mothers and sons

Chiefs of the Clan Grant were the Lairds of Grant, who succeeded to the Earldom of Seafield and to the extensive lands of the Ogilvies, Earls of Findlater and Seafield. The coat of arms of Ogilvie Grant Earl of Seafield can be seen on the mausoleum closer to the church but not on the second one.


The Clan Grant symbol is the Scots pine, some rise behind the mausolea. The church has been in Service since the 17th century but the first church in Duthil goes back as far as 1400. The Clan Grant centre offers information and help mainly to Grants from all over the world.

The stories of the mausolea are tragic and both concern mothers and sons, stories about grief and individual loss, about living on, trying to cope.

The Grants built the first mausoluem (above right) in the 19th century. Mary Ann Dunn, wife of the 6th Earl of Seafield died in 1840 at the age of 45. She was to be the first to be laid to rest in the new family mausoleum. She had married his Lordship when she was only 16 years old and bore him six sons and one daughter. The first son had died at a very young age, the second, then heir and Master of Grant. His name was Francis William, he was a church elder and a member of the parliament in Inverness.

When his mother died, he made his way to Cullen House. He had been in London and returned home together with his brother John Charles Grant. He did not feel to well and went to bed. Francis William Grant was found dead in his bed the next day. He was only 25 years old.

So not just the mother but also the son and heir were buried on the same day in Duthill mausoleum, not one death was mourned by the family but two. The funeral was big and made a big impression, the newspapers reported on it, work rested in the area, bells were ringing in the churches, the procession itself was nearly a mile long. The hearse of Lady Grant was dressed in black, the hearse of the Master of Grant all white. It was spring 1840 and the mausoleum was only just built. Now it held two and not one corpse. There were more to come.

The grieving father and widower married again three years later but sired no more children. His second wife entered into two more marriages after his death.

John Charles succeeded his father as 7th Earl of Seafield.

The wife of John Charles would be the last to be laid to rest in the mausoleum. It was autumn 1911 and Caroline Stuart, Dowager of Seafield was also head of the Seafield estate. The widow had inherited the right from her son, the 8th Earl of Seafield who had died before her. He had been er only son.

The wife and mother of an Earl decreed to be the last to rest in the family mausoleum next to the Parish church. She had another one built for the generations to come but really with her a line had come to an end.

The funeral of the Dowager of seafield was sombre, the service read within the mausoleum. The piper of the Mackintosh of Mackintosh played “The Lament for the Only Son.” Then the doors of the mausoleum were locked.


sources and further reading

Earl of Cassilis: The Rulers of Strathspey. A History of the Lairds of Grant and the Earls of Seafield. Inverness, The norther Counties Newspaper, 1911

Wikipedia Duthill Old Parish Church and Earl of Seafield

Liked the post? There’s more here…

graveyards travel guide

Scotland is a country full of history, stories and secrets. Often, the three cannot be separated. That is what makes this country so wonderful and unique. These stories have been discovered and gathered for Erkenbach’s blog, Graveyards of Scotland, over many years. Her main sources were historical travel guides from the 18th and 19th centuries, where the finds were scary, beautiful, funny, and sometimes, cruel. This unusual approach to a country’s history has produced amazing results. You don’t have to share the author’s passion for cemeteries to enjoy this book; only a small number of the stories in this collection take place in graveyards, though they do all end in them, so perhaps it helps.

The fairy hill in Inverness, a nitrate murder on Shetland, a family of left-handers, wolves, Robert the Bruce and William Wallace shown in a new light, the secret bay of the writer Gavin Maxwell, a murdering poet and everything about Scotland except whisky, sheep and tartan.

Scotland for Quiet Moments is available as ebook and paperback on Amazon.

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