Lachlan Shaw.

The history of the province of Moray. Comprising the counties of Elgin and Nairn, the greater part of the county of Inverness and a portion of the county of Banff,--all called the province of Moray before there was a division into counties online

. (page 17 of 37)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

was a great friend and companion of George IV., who
created him a Peer of the United Kingdom, by the title
of Baron Fife, 27th April, 1827. He was a Knight of
the Order of St. Ferdinand of Spain, and of the Sword.
Like the rest of his family, his Lordship was a great
politician. He succeeded his uncle, Mr. Skene of Skene
and Careston, to these fine estates in 1827, a great addi-
tion to the fortune of the family. After mixing much in
the world, and seeing society in all its ranks and grades,
he, in his latter years, lived at Duff House, in a very
retired way ; died there the 9th March, 1857, and was
buried at the mausoleum.

23. James 5th Earl of Fife, nephew to the preceding
Earl, and eldest son of General Sir Alexander Duff' of
Delgaty, succeeded. His Lordship was born 6th July,
1814; is Lord-Lieutenant of the County of Banff" and
long represented the same county in Parliament. He was
created a Peer of the United Kingdom, by the title of
Baron Skene, in 1857. He married, 16th March, 1846,
Lady Agnes Georgiana Elizabeth Hay, daughterof William
George l7th Earl of Errol, by Lady Elizabeth Fitzclarence,
natural daughter of King William IV., and of course cousin
to Queen Victoria, and has issue — Alexander William
George Viscount Macduff, born 10th November, 1849.
1st daughter, Anne Elizabeth Clementina, born 1847,
married, 17th October, 1865, to John Villiers Stuart, fifth
and present Marquis Townshend, and has issue. 2nd,
Ida Louisa Alice, born 1848, married, Srd June, 1867, to
Adrian Elias Hope, Esq., and has issue. Obtained divorce
1873; married, 2nd, 1880, William Wilson. 3rd, Alexina,
born 1851, married 2nd July, 1870, Henry Aubrey Coven-
try, Lieutenant 10th Hussars. 4th, Agnes Cecil Emme-
line, born 20th February, married, 1st, 4th October, 1871,
to Viscount Duppliu, and was divorced 1876. She mar-
ried, 2nd, 5th August, 1876, Herbert Flowers. The Coun-
tess of Fife died on the 18th December, 1869, and was
buried in the mausoleum of Duff' House. His Lordship's
brother, the Honourable George Skene Duff' of Milton, for



170 ML-DHOUSE, ALLACHIE, BALLINT0MI5, EDINVILLIE.

some time represented in Parliament the Elgin District
of Burghs, and is now Lord-Lieutenant of the County of
Elgin.] (Youngs History of the Parish of Spi/nie.)

THE PAKISH OF ABEELAURE OE ABEELOUE,

All iu the County of Banff, is called also Slxir-
drustan. It extendetli on the bank of Spe}',
from the mouth of Fiddich, 3 miles to the south-
west; and, on all other sides, is environed \vitli
hills, and no where above a mile in breadth, ex-
cept a small skirt in Gleurinnes,

The Church standeth on the bank of the river,
where a brook, flowing from the hills towards
Mortlach, falleth into it 2 miles north-west of
Mortlach, 2 miles near to the west of Boharm,
and ^h miles north-east of Inveravon. At the
confluence of Fiddich and Spey, there is a pas-
sage-boat, and another at the church. The parish
is now the property of five heritors.

In the lower end is Mudhouse, a feu pertain-
ing to Mr. Anderson. Next up the river is the
heritage of Gordon of Aberlaure. Further up
the river, and on the south-east of the brook, is
Alachie. This was the heritage of Alexander
Grant, third son of Bellentom, by whose daugli-
ter it came in mortgage to Duff of Keitlnnore,
and was lately redeemed by Sir JAulowick Grant,
who in 1758 disponed it to James Grant of
Carron. In the face of the hill south-west fi'om
Alachie, is Edhiville. Tliis was the property of
Gordon of Faskine, from wliom it came to Grant



PAl'JSll OF ABERLOUR. 171



of Easter Elchies, and is now the property of the
Earl of Findlater. The lands of Mudhouse,
Aberlour, Alachie, and Edinvilhe, were a part of
the Lordship of Balvenie ; and the lands of
Carron were Church lands, and now hold of
the family of Gordon.

Below Edinvillie towards the side of the river,
is the Barony of Kinermonie. This was a part
of the Lordship of Balvenie, and given by Innes
of Balvenie to his second son, whose heirs ex-
changed it for Ortou, and now it is the property
of the Earl of Fife.

In the west end of the parish is Carron, at the
foot of the hill of that name. It continued above
200 years the property of a branch of the family
of Grant of Glennioriston, and Colonel John
Grant, the last of Carron, being killed before
Carthagena anno 1741, without male issue,
Charles Grant of Eingorum became the male
heir. From him Captain Lewis Grant of
Achterblair, a branch of the Clan Allan (and
who married Colonel Grant's eldest daughter),
purchased his right, and now Captain James
Grant, his son, enjoyeth it, and in 1767 was
Baron of Mulderie, in the County of Moray.

ABERLOUR.

[Situatidn, Soil, Climate. — Aberlour extends 9 miles
from the borders of Inveravon on the west, along the
southern bank of the Spey, to the influx of the Fiddich
at the east, on the borders of Boliarm. There spread-
ino- backward about a mile of arable o-round, it rises to



172 SKIRDUSTAX, OR ST. DUSTAN's SHIRE.

the summit of the Conval hills, by which it is separated
from Mortlach. It gradually increases its breadth to the
western frontier, where it is nearly equal to its length.

The narrow vale of Glenrinnes may be regarded as a
continuation of the parish of Mortlach. It is detached
from the body of this parish by the mountain of Ben-
rinness, between which and the Convals a narrow pass
(called Glackharnis) opens a level communication. The
brook Dulnan winds in its bottom, and its northern side
only appertains to the parish of Aberlour.

The soil upon the river is a light mould upon a bed of
sand ; and as the country extends back toward the hills,
it becomes a deep clay. The climate, on the whole, is
temperate ; along the river it is warm, and the harvests
are more early than in Glenrinness, where there is never
occasion to complain for want of rain.

State of Proiierty. — The parish appertains to live
proprietors. The only family-seat is Aberlour, the estate
of Patrick Gordon, Esq., and the mansion of his ances-
tors. It is embellished by a garden, enclosed fields, with
some natural and some planted wood. The valued rent
is £250 Scots.

Edinvillie is the property of David Macdowal Grant of
Arndilly. It is also improved by a commodious house,
well cultivated fields, and some natural wood. The
valued rent is £850.

The estate of Carron is the property of Robert Grant
of Elchies, Esq., from which it is separated only by the
river. Having been once a family-seat, it still displays
a handsome mansion house, gardens, enclosed fields, and
plantation. The valued rent is £400.

Except the Earl of Findlater's property of Mudhouse,
valued at £50, the rest of the parish appertains to the
Earl of Fife, at the valuation of .£1107; extending the
total valuation of the parish to £2217 Scots.

There are several farms of considerable extent, from
£40 to about £70 sterling of rent : but the parish is
generally occupied in small possessions, from about £5 to
about £16 sterling of rent; and the mean rent of the
acre may be estimated at 14s.

State Ecclesiastical, — The ancient name of the parish
was Skirdurstam, literally St. Durstan's shire or division,
from the original CJaelic, signifying to cut, there being no



GLENRINNES; LINN OF RUTHRIE. 17.>

word in that language answering more nearly to that of
parish.

The church, a mean ancient fabric, is situated near the
influx of a considerable and rumbling stream, as its
present appellation imports.

The stipend is £58 Gs. 8d. and 18 bolls of meal. The
glebe is about G acres, of which nearly 5 are under the
plough. The Earl of Fife is the patron.

In the valley of Glenrimiess ther(! is a missionary estab-
lishment for the accommodation of the remote extremities
of Aberlour and Mortlach, with an appointment by the
Royal Bounty of £30 yearly. The school is in the
vicinity of the church, a commodious building, floored
and finished within. The landholders of the parish have
been in the use of paying to Mr. Hall, the present incum-
bent, about £11 sterling of salary, which, with £1 as the
fee of the session-clerk, and the percpiisites of that office,
and the customary rates of payment, makes the appoint-
ment equal to about .£20 yearly, as the school retains
about 80 scholars.

The Society for Christian Knowledge once established
a school in Cdenrinness, adding thereby a great accommo-
dation to that sequestered district ; but the landholders
refusing to countenance the establishment, by the petty
conveniences which the rules of the Society require, it
has been for some time wholly withdrawn.

The number of the poor enrolled is 21 : the provision
for their support arises from the money contributed by
the people who attend the church, about £r> yearly ; and
sundry bequeathments, with savings by the session in
times of plenty, have created a fund at interest produc-
ing yearly £4> 8s. and 8J- bolls of meal, and a small sum
retained for answering urgent exigencies. The members
of the national Church are 910, and the Dissenters 11 (of
the Church of Rome).

Miscellaneous Information. — On the stream (the
Burn of Aberlour), which passes by the church, a little
farther up, there is a pretty Avater-fall (the Linn of
Ruthrie), of consideration in this quarter of the country.
The stream precipitates itself from a height of 30 feet,
and, broken in its fall, dashes into a gloomy circular pool
of unknown depth [?], environed by a rocky mound more
than twice the heio-ht of the fall. The bason below is



174 LAW-PLEA OF MISS MACPHERSON GKAXt's HEIRS.

easily accessible ; and the surrounding rock, by reverber-
ating, increases greatly the din.

The people, with anticipated satisfaction, contemplate
two great promised accommodations — a post office at
Aberloiir, and a bridge over the Spey, a little farther up
than the church. By these, it is certain, the state of the
country all around will, in a short time, be improved in
a variety of circumstances, beyond what could be at pre-
sent believed.

The sentiments and manners of the people are in no
respect different from those of their neighbours in the
adjoining parishes.] — {Sui'vcij of the Province of Moray.)

THE ABERLOUR SUCCESSION CASE.

The action at the instance of Mrs. and i\lr. Yeatman
against the trustees of the late Miss Macpherson Grant
of Aberlour came on for trial upon the 28th Dec, 1877,
in the Second Division of the Court of Session before the
Lord Justice-Clerk (Moncrieff) and a jur3^

The pursuers in the case were Mrs. Charlotte Temple
or Yeatman, residing at West Lodge, Iwerne Minster,
Blandford, spouse of Harry Farr Yeatman of West Lodge
aforesaid, retired commander Royal Nav}', and the said
Harry Farr Yeatman as administrator in law for his said
spouse and for his own interest. The defenders were
James Proctor, residing in Tarland ; Margaret Proctor,
residing in Banchory ; and Alex Proctor, Bachelor of
Medicine, Rhynie, all in the county of Aberdeen ; and
John Falconci', S.8.C., Edinburgh, sole accepting trustee
under the trust disposition and settlement of the now
deceased Miss Margaret Gordon Macpherson Grant of
Aberlour, dated 8th March, 1873.

The purpose of the action was to reduce a deed of
revocation executed by Miss Macpherson Grant on 2nd
November, 1876, whereby she revoked all her previous
settlements, and in particular the settlement dated 8th
March, 187'3. The effect (jf the dcetl of revocation, if
allowed to stand, was to throw Miss .Macpherson Grant's
large fortune, amoimting to upwards of a quarter of a mil-
lion, into intestacy, and to allow the defenders, Mr. Jjimes
Proctor and ^liss Margaret Proctor, to succeed to the
moveable estate, which was the most valuable; and also
to allow the defrnder, ^h-. Alex. F. l^roctor, to succeed to



PLEA OF THE HEIRS OF MISS MACPHERSOX GRANT. 175

the heritable estate, as Miss Macpherson Grant's heir-at-
law. If the deed of revocation was reduced, and the settle-
ment of 8th March, 1873, allowed to stand, the result would
have been that the female pursuer ])ractical]y succeeded
to the whole of Miss Macpherson (Irant's means, with
the exception of £9500 of legacies.

For the ])ursuers there appeared the Lord Advocate,
Mr. Fraser, and Mr. Pearson, instructed by Messrs. Boyd,
Macdonald, & Co., S.S.C. For the heirs hi mohillhus there
appeared Mr. Balfour and Mr. Macintosh, instructed by
Mr. T. J. Gordon, W.S. For the heir-at-law there
appeared Mr. Asher and Mr. C. J. Guthrie, instructed by
Messrs. Gibson-Craig, Dalziel, and Brodies, W.S.

The issues laid before the jury were : —

(1) "Whether said deed of revocation is not tlie deed of the
deceased Miss Macpherson Grant.

(2) Whether, at the date of said deed, Miss INEacpherson
(Trant was weak and facile in mind, and easily im})osed upon,
and whethc]" Simon Keir, tenant of Burnside, Duffus, by
Elgin, taking advantage of her weakness and facility, dicl, by
fraud or circumvention, impetrate and obtain the said deed
of revocation from the said Miss Macpherson Grant, to her
lesion 1

A third issue had been proposed by the pursuers but
disallowed by the Court — viz.. Whether in granting said
deed of revocation Miss Macpherson Grant was under
essential error as to the import and efiect ?

Mr. Fraser" opened the case for the pursuers. He said
that Miss ]\Iacpherson Grant was the daughter of Dr.
Macpherson, and succeeded as heiress to her uncle, Alex-
ander Grant, who died in 1854. Miss Grant bought the
estate of Lauriston, near Fdinburgh. She sometimes
made journeys to London, and in 18C4 she was intro-
duced there to Miss Temple, the female pursuer, the
daughter of the High Sheriff of the county of Wilts.
Miss Grant died on 14th April, 1877, between the age of
40 and 50. In 1864 Miss Temple came to Aberlour
on a visit. She turned ill and remained there from the
autumn till spring of 18G5. The intimacy ripened into
the warmest friendship. Miss Temple having determined
to terminate her visit to Aberlour, came back to her
father's residence, where she remained for some weeks,
when she received a telegram from Miss Grant, askin<jf



17(J MISS TEMPLE MADE HEIUESS TO MISS GRANT.



her to come up to London. She went, and the friendship
was resumed. Miss Grant went to see Miss Tem])le's
friends at that time. Her father and mother are now dead,
but you will hear from herself what was then proposed.
It was that Miss Grant beseeehed Miss Temple's parents
to let her take their daughter to live with her and adopt
her, and make her her heiress, she loved her so much.
The parents paused a little, but were at length overcome
by Miss Grant's entreaties, and Miss Temple agreed to
go. I don't say there was a contract whereby Miss Grant,
on the footing of Miss Temple going to live with her was
to make her her heiress, but there was plainly an honour-
able understanding, which was immediately carried out.
She went to her London solicitors, and directed them to
prepare a will, which was done. By that will, executed
in 18G5, Miss Grant conveyed to trustees the whole of
her means and estates for the purpose of paying certain
legacies. But there was a previous will by which the
whole of her property would have gone to the Episcopal
Church. By the will of 1865 the trustees are directed to
convey her estates to her own issue, and failing them to
Miss Temple and her heirs. She first directs that the
whole estate shall be entailed, and all her money was to be
spent in purchasing other lands to be entailed on the same
series of heirs. She thus contemplated having issue her-
self. After her own issue the estate was to go to an old
aunt, ^Margaret Gordon, and failing her and her issue to
Miss Temple. That was the carrying out of the expressed
intention of Miss Grant. That deed was executed in
London. She goes to the office and brings out the pen
to Miss Temple, who was waiting in the carriage, saying
to her, " Do you know what I have been doing ? I have
been making you my heir, nnd here is the pen I did it
with; keep it! " Down to ]8(JG Miss Temple lived with
Miss Grant, aiding her in all her schemes, comforting her
in her sorrows, and nursing her in sicknesses, which were
many. Miss Temple's will remained untouched. By it
she gave the estate of Lauriston to her father. Her aunt
died in 18GG, and her father in 187L It then became
necessary for Miss CJrant to rearrange her will so as to
make a distribution of her estate consistent with the
altered state of things, for if riches confer great privi-
leges, thev also entail great responsibilities and cares.



DEFENDERS EXCAVATED FROM OBSCURITY. 177

In 1872 a new will is made by her on 31st May, also
prepared by her London solicitors, in which the legacies
are still continued. As to the residue of her estate, she
directed her trustees to convey the same to her own
issue, whom failing Miss Temple and her heirs, whom
failing Miss Temple's nephew. Miss Grant's Scotch
lawyers, on seeing the deed, thought it not suitable to
convey the estate according to Scotch law. Miss Grant
then got very restless about the matter. She writes to
her Elgin agent requesting him to communicate with
her London solicitor and also her Edinburgh solicitor, as
she wished the matter put beyond all question. IMessrs.
Gibson-Craig & Co. were employed to make the new will,
and it was executed on 8th March, 1873. By the will
Miss Grant directs her trustees, to whom her whole pro-
perty was conveyed in trust, to pay a legacy of £20,000
to Miss Temple, so as to provide against the contingency
of her not succeeding to the estate by the resistance of
any heirs of Miss Grant's own body. Then she provides
that the heirs of entail shall assume the name and arms
of Grant of Aberlour. This deed of 1873 was found with
her representatives after her death. Miss Temple under
it would now have been entitled to a conveyance of the
whole of the properties. Miss Grant lived till 1877, and
it is in reference to what she did three years after this
deed that this inquiry has taken place. On 2nd Nov-
ember, 187G, a few weeks before she died, she executed a
deed of revocation, revoking her settlements, and in par-
ticular the deed of 1873. The whole arrangements of
this lady for the distribution of her estate were revoked.
All the legacies she left were cancelled, and all her charit-
able bequests, which were made by separate deeds, go to
the door. The whole of the lady's fortune is to be dis-
tributed, according to the rules of common law, amongst
the next of kin and the heir. The defenders are persons
excavated from obscurity, so far as Miss Grant was con-
cerned. They happen by the accidence of existence to
bo nearest of kin by the father's side, but these were
just about the last persons in the world upon whom she
would have wished to bestow her fortune. Miss Grant's
father was in a somewhat lower social position than her
mother was, and it was the mother's brother who made
the fortune, and he never liked the father or his connec-
VOL. I. 12



178 MISS grant's drinking habits ; HOUSE BURNT.



tions, and that feeling seemed to have been handed down
to the daughter. After getting her fortune, Miss Grant
seemed to have given reins to herself She got into a
habit of tippling to a large extent, drinking not merely
wine, but beer and brand}'' — a bottle and a half of brandy
a-day sometimes. Miss Temple used arguments to wean
her from that, and appealed to her self-respect, but with-
out avail. She hid her failings wlieu she could, and
when she could not did her best to do so. On 11th
December, 1875, there occurred an incident which had a
most important effect upon any intellect Miss Grant then
had. That was a fire which occurred in Aberlour House.
She got so terrified and frightened she seemed to think
there was a hole in her head, and asked people to look
for it. She got her hair clipped sometimes twice a-day.
She beseeched her attendants to look for the hole. She
also thought that she had saved her servant from the fire
and had carried her out. Another thing came to add to
the misfortune. Miss Temple got married in February,
1876, and this was a great blow to Miss Grant. The deed
of November, 1876, was written by Simon Keii", a Lon-
<lon merchant. He calls himself tenant of Bui-nside. He
was factor for Miss Grant's Jamaica estates. The pro-
duce of these estates was sent home, and sold by Milne
and Co., who were appointed her agents in February,
1870. Mr. Keir, who was a partner of ]\Iilne & Co., had
to account for the produce, and he had been doing so by
sending accounts direct to Miss Grant. She was not a
business woman, and this was troublesome. Miss Temple,
a month before her marriage, wrote to Mr. Keir stating
that she was going to be married, and that Miss Grant
•lesired him in future to correspond with Mr. Falconer,
W.S., Edinburgh, regarding the Jamaica estates, instead
of witli Milne & Co., and to send his accounts to Mr.
Falconer. That was not agreeable to Mr. Keir. Miss
Grant never wrote herself If anything was to be written
it was done by a maid, after Miss Temple left. In Nov-
ember, 1876, Mr. Keir comes down to Aberlour, and gets
her to put her name to a deed of revocation. What
arguments he used to operate upon that diseased and
decayed mind we cannot know. This gentleman gets
the document drawn out, and gets her to sign it. There
is nothinaf more difficult than to dive into liunian motives



MINUTE OF SETTLEMENT OF LAW-PLEA. 179

for the reason of a man's conduct. We are driven to
judge by the fair or the tortuous means adopted. What
are the facts here ? This lady was a person perfectly
capable of paying for legal advice, who had got her three
wills prepared by solicitors, and had a country agent at
Elgin. Miss Grant goes on from bad to worse, from
November 1876 to April 1877, till the whole scene closes.
It is for you to determine the preparation of this new
deed.

At the close of his address Mr. Fraser asked to be
allowed to retire for a few minutes. Leave having been
granted, counsel for the parties retired. After upwards
of an hour they returned into Court, when

The Lord Advocate stated that parties had agreed
upon terms of settlement, and in respect of that agree-
ment, he asked his lordship to discharge the jury.

The Lord Justice-Clerk thereupon relieved the jur}^
from further attendance.

The minute of settlement is in the following terms : —

The parties agree to compromise the case on the following
terms : —

1. That a minute be lodged in process withdrawing on
behah of the pursuers and their children their grounds of
action and all charges or imputations against Mr. Simon Keir,
and consent to absolvitor, neither party being found entitled to
expenses — the terms of the minute to be adjusted by the Lord
Advocate and Mr. Asher.

2. The defenders shall pay to the pursuers the sum of
£10,000, and the pursuers may elect to take the gold watch
presented l)y Mrs. Yeatman to the late Miss Macpherson Grant,
and a diamond star belonging to the latter, at a valuation —
the value to be deducted from said £10,000.

3. All other legal proceedings in which the pm-suers impeach
the validity of the deed of revocation by Miss Grant of 2nd
November, 1876, to be withdrawn — neither party being en-
titled to costs of suit.

Judgment was then pronounced in terms of this
minute.

The Aberlour Succession Case thus came to a sudden
end or collapse. Neither party to the litigation, which
at one time threatened to be a long, a troublesome, and a
costly one, deemed it necessary to prolong the conflict as
to the intentions of Miss Macpherson Grant, and a com-



180 SCOTCH EPISCOPAL CHURCH DENUDED OF FORTUNE.

promise was entered into. In the language of Mr. Patrick
Fraser (.said newspapers of the time), three individuals of
the name of Proctor have been "excavated from ob-
scurity" and inherit, by the law of intestate succession,
money and lands exceeding in value a quarter of a
million. A certain Mrs. Yeatman, formerly Miss Temple,
who, but for the friendship and regard and rather curious
love of the deceased proprietrix of Aberlour, of several
West India estates, and of large investments in the Three
Per Cents., would undoubtedly never have arisen from
that " obscurity " her counsel so kindly assigns to Miss
Grant's next of kin — this Mrs. Yeatman receives -£10,000;
a poor sum in comparison with her expectations and her
demands — not too large a sum l)y which to buy off a
suitor to £:iOO,000. The Episcopal Church of Scotland
which had at one time — through the agency of its Primus,