Wednesday, 6 January 2021

1st Duke of Montrose


According to the Scottish historians, this ducal family is as ancient as the restoration of the monarchy of Scotland, by FERGUS II; and by the same authority, it derives its origin from the renowned GRÆME, who governed that kingdom during the minority of FERGUS's grandson, EUGENE II, which monarch's reign commenced in the early part of the 5th century.

It is certain, however, that no family of Scotland can boast of greater antiquity.

SIR DAVID GRAHAM, Knight, of Old Montrose, Forfarshire, a personage remarkable for patriotism and valour, was one of the Scottish barons employed to negotiate the ransom of DAVID II, King of Scotland, made prisoner at the battle of Durham in 1346; and Sir David's son,

SIR PATRICK GRAHAM, Lord of Dundaff and Kincardine, became one of the hostages by which the release of the Scottish king was eventually accomplished.

His eldest son,

SIR WILLIAM GRAHAM, of Kincardine, married and was succeeded by his grandson,

PATRICK GRAHAM, of Kincardine, who having been appointed one of the lords of the Regency during the minority of JAMES II of Scotland, was made a lord of parliament about 1445, by the title of Lord Graham.

His lordship died in 1465, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM, 2nd Lord; who had a safe conduct to go into England, or to pass through it into foreign parts, in 1466.

His lordship wedded the Lady Anne Douglas, daughter of George, 4th Earl of Angus, and was succeeded at his decease, in 1472, by his elder son,

WILLIAM, 3rd Lord (1464-1513), who was raised to the dignity of Earl of Montrose, 1504-5, in consideration of the gallantry he had displayed at the battle of Saunchyburn, in 1488, wherein his royal master, JAMES III, lost his life.

His lordship fell, with JAMES IV, at Flodden Field, in 1513, and was succeeded by his only son by his first wife, Annabella, daughter of John, Lord Drummond,

WILLIAM, 2nd Earl (1492-1571); one of the peers to whom John, Duke of Albany, Regent of Scotland in the minority of JAMES V, committed the tuition of the young prince during his own absence in France, in 1523.

His lordship was succeeded at his decease by his grandson,

JOHN, 3rd Earl (1548-1608), who, on the fall of the Earl of Gowrie, the Lord Treasurer, in 1582, obtained the White Staff, which he soon after surrendered to Sir Thomas Lyon, of Auldbar.

He was appointed Chancellor in 1598-9, and held the seals until 1604, when it was required that the Chancellor should be a lawyer.

His lordship was then constituted viceroy of Scotland, by virtue of which high office he presided in the parliament of Perth, in 1606, when the episcopal government was restored to the Church.

His eldest son,

JOHN, 4th Earl (1573-1626), was appointed President of the Council in Scotland, 1626; and dying in the same year, was succeeded by his only son by his wife, the Lady Margaret Ruthven, eldest daughter of William, 1st Earl of Gowrie,

JAMES, 5th Earl (1612-50), took a distinguished part, in the first instance, on the side of the covenanters, and afterwards, during the civil wars, on that of his ill-fated sovereign, CHARLES I, and became one of the most illustrious heroes of the age.

1st Marquess of Montrose (Image: National Galleries of Scotland)

He was created Marquess of Montrose in 1644, and constituted Captain-General and Commander-in-Chief of all the forces to be raised in Scotland for His Majesty's service.

In 1650, however, during a military attack, he was made prisoner at the house of MacLeod, by whom he was betrayed; whence he was led captive to Edinburgh, and there executed upon a gallows, thirty feet high, in 1650.

His only surviving son,

JAMES, 2nd Marquess (c1631-69), called "The Good", was restored to his estates and honours at the return of CHARLES II.

He married the Lady Isabella Douglas, fifth daughter of William, 7th Earl of Morton, and was succeeded by his son and heir,

JAMES, 3rd Marquess, whose only son,

1st Duke of Montrose KG (Image: Government Art Collection)

JAMES, 4th Marquess (1682-1742), KG,  was installed a Knight of the Garter in 1705; and created, in 1707, DUKE OF MONTROSE.
Other titles (Lord Graham & 2nd Duke onwards): Earl Graham and Baron Graham (1722)
The heir apparent is James Graham, styled Marquess of Graham (b 1973), elder son of the 8th Duke.

BUCHANAN CASTLE, near Drymen, Stirlingshire, was the seat of the Dukes of Montrose.

The estate was in the possession of the Buchanan family from at least 1231, but the family line failed in 1682.

Buchanan was bought by James, 3rd Marquess of Montrose, whose son became the 1st Duke of Montrose in 1707.

The architect William Adam prepared designs for the house and parklands in 1745.

In 1790, William Henry Playfair was commissioned by the 3rd Duke to design alterations to the house.

The 4th Duke and Duchess raised and trained racehorses on the estate in the 19th century.

The old house was destroyed in a fire of 1850, and the 4th Duke commissioned William Burn to replace it.

Burn designed an extravagant manor in the Scottish baronial style, enclosing an L-plan tower in a clutch of turrets, bartizans and stepped gables.

The Dukes of Montrose remained at Buchanan until 1925, when it was sold.

In the 1930s the house opened as a hotel, and the golf course was established in the grounds.

Plans for residential development on the estate were delayed by the outbreak of the 2nd World War, during which period the house was requisitioned.

It was used as a hospital during the war, with patients including Rudolf Hess, who was brought here after his flight to Scotland in 1941.

After the war, the building served briefly as the Army School of Education.

The roof was removed in 1954 and outlying parts of the building were demolished.

A number of residential buildings were subsequently built in the castle gardens and grounds.

Proposals were put forward for redevelopment of the house as flats in 2002 and 2004, though both applications were refused planning permission.

The walls of the house remain intact to their full height and are considered to be in good condition.

The ruins are progressively engulfed by trees and plants, and surrounded by a perimeter fence.

First published in January, 2014.


Anonymous said...

Present Duke's sister is Lady Fiona Mary Graham. Married 1966, Peter Alexander O'Brien Hannon: lives in Coleraine.

Unknown said...

I have a marble clock that was purchased by Holzheimers Interiors Cleveland circa 1860. Are there any interior photos of the family home. Thanks Joseph Davis Curator