenmoriston and much of the furniture and portraiture was removed from the house before it was put to the torch. The ruins were restored in the 19th century, but that mansion house (above) also burned in 1930 – this time by accident. The castle was never rebuilt, but a smaller, comfortable modern house was built on the site.
Easter Elchies, near Craigellachie – The Grants of Easter Elchies descended from Duncan Grant, a younger son of James Grant, 3rd Laird of Freuchie. Patrick Grant, 1st Lord Elchies, was an eminent Senator of the College of Justice in 1732. His son, John Grant of Easter Elchies, was Baron of the Exchequer of Scotland in 1755.
Today, Easter Elchies is the corporate headquarters of the MacAllan Distillery.
Prestongrange House, East Lothian, was the estate of William Grant, Lord Prestongrange (1701-1764), an eminent Lord of Session. He was the son of Sir Francis Grant of Monymusk, Lord Cullen. Lord Prestongrange’s daughter, Agnes Grant, married Sir George Suttie, 3rd Baronet of Balgone, MP. Their son succeeded to the baronetcy of Balgone, and eventually inherited the estate of Prestongrange from Suttie’s aunt, Janet Grant, Countess of Hyndford. He became Sir James Grant-Suttie, 4th Baronet of Balgone and Prestongrange (1759-1836).
Today, Prestongrange is the home of the Royal Musselburgh Golf Club, founded in 1774. In 1876, His Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught became the Honorary President of the club – hence, the ‘Royal’ in the club’s name. The club signed a long-term lease to Prestongrange in 1924, and moved there shortly thereafter. Royal Musselburgh is one of the oldest golf clubs in the world.
The Doune, Rothiemurchus, Strathspey, is the ancestral home of the Lairds of Rothiemurchus. The manor house stands near the original hill fort or dun, for which the house is named. Portions of the mansion were built in the 16th century, but it has been frequently enlarged and renovated since that time – most recently during the last two decades of the 20th century. The Grants of Rothiemurchus are descended from Patrick Grant of Muckrach, a younger son of John Grant of Freuchie, and Lady Margaret Stewart in the 16th century. Lairds of Rothiemurchus have distinguished themselves as military officers, members of Parliament, advocates and judges, colonial administrators, and most importantly as effective guardians and conservators of their beautiful estate.
Kilgraston House, Bridge of Earn, Perthshire, was the residence of John Grant of Kilgraston, eldest son of Patrick Grant of Glenlochy, an ancient branch of the Clan Grant in Strathavon. John Grant studied law and went to Jamaica, where he became the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in 1783. Toward the end of the 18th century, he purchased the contiguous estates of Kilgraston and Pitkeithley in Perthshire. He died without an heir in 1793 and was succeeded by his brother, Francis Grant, JP, DL, who built the mansion house of Kilgraston.
Francis Grant of Kilgraston had three sons: John Grant, JP, who inherited the estate of Kilgraston; Sir Francis Grant, the eminent painter who became President of the Royal Academy; and the distinguished military officer, General Sir James Hope Grant, CB, KCB, GCB, Legion of Honour (France).
[A more comprehensive presentation of the castles, manor houses, farms and lodges associated with the Clan Grant can be accessed at “A History of the Clan Grant” under the topic heading “For Members Only”.]
James Grant, historian
Clan Grant Society – USA