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Glenbuchat Heritage

49 The Clan Gordon / Glenbuchat connection
The Glenbuchat Image Library
49 The Clan Gordon / Glenbuchat connection

The Gordon Family and Glenbuchat

This page highlights the place of the Gordon Clan in the history of Glenbuchat and surroundings. The above map indicates the extent of the influence of the Gordons

The following information has been gleaned from some of the following sites

Proud and powerful – the Gordons enjoyed vast authority in the north of Scotland.
Their rise to greatness began with the timely decision to change sides and support Robert the Bruce before Bannockburn. A break in the male line of the Huntly branch brought in Seton blood – and a surge to even greater fame and fortune.

By 1470 The Gordons of Huntly were the most powerful family in the north

The Gordons of Huntly
The Gordons of Huntly were nothing if not colourful but to begin with they were not Gordons. Alexander Seton married the heiress Elizabeth Gordon just as the male line of Gordons of Huntly and Strathbogie died out in 1408. He was a favourite of James I and died in 1440, probably in Rhodes, carrying his master’s heart on a pilgrimage. His son, also Alexander, changed the family name to Gordon and became 1st Earl of Huntly. At this point Huntly Castle was a tower house, which had replaced a timber peel. Huntly was a key ally of James II. By the time of the earl’s death, at Huntly Castle in 1470, his family was the most powerful in the north.

Huntly Castle
The castle was remodelled by George, the 4th Earl, around 1550, creating a spacious palace. When Marie de Guise, queen-regent, visited in 1556 he tried too hard to impress with a 1,000-man guard of honour and lavish hospitality. Marie’s French Ambassador feared that such power could be a threat to the Crown and urged her to ‘clip the wings’ of the Cock o’ the North. Marie’s daughter, Mary, Queen of Scots did the clipping in 1562 when the Gordons rebelled. They met in battle west of Aberdeen – the earl fell off his horse and died and Huntly Castle was wrecked and looted.
A surviving son, George, became the 5th Earl and revived the family fortunes.
The 6th Earl and 1st Marquis, yet another George, joined the plot of the Spanish Blanks in 1594. James VI responded by blowing up part of the castle with gunpowder donated by the people of Aberdeen. Huntly restored the castle and his relationship with the king. His career had many ups and downs, not least because he was implicated in a series of plots and many distrusted him. Yet his death in 1636 was followed by a four week procession carrying his body through northern Scotland,

Urquhart Castle
Urquhart Castle by Loch Ness was home to many noble families – and battles were fought for control of the fortress and its surrounding glens. Among the holders was John MacDonald, Lord of the Isles, who made a treasonable pact with Edward IV of England. In 1476 John was stripped of his earldom of Ross and James III gave control of Urquhart to George Gordon, 2nd Earl of Huntly. Despite being the most powerful man in the north-east, Huntly, failed to restore tranquillity. Local unrest and conflict meant that by 1479 the lands were so devastated that Huntly hit on the idea of installing his loyal supporters the Grants. Peace returned and within years the rents flowed in.

The hill on which Auchindoun Castle stands had a long history as a centre of power.
The splendid ruins of a medieval castle stand amidst the ramparts of an Iron Age hill fort. Among its owners was Adam Gordon of Auchindoun, brother of the Earl of Huntly. They tried to hold northern Scotland for Mary, Queen of Scots after she was forced to abdicate in favour of her infant son James VI. They took control of Aberdeen with 1,500 men and attacked the provost’s house. Aberdeen reluctantly became a regional capital with Auchindoun in charge. In November 1571, Adam Gordon of Auchindoun tried to capture Corgarff Castle when the men were away. The castle was nearly burned to the ground, killing Margaret Forbes and 26 retainers.
In November 1571 the Master of Forbes, a traditional enemy of the Gordons, attacked but was defeated at the Battle of Crabstane. Adam Gordon was killed in 1594 at the Battle of Glenlivet. However the rebellion against James VI failed and Auchindoun fled to exile in France.

Glenbuchat Estate
In 1549 the Catholic church conveyed the estate of Glenbuchat to Alexander Thommulson and his wife Helen Carlile. In 1582 Thommulson sold the lands to John Gordon and his wife Helen Carnegy.

Glenbuchat Castle
What better way to celebrate a wedding than by building a castle? Glenbuchat was created in 1590 to celebrate the union of John Gordon of Cairnbarrow and his second wife Helen Carnegie .Carefully built, with fine heraldry, the castle is beautifully situated above the River Don. Later the home of John Gordon of Knockespock, it remained in the Gordon family until 1738 when it was sold to the Duffs. The castle had previously been a noted centre of support for the Jacobite cause when it was home to the last laird John Gordon, known as ‘Old Glenbucket’. The castle later fell into ruin but underwent partial restoration in the early 20th century and it, along with the surrounding parkland, is now in the care of Historic Scotland

Glenbuchat belonged in succession to two branches of the Gordon family. The builder was John Gordon of Cairnburrow who marked the occasion of his second marriage, to Helen Carnegie, daughter of Sir Robert Carnegie of Kinnaird in Angus, by having the castle built, in 1590, as the stone inscriptions above the entrance records. Like other members of his clan, he was accused of complicity in the murder of the "Bonnie Earl o' Moray" 1592 as a result of which his house was occupied by government soldiers during the Catholic rising two years later. This, however, was an isolated incident of the castle figuring in national events and the story of Glenbuchat was largely uneventful, the peace of the household disturbed on occasion only by domestic disputes.

The chief difficulty came with the rivalry between John's second and third sons, Adam and John. Adam in 1623 seized Glenbuchat from his brother John, the rightful owner, and despite the intervention of the Privy Council and temporary confinement within the tollbooth of Edinburgh, he succeeded in retaining possession.

More details of these branches of the Gordon Family. Those highlighted are relevant to the Glenbuchat story.

John Gordon of Cairnbarrow
James Gordon of Cairnborrow was the 1st Laird of Pittlurg's Second Son and first Cadent of that family begotten upon the Laird of Pitsligo's daughter Forbes. The said James Gordon of Cairnborrow married the Laird of Barns daughter with whom he begat three sons, viz. his Eldest son George Gordon of Cairnborrow,

His eldest Son, George Gordon of Cairnborrow married Alexander Gordon of Drumoyes Daughter, Sister to Alex’r Gordon of Proney, Katharin Gordon who was spouse to Achencrive Maitland, next to the Laird of Ardneidlie Baylie, and thereafter married the said George Gordon of Cairnborrow with whom he begat a Son and two daughters viz : John Gordon of Cairnborrow:
His Son John Gordon of Cairnborrow married Bessy Gordon Buckies daughter with whom he begat Eight Sons and three Daughters and his eldest Son John Gordon Laird of Cairnborrow and Edenglassie
His Son John Gordon Laird of Edenglassie and representative of the Family of Cairnborrow married first the Laird of Wattertons daughter Bennerman now Lairds of Elsick, with whom he begat three sons and two daughters.
His eldest son William Gordon Laird of Rothemey and Stock of Cairnborrow
His second Sir Adam Gordon of Park Glenbuicket Innermarkie Edenglassie and Achinandach
His third son John Gordon Laird of Invermarkie Edenglassie etc.
His eldest daughter married the Laird of Brux Forbes,
His second daughter married Robert Coutts Laird of Achterfoull.

The said John Gordon Laird of Edenglassie etc. married to his second wife Helen Carnegie, daughter of Sir Robert Carnegie Of Kinnaird, Angus and Unknown, in 1590. (Helen Carnegie was born 1572 or earlier and died 1590 or later.), the Lady Benum and Lady Foveran, her name is on the House of Glenbuicket which he built but by that Lady he had no succession.
Adam Gordon married Christian Gordon Of Gight, daughter of William Gordon 5th Laird Of Gight and Isobel Ochterlony, in 1609. (Christian Gordon Of Gight was born 1591=1592 in Scotland and died 1617 or earlier.)
Adam next married Lady Helen TYRIE, daughter of Sir William TYRIE Of Drumkilbo and Unknown, in 1617. (Lady Helen TYRIE was born 1599 or earlier.)

GORDON, John Of Cairnburrow
Born: About 1556-1557
"Like other members of his clan, he was accused of complicity in the murder of the "Bonnie Earl o' Moray" 1592 as a result of which his house was occupied by government soldiers during the Catholic rising two years later. This, however, was an isolated incident of the castle figuring in national events and the story of Glenbuchat was largely uneventful, the peace of the household disturbed on occasion only by domestic disputes.

First Marriage (1): BANNERMAN, Elizabeth Of Waterton in 1581
Second Marriage (2): CARNEGIE, Helen daughter of Sir Robert CARNEGIE Of Kinnaird, Angus and Unknown, in 1590. (Helen CARNEGIE was born 1572 or earlier and died 1590 or later.)
Another name for John was GORDON, John of Edenglassie
GORDON, William
GORDON, Adam Of Park And Glenbucket (Sir )+
GORDON, Elizabeth
2. CARNEGIE, Helen

There was a rivalry between John's second and third sons, Adam and John. Adam in 1623 seized Glenbuchat castle from his brother John, the rightful owner, and despite the intervention of the Privy Council and temporary confinement within the tollbooth of Edinburgh, he succeeded in retaining possession.

Glenbuchat Castle was built by John Gordon of Cairnburrow and his second wife, Helen Carnegie. An inscription above the entrance reads:JOHN.GORDONE. HELEN.CARNEGIE.1590 NOTHING.ON.EARTH.REMANIS.BOT.FAIME (Nothing earthly can endure without good repute)

The first line of Glenbuchat Gordons gave way in 1701 to another branch when John Gordon of Knockespock purchased the estate for his son, also John (Old Glenbucket). In sharp contrast to his unruly predecessors, the new laird acquired an almost legendary reputation as an unswerving supporter of the Jacobite cause. He sold the estate in 1738, before his last, tragic stand against the House of Hanover.

GORDON, John Of Knockespock Born: About 1640
First Marriage: GORDON, Miss
Died: October 1704
John married someone Miss GORDON, daughter of John GORDON Of Ardlogie and Miss KEIR. (Miss GORDON was born about 1635.) (GORDON, John Of Ardlogie Born: 1577-1578, Marriage ( Daughter 1): KEIR, Miss
GORDON, Adam M(Captain )
Born: 1675-1676, Scotland
Died: 1696 or later, Holland 1
The 1696 Poll Book of Glenbuchat reads:
"It., Adam Gordon, son to umqll Adam Gordon, sometime of Glenbucket, haveing renunced to be air to his sd deceist fathr befor the sherriff of abd., And denyes to be heretor, Is poleable only as a gentleman in 3 pounds Scots, and of G:pole 6s. inde both is 3 pounds 6 0"
Adam Gordon died in Holland 'of a decay'.
GORDON, Nathaniel
GORDON, George

Second Marriage to: INNES, Isabel daughter of Jerome INNES and unknown
Daughter Isabel INNES was born about 1610)

From Domestic annals of Scotland: from the revolution to the rebellion of 1745

Jean Douglas, styled Lady Glenbucket, as being the of the late Gordon of Glenbucket, had been endowed by husband in terms of her marriage contract with a thousand pounds Scots of free rent out of the best of his lands adjacent to the house. At his death in 1693 she entered the possession of the mains and house of Glenbucket, and uplifted some of the rents out of which she did aliment her eight, till May 1696 when an unhappy interruption took place consequence of a dispute with her eldest son about their rights. According to the complaint afterwards presented by the lady, though it seems scarce credible she was coming south to take advice regarding her affairs, when her son Adam Gordon followed her with an armed force and on her refusal to comply with his request that she would return, avowed his determination to have her back though he should drag her at a horse's tail. Then seizing her with violence, he forced her to return to Glenbucket, three miles, and immured her there as a prisoner for thirty days without attendance or proper aliment. Indeed she could have hardly eaten anything that was offered for fear of poison, and if it had not been for the charity of neighbours, who in some part supplied her necessity she must undoubtedly have starved. The young man, meanwhile, possessed himself of everything in the house, including the legal writings of her property; he left her and her children no means of subsistence, yea not so much as her wearing clothes and she was glad to escape with her life. He also proceeded to uplift her rents The lady craved redress from the Privy Council which seems to have become satisfied of the truth of her complaint, but what steps they took in the case does not appear.

GORDON, John Laird Of Glenbucket (eldest son of John Of Knockespock)
Christened: 22 May 1675, Old Machar Parish, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
First Marriage : GORDON, Mary Of Badenscoth on 2 June 1691 in Fyvie Parish, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Second Marriage : FORBES, Jean on 13 March 1743 in Glenbucket Parish, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Died: 16 June 1750, Boulogne, France 2
Other names for John were GORDON, John 'Old Glenbucket' 2 3 and GORDONE,
Children of John Gordon Old Glenbucket
GORDON, Elizabeth
GORDON, John 'younger' Of Blelach?
GORDON, David Of Kirkhill
GORDON, George
GORDON, Alexander
GORDON, Christian
GORDON, Helen+
John, 2nd of Titular, Lord MacDonald, 12th chief. (Iain Mac Alasdair Dubh)’’ 1721 - 1754 Fought at the Battle of Prestonpans in 1745. Married firstly Margaret, daughter of Colin Mackenzie of Hilton from whom his successor. Married secondly Helen, daughter of John Gordon of Glenbucket.
GORDON, William
GORDON, Isable

John Gordon was the laird of the tiny estate of Glenbucket in Aberdeenshire near the Banffshire boundary. He was described by his contemporaries as a craggy old man of seventy two, his body twisted by rheumatism. He was a man of little property, living in Strathbogie, liked highlanders and had married his many daughters amongst them. However he was bailie to the Duke of Gordon and this increased his status greatly.

Described as an inveterate Jacobite, he had been out, as a sixteen year old, in 1689 with Dundee on the braes of Killiecrankie, and, in the 1715 Jacobite rebellion, he commanded a battalion of Gordons at Sherriffmuir when he was about forty two years of age. In the '45 uprising he held the rank of Major General, but due to his age and infirmity he did not exercise his rank. Although, he did lead his regiment at Culloden, where he is described as sitting at the head of his regiment on a grey highland pony.

Despite his age, he still had a considerable reputation with the government troops. In February 1746, a raid on Corgarff castle by a government force of 300 foot and 100 dragoons was abandoned due to a rumour that Glenbucket and his men were in the area. He supposedly gave King George nightmares; during the march to Derby, King George is said to have exclaimed in alarm "De great Glenboggit is coming”

In the 1745, Glenbucket led 300 men for Charles Stuart. According to some sources, Glenbucket might just have made it to Prestonpans, as he was a member of the official council consisting, amongst others, of the Duke of Perth, Lord George Murray, Lord Elcho, O'Sullivan etc. who met at Edinburgh after the battle and decided to stay there for the meantime.

Yet other sources maintain that Glenbucket with one hundred and fifty of his men was with the Prince shortly before he set out to raise the standard at Glenfinnan on the 19th August 1745, and that Glenbucket even brought the Prince news of the first Jacobite victory. After the disastrous defeat at Culloden, Old Glenbucket actually survived and managed to escape from the battlefield and gathered with others like Lovat, Lochiel, the MacDonnel chieftains etc. at the head of Loch Arkaig, hoping to re-launch the 1745. He finally escaped on a Swedish sloop on 25th November and was expressly exempted from the Act of Indemnity of June 1747.

What is also told of Glenbucket, however, is that he was, for a very substantial part between the 1715 and the 1745, a Hanoverian agent, being particularly thick with General Carpenter who secured his release from imprisonment in Carlisle in 1716 and who received regular reports from him during the 1719, when the Jacobite commander, the Marquis of Tullibardine, in vain hoped Glenbucket would rally again to the standard. He seems to have been a pragmatist, saving his skin to continue the fight for his Jacobite principles.

In 1737 Glenbucket sold his tiny property to William Duff of Braco for £700, and by 1738 he was with the Pretender in Rome with a demand for the Royal Presence in Scotland. He failed in Paris, on the way, to sell the idea of a Franco-Jacobite invasion of Britain to Cardinal Fleury. Though scarcely even a laird, Glenbucket was an impressive personality. His three daughters were married to significant highland chiefs: Forbes of Skellater, Macdonald of Glengarry, and Macdonnel of Lochgarry.

In 1739, more or less as a result of Glenbucket's journey to Rome, a group of Jacobites formed an association to forward the cause. The Associators, as they were known, were a curious crew, being the Duke of Perth, described as "a foolish horse-racing boy, his uncle Lord John Drummond of Fairntoun; Donald Campbell the younger of Lochiel; his uncle Sir John Campbell of Auchenbreck, a rarity among Campbell lairds for his Jacobitism, as also for his maybe not unconnected "desperate fortune and little interest"; the Earl of Traquair; his brother the Honourable James Stewart and Simon Fraser Lord Lovat.

Glenbucket is said to have received his rank of Major-General from the Prince himself.

The remodelling of the interior of the castle was most likely carried out shortly after 1701 to make the residence more comfortable and amenable for its new laird. He sold the estate in 1738, before his last, tragic stand against the House of Hanover.
But by the time of its resale in 1738 it had ceased to be a residence of gentry; it was partly unroofed and inhabited by a farmer.
In 1901 the estate was bought by Mr. James Barclay, MP, who carried out much-needed repairs.
In 1946 the castle was placed in state care by Col. James Barclay Milne and two years later the Deeside Field Club purchased the Castle park and gifted it to the nation.

Picture added on 07 March 2010 at 22:37
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History Texts

126 Cattle Rustling in the Glen88 1696 Poll Book Belnacraig87 Original 1696 Poll Book91 Wandering in the Highlands 188185 Sketch of 'Old Glenbucket' about 174575 Peatfold70 New Statistical Account of Strathdon 184571 Descendants of the Great Glenbucket69 My First Detachment -The Glenbucket Inn4 St Margarets Chronicle Free afternoon Glenbuchat