Site Search & Directory »

[Link to]

William Edward McGough and James Andrew Grant: Priests in Northern California


Father William Edward McGough (1871–1950) served as the pastor of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Stockton, San Joaquin County, California, from 1909 until his death at the age of 79 in 1950. Father James Andrew Grant (1867–1926) served as the pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church in Burlingame, San Mateo County, California, from the time the parish was organized in 1908 until his death at the age of 59 in 1926.

Father McGough was born in Sierra County, California. His father, Thomas McGough (1830–1905), and his mother, Mary Browne (1842–1911), were born in Ireland.

Father Grant was born in Scotland to parents born in Scotland. He emigrated to Nova Scotia, Canada, in 1872. His father, Peter Grant (1834–1900) and his mother Helen Gordon (1828–1903), were born in Scotland. His father emigrated to Canada in 1869 and in the same year took a civil engineering job in the construction the Intercolonial Railway. His wife and children followed in 1872.

This page and its sub-pages look at the accomplishments of Fathers McGough and Grant as priests and their family histories. The family history of Father McGough takes us to Ireland. the the gold-rush days of Sierra county, California, and the gold-mining settlements of Whiskey Diggings and Gibsonville. The family history of Father Grant takes us to Auchorachan (Glenlivet), Ballindalloch, Banffshire, Scotland, and Dufftown, Mortlach, Banffshire, Scotland, the home of The Glenlivet and Glenfiddich single malt Scotch whiskies.

Sub-pages are:

Career and Family of Father William Edward McGough

Family and Ancestry of Father James Andrew Grant in Scotland

Peter Grant's Career as a Railway Engineer in Canada

Territories of Clan Grant in Scotland

Grants of Dornoch—Grants of Speyside—Haggis and Black Pudding

 Table of Contents 

Diary of Alexander Joseph Grant

One of Father James Andrew Grant's two older brothers was Alexander Joseph Grant who was born in Dufftown, Mortlach, Banffshire, Scotland, on May 10, 1863; married Maud Kerr on June 3, 1903, in Ontario, Canada; and had a son, Alexander James Grant, born in May of 1904 in Ontario. The senior Alexander Grant was not only an accomplished civil engineer, but also a writer of diaries and family history. In 1907, when he and his family were living in Peterborough, West Ontario, he made entries in his personal diary that have been published on the Internet. These diary entries motivated me to collect the information in this article.

Here are excerpts from The Alexander Joseph Grant diaries - 1907 from Heritage Gazette of the Trent Valley Volume 13, number 1, May 2008, page 14 — with a little punctuation added. The two priests mentioned in the diary are Father William Edward McGough and Father James Andrew Grant. Another older brother of Father James Grant, Gordon Grant, is mentioned in the February 7, 1907, entry of the diary:

7 Feb 07 Peterboro
Gordon & Kate {Alexander’s brother and sister in law} tumbled in unannounced at 7:45 pm from Toronto on way back from San Francisco & Vancouver. They were 4 days in snow drifts between Medicine Hat & Winnipeg. They are now [40 days away?] from Quebec. Both look well & report James in good health they spent 9 days with him in Oakland. {James, a brother of Alexander, was a Roman Catholic priest living in California} ...

(page 17)

9 Jul 07 Peterboro
Maude Alex & I walked down to the station CPR & met James & Father McGough both of whom are here from Oakland Cal on 2 months holidays. I have not seen Jamie since June 1903.* He is looking very well, feels well & in good spirits {James was Alex’s brother who was a priest serving in California}

15 July 07 Peterboro
James & McGough out canoeing on Little Lake. They are enjoying themselves & intended going fishing to Stoney Lake.

21 July 07 Peterboro
James said the 10.30 Mass at St. Peters which Maude & myself heard. After dinner Maude, Alex Jas & myself drove from 3 pm to 6 o’clock, called while out at Mount St. Joseph. We drove down the Otonabee on the west side for 5 miles & on way back went through the Lake Cemetery.

24 July 07 James left for Ottawa Peterboro
James left for Ottawa at 11.16 am after a visit (short) of 2 weeks in 4 years. He enjoyed himself while here.

29 July 07 Peterboro
Office all day. Dr. Eastwood in to see Maude this forenoon who is not well.

30 July 07 Peterboro
Forenoon at home with Maude who is not well. Drs Eastwood & McCullough were in to see her this morning at 9.30 o’clock. Miss Stanton trained nurse is with her.

Maude has all her candle sticks light at 9.30 supper this evening in honour of her brother-in-law James. We had a long chat before bed time. James seems to be enjoying himself is keeping in good health notwithstanding his frequent breaks from diet. {James returned from a visit to his other brother in Ottawa}

23 Aug 07 Peterboro
Spent the afternoon at home with Maude, James & Alex. This is James last day with us, he left at 5.10 pm for Toronto, Buffalo & San Francisco, as he has to be back at St. Mary’s Oakland on the 1st September.† He meets Father McGough in Buffalo tomorrow. James spent about a month with us from July 9th to 24th & from Aug 13 to date. We hardly expected to see him again in Canada for 4 years, & what changes may happen in the meantime. May it please God that we all meet again in good health

*Helen Gordon Grant had died in Montreal on May 7, 1903, and the funeral service was held at the Basilique Notre-Dame, Montreal, on May 11, 1903. Three of her sons signed the funeral document: Rev. James A. Grant, Priest; Alexander Joseph Grant, a civil engineer; and Gordon Grant.

†Father Grant made it back to Oakland. The Oakland Tribune of Saturday evening, December 21, 1907, noted that the Rosary, Benediction, and sermon on the following evening would be presided over and delivered by Reverend Father James A. Grant at St. Mary's Catholic Church (1858–2008), corner of Eighth and Jefferson streets, Reverend Father E. P. Dempsey, pastor. (Newspaper and Publications on See: "The Mother Church of Oakland" (Closes!).

When Father James Edward McGough visited Alexander Joseph Grant in Ontario in 1907, he was 36 years old and had been a priest for more than 7 years.

Father James Andrew Grant

When Father James Edward Grant visited Alexander Grant in Ontario in 1907, he was 40 years old and had been a priest for 12 years. Father Grant was born on July 13, 1867, in Dufftown, Mortlach, Banff, Scotland. He was the third of four sons born to Peter Grant and Helen Gordon Grant.

James Andrew Grant entered the seminary in Lille, France and was ordained a priest of the Catholic Church in 1895. According to the 1900 census of San Francisco, Father Grant emigrated to the United states in 1896, had been in the United States for 4 years at the time of the census, and had begun naturalization proceedings. In 1900, Father Grant had been assigned to St. Peter's Church in the Mission District of San Francisco. At the time of his visit to his brother, Alexander Grant in 1907, he was assigned to St. Mary's Catholic Church in Oakland.

The 1900 census of San Francisco, California, lists James Grant, age 32, born in February 1868 in Scotland, who emigrated to the US in 1896, as a Catholic Priest at 2905 24th Street, the rectory of St. Peter's Catholic Church near the intersection of 24th Street and Florida Street. The assistant pastor of his church in 1900 was Father Peter Yorke (1864-1925), who served under Father Peter S. Casey from 1900 to 1913 and became pastor upon the death of Father Casey in 1913. See: Father Peter C. Yorke, Irish American Leader, by James P. Walsh and Timothy Foley and Consecrated Thunderbolt: A Life of Father Peter C. Yorke of San Francisco by Joseph Brusher, S.J.

St. Peter's Parish on 24th Street was founded in 1867 and was in the heart of the Mission District of San Francisco - "a working-class, immigrant neighborhood peopled primarily by German and Irish families." When the Germans organized St. Anthony's Parish in the Mission District to serve as their primary Catholic Church, St. Peter's became the "premiere Irish parish" in San Francisco. See St. Peter’s Parish in San Francisco: The Rise and Eclipse of an Irish Parish 1913-1964 by Jeffrey M. Burns on the web page of The Irish Literary and Historical Society, Part Two, where the article may be downloaded.

Father William E. McGough and Father James A. Grant are both mentioned in an article on page 5 of the San Francisco Call of Thursday, August 9, 1906, describing open-air mission services for refugees at Jefferson square in San Francisco, "under the direction of Father W. P. Sullivan of St. Mary's Cathedral, assisted by other Catholic priests.":

This evening Rev. William E. McGough will speak on "Relief"; Friday evening Rev. James A. Grant will preach on the "City Beautiful."

In 1916, Fathers McGough and Grant both participated in the dedication of a new church in Manteca in San Joaquin County, California:

The dedication services for Manteca’s new Catholic Church was held on Sunday, June 18, 1916. It was officiated by the Most Rev. Archbishop Hanna of San Francisco. Father Grant of Burlingame, assisted by Father McGough (from St. Mary's in Stockton) and Father Sorasio, performed the High Mass. The church, on that Sunday morning, was filled to overflowing. In 1917, the Parish of St. Anthony was established. Manteca. History of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church — Manteca, California.

The Oakland Tribune of Saturday evening, December 21, 1907, noted that the evening Rosary, Benediction, and sermon on the following day would be presided over and delivered by Reverend Father James A. Grant at St. Mary's Catholic Church (1853–2008), corner of Eighth and Jefferson streets in Oakland, Reverend Father E. P. Dempsey, pastor.

Father Grant's primary career was in San Mateo County, California. He was named the first pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Church in Burlingame in 1908. The St. Catherine of Siena School History tells the story:

Archbishop Patrick Riordan created the parish of St. Catherine of Siena on August 28, 1908, and named Father James A. Grant as its first pastor. The parish boundaries were from Poplar Avenue in San Mateo to the San Francisco county line, and from San Francisco Bay on the east to the top of Black Mountain on the west. The parish served missions at San Bruno and Millbrae.

Father Grant, the first pastor, was born in Scotland and raised in Nova Scotia, he entered the seminary in Lille, France and was ordained in 1895. Prior to his assignment at St. Catherine, he served in the archdiocese at the churches of St. Paul, St. Peter and St. Bridgid in San Francisco and St. Mary in Oakland.

The construction of the church began in February, 1909 (on the northeast corner of Park Road and Howard Avenue). The Church was completed in seven months for a mere $12,400. The dedication for the Church was on October 3, 1909, Archbishop Patrick Riordan was the celebrant.

In November of 1924, Father Grant purchased the corner property at Bayswater Avenue and Primrose Road. In 1925, the rectory and the Church were moved, the rectory to the corner, and the Church adjacent to it. This relocation cost was $35,000. During the move, the masses were said in the auditorium of Burlingame High School and the rectory consisted of a few rooms in the Burlingame Hotel.

Father Grant recognized the need for a parish hall, and had a basement built beneath the Church on the new site.

After serving eighteen years, Father Grant passed away at age fifty-eight years. He was truly mourned and deeply missed.

Father Grant's next priority was to establish and expand a religious education program for the children. He arranged for the Holy Family Sisters to come by streetcar from San Francisco to instruct the children. Classes started in August of 1910 with at total of 90 children.

In 1913, San Bruno and Millbrae missions were formed into a separate parish with their own priest appointed in charge of it.

The History of Burlingame, California from The Story of San Mateo County, California by Roy W. Cloud (S. J. Clarke Publishing Company. Chicago, Ill 1928) notes:

Dr. James Grant, who for years was in charge of the Catholic work in Burlingame, was one of the best beloved men of the section. He secured a site and built a fine church and parsonage. After this work was finished Father Grant, as a comparatively young man, died.

Father Grant died at age 59 on August 10, 1926.

For more on the history of St. Catherine's of Siena Catholic Church and School, see the Draft Inventory of Historic Resources - Burlingame Downtown Specific Plan, February 19, 2008, by Carey & Co., Inc., Architecture (page 14).

Although his principal duty was pastor of St. Catherine's of Siena, Father Grant also served as pastor of a second church, St. Bruno's Parish in San Bruno:

In 1907, the Parish of St. Catherine, Burlingame, was formed, with Rev. James A. Grant its pastor, and San Bruno was designated its Mission.

Construction of the first St. Bruno's Church was begun at the close of 1908 under the supervision of Rev. James Grant. Ground was broken on Friday, November 13, 1908. ...

Rev. James A Grant administrated St. Bruno's as a mission of St. Catherine's, Burlingame, from 1908 to 1912. He secured four lots and supervised the building of the first Catholic Church in San Bruno. Father Grant died in 1926. He had become a well known figure and his passing was marked by the greatest funeral attendance in the history of the county.

In 1912 St. Bruno's became a separate parish, Rev. William J. Cantwell was first resident pastor and remained until 1916. During his pastorate he secured real estate, erected the original parochial residence, secured the organ and statues for the church, and did the street work and sidewalks on the church grounds.

James Andrew Grant, a Clergyman, with residence at Burlingame, precinct No. 4, San Mateo county, California, registered to vote for 1914-1920. Under political affiliation is the word declines. In another registration for 1914–1920, and for 1922-1926, he is listed as James A. Grant, clergyman, with a residence of 1310 Howard Avenue, Burlingame, Republican. California, Voter Registrations, 1900-1968 on The 1920 census of Burlingame, San Mateo county, California, lists James A. Grant, age 50, born in Scotland, pastor of a church, living at 1310 Howard Street. His assistant pastor was Harold Crampton (indexed by at Crawpton), age 32, born in California to parents born in Ireland (roll T625_145, page 13A). Father Grant was living in a rented house that served as the rectory of St. Catherine of Siena Church. The church was on the next street to the southeast, at 1310 Bayswater Avenue.

Alexander Joseph Grant, Father Grant's Brother

Alexander Grant was the oldest of four sons of Peter Grant (1834-1900) and Helen Gordon (1828-1903). He was born on May 10, 1863, in Dufftown (Old Erroll Bank House), parish of Mortlach, county of Banffshire, Scotland. He died at the age of 92 in 1955 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Alexander married Maude Caldwell Kerr* (1877–1949) in 1903. They had a son, also Alexander Joseph Grant (1904–1973) who was born on May 4, 1904, and died on January 14, 1973, and who married Helen Barbara Ralph (1910–1997). The elder Alexander was a witness to his mother's death in Montreal on May 7, 1903.

*<Strathspey (related or otherwise)> a public family tree on, mistakenly lists Alexander's wife as Maud Nash, born October 14, 1877, in Holloway, Middlesex, England, and who died on December 16, 1964, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The 1901 census of Toronto (ward 4), Ontario, lists a Maud Nash, age 23, born on October 14, 1877, in England, emigrated in 1891, Church of England, a file supervisor, an employee, in a household headed by her mother, Alice Nash, age 51, born in England on October 17, 1849, no occupation shown, and 4 sisters and a brother. This was Maud Constance Nash who may have married an Alexander Cameron Grant—or at least is shown as having done so by a couple of unreliable public member family trees on

The 1911 census of Peterborough West, sub-district of Peterborough, Ontario, lists at 580 Gilmour:

(1911) A. J. Grant, age 48, born in May, 1863, in Scotland, immigrated in 1880, Roman Catholic, employed as a civil engineer.

Maud C. Grant, age 34, born on April 17, 1877 (the census return can be read as 1874; I added the correct birthday from another source.), born in England, immigrated in 1887, Roman Catholic. [Maud Kerr. United States immigration records under Border Crossings: From Canada to U.S., 1895–1956 show a crossing of the border at Niagara Falls, New York, on September 27, 1940, of Maude Caldwell Grant, age 63, born in London, England, on April 17, 1877; a resident of St. Catherines, Ontario, married to Dr. Alex J. Grant, 16 Hillcrest Avenue, St. Catherines, with a destination of Columbia University for the purpose of study for 8 months. She made another crossing at Niagara Falls on September 24, 1942, at age 65, for the same purpose — a 9 month stay at Columbia University.]

Alexander Grant, age 7, born in May, 1904, in Ontario. [Alexander James Grant was born on May 4, 1904; married Barbara Rolph (daughter of John Rolph and Marjorie German) who was born on March 13, 1910, in Welland, Ontario; had a son James Grant who was born on February 15, 1937, in Montreal, Quebec, who married Diane Abraham (daughter of James Abraham and Frances Fisher), born April 12, 1948, and died on January 3, 2010. Grant Family Tree on]

Helen J. Grant, age 2, born in November, 1909, in Ontario.

Lillian Wilson, domestic, age 15, born in July. 1895, in Ontario.

The Kerr and Caldwell families in Ireland generally had origins in Scotland and were primarily located in counties Antrim, Londonderry, Tyrone, and Down, in that order. See: Locations of Scottish Families in Ireland.]

Alexander Grant, age 66; his wife Maude Grant, age 52; and their daughter, Helen G. Grant, age 20, sailed aboard the S. S. Regina on November 2, 1928, from Liverpool, and arrived in Quebec on November 10, 1928. They were all listed as returned Canadians with a destination of their home in St. Catherines, Ontario. Alexander's birthplace was listed as Dufftown, Scotland. He had lived in Canada since 1872. Maude's birthplace was listed as Belfast, Ireland. She had lived in Canada since 1897. Helen was listed as having been born in Peterboro' Canada. Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865–1935 on

Here is part of a posting by Doris M. Grant of April 7, 2013, about Margaret Caldwell Kerr:

Maud(e) Caldwell Kerr born c.1875/76/77... at the time of her marriage to Alexander Joseph Grant in 1903, he was 40 yrs old & she was about half his age. They met in Ottawa Canada as she nursed the wife of Alex's supervisor on the construction of the Soulanges Canal east of Montreal. ...

Despite being younger, she died in 1949 and is buried in Cote des Neiges Cemetery Montreal, Quebec. Alex lived to 90, died 1953, also buried Cote des Neiges, Montreal. ...

A Scrapbook of Alexander J. Grant, engineer in charge of The Welland Ship Canal, is part of the Sykes Welland Canal Collection in the Digital Repository of Brock University, with this note:

Alexander J. Grant was born in Banffshire Scotland. He joined the Federal Department of Railways and Canals in 1886 and began the job of chief engineer of the Welland Canal in 1919. At one time he was the president of the Engineering Institute of Canada. (Information taken from The Civil Engineer).

The Fourth Welland Canal was designed to provide a deeper, wider, and shorter by-pass of Niagara Falls — "to afford a straight way for lake vessels between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie." Largest undertaking in North America—Welland Ship Canal (Engineering World, October. 257–260). A map of the earlier Welland Canal, and an interesting look at its history during World War I when work on the fourth canal was stopped, will be found in Guarding Niagara: The Welland Canal Force, 1914–1918 by Lt. Col. William A. Smy. A map will also be found on Wikipedia under Welland Canal. Here is an excerpt from The Fourth Welland Canal that is on page 6 of A Background History of the CSCE by Peter R. Hart:

Before the 1914–1918 war, and indeed from the time of the opening of the third Welland canal in 1887, there were groups pressing for a larger canal into the upper Great Lakes. There were excellent reasons for the lobbying. The third Welland canal was a bottleneck which required the large upper lakers to trans-ship their downbound cargoes onto smaller ships at the southern end of the third Welland at great expense and with serious loss of time. There were still at this time many who favoured the Georgian Bay Ship Canal proposal which would use the Ottawa River route to Lake Huron. ...

In 1919 the work was put in the hands of Alexander J. Grant as Engineer-in-Chief. Grant was a native of Banffshire, Scotland, who had joined the federal Department of Railways and Canals in 1886, just before the third Welland canal was opened and not long after the Department was established. He worked on the Soulanges Canal, and on the harbour improvements at Port Colbourne from 1903 to 1906. He was in charge of the Trent Canal works from 1906 until he arrived on the Welland in 1919, and did not retire until after the new canal opened. Grant at one time was president of the Engineering Institute of Canada.

The Fourth Welland Canal was opened on August 6, 1932.

Gordon Grant, Father Grant's Brother

Gordon Grant was the second son of Peter Grant and Helen Gordon. He was born as Patrick Gordon Grant on January 2, 1865, in New Erroll Bank House, Dufftown, Mortlach, Banff, Scotland, and died on September 15, 1947, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Gordon, as he was usually known, married Catherine M. McCarthy (1881–1958) in Quebec, Canada, in about 1906, daughter of William McCarthy, civil engineer of Ottawa who was born in Ireland on April 28, 1849, and Mary McDonald.. They had five children. Gordon Grant died in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, at the age of 82, on September 15, 1947. <Geo Myrmint1.3> and <Storwick Family Tree>on's public member trees.

The 1919 edition of A Cyclopaedia of Canadian Biography, page 197, contains this biography (which I have broken into shorter paragraphs):

Grant, Gordon, is the son of Peter Grant, a distinguished Civil Engineer who was employed on the construction of the Caledonia and Great North of Scotland Railways, who came to Canada in 1868, and who was from that date to its completion in 1876, employed on the construction of the the Intercolonial Railway and subsequently on the Canadian Pacific Railway until its completion in 1885, and Helen (Gordon) Grant. Mr. Grant was born in Dufftown, Banffshire, Scotland, January 2nd, 1865, and came to Canada in 1872.

He was educated in the Ottawa Business College and the Ottawa University. In 1882 Mr. Grant was invited to join the staff of his uncle, the late William B. Grant, C.E., who was then Chief Engineer of the Great Southern Railway in the Argentina Republic, and remained a member of his staff for six years, during which time he was employed on the construction of several hundred miles of railway. In 1887 there was a severe depression in the public works in that republic and railway construction came to a stop.

Returning to Canada Mr. Grant was employed on the construction of the Sydney extension of the Intercolonial Railway until 1890. In July of that year he joined the staff of the late P. A. Peterson, then Chief Engineer of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and remained with him until July, 1893, when he accepted a position as Division Engineer of Construction on the Palm Beach extension of the Florida East Railway, and remained there until its completion in 1895, when he joined the Construction Department of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and was employed on the construction of the Crow's Nest Pass and other Western branch lines until 1905, when he joined the staff of Mr. Hugh D. Lumsden, recently appointed Chief Engineer of the National Transcontinental Railway Commission. He was appointed Assistant District Engineer in May, 1906, Inspecting Engineer over the whole line in May, 1907, and on the resignation of Mr. Lumsden in July, 1909, was appointed by the Government to the position of Chief Engineer and remained in that position until the completion of the Railway, when he was, in January, 1917, appointed consulting Engineer to the Department of Railways and Canals, and also had charge of the work of completing the Quebec & Saguenay Railway from Quebec to Murray Bay, a very difficult piece of railway construction.

In December, 1906, Mr. Grant married Katherine McCarthy, daughter of William McCarthy, Civil Engineer, and has two sons and two daughters. Mr. Grant is a member of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers, a member of the American Railway Engineers ' Association ; and a member of the Rideau, Royal Ottawa Golf and Rivermead Golf Clubs. In religion Mr. Grant is a Catholic. His residence is 58 Sweetland Ave., Ottawa, Ont.

There is a shorter biography in Who's Who in Canada, International Press limited, 1915–1916), volume 6–7, page 143, printed below a photograph of Gordon Grant. C.E.

History of the Catholic Church of Scotland

The parents of Father James Andrew Grant were Peter Grant (1834–1900) and Helen Gordon (1828–1903). Peter Grant was born on June 16, 1834 in Minmore (Glenlivet), Inveravon, Banff, Scotland. Helen Gordon was born on January 10, 1828, at Tulochallum, Mortlach,, Banff, Scotland, a farm that was a short distance east of Dufftown. Peter Grant and Helen Gordon were married on May 7, 1862, in St. Mary's Catholic Church in Dufftown. Both Peter Grant and Helen Gordon came from strong Catholic families with historical ties to the area of Scotland in and around Glenlivet, which became an enclave of Catholics in Scotland after the outlawing of Popistry in 1560. Though I have left most of their family histories to another page, Family and Ancestry of Father James Andrew Grant in Scotland, a preliminary look at the the history of Catholicism in the Highlands of Scotland and the Gordons and Grants who served as Catholic priests will set the stage for the more detailed family histories.

A classic work is History of the Catholic Church of Scotland From the Introduction of Christianity to the Present Day by Alphons Bellesheim, Edinburgh 1886, in four volumes—translated from the original German to English by Oswald Hunter Blair, O.S.B., of St. Benedict's Abbey, Fort Augusta, New Brunswick. Volume I, which begins with a chapter on The Early Missionaries up to the Time of St. Columba; and Volume II, which begins with a chapter on the The Scottish Church During the War of Independence and the Fourteenth Century (1287–1400); and Volume III, which begins with a chapter on The Catholic Church in Scotland from August 1560 until the End of the Year 1562; and Volume IV, which begins with a chapter on The Catholic Church in Scotland under Charles I and the Commonwealth, are all available on Internet Archive. Volume IVolume IIVolume III and Volume IV are also available as free Google eBooks.

Chapter II of volume II, with the title The Catholic Church in Scotland until the Deposition of Queen Mary (1562–1567), opens with a discussion of the house of Huntly — the Gordons:

Prominent in wealth and influence among the Scottish nobility had been for many years the illustrious house of Huntly, whose chief at this time was George, the fourth Earl, and Chancellor of the kingdom under Mary Stuart. This powerful noble, who ruled the districts lying beyond the river Dee with almost kingly sway, had, as we have seen, played a somewhat dubious part in the long and bitter contest between the Congregation and the queen-regent, and had in consequence lost to some extent the confidence of Protestants and Catholics alike. Whilst he alienated the former by his refusal openly to espouse the cause of the Reformation, the latter could feel but little goodwill towards one who had been conspicuous by his absence from the eventful session of Parliament in August 1560, and who had never come forward to champion the rights of the ancient Church. The proposal made to the queen by Leslie in the name of the Catholic nobility, that she should land at Aberdeen and place herself under the protection of the Catholic barons, had been, as we know, rejected; and although Huntly had since been intrusted by Mary with high office in her Government, he had yet never fully enjoyed her confidence. In 1562 the earldom of Moray, a title hitherto in the possession of Huntly, was bestowed by the queen upon his great rival, Lord James Stuart, Mary's half-brother. Shortly afterwards a feudal affray between Huntly's son, Sir John Gordon, and the house of Ogilvie, ended in the imprisonment of the former, and on his effecting his escape, in the further penalty of forfeiture. Suspicion fell on Huntly himself in connection with the affair, and it was at this juncture that the queen, desiring possibly to check any symptoms of rising disloyalty, determined on a progress through the north of Scotland.

On the 11th of August 1562, Mary left Edinburgh, and on the 27th of the same month arrived at Aberdeen. Here she was met by Huntly, who prayed her to honour him by visiting his castle of Strathbogie. The queen, however, refused to accept the Earl's hospitality; and when, a few days later, Huntly and his countess met her at Rothiemay, and renewed their invitation, it was again declined. On September 10 Mary arrived at Tarnaway, the principal seat of the earldom of Moray. Here her brother, Lord James, for the first time assumed the style of Earl of Moray, producing his patent for the title under the royal privy seal. The queen then proceeded to Inverness, where the governor of the castle, Alexander Gordon, at first refused to admit her without the orders of his chief. He was, however, forced to surrender, and was instantly hanged. The Earl of Huntly now tried every means to disarm the anger of his sovereign, and to regain her confidence. He ordered the keys of his various castles to be laid at her feet, but she refused to receive them. Huntly was in fact powerless against the fatal influence of the queen's half-brother. Driven to desperation, he at length hastily summoned his vassals, and marched against Moray, who, secure in the authority of his royal sister, came to meet him with a force of 2000 men. The queen had returned from Inverness to Aberdeen, and the opposing parties met at Corrichie, about twelve miles from that city. After a brief encounter, Huntlv was forced to surrender. He himself perished on the field, while his two younger sons were captured and thrown into prison. The elder, Sir John Gordon, was immediately condemned and beheaded at Aberdeen; the younger, a lad of seventeen, was pardoned by the queen. Mary likewise refused to sanction the execution of the young Lord Gordon, heir of the house of Huntly; and on February 11, 1563, she caused him to be removed from Edinburgh to Dunbar, so as to be out of the reach of her half-brother s vengeance. Thus foiled of his aim, Moray sought to attain it by stratagem. Among a number of documents which he brought for the signature of the queen he had surreptitiously placed an order for Gordon's execution. Mary signed it, unsuspecting its contents, and Moray instantly despatched it to Dunbar. There, however, the governor, doubting the genuineness of the warrant, postponed its execution, and hurried to Edinburgh to consult the queen. The fraud was thus brought to light; but although the life of the heir of Huntly was saved, he was not to escape scot-free. A Parliament held at Edinburgh a few months later declared him and his kinsman the Earl of Sutherland, together with no less than eleven barons of the house of Go- don, attainted, and their estates forfeited to the Crown.

The retribution that had followed the rebellion of the Earl of Huntly had been swift and severe. Remembering that this was the first open revolt against the royal authority, we cannot hastily accuse the queen of undue harshness. Yet had she been fully aware of the hopes and plans cherished by some of her most trusted councillors, the Gordons might perhaps have escaped with a punishment less complete and crushing.

It might naturally have been supposed that the the fall of this powerful house, which had long been held the principal support of the ancient Church in Scotland, would have in some measure checked the extravagances of the Reforming party, and toned down their fanatical violence. Such, however, was far from being the case. On December 13, 1562, Knox denounced from the pulpit, in his usual vehement language, the ignorance and vanity displayed by Christian princes, inveighing in particular against the queen's indulgence in the pastime of dancing. ... —Bellesheim III, pages 66–70.

In volume IV, Bellesheim comments on the value of the Gordon support of the Catholics in Scotland:

The death Death of of the second Duke of Gordon in 1728 was a serious blow to the Catholics of Scotland. Ever since the Reformation this powerful family had remained staunch to the Church, and had furnished her with a long succession of faithful defenders. Unhappily, the second duke had married a Protestant, Henrietta Mordaunt, who, after his death, was induced to bring up the whole family in her own religion. The duchess, who survived her husband thirty years, was rewarded by Government with a pension of a thousand pounds. —Bellesheim IV, pages 167–168.

The Battle of Glenlivet is discussed in Chapter VI of volume III:

Late in the summer of 1594, the unappeasable enmity of the Protestants to their Catholic fellow-subjects was gratified by the tidings that an expedition was about to be despatched against the disaffected nobility of the north. James had some time previously given proof of his zeal in the same direction, to the great satisfaction of Elizabeth, by storming Lord Maxwell's castle of Lochmaben, and hanging its captain with six of his men. He commenced the campaign against the northern lords with equal vigour, despatching on the expedition the young Earl of Argyle at the head of six thousand men, with instructions to ravage the county of Huntly with fire and sword. The troops of the Catholic party were commanded by Huntly himself, supported by the Earl of Errol and Sir Patrick Gordon of Auchendoun; and the opposing forces met on October the 3d at Glenlivat, in the district of Strathavon. Both sides fought fiercely; but Argyle s troops, although much superior in numbers, were no match for their opponents, the majority of whom were gentlemen, well mounted and well armed. The result was a complete victory for the Catholics; and Argyle himself bore the tidings of his defeat to the king, who was at Dundee. James was deeply incensed, and swore to be revenged on the rebels. Notwithstanding the inclement season, he advanced with a fresh force to Aberdeen, attended in his crusade against the idolaters by Andrew Melvill and a number of other ministers. Huntly's splendid castle of Strathbogie was reduced to ruins; the earl himself fled to the mountains of Caithness; and James, having appointed the Duke of Lennox his lieutenant in the north, disbanded his army and returned to Stirling.

For some time Huntly and Errol remained in hiding in the almost inaccessible fastnesses of the Highlands; but at length seeing little hope, under existing circumstances, of any concession in the direction of religious liberty, they resolved to leave the country. The Jesuit Father Gordon, Huntly's uncle, in vain endeavoured to dissuade them from this course, and after celebrating mass for the last time in the noble cathedral of Elgin, publicly entreated them to remain in Scotland, and risk all for the faith. The earls had only a short time previously received from Pope Clement VIII. considerable sums of money in aid of their cause. But their resolution was taken; and in March 1595, they both sailed from Scotland. —Bellesheim III, pages 321–323.

Another good source is: The Episcopal Succession in England, Scotland and Ireland A.D. 1400 to 1875, with appointments to monasteries and extracts from consistorial acts taken from mss. in public and private libraries in Rome, Florence, Bologna, Ravenna and Paris, by William Maziere Brady, Rome 1876,  in three volumes.

Grant and Gordon Priests in the Highlands of Scotland

Moray is the main focus of this section, but Aberdeenshire to the east; Speyside to the west; Aviemore & Badenoch, to the west; Cairngorms to the southwest; and Inverness, Loch Ness & Cromarty First to the west, are surrounding areas (and partly overlapping areas) as defined by Undiscovered Scotland, which became mostly Protestant after 1560, are also covered.

Annals of the Catholic Hierarchy in England and Scotland: A.D. 1585–1876, by William Maziere Brady, Rome 1877, London 1883, is a free Google eBook, and contains section on Scotland under Prefects, pages 455–456, and Scotland under Vicars Apostolic, pages 456–476. For general references, see: The Catholics of Scotland—From 1593, and the Extinction of the Hierarchy in 1603, till the Death of Bishop Carruthers in 1852, by the Rev. Aeneas McDonnell Dawson, London 1890 (cited below as Dawson's Catholics of Scotland); A Brief Historical Account of the Seminary of Scalan and  Faith of Our Fathers—The 'Heather Priests' who kept the Church alive. The Seminary of Scalan in the Braes of Glenlivet was established in 1716 and closed in 1799. Bishop James Gordon founded the seminary. See: Scalan Roman Catholic Seminary, Glenlivet.

The Braes of Glenlivet, in the north-east, had been chosen as the site for this seminary, in part for their remoteness. But they also lay at the heart of an area populated by the last vestiges of Scotland's Catholic population. Glenlivet was on the most easterly side of a Catholic belt, occupied by strong clans and stretching across the country from the Western Isles. Unlike the Lowlanders, the Highland people had clung fiercely to the faith and in 1677 a Fr Alexander Leslie, reporting to the Vatican, said that "in spite of their natural ferocity (the Highlanders) were as lambs in the presence of a priest, and as firm in their faith as rocks." There may have been just 50 Catholics in Glasgow around that time, but there were over 1000 in Banffshire and the people were hungry for the Word of God. —Blairs College—Faith of Our Fathers—The 'Heather Priests' who kept the Church alive by Gregory Kyle.

The Seminary moved to a more easily accessible location in Aberdeenshire in 1799, and the last priest left Scalan in 1808. This meant that the area's predominantly Catholic population of around 1,000 (it is much lower today) had no resident priest and had to walk several miles north to worship at Tombae. The distance was less of a problem than the need to cross the unbridged River Livet, which was often simply impossible. The answer was obvious: the Braes of Glenlivet needed its own church. —Our Lady of Perpetual Succour on Undiscovered Scotland.

Inveraven—All this part of the parish is called Glenlivet. About a mile from the confluence of Aven and Livet, Tervy, a rivulet, (which has its source in Belrinnas, a high mountain, intervening between the parish of Aberlour, and a part of the parish of Inveraven), after running through the Davoch of Morange, and a little way through the lower part of Glenlivet, falls into Livet. Morange lies eastward from the lower part of Glenlivet, and between it and a part of the hill of Beirinna. From the mouth of Tervy, up Livet about half a mile, lies Achbrake, where the protestant meeting house is built, the itinerant minister officiates and the Protestants in Glenlivet and Morange attend divine worship. At the distance of half a mile eastward from Achbrake, the burn or rivulet of Altachoynachan falls into Tervy; and about 1 1/2 mile, almost up this burn, and S. E. from it mouth, the battle of Altachoynachan in October 1594 was fought between Huntly and Argyle, in which the latter was defeated. About 2 miles from the Protestant meeting-house, and up Livet, Cromby, a rivulet, falls into it on the south side. Cromby rises between two hills on the south side of the head, or higher part of Glenlivet, and after running a short way, passes the Scala, (or Scalan, as it is commonly called), a Popish seminary or college, erected upward of 80 years ago. As Scala is the Latin word for a ladder, it perhaps got that name from a steep road, (called the ladder), leading from the head of Glenlivet, up a steep hill to Strathdon. Be that as it may be, there are 8, 10, and sometimes 12 children of Popish gentlemen taught at the Scala; and there also (I have been told) some priests were educated and put into orders. There Mr. George Hay, a Popish bishop, at present resides, and there is a master besides, who teaches the youth. From the Scala Cromby runs northward for 1 1/2 mile, to the foot of the Bochle, (a little hill), on the S. E. side of which is Bedarochle, where is a school-home of the Society's schools, and in which the itinerant minister also preaches every six weeks. From the part where Cromby first washes the Bochle, it runs northward with a little winding about 1 1/2 mile, till it meets with Livet. From the entrance of Cromby eastward, and up Livet more than a quarter of a mile, is Caanakyle, where the Popish priest resides, and where on the bank of the Livet, about near 200 yards from the priest's house, is lately built a mass house, with stone and lime, and slated. From the mass-house to the Sowie, a small farm not far from the head of Livet, are long 3 miles. —The Statistical Account of Scotland, Drawn Up From the Communications of the Ministers of the Different Parishes, Volume 13, by Sir John Sinclair, Edinburgh 1794, Parish of Inveraven (Counties of Banff and Elgin, Synod of Moray, Presbytery of Aberlour by the Rev. Mr. James Grant.), page 34 at page 35.

Many of the Catholic Grants and Gordons who were ancestors of Father James Andrew Grant lived for centuries in and around the Glenlivet Scotland. My page on the Territories of Clan Grant in Scotland will be helpful in locating them—especially the subsection Up the River Livet from Drummin Castle when used with Google Maps.

In the list of priests below, I have placed the Gordons first and the Grants second, both in the order of their births. I have included only persons born before 1900, I have also included a few seminarians who were never ordained. Father John Gordon (1779–1834), listed below, was the uncle of Helen Gordon Grant, who was the mother of Father James Andrew Grant.


For a general view of the widespread families of Gordons in Scotland, see: House of Gordon edited by John Mslcolm Bulloch, in two volumes, printed by the Aberdeen University Press. Volume 1 (1903) and Volume II (1907) are available on Internet Archive. A supplementary volume was issued in 1812 under the title Gordon under Arms by Constance Oliver Skelton and John Malcolm Bulloch (New Spalding club publication no. 39). The three volumes were isssued also as Aberdeen University studies, nos. 8, 30 and 59. Volume I and Volume II are also available on the Hathi Trust Digital Library. Volume I and Volume II are also available as free Google eBooks.

Alexander Gordon ( –1518)

Scottish Bishops—See of Aberdeen—26. Alexander Gordon, 1514–1518. —Bellesheim II, page 425.

Three candidates appeared for the vacant see of Aberdeen on the death of Bishop Elphinstone (on October 25, 1514). The Duke of Albany (the Regent) nominated James Ogilvie, professor of civil law in Aberdeen University; Pope Leo X. was desirous of ap- pointing Robert Foreman, Dean of Glasgow; while the choice of the canons fell upon Alexander Gordon, precentor of Moray, a kinsman of the Earl of Huntly. The claims of the two former were ultimately withdrawn, and Gordon received the appointment. There is, however, no evidence of his ever having been consecrated. He died in June 1518. —Bellesheim II, page 130.

Alexander Gordon (died 1518) was a late medieval Scottish churchman. He was member of the kindred of the Earl of Huntly, being cousin to the reigning earl. He was the third son of James Gordon, Laird of Haddo. From at least 1504, probably earlier, until 1516, he was Precentor (chanter) of the diocese of Moray. —Wikipedia.

From 1507 until he became Bishop of Aberdeen in 1514 he was the Keeper of the Privy Seal of Scotland.

William Gordon (c. 1510–1577)

Scottish Bishops—See of Aberdeen—29. William Gordon, 1546–1577. —Bellesheim II, page 425.

In 1545, William Gordon, son of the Earl of Huntly, became Bishop of Aberdeen in succession to William Stewart. —Bellesheim II, page 182.Alexander Gordon

After the downfall of Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1567, Bishop Gordon appears to have accepted the authority of the Church of Scotland since he retained his see until his death on 6 August 1577. He died at Old Aberdeen, in the Bishop's Palace, and was buried in St Machar's Cathedral. —William Gordon (Bishop of Aberdeen), Wikipedia.

Alexander Gordon (c.1516–1575)

Alexander Gordon (c. 1516–1575) was a 16th-century Scottish churchman who was successively archbishop of Glasgowtitular archbishop of Athensbishop of the Isles and bishop of Galloway. His father was John Gordon, Lord Gordon and his mother was Margaret Stewart, an illegitimate daughter of James IV of Scotland. He was the brother of George Gordon, 4th Earl of Huntly, the ex-Chancellor of Scotland. —Alexander Gordon (bishop of Galloway), Wikipedia.

The chapter of Glasgow, on the death of Archbishop Gavin Dunbar, elected Alexander Gordon, brother of the Earl of Huntly. In the Act of his institution to the see, dated March 5, 1550, provision is made for the reservation of four hundred gold ducats annually in favour of two clerics of the dioceses of Lyons and Bologna. Gordon received the pallium in the same year, but he was never consecrated. A few months later he resigned the see, and was nominated Archbishop of Athens in partibus, with the grant of the Abbey of Inchaffray in commendam. On the same day, James Beaton was appointed to the archbishopric of Glasgow. He was only a layman at the time, and was ordained in Rome, and consecrated there on August 28, 1552. —Bellesheim II, page 195

Scottish Bishops—See of the Isles—30. Roderick Maclean, 1550. (Alexander Gordon, titular Archbishop of Athens. was nominated to the see of the Isles in 1553, but was never consecrated.) —Bellesheim II, page 428.

James Gordon (c. 1543–1620). — Jesuit

Two years later (in 1584) he (Father William Creighton, S.J) was again sent to Scotland, accompanied by Father James Gordon, uncle to Lord Huntly. The vessel in which they sailed was seized by the Dutch, and the Jesuit fathers were condemned to be hanged for imaginary complicity in the recent murder of the Prince of Orange. Gordon's high family connections, however, procured his liberation, and Creighton, was afterwards handed over to Queen Elizabeth, who sent a ship to Ostend for him and confined him in the Tower of London for two years. ...

Father Gordon in the meantime had been prosecuting his missionary labors in Scotland for some years with the utmost zeal and devotion. Through his influence, his nephew, the young Earl of Huntly, remained staunch to the Catholic faith; and he repeatedly held public disputations with the leading ministers of the capital, not in frequently in the presence of the king himself. So violent was the feeling of the preachers against him, that he deemed it prudent to withdraw for a time to the north of Scotland.*

*From the Jesuit report of 1594, it would seem that Father Gordon actually embarked for France, but left the ship next day in a small boat, and so returned to Scotland. " Among the other causes which contributed in no small degree to the growth of Catholicism in Scotland this was one. Father Gordon, uncle to the Earl of Huntly, and a kinsman to the king, not only touched the hearts of many persons by his holiness of life, but further, being a man of great learning, he openly defeated the ministers of the heretics in the public discussions which were held. It happened also, most opportunely, that as the king was expostulating with the young Earl of Huntly for not embracing Calvinism, Huntly replied that there was an uncle of his own in Scotland whom he would much more willingly intrust with the salvation of his soul than any of that heretical ministry. When his majesty heard this remark, he asked the earl to send his uncle to him at Edinburgh, in which is the king's palace, and where the more learned of the ministers generally reside. The king having given his promise that no harm should come to Gordon, that father accepted the invitation, and in about two or three months he publicly refuted the teaching of these heretics with so much acuteness, and with such a crushing weight of arguments, that the sting of them rankled ever afterwards in the minds of not a few. His majesty was present, and as many also of the nobles as chose to attend. The ministers were so enraged with this, that they gave the king no rest until he ordered Father Gordon to leave Scotland. Overcome by their importunity, he ordered the Earl of Huntly, under the penalty of ten thousand pieces of gold, to cause Father Gordon to leave the realm within a month. Huntly obeyed the king. Father Gordon embarked at Aberdeen in a ship bound for France, and caused an attestation to that effect to be drawn up by a notary public. Next day a boat left the ship, in which Father Gordon returned to Scotland, where he and three other fathers of the Society of Jesus, along with certain other students of the papal seminary, there employ themselves with the greatest success."—Bellesheim II, page 337–339.

Acknowledgement by Father James Gordon, S.J., of Payments from the Papal Treasury to the Scotch Catholic Nobles, August 5, 1594. —Bellesheim III, page 449, Appendix IV (in Latin).

Letters of queen Elizabeth and king James VI of Scotland, Council of the Camden Society, London — James defends his treatment of "papist rebellis." No. L., September 19, 1593, page 86. Elizabeth's Reply, No. LI, October 19, 1593, page 90. James' response., No. LIII, December 7, 1593, page 95 — in which he mentions Huntlie's uncle, James Gordon, described in an editor's note as a "busy Scottish jesuit," whose superior ordered him to leave Scotland "for fear of the straitness of my laws."

John Gordon (1544–1619) —Bishop, Protestant.

John Gordon was the natural son of Alexander Gordon (c. 1516-1575), Bishop of Galloway and former Archbishop of Glasgow, and Barbara Logie; his parents married, perhaps clandestinely, only in 1546, before Alexander obtained ecclesiastical preferment (for this, see his new DNB entry). —John Gordon (bishop), Wikipedia.

James Gordon (1553–1641) —Jesuit.

Born at or near Aberdeen in 1553; died at Paris, November 17, 1641. Of the family of Lesmore. "He wrote a commentary on the Bible, "Bibilia Sacra, cum Commentariies, &c.' Paris, 3 vols. fol. 1632, which Dupin seems to think an useful and judicious work." —The General Biographical Dictionary, by Alexander Chalmers, London 1814, a free Google eBook, at page 105.

Adam Laurence Gordon (c.1616–1668) — Jesuit.

April 1655 to February 1656. born in Auchmathy, Buchan (or in Cults, Strathbogie), c. 1616, the son of George Gordon and Isabel Leesk; entered Scots College, Douai, 7th December 1627 (in poetry); in Scotland April to November 1631; returned to Douai 1631 (for Philosophy); soldier in France, in Lord James Douglas Scottish regiment, perhaps between 1631 and 1635; to Scots College, Rome, October 1635 (for Philosophy) entered Society of Jesus, 1636; brought students to Madrid, 1647; rector of Scots College, Rome, 27th May 1652 to August 1655; rector at Madrid, as above; missionary in Scotland, 1657 to 1665; rector of Scots College, Douai, March 1666 to 8th April 1668; died in Douai, 8th April 1668. —Register of the Scots College in Spain—Madrid Period 1627–1767—Administrators/Rectors. Appendix 3, page 301, on Electric Scotland.

Alexander Gordon (c. 1616– )

The Scots College in Spain—Alexander Gordon in college at start of 1633 but left, 1634. —Register of the Scots College in Spain—Madrid Period 1627–1767—Students, Appendix 3, page 305, on Electric Scotland.

John Gordon (1616– )

1754. John. 1637, Oct. 19, went with his brother Alexander, 1656. to join Col. Alexander Cunningham's Reg. in Sweden (Earls of Sutherland, 486). Service in Ireland, described in 832.

Son of Sir Alexander, of Navidale; described in the Sutherland Tables as a priest (House of Gordon, II (132)). Brother of Alexander, 122, 1656, Cousin of Adam, 1637, George, 475–6, and John, 833.—Gordon under Arms, page 444.

832. John. 1643, Oct. helped the 2nd Earl of Antrim who was captured in May by Gen. Munro and warded by Capt. Wallace, "ane gryte puritane," to escape from Carrick Fergus. Gordon, who was Lt. to Wallace, "craftellie convoyit wp vnespyit in his breikis certane towis, be the quhilk the erll escaipit and wan frielie away, to Wallass' gryte greif; and the livetennand followit and fled also " (Spalding's Trubles, 11. 291).

Second son of Sir Alexander, of Navidale ; b. 1616, Feb. 17 ; had been or became a priest (Earls of Sutherland, 262, 513; House of Gordon, II. 132). Brother of Alexander, 122. Cousin of John, 833.—Gordon under Arms, page 193.

Robert Gordon (c. 1623– )

born at Elgin c. 1623, the son of George Gordon and Margaret Boneyman; arrived at Scots College, Madrid, 2nd November 1647, hving completed Grammar, but not accepted because ignorant of Latin and had a lead pellet in his head; became a captain in the army. —Register of the Scots College in Spain—Madrid Period 1627–1767—Students, Appendix 3, page 305, on Electric Scotland.

John Gordon (c. 1638–1720) — Jesuit.

John Gordon entered the Society at Tournai, in 1660, and was afterwards nominated superior of the Jesuit missionaries in Scotland. —Bellesheim IV, page 127.

? to 1685. born c. 1640 (1638?), the son of Adam Gordon or Artloch and Isabel Leslie, the sister of Fr. George Leslie; to Scots College, Douai, 25th April 1655; joined Society of Jesus at Tournai, 1660/1662; taught Humanities/Philosophy in Douai 1672 (for fourteen years); was said in 1707, to have been a missionary in Scotland for thirty years; died in Aberdeen, October 1720. (Cf. Foley, op. cit., VII, p. 309). —Register of the Scots College in Spain—Madrid Period 1627–1767—Other Priests etc. in the College. Appendix 3, page 308, on Electric Scotland.

See: House of Gordon, edited by John Malcolm Bulloch, Volume II, Aberdeen 1907, pages 283–284, a free Google eBook, where he is described as "the notorious Jesuit, the son of the fourth Earl of Huntly," and it is noted:

1596, March 24—The General Assembly ordered the immediate arrest of John Gordon of Newton and "other Jesuits" and excommunicated papists still at large in the realm.

George Gordon (c. 1654– )

born c. 1654, , the son of Adam Gordon of Artloch and Isabel Leslie, and a nephew of Fr. George Leslie of New Leslie; to Scots College, Douai, August/September 1669; to Scots College, Madris, 3rd Ocotber 1559; returned to Douai, 23 December 1673, and to Scotland, unordained, 20th June (?) 1674. (three brothers Jesuit priests: John, James, Peter). —Register of the Scots College in Spain—Madrid Period 1627–1767—Students. Appendix 3, page 304, on Electric Scotland.

See Gordon, George, on Patrick's Peope.

John Gordon ( –1726) Convert.

Mention must also be made of John Gordon, the Protestant Bishop of Galloway, who in 1689 went to France and afterwards to Rome, where he embraced Catholicism, was admitted to minor orders, and died in 1726 ...*

*Bishop Gordon had been, previous to his nomination to Galloway, "chaplain to his Majesty at New York." He followed the exiled king to St Germains as chaplain to the Protestant members of the royal household; and his conversion to Catholicism probably took place not in Rome but in France. He survived all the other Scotch Caroline Bishops, and died in Rome in 1726. — Translator. —Bellesheim IV, page 139–140.

James Gordon (1664–1746).

Gordon, Rev James, Glastirem, Catholic Priest — Son of Patrick Gordon of Glastirem and brother of George Gordon of Glastirem, the family being cadets of Letterfourie. Born in 1664, was sent to the Scots College in Paris in 1680. He died in 1746 at Thornhill, near Drummond Castle. —Jacobites of 1715 and 1745. North East Scotland by Frances McDonnell, 1996, (available on, page 20.

On September 23, 1702, Cardinal' Noris presented to Propaganda a report from Bishop Nicolson, stating that the object of the Government was the total extermination of the Catholic religion throughout the country. It was absolutely forbidden to employ Catholics in domestic service, and every effort was being made to apprehend and convict as many priests as possible. James Gordon, Nicolson's procurator in Paris, and rector of the Scotch College there, wrote at the same time, and in similar terms, to the nuncio. Bellesheim IV, pages 159–160.

The Congregation, however, was desirous of affording relief to the bishop by other means — namely, by recommending to the Pope the appointment of a coadjutor. George Adamson, who was at first nominated, declined the charge owing to ill health, and the choice then fell upon James Gordon. In a letter dated November 18, 1705, thanking the Holy See for this appointment, Bishop Nicolson reported numerous conversions among the poorer classes, and mentioned the recent banishment of two of his clergy — one a secular priest, and the other a Benedictine.

By the appointment of his coadjutor, the vicar-apostolic found his labours materially lightened. The new prelate, born in Banffshire about 1664, was educated in the Scotch College at Paris, and immediately after his ordination, in 1692, came to the mission in Scotland, where he laboured in his native district for ten years. In 1702, he was sent to Rome as assistant to William Leslie, the Scottish agent, and while there was selected as coadjutor to Bishop Nicolson. At the desire of Pope Clement XL, he was consecrated quietly at Montefiascone by Cardinal Barbarigo, and a few months later returned to Scotland, visiting, on his way through Paris, the exiled Boyal Bishop Family of England. Bishop Gordon lost no time in beginning to exercise his pastoral functions, and in 1707 he made his first visitation of the Highlands and Islands, accompanied by a Gaelic-speaking deacon, who acted as the bishop's interpreter in those districts where the English language was unknown. ...

The zealous support and co-operation of Bishop Gordon were of special service to the vicar-apostolic during the stormy days of the first Jacobite rising. Writing to Propaganda in the last days of the eventful year 1715, the coadjutor described, in graphic terms, how Bishop Nicolson and the priest who resided with him had been actually captured by the authorities, but had providentially escaped; how the preachers were straining every nerve to hound down the unfortunate Catholics; and how the missionaries not only stood firm themselves in the midst of the tempest, but were even reconciling many wanderers to the Church. ... —Bellesheim IV, pages 179–182.

Robert Gordon (1687–1764)

Gordon, Rev Robert. Roman Catholic Priest, younger brother of Patrick Gordon of Kirkhill. Born in 1697. He was charged with being a spy, and jailed in Newgate. One his release he went to Holland, and then to Paris and Rome. He died at Lens, France, in 1764, aged 77. —Jacobites of 1715 and 1745. North East Scotland by Frances McDonnell (available on, page 23.

Alexander Gordon (c. 1693–1763).

Gordon, Dr. Alexander, Catholic Priest — Captured with Francis Gordon of Craig at Dunfermline on 24 October 1716. Probably son of Patrick of Glastirem and uncle of James of Glastirem. Although too ill to march to Carlisle, he survived the rising and retired to Auchindour and died there at an advanced age in 1763. —Jacobites of 1715 and 1745. North East Scotland by Frances McDonnell (available on, page 18.

James Gordon (? -1746) — Bishop.

James Gordon as appointed by Propaganda (in Rome) and consecrated titular Bishop of Nicopolis and the first coadjutor with right of succession to the Scottish Mission on 11 April 1706. —The Restoration of the Roman Catholic Hierarchy in Scotland, by MariaChristina C. Mairena, 2008, page 62

Journeys from the Lowlands to the Highlands were difficult, so Bishop Gordon requested the vicariate be divided in two. His request for a Highland Bishop was granted in 1727, when Alexander Grant set out for Scotland from Rome, but Bishop Grant apparently died on his way to Scotland. See the note on Alexander John Grant, born about 1694, above. He was replaced by Hugh MacDonald in October of 1731.

See: Annals of the Catholic Hierarchy in England and Scotland: A.D. 1585–1876, by William Maziere Brady (a free Google eBook), pages 458–459. James Gordon died on March 1, 1746, and —Bellesheim IV, page 402. Bishops in Scotland, From 1695 to 1890.

John Gordon (c.1680– )

Father John Gordon came to Scalan in 1708.

This Mr John Gordon, of the family of Cairnbarrow, was missionary in Glenlivet in 1715, and had his residence somewhere about Minmore or Castleton; but in the next summer, when General Cadogan and other officers of the Hanoverian party came north with their troops, he thought it safest for him to make his ordinary abode in the most retired part of the country, and stayed commonly in a barn which was on the south-west corner of the " town of " Scalan. It was about this time that he resolved to make himself a habitation on the banks of the Crombie, near to an excellent fountain which he saw there, and in fact before winter, with the permission of Mr Grant of Tomnavoulin, he had all that place in tack from the Duke of Gordon, the juniper bushes with which hitherto the ground had been covered cleared away and somewhat of a yard formed. This was the very beginning of Scalan being a dwelling-place of our clergymen.

This spot was looked upon by Bishop Gordon as very proper for the purpose of reviving the Catholic School. Scalan was not only on the Duke of Gordon s estate, who was then a Catholic, but it was also retired, and there were many Catholics in the district. It is un certain whether Mr Gordon had charge of the college ; in any case he left it very soon, and Mr George Innes was appointed. Mr John Tyrie succeeded him ; but he had the school only for a short time, when he was succeeded by Mr Alex. Grant, brother of Bishop Grant. Mr Grant continued Superior from 1720-1726. —Scalan, Introduction: A Brief Historical Account of the Seminary of Scalan by Bishop John Geddes, pages 26–27.

On A List of Rebels Concerned in the Rebellion transmitted to the Supervisor of Excise at Banff in 1746 is John Gordon, Popish Priest, Abode: Press home (should be Preshome), Banff, with a note: Went to Perth with recruits and afterwards followed the Rebels. —A List of Persons Concerned in the Rebellion, with preface by the Earl of Roseberry, Edinburgh 1890, pages 28–29.

Charles Gordon of Glastirem—Brother of James Gordon (above). He does not occur in Rosebery's List, and the only fact known about him is that he took command of the company of about 50 men raised by the exertions of Mr. John Gordon, Priest of Preshome. —Notes on Rathven Parish Jacobites by Alistair and Henrietta Taylor (Aberdeen 1934).

Prior to the uprising in 1715 there was a chapel situated at the junction of the Rivers Avon and the Livet. The priest, john Gordon, who was also farming at Minmore was having hassle from his Hanoverian neighbours and decided it was prudent to move away to the mainly Catholic Braes of Glenlivet. He settled in a barn near to the base of Tom Trumper at Scalan. This became the nucleus of the Scalan Seminary There is no further mention of his chapel. —Step back in time — The story of the Tombae Chapels.

A. Gordon ( –1746)

The Rev. Father A. Gordon, S.J., also died in captivity: he had laboured with great zeal and energy, and was greatly opposed to the spirit of faction.*

*He died in prison at Inverness, May 1746.—Translator. —Bellesheim IV, page 400. (Report of Bishop Smith, 1747).

William Gordon (c. 1700– ) — Jesuit.

the son of Francis Gordon of Craig; to Scots College, Douai, May 1715; to Scots College, Madrid, 1715 ...; joined Society of Jesus, Seville novitiate, c. October 1717. —Register of the Scots College in Spain—Madrid Period 1627–1767—Students. Appendix 3, page 308, on Electric Scotland.

William Gordon's father was possibly Francis Cordon VII of Craig:

Some interesting details about this laird and his family are given in the Poll Book or List of Pollable Persons in Aberdeenshire 1696. We find there "The Laird of Craig the greatest heritor in the Parish of Auchindoir;" "his valuation £720 [the whole valuation of said Paroch being £1322 l1s."] The laird's poll £12 and 6s., the lady 6s., Francis, his son, 16 years of age, William and Alexander, his sons, Agnes, aged 19, Mary, aged 18, Elizabeth, aged 10, Jane and Barbara, all his daughters poll 6s. each.

This shows that his wife was still living in 1696, and that he then had, besides the issue given in the Balb. MS., two other sons, William and Alexander, and another daughter, Jane: further, that Agnes was the eldest, Mary the second, and that Elizabeth was much younger than either of these, instead of being the eldest. ...

We also learn something of the farms and tenants on part of the Craig estate. The milne of Auchindoir had as tenant James Gordon, gentleman farmer; Newtoune of Auchindoir, John Gordon, gentleman farmer; ... Crofts of Auchindoir two tenants .... —Memorials of the Family of Gordon of Craig, collected by Captain Douglas Wimberly, Basnffshire 1904. page 33.

George Gordon (c. 1700?– )

The first two men to receive their full training in Glenlivet were the "Heather Priests" Hugh MacDonald and George Gordon, latterly Bishops MacDonald and Gordon. —Blairs College—Faith of Our Fathers—The 'Heather Priests' who kept the Church alive by Gregory Kyle.

James Gordon (1702– ) —Jesuit.

1730. born 16th September 1702, the son of John Gordon of Auchleuchries and Elizabeth Grant ofr Crichy; to Scots College, Douai, 15th July 1717; entered Society of Jesus, Roman novitiiate, August 1719; taught humanities in the Roman province for four years; arrived in Madrid, 1730, and taught Humanites in the College for one year; studied Theology in Rome and in 1735, returned to Douai; rector of Scots College, Douai, 31 August 1739 to August 1743 (?) —Register of the Scots College in Spain—Madrid Period 1627–1767—Other Priests etc. in the College. Appendix 3, page 304, on Electric Scotland.

John Gordon (1706–1752)

Gordon, John Priest at Preshome. Son of Peter Gordon, wadsetter, Birkenbush, was born in 1706. He died 9 Nov 1752, aged 46. —Jacobites of 1715 and 1745. North East Scotland by Frances McDonnell (available on, page 23.

2099. James. 1745, Dec. 19, "a priest," captured at Carlisle. 1746, Oct. 25, 27, tried at Southwark (S.M. viii. 294). —Gordon under Arms, page 518.

Patrick Gordon (c.1720– ). —Jesuit

In about 1751, Patrick Gordon and Robert Maitland were tried for being "habit and repute Jesuit priests or trafficking Papists," found guilty, and sentenced to perpetual banishment from Scotland, under pain of death if they returned, remaining "Papists." —Dawson's Catholics of Scotland, page 172.

About the end of February, Mr. Patrick Gordon was carried in to Aberdeen from Braemar, on suspicion of being a Popish priest; but was bailed out for 2000 merks, to appear when called in six months. —The Scots Magazine, volume xiii, page 108.

MS 0537/2/1 A Description of the Mission of Braemar, lying on the head of the River Dee, in the Diocese, and Sheriffdom of Aberdeen, 1740, by Patrick Gordon, S.J. Missionary there Includes lists of inhabitants. This is a transcript (typescript) of GB 231 MS 0919/2/1 (see below) —Papers relating to the Roman Catholic Church, Glengairn and Braemar.

Braemar and Glengairn are parishes in West Aberdeenshire. St Andrews Roman Catholic Church, Braemar, was built in 1839, and the Church of St Mary Immaculate, Glengairn, was built in 1868. The locations of earlier churches in the parishes are not known, though a mission of the Society of Jesus was active in the area during the eighteenth century, through the work of Patrick Gordon (c 1740) and Father Charles Farquharson (from 1746). Further details can be found in the records described below, in particular MS 919/2/1, 'A Description of the Mission of Braemar, lying on the head of the River Dee, in the Diocese, and Sheriffdom of Aberdeen, 1740, by Patrick Gordon, S.J. Missionary there' and MS 919/2/2, 'Short Account of the Change of Religion in Braemar', written by Father Charles Farquharson, in 1788. See also MS 0537/1 -2 (transcripts of MS 0919/2/1-2). Lachlan McIntosh (fl. 1782 - 1845) was probably also a missionary priest there, although this has not been verified. —GB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections.

See: Ardearg in the Braes of Mar by Mary S. Hunter in Scalan News, No. 29, November 2004.

John Gordon (1729–1757).

John (Johnnie) Gordon—Student 1743–1754.

Johnnie Gordon was known as ‘the local lad’ having been born at Glenlivet in 1729. He was fourteen years of age when he entered Scalan in 1743; Mr. Duthrie was Master. He was probably too young to be recruited into the Jacobite army but would have known many who were itching to be off fighting the Hanoverians. His wish was to be ordained as a priest and to keep the Catholic Faith alive.

After the Jacobite defeat at Culloden, the victors were on the rampage looting, burning and priest hunting. No Catholic was really safe; their buildings were wrecked and torched. Johnnie, like so many, could only pray and watch. Scalan’s turn arrived on May 16th; fortunately the Master had prior warning, time to remove possessions, furniture, vestments, documents and books and hide them well away. Johnnie and the other boys were sent home for safety but the Master, in hiding, watched the college burning. He moved to temporary premises in lower Glenlivet and was able to continue teaching Johnnie.

In the spring of 1749 they returned to a hastily rebuilt Scalan using the existing foundations and walls. Despite the upheaval of the last five years Johnnie continued to make good progress. Originally he, like so many others, was to be finished at the Scots College Paris but circumstances made it unadvisable to send him there.

Johnnie Gordon finished his studies and was ordained by Bishop Smith in Edinburgh in 1754; only one of three students to receive their entire training at “the Seminary in the hills”. The other two were George J. Gordon and Francis Macdonell.

These three fulfilled the founder’s dream, a seminary where the boys entered as youngsters and left as priests. All three attended during the first forty years. About eight students received part of their senior training at Scalan but started learning elsewhere. For the remainder of the time Scalan was a junior seminary only.

To return to Johnnie Gordon: after his ordination he returned to the Glenlivet Mission in 1755 where he worked day and night for the parish. Within two years he caught a cold which turned into a raging fever. In those days bleeding was the cure; he was bled three times, became delirious and finally he died with his old Master, Mr. Duthie, by his side. A tragic end for a 28 year old priest who had everything to give. — Scalan News, No. 37, November, 2008.

John Gordon (1747–1810)

John Gordon (Clashnoir)—Student 1760–1764.

John Gordon was born at Clashnoir (about 1½ miles from Scalan) in May 1747, son of John Gordon and Jean Nairn, nephew of Abbé Peter Grant. He studied at Scalan for four years, the last two under the tutelage of John Geddes. He and Alexander Cameron were pupils together and both travelled to Rome to complete their education at the Scots College. John Gordon was ordained in 1773 and the following year returned to Scotland. He spent two years in Aberdeen and in 1776 left to take up the vice rectorship of the Scots college Valladolid, a position he held under John Geddes and Alexander Cameron. He was appointed rector in January 1799, succeeding Alexander Cameron when he was made bishop. Unfortunately for John Gordon he was unable to carry out his duties owing to the continual interference from the bishop who didn’t return to Scotland until 1802.

John Gordon did not have an easy time of it as rector; by 1807 Spain had allowed the French armies to enter the country and by 1808 the country was in revolt. Gordon sent the Scottish students home but he, with Alexander Cameron II, elected to remain and safeguard the college and its assets. In 1809 he left for France to ‘take the waters’. He did not return to Spain but died in February 1810 in obscurity. Far from his native land of Scotland and away from his adopted home where he lived and worked for thirty three years. —Scalan News, No. 37, November, 2008.

John Gordon (1758–1828).

John Gordon: Student 1771–1774

John Gordon was born in 1760 at Landends in the Enzie. He was a nephew of John Geddes (later Bishop) and a cousin of John Gordon who was appointed Vice-rector in 1776 and Rector of the Scots College, Valladolid in 1798. John Gordon entered Scalan in 1771 where he spent three years studying under John Patterson before travelling to Valladolid. He completed the course but returned to Edinburgh in 1784 for his ordination by Bishop John Geddes. He served the Mission in Aberdeen from1785 to 1797. In 1799 Scalan Seminary was moved to Aquhorties (by Inverurie). A new Scalan was emerging, one more able to cope with the needs of the growing, changing Church. John Gordon was appointed the first Procurator, a post he held until 1807. He moved to Eastlands and became Factor at Blairs in 1808, a post he held until his death in 1823. —Some Scalan Personalities, Scalan News, April 2012, No. 43.

Charles Gordon (1772–1855).

Priest. Born June 30, 1772, at Landends Enzie Bellie. Died November 24, 1855. Libindx NM064682.

Priest Gordon by Dr. James Stark. ... — On 30 June 1772, Charles Gordon, the youngest of nine children, was born at Landends in the Parish of Bellie, Banffshire, where his early days were spent, with the River Spey near at hand and the open sea not very distant. ...

In 1785 Charles Gordon began as a boy to train for the priesthood at Scalan Seminary. ... In 1785 Gordon was sent to Douay, then one of the principal Scots colleges on the Continent. ...

Gordon continued his studies later on at Scalan, having after his departure from Douay, returned to Aberdeen, where he stayed for the rest of his life and where he is now buried.

On his immediate return to Aberdeen he nursed with unremitting care Bishop Geddes, his mother's brother, who had been associated with Bishop Hay. ... When at last death released the Bishop, who promised to express his thanks to his nephew at the Judgment Day, Gordon, who was free, joined his brother, the Rev. John Gordon, in his pastoral work at Aberdeen, the whose responsibility ad charge of which devolved on him alone when his brother was made procurator at Aquhorties. —The American Ecclesiastical Review: A Monthly Publication for the Clergy, Volume 33, Philadelphia 1910, pages 27–32.

George Gordon (c.1776–1856).

Died on May 10, 1856, in Dufftown. Libindx NM066017.

George Gordon was born in Fochabers on the 27th. March 1776 and later in life he became a close friend of William Marshall. ... At the age of nine George was sent to the seminary of Scalan in Glenlivet, Banffshire. This was a college for the education of Roman Catholic priests which was in existence between the years 1717–1799. The name Scalan originated from the Gaelic; sgalain, meaning turf roofed sheilings which were erected as temporary dwelling in the summer months when families moved up the braes with their cattle in order to find fresh pasture. This was the custom in the 18th. century in Scotland and this tradition persists today in the Alpine districts of Europe. ...

The Royal Scots college Valladolid, in Spain was the next step in George’s career and on the 23rd. September he was ordained by the Bishop, Don Emanuel Joachim Moron. After a time in Valladolid, Edinburgh and Aquhorities, Aberdeenshire he was appointed parish priest at Foggielawn in 1799. In 1805 he was transferred to Blairs and in 1809 he moved to Keithac Farm on the estate of Auchindoune. It was fortunate that the priest had come to Auchindoune as later he proved to be of great help to Marshall.

Keithac, is a farm situated close to Marshall’s farm of Keithmore. The buildings at Upper Keithac and Lower Keithac, are now mere shells.

After the 1715 rising and later the Jacobite rebellion of 1745, culminating in the last battle fought on British soil at Culloden, near Inverness, Catholics, Episcopalians and those teaching Catholic doctrines, were perceived as having Jacobite sympathies and hence it was fortunate Scalan was tucked away in a discreet corner of Glenlivet. Likewise Catholic priests kept a low profile and George Gordon moved in to a small croft house with living accommodation on the ground floor and in all probability the upper floor was used as a makeshift chapel where services were held. The Chapel and priest’s house of the Cabrach were burned after Culloden and mass was said for thirty years in a barn and I expect Chapel Keithac suffered a similar fate. ...—Priest George Gordon from The Life and Times of William Marshall by Moyra Cowie.

The other young priest, Mr George Gordon, had charge of the Glenlivet mission for a year, and then succeeded Mr Grant as Superior at Scalan. —Scalan, Introduction: A Brief Historical Account of the Seminary of Scalan by Bishop John Geddes, page 29.

Father George Gordon was born in Fochabers on March 27, 1776. He was sent to the seminary at Scalan in the Braes of Glenlivet when he was 9 years old. He later attended the Royal Scots College at Valladoid, Spain, where he was ordained a priest. He was appointed parish priest at Foggielawn in 1799. In 1805 he was transferred to Blairs. In 1809 he moved to Keithac Farm on the estate of Auchindoune. A branch of the Gordon family lived at the Castle of Auchindoune. Father George Gordon redesigned the Church of the Incarnation at Tombae after the muckle spate of 1829 — tremendous flooding of all rivers in the north east of Scotland in August 1829.

In 1817, the town of Dufftown was planned and as part of this initiative, George Gordon saw to the building of the Catholic Chapel of St. Mary of the Assumption. Architecturally similar to the church at Tombae except for the old leaded windows, which are evident at the Church of the Incarnation.

The proceeds from the sale of his "Sacred Music for the use of small choirs" went towards his chapel fund.

By this time, Catholic persecution had come to an end, although the Catholic Emancipation Act did not occur until 1829 and George Gordon moved to the chapel house in Dufftown. He spent much of his time when not attending to the needs of his parishioners in his much admired garden. During his time at Scalan all the pupils had to tend the vegetable garden and he may have learned his gardening skills on the remote Braes of Livet. —Priest George Gordon, from The Life and Times of William Marshall 1748–1833: Composer of Scottish music, clock maker and butler to the 4th Duke of Gordon, 1999, by Moyra Cowie.

Moyra Cowie (The Life and Times of William Marshall, 1999) records that the Duchess of Gordon, Jane Maxwell (the wife of Marshall's employer, Alexander, the 4th Duke of Gordon) was involved in litigation with James (0gilvy, 7th) Earl of Findlater and Seafield in the late 1800's. It seems that the Earl attended a ceremony for the completion of the ship The Duchess of Gordon, sheathed on its underside in copper. He was reputedly overheard to say to Brodie of Brodie words to the effect that he 'knew the Duchess had a brass neck and a brazen face but never knew she had a copper arse!' The Duchess, not amused upon hearing of the remark, decided to pursue a case of slander in the courts. Findlater fled to his estate in Saxony, Germany, and never returned. —Cullen House.

EASTER ELCHIES. Scottish, Reel. F Major. Standard. AAB. An 18th century melody composed by William Marshall (1748–1833). Easter Elchies (as opposed to Wester Elchies) was an estate built in 1754 by Lord Elchies on a height on the west bank of the river Spey. It bought four years later by the 6th Earl of Findlater (d. 1770). Moyra Cowie (The Life and Times of William Marshall) relates that the 6th Earl's successor made an unfortunate jest at the expense of the Jane, Duchess of Gordon. It seems that a ship had been built called The Duchess of Gordon, replete with copper sheathing on its underside to help deter rot and marine animals, as was the inovation of the era. James Ogilvy, 7th Earl of Findlater and 4th Earl of Seafield (1750–1811), was overheard to remark to Brodie of Brodie the "I aye kent the Duchess had a brass neck and a brazen face, but I niver kent she had a copper arse." Jane was not amused, and pursued the matter in the courts. Findlater fled to his estate in the German country of Saxony, and never did return to Scotland. The famous Macallan distillery, founded in 1824, is at Easter Elchies and produces a fine single malt whiskey. —The Fiddler's Companion.

Here is an excerpt from an Addenda at the end of The Catholics of Scotland: From 1593, and the Extinction of the Hierarchy in 1603, Till the Death of Bishop Carruthers in 1852 by Aeneas McDonell Dawson (Ottawa 1890) beginning after page 872 of the main text:

Rev. George Gordon, a native of Garioch, Aberdeen-shire, in many ways a remarkable man. Educated at the Scotch College in Valladolid he was a thorough Spaniard to the end of his life; a born musician, as his masses and hymns testify; composed and arranged for the use of small choirs as their title sets forth, they are to this day the standard music in many missions in Scotland, as much as Bishop Hay's works were the theology of the people.

Mr. Gordon, not satisfied with the thatched chapel, set to work and erected a comfortable two story stone building with slated roof. The lower story served as the presbytery, and the upper flat, having a vaulted roof, made a very respectable chapel—a great improvement on the other with the mud floor.

In 1817 the village of Dufftown on the property of the Earl of Fife, a very liberal nobleman, was begun. It is situated about two and a half miles north west of the farm of Upper Keithock, and besides being more central was on the highway to Glenlivat and the upper missions. Mr. Gordon got a grant of a few acres of land from the Earl of Fife, and in 1825 he built thereon a very neat stone church with gothic facade, in dressed sandstone, as well as a compact and comfortable presbytery, also in stone, and enclosed the whole property with a stone and lime wall, all of which remain to this day a standing memorial of his zeal and energy.

With his taste and his musical talent he got an organ for the new church, and trained several members of his choir, male and female, to play and sing. Some years before his death in 1856 he, out of his private means, purchased a magnificent organ, costing about one thousand pounds sterling, and presented it to the mission, the smaller organ going to another place.

This good and pious priest lies buried at the side of the altar in the church his zeal was the means of erecting, and a marble tablet in the hall records a fitting tribute to his memory. How little many now alive, and in this over-busy century, think how much they are indebted to the zeal, piety and self-denial of their ancestors who in sad days of trial kept for them the inestimable gift of the Catholic faith!

Dufftown, Mortlach, Rev. George Gordon. —The Catholic Directory and Annual Register for the Year 1838, page 60, lists Rev. George Gordon in Dufftown, Banffshire (and Rev. James Gordon and William M'Intosh)in Tombae, Glenlivet, Ballindalloch, Banffshire.

From St Mary’s, Dufftown: The story of a church:

]ames Duff; fourth Earl of Fife founded the village of Dufftown in 1817. This was wonderful news for the Catholics in the area. In order to avoid persecution they had been worshipping in secret and inhospitable locations for generations. Since 1794 they were meeting regularly at Upper Keithock up in the hills near Auchindoun Castle. Parishioners travelled from Mortlach, Aberlour and Cabrach; their journey was difficult, the roads were non-existent and the way was steep. Initially a farmhouse had been converted to provide a chapel on the upper floor. It was very cramped. In 1804 the Rev John Davidson decided to build Chapel Keithock. The Cabrach was becoming depopulated and their numbers had dwindled; by 1809 worshippers had reduced to 127. The Rev George Gordon was sent to the mission in that year. His charge was extensive, covering eight parishes. He continually rued the day that such an expensive building was built in such an inaccessible place. So in 1817 he was delighted with the Earl of Fife’s plans. Looking across from Keithock it was obvious the village was the place to build a chapel. It was situated on lower and more fertile ground and there were good roads in all directions. ...

The 1833 Directory added that there were around 170 regular attendees. Fr Gordon played an important part in ensuring not only that the chapel was built and improved as time went on. He also played a major role in the revival of Scottish Church music.He edited two volumes of Sacred Music for the use of Small Choirs.. Copies were supplied to parishes all over Scotland, England, 'Ireland and America. Volumes can still befound in St Mary’s today He also provided St Mary’s with an organ.

When the Fr. Gordon died on 10 May 1856 at the age of 80 he was buried under the floor of the sanctuary to the left of the altar.

John Gordon (1779–1834).

Father John Gordon (1779–1834). Libindx NM067928. The first son of John Gordon (1738–1820) (Libindx NM06343) and Mary Dawaon (1752–1824) (Libindx NM063475); their second son was Alexander Gordon (1781–1863) (Libindx NM067928, father of Helen Gordon (1828–1903) who married Peter Grant (1834–1900), and mother of Father James Andrew Grant (1867–1926). Doris M Grant in a posting of April 10. 2008, notes that, though Alexander was the second son, "he succeeded to the lease of Tullochallum upon his father's death as his eldest brother, John had entered the priesthood." Here is an excerpt from an Addenda at the end of The Catholics of Scotland: From 1593, and the Extinction of the Hierarchy in 1603, Till the Death of Bishop Carruthers in 1852 by Aeneas McDonell Dawson (Ottawa 1890) beginning after page 872 of the main text:

Tulloch-Allum in the Highlands of Banffshire, alluded to in this work, was a favourite resort of the venerable Bishop Hay. The head of the family that had been resident there for several generations was devoted to the Bishop always served his mass and accompanied him on his missionary journeyings. His eldest son, John Gordon,* who was studying for the priesthood at the College of Douai at the time of the French Revolution, escaped from France, along with other students, and became distinguished as a missionary Priest. He built a church at Dumbarton and another at Greenock, where, afterwards, the late Reverend William Gordon, the last chief of the clan Gordon of Glenbucket, was so long the zealous and popular pastor.

[*John Gordon (1779–1833), uncle of Helen Gordon, the mother of Father James Andrew Grant.]

The following account of the missions of Cabrach, Achendoune (Auchindoune) and Abuline Speyside, from 1770 till 1856, has been kindly furnished by a worthy member of the family so long resident at Tullochallum. The priest or missionary for the time had his home mostly at Shenval, parish of Cabrach, one of the wildest spots in that poor country. A very humble thatched cottage served as a church—long ago leveled to the ground.

The Catholics in Cabrach were few and poor, but, like some of the other missions, were protected by the powerful Duke of Gordon.

At Achendoune in those days they had no church. Mass was said there at intervals at the farm of Tullochallum, then occupied by John Gordon, a cadet and near relative of Gordon of Clastirum in the Enzie, already mentioned in these sketches, and still in the possession of his grandson, George Gordon. No room in the modest house of Tullochallum was large enough for the few Catholics, so that mass was celebrated in the "kiln." A complete set of hangings to cover the temporary altar were kept at Tullochallum; and one of the sons, principally the late Alexander Gordon, had the honour of carrying the altar stone and chalice, with other requisites for mass, from Shenval to Tullochallum and thence to Abuline, his duties further consisting of serving mass, the priest as a rule visiting each place in succession ...

Both from the fact that it was frequently the temporary home of Bishop Hay, as well as the resting place of every priest traveling that way, the name of Tullochallum was so well known at Rome that some of the students on their return to Scotland as priests, having heard so much of it and the family, were astonished to find it was only a modest farm house.

The late John Gordon was often heard to remark (he was himself a very early riser, never in bed after four o'clock) that on going to visit the bishop—the first thing he did every morning—he never found His Lordship in bed or asleep, but on his knees at prayer.

When times became less intolerant, and it was considered more convenient for priest and people, the headquarters of the mission were removed from Shenval to the farm of Upper Keithock in Achendoune, possibly about 1790. To help the priest to live the Duke of Gordon rented him the small farm; and a little church was built, one story and thatched roof. The priest then was a Mr. Davidson, a native of the Enzie. John Gordon of Tullochallum took upon himself the cost of cultivating the priest's farm, seed and labor—never doing a thing for his own till the priest's crop was laid down.

James Gordon (?–1842). Convert.

Priest. Died on June 25, 1842, at Tombae Glenlivet. Libindx NM066850.

Tombae, Glenlivat, Ballindalloch, Rev James Gordon and William M'Intosh —The Catholic Directory and Annual Register for the Year 1838, page 60.

An ‘alias’ phenomenon flourished in the Upper Banffshire records for nearly a 100 years after its first appearance in 1740. These aliases were very different from those used by the McGregors of Stratha’an and Upper Deeside (forced by the proscription of their clan to shelter under a Gordon, Grant, or other ‘safe’ name) but no memory of them has survived to the present day. They seem to have had a Catholic dimension, for aliases were meticulously recorded in the Glenlivet RC Registers until 1838, long after they had disappeared elsewhere. Indeed, this was effectively so by 1812 when the Tombae Register starts.

An ‘alias’ phenomenon flourished in the Upper Banffshire records for nearly a 100 years after its first appearance in 1740. These aliases were very different from those used by the McGregors of Stratha’an and Upper Deeside (forced by the proscription of their clan to shelter under a Gordon, Grant, or other ‘safe’ name) but no memory of them has survived to the present day. They seem to have had a Catholic dimension, for aliases were meticulously recorded in the Glenlivet RC Registers until 1838, long after they had disappeared elsewhere. Indeed, this was effectively so by 1812 when the Tombae Register starts. ...

The Glenlivet Priests—The meticulous recording of aliases in the Glenlivet Catholic Baptism Registers was entirely due to Rev. James John Gordon, priest at Tombae from 1812 until 1842, and to Rev. William Dundas at Chapeltown from its opening in 1829 until his death from smallpox in December 1838. There is no obvious reason why the Glenlivet priests should have done so when Rev. Donald Carmichael in Tomintoul did not, especially as the aliases were by then in serious decline. Nor were any aliases recorded by Rev. Gordon’s temporary replacements in 1826 and 1837-8, or Rev. Robert Stuart, his Braes-born eventual successor. Rev. Gordon, a Deeside man and convert to Catholicism, had arrived in Glenlivet from Paisley on 11 October 1812 - perhaps as an incomer he felt impelled to preserve traditional information that was rapidly fading from folk memory. —Hidden Families-Aliases and Patronymics in Upper Banffshire by Stuart Mitchell. (an invaluable article. Here is another copy of part 1 on rootsweb, published as: Mitchell, Stuart. 1998. Hidden Families. Aliases and Patronymics in Upper Banffshire (parts 1 and 2). Aberdeen and NE Scotland FHS Journal #66, pages 23-26 (part 1), and #67 pages 31-33 (part 2), continued in Journal #67, pages 31–32.)

Charles Gordon (1813–1864).

Priest. Born on April 13, 1813, at Clashnoir Glenlivat Banffshire. Died on January 31, 1864, at St. Ann's Courtrai Bruges Belgium. Libindx NM064760.

1336. Thomas. 1805, Feb. 12, Ens., Abcrdeensh. Mil. (L.G., 797; List of Offs. Mil., and Vols., 1807, p. 1), obtained com. through the interest of the Duke of Gordon, also com. in 92nd Ft. (Gordon Highlrs.) as Ens., 1807, Jul. 4 (L.G., 896, 1143). 1808, Aug. 2, Ft. (ibid., 1051). "Served at battles of Corunna, Salamanca, Burgos, Vittoria, Pyrenees, Bayonne, Toulouse and Waterloo (Medal) without having ever received a wound" (S.M., vol. 6, p. 189; A.L., 1808–20; Dalton's Waterloo Roll Call).

Fourth son of John, in Tullochallum, Mortlach (d. 1824), who belonged to the Gordons in Achnarrow (Huntly Express, 1906, Jul. 13, 20), and Mary Dawson (d. 1820); brother of the famous Priest Charles Gordon; d. 1819, Sep. 17, at Kingston, Jamaica, of yellow fever, "esteemed as an officer and a Christian by all who knew him, . . . deplored by his relatives and deeply regretted by his brother officers and acquaintances" (S.M., vol. 6, p. 189). —Gordon under Arms, page 314.


For references to some of the innumerable sources of research on the history of Grants in Scotland, go to my page: Family and Ancestry of Father James Andrew Grant in Scotland.

William Grant (c. 1600–1689) —Jesuit

1659 to 1665. native of Strathspey? to Scots College, Douai, 28 July 1620 (?); joined Society of Jesus in Tournai of in Spain, c. 1626; missinay in norther Scotland in 1641 abd un 1646 (and perhaps from 1635 to 1658); rector at Madrid, as above; died in Scotland, 8th October 1689 (?). —Register of the Scots College in Spain—Madrid Period 1627–1767—Administrators/Rectors. Appendix 3, page 301, on Electric Scotland.

Alexander John Grant (c. 1694–1727? ) Priest of Glenlivet. Libindx NM052810.

Alexander John Grant, formerly an alumnus of the Scotch College, Rome, was elected to be Vicar Apostolic and bishop of Sura in 1727, but died before the Pope confirmed his appointment. —Annals of the Catholic Hierarchy in England and Scotland: A.D. 1585–1876, by William Maziere Brady (a free Google eBook), page 463–464.

Alexander John Grant referred to as either Alexander of John depending on the sources, had been a Scots Gaelic-speaking priest nominated for the post of Highland vicar apostolic. According to Bellesheim, Grant was living in Rome at the time and "resolutely declined to accept the proposed dignity." He was at last prevailed upon and set out for Scotland from Rome in 1727. But according to Johnson and Darragh, Alexander John Grant was in Scotland serving the mission as head of Scalan (see page 33 below) and was sent to Rome to convince Propaganda of his worthiness, with no hint of reluctance on his part. All three agree that Grant was in Rome in 1726 and when approved by Propaganda in April 1727, began the journey back to Scotland, touring Italy as he went. The last known address for Alexander John Grant was a hospital in Genoa, from a letter dated 28 December 1727 which told of his illness (according to Johnson mental illness and paranoia) and poverty. He was never heard from again and it was surmised that he died, even though there were unsubstantiated reports that he was living as a Benedictine monk in Italy. See Bellesheim, iv, 187–188*, Darragh, 9, and Johnson Dev., 40–41. —The Restoration of the Roman Catholic Hierarchy in Scotland, by MariaChristina C. Mairena, 2008, page 63, fn 65.

*See also —Bellesheim IV, pages 383–388. Appendix: Extract from a Letter of Bishops Gordon and Wallace (Coadjutor) to Propaganda, August 13, 1726.

John Alexander Grant (c.1694–post 1727). Priest. Born in Wester Boggs Enzie. Libindx NM074240. Apparently the same person as Alexander Grant, immediately above.

1726 to 11 October 1734. came from Douai to replace Fr. Francis Xavier Strachan. —Register of the Scots College in Spain—Madrid Period 1627–1767—Other Priests etc. in the College. Appendix 3, page 304, on Electric Scotland.

James Grant (1706–1778).

Priest and Bishop. He died at Aberdeen on December 3, 1778.

In Order to assist Bishop Smith in his laborious , a coadjutor was assigned to him in 1755 in the person of James Grant, Bishop of Sinita. Grant had been educated at the Scotch College in Paris, and ordained priest in 1734, but before returning to Scotland he studied for a year in another Parisian seminary, which proved to be strongly tainted with Jansenism. Shortly after the battle of Culloden Mr Grant was apprehended in one of the Western Isles and carried to Inverness, where he lay in prison for upwards of a year, being only released through the efforts of his brother in May 1747. At the instance of Bishop Smith, he was named, on February 21, 1755, Bishop of Sinita, and coadjutor of the Lowland district, and was consecrated by the same prelate in Edinburgh in the following November. The delay of nine months seems to have been due to the singularly diffident character of the bishop- elect, and to his extreme reluctance to undertake the responsible duties of the episcopate. —Bellesheim IV, pages 198–199. ...

During the first portion of Hay's missionary career, the Lowland district continued under the administration of Bishop Alexander Smith. A report of the year 1763, preserved among the Acts of Propaganda, describes this prelate as "full of zeal and the love of God"; and his coadjutor, James Grant, who succeeded to the vicariate on the death of Bishop Smith in 1766, is referred to in similar terms. Towards the close of 1767, Bishop Grant, sensible of his failing powers, proposed to Propaganda the appointment of Hay as his coadjutor. The request was acceded to; and on Trinity Sunday, 1769, he received the episcopal consecration at Scalan. The usual certificates of the canonical oath and profession of faith were forwarded by Bishop Hay to the Sacred Congregation from Paris, whither he had gone on business connected with his office, on March 13, 1772. The new prelate fixed his residence in Edinburgh, while Bishop Grant found a congenial home for his declining years in the quiet town of Aberdeen, where there had been a considerable Catholic community ever since the Reformation. —Bellesheim IV, pages 216–217.

James Grant was born in July, 1706, the son of D. Petri Grant and D. Annae Reid of Banffshire. He was consecrated Bishop of Sinita on November 13, 1755. Annals of the Catholic Hierarchy in England and Scotland: A.D. 1585–1876, by William Maziere Brady (a free Google eBook), page 460.

Father James Grant, bishop in 1774, was two years at Scalan about the year 1720. Bishop Gordon took a pleasure in staying some months in each year in the summer at Scalan, and was very desirous that learning and virtue should nourish there. —Scalan, Introduction: A Brief Historical Account of the Seminary of Scalan by Bishop John Geddes, page 28.

The place of Bishop Grant's birth was Wester Boggs, in the Catholic District of the Enzie, Banffshire. He studied at the Scotch College of Rome from 1726 till 1734, when he was ordained priest. Before returning to Scotland he prolonged his studies for another year, by the advice of his Superiors of the Scotch College, at a seminary known as Notre Dame des Vertus. This house, it appears, although Mr. Grant and his friends knew it not, was infected with a strong taint of Jansenism. This became apparent on occasion of an excursion of Mr. Grant and his fellow students. There was in a room where they happened to dine a portrait of Quesnel, a notorious Jansenist. ...

In the year 1735 Mr. Grant returned to Scotland, and after spending a short time with his friends in The Enzie, was appointed to the Mission of Braes of Lochaber, as assistant to Rev. John McDonald. He was afterwards stationed in the Catholic Island of Barra. As showing how bitterly the Catholic clergy were persecuted after Culloden, it must be related that some ships of war had come to the coast in 1746; men were landed from them on Barra in search of victims. The chief object of their search, it appears, was the priest, and they threatened to lay waste the whole island if he were not given up to them. Mr. Grant, on hearing of those threats in a safe retreat to which he had retired in a small island, rather than see his parishioners reduced to misery, gave himself up to the enemy and was carried a prisoner to Mingarry Castle on the western coast. He was there detained for some weeks and then conveyed to Inverness, where he was thrown into the common prison, with forty prisoners together with him in the same room. This was not all. He was chained by the leg to Mr. McMahon, an Irish officer in the service of Spain, who had come to Scotland in order to be of service to Prince Charles. So chained, they could not, in the night time, change from one side to the other, except by the one passing over the other. The people of Inverness humanely provided them with some conveniences. Among other things, they gave to each a bottle, and this they hung out at the window in the morning, when it was filled by kindly persons with fresh water. One day the sentinels falsely informed the visiting officer that the prisoners had conspired to knock them on the head with bottles which they had ready for the purpose. In vain did Mr. Grant and others plead that the accusation was as groundless as it was improbable and ridiculous. They were not heard, but deprived of the bottles. Mr. Grant was afterwards heard to own that he felt more keenly this privation than any other cruelty that was inflicted on him. His brother, John Grant, of Wester Boggs, at length came to know where he was, visited him, furnished him with money, and made such powerful interest with gentlemen of their Clan as to obtain his liberation in May 1747. The condition was required that he should come under bail to present himself when called upon. To the influences on his side it must be described that he was never so called upon. The minister and other Protestants of Barra gave testimony as to his peaceable and inoffensive demeanour during the insurrection. The cruelties inflicted, during his incarceration, had seriously impaired his health.

On being liberated, he returned to his brother's house in the Enzie in order to renew his broken health. In 1748, he repaired to Shenval in consequence of a recommendation that he should drink goat milk whey. Following this simple regimen, and, at the same time indulging in perfect rest from missionary labour, he recovered his strength and was able to resume clerical duty. The charge of the Catholics resident in the parish of Rathven was assigned to him in the autumn of 1748, on the removal of the Rev. John Gordon to the mission of Buchan. Bishop Smith now stood in need of a coadjutor; and having applied in the proper quarter, Mr. Grant was selected for the important office by the Congregation of Propaganda. ... On the death of Bishop Smith in 1766, he became Vicar-Apostolic of the Lowland district. He died at Aberdeen on the 3rd December, 1778. —Dawson's Catholics of Scotland, pages 154–159.

At this time the Scotch Bishops sent their annual report to Rome, and failed not to represent therein the poverty and suffering of the clergy, praying Propaganda, at the same time, to appoint a coadjutor to Bishop Smith, now in his seventieth year. Their words were not lost on the most worthy Cardinal Spinelli, who had now succeeded as Cardinal Protector of Scotland. Through his endeavours and influence, all difficulties were finally overcome, and the office of coadjutor conferred on the Rev. James Grant, at the time Missionary Apostolic in his native parish of Rathven, County of Banff. —Dawson's Catholics of Scotland, page 174.

Mr James Grant, bishop in 1774, was two years at Scalan about the year 1720. Bishop Gordon took a pleasure in staying some months in each year in the summer at Scalan, and was very desirous that learning and virtue should nourish there. ... Father James Grant, a secular priest, was later imprisoned. —Scalan, Introduction: A Brief Historical Account of the Seminary of Scalan by Bishop John Geddes, page 28.

March 12, 1765. Bishop Smith, in replying to this letter, alluded to another reason for retaining Mr. Hay in the country, insisting that his medical knowledge was absolutely necessary for preserving Bishop Grant. The idea of his appointment was, therefore, abandoned; and Mr. Robert Grant sent to govern the seminary. —Dawson's Catholics of Scotland, page 208

1779 (?) The journey to Scalan had exhausted his already enfeebled constitution; and although his friends still hoped that he would be spared to them over the winter, he departed this life at Aberdeen, on the 3rd of December, in the forty-fifth year of his priesthood and the twenty-fourth of his episcopate. He was interred, with becoming honour, in the Snows Churchyard (Sta Maria ad Nives). —Dawson's Catholics of Scotland, page 315

Mr. James Grant, infirm before, and still more so now after long imprisonment, is not yet able to return to the Highlands. Report of Bishop Smith (Vicar-Apostolic) to Propaganda, December 13, 1747Bellesheim IV, page 402.

See: —Bellesheim IV, page 402. Bishops in Scotland, From 1695 to 1890.

William Grant (c.1700– )

Mr. William Grant, a popish priest, Baliwater. Directing the rebels. (Rose, page 131, Morayshire Jacobites) Balivaler. (Rosebery, page 110, Balivaler). Sometimes spelled Balivalier. See: —A List of Persons Concerned in the Rebellion, with preface by the Earl of Rosebery, Edinburgh 1890, pages 110–111 lists, under Where they now are, Balivaler (District of Elgin). —Jacobites of 1715 and 1745. North East Scotland by Frances McDonnell (available on, page 25.

The persecution of 1750 was also fraught with calamitous results to the Scottish mission. The most strenuous efforts were made, as Bishop Smith wrote to Rome in November of that year, to hunt out the priests and drag them before the tribunals, which as a rule sentenced them to perpetual banishment; as we find it recorded in the case of William Grant, a Benedictine, and several others. In consequence of this state of things many of the clergy remained in concealment, while others renounced their obedience to the vicar-apostolic, and refused to expose themselves to the risks of the missionary life. The real origin of these evils was of course to be sought in the violent opposition of the ministers, who were untiring in their efforts to stir up the authorities against the Catholic missionaries. —Bellesheim IV, page 197.

Father William Grant, also a Benedictine, was in Glengarry in 1734, whilst in 1735 Peter Grant has this mission, but he too was here only two years when he was sent as agent to Rome. —The American Catholic quarterly review, Volume XLI, from January to October, 1916,Glengarry by Dom Fred Odo Blundell, O.S.B., page 161 at page 166.

Finally, on this lost Catholic burial place (Dounan), when the Ratisbon Benedictine William Grant of Tombreak was priest of Strathavon in 1736 he 'was complained of for having said Mass where the minister was wont to perform worship, and had performed the Office of the Dead in the Kirk and Kirkyard.' It became an ecclesiastical power struggle, with Bishop James Gordon (the founder of Scalan) 'commending him for the good he was doing and congratulating him on his having so well adjusted the intricate case of the people of Clashmore; wishing also that Mr William might have some settled place in Strathavon, but scarcely thinking that the Duchess could be depended upon.' This was the Duchess of Gordon who brought up her sons as Protestants after the death of the second Duke - the ten year-old heir having just served mass at St Ninian's in the Braes of Enzie. —Graveyard Ramblings by Alasdair Roberts in Scalan New No. 12, June 1996.

Kilian Grant (c. 1700– )

In one case a Fr Kilian Grant was taken prisoner but on appearing in court the magistrate and Laird of Ballindalloch, who was also a Grant, refused to convict him on the grounds that there was no evidence (except for the word of Fr Grant) that he was a priest — as "papists" were incapable of telling the truth. —Blairs College—Faith of Our Fathers—The 'Heather Priests' who kept the Church alive by Gregory Kyle.

The Irish Monasteries of Ratisbon (Regensburg, Germany) is the title of an article by J. F. Hogan at page 1015 of The Irish Ecclesiastical Record, Third Series, Volume XV—1894, Dublin 1894, a free Google eBook. St. James at Ratisbon was a monastery founded on the west bank of the Danube River in 1090. In 1723, Kilian Grant was one of several Scots Monks at the monastery. Among them also was a Columban Grant. (page 1028).

Benedictines in the Highlands

Early in the 18th century Scotland’s new bishop went from his base near Fochabers to the west coast at Knoydart, where tracks were ‘worse than the Alps’.  In the house of MacDonell of Scotos he carried out the first ordination since the Reformation.  He was assisted by the local priest Columbanus MacLellan, born in Lewis and educated in Germany.  Several Ratisbon monks came from farms around what is now Tomintoul, all with the surname Grant. William Kilian Grant returned to serve his native Strathavon over a period of many years.  The Catholic Duke of Gordon had just died, and his widow objected to Grant saying mass at St Michael’s kirk.  Auchriachan, not far from Scalan, became his chapel instead.  After Culloden Grant gave himself up at Aberdeen as a priest ‘by habit and repute’, and was set free on the grounds that he must be insane – another example of tolerant Bon-Accord.Regensburg and the Scots by Alasdair Roberts on scalan/

Found in No Quarter Given: The Muster Roll of Prince Charles Edward Stuart's Army, edited by Christian Aikman, Alastair Livingstone, et al., at page 126, is

JWS Grant, Killian, priest OSB escaped. (JWS means J. Watts: Scalan, the forbidden college, 1999) Livingstone-JWS, page 126. May be the same person as William Grant, listed above as a popish priest, Baliwater.

Robert Grant (c. 1705– )

the son of John Grant; to Scots College, Madrid, July 1722; although wanted to join Society of Jesus, left for Scotland in Obedience to father's wishes, 6 April 1726. —Register of the Scots College in Spain—Madrid Period 1627–1767—Students. Appendix 3, page 310, on Electric Scotland.

Peter Grant (1708–1784)

Priest. Libindx NM089226.

Peter Grant (died 1784) was a Scottish Roman Catholic priest, agent and abbé, later in life an important liaison for British Catholic visitors in Rome.

Grant was born in the diocese of Moray, a member of the Grant family of Blairfindy in Glenlivat. He entered the Scotch College at Rome in 1726 and returned to Scotland as a priest in 1735. He was sent to the mission at Glengarry. There he remained till 1737, when, after the murder of the Roman agent Stuart, he was appointed to fill that office.

He became acquainted with British travellers who went to Rome, and rendered them many services. For a long period hardly any British subject of distinction visited Rome without being provided with letters of introduction to the Abbé Grant. Clement XI was very fond of him, and intended to create him a Cardinal; but died before taking steps.

Grant died at Rome on 1 September 1784. —Peter Grant (abbe')—Scottish Roman Catholic Priest on Wikipedia.

Grant, Peter (1708–1784), Roman Catholic priest and agent, was born on 15 August 1708 in Glenlivet, the son of John Grant of Blairfindy. He first studied at the seminary at Scalan, then entered the Scots College, Rome, in 1726, where he was ordained before returning to Scotland in 1735. A Gaelic speaker, he was sent to Glengarry, Inverness-shire, where he worked as a priest until his appointment as Roman agent in 1737. As such, he was the essential link between the Scottish mission and the congregation of propaganda fide. Bishop Hay frowned upon the agent's busy social life, which in his opinion led Grant to neglect the interests of the mission. While his younger brother, Robert, had become the first secular rector of the Scots College, Douai, Peter refused the rectorship of the Scots College, Rome, which he was offered when the Jesuits were suppressed in 1773. Pope Clement XIV was very fond of him and might have created him a cardinal had the pope lived longer. Hardly any British traveller, whether Catholic or protestant, visited Rome without letters of introduction to Abbé Grant, who would be their guide there. His diligence in getting private audiences with the pope for British gentry on the grand tour earned him the nickname ‘l'Introduttore’ and he received praise for the assiduousness and courtesy of his service. He also introduced British travellers to the artists he knew, including Angelica Kauffman and Gavin Hamilton. In 1783 he decided to return to Britain and embarked on a ‘Grand Tour in reverse’ (Skinner), which took him to the homes of those visitors to Italy he had formerly helped. He was in London at the time of his brother's death there in March 1784. He died at Rome on 1 September 1784 and was buried in the city's parish church in the piazza Navona. —Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Grant, Peter (d. 1784), Scotch abbé, born in the diocese of Moray, was a member of the Grant family of Blairfindy in Glenlivat. He entered the Scotch College at Rome in 1726 and returned to Scotland as a priest in 1735. He was sent to the mission of Glengarry, where he remained till 1737, when, upon the murder of the Roman agent, Mr. Stuart, he was appointed to fill that office. He became acquainted with all the British travellers who went to Rome, and rendered them many services. For a long period hardly any British subject of distinction visited Rome without being provided with letters of introduction to the Abbé Grant. Clement XI was very fond of him and meant to raise him to the purple, but died before he was able to carry his intention into effect. Grant died at Rome on 1 Sept. 1784. —Grant, Peter (DNB00) on Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 22.

Robert Grant (1720–1784).

Died on March 29, 1784 in London. Libindx NM090631.

Robert Grant — Student 1736–1740.

Robert Grant was born at Blairfindy in Glenlivet in 1720. He was enrolled at Scalan in 1736 and in 1738 transferred to The Scots College, Paris finally travelling to The Scots College Rome where he was ordained in 1748. He returned to Scotland and had five stations between 1749 and 1764. He was appointed Rector of The Scots College Douai; this college was founded by William Allan for English Priests in 1568 for the translation of the Reims-Douai Bible and managed by the Scottish Jesuit William Crichton in 1593. Robert Grant held this post until his death in 1784. — Scalan News, No. 37, November, 2008.

Robert Grant, brother of the agent at Rome, was the first president. Notwithstanding the difficulties of the position, he continued to hold office for a considerable time. It ought to have been a cause for rejoicing to all religious people that the college, after having come through so severe an ordeal, was once more devoted to the object for which it was founded. —Dawson's Catholics of Scotland, page 248

Mr. Robert Grant, the Principal of the Scotch College of Douai, went as far as Lisle to meet him and accompanied him to Douai. Having proposed some changes in the constitution of the college he proceeded to Paris, together with Principal Grant. His object in visiting that city was to obtain from the French Government a benefice in France for the benefit of the Scotch mission. —Dawson's Catholics of Scotland, page 253

The failing health of Mr. Robert Grant, the Principal of the Scotch College at Douai, induced him to repair to London in order to consult the physicians there. His brother, the Abbate, who had gone from England to spend the winter at Douai, accompanied him. Notwithstanding all that was done for him, he became daily worse, and at last, having received the sacraments of the dying, he departed this life in the house of Dr. Alexander Geddes, his brother, the Abbate, assisting him in his last moments. —Dawson's Catholics of Scotland, page 407

The death of Mr. Robert Grant, the Rector of Douai College, was a severe shock to his brother, the Abbate, agent of the Scotch Mission at Rome. When at Douai, on his way back to Rome, the Abbate proposed spending a few days with Principal Gordon, of the Scotch College at Paris. The eccentric Principal, however, to his great surprise and mortification, forbade him access to the College. There did not appear to be any cause for such rudeness. On the contrary, the Abbate had in former years done good service to the College, uniformly defending it against its enemies and calumniators. Inhere had, indeed, been disputes between the Principal and the Scotch Bishops. But, Abbate Grant, living at a distance, had no part in them. Principal Gordon's strange conduct appears to have been attributed, at the time, to aberation of mind. This is all the more probable, as his brother, it will be remembered, had to be taken care of, having become decidedly insane. Dawson's Catholics of Scotland, pages 415–416.

The Abbate was in poor health when he arrived at Rome. Notwithstanding, instead of resting, as he would have required to do, after the fatigue of his journey and the trials he had experienced, he immediately began to visit his numerous friends. The consequence of this imprudence was a severe attack of dysentery and inflammation, which defied all remedies, and caused his death in the 74th year of his age (September 1st.). Dawson's Catholics of Scotland, pages 415–417.

Alexander Grant (1805–1833).

Priest and pastor. Born in 1809 in Glenlivet. Died January 25, 1833, in Portsoy. Headstone Ref. Ch160. Libindx NM052808.

For some years Bishop Gordon entertained the opinion that it was expedient to divide the Vicariate of Scotland, so as that the Highland regions and the Lowland should each have a Bishop Vicar Apostolic. The clergy generally now came to share his views, and the time was come, he conceived, when Propaganda should be addressed on the subject. He made the necessary proposal accordingly, and, at the same time, recommended the Rev. Alexander Grant, the President of the seminary at Scalan, as the most suitable person to be appointed Vicar Apostolic of the Highlands. Everything connected with this important matter was proceeding smoothly, when Mr. Grant repaired in person to Rome and was approved, nominated and promised his Bulls of consecration by the time of his return to Scotland.

Meanwhile, however, Mr. Grant fell ill, when on his way home, at Genoa. His ailment was partly ague, partly despondency of mind. His supply of money having failed, he wrote to Paris for more, but the letter in reply, containing the necessary remittance, never reached him. This unfortunate circumstance preyed on his mind ; and his imagination becoming diseased, he believed that his friends had deserted him, and that he was wholly unfit for the great responsibilities of the Episcopal office. The Bulls for his consecration reached Scotland. But in vain; Mr. Grant never arrived there. He was never heard of more, although letters concerning him were frequently despatched to Rome and others written from Rome. It is conjectured that he may have retired into a monastery, but with greater probability, that he died, when unable to make himself known, in some public hospital. Dawson's Catholics of Scotland, pages 116–117.

See also —Bellesheim IV, page188.

Alexander Grant (1810–1878)

Alexander Grant, born Aberdeen, 14 August 1810. Ordained 18 March 1834, appointed vice-rector of the Pontifical Scots College in 1841, succeeded as Rector and Agent for the Scottish Mission 24 November 1846. Died 26 March 1878, Rome. —The Restoration of the Roman Catholic Hierarchy in Scotland, by MariaChristina C. Mairena, 2008, page 178, fn 27.

William Edwardm McGough and James Andrew Grant: Priests in Northern Californiae
Updated August 29, 2014  

[Link to] Feedback »
Site Search & Directory »
© 1999–2014 Hugh McGough »