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Inverurie and The Earldom of the Garioch
A Topographical and Historical Account of The Garoich from the Earliest Times to the Revolution Settlement by Rev. John Davidson, D.D. (1878)


The following contribution to local history had its origin in a natural wish on the part of the author to know as much as could be ascertained with certainty of the early history of his own parish. The publications of the Spalding Club and kindred antiquarian societies have suggested and facilitated many such inquiries. In the present case the antiquities of a Royal Burgh, which had been obscure for centuries among the Scottish municipalities, became a tempting subject of research after the discovery that the burgh was in existence before a.d. 1200 ; to which fact, as a piece of curious information, the author’s attention was drawn by the late Dr. Joseph Robertson when that gentleman was editing Volume IV. of the Spalding Club “Antiquities of the Shires of Aberdeen and Banff.” A minute examination of a number of the authentic documents printed by the same Club, brought to light other highly interesting particulars respecting individual dwellers in the Burgh of Inverurie, or its neighbourhood, in long past times; while other works by historical antiquarians and local discoveries of prehistoric remains furnished matter introductory to a continuous memoir of the topography of Inverurie and the Garioch, and of recorded inhabitants of the district from the time when Saxon civilisation was introduced into it by Malcolm Canmore and Queen Margaret.

The peculiar position of the Earldom of the Garioch in Scottish history, led to an investigation as to what families and estates were of local importance at the successive epochs of David of Huntingdon’s Earldom, and the battles of Inverurie and Harlaw, and during the long period when the Lordship of the Garioch was withheld, along with the Earldom of Mar, by the Stuart kings from the hereditary claimants—the Erskines, descended from Elyne, daughter of Gartney Earl of Mar, and Christian, Lady of the Garioch.

The local history of a large immediately succeeding period the author had opportunity, from his position, of investigating by means of unpublished documents, ecclesiastical and municipal—the Records of local Church Courts, and the Court Books and Sasine Registers of the Burgh of Inverurie.

The information drawn from these ecclesiastical and burgh manuscripts, has, as new material of history, been given in the form of literal extracts. It has not been thought necessary to encumber the work with marginal references to the very great mass of topographical and genealogical particulars obtained from the Spalding Club books, and put into connection and historical position in this volume,—the indices to these books affording sufficient means of verification.

With the object of making the Index of greater value for genealogical reference, dates have been appended to individual names; and by the same means a connected view is given of the proprietary of individual estates, which the chronological arrangement of the work did not make otherwise possible. The Index has also been taken advantage of to supplement in some particulars the details of matters treated of in the text. The diversity in the spelling of proper names that appears in the work has intentionally been allowed to remain, as itself a historical feature of the periods described.

The author has had the advantage of extensive aid in the topographical and genealogical portions of the work from several gentlemen, able from private sources to enhance the value of the publication in these respects. Messrs George Burnett, Lyon King of Arms, Alexander Johnston, and Charles Dalrymple, have been at much pains in giving accuracy and interest to notices of family history. The illustration at page 73, was obligingly furnished by Mr. Alexander Walker, Dean of Guild of the City of Aberdeen, from his “Life of John Ramsay,” and the Genealogical Appendix has been enriched by historical particulars taken from his List of the Deans of Guild of that city.

The compilation of the materials, presented in historical connection in this volume, has been the work of long time, and the inquiries rendered necessary brought to the author’s notice the existence of a great mass of hitherto unpublished and interesting matter. The records of the several Presbyteries of Aberdeen and Banffshires, and of some of the parishes, contain much that illustrates the condition of society in Scotland during a large portion of the seventeenth century. Numerous particulars of family history are preserved in local Registers of Sassine and the Protocol Books of notaries public; and there remain, even after the labours of the Spalding Club, charter chests that would amply repay investigation. Two of them are repeatedly referred to in this volume,—that of Balquhain, much of which was printed by the late Colonel Leslie, and that of Bourtie,—portions of which possessing historical interest the author has given in the following pages.



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Chapter I. - Early History to the Battle of Inverurie
Chapter II. - From the Battle of Inverurie to the Battle of Harlaw
Chapter III. - The Battle of Harlaw and its Times
Chapter IV. - The Garioch from the Battle of Harlaw to the Reformation
Chapter V. - The Reformed Kirk and King James's Episopacy
Chapter VI. - Life in Inverurie in the Times of James VI.
Chapter VII. - Local Changes before the Civil War
Chapter VIII. - The Troubles in the Garioch
Chapter IX. - The Rule of the Kirk
Chapter. X. - Restoration of the Monarchy
Chapter XI. - The Revolution Settlement
Genealogical Appendix
Keith.—Marischals of Scotland, 435—Earls Marischal, 437—Earls of Kintore, 439. Leslie.—The Original Family, 440—Leslie of that Ilk—Leslie of Balquhain, 441—Leslie of Wardes, 444—Baronets of Wardes, 445—Leslie of Warthill, 446—Leslie of Little Folia, 447.Johnston of that Ilk and Caskieben.—De Garviach—Johnston, 448—Baronets of Caskieben, 450. Leith.—Leith of Leithliall, 458—Leith of Freefield, 460 —Leith of Overhall, 460—Leith of Harthill, 461—Leith of Treefield, 462—Leith of Bucliarne, 462. Seton, 463.—Seton of Meldrum, 464—Seton of Mounie, First Line, 465—Second Line, 465—Seton of Blair, 466—Seton of Bourtie, now of Pitmedden, 466. Urquhart of Meldrum, -168— Urquhart of Cromarty, 469. Elphinstone of Glack, 470—Elphinstone of Logie-Elphinstone, Baronets, First Line, 471—Second Line, 472. Erskine of Pittodrie, 473. Fergusons of Inverurie, 474—Descendants of William Ferguson in Crichie, 475—I. Robert Ferguson, the Plotter, 475—II. William Ferguson of Badifurrow,—Ferguson of Pitfour, 475— James Ferguson, M.P., Election Song, 1786, 476—III. James Ferguson—Ferguson of Kinmundy, 478—IV. George Ferguson, Chamberlain to Meldrum—Jopp Family, 479—Beattie Family, 480—V. John Ferguson of Stonehouse, 480—VI. Walter Ferguson of Inverurie, 480— Walter Ferguson, W.S., 481—Lock Family—Fergusou-Tepper Family—Scott Family, 483— VII. Janet Ferguson—Fergusons of Warsaw—Hutcheson Family—Bruce Family—Fergusons of Edinburgh, 484. Burnett of Kemnay, Burnett of Leys—Burnett of Craigmyle—Burnett of Kemnay, 485. Addendum to “Drimmies.”—Marches of Drimmies and Conglass in 1569, 487. Note to “Elphinstone of Logie-Elphinstone,” 488.

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