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Clan Grant

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Clan Grant are a Scottish chiefly family


It is considered fairly certain that the ancestors of this clan came to England with the Normans. <ref>George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, 150</ref> In 1229, Richard, Archbishop of Canterbury is styled in Latin charters as 'Magnus' meaning 'great' or 'large' - translated in Norman or French as 'le grand'. <ref> Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 150</ref> Some clan historians assert that the Grants are part of the Siol Alpin- the Highland clans which descend from King Alpin, father of Kenneth Macalpin.<ref> Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 151</ref> The first Grants to appear in Scotland are recorded in the 13th century when they acquired the lands of Stratherrick. <ref> Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 150</ref> One of the family married Mary, daughter of Sir John Bisset and from this marriage came at least two sons. One of these sons was Sir Laurence le Grand who became Sheriff of Inverness.<ref> Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 150</ref>

Middle Ages

During the Wars of Scottish Independence Clan Grant were supporters of William Wallace and John and Randolph Grant were captured at the Battle of Dunbar (1296). <ref> Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 150</ref> They were later released and around this time the family acquired the lands around Glenmoriston and Glen Urquhart which they still hold. <ref> Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 150</ref>The Grants later supported Robert the Bruce in competition for the Scottish Crown. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 150</ref> The victory of Robert the Bruce confirmed the Grants in their lands of Strathspey and despite their southern origins they became established Highland chiefs. <ref> Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 150</ref> The Spey valley provided the Clan with men and cattle- keys to consolidating power in the Highlands.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 150</ref> The family ascendancy was further consolidated when Sir John Grant married Maud, heiress of Glencairnie, a branch of the ancient dynasty of Strathearn.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 150</ref> In 1493 the family lands became known as the free barony of Freuchie, and in 1536 Sir James Grant built the family castle, known as Castle Freuchie but later renamed Castle Grant. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 150</ref> The Grants were allied to the powerful Clan Gordon. <ref>Callum Grant, The Grants, 15</ref> James Grant of Freuchie, known as James the Bold defended royal authority in the north during the reign of James V and in return was granted a charter exempting him from the jurisdiction of all courts apart from the Supreme Court in Edinburgh.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 150</ref>

Castle Grant

Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

The Grants became Protestant at the Reformation and in 1638 declared for the National Covenant. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 150</ref> After the Battle of Inverlochy in 165 they joined the forces of the Marquess of Montrose and became royalists. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 151</ref> After the Restoration the Laird of Grant was said to have been about to be rewarded with an Earldom, but died before it could take effect. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 151</ref> Ludovick Grant, the eighth Laird or Freuchie, was so powerful that he was popularly called 'the Highland King'.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 151</ref> He supported King William III and his wife Mary II and in return they appointed Grant a colonel and sheriff of Inverness, and granted the barony of Freuchie the status of regality, meaning Grant had extensive powers in his own lands.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 151</ref> He had power to administer justice but also to set weights and measurements. This was abolished along with other heritable jurisdictions in the Highlands after the failed rising of 1745. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 151</ref> Although some family members were Jacobites, Clan Grant supported the Hanoverian side in 1715 and 1745. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 151</ref> They were not persecuted to the same extent as other Highland clans.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 151</ref>

The Grants embarked on an ambitious scheme to modernise and 'improve' their lands, developing a new town, Granton on Spey.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 151</ref> The established mills and factories there. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 151</ref> The chiefs also experienced further dynastic success, when Sir Lewis Grant inherited the earldoms of Seafield and Findlater in 1811, bringing a seat in the House of Lords.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 151</ref> However a family dispute later led to the earldom and chieftainship parting company. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 151</ref> The chiefs did however, retain an independent title, 'Baron Strathspey of Strathspey'. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 151</ref>


Various branches of the family still live in the ancestral area. However, they have lost possession of Castle Grant- which after a period of dereliction was restored by a new owner. The most recent owner was the controversial entrepreneur Craig Whyte, who has been evicted from the Castle for failing to meet mortgage payments. <ref></ref>The castle is currently owned by the Bank of Scotland. <ref></ref> The current chief is Sir James Grant of Grant, Lord Strathspey, Baronet of Nova Scotia, 33rd Chief of Grant. <ref></ref> There is an active Clan Association which organises gatherings and activities. <ref></ref>A Clan Centre has been established in Duthill, near Aviemore.