The Story behind the Stone – the families, estates and stories of Kirkmichael, Cullicudden, the Black Isle and beyond

A Short History of Udol or Udale, under proprietors
Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty, the Andersons of Udol, Captain George Mackay Sutherland of Udale and the Gun Munros of Poyntzfield and Udale

text by Dr Jim Mackay   references are to National Records of Scotland unless otherwise stated

my thanks to Dorothy Anderson, whose husband was a descendant of the Andersons of Udol, Lindsay and Piers Hemy of Marchburn at Udale, Jonathan Gorvett, who while residing in the Old Coachhouse at Udale gave us a tour in August 2022, Nick Hide, dedicated Davidson researcher, Jonathan McColl for 18th century Dingwall Burgh Council information, trustees Andrew Dowsett, Davine Sutherland and Alastair Morton for photography and James Holm of Easter Ferryton who revealed to me that our maternal grandmother had worked in Udale House


It is not surprising that there is a close association between Udale, in the Parish of Cromarty, and Kirkmichael, the church in the eastern part of the united Parish of Kirkmichael and Cullicudden commonly called Resolis.

You can see from the 1654 Blaeu map below, where I have filled the relevant markers with red, that Udale lies only a short distance from the church and graveyard of Kirkmichael, but a long way away from the church and graveyards of Cromarty.


Consequently, tenants and servants at Udale commonly worshipped at Kirkmichael. The carved slab commemorating the wives of Hugh McCulloch, tacksman of Udale and “doer” for the laird, Anderson of Udol, lay in the kirkyard of Kirkmichael, albeit now moved to the nave. And there were inter-marriages: Anne Anderson of Udol erected a memorial to her husband, George Lockhart of Newhall and her children, through in the chancel.


from Kirkmichael across Udale Bay to the shore at Udale, where the yairs were located (blue ellipse), and up to Udale House (red ellipse); photo by Andrew Dowsett


Early days

In early documentation, Udale is spelled Udol, Udal, Idol, Udoll, Udall, Idoll and even Udale. From the 1800s it more consistently became Udale. In this story, I use Udol up to the time that George Mackay Sutherland purchased the estate (1831) and Udale thereafter. Watson, in Place Names of Ross and Cromarty (1904) gives yet another early variant:

Udale – Vddall 1578; G. Uadal, from Norse ‘y-dalr, yew-dale.

There is a different line of thought to Watson’s, declared firmly by some, as to the name referencing Norse “udal law”. In a land context, the udal tenant held their land without charter by uninterrupted possession on payment to the Crown, the kirk, or a grantee from the Crown, of a tribute called skat. Whichever, Udale is of Norse origin. Braelangwell, a short distance from Udale, is a mixture of Gaelic and Norse.

Udale has been a distinct farming area within the Black Isle for a very long time. And while other estates expanded and shrunk with their owner’s fortunes, the boundary of the tiny Udale estate varied little over the centuries.

Udale Burn on its final stretch forms the boundary between the parishes of Cromarty and Kirkmichael. The bridge over Udale Burn was commissioned in 1787 by the Commissioners of Supply under the instigation of Alexander Anderson of Udol, and its parapet bears a datestone of 1800. It thus pre-dates the modern planned village of Jemimaville, associated at that time with the neighbouring estate of Poyntzfield, which originated about 1822.

Udale Bridge, with the four striking gatepiers to the Udale Estate behind; photo by Alastair Morton

photo by Jim Mackay

Despite some fairly steep slopes, Udale has always been prized farmland. The New Statistical Account for the parish of Cromarty, written September 1836, says of Captain George Mackay Sutherland of Udale “The highly cultivated property of the latter gentleman, one of the most beautiful in this part of the country, contains about 500 [acres].” A detailed examination of farming practice on Udale in 1877 is provided as Appendix 4.

Udale has a fairly narrow frontage on the Cromarty Firth, but nevertheless fish trapped in the yair or yairs on the shore were important financially for centuries. The yairs were present even in the 1600s. The industry of catching salmon in this way led in more recent days to the construction of an ice-house just up from Jemimaville, sunk into the the west bank of Udale Burn, the stored ice being used to keep the fish fresh as it was transported to southern markets.

An extensive mussel scalp just off the shore was also identified, in 1813, as an economic opportunity; or at least it did in a hopeful sales advertisement of that year! And I see another, more modern, use of the shore reported in the North Star of 15 August 1907: “The ketch ‘Leader’ discharged coal at Udale beach.” Boats in this period delivered coal all along the firth, with a procession of carts arriving to carry away the bags of coal. The bigger boats used piers such as at Findon Quarry, where there are photographs of coal being offloaded.

But the big attraction off-shore at Udale had to be the wildfowl on Udale Bay which attracted countless sportsmen, on foot and on boat. Whilst advertisements for the estate always mentioned shooting over the estate, they drew particular attention to the wildfowling opportunities on Udale Bay. Nowadays Udale Bay, noted as an internationally important site for migrating birds, draws in many bird-loving tourists to the two RSPB hides, one on each side of the bay.

photo by Davine Sutherland

photo by Andrew Dowsett

There used to be a sawmill just up from the ice-house on the Udale Burn, powered by water led from the burn into a detaining pond. The area around the pond, I was informed by Lindsay Hemy, is known locally as “Gethsemane”, perhaps because of the early association of Udale with father and son ministers Gilbert and Hugh Anderson. As a boy, I remember going fishing there once, but the only thing I caught was a sting on my knee resulting from my disturbing a wasp’s poke. I have not been back since!

The boundaries of Udale are set out in detail in sasines but I am not aware of the location of any old estate plan. One was drawn up in the time of Alexander Anderson of Udol, formerly of Hanover parish in Jamaica, sometime between his purchase of the estate in 1774 and the publication of the Old Statistical Account in 1794: “There was a survey of the estate of Cromarty taken by the late Mr. George Ross; as also, of the estate of Udal by Mr. Anderson the present proprietor, and accurate maps of both properties made out.” The Cromarty Estate Plan of 1764 by the great David Aitken, whose story is told on our website here does provide some Udol details on its border which I’ll discuss later. But if anyone knows what happened to the Udol Estate Plan please let me know!


Udol before the Andersons

Our information on Udol prior to the Andersons coming into the small estate is limited. I see from Urquhart charters that Udol (and other lands) passed from the Bishop of Ross to the Urquhart family of Cromarty, with ratification of that process over the period 1564 to 1608.

In 1644, the lands of Udol were included in the long list of Urquhart possessions contained in an instrument of sasine in favour of Sir Robert Farquhar, one of the most significant of the people to whom the Urquharts owed money. In 1655, the Protector, Oliver Cromwell, granted to Sir Robert Farquhar a great array of Urquhart lands including “the town and lands of Udoll”. The Urquharts found it a challenging time to be dedicated Royalists.

the brilliant but wildly eccentric Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty

Returning to the yairs, or yares, or zairs, of Udol (a yair is an enclosure on the sea-shore to trap fish, especially salmon, in nets or by hand, as the tide recedes), I see from Sir Thomas Urquhart’s Logopandecteision (1653) that they were so well-established in his day that the location had become known as “The yares of Udol”. You can ignore the usual hyperbole about his foe, Robert Leslie of Findrassie:

When some four years ago, with all the Horse and Foot he was able to command, he came in a hostile manner to take possession of a Farm of mine, called Ardoch; unto which (as Sir Robert Farquhair can testifie) he had no more just title, then to the town of Jericho mentioned in the Scriptures ; and that at the offer of such an indignity of our House, some of the hot-spirited Gentlemen of our name would even then have him, with his three sons, bound them hand and foot and thrown them within the Flood-mark, into a place called The yares of Udol, there to expect the coming of the Sea in a full tide, to carry him along to be seized in a soil of a greater depth, and abler to restrain the insatiableness of his immense desires, then any of my Lands within the shire of Cromartie.

yair at Udale and stake nets at Chapelton and Shore Mills, 1837; the Udale shoreline is in pink, and Kirkmichael is shown as a small grey parallelogram just above Gordon Mills

There is only one yair (but an enormous one) drawn in this accurate plan of 1837; but Hugh Miller in his tragic “Salmon-fisher of Udoll” (Tales and Sketches, 1863), admittedly presumably mostly Miller’s invention, mentions that the salmon-fisher of the title erected two yairs in 1759.

We have seen that Sir Thomas himself held Udol, and indeed in his first (and I confess less than scintillating) book Epigrams: divine and moral (1641) several variants of the title page carry his portrait with the text “Sr. Thomas Vrchard Knight of Bray and Vdol etc”




Reverend Gilbert Anderson (1597–1655) and his son, Reverend Hugh Anderson (c1633–1704)

And then the Andersons arrive, their progenitor, I understand from correspondent Dorothy Anderson, being Reverend Thomas Anderson of Glass and Dalmeath. This parish lay in Moray Diocese, within which were also the parishes of Drainie (Kinneddar) and Duffus in which descendants Hugh of Drainie and Alexander of Duffus were to serve as ministers. I have included as Appendix 1 a simplified tree of the Andersons to assist navigation of the family, and a short review of the Anderson wives as Appendix 2. The important Trent family connection is provided as Appendix 3.

Reverend Thomas obtained wadsets over land by loaning money to a cash-poor proprietor (RS4/3, folios 413–415, 416; RS4/5 folios 12–13). His descendants would follow a similar pattern. When you secured a wadset you were entitled to the tenancy rentals for the land in question until the debt was repaid, and in the event of the debt plus interest not being repaid you obtained the land itself.

Reverend Gilbert Anderson (1597–1655) became the minister in Cromarty in 1641. He is often referred to as Gilbert Anderson of Udol, but the evidence that he held Udol in his lifetime is shaky. It was certainly in the hands of his son, Reverend Hugh Anderson of Udol (c1633–1704), from 1664. Both of them were ministers of Cromarty, Hugh, surprisingly, twice.

I have added comments to, and expanded abbreviations within, their Parish of Cromarty entries in the Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae:

GILBERT ANDERSON of Udol in this parish, born 1597; educated at King’s College, Aberdeen; M.A. (1626); admitted to Cawdor before 30th Oct. 1627; translated and admitted [to Cromarty] between 5th Oct. 1641 and 11th Jan. 1642; died Nov. 1655. He railed against his patron and family several times from the pulpit, according to Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty [about as reliable a witness as Donald Trump, so presumably there was in reality merely some mild criticism], “with such opprobrious tones, more like a scolding tripe-seller’s wife than good minister, squirting the poison of detraction and abominable falsehood (unfit for the chaire of verity) in the ears of his tenandry, who were the onely auditors.” He married Elizabeth Bruce (who married (2) Andrew Ross, minister of Tarbat) and had issue – Hugh, minister of this parish. [Urquhart’s Jewel (1652); Kirkton’s Hist., 96; Brodie’s Diary; Family of Dallas, 286.]
HUGH ANDERSON of Udol, born about 1633, son of preceding, educated at King’s College, Aberdeen; M.A. (1651); was regent there in 1652; admitted [to Cromarty]1656; deprived by Act of Parliament and Decreet of Privy Council 1st Oct. 1662, but was allowed to remain unmolested until after assisting at the Communion at Obsdale House (now Dalmore) in Sept. 1675, when he retired to Udol; restored in 1690; died 3rd June 1704. [Purchased Udol in 1664.] Hugh Miller says he lived a part of the time in Moray. He married Grizel, daughter of John Row, Principal of King’s College, Aberdeen, and had issue – Barbara, born Jan. 1661, died March 1663; Hugh, minister of Drainie, born 1666 [actually 1662]; Alexander, minister of Duffus, born 28th Aug. 1672; Grizel (married Mr Crombie, merchant in Elgin [Moray]). – [Wodrow’s Hist., ii., 333; Bass Rock, 239, 241; Covenanters in Moray and Ross, 60, 189, 192; Orem’s Old Aberdeen; Tombst.]

HUGH ANDERSON, M.A., above mentioned; restored by Act of Parliament reinstating Presbyterian ministers in 1690.

Now, you will note (not surprisingly, given they are church biographies) very little about the House or Estate of Udol in those summaries of the lives of Gilbert and Hugh Anderson. And I certainly would put no reliance upon the criticism of Gilbert by Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty, who was prone to extreme exaggeration.

Gilbert, like many ministers, loaned money, and through this an even closer Anderson connection between Udale and Kirkmichael was established: Gilbert actually possessed the land of Balblair and Kirkmichael. As set out in sasine RS37/7 folio 99, registered at Chanonry in 1650, “pertaining to Mr Gilbert Andersone minister at Cromertie” he obtained wadset over Eister Balblair commonly called Balblair and Kirkmichael from Alexander Urquhart of Craighouse, with reference to his spouse Elizabeth Bruce and an otherwise unrecorded son, Thomas Andersone.

At this time the Dallas family were in the ascendancy in the Black Isle, and they secured many areas of land in the parish of Resolis. Their family land dealings fill the pages of the sasine registers of the time, and they often refer to Balblair and Kirkmichael as held by Gilbert Anderson and Hugh Anderson his son.

It is stated in the Family of Dallas (James Dallas, 1921) that:

There is, dated at Edinburgh, 21st July 1681, a disposition by George Dallas of Kirkmichell, eldest lawful son and apparent heir of the deceased James Dallas of Kirkmichell, to George Dallas of St. Martins, of the lands of Easter Balblair, commonly called Balblair and Kirkmichell, formerly possessed by the deceased Alexander Urquhart of Craighouse, and afterwards by the deceased Mr. Gilbert Anderson, minister at Crolie [Cromarty], and Mr. Hugh Anderson, his eldest son, as wadsetters; but under reservation of the liferent of Grishell, the disponer's mother, she maintaining William, Alexander, Marmadick, Marie, and Besse Dallas, his brothers and sisters. The witnesses to the deed are Mr. John Dallas and Mr. Andrew Balfour, writers in Edinburgh (Reg. Deeds, Mackenzie, lxxiii., 1693).

While Gilbert Anderson possessed Kirkmichael, I have glanced through all the sasines in the relevant Particular Register of Sasines relating to Gilbert, and I have not seen any reference to Udol. I’ll come back to this when looking at a most dubious assertion made in a much later charter, written by Henry Davidson, and inserted in a sasine returning Udol to Alexander Anderson of Hanover Parish, Island of Jamaica.

I see in the Tain Sheriff Court minute book (SC34/1) an action lodged at Fortrose on 13 November 1678 by John Grant of Dunskeath (son of Grant of Ardoch in Kirkmichael) recovering debts from a number of Easter Ross defenders, which makes reference to an earlier obligation of 15 June 1647 made by one Alexander Clunes of Auchintoul to Mr Gilbert Anderson sometime minister at Cromartie payable to him and his successor ministers. A sasine that same year (RS38/4 folio 507) covers the same ground. From a quick read, it would appear that David McCulloch had left five hundred merks Scots to Gilbert for, I think, the poor of the parish, in 1647 and Gilbert loaned this out temporarily to Clunes of Auchintoul with Alexander Clunes of Newtoune as cautioner. This was quite sensible as it allowed the fund to grow through the interest on the debt. It was meant to be repaid to Gilbert for him and succeeding ministers to use but I presume from the litigation that later ministers had to go to court for it.

Gilbert died in 1655, and the God-fearing Brodie of Brodie wrote in his diary “I heard after Mr. Gilbert Anderson’s death, and worshiped the Lord, and besoght Him to fill that place to the advantadge of His church and kingdom of His Son.”

The position was filled by Gilbert’s son Hugh, just in his early twenties but by now a well-respected presbyterian minister in his own right, filling an important position at King’s College in Aberdeen. He would call in on Brodie on his journeys between Aberdeen and the Black Isle.


Hugh Anderson purchases Udol in 1664

Hugh purchased Udol in 1664 and there is a consequent “Contract of feu of the lands of Udell” dated 2 December 1665, held in the Highland Archives in Inverness (HCA/D942/7). This feu contract, granted to “Hugh Andersone, minister of Cromartie” by Robert Dunbar as baillie in that part and servitor to Sir John Urquhart of Cromartie and in his name, is for the lands of Udell “with the haill crofts outfeild lands infeild lands therof adjacent therto and fisch ther of the samyn With all and sundrie maner places houssis biggings yardis orchyairds kills (kilns) barnes byres victuall houssis woods meidowis and priviledge of sea wair and having fisch boatts and wther boatts on the shoar therof …”

It includes the boundaries of Udol. This description, no doubt already old, would be repeated in countless legal documents thereafter with little variation other than modernisation of language.

       Having at the eist the Burne called Auldmurich as it entereth in the sea and as the Burne runeth straight up to the arrable lands of Ardevell at the eist side of a litle croft of Land belonging to Vdell Interjected betuixt the said burne and ane other qch runeth in to it by the west syde of the said croft
       Having at the west the Burne of Vdell as it entereth in the Sea and up with by the found of the old dyke upon the Breahead on the west side of the Burne And as the Breahead goeth to the hie way, and wastward by that way to the close dyck qch is about [in later documents the “close dyck qch is about” becomes the “cross dyke near”] the arrable Lands of Ardoch And from that dyke upward to the comone muir by a strype in a Loaning betuixt tuo dyks as it Runeth from the muir;
       Having at the north the sea;
       Having at the south a litle Cairne of stones called Cairne-adie and directly westward from the said Cairne by a spring well called the black well to the merch at the west
       Togither also with heritable right acces freedome privilidge libertie frie ishue and entrie to all the moss and muires of the barronie of Cromartie Brey and Mulbuey for casting winning leading and away taiking of peats turves fewall foggage earth feall stone and divot (and of comone pasturage hie wayes moss. and muirs not continit in the said bounding conforme to use and wont)


If you look at the 1764 Cromarty Estate Plan you can see the wee burn running up to the arable lands of Ardival, and to the west Cairn Edie and the Black Well, all mentioned in the sasine. Along the track above Cairn Edie the words “march with the Lands of Udoll” are written. And below that, the note “said to be the March Stones with Udoll” which I think is meant to apply to Cairn Edie. You can tell that the surveyor, David Aitken, had been told to get this boundary right!

The proprietor of Cromarty Estate subsequently cheekily established a hamlet called Colony (the beloved “Reachfar” of novelist Jane Duncan) just about where the “Quarry of Udoll” is located. I think this was to establish Cromarty’s right to the land, even although it was common land, so “Colonisation” indeed. Hugh himself, as a proprietor of land, now became a Commissioner of Supply for the Sheriffdom or Shire of Cromarty, along with the other families whose names fill the sasine registers of the time: Urquhart, Dallas and Grant.

list of the Commissioners of Supply for year 1667 – note the mis-spellings of – Ardoch, Ferritoun, Dallas and Resolis

I have not seen any publications by Gilbert or Hugh Anderson, but for those who can access the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh there is an unpublished handwritten set of sermons by Hugh Anderson of Udol (MS.8483). Most of the sermons are undated, but one is written on the back of a letter of 1702, another is of 1662, and two others of 1666, these last referring to the plague in England. What a marvellous snapshot in time.

The papers also include a summons, ordering Hugh Anderson to answer charges before the Bishop of Ross. The NLS has tentatively dated this as 1662, the year that he was deprived of the cure. Despite this, he was allowed to remain in place until 1675, so one wonders what Hugh said at the time to the Bishop of Ross in answering charges!

I have mentioned the early Anderson connection between Udale and Kirkmichael: the earliest Andersons of Udol actually possessed the land of Balblair and Kirkmichael. The Family of Dallas spells out when the Andersons gave up Easter Balblair (i.e. Balblair and Kirkmichael):

Reverting to the lands of Easter Balblair, on 12th May 1675 sasine is given to James Dallas of Balblair as attorney for Hugh Dallas, in terms of a disposition by Mr. Hugh Anderson, minister at Cromarty, as wadsetter of the lands, to Hugh Dallas, whereby he with advice and consent of Elizabeth Bruce, relict of Mr. Gilbert Anderson, his father, and now spouse to Mr. Andrew Ros, minister at Tarbet, disponed to the said Hugh [Dallas] the lands of Easter Balblair and pertinents; George Dallas of St. Martine's witnessed the sasine. (Reg. Sas., Inverness, iv. fol. 339.)

As a landholder, Hugh was obliged to attend when the Commissioners of Supply were revaluing the county of Cromarty in 1694. George Viscount of Tarbat (George Mackenzie) felt his own lands were overvalued and hence he was paying too much compared to other heritors. The revaluation was necessary “so as every one may bear the present burden equally”. At this time, national expenses such as defence of the realm and local expenses such as repairs to a church were defrayed by land-owners strictly in proportion to their respective valuations in the Cess Books of the County, so it was worth keeping them down!

Mr Hugh Anderson of Udal gave up his real and free rent of Udal, deducing feu and teind duties, to be 4 chalders and 6 bolls, and no more; and have subscribed hereto. (Signed) Mr Hugh Anderson.


Hugh Anderson and Grizel Row

photo by Jim Mackay

photo by Jim Mackay

There are two physical memorials in the Parish of Resolis commemorating Hugh Anderson and Grizel Row, in the form of a pair of wall stones (window pediments), found at Poyntzfield, and held in the herb garden there. How came they there? Well, it has been suggested that they were brought to Udol when the Anderson house in Cromarty was demolished. And for a long period in the late 1800s/early 1900s, the Gun Munro family of Poyntzfield also owned Udale, and the supposition is that the wall stones were taken over to the main Gun Munro mansion out of antiquarian interest.

However, as an alternative option, I see no reason why, given that Hugh Anderson was the first Anderson in Udol, these window pediments should not have been originally erected on a new or re-structured House of Udol. Whatever the origin, the stones are of great historic interest.

On the husband’s window pediment are “MHA” (Magister Hugh Anderson (c1633–1704) of Udol), a flower and the date 1673. On the wife’s pediment are “GR” (Grizel Rowe, the daughter of the principal of Aberdeen’s King College) and a star.

Why 1673? It was not a marriage date as he had been married to Grizel for many years by 1673. He had purchased the Estate of Udol in 1664, and I suspect that he had built or remodelled a House of Udol at this time and the window pediments were carved for that purpose.

Grizel Row was the daughter of John Row. He was a covenanting minister, and for nine years the Principal of King’s College in Aberdeen. John Row was placed as Principal in 1652 by Cromwell’s parliament. He was deposed in 1661, following the Restoration of 1660, despite hastily eulogising the king and condemning Cromwell as a “cruel vile worm”! His biography may be read here:,_born_1598). I imagine Hugh met Grizel when Hugh was Professor of Philosophy at King’s College, as mentioned on his memorial.


The Children of Reverend Hugh Anderson and Grizel Row, from the Diary of John Row, Principal of King’s College

King’s College, Aberdeen, about 1660, from Parson Gordon’s Map of Aberdeen

The Diary of John Row, Principal of King’s College (now MS 2333 in Aberdeen University archives) was serialised in Scottish Notes and Queries (first series) over 1893 to 1895. The diary contains all his family information, but the first 58 pages are missing so it starts in September 1661. This is unfortunate as I estimate from birthdates of their children that Hugh Anderson and Grizel Row (John Row’s third daughter) married not long before May 1660. I note that Row’s first daughter, Lillias, married Reverend John Mercer, minister of Kinellar; they became the parents of William Mercer who appears later in this story. William Mercer was the brother-in-law of Reverend Hugh Anderson of Drainie, son of Reverend Hugh Anderson of Cromarty and Grizel Row – it was a small world if you were a minister. The diary shows that the birth-year in the Fasti for Reverend Hugh Anderson of Drainie is well out, although accurate for Reverend Alexander Anderson of Duffus. There is much else of interest in John Row’s diary, but I extract only the information regarding his Anderson grand-children, the children of Reverend Hugh Anderson of Cromarty and Grissel Row, all of whose entries appear in volume 7 of Scottish Notes and Queries. We know from the Fasti of one further daughter named Grizel, the record of whose birth presumably lay within the pages just before the section that has survived.

[page 53] Hugh Anderson my oy [old Scots for grandchild] was born July 6. 1662.
[page 70] March ’63 Barbara Anderson (mihi neptis ex filia) daughter to Mr Hugh Anderson at Cromartie deceased, being about 2 yeares and 2 moneths old.
[page 84] Grisel Row, March 23 ’64 was brot to bed of a daughter baptized Elizabeth Apr. 7 ’64.
[page 122] Grisell Row my third daughter was brot. to bed of a second son called John Anderson Nov 28 1667 Thursday.
[page 123] Julie 21 1669 Grisell was delivered of a son (this is third) called Gilbert Anderson.
[page 123] My daughter Grisell was brought to bed of a son baptized Alexr. August 28 1672 [sic, but within 1671 entries].
[page 123] Octob: 4 day ’72 Grisel Row brot furth a man child baptized James.


Hugh Anderson, a Covenanting Minister

Hugh Anderson of Udol takes his place in the line-up of Covenanting Ministers of the North, which includes others such as Thomas Hog of Kiltearn, John Fraser of Alness, John M’gilligen of Fodderty and Alness and James Fraser of Brea, Resolis, but did not suffer the same harsh treatment as the others.

The Fasti states that Hugh Anderson “was allowed to remain unmolested until after assisting at the Communion at Obsdale House (now Dalmore) in Sept. 1675, when he retired to Udol”. I suspect that he was quite happy at this time to retire to a recently completed House of Udol.

I understand that Hugh Anderson also owned a house on Church Street, Cromarty, on the site of the present Wellington House. David Alston writes: “Hugh Anderson had remained in the parish and in 1675 participated in a covenanting communion service at Obsdale House, near Alness. Mr John McKillican, who had held the communion service, was arrested in Anderson's house in Cromarty, in Church Street, on the site of the present Wellington House, and sent to the Bass Rock. Anderson had acquired the small estate of Udale and he retired there.”

Wellington House, built in the late 1700s/early 1800s; photo by Jim Mackay

A more full account of the communion service is given in Volume 2 of The History of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland from the Restoration to the Revolution (Reverend Robert Wodrow, 1830).

Mr M’Gilligen was, with others of the presbyterian ministers of that country, intercommuned by the council in August [1675]; yet the accounts of this did not discourage him or them in their work. Many serious persons were longing much to partake of the sacrament of the supper; and having been at much pains in public preaching, and from house to house, to prepare them for it, in September this year he administrated that holy ordinance at Obsdale, in the house of lady dowager of Fowlis. There assisted him Mr Hugh Anderson minister of Cromarty, and Mr Alexander Frazer minister at Teviot, afterwards at Abbotshall. Mr Anderson preached the preparation sermon from 2 Chron. xxx. 18, 19. … At this communion, they were very providentially kept from disturbance. The design of this solemnity having taken air, the sheriff-depute, Sir Roderick Mackenzie of Finden, a moderate gentleman if left to himself, by the instigation of the bishop, sent a party to apprehend Mr John M’Gilligen; and expecting he would have dispensed the sacrament at Alness, the place of his residence, the party came thither upon the Lord’s day, and missing him, they fell a pillaging his orchard, which kept them so long, that before they could reach Obsdale, the forenoon’s work was over, and upon notice given, the ministers retired. When the party came and missed Mr M’Gilligen, whom they had only orders to take, they went off; and so the ministers and people met again in the afternoon, and had no more disturbance. Thus the Lord had a work in that corner, and Satan raised up opposition to it. Mr M’Gilligen was forced to abscond, and we shall meet with him next year.

A stone has been erected (just inside the Distillery fence) at Dalmore, Alness, to commemorate M’Gilligen, which also mentions Hugh Anderson. The Dalmore Conventicle Stone has the following inscription:

the Conventicle Stone; photo by Davine Sutherland

This stone marks the only place in Ross-shire in which the sacrament of the Lord's Supper is known to have been dispensed to the covenanters during the days of persecution. Respecting the command of their divine redeemer more than they feared the fury of the oppressor they met here on a Sabbath in September 1675. Soldiers were sent to apprehend them but they did not arrive till the communion service was over and the congregation had dispersed. The Rev J. McKilligan of Alness was the officiating minister on that interesting occasion assisted by Mr Anderson of Cromarty and Mr Fraser of Daviot. This stone was designed as a token of respect for the memory of men who loved their Saviour better than their lives. As a testimony against the unscriptural system, the baseless pretensions, and the persecuting spirit of the Scottish Prelacy. And as a stimulus and encouragement to all who would fain be followers of that which is good.

Curiously, descendant William Anderson of Russell Square and Highwood Hill purchased much land in this vicinity, passing it on to son Henry in 1823. I know not if the interest arose from his ancestor’s activity in the area!

The story of M’gilligen’s arrest in Hugh Anderson’s house has its own apocryphal tale. This is the account from Wodrow again:

Last year we heard of the pleasant communion he [M’Gilligen] kept at Obsdale, after he was intercommuned at Edinburgh. Upon the back of it he was obliged to abscond for some time, to escape the prelates’ rage. This year, 1676, his dear brother Mr. Hugh Anderson, called him to baptize a child of his [which child, I wonder?], and he stayed at his house all night thereafter. That night he was trysted with an odd enough passage, which he could not but remark: when he fell asleep he dreamed that there were three men come to the house to apprehend him; he was no observer of dreams, and therefore when he awakened he endeavoured to be freed of the thoughts of what he had been dreaming, and composed himself to sleep; and upon his falling asleep he dreamed it a second time, and awoke; and again, after he essayed to banish the thoughts of it, and falling asleep again, he dreamed it the third time. This wakened him with some concern, and he began to apprehend there might be more than ordinary in it, and fell under the impressions that bonds and imprisonment were abiding him, and arose to compose himself by committing his case to the Lord. He had scarce got up, and was but putting on his clothes, when early in the morning George Mackenzie, Hugh Bogie, and another, servants to the earl of Seaforth, were come to Mr. Anderson’s house to seize him.

Murdoch MacDonald in The Covenanters in Moray and Ross (1875) twice makes mention of Hugh Anderson’s friendship with the above-mentioned Earl of Seaforth providing him with some protection (pages 92 and 188):

Hugh Anderson was proprietor of Udol, in the neighbourhood of Cromarty, and withdrew to it when driven from the manse, though he appears to have lived at intervals in the town, protected by the Earl of Seaforth, who was very friendly to him.

Hugh Anderson appears to have continued to reside in Cromarty for some years after his ejection from the charge, probably till after the Obsdale Communion, when he found it necessary to retire to Udol. Strange to say, he was permitted to live there unmolested through the long years of the Persecution; an immunity from suffering which he owed to the powerful friendship of the Earl of Seaforth, and probably, in some measure, to his own caution in refraining from preaching at field conventicles. We meet with him occasionally at Brodie Castle on his way to, and from, Aberdeen, with the University of which city he was intimately connected. Previous to his settlement in Cromarty, he was one of the Regents or Professors of King’s College, and Grizel Row, daughter of the Principal, and great-grand-daughter of Row the Reformer, and contemporary of Knox, became his wife. … Mr Anderson survived his restoration fourteen years, and was senior minister on the roll when the Presbytery of Ross was reconstituted in April 1693. He died at the ripe age of severnty-four, leaving behind him two sons, Hugh and Alexander, who became ministers of Drainie and Duffus, parishes in the Presbytery of Elgin; and a daughter, Grizzel or Grace, who married Mr Crombie, a merchant in Elgine. The Crombies – both husband and wife – were zealous Covenanters, and suffered persecution for their fidelity. …

The source of information about this friendship with the Earl of Seaforth appears to be the publication entitled The Diary of Alexander Brodie of Brodie (The Spalding Club, 1863). Brodie mentions both Gilbert and Hugh Anderson, with Hugh appearing often in Moray whilst passing through to Aberdeen or delivering sermons to sympathetic proprietors during the time of episcopacy. Only a few volumes of the diaries were found at the time, and undoubtedly there would be much more about the Andersons if the others were to appear. These are all the extracts I have spotted, and they show with what reverence Hugh Anderson was treated by the ultra-presbyterian Brodie (1617–1680), and demonstrate how often Hugh was in the area. You will note other famous Covenanting Ministers passing through the diary as well!

February … 24.– I wryt to Mr. Thomas Urquhart [of Dipple, and later becoming Thomas Urquhart of Braelangwell] disuading him from embracing ani employment in the south; and to Mr. Hugh Anderson anent his embracing Cromartie [he was admitted to Cromarty the next year, following the death of his father], and commits both these cases to God.
November … 20.– Die Dom. Mr. Hugh [Anderson] and Mr. Jho. M’Gulican preachd both weil.
28. … I heard after Mr. Gilbert Anderson’s death, and worshiped the Lord, and besoght Him to fill that place to the advantadge of His church and kingdom of His Son. Mr. Thomas Hog cam heer.
Febuary … 23.– This day Mr. Hugh Anderson cam to me, and told me, that Mr. Andro Gray [one of the ministers of Glasgow] was remoud from this lyf by death.
Nov. … 9.– Mr. Hugh Anderson cam by, and told me of Seaforth his kindnes to him, and that he heard he was to be summond for the sacramant which they had ther, and that Mr. J. M’Gulican was cald for.

29.– Mr. Hugh Anderson cam heir from Aberdeen: Told me that Mr. Jhon Menzies was not farr from taking a Bishoprick, if it wer sore prest on him, but hitherto had refused it.
Juli. … 25– Mr. James Urquhart and Mr. Hugh Anderson wer heir with me.
September 10.– Mr. Hugh Anderson and his wyf cam heir from the South. I spok with him anent the lawfulnes of paying cess, seeing it is exprest to be for suppressing conventicls. He said, Som said we might pay, had we occasion to use a protestation that it was not for that use. He told me that the youg [sic] men preachd against the indulgd men, and som preachd that stipends wer not lawfulli to be payd to ther conform ministers.
May … 20.– Innes, Kilraok, Leathin, Spini, Mr. Hugh Anderson, cam heir.
Oct. … 7.– Mr Hugh Anderson was with me. He said, in the Lord’s name, that it should be weil with me, and that I should hav peac. Lord! mak good what he said in Thy name.
22.– Kilraok and Mr. Hugh Anderson cam heir this night; and Mr. Hugh staid, and worshipd with me in the morning.
1680. … July … 2.– I went to Elgin this morning; mett with Mr. Hugh Anderson by the way, who had come from Aberdein, from whom I had an account of the sad differs and divisions among the Lord’s people. He had heard Mr. Menzies and Mr. Meldrum; he was much displeased with that paper which som persons had drawn up at [the] South.


The burial tomb of Hugh Anderson of Udol (c1633–1704) and Grizel Row (–1708)

Hugh Anderson was already elderly when he appears in the minutes in the first “Presbytery of Tain” (actually the Presbytery of Ross-shire and Sutherland-shire, often held at Tain, 1693–1701, CH2/348/1). There is very much a sense of deference from the other ministers towards him. Indeed, I note one meeting held at his home “At Udol Novr 14 1695” which was most unusual.

Both he and his son “Hugh Anderson younger, probationer” appear initially in these minutes, along with Reverend William Stuart of Kiltearn, and later Inverness, who features in our related story of the Trent family of Inverness. Indeed, I am sure that Stuart (whose uncle was Inverness merchant William Trent) would have been the initial link with the Trents who were to be so important in the story of the Anderson family.

But by now clearly Hugh was unsteady on his feet. He may have had a stroke. At the meeting “At Tain the last Wednesday of Decr 1696” we hear “Mr Hugh Anderson Moderator his absence is excusd by reason of a severe fall he had received, qch has confined him to his bed.” For several years he is absent from meetings of the Presbytery due to his infirmness, rarely appearing except when the Presbytery met at Cromarty itself. I note that on a very tricky issue, members of the Presbytery were despatched to Cromarty to seek his advice. I think the difficulty must have been his injury preventing him from riding a horse as I see (14 July 1698):

The presbitrie appoint their next dyet at Kilmuir Easter September seventh, & its recommended to the Brethren present as they shall have occasion to acquaint the absent that they may attend next dyet, & particularly that Mr Hugh Anderson elder be acquainted, if peradventure he might come by sea to that place. Clos’d with prayer.

At one of those Presbytery meetings at Cromarty we learn of the house in which Hugh resided in Cromarty being purchased by the parish heritors for the use of Cromarty ministers going forward:

At Cromartie 24 January 1700
Mr Hugh Anderson Minister of Cromertie represented to the presbitry that the heretors of his parish and others concerned (there being no Manse for a Minister in this place since the Reformation) have bought the house wherein the sd Mr Hugh Anderson is now dwelling to be a Manse for the Minister in Cromerty and that the Heretors are desireous that the presbitry should visit the sd house with Closs & yeards and declare as they shall see cause; The presbitry therefore having viewed and noticed the accommodatione of these biggings they doo declare that the north side of the Closs being completed as the disponer Alexr Davidson Shireff Clerk of Cromerty hes oblieged himself The wholl or both sides of the sd Closs or Bigging with the yeard is a sufficient Manse for a Minister in Cromerty and they doe appoint their Clerk to give extracts of this their Declarator whenever required.

From this, it would appear that Hugh had been renting this house in Cromarty from the owner, none other than Alexander Davidson, Sheriff Clerk of Cromarty, the progentitor of the rich and influential Davidsons of Tulloch. The elderly Hugh and the heritors were clearly thinking of future arrangements.

Hugh Anderson died on the 3rd of June 1704. Across in Duffus, the Session Clerk recorded: “June 18. 1704 No sermon the Minr. [Alexander Anderson of Duffus] not being return’d from burying his father the Revd. Mr Hugh Anderson minr. att Cromertie lately dead.” The date of Grizel Row’s death is not recorded, but again, across in Duffus, the conscientious Session Clerk recorded: “August.1.1708 The said day ther was no sermon the Minr. being in Ross attending his mothers funeralls.”

Hugh Anderson and Grizel Row are buried in the kirkyard of the East Church in Cromarty, their burial area incorporated in 1836 as a room in the church for the Kirk Session. The minister (Reverend Alexander Stewart) and proprietor of Udol at the time (George Mackay Sutherland) confirmed with the Anderson family that this would be acceptable,

I don’t know, but would assume, that father Gilbert was also interred in that burial area. Ministers were usually buried close to the church. Gilbert’s widow, Elizabeth Bruce, went on to marry Andrew Ross (c1627–1692), the minister of Tarbat, and I presume she is buried at Tarbat with her second husband.

We have a description of the tomb before it was converted to a session-house from the pen of Hugh Miller. In his Scenes and Legends (1835) he says:

Dallas [Urquhart] therefore had many friends; but the person to whom he was chiefly attached was the young minister of Cromarty – the “good Maister Hugh Anderson,” whose tombstone, a dark-coloured slab, roughened with uncouth sculpture and a neat Latin inscription, may still be seen in the eastern gable of the parish church, and to whom I have already referred as one of the few faithful in this part of the country in a time of fiery trial. The two friends had passed through college together…

Miller manages to weave a whole tragic love story between the episcopalian Dallas Urquhart and the presbyterian Mary Anderson, the pious sister of Reverend Hugh Anderson, a love story which includes as a key plot device the 30 years between Hugh losing and regaining the charge of Cromarty. How much of that was local folklore and how much came from Miller’s imagination is difficult to tell, but there’s no doubting that it is a good read!

How that Anderson tomb became the Session-House is a story in itself. The year following the publication of Scenes and Legends, the kirk session raised at a meeting of the heritors (18 October 1836) “the inconvenience felt from the want of a Session-House, especially during the winter season, and on Sacramental occasions” and the meeting acceded to the request. The minister then said “that a carpenter concurred in thinking that the most eligible situation for a Session-House was the Tomb immediately behind the Porch of the principal entrance to the church, possessed by the late Mr Anderson of Udale, Capt Sutherland and he had corresponded with the Anderson family on the Subject, and had ascertained that they had no objection to a Session-House being built on that site, provided that any of ‘the Grandchildren of the late Dr Anderson’ – who wished it – might still be buried there, and that the inscription on the Stone in the Church Wall should not be covered up.”

I have ringed in red where the session-house was constructed on this painting of the East Church by architect James Steel

I do not know with whom they had corresponded, but it was likely at this time to be Henry Anderson Merchant in London (1804–1873), son of and heir to William of Russell Square and Highwood Hill. The present room off the porch was then built onto the church by the construction of walls, roof and chimney, with slabs on the floor which could be raised to accommodate a grave – in the unlikely event that any of the grandchildren would indeed wish to be buried there.

photo by Davine Sutherland

photo by Davine Sutherland

The memorial reads:

Juxta hoc Monumentum, sub spe beata Resurrectionis, sepultae jacent exuvia De vere Reverendi Mr. Hugonis Anderson ab Udol, qui, postquam per triennium in Coll. Regio Abredonensi Philosophia Professoris, partam summa cum laude, adornassct, Patris Rv. Dr. Mr. Gilberti Anderson (anno 1656) in huius Ecclesiae pastorali officio successor constitutus est; eoq. (adjuvante Numine) fideliter functus est in illum usq. diem quo pie & pacifice satis concessit fulzentisimium hoc Ecclesiae Scotianae Sidus Mensis Junii die tertio & An: Aer: Ch: 1704 Aetatis vero 74

“uncouth sculpture and a neat Latin inscription” photo by Davine Sutherland

The excellent East Church Cromarty A Guide (text by Caroline Vawdrey and David Alston) provides a translation, which I have amended a little:

Beside this monument lie buried, in the hope of a blessed resurrection, the remains of the truly Reverend Mr Hugh Anderson of Udol, who, after adorning, with the highest praise, the post of Professor of Philosophy in King’s College, Aberdeen, for three years, succeeded his father, the Reverend Mr Gilbert Anderson (in the year1656) in the pastoral duty of this church, and faithfully performed it until the day on which this most shining star of the Scottish Church yielded piously and peacefully to the fates, the third of June in the year 1704 of the Christian Era and the 74th of his age.


The two minister sons of Reverend Hugh Anderson of Udol and Grizel Row

from the Kirk Session records of (top) Drainie and (bottom) Duffus

Two sons of Reverend Hugh Anderson and Grizel Row, Hugh and Alexander, became ministers in their own right, but over in the Synod of Moray. Hugh’s grandfather had been a minister in the Parish of Glass in the Synod of Moray, and we have seen how Hugh himself was often in the area, residing on occasion with Brodie of Brodie. It is not surprising therefore to see Hugh’s sons becoming established in churches in the Synod of Moray (I say synod rather than shire, as there were several shires involved at different times: Morayshire, Aberdeenshire, Banffshire, Nairnshire – but the relevant religious structure was the Synod of Moray).

Hugh junior (1662–1749) became minister first of Rosemarkie here in the Black Isle, then of Drainie (formerly known as King Edward or Kinnedar) and Alexander (1672–1721) became minister of Duffus. They are both key players in the Udol story. There was at least one other son who survived to adulthood (John Anderson, son of the deceased “Hew Anderson of Udell”, booked as apprentice to Alexander Reid, goldsmith to the king, in Edinburgh 23 January 1684) but we are keeping a tight focus on Udol. The parishes of Drainie and Duffus lie adjacent to each other, and I note that when Alexander was away on duty elsewhere or ill, Hugh would often step in to provide services at Duffus. Alexander did the same for Hugh. The two brothers were obviously very attached to each other. The pair of course saw each other often at the regular Presbytery of Elgin meetings.

Hugh had previously served at Rosemarkie. He had been put in to supply the vacancy there by the Presbytery of Ross-shire and Sutherland as can be seen from their minutes (CH2/348/1):

At Alnes Oct 16 1695
Mr Hugh Anderson younger, son to Mr Hugh Anderson Elder, haveing past his tryalls & been licensed in the south, & preachd with approbation in the province of Murray, as his testimonial at more lenth bears Therfor this presbrie appoint him to supply Rosemerkie.

He went on to supply at Rosemarkie dozens of times, and the congregation, obviously well-pleased with him, asked the Presbytery if the young Hugh could be settled there, to which they agreed. The settlement occurred “At Rosemerkie July 28th 1697” and although there were no objections, there was a curious occurrence: “Appear’d some Gentlemen from the Towne of Chanrie [Fortrose] signifying ane union between yr towne & the parish of Rosemerkie; their evidences & documents to prove the union there by the presbitry required, but were not shown; The parish of Rosemerkie declines this union, as having been ane imposition on them in time of prelacy”. The Presbytery agreed with Rosemarkie, and Hugh was settled as minister of that parish alone.

Everything appeared to be satisfactorily in place, when at the Presbytery meeting “At Fearn May fourth 1698”

James Chamber in the parish of KinnEdward in the province of Murray presented a call from the said parish to Mr Hugh Anderson Minister of Rosemerkie, as also a Commission from the session to him to attend this presbitrie for that effect, & a letter from the presbitrie of Murray, with another from the Laird of Brody, both relateing to the forsaid call, all which being read & the presbitrie finding the Motives contain’d in the forsaid letters to be of Considerable weight, although it be unpleasing to them to hear of a call from another province to one of their number, specially considering their fewness & circumstances, yet such is the importance of the reasons of the presbytery of Murray their letter to them, that they judge themselves bound to take them to their serious Consideration”.

I have not yet found out what those important reasons were, but the very fact that someone as influential as Brodie of Brodie was himself writing to secure Hugh Anderson shows how highly the young Hugh was viewed.

While the Presbytery were considering the request (the Rosemarkie congregation was resistant to losing Hugh) they asked the young minister for his own views on the move, urging him to seek light and direction from the “wonderfull Counsellour”. During these considerations, another connection to the Trent story developed. At the Presbytery meeting “At Tain June 22d 1698” who should appear but Reverend Robert Bailie who would marry a daughter of Inverness merchant William Trent early the following year.

Appeared Mr Robert Bailie Minister of Lamingtown, for present supplying in the province of Murray, who presented a Comission from that presbitrie to prosecute the Call given by the parish of KinEdward to Mr Hugh Anderson Minister of Rosemerkie, & punctually to attend the dyets of this presbitry till he see the Issue he presented also a letter from the forsaid presbitry urgeing the transportation as formerly.

The Presbytery asked for guidance from their next level of governance, and the decision was for Hugh to go to King Edward, or Drainie as the parish was usually called.

Brodie of Brodie (the son of the strong presbyterian Brodie of Brodie) was one of the main heritors of Drainie and it is no surprise that he would support the appointment to the parish of the son of his father’s old friend Hugh Anderson of Cromarty. But in fact the Kirk Session records of Drainie from 16 April 1698 reveal that all the Kirk Session and householders present at the church “unanimously voted & subscribed to the call of Mr Hugh Anderson yr. minister of the Gospel at Rosmarknie”. The adjacent parish of Duffus was very different, as it had retained a strong Episcopalian element and Alexander was appointed minister (according to an Episcopalian source) “in the face of the strongest opposition from the people.” I see from the Presbytery of Elgin minutes that a battle was fought right up to the death of Alexander to attempt to put a stop to episcopal preaching in the Parish of Duffus, with an act of Presbytery passed in 1717 “deposing Mr John Stuart Episcopal preacher in the parish of Duffus from exerceing any part of the holy function of the Ministry”. The Episcopal influence nevertheless continued. This must have been challenging for Alexander.

The Jacobite Rebellion of 1715 seems to have caused considerable disquiet in Duffus, exacerbated by the Episcopalian preacher. The Presbytery (13 February 1717) heard that “Mr John Stewart did publickly pray for the pretender under the title and designation of King James in his meeting house in Duffus on several Lords days in the time of the late wicked & unnaturall rebellion”. One consequence of the disquiet is that in 1715, Alexander placed the Duffus church silverware in the safekeeping of Alexander Dunbar of Thunderton, but had to get the presbytery to write officially to Dunbar to get it back afterwards as his own attempts were ignored. Their letter may be read in Social Life in Former Days Chiefly in the Province of Moray by E. Dunbar Dunbar (Edinburgh, 1865). Alexander clearly had difficulties not only with elements of his congregation but also with his heritors.

The Kirk Session minutes of both Drainie and Duffus reveal the usual investigations of fornication and scandal, but I noted more cases of “cursing” or calls on the Devil being investigated than in other parish records I have read. Brodie of Brodie senior had been judge in trials of witchcraft, sentencing at least two unfortunate accused people to death as witches, and the Anderson brothers were clearly prepared to investigate and crack down on calls on the Devil themselves.


Reverend Hugh Anderson of Udol, Minister of Drainie (1662–1749) and Margaret Munro (–1740)

enclosure with memorial commemorating Reverend Hugh Anderson and his wife Margaret Munro in Spynie Churchyard, Elgin; I understand their marble memorial was removed from Drainie graveyard to Spynie for preservation; photo courtesy of

Hugh of Drainie as the elder son inherited Udol on his father’s death in 1704. I have seen very few records relating to Hugh and Udol (except land transference) during the period it was held by him. He was, after all, a very busy minister in a parish some distance away. Tacksman Hugh McCulloch was in place and acted for him, and the rent would be coming to the proprietor regularly. In the Craigston papers (NRAS2570/Bundle 86) I see Hugh McCulloch in action at a valuation of feu duties (payable to the “superior”):

Hugh McCulloch Taxman in Uddole doer for Mr Hugh Anderson in Uddole being solemnly sworn &c Depones that the yearly feu dutie of sd lands is 4 Bolls Bear & 3 Bolls oat meal & no more, … That he produces severall discharges from sd Sr George & Sr Kenneth Mackenzie

I see that Reverend Hugh Anderson of Drainie and Hugh McCulloch his tenant and “doer” both loaned money to the same man, with some involvement from Reverend Alexander Anderson of Duffus. In 1718, merchant George Urquhart of Greenhill borrowed thirty pounds sterling from “Mr Hugh Andersone Minister at Kinedward” by a bond written in Cromarty and witnessed by “Allexr. Davidsone Sheriff Clerk of Cromartie and Mr. Allexr Anderson minr. of Duffus”. And in 1728, he borrowed four hundred merks Scots money from “Hugh McCulloch tenant in Udoll”. On the same day, 24 April 1732, both of these bonds were registered in Edinburgh (RD2/130) indicating that Hugh Anderson and his “doer” and tenant Hugh McCulloch were working together to recover their money plus their interest (annualrent or @rent) from Greenhill.

Hugh of Drainie married Margaret Munro but there were to be no children, according to the Fasti, which says of him, under Drainie (of old, Kinedar) and Ogston:

1698 HUGH ANDERSON, born 1666 [actually 1662], son of Hugh A., min. of Cromarty; educated at Univ. of Edinburgh; M.A. (28th Aug. 1683); ord. to Rosemarkie before 29th March 1694, when he was a member of Assembly; called 26th April, trans. and adm. 17th Aug. 1698; dem. 2nd Dec. 1740; died 26th Oct 1749. He marr. Margaret Munro [before 1703], who predeceased him [in 1740] without issue.

I was initially unable to discover much about Margaret Munro. The only reference I saw to her in the Drainie Kirk Session records was a passing one from 16 May 1703, so we know they were married by this time: “This day the minr reported to the Session yt the week preceeding that he and his wife and oyrs with them had been comeing from Duffus and did overtake by the way (it being about 9 oclock at night) Wm Forsith [William Forsay] in Happiehill exceeding drunk & yt two who were in company with the sd Wm perceiving yt the minr. was following after fled away before and left the said Wm, yt he was so intoxicat he was not able to speak to any purpose or hold the right way, & yt yrfor he had ordered the Beddall to summond him to the dyet of the Session. The said Wm thrie called compeared not, is appointed to be summoned to our next meeting pro 2do.” This gives an indication of the authority exerted by the minister in those days! She died in 1740, with the Drainie Burial Register giving: “June 14th. Margt: Munro Spouse to the Rd. Mr. Hugh Anderson Minr. of the Gospel at Kinnr. was buried at Dranie”.

Awareness of Hugh Anderson of Drainie rose sharply on the discovery in the stables at Brodie Castle of a rare religious book from the medieval period which he had possessed. He helpfully writes on one page that it is from the library of Hugh Anderson, and sets out in 1741 to whom he was bequeathing it, and then later that year he crossed that out and bequeathed it to Sir Robert Gordon of Gordonstoun instead. He obviously valued the pontifical and cared about what happened to it: rather like his approach to Udol. The British Library, which holds the “Anderson Pontifical”, describes it as below (

a page of the pontifical; image courtesy of British Library

the page on which Hugh Anderson wrote it was from his library; image courtesy of British Library

A pontifical is a book of the church services conducted by a bishop, such as the ordination of a priest and the dedication of a church. This pontifical from Anglo-Saxon England was discovered in 1970 in the stables at Brodie Castle, in Forres, Scotland. It is called the “Anderson Pontifical” after Hugh Anderson, minister of the parish of Drainie, Morayshire, in the early 18th century, whose name is inscribed with date in the book. No one knows how the ancient service book got from its place of origin, probably Canterbury or Winchester, to Scotland, but it is possible that it may have arrived in the Middle Ages, before the 13th century when Drainie was the seat of the bishops of Moray. On important feast days celebrated in a cathedral, the bishop would give special prayers of blessing. This is the blessing for Christmas Day, identified by the title in red capital letters at the top of the page. The actual prayer begins with the large red first letter of “Benedicat nos” (“Bless us…”), a frequently used conventional opening for blessings. It is written as a series of short prayers with short responses. The response “Amen” and the places to repeat other responses (“Item alia”) are written in red.

More recently I had a closer look at the person to whom Hugh Anderson had originally intended to leave the Pontifical. The British Library states that the document bears the note that it was bequeathed by Anderson to William Mercer and his son Hugh Mercer on 5 May 1741, but this note was crossed out. The only Hugh Mercer I could find born to a William Mercer in this period was in the Parish of Pitsligo in Aberdeenshire. This looked very likely to be the correct one as Mercer turned out to be a minister: “1726 … January 17th The Reverend Master William Mercer Minister of the Gospel at Pitsligo and Mistress Anne Munro had a Son baptized named Hugh by the Reverend Master John Mercer Minister of the Gospel at Tyrie Witnesses Master James Cock Schoolmaster at Pitsligo and William Mores”. My interest suddenly quickened. Mercer’s wife was a Munro and Hugh Anderson’s wife was a Munro. And sure enough, William Mercer and Anne Munro had married in 1723 in the Parish of Drainie, Hugh Anderson’s parish: “May … 18th Mr William Mercer Minr of the Gospel at Pitsligoe was matrimonially contracted with Ann Munro in this parioch and after proclamations on three sabbath days successively were maried on the 18th of June.” The Fasti entry for Mercer says that: “He married 18th June 1723, Anne (died 19th Jan. 1768), daugh. of Andrew Monro, sheriff-clerk, Elgin”, so it looks likely that Margaret and Anne were sisters, and that Hugh Anderson intended leaving the Pontifical to his brother-in-law and his son until he changed his mind.

The Aberdeen Press & Journal of 29 March 2005 ran an article on the son, Hugh Mercer, as he became very famous – but not in Scotland. Michty! it turns out that the young Hugh Mercer studied medicine at Marischal College in Aberdeen, joined the 1745 Rebellion after graduating, participated in Culloden and then fled to America. He is well-knowns in the United States. Mercersburg, a town in Pennsylvania, is named after him and there are Mercer Counties in his honour in seven US states. Statues of him have been erected in Philadelphia and the city of Fredericksburg, Virginia, where Mercer set up a medical practice and where he and George Washington planned the early stages of the Revolutionary War. The Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop in Fredericksburg is preserved and run as an historic site. He was the great-grandfather of songwriter Johnny Mercer who wrote classics such as Moon River and That Old Black Magic and was the great-great-grandfather of General George Patton, known as “Old Blood and Guts”. And, to bring it musically more up to date, General Hugh Mercer features in the song “The Room Where It Happens” in the hit musical Hamilton!

General Sir Hugh Mercer, nephew of Hugh Anderson’s wife Anne Munro, born in Pitsligo, surgeon at Culloden, died on the battlefield in the American Revolution

The Death of General Mercer (and his poor white horse) at the Battle of Princeton, January 3, 1777 by John Trumbull. George Washington is the figure on the chestnut horse.

General Hugh Mercer memorial in Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia; By Dwkaminski - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

I presume that after Hugh Anderson had decided to leave the Pontifical to William Mercer and son Hugh in 1741, young Hugh must have given some indication of his Jacobite leanings. Hugh Anderson would have had a fit given his protestant position, and would have immediately changed his mind about any bequests to the family of his brother-in-law.

The great Clan Munro historian, R.W. Munro, wrote an article on Reverend William Mercer and Anne Munro and her family for Clan Munro Magazine in 2000. Her father, Andrew Monro, appears on record as Sheriff Clerk of Moray when, at Elgin on 8 June 1676, he acted as cautioner for one Hugh Munro on his admission as notary public (NP2/11). This was a time of deep religious controversy in Scotland, and it was apparently as a result of his disapproval of the measures taken by the King’s government to suppress the Presbyterian system of church organisation that Andrew was deprived of or resigned his office, at least temporarily. Andrew Monro, described as ‘late sheriff-clerk and commissary clerk of Elgin’, and his spouse Barbara Cuming were among many people accused of ‘ecclesiastical disorders’ (19 January), being among the ‘dishaunters of ordinances’ in Elgin parish (27 January) and classed as ‘delinquents’. But it seems that they, or perhaps the commissioners, may have wavered: it was reported in early February that Andrew ‘now keeps the kirk’ and he and his wife ‘will live regular’, that they were making ready to go to Jersey and had taken the bond of peace; but within only a few days Andrew, along with Donald Monro baker in Elgin and many others, refusing to take the oath of allegiance to the new king, were sentenced to be banished from the kingdom (11 February). King James protected his co-religionists and allowed a measure of toleration to presbyterians, but even his ‘indulgences’ led to widespread division among his people. Andrew seems to have been allowed to remain in Scotland and to resume his office as Sheriff Clerk, for he appears with that designation in Elgin town council’s minutes (12 December 1687) as well as after the Revolution, and is said to have held office until 1703.

Most importantly, and it would have been nice to have found this before researching the family myself, R.W. Munro ends up: “It is not known how long Andrew and his wife survived these ordeals, but they had three daughters who all married ministers of the (presbyterian) Church of Scotland. Grizel (or Grissel) married in 1702 Alexander Shaw, minister of Edinkillie; Anne married in June 1723 William Mercer, minister of Pitsligo; and Margaret married Hugh Anderson, minister of Rosemarkie and later of Drainie or Kineddar”. In support of these marriages, R.W., usually very reliable, gives Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae, ed Hew Scott, revised edn., vi 419, 235,383; vii 22. However, whilst these pages confirm what he says about Grissel and Anne, they do not confirm that the Margaret who married Hugh Anderson was the daughter of the Sheriff-Clerk. It is very likely, and was my own conclusion after following the Pontifical lead, but it still lacks that final piece of evidence.

And correspondent Dorothy Anderson again comes up trumps. There are many sasines associated with the Anderson family, and in one from 1697 (RS38/6 folio 121) Dorothy found the final piece of evidence, as can be seen in the following summary. They had married earlier than I had expected, in 1697 when Hugh Anderson was still minister of Rosemarkie.

On 6 September 1697 compeared Alexander Thomson in Udoll, as baillie and Andrew Munro, Sheriff Clerk of Moray, as attorney for Margaret Munro, his eldest daughter, now spouse of Mr Hugh Anderson, minister of Rosemarkie. He presented a contract of marriage which had been drawn up at Elgin on the last day of August and at Udoll on 3 September instant in which Mr Hugh Anderson, with consent of Mr Hugh Anderson, minister of Cromartie, his father, and Grisell Rue, his mother, for her liferent right had promised to infeft Margaret Munro in the liferent of 40 bolls of good and sufficient victual out of the lands of Udoll, as well as her liferent of the manor place. Alexander Munro was given sasine on behalf of his daughter between 5 and 6 in the afternoon, witnessed by Donald and William McCulloch in Udoll and John Williamson there.

section of memorial commemorating Reverend Hugh Anderson of Udol, minister of Drainie, and his wife Margaret Munro, daughter of the Sheriff Clerk of Moray, in Spynie Churchyard, Elgin; I understand this marble memorial was removed from Drainie graveyard to Spynie for preservation; photo courtesy of

Hugh Anderson of Drainie and Margaret Munro are both commemorated on a memorial originally at Drainie but moved to Spynie churchyard for preservation. He died 26th October 1749 and, as the Fasti says, his wife predeceased him without issue. You might think that the Estate of Udol would therefore have passed to his younger brother Alexander, but in fact he had died long before. However, let’s look at Alexander first anyway.


Reverend Alexander Anderson of Duffus (1672–1721) and Elizabeth Trent

We don’t see much of the adult Alexander Anderson in the Black Isle. I note in the Cromarty Register of Hornings (index D141, and book D140/1) in the year 1705: “our lovit Mr Alexr Anderson Minister of Duffus that qr Charles Hossack be his band subscryved be him of ye dait ye tuentie sixt off Jully Jaivii& & four yrs … ye soume off ane hundred threttie three pund tuell shilling eight pennies Scots money with ye annual rent yroff” i.e Alexander was pursuing Charles Hossack in Cromarty for repayment of this debt with interest in 1705 due by a bond made in 1704. I note by the way that one of the witnesses mentioned in this document was one “George Bruce merct. in Duffus” and as Alexander’s grandmother was a Bruce, I wonder if he was a relation.

Similarly in D140/1 we see on 5 January 1709 a “protest of inhibition raised at the instance of the within designed Mr Alexander Andersone minister at Duffus” against John Clunes of Neilstoune to stop him disponing any of his land or goods, presumably because Alexander had first claim to them.

You can see therefore that whilst the Andersons might have been ministers in distant parishes, they still had strong financial interests back in the Black Isle.

The Fasti says of Alexander, under Duffus and Unthank (such a wonderful name):

1701 [actually 1700] ALEXANDER ANDERSON, born 28th Aug. 1672, son of Hugh A. of Udol, min. of Cromarty, and grandson of John Row, Principal of King’s College; educated at King’s College, Aberdeen; ord. in 1701; M.D. (King’s College, Aberdeen, 10th Nov. 1719); died March 1721. He marr. Elizabeth Trent, who survived him, and had issue – Hugh of Umbridge Castle [actually Bridgecastle, an estate in the parish of Torphichen, near Linlithgow], served heir 8th Jan. 1751.– {Shaw’s Hist., iii., 404.}

When did Alexander Anderson marry Elizabeth Trent, and when were their children born? Despite the parish registers being kept in good order from the arrival of Alexander Anderson in Duffus, his own marriage is not recorded within them and only one child (where one of the witnesses inevitably is brother Hugh) appears in the Baptism Register:

Parish of Duffus Baptisms
1708 … Aprile 29th Marie Anderson lawll. daughter to Mr. Alexr Anderson parson of Duffus was baptized witnesses Mr Hugh Anderson Minr of Drainie & Mr Thomas McCulloch

The other witness, Mr Thomas McCulloch, was minister of Bellie (Fochabers), and his wife was Catharine Hossack, daughter of Inverness merchant and Town Treasurer, Thomas Hossack. Reverend Alexander Anderson baptised several of their children; it is thought that Thomas McCulloch was originally from Cromarty and hence they would have known each other as youngsters there. However, Elizabeth Trent was a witness at two of the baptisms as well, a very unusual occurrence. This is a strong piece of circumstantial evidence that she was the daughter of William Trent, like Thomas Hossack an Inverness merchant. They were involved with each other financially. As for the child Marie, I simply do not know what happened to her. However, her baptism in April 1708 indicates that Hugh and Elizabeth were married before July 1707! In fact, they may have been married earlier than December 1703, as there is an amusing little snippet in the Kirk Session records:

Parish of Duffus Kirk Session
January 23. 1704 … Smith Brown Mckvail Ritchie guisers confess & are appointed …
The said day William Smith John Brown Neil Mckvail James Ritchie being call’d compear’d & being accused of going in to the Ministers house under night on the 31th of Decr last in disguise & in arms and disturbing the Minrs family all of them acknowledg’d their being in disguise & in arms & their going in to the minrs house under night & their causing their fidler play in the Minrs hall floor but denied their giving any disturbance or their being any sin in what they had done…

The two minister brothers both had difficulty restraining wild activities on New Year’s Eve, such as parishioners swinging balls of fire on the boats at Lossiemouth, but this is the only record I have found where a manse was invaded. But note the use of the phrase “the Minrs family” – that certainly seems to suggest that Alexander was married by at least New Year’s Eve, 1703. There are often absences in his preaching at Duffus, which are noted in the Kirk Session records as due to him being ill, or attending Presbytery or Synod or Assembly, or preaching by Presbytery command in a parish temporarily without a minister. But there are some protracted periods when his absence is not explained, the longest being in March 1702, when on the 18th “No sermon ye Minr being necessarlie absent”, the 22d “The which day the Reverend Mr Hugh Anderson Minr at Kinneddor preach’d here” and 29th “No sermon the Minr being necessarlie absent” – I wonder if he was necessarily absent because he was getting married to Elizabeth Trent! Some speculation on the parents of Elizabeth Trent may be found in Appendix 3.

Although he was a minister, Alexander was reputed to be a good doctor, and that is why you see in his Fasti entry “M.D. (King’s College, Aberdeen, 10th Nov. 1719).” I understand that this was an honorary degree awarded to him in that year in recognition of his medical skills. He had not long to live. He must have known he was failing when, the year before his death, (RS38/8 folio 299 recto) he gave a Right and Disposition to property in Cromarty to his wife, Elizabeth Trent. It was written by him at Duffus on 12 May 1720, in presence of brother Hugh, eldest son Hugh, and James Innes, writer in Elgin.

Alexander Anderson died at the relatively young age of 48 in 1721, leaving behind him his wife, Elizabeth Trent, and at least two children, Hugh and William. Within a few years young Hugh had become a lawyer in Edinburgh so at the time of his father’s death he was probably away at University already. Given their grandfather was a Regent at King’s College, Aberdeen, and given their proximity to Aberdeen, you would assume they would go to university there. I see in Roll of alumni in arts of the University and King’s College of Aberdeen, 1596–1860 an entry for the period 1718–22 reading “Hugh Anderson, Moraviensis, natus V.D.Mto apud Dunenses, Med. D., acc. 1719, A.M.” which I imagine translated from the Latin is “Hugh Anderson, of Moray, born of a minister at ‘Dunenses’[possibly a mis-read latinised ‘Duffus’] who holds a medical degree (the honorary degree awarded to Alexander Anderson), started 1719, Master of Arts”. In the same publication, an entry a few years later for the period 1721–25 reads “Gulielmus Anderson, Moraviensis, b, s” which stands for “William Anderson, of Moray, first year, second year”. I am certain that these are our two brothers getting their grounding. Hugh would have then been taken on by an established lawyer initially, and William – I hope – would have subsequently gone to a college of surgery.

Alexander Anderson’s early death resulted in difficulties for Elizabeth Trent – and for the Presbytery of Elgin. Soon after his death the Presbytery (CH2/144/6, 4 April 1721) asked “Mistress Anderson at Duffus to give up the rest of the minutes of the Session of Duffus to be filld up in the Register” which was just a formality. But she also had to give up any outstanding money or written promises of money to be added to the poor’s funds upon which she would be given a discharge, absolving her of responsibility for any money that might be outstanding.

Archibald Dunbar of Thunderton (1671–1733) was one of the main heritors of the parish of Duffus and he either did not like the Anderson family generally or Elizabeth Trent in particular. “Thundertoun declared he would not consent unto Mistres Andersons getting a discharge untill she give her oath as to her having any more vouchers anent poors mony”. This was a strong position to take.

But the big issue was a substantial sum of money borrowed by Alexander Anderson from the poor’s fund on a heritable bond. This was something which kirk sessions with some spare money would do, as the interest from loaning out money swelled the funds available to assist the poverty-stricken. Alexander had issued a bond to secure “five hundred pund four shilling four pennies Scots of the poors money” and Thunderton and the Presbytery of Elgin were alarmed lest it not be recoverable.

The Presbytery wrote formally “to Mistres Anderson and the sd Mr Andersons heirs to take course with it and satisfy the presbyterie speedily with respect to that moneys being rightly secured also they the presbyterie will find themselves obliged to take a Legal method in that affair”. Elizabeth kept putting them off, and the Presbytery instructed Edinburgh lawyer Ludovick Brodie of Whytfield (descendant of the Brodies of Brodie and grandfather of infamous Deacon Brodie) to start legal proceedings.

James Ludovick Brodie of Whytfield (1681–1758)

Elizabeth by December 1723 must have moved from Duffus to Cromarty, either into Udol House or into Cromarty town, as the Presbytery records say (3 December 1723) that the Moderator “wrote to Mistres Anderson anent her giving sufficient security for the poors money of Duffus in her hands othewise the presbyterie find themselves obliged to proceed against her according to law and that he has got a Return from her as also a Letter from the Rd Mr George Gordon Minister at Cromertie both of them craving a delay for some time.” The Presbytery did not delay, and ordered “sds Summonds executed as also to write to the Rd Mr George Gordon Minister at Cromerty giving him a true narrative of that affair and signifying that if he could get Mistres Anderson to give her bond with sufficient Cation [caution] for that money it would be a kindness both to Mistress Anderson and this presbyterie.” They had investigated whether or not Elizabeth had sufficient resources herself to guarantee payment but “Mistres Anderson’s personal security for the poors money of Duffus is not sufficient she being but a Liferentrix”.

Well, it came down to the wire. The court case in Edinburgh was just about to start when Elizabeth’s son, I presume older son Hugh Anderson the young lawyer, stepped in (Presbytery records, 3 July 1724). It is surprising he hadn’t moved before, as his reputation would have been shot if the family had been seen to be defaulting on money destined for the poor. Ludovick Brodie wrote to the Presbytery that he had on his own initiative delayed the court case as “Mr Anderson’s son is willing to discount and allowe Thunderton or pay of the money due be him the five hundred pund four shilling four pennies Scots of the poors money containd in the act of presbyterie with eighty punds Scots as the @rent [interest] of four hundred pund thereof containd in his fathers bond”.

And what was Reverend Hugh Anderson of Drainie doing all this time? He was a member of the Presbytery whilst it was taking legal action against his own sister-in-law and nephews. As owner of Udol and much more land besides, he could have easily provided the security which would have saved the family embarrassment. The only explanation I can think of is that he himself must have fallen out with his sister-in-law, Elizabeth Trent.

The Fasti entry for Reverend Alexander Anderson of Duffus doesn’t mention second son William, who became in due course Dr William Anderson of Udol. Since he became the next laird of Udol, and a resident laird, we shall follow him first, but we’ll come back to his elder brother, lawyer Hugh of Bridgecastle – and of the Georgia Experiment.


Dr William Anderson of Udol (–1772/1773)

Second son William became a surgeon. He is listed in the index to the Particular Sasine Register for Cromarty-shire, Ross-shire etc. as “doctor, formerly surgeon, Wester Strath, and surgeon to the 102nd regiment of foot”. “Wester Strath” is situated in the Parish of Torphichen, just to the north-west of Bridgehouse and Bridgecastle where his brother Hugh resided. Torphichen is close to the town of Linlithgow, and not far from Edinburgh. And why the Anderson brothers became established there is as yet a mystery!

Bridge House, Bridge Castle and Wester Strath, Parish of Torphichen

William was present in the Parish of Torphichen in 1727, as he acted as witness for the baptism of one of his brother’s children that year. At some point, no doubt discoverable through the sasines, he purchased “the Lands of Westerstrath and Middleridge” – we know this as later, in 1744, he was to offer them as security on a loan. Dr William is well known as having married Anne Davidson and turning the fortunes of the Andersons around by association with the rich and powerful Davidsons of Tulloch. However, it seems to have escaped notice of all Anderson researchers that he was married and had a sizeable family long before he moved north to Udol and married Anne Davidson.


Dr William Anderson of Udol (–1772/1773) marries in 1735 Elizabeth Gray (1709–)

On 8 October 1735 in Torphichen Dr William married Elizabeth (“Bethea”) Gray and they had six children there: Elizabeth, a premature child, in 1736, another Elizabeth in 1739 (indicating that their first born had died), Margaret in 1741, Hugh in 1743 and twins Alexander and Jacobina in 1745. The 1739 baptism was witnessed by “Thomas and George Allans their tenants” which demonstrates that they were not actively farming Wester Strath themselves but had simply leased it out. Another frequent witness was “John Young portioner of Bridghouse”, Bridgehouse, of course, being where brother Hugh Anderson himself had once resided. Dr William returned the favour for John Young as in 1743 he acted as witness at the baptism of one of John Young’s children as “Mr William Anderson surgeon in Westerstrath”.

You won’t find his 1735 marriage to Elizabeth Gray in the marriage register, but it comes out in the Torphichen Kirk Session Records in this way. On 30 May 1736, the Minister of Torphichen informed the Kirk Session that Anderson had told him when they met in Edinburgh that through some misfortune, his wife had brought forth a premature child. The Session, obviously suspecting a case of antenuptial fornication, noted the marriage date of 8 October 1735 and had him in a few days later, on 2 June, to examine him. “Mr William Anderson being called compeared and being examined anent his wife her being brought to bed of a child before her time, and being asked seriously whether or not there be any guilt in this case he plainly declared that there was none but declared that upon Thursday before his wife was delivered … went off about his business and that she following him fell into the Lin miln-burn and immediat her pains came upon her, and continued till Monday morning when she was delivered, he furder advanced in his vindication a Declaration from Isabel Neil midwife signed by her and two witnesses The tenor whereof followes, I Isabel Neil Midwife hereby declare that to the best of my knowledge and Judgment the Child which I received from Mrs Anderson of Wester Strath was not to the full and compleat time of nine months … before these witnesses Alexander Clerk and James Clerk sons to Thomas Clerk [Clark] writter in Bathgate”. The Session inquired directly of another witness who could not attend personally, and then one of their number went to Wester Strath to inform Mr Anderson that he could have the child baptised at any time he pleased. Elizabeth was baptised on 7 June, her parents obviously concerned lest she die prior to her baptism.

By 1744 Dr William needed money urgently. The cause of this will become apparent. He took the unusual route of borrowing 2,000 merks (equivalent to 1,333 pounds Scots or 108 pounds Sterling) from the Torphichen Kirk Session, taking on as part of this an existing debt to the Kirk Session from one Patrick Calder of Redford. As security for this he offered his land, and the Kirk Session were keen to accept. This is from the Kirk Session Minutes (CH2/503/4) (my emboldenment):

Torphichen Monday Decemr. 17th 1744 … Wallhouse reported to the Session that Mr Anderson Surgeon in Westerstrath was inclined instantly to borrow from them the sum of Two thousand merks Scots upon their accepting heritable security by him and his spouse therefor upon the Lands of Westerstrath and Middleridge and that he was willing to take a right to the debts due by Patrick Calder of Redfoord to the session part of the said Two thousand merks. The Session considering the proposal made by the said William Anderson unanimously agree to appoint and impower as they hereby appoint and impower William Aitken portioner of Torphichen their treasurer to assign and make over to the said Mr William Anderson the two several principal sums due to the session by Patrick Calder of Redfoord by his Bond and accepted Bill and had by them annual rents thereof the said Bond and Bill themselves penalty and all contained therein and competent to follow thereon and in regaird the said principal sums and annualrents due by Redfoord decreet make up the said Sum of Two thousand merks, they impower their said treasurer to borrow as much money as will make up the same, and give security therefor in their names and to receive the said Heritable Bond from the said Mr. William Anderson and his spouse.

The Lands of Westerstrath and Middleridge which acted as heritable security for the debt taken out by Dr William Anderson and Elizabeth Gray I think must have come to Dr William from his marriage. There were Grays in Strath and Wester Strath and similar areas of the Parish of Torphichen for a long time. This is our Elizabeth Gray (and her sister Margaret) in the parish records:

Parish of Torphichen Baptisms
1702 … March 9 To James Gray and Elizabeth Moore of Westerstraith a daughter called Margret Witnesses Patrick Gray his father and Hendrie Robert in Badgelwalls
1709 May 31 To James Gray & Eliz More of Westerstraith a daughter called Elizabeth witnesses Jon. Ly.body [Lightbody] & Wm Jack

Several volumes of the Torphichen Registers have gone astray, but fortunately some of the missing ones were still around when the Scottish Record Society published Torphichen Marriages from Register of Baptisms, Proclamations, Marriages and Mortcloth Dues contained in Kirk-Session Records of the Parish of Torphichen, 1673–1714… (Edinburgh, 1911), and it provides the relevant marriage record: “James Gray in this parish and Elizabeth Moore in Munckland 27 July 1700”. Sadly, it also includes the mortcloth dues for “James Gray of Wester Straith for a child 16 Mar. 1702”, indicating that Elizabeth’s sister Margaret had not survived more than a few days.

Now Elizabeth Gray’s mother in the above records would seem to have been Elizabeth More or Moore, but in fact it was Elizabeth Moir, as revealed by her Testament Dative, lodged many years after her death by an Edinburgh writer seeking to recover debts long owed to her brother, Archibald Moir of Gartness, writer in Edinburgh (Edinburgh Commissary Court CC8/8/113, 1751). In 1734, Elizabeth and another brother, John Moir of Cairnhill, had been decerned as executors to the deceased Archibald, at which time she was described as “Relict of James Gray of Wester Strath which Elizabeth Moir deceased at Wester Strath in the Parish of Torphichen”. I won’t bore you with the details; suffice to say it gets relevant to us when it refers near the end to “getting the Consent of John Moir now of Cairnhills & Elizabeth Gray the Representatives of the Prinll. Executor of the said deceased Archibald More and William Anderson Chirurgeon in Strath husband to the said Elizabeth Gray for his Interest.” Truly nothing lasts so well as an unpaid debt, it even grows with time.

Returning to the money that Dr William Anderson and Elizabeth Gray had borrowed from the Torphichen Kirk Session, at first the tenants in Wester Strath paid the interest on the debt: “From Robert Russel tennent in Wester Strath upon the 31st December last in part payment of the annualrents due upon Elizabeth Gray and Mr William Anderson her husband their heritable Bond the sum of eightyfourpounds twelve shillings Scots” but Russell gave up the tenancy, the Andersons did not set the lands to a new tenant and the Kirk Session began to get alarmed. Unfortunately, there is a gap in the Kirk Session minutes between 1751 and 1761 and I do not know how the finances of this loan played out. Why did they take on the debt of Patrick Calder of Redford? Well, therein lies a tale. First, though to note the formal transfer of Patrick Calder’s debt over to Dr William in the Calder of Redford papers (GD332/87): “Discharge by William Anderson, surgeon in Wester Streth, to Patrick Calder of Redfoord, for 900 merks contained in Bond, dated 8th August, 1739, granted by said Patrick Calder to the Kirk Session of Torphichen, as also for £339 3s. 4d. contained in an accepted bill, dated 24th December, 1739, by said Patrick Calder to said Kirk Session, to which sums said William Anderson has right from said Kirk Session by assignation dated 21st December 1744. Written to the Signet. Dated at Lonend of Dalwharn 7th January, 1745.”

The story of the debt arises from a scandalous court case in which Patrick Calder and Dr William were jointly involved which was appealed to the House of Lords as “Patrick Calder of Redford, and William Anderson, Surgeon, in Straith, appellants. Mary Provan, servant-maid to Thomas Russel, in Falkirk, respondent.To be heard at the bar of the House of Lords, on Wednesday the 11th of January, 1743-4”. It sounded most intriguing!


And the case did indeed prove to be an intriguing one, and demonstrates the unexpected consequences of drinking to excess. It explains how Anderson and Calder became linked in debt and why Anderson had a sudden need for finance! This is from the House of Lords online decisions ( and I have to say my sympathy is entirely with the servant-maid!

Mary Provan raised an action against Calder and Anderson, concluding for restitution and payment of a bill for L.100, which had been granted to her by the former, on her agreeing to marry him, and which she had deposited in the hands of Anderson. Anderson acknowledged that the bill had been lodged with him, and that he had given it to Calder. It was further stated in defence to the action, that the bill was gratuitous, and at any rate that it was granted in a drunken frolic, and never intended to be obligatory, as might be inferred from the circumstance of its having been returned to Calder through the hands of Anderson.
The Lord Ordinary allowed a joint proof, from which it appeared, that Calder, being in a public house in company with some other persons, and considerably intoxicated, conversed much with Mary Provan, (the servant maid,) expressing a great fondness for her; that in the course of the evening they retired together into another apartment, where they remained shut up for about an hour, (but it was not pretended that any unlawful intercourse passed between them); that Provan afterwards came into the room where the company were, and shewed them a paper, which she said was given her by Calder for promising to marry him, or (according to one witness) as a proof of the sincerity of his intention to marry her; but Anderson, and another person, upon examining it, told her it was a bad bill; and then she carried it back to Calder, who wrote and delivered to her another bill, which they told her was a good bill, for L.100, payable at Whitsunday then next; that at Anderson’s desire she wrote her name upon the back of it, and left it in his hands upon his promising to be answerable for it, or to pay her the L.100, &c.

The appeal was brought from the interlocutors of 8 July 1741, 23 and 31 July 1742, and 7 January 1743. Pleaded for the Appellants:– It is apparent from the whole circumstances of the case, that the bill was taken without any intention to create a debt upon the appellant, Calder, but as a mere joke against him, who was in liquor at the time; and that it was with the same view that he and the respondent were sent by the company into a separate room, without the suspicion of any unlawful commerce or other transaction which was to pass between them. It is likewise evident that the respondent did not think the bill of any use, as she immediately put it into the hands of the other appellant, instead of preserving it herself, or entrusting it to her own relations in the house.
But supposing the bill to have been obtained by her seriously, still she cannot be entitled to recover upon it in a court of justice. It is admitted that it was given gratuitously; and when it is considered that it was so given by a drunk man to the servant girl in a public house, whom he never saw before, the circumvention must be obvious. That there was any consideration ex turpi causa, is not pretended; but if there was, it would only make the respondent’s case worse; for all securities obtained by women of that sort, even though deliberately, and from men knowing what they do, are in courts of equity set aside.
Pleaded for the Respondent:– It cannot be held that the bill in question was obtained by any unfair practices on the part of the respondent, whose character was perfectly unblemished. On the contrary, the whole transaction was a scheme on the part of the appellants to inveigle and delude the respondent, whom they have treated in the most fraudulent manner.
Bills granted either in consideration of secret services, or in recompence for a breach of a promise of marriage, (a reliance on which may have drawn the person to whom it was made into several steps which she would not otherwise have taken,) ought not to be rendered ineffectual, in favour of one who was not only privy to all the most exceptionable parts of the transaction, but confesses himself to have been the contriver of the whole; nor yet in favour of his confederate who, having been likewise privy to the whole design, contrived under pretence of friendship, and upon a promise to be responsible for the value, to get the bill into his own hands.
Judgment, 12 January, 1744.
After hearing counsel, “it is ordered and adjudged, &c. that the several interlocutors complained of be, and the same are hereby affirmed; and it is further ordered, that the appellants do pay, or cause to be paid to the respondent, the sum of L.40, for her costs in respect of the said appeal.”

Good for the House of Lords! And Dr William, who was jointly responsible, had to go cap in hand to the Kirk Session, who surely could not have approved of the drunken carryings-on, to borrow money to pay the servant maid. One wonders if the minister in Torphichen on the Sabbath subsequently lectured on the folly of drinking. And thus we return from decisions in the House of Lords to Torphichen. The church in Torphichen in Dr William’s day was formed from the nave of the ancient Preceptory or headquarters of the Knights Hospitaller of the Order of St John of Jerusalem in Scotland, dating originally from the 1100s. It is likely that some of the early family of Dr William Anderson are buried in the churchyard here.

Torphichen Preceptory and Church; from Wikipedia; CC-BY West Lothian Archaeology

graveyard at Torphichen Preceptory and Church; CC-BY-SA 4.0

Dr William’s older brother, Hugh Anderson of Bridgecastle, by now had emigrated. They must have enjoyed a good relationship when younger – I see that Dr William acted as a witness at the baptisms of two of Hugh’s children in the Parish of Torphichen back in the 1720s.

Parish of Torphichen 1727
1727 … Decr. 26 Baptised att Kipps To Mr. Heugh Anderson of Bridghouse & Mrs. Elizabeth Falconer a son called Heugh witnesses Mr. Alexander Falconer of Kipps & William Anderson
Parish of Torphichen 1733
1733 … October … 30 To Mr. Heugh Anderson and Mrs. Bethea Falconer of Bridgcastle a daughter called Catharine Keith witness. Wm. Anderson his Broyr and John Kirk

The two brothers would become even closer as – if they had lived that long – they would have become mutual fathers-in-law in 1777. The son of Hugh of Bridgecastle married the daughter of Dr William of Udol, and re-purchased the Estate of Udol. However, we shall come back to Alexander Anderson of Hanover Parish, Jamaica, and later of Udol, who married his first cousin, Jane Anderson.

As mentioned earlier, with his brother Reverend Alexander of Duffus dying young, Reverend Hugh of Drainie passed Udol directly to nephew Dr William Anderson, son of Reverend Alexander of Duffus. This was in 1742, five years before he died, so Hugh of Drainie was clearly thinking ahead. I wonder if he was aware of Dr William’s case heading towards the House of Lords, or if this was kept from him. I suspect this was why Dr William took out his loan from the Kirk Session of Torphichen in 1744 rather than approaching his minister uncle.

Why was Udol not passed to the older nephew? Well, the eldest son and heir of Alexander of Duffus was Hugh of Bridgecastle, who had by this time lost most of his money and emigrated to Georgia with his family and servants. This was in 1737, and he further relocated to South Carolina in 1739.

The Reverend gentleman must have concluded that Dr William was more appropriate to take on Udol than Hugh of Bridgecastle.

The sasine was registered eight years after the actual transference, but it sets out the position so clearly that I include quite a few extracts:

RS38/10 folio 89 verso (registered in Inverness on 18 January 1750)
Sasine in favours of William Anderson
That upon the first day of January one thousand seven hundred and fifty years Compeared William Ross painter in Cromarty as baillie in that part specially constitute by the Precept of Sasine after insert, and also Compeared William Anderson second lawful son to the deceast Mr. Alexander Anderson late Minister of the Gospell at Duffus Surgeon in Wester Strath in whose favours the Right and Disposition aftermentioned is made and granted upon the Ground of the Lands and others after expressed having and holding in his hands a right and disposition of the date and containing therein the precept of sasine underwriten made and granted by the deceast Mr. Hugh Anderson Minister of the Gospell at Kinneder heretable Proprietor of the Lands and others therein and after specified, whereby and for the causes therein mentioned the said Mr Hugh Anderson gave granted and disponed to and in favours of the said William Anderson his nephew his heirs or assigneys … all and haill the Town and Lands of Udell with the haill Crofts and field infield lands thereof adjacent thereto and fish zair of the same, with all and sundrie mannor places, houses, biggings, yeards, orchyeards, kilns, barns, byres, victual houses, meadows and priviledges of sea ware, and having fish boats and other boats in the shoar thereof, parts pendicles grazings and haill universal pertinents pertaining or that shall be anyways knowne to appertain and belong to the forsaid Lands and Crofts by any manner of way whatever according to the special bounding after exprest vizt. [as set out in the 1650 sasine] … to the said William Anderson by deliverance to him or his certain attorney in his name bearer thereof of earth and stone of the saids lands and timber of the said zair upon the ground thereof as use is …

One of the witnesses to the sasine implementation was none other than “Hugh McCulloch Tacksman of Udoll” who features in several stories on our website, but in particular this one. He held the mill at Udol. His broken memorial slab was repaired and re-erected in the nave at Kirkmichael by the Trust to provide a juxtaposition between its post Reformation symbols of mortality and our pre-Reformation ornate medieval crosses. Hugh McCulloch and Dr William may have fallen out as there is a Court of Session case in 1759 (CS271/27653) entitled “Hugh McCulloch v Dr. William Anderson” which I have yet to explore. Note, by the way, the symbolic delivery of timber for the transfer of the yair. I am used to seeing sasines with symbolic delivery of “Earth and Stone of the Ground of the said lands and of the Clapp & Happer of the said miln” but timber for a yair was a new one to me.

Hugh McCulloch’s tablestone slab on the left is juxtaposed with medieval ornate crosses in the nave at Kirkmichael; photo by Andrew Dowsett

The route by which Dr William became Anderson of Udol raised legal queries relating to feu duties, and an issue of two conflicting charters surfaces. A legal opinion was sought by William Urquhart of Meldrum, an interested party on the Urquhart side. This is to be found in the Craigston Urquhart papers (NRAS2570/Bundle 86)

[cover] Copie Memoriall & Quarys concerning the Entry of Udell & the Few duty of Kinbeachie 1751
Memorial for William Urquhart of Meldrum
[side note 24 Nov 1664] In the Few Contract past betwixt Sir John Urquhart of Cromartie & Mr Hugh Anderson Minister of Cromarty, Whereby Sir John Disponed to him & his heirs male… The Town & Lands of Udell, to be holden few for certain few dutys, & relieving Sir John at the hands of the Bishop of the Few dutys pale. To him the following clause amongst others is Contained “The said Sir John Urquhart Binds & obliges him to his abovewritten to enter & receive the said Mr Hugh Anderson… [1666] Mr Anderson [Hugh Anderson Minister of Cromarty] got a Charter in consequence of this Contract, but he afterwards got another Charter [1685] from George Visct. Of Tarbat, who had then acquired right to the Estate of Cromarty, upon his own resignation in favours of himself & spouse in conjunct liferent, and of Mr Hugh Anderson [Hugh of Drainie] his Eldest Son in Fee & their Heirs … This last Mr Hugh had no Heirs of his own body, But a younger Brother of his [Alexander of Duffus], left several Children, the Eldest of whom likewayes has several children, and Mr Hugh Disponed these Lands of Udell, in Favours of William Anderson, the Second son of his Brother, who in virtue of this Disposition now enjoys the lands. [the query relates to William’s rights from his Uncle]

The duplication of Charters mentioned in the query was to feature in an election dispute that led to an extraordinary decision of the Court of Session in 1766.


Dr William Anderson of Udol (–1772/1773) re-marries in 1757 Anne Davidson (c1730–c1793)

We do not know when Elizabeth Gray died, or what happened to the children of that first marriage. But Dr William Anderson re-married, in 1757, Anne Davidson (c1730–c1793), daughter of William Davidson, sheriff clerk of Cromarty, and his wife, Jean Bain. The Davidson star was at this time in the ascendancy and this marriage between the two families was of such strategic importance it is tempting to believe it was an arranged marriage. Anne’s brother Henry Davidson, of Poland Street London, was rich and influential, and would buy the Tulloch Estate at Dingwall in 1762. William at the time of his marriage must have been at least 50 years of age.

Cromarty Marriages 1757
1757 … Novr. 4th were Contracted in order to marriage Doctor William Anderson of Udoll Miss Anne Davidson in Town. They were married within the Limited Time

It is thought that their first child, Jane, who would marry cousin Alexander, was born in 1758, but I have not seen primary source evidence of this. Their second child was baptised the following year:

Cromarty Baptisms 1759
1759 … Oct: 23d Justina L.D: to Dtr William Anderson of Udoll and Ann Davidson his Spouse was baptized.

Their third and last child was born in 1761:

Cromarty Baptisms 1761
1761 … June 29th William LS to William Anderson & Anne Davidson of Idol

I understand that, in 1761, William, a surgeon in the army, went abroad on military service for three years. The Udol estate was sold to brother-in-law Henry Davidson for one Scots penny, ostensibly so that he could look after it whilst Dr William was away. More likely, however, this was an election ploy, to give Henry Davidson voting rights in the Shire of Cromarty in the long and bitter lead-up to the 1768 election given that William would not be there himself to participate. Certainly an aggrieved Sir John Gordon of Invergordon, who was standing as candidate in that election, felt so, and amidst the vast amount of litigation between himself and the other candidate, the richest man in Britain, Sir William Pulteney, nephew of Lord Elibank, there are various legal processes attacking the arrangements between Anderson and Davidson. One outcome of this battle was the acceptance that fictitious votes could not be stopped, and for more than twenty years votes multiplied (Alexander Wight Inquiry into the Rise and Progress of Parliament (1786)).

One document from these processes is dated 19 February 1766 and entitled Answers for William Anderson of Udal to the Petition of Sir John Gordon of Invergordon, Baronet (National Library of Scotland reference ESTC T209848). In it is stated:

In the year 1761, when the respondent was about to go abroad, as a surgeon in the army, he disponed the said lands of Udal to Henry Davidson of Tulloch, his brother-in-law, to whom he left the charge of his wife and family.

An extracted copy of the sasine is held in the NRS in CS231/G/4/6 Sir John Gordon and others v Davidson: Petition and complaint (1770) and is described as:

Extract sasine in favour of Hendry Davidson eldest lawful son of the deceased William Davidson sheriff clerk of Cromarty in the town and lands of Udole {Udal} lying within the Parish and Sheriffdom or Cromarty, on disposition or instrument of sale by William Anderson of Udole {Udal}, surgeon to His Majesty’s 102nd Regiment of Foot, dated said sasine 27 Jul 1763 and recorded in the Particular Register of Sasines at Inverness the 8 Aug 1763.

The 102nd Regiment of Foot (Royal Madras Fusiliers) was a regiment of the British Army raised by the Honourable East India Company in 1742. When William Anderson of Udol was about to go abroad in 1761, the Third Carnatic War (1756–1763) was being fought in India. This essentially was a conflict between British and French forces as to which country was going to dominate in India, a conflict that effectively established the British Raj. Whether or not Anderson actually served in India is not known.

We know for certain that Dr William had returned by June 1765, as he and Duncan Davidson both signed as witnesses the implementation of a sasine (RS38/12 folio 179) on 28 June 1765 at Udol. The land in question was “that three Roods of Lands Commonly Called the manse with the house built thereon in the west end of the Town of Cromarty … subscribed by me at Udol … before these witnesses Doctor William Anderson of Udol and Mr. Duncan Davidson Merchant in London”.

On Dr William’s return, Udol was returned to Anderson, but Henry Davidson retained an interest. Despite the fact that the size of Udol should have allowed only one vote, astonishingly both Anderson and Davidson were deemed eligible to vote for Sir William Pulteney. Scots land transference at this time was hideously complex and made a fortune for lawyers.

John Gorrie, factor for Sir John Gordon (and a lawyer), objected to Anderson of Udale at the Commissioners of Supply meeting at Cromarty on 22 May 1765:

[… objection to Anderson of Udale …] It was Answered for Doctor Anderson of Udale, that tho Mr. Davidson stands infeft in the Lands of Udale, yet that it is only a Base Infeftment [a disposition of land by a vassal, to be held of himself], the Superiority still Remaining in him [i.e. Anderson], which by the fifth Act, of the Fifth of George the third is Expressly Declared to be a good Qualification.
Replied by Mr. Gorry, That the Disposition upon which Mr. Davidson is infeft and sasine Recorded is an absolute Disposition of the Lands of Udale, and that he [Davidson] is at present the only proprietor, that the Valued Rent of Udale is no more Than one hundred and forty pounds Scots and cannot intitle Both Mr. Anderson & Mr. Davidson to Vote in this meeting, and that the Laird of Cromarty is Superior of the Lands of Udale.

Sir John lost the subsequent legal case. A later legal commentator (A treatise on the laws concerning the election of the different Representatives sent from Scotland to the Parliament of Great Britain 1773. by Alexander Wright; page 187) was openly incredulous:

In a question from the county of Cromarty, two different persons were found qualified to act in virtue of the same lands, although neither of them was the immediate vassal of the crown. The case stood thus: Anderson of Udal was base infeft, upon a disposition from Mr Hugh Anderson, who held of the proprietor of the estate of Cromarty; and this sub-vassal having conveyed the lands to Henry Davidson, who infeft himself base upon the precept in that conveyance, both were found qualified to act; 21st January 1766, Sir John Gordon contra Anderson. If this decision be well founded, it is hard to say where to stop. It would seem that as many may act, in respect of one parcel of land of L.100 valuation, as there may be sub-feus of it granted.

bust of Sir John Gordon of Invergordon as a young man by Edmé Bouchardon

section of portrait of William Pulteney by Thomas Gainsborough

But Dr William Anderson of Udol was taking a much more active role in the proceedings than simply playing around with votes. He was acting Collector of Supply for the Shire of Cromarty, responsible for collecting the cess, and he seemed to be doing everything he could to prevent Sir John Gordon having access to the cess books to see which voters were valid. William Macleay, acting for Sir John, took a Notary Public with him and sought out Anderson:

Att the Ness of Invergordon and within the Ferry Boat there the Tenth day of September one thousand seven hundred and sixty five years and of his Majesty’s Reign the sixth year The which Day In presence of me Notary Publick and Witnesses subscribeing Compeared William McLeay writer at Invergordon as procurator for Sir John Gordon Baronet Convener of the Commissioners of Supply of the Shyre of Cromarty, whose power of procuratory was Clearly known to, and understood by me Notary Publick Subscribeing, and with us past to the personal presence of William Anderson of Uddol, acting Collector of supply of the said Shyre, and then and there the said William McLeay Exhibited and delivered to me Notary Public a Schedule of Protest, to be Read and Explained In presence of the said William Anderson and the witnesses Subscribeing Representing That a letter had been wrote and Sent In Name of the said Conveener of date the Seventh Current to the said William Anderson Informing him, That the said Conveener had appointed a meeting of the Commissioners of the Supply of the said Shyre to be held at Cromarty upon Thursday next the Twelfth Current, and desireing the said William Anderson to bring with him or Send all the papers he had Relative to the valuation assessment or Books of Supply of the Shyre, and to acquaint in return to that letter at what rate he had Levied the Current Cess per one hundred pound valued rent, and that the said William Anderson had only sent this morning a verball message in answer to this letter acquainting the Convener That he would not attend the said Meeting, and That the papers Called for from him were in the Custody of the Clerk of Supply, and That he could not say at what Rate he levied the Cess for the Current year as he had not been at home to Inspect his books Since he had received the Conveeners Letter, Therefor The said William McLeay Pror for and In Name forsaid ordered & Required the said William Anderson as acting Collector of Supply to attend personally at the aforesaid Meeting That he might Receive the Direction of the meeting Touching his Conduct as Collector and to bring with him all the Books and papers beforementioned in his Custody or power, and protested That if he the said William Anderson failed so to doe, he should be subject and Lyable to all the Legall Consequences of Such failure…

Despite Dingwall being at a considerable distance from Udol, Dr William Anderson was admitted burgess and guild brother of the Burgh at the meeting of 28 July 1763 (thanks to Jonathan McColl, who has transcribed the minute books, for this information). On the same day Henry Davidson of Tulloch Esquire and one of Davidson’s servitors were also admitted burgesses and guild brethren, so it can be assumed that Dr William Anderson was being drafted in as Davidson support. His nephew, Alexander Anderson of Udol, would in due course also be drafted in as burgess and guild brother, and was actually elected to the Burgh Council, again to support Davidson of Tulloch. The two families continued to work very closely together.

When did Dr William die? I know he was alive on 30 April 1772 as he attended a meeting of the Commissioners of Supply on that day. But he died later that year, or early the following year, from evidence of window tax returns. On 15 June 1772 “Doctor William Anderson of Idol” was liable for 11 windows while in 1773 the reference changes instead to “Mrs Anderson of Udale” so clearly William had passed away. His widow, Anne Davidson, moved into the little town of Cromarty where she died many years later, again estimating from window tax returns, about 1793 (“Mrs Anderson of Udale” appears on the return for year 1793/4 but not for year 1794/5).

Before he died, Dr William purchased a tenement in Cromarty, presumably with a view to it being occupied by his widow when he passed away. The final implementation of the sasine in fact occurred after his death.

RS38/13 folio 117
Summary of “Sasine in Favours of Mrs Anderson of Udol in liferent and to William Anderson her son in fee.” Registered on 18 December 1773. On the 7 December 1773, in presence of the notary public and witnesses, William Mason, residenter in Cromarty, acting as attorney in name of Anne Davidson, widow of the now deceased Dr William Anderson of Udol and William Anderson, their eldest son, presented a Charter of Resignation which had been granted by George Ross of Pitkerie who was the superior of the lands being conveyed and in which he had granted and sold the following property to the now deceased Dr William Anderson and Anne Davidson, his wife, the longer liver of the two of them. Anne Davidson, if she survived him, was only to have the liferent and after her death the property was to go to William Anderson, their son. The property involved was a tenement of land in the town of Cromarty which had sometime been possessed by Helen Ross, the relict of John McLeod, merchant in Cromarty and lately by Robert Gordon, merchant there. It was bounded by a tenement of houses and yard belonging to the heirs of Mr Alexander Anderson [i.e. Reverend Alexander Anderson of Duffus] on the east, a tenement and yard which had belonged to John Galdie on the west, the Breahead on the south and the street on the north. Also a particle of ground to the west end of the town…

Two of the Davidsons, of course, were witnesses.

I presume that both Dr William Anderson of Udale and Anne Davidson are buried in the Anderson lair beside the East Church Cromarty, nowadays the vestry.

We have seen that Dr William and Anne had three children: 1. Jane (presumed 1758–1811), 2. Justina (1759–1797) and 3. William (1761–1825).

1. Jane would marry her first cousin, Alexander Anderson, the son of Hugh Anderson of Bridgecastle and the Georgia Experiment, and they would return to the Estate of Udol.

2. Justina would marry John Mackenzie of Bayfield, very roughly soon after April 1785, and her story can be read here. I say “soon after April 1785” as she was not married when she is mentioned in a chatty letter dated 25 April 1785 from Reverend Arthur of Resolis to Munro of Poyntzfield, an in-law: “By a letter from Miss Justina Anderson, Innes is arrived at London & well.”

pendant portraits, meaning a pair of portraits intended to be hung together, of lovebirds John Mackenzie of Bayfield and Justina Anderson by the renowned American artist Gilbert Stuart and held by the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art, who shared these wonderful pictures on Valentine’s Day 2023!

Bayfield was known as Meikle Kindeace until changed by John Mackenzie, who purchased the estate when it came up for sale in 1787. The Bay it refers to is the Bay of Nigg, complementary to Udale Bay on the other side of the Cromarty Firth.

Bayfield House; photo by Jim Mackay

Sadly, Justina would die in 1797, and she is buried in the Mackenzie of Bayfield enclosure in Nigg Old churchyard.

memorial commemorating Justina Anderson in Nigg Old churchyard; photo by Andrew Dowsett

Curiously, a son of John and Justina, William, was to marry another first cousin, also named Justina.

Morning Post 9 August 1822
William Mackenzie, Esq. of tbe 3d Dragoons, only [surviving] son of the late John Mackenzie, Esq. of Bayfield, North Britain, to Justina, third daughter of William Anderson, Esq. of Russell- square.

My long-time Davidson and Barkly correspondent Nick Hide has investigated the name of Justina, popular in the related families of Davidson, Anderson, Gun Munro and Dunbar, and they all seem to derive from Justina Mackenzie, wife of the rich and influential first Henry Davidson of Tulloch (1728–1781) who appears so often in this story. And the effect snowballed. For example when Gun Munro of Poyntzfield married Justina Dunbar, a Davidson relative, a slew of Poyntzfield servants promptly named their next daughter Justina!

3. And William would become the last Anderson of Udol. He was a successful merchant in London, residing in Russell Square in town and Highwood Hill in what is nowadays the London Borough of Barnet. He rebuilt Highwood House in a Regency style between 1810 and 1825. He married well, in 1795. His wife was Ann Deffell (1774–1842), the daughter of John Deffell, a captain and merchant. Deffell was a rich man, although his wealth was badly affected by West Indian produce prices falling in 1805. Another daughter of Deffell, Elizabeth Caroline, married Henry Davidson, creating yet another close Anderson and Davidson link. And a daughter of William Anderson, Justina, as we have seen, married her cousin William Mackenzie in 1822.

But William Anderson of Russell Square and Highwood Hill is noted for another reason. The famous painter Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769–1830), who had moved into Russell Square himself at the end of 1813, was commissioned to paint Anderson’s daughter Emily (1806–1865). Lawrence painted her in the role of Little Red Riding Hood. The painting is now recognised as a masterpiece. You sometimes read that he painted this (c1821) when a guest with the Andersons in Udol, and that year does fall within the short period when William Anderson possessed Udol, but I have seen no evidence that the family actually did reside in Udol House. By the way, there are sometimes occasional challenges to this being the correct Emily, but I direct the doubters to the will of her mother Ann Anderson ms Deffell (1775–1842): “I leave to my son Duncan Anderson my daughter Emily’s picture painted by Lawrence”. ’nuff said. We shall return to William of Highwood Hill – and Udol.

Emily Anderson as Red Riding Hood; portrait by Thomas Lawrence

Those are the only three children of whom I am aware.

In contrast, Hugh Anderson of Bridgecastle and the Georgia Experiment had at least six children.


Hugh Anderson (c1706–1748) of Bridgecastle and the Georgia Experiment, and Elizabeth Falconer (1709–)

Hugh Anderson of Bridgecastle, son of Reverend Alexander Anderson of Duffus, began his career as a lawyer, when he was known as Hugh Anderson of Neilstoun. I see a sasine summary in the Index to the Particular Register of Sasines:

Hugh Anderson of Neilstoun, writer, Edinburgh, VIII. 278, 298, 299, 323: his mother, see Trent, Elizabeth.

Neilston lies just to the west of Cromarty, and a couple of miles to the east of Udale.

The first of those (RS38/8 folio 278 verso) was presented for registration at Fortrose on 3 May 1726. It sets out that Mr Hugh Anderson of Nielstown had borrowed [never a good start] 2,000 merks Scots from John Davidson, chamberlain to the Laird of Findrassie, to be repaid with interest by Whitsunday 1726, the penalty for non-payment to be 600 merks. As security, Mr Hugh Anderson, with consent of Elizabeth Trent, his mother, had been obliged to infeft John Davidson in his three oxgates of land of Wester Neilstown, also his lands called the Wester half of Ormishaw with four rigs of land in the Wester Haugh and a rig of land in the wester end of the town of Cromarty. In addition, his tenement in the wester end of the town now set out in cellars and storehouses. These properties were redeemable from him once the money had been repaid to him by Mr Hugh Anderson. The precept of sasine by Mr Hugh Anderson for John Davidson to be infeft in the properties had been written by William Davidson, writer in Cromarty on the 4 October 1725 and signed by Mr Hugh Anderson and his mother.

This type of deal usually ends only one way, and sure enough a later sasine (RS38/8 folio 300 recto) involves the transfer of these lands to John Davidson. There seems to have been a pattern of lawyer Hugh losing out.

In his later correspondence, Hugh does not mention he was a lawyer. In fact he was to say that he “was not designed for any particular profession or art” but this was not the case.

Two more sasines (RS38/8 folio 298 recto and 299 recto) were both presented for registration at Fortrose on the 1 July 1726. Elizabeth Trent, widow of the deceased Mr Alexander Anderson, minister of the gospel at Duffus, had granted a Right and Disposition in favour of her son, Mr Hugh Anderson, writer in Edinburgh. She had sold him three roods of ‘bigged’ or built land with the houses, yards and close etc. in Cromarty. The precept of sasine ordered Mr Hugh Anderson to be given sasine of the property and had been written for Elizabeth Trent by William Davidson, writer in Cromarty on the 8 June 1726, in presence of Kenneth Mackenzie of Grandvile, Alexander Davidson, Sheriff Clerk of Cromarty and the said William Davidson. On the ground, the witnesses included John Davidson, chamberlain to the Laird of Findrasie, William Davidson, writer in Cromarty, and William Anderson, brother german of Mr Hugh Anderson. The sasine at 299 recto relates to the same property, but gives the back story in the form of a Right and Disposition to this property, granted to Elizabeth Trent by her husband, Mr Alexander Anderson minister of the gospel at Duffus and written by him at Duffus on 12 May 1720, in presence of Mr Hugh Anderson, minister of the Gospel at King Edward (Kinnedar, or Drainie), Hugh Anderson his eldest son and James Innes, writer in Elgin, who had written the precept.

In other words, Alexander of Duffus in 1720 had passed this Cromarty property to his wife, Elizabeth Trent, and she had then in 1726 passed it to son Hugh, writer in Edinburgh. I doubt if he successfully held onto this property either.

It is worth noting the location of this Cromarty tenement, as several Anderson properties were all close together, and indeed passed into and out of their hands several times. The ground being conveyed here comprised three roods of ‘bigged’ land (land which had been built on) with the houses, yards and close etc. bounded by the tenement house of Donald Junor on the east, the Breahead on the south, the tenement house and yard belonging to the heirs of John MacLeod on the west and the High street or Calsay (causeway) on the north, all lying in the town of Cromarty. We’ll come back to that.

Hugh continued as a writer for several years. I see in the NRS a bond (GD176/642) by one Lachlan McIntosh of Torcastle to Mr. David Fearn, advocate, for £30, dated at Edinburgh, 24th July 1693, Joseph Mackay of Bighouse being a witness. This bond was assigned by Fearn to Mr. Hugh Anderson, writer in Edinburgh on 28 June 1728. At this time, then, Hugh was not connected with Bridgecastle. From the baptism register, he was, however, in December 1727 “of Bridghouse” (just beside Bridge Castle). Anderson had a summons for payment issued on 11 June 1733 and the discharge for £60 in full was issued to William McIntosh late of Daviot, now of McIntosh, as representing the said deceased Lachlan McIntosh of Torcastle by (now) Mr. Hugh Anderson of Bridge Castle dated at Edinburgh 7 January 1735.

Here at least Hugh had successfully recovered a debt. This document tempts me to believe he had become “of Bridgecastle” not long before 1733. The baptism records tend to support this, and as they are of considerable interest, here they all are:

Parish of Torphichen Baptisms
1727 … Decr. 26 Baptised att Kipps To Mr. Heugh Anderson of Bridghouse & Mrs. Elizabeth Falconer a son called Heugh witnesses Mr. Alexander Falconer of Kipps & William Anderson
1729 … Aprile 19 To Mr. Heugh Anderson & Mrs. Bethea Falconer a daughter called Elizabeth Witnesses Alexr. Gillon of Wallhouse & George Wilson ye said Mr Andersons Gairdiner
1730 … May … 14 To Mr. Heugh Anderson and Bethea Falconer at Bridgcastle a son called Mauris witness. Alexr. Gillon of Wallhouse and Mr Gillon advocate
1731 … August 31 To Mr. Heugh Anderson and Mrs Beatie Falconer in Bridgcastle a son called Alexander witnesses The Laird of New Cauchlais & of Wallhouse
1732 … Novr. … 16 To Mr Heugh Anderson and Mrs. Bethea Falconer in BridgeCastle a son called William witnesses Wallhouse and Mr Young por[tione]r of Bridghouse
1733 … October … 30 To Mr. Heugh Anderson and Mrs. Bethea Falconer of Bridgcastle a daughter called Catharine Keith witness. Wm. Anderson his Broyr and John Kirk

Bridge Castle in 2015; photograph by Victor Paul Kenyon; reproduced under CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

His wife, Elizabeth Falconer, was allegedly the granddaughter of an Earl, but this has not been confirmed. However, note the witness to the baptism, at Kipps, of their first child: Mr. Alexander Falconer of Kipps. Apologies for the following dense piece of biography. Alexander Falconer of Kipps married Elizabeth Colquhoun. She was daughter of Sir James Colquhoun of Luss, 4th Bt. (–1688) and Penuel Cunningham (–1679), who married in 1670. In turn, Sir James Colqhoun of Luss, 4th Bt., was the son of Sir John Colquhoun of Luss, 1st Bt. (–1650), and Lady Lilias Graham, the daughter of John Graham, 4th Earl of Montrose and Lady Margaret Ruthven. So it seems that there was indeed an Earl in the lineage of Hugh Anderson’s wife, Elizabeth Falconer, albeit a great grandfather rather than a grandfather. All this of course is dependent upon Alexander Falconer of Kipps (Kipps House in the Parish of Torphichen), the witness, being the father of Elizabeth Falconer. However, it seems very likely given the baptism was actually at Kipps. Alexander Falconer of Kipps was an advocate, and Hugh Anderson was a writer, so the connections are obvious.

And there was indeed an Elizabeth Falconer born to Mr Alexander Falconer and Elizabeth Colquhoun, in January 1709, in Edinburgh:

Edinburgh baptisms
26th Janry 1709 Mr Alexander Falconer advocat second laufull son to the deceast Sir James Falconer of Phesdo [in Kincardine] one of the Senators of the College of Justice and Elizabeth Colquhoun his Lady L[egitimate]. D[a]u[ghter]. Elizabeth was born and baptised 18 instant w[itnesses] to the baptism Mr John Arbuthnot of Fordoun Mr James Grant of Pluscarden Captain James Colquhoun of Silverbanks Mr James Falconer brother german to the said Mr Alexander Falconer

That would make Elizabeth at the baptism of her first child on 26 December 1727 only approaching 19 years old, but that would in fact be perfectly feasible.

Subsequent to the above, I have now confirmed the parentage of Elizabeth Falconer, as the Testament Dative (1738 CC8/8/101) of her father “Mr Alexander Falconer of Hillhead Advocate … who deceased at his house of Kips in the paroch of Torphichen” (in 1728) refers to “Elizabeth Falconer only Child on Life procreat betwixt the said deceast Mr Alexander Falconer and [blank] Colquhoun his first spouse and Hugh Anderson writter in Edinr. husband to the said Elizabeth Falconer for his Interest”. It is not often that a parentage can be so definitively confirmed. Elizabeth Colquhoun’s burial is recorded: “July 1711 … Elizabeth Colquhoune spouse to Mr Alexr Falconer Advocat aged [blank] years dyed 10 & buried 12 in Phesdoes pailling”.

Elizabeth’s grandfather on the Falconer side was therefore Sir James Falconer, M.P., of Phesdo, or Lord Phesdo (1648–1705). His tomb lies in Greyfriars Kirkyard, and as recorded above Elizabeth Colquhoun is buried in his enclosure. Lord Phesdo’s wife was Dame Elizabeth Trent (1655–1748). She married Sir James in 1672 or 1674, according to different sources. Her name suggests a connection to the wife of Reverend Alexander Anderson of Duffus who was a later Elizabeth Trent. The Trents were great merchants involved in trade with the West Indies and colonies such as New Jersey, hence the city of Trenton (I do not jest). Unfortunately, they were also involved in the 17th and 18th centuries in the illicit kidnapping and export of Scottish children as servants in the colonies, a scandal that is rarely aired. A popular first name with the Trents was Maurice – Elizabeth’s own father was Maurice Trent – and I see that consequently one of the children of Hugh Anderson and Elizabeth Falconer was named “Mauris”.

Photograph of Phesdo’s tomb to be inserted here in due course!

Anyway, returning to the aspiring colonists. Elizabeth Falconer’s husband claimed she was the granddaughter of an Earl to justify the need for a town plot in Savannah to John Perceval, Earl of Egmont, when seeking approval from the Board of Trustees for settling in Georgia. Here is the extract from Perceval’s diary of that fateful meeting:

Historical Manuscripts Commission. Manuscripts of the Earl of Egmont. Diary of the First Earl of Egmont (Viscount Percival). Vol. II. 1734–1738 Published by His Majesty’s Stationery Office 1923.
(page 276)
Monday 31. [May 1736] … Mr Anderson, a Scotch gentleman recommended to me by Mr. John Drummond to go to Georgia, came down and I kept him to dinner.
       He told me he had received liberal education, and was not designed for any particular profession or art, which was his misfortune, for by the failure of a person who had 1,000l. of his wife’s fortune in his hands, and by his family misfortunes, he had three years ago but 500l. left to maintain and educate five children [there were six baptised so it would seem one had died], besides a wife 25 years old [making Elizabeth Falconer born c1708 which fits with the birth of Elizabeth Falconer on 18 January 1709], and himself now 30 [making him born c1706]; that by dancing after the promises of a principal nobleman concerned in the administration of Scotland he had wasted 300l. of the 500l., so that he has now but 200l., which, being too little to live on, he is resolved to go to Georgia, for which purpose he desired my assistance at the Board that he might have the best encouragement I could procure him.
       I told him 200l. would barely do to carry over himself, five children, a maid and four men servants (12 persons in all) to buy tools, build two houses, and maintain his family (perhaps) two years in case he should lose the season of planting the first year, or a blight should happen or the squirrels eat his corn, which has happened to others, and that he must not expect in case of such distress that we shall give him provision out of our stores.
       He replied, he hoped we would, however, advance him some, to be repaid, as we had done to others in like case. I said the instances were very rare, and done when we were stronger in cash, but now we are obliged to be exceeding frugal, the Parliament not having given us above half the money we expected.
       He desired earnestly to have a town lot in Georgia, by reason his children are young and many, and his wife, who is grand-daughter to an earl, has been tenderly brought up, and would require some society. As to the quantity of land to be granted him, he approved of my advice to take at first but 200 acres, which is proportionate to four servants, and afterwards, if his circumstances improved, he might take more. I told him it would be very difficult to procure him a town lot in Savannah, but if he would on Wednesday next present a memorial I would back it at the Board.
       I found him a decent, considerate, and very intelligent gentleman.

Who was the national figure by whom he lost his money following? How did he come by Bridgecastle, and how did he lose it? Why was he so keen to emigrate to Georgia when his resources were so low? Hugh Anderson definitely was a man of mystery.

The 13th and last of the British colonies, Georgia was established in 1732, the only one to be governed remotely by a Board of Trustees in London (which persisted for the first 20 years). It was also the only colony to prohibit slavery from its inception – along with lawyers and Roman Catholics. The prohibition on lawyers is perhaps why Hugh Anderson did not mention to Perceval that his occupation had been a writer (a solicitor).

This is not the place to go into the political and social ramifications of the Georgia Experiment, but Wikipedia summarises it thus:

The Georgia Experiment was the colonial-era policy prohibiting the ownership of slaves in the Georgia Colony. At the urging of Georgia's proprietor, General James Oglethorpe, and his fellow colonial trustees, the British Parliament formally codified prohibition in 1735, two years after the colony's founding. The ban remained in effect until 1751, when the diminution of the Spanish threat and economic pressure from Georgia's emergent planter class forced Parliament to reverse itself.

General James Oglethorpe, founder of the Colony of Georgia

It was a noble idea for the time, although I understand that much of the stimulus came from the fact that the Spanish, a pressing threat through Florida from the South, offered freedom to slaves who came over to fight for them. Having Georgia free from slavery presented a strategic obstacle to Spanish incursion. When Spain was soundly defeated by Oglethorpe in the Battle of Bloody Marsh, it was, depressingly, not long before slavery was introduced to Georgia.

The white settlers were desperate to introduce slavery, as they could not compete economically with other provinces where slavery was practised.

Hugh Anderson, in writing to the Trustees on 13 June 1739, pressed for slavery to be brought in to make the society economically viable. So much for the liberal education.

But that comes later. I am grateful for the digital copies of correspondence related to the Trustees for Establishing the Colony of Georgia in America held on line by the University of Georgia ( entitled Transcripts of the Earl of Egmont papers. First he was appointed:

Copy of a Letter from Mr. Martyn to Mr. Oglethorpe dated at Westminster the 4th. of August I736.
The Common Council of the Trustees resolved the 2d. June last to give a Lot in the Town of Savannah to Mr. Hugh Anderson the Bearer of this; And, as they have a good Opinion of him they have appointed him Inspector of the Publick Gardens, and the Mulberry Plantations in Georgia
I am
Your most Obedt. Servant

Copy of the Appointment of Hugh Anderson to be inspector of the Publick garden and Plantation of Mulberry Trees dated 4 August 1736.
To all to whom these Presents shall come The Common Council of the Trustees for establishing the Colony of Georgia in America send Greeting Know Ye That We Have nominated constituted and appointed and by these Presents Do nominate constitute and appoint Hugh Anderson of Bridg Castle in Scotland Gentleman to be Inspector of the Publick Gardens and of the Mulberry Plantations in the Province of Georgia aforesaid To have and to hold the said Office of Inspector of the said Gardens and Plantations for and during our Pleasure And Do hereby authorize and Direct the Recorder of the Town of Savannah in the said Province for the tine being to Administer the Oaths of Allegiance Supremacy and Abjuration mentioned in an Act made in the first Year of the Reign of His late Majesty King George the first (Intitied an Act for the further Security of His Majestys Person and Government and the Succession of the Crown in the Heirs of the late Princess Sophia being Protestants and for extinguishing the hopes of the pretended Prince of Wales and his open and Secret Abbettors) and also the following Oath of Office to him the said Hugh Anderson That is to say That he wiill truly and faithfully Discharge the said Office of Inspector of the said Gardens and Mullberry Plantations. And to enter the same upon Record In Witness whereof the said Common Council have to these Presents affixed the Common Seal of the Corporation of the said Trustees for establishing the Colony of Georgia in America the fourth day of August in the tenth Year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Second of Great Britain Prance and Ireland King Defender of the Faith and so forth And in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and thirty six.
Signed by Order of the said Common Council
Benj; Martyn Sectary

Note that this appointment confirms, should there be any doubt about it, that the Hugh Anderson of the Georgia Experiment was Hugh Anderson of Bridgecastle. I like to have everything checked at each point!

“Inspector of the Public Gardens and of the Mulberry Plantations in the Province of Georgia” may seem a strange title, but the background was the ambition to establish a silk-growing industry in Georgia. The silk-worm lives on the leaves of mulberry trees, and the garden and the plantations of mulberry trees were all part of a grand experiment, which would result, it was intended, in mulberry plantations throughout Georgia being established from those first plantations at Savannah in the Public Garden.

plaster cast of the reverse of the original Colony of Georgia seal, with mulberry leaf, silk-worm and pupa; courtesy of the British Library

Hugh departed from Cromarty in March 1737. His departure and arrival are documented and demonstrate the importance associated with him in these early days.

State Papers
1737 … April 19.
Georgia Office. Harman Verelst to Thomas Causton … Mr. Anderson lately sailed from Cromarty in Scotland to Georgia: the Trustees have ordered that he be given credit in Georgia, if he wants it, of 12 bushels of corn and 200 lbs. of meat for himself and each of his servants for a year.

from Earl of Egmont papers on University of Georgia website]
Journal of Thomas Causton Esq. 1st Bailif of Savannah
1737 … 22 June …
A Periagua arrived from Cha. Town [Charleston] on board of 13 Arrived Mr. Hugh Anderson & his family, wth. several other passengers as p list, all in good health, Mr. Anderson produced the Trustee’s appointment under Seal to him as Inspector of ye publick Gardens, and of the Mulberry Plantns in Georgia. They left Scotland ye latter end of March, & after 9 weeks passage arrived at Cha. Town, where he & his Company receivd the usual Discouragements as to their settling in Georgia. Mr. Anderson deliverd me the Letter from Mr. Verelst to him, dat. 8 March I736, of wch. I have not as yet recd. any advice.

Hugh having assessed the situation informed the Trustees that he thought the Experiment would succeed but that there were many challenges. His letters go into great detail on societal and agrarian topics, and his dissatisfaction with the quality of the site chosen for the the gardens, and his growing disillusionment with the Georgia Experiment as a whole, but I focus only on those of biographical interest.

Extract of Mr. Hugh Andersons letter to Mr. Adam Anderson [one of the Trustees].
Savannah 15 June 1738
Dr. Sir,
It is some months Since I removed from Town all my family to Such accomodation as I could provide for them in the Country, and have applyd my Self with the greatest diligence to improve my little farm. I have cut down, clear'd, fenced & planted Ten acres of corn, peas, and potatoes, and Four acres of Rice, beside Some garden ground, nurseries, cotton, tobacco &c. in Small quantities for experiments; and I readily own, that without the continued favours and assistance I have had from Mr. Causton, it had not been possible for me to have done So much. And as the neighborhood of his plantation affords me frequently the pleasure of his company and conversation, my visits to the town of Savanah are very Seldom.

But Hugh’s situation was becoming untenable. He was to say later (letter to Earl of Egmont 3 March 1739) that “since my arrival in this colony I have with the greatest application I was capable of prosecuted the improvement of my slall farm, cleared, enclosed and planted 15 acres with corn, potatoes, peas, rice, cotton, tobacco, nurseries, etc, in doing which and maintenance of my family I expended 150l sterling. The returns of all which amounted to about 6l. Nor was this the greatest of my losses: two of my servants deserted to Carolina, four died; out of my family twelve continued sick a long time; myself after six months of illness given over by the physicians; and a charge of sick-bed expenses, not included in the former, of above 50l sterling.”

Anyone would have been disillusioned with that experience. Hugh didn’t last long in Georgia. Perceval had been right to doubt if he had enough resources given his grandiose household. He had obtained a country lot to start practising agriculture but soon burnt out. We know where it was located, for in the book which he and other disgruntled ex-settlers were to publish in 1741:

About three Miles South-East of Savannah, upon Augustine Creek, lies Oxstead, the Settlement of Mr. Thomas Causton, improven by many Hands and at a great Charge, where he now resides with a few Servants. Betwixt Oxstead and the Town of Savannah lie: 1st, Hermitage, the Settlement of Mr. Hugh Anderson, who had seventeen in Family and Servants; but he was obliged to leave that and retire from the Colony about two Years ago, upon Account of the general Hardships.

Hugh and his now depleted family moved the short distance north to Charleston in South Carolina. He wrote to Perceval, clearly hoping still to retain the nobleman’s patronage.

Mr. Hugh Anderson to E. of Egmont
Charles Toun 13 June 1739
My Lord
Some three month Since I wrote your Lordship which I hope came safely to hand.
       It was the first time I presumed to meddle with Politicks or publick affairs and I am hopefull my doing so will appear to your Lordship the effect of necessity not choice My Genius enclines me to the Naturall and retired Scenes of life, Politicks Surmounts my Capacity; so are they without the aim of my Ambition.
       I can add nothing to my former letter concerning the Publick affairs Save that the continuance of those measures and resolutions which takes from the Inhabitants the hopes of redress to their most material grievances Still further increases the misery poverty and dispersion of the yet remaining body.
       I do assure your Lordship that I personally respect Mr. Oglethorpe and have alwise received civilities from him, Nor can I doubt from the Honour his Majesty has conferrd on and the confidence the honble. Trustees have reposed in him, but that some great design for the benefit of the Nation is to be brought about by his means tho artfully shrouded from the eyes of the vulgar, but I must Sensibly regret that the effecting it has proved so fatal to the first adventurers.
       As for my own private concerns, upon finding my little Stock exhausted, my family decreased, my servants useless and burthensome and all the attempts of industry and frugality unavailing; I retired in silence to this Corner of the World where being invited to give a weekly lecture upon natural Philosophy, natural History, Agriculture and Gardening, my Endeavours however unequal to such an Undertaking were acceptable, and Fourty Gentlemen were generously pleased to Subscribe three guineas each per Annum as a gratification, and accordingly honour me with their Attendance once each week in the New Council-house, others who are not Subscribers take tickets for each night at 2 Shill. Sterl. In what farther Shape I shall be useful to the Publick or my Self I cannot yet determine.
       I waited on the General before I engaged nyself in this place and acquainted him of my design which he was pleased to approve of. and I did deliver unto his Excelly. a Memorial of such observations in relation to the Publick Garden, the Silk and Wine Manufactures, as did occurr to me in the Course of my endeavours to serve the Honble. Trustees in the appointment they were pleased to honour me with, and did then assure his Excellency as I now do your Lordship that I was most willing to serve the honble. Board in any thing within the Compass of my power, and that only necessity could oblige me to retire from a Colony where I had fixed my affections and expended my means.
       What further changes awaits my lot I Submitt to Providence but I flatter my Self that no change of place will exclude me from your Lordships Patronage, and if I might presume to request the hour, of being recommended by you to Mr. Glen [James Glen, born in Linlithgow in 1701] who comes over Governour of this Province, I might expect favours from him on your Lordsps. Accoumt which my merit could not intitle me to. I lived some years in his Neighbourhood in Scotland and I believe he is not altogether unacquainted with my Character.
       My Lord Amidst the disappointments I have met with this comfort remains, That my most valuable possessions are Still my own and no wise affected thereby, I mean, A Spirit incapable of envy or despair, an Ambition in the lowest Stations of life to merit the approbation of the Virtuous and a mind gratefully Sensible of your Lordships favours. I am with great regard
My Lord
Your Lordships Most Obedt. and most humble Servant
Hugh Anderson

His letter was in vain. Perceval felt he had betrayed his trust and his diary entries show that he was now set against him. This was compounded when Anderson and several other departed settlers (labelled as the Malcontents, and mostly Scottish in origin) published a book in 1741 entitled A True and Historical Narrative of the Colony of Georgia, in America, from the First Settlement thereof until this present Period by Pat. Tailfer, M.D. Hugh Anderson, M.A. Da. Douglas, and others, Landholders in Georgia, at present in Charles-Town, in South-Carolina.



The book contained much criticism of how the settlement of Georgia had been handled. It was a searing indictment of perceived mismanagement and listed many unsatisfied grievances. As for Hugh’s garden: “On the East Side of the Town is situated the Public Garden (being ten Acres inclos’d, on a barren Piece of Land, where it is hardly possible for what is planted to live, but impossible to thrive; and from this Garden were all the Planters to have been furnished with Mulberry-Trees, &c

The book went into detail on how they could not compete cost-effectively with other provinces where slavery meant costs were far less than in Georgia. Everything came back to labour, and being unable to produce crops, ship goods or carry out most activities as cheaply as where slavery was permitted. Sadly, the book urged the introduction of slavery.

As mentioned earlier, slavery was in fact introduced, but only when the Spanish were defeated at Bloody Marsh. No longer was it necessary to have a slave-free buffer between Spanish held territory and the British colony.

Hugh continued to reside in Charleston, acting I understand as head of a school there, until his death in 1748. This apparently was reported in the South Carolina Gazette (publication 1732–1775), although I have not seen the announcement myself.


Alexander Anderson (1731–1809) of Hanover Parish, Jamaica, and Udol

Alexander was born at Bridgecastle, Parish of Torphichen, in August 1731, the third son. He would have been just five years old when his family left Scotland at the end of March 1737 to emigrate to Georgia.

It is extraordinary then that his father should have sought a lot for one of the boys a year later. The eldest boy was Hugh, then Mauris (presumably Maurice), Alexander and William, but one of his children had died before departing Scotland as his father mentions only five children there, and further children died in Georgia as he refers to his family decreased. So it might have even been Alexander for whom he was requesting fifty acres.

Historical Manuscripts Commission. Manuscripts of the Earl of Egmont. Diary of the First Earl of Egmont (Viscount Percival). Vol. II. 1734–1738
Published by His Majesty’s Stationery Office 1923.
page 451
Wednesday, 7 [December 1737] … Mr. Hugh Anderson’s request for fifty acres to be granted in Savannah for his second son’s use, who is under age, was refused, because contrary to our rule to grant land to persons under age, nor can we make grants to others in trust. But we were willing to make Mr. Anderson a grant of a country lot for what number he pleases under five hundred, and he may put his second son into his own grant of fifty acres now in his possession, which he is to be told.

The family then moved to Charleston in South Carolina. His father, making ends meet by adopting several different employments, but largely through running a school, died in 1748, when Alexander would have been about 17.

Alexander next appears 1,000 miles to the south, in Jamaica, as a planter in Hanover Parish. I understand he was associated with the Mount Grace Plantation there, long in the proprietorship of the Innes family, who are nowadays tellingly described as “the notorious Innes family of the Mount Grace plantation in Jamaica”.

Parish Church, Lucea, Parish of Hanover, Jamaica

I would be surprised if the Davidsons, who had strong Jamaica interests, were not behind Alexander’s career as a West Indian planter.

Alexander had made money in Jamaica, but it was tied up in a loan to one John Pennant, future Lord Penrhyn. Udol at this time was owned by Henry Davidson of Tulloch.

I reiterate the importance of the association between the Andersons, Davidsons and Udol over the centuries. Even from the first Andersons of Udol, it was William Davidson the sheriff clerk in Cromarty, the progenitor of the wealthy Davidsons, who was drawing up the documents. Henry Davidson had acquired the “superiority” of Udol many years before, presumably to retain a voting interest in the Shire of Cromarty. And in 1826, Henry Davidson of Tulloch made a will bequeathing considerable sums to the Andersons, not all of which could be realised but still emphasising the close connection between the families: “to each of the children of the late William Anderson of Udol [i.e. William of Russell Square and Highwood Hill] the sum of one hundred pounds / to Caroline Anderson and Emily Anderson daughter of the late Alexander Anderson of Udol the sum of five hundred pounds each”.

Now, Alexander Anderson wished to regain Udol for the Anderson family but his money was sunk in the loan to John Pennant. Alexander therefore agreed with Henry Davidson a transfer of the debt to Davidson in exchange for Udol and some money to make up the rest. Henry Davidson must have been content that the loan would be repaid by Pennant at some point but I suspect the deal wouldn’t have gone through without that close family relationship.

The Penrhyn papers are held by Bangor University and I purchased a copy of the relevant ones. The most informative is a one page formal document:

Jamaica, ff. Know all Men, by these Presents, That I John Pennant of the Kingdom of Great Britain Esquire … held and firmly bound unto Alexander Anderson of the Parish of Hanover in the said County in the Island aforesaid, Planter, in the penal Sum of Nine thousand five hundred and thirty Six pounds five shillings of current Money of the Island aforesaid, to be paid to the said Alexander Anderson … Sealed with my Seal and dated the Fifth Day of February in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy three… The Condition of this Obligation is such, That if the above bound John Pennant his Heirs, Executors, Administrators, or any of them do and shall well and truly pay or cause to be paid, unto the above named Aexander Anderson his heirs, Executors, Administrators, or Assigns, the full and just Sum of Four Thousand Seven hundred and Sixty Eight Pounds Two shillings and Six pence of Current Money of Jamaica aforesaid, at or on the Twentieth day of July which will be in the year of our Lord One thousand Seven hundred and Seventy Eight with lawfull interest thereof … This Obligation to be void, and of none Effect, or else to remain in full Force and Virtue

Pennant had repaid a chunk of this money but much was still outstanding. In May 1774, the transfer of the debt to Davidson, minus the cost of Udoll, was formalised in another, very blotchy document:

State of John Pennant Esq his Bond to Alexander Anderson Esqr for £3405.16 British payable 5th of July 1778 assigned by the said Alexander Anderson Esquire … to Henry Davidson Esqr of Tulloch vizt.
The Principal …
Deduct the liquidated price of the Lands of Udoll made out to the said Alexander Anderson on the 11th May 1774 2299.10
On the 11th May 1774 Balance paid to … Alexander Anderson Esquire …

And so Udol returned to the Andersons once more in 1774. I see Alexander present in Cromarty as “Alexander Anderson of Udoll Esqr.” at a meeting of the Commissioners of Supply on 27 June 1777, so he was established in the area by that time. The sasine implementing the transfer, as was often the case, was lodged long after the sale, in 1778. Giving of sasine had taken place on the lands of Udoll on 3 April 1778, when Alexander Anderson had personally compeared before the notary public and witnesses and presented a feu charter which had been granted to him by Davidson of Tulloch.

That feu charter, as copied into the sasine, is strangely worded. I think it was written by Henry Davidson for political purposes to squeeze into a legal document certain claims for support in future election litigation. It is very descriptive. It states that the deceased Sir John Urquhart of Cromarty had granted a feu charter of the lands of Udall to Mr Gilbert Anderson, minister of Cromarty, the feu charter “bearing date Dec [blank] day of one thousand seven hundred and sixty [blank] years”. Well, given that Gilbert had died in 1655 there is clearly something wrong with the vague date of that alleged feu charter. Even if the date were, say, 1650, none of the Gilbert Anderson sasines which I have looked at mentions Udol.

The feu charter then states that Sir John Urquhart got into debt and the outcome was a Judicial Sale and the purchaser had been George, Viscount of Tarbat, which is true enough, who had then confirmed the acquisition of Udall by Mr Gilbert Anderson in a Charter of Confirmation dated 13 July 1687 (this is the crucial document that needs to be seen). The lands were to be held from Tarbat and the charter also confirmed them to Mr Gilbert’s eldest son and heir, Mr Hugh Anderson, minister of Cromarty, as well as the liferent of them to his wife, Grizel Rew. The Instrument of Sasine following thereon was recorded in the Particular Register of Sasines kept at Fortrose on the 26 December thereafter (1687).

Well, again, all these dates are subsequent to the death of Gilbert in 1655. And that key Sasine of 1687 (RS38/5 folio 438) does not mention Gilbert; it mentions Hugh and Grizel, and indeed Alexander Urquhart of Newhall as baillie, and has as witnesses Hugh’s son Alexander and William McCulloch in Udol, but not Gilbert.

The feu charter then states that Dr William Anderson sold the lands to Henry Davidson on the 29 December 1760 and he was duly infeft on 27 July 1763 and recorded in the Particular Register on the 8 August 1763. This sale by Dr William Anderson is explained by a Contract and Agreement which had been entered into with Henry Davidson on 22 September 1772. Henry Davidson had purchased the superiority of Udoll from the superiors in whom the rights of Sir John Urquhart and George, Viscount of Tarbat, were vested. They were Patrick, Lord Elibank, William Pulteney Esq, George Ross of Pitkerry and William Fraser of Balmain, Henry Davidson had then been granted a charter of the superiority under the Great Seal, This section is very much setting out the stall for future political litigation.

The feu charter then states that Alexander Anderson [i.e. of Hanover Parish], only son of the deceased Mr Hugh Anderson who was the elder brother of Dr William Anderson and as such heir to Mr Gilbert Anderson, the original proprietor of Udal, had been desirous to recover the patrimony of his ancestor and so had entered into a Minute of Sale with Henry Davidson on 11 May 1774 in order to purchase the lands of Udall which had been enjoyed by his uncle, the deceased William Anderson. This he did for for £2,139/1– plus interest from Martinmas 1772 until his date of entry. Henry Davidson acknowledged that he had received that amount from Alexander Anderson's agent and he, having acquired the right to the superiority of the property, therefore agreed to sell Udoll to Alexander Anderson to be held from him. And here you can see the purpose of the text of the feu charter: it is making it clear that Alexander owns Udol but that Henry Davidson has a clear line down through the centuries to hold unambiguously the superiority of Udol. This was the very argument on which Sir John Gordon of Invergordon had attacked Dr William Anderson and Henry Davidson at the election of 1768.

Well, was that feu charter written by Henry Davidson correct in saying that Gilbert Anderson had purchased Udol on some unknown date? I have to say that unless I see some earlier evidence such as one of the actual charters referred to, I don’t have confidence in it.

Now that he was established in the Black Isle, Alexander Anderson took his place in the social hierarchy. He became a Justice of the Peace for the Shire of Cromarty. He was admitted burgess and guild brother of the Burgh of Dingwall in October 1776, and on 29 September 1778 he was elected a Councillor of the Burgh, undoubtedly as a reliable supporter of Davidson of Tulloch. And we see his name regularly in the minutes of the Commissioners of Supply for the Shire of Cromarty. He was one of the most dedicated attendees, and took on responsibility for several building works in the area on behalf of the Commissioners of Supply, including repairing bridges on the Newhall Burn and another small burn between Kirkmichael and Newhall, and building a bridge over the Burn of Udol. A small selection of extracts from the minutes of the Commissioners of Supply (CRC 1/2/1/2), held in the Highland Archives in Inverness:

[2 Feb 1784] The meeting further Recommend to Mr. McLeod of Geanies to look out for proper workmen to build the Bridge of Newhall and refer it to Mr McLeod, Sir George Munro, Mr Anderson of Udoll, Mr Smith, Mr Forsyth and Mr Rose, or any three of them to agree with a Workman for Building said Bridge.
[3 May 1786] Thereafter Mr Anderson of Udal represented that he paid to William Fraser, mason employed in Building the Bridge of Newhall Twelve pounds Sterling, which with the sum of Twenty pounds Sterling paid the said William Fraser by the late Sir George Munro p his Receipt produced made an over payment to the said William Fraser of Four Guineas above the sum of Twenty seven pounds Sixteen shillings impressed in Sir George Munros hands. The Meeting order the Collector to pay back to Mr Anderson the said four Guineas, and take up the said William Frasers Receipt in his hands for the said Sum of £32. And having taken into their Consideration the state of the said Bridge, which they had all and respectively seen & examined they are of opinion that the same is very improperly constructed and that skillfull workmen ought to be forthwith employed… [Fraser had been employed in making the ruinous Bridge of Newhall fit to carry carriages, but his inexperience in bridge construction led to long wrangles]
[8 June 1787, at Cromarty]
Thereafter Mr Anderson of Udoll presented an estimate from David Henderson mason here for Building a Bridge over the burn of Udoll, which amounted to the sum of Thirty pounds Sterling [agreed]
[At Cromarty, 21 May 1789]
They appoint Brealangwell & Poyntzfield to have the small Bridge over the Rivulet near the Bridge of Newhall [this is the bridge between Newhall and Kirkmichael which crops up several times in the minutes] repaired & paved and appoint them & Mr Anderson to have the Copping of the Bridges of Newhall & Udale secured by Iron Bolts & lead – the Expence of both which Services will be Indemnified at the General Meeting of next Season …

Alexander Anderson also purchased land and other interests in the area. One purchase which relates to Udol itself was his obtaining the thirlage of the lands of Udoll to the Mill of Newhall, obtained from his neighbouring proprietors.

Sasine Abridgements Cromarty (Volume 1781–1868) (56) May.5.1787.
Alexander Anderson of Udoll, gets Disp. & Ren. Apr.5.1787, by Henrietta Gordon of Newhall, & David Urquhart of Braelangwell, her husband,– of the thirlage of the lands of Udoll, to the Mill of Newhall. P.R.15.149.

The thirlage required his own tenants to take their grain to the Mill of Newhall for milling, but with his having purchased that thirlage, there would now be no requirement for them to do so. They could use the mill at Udol instead.

But the purchase that reveals most about Alexander was his purchase of a house in Cromarty originally owned by the Andersons.

RS38/13 folio 381
Sasine in favour of Alexander Anderson of Udoll Esquire of the Tenement &c.
… the said Charter of Adjudication containing the precept of Sasine after insert made and granted by George Ross Esqre. Of Cromarty superior of the Tenement and offices after mentioned whereby the said George Ross Esqre. gave granted and disponed to and in favors of the said Alexander Anderson of Udoll his heirs and assignees heritably and under reversion conform to Act of Parliament all and whole that large Tenement of land Cellars Closs and garden thereto belonging with the pertinents lying within the Town of Cromarty & on the south side of the street thereof bounded on the East by the Tenement belonging to Francis Robertson Mariner, On the west by the tenement formerly belonging to John Macleod Mercht. in Cromarty, On the South by the Top of the Bank or Breahead above the Town of Cromarty and on the North by the high Street of Cromarty and which Tenement and others … disponed to the deceast Alexr. Gordon of Ardoch by Mr Hugh Anderson

So here we have Alexander Anderson returning from Jamaica to purchase not only his family’s old estate but also his family’s old Cromarty residence! It had been sold by “Mr Hugh Anderson” (from the timeframe, this could be either Reverend Hugh Anderson of Drainie or his nephew, Hugh Anderson of Bridgecastle), to Alexander Gordon of Ardoch (c1686–1753).

If we return to those wonderful Anderson wall pediments, if they did come from the Anderson Cromarty House, it would most likely be Alexander Anderson at this point in time who would have taken them, as he clearly had an almost obsessive interest in the Andersons of the past.

From the description, this tenement was in fact adjacent to the one purchased by Alexander’s uncle, Dr William Anderson, the sasine of which was recorded in 1773 (RS8/13 folio 117). The Andersons had clearly wished to keep the family residences together.


Alexander Anderson (1731–1809) of Hanover Parish, Jamaica, and Udol, marries Jane Anderson (c1758–1811)

portrait of Alexander Anderson of Udol, first shared by Anderson of Udol descendant Emily Augusta Wood Anderson

It is strange but there is no register record of the marriage of Alexander Anderson and Jane Anderson, and there is no register record of the baptism of any of their seven children. I can only think it was all done by private ceremony. The sole birthdate we have is of daughter Caroline as it is recorded on her memorial in a cemetery in the State of New York, U.S.A.: 21 January 1797. Other birthdates can be calculated approximately when the age of a child is given. As for the marriage, I have seen a date of 4 January 1777 on one usually reliable researcher’s tree, but what the source was, I know not. It seems a few years early given what we know about the ages of the children.

Alexander, born in 1731, was much older than Jane, who was born, it is believed, in 1758. Several of the Anderson men married women much younger than themselves.


Alexander Anderson and Udol House

Udale lies just outside the Parish of Resolis, within the country area of the Parish of Cromarty. When Alexander Anderson came into Udol, the window tax collector, obviously unsure of the boundary, included him for many years within Resolis, with the result that researchers incorrectly concluded that he was not resident in Udol. This continued with “Mr Anderson of Udale” being taxed on the basis of 15 windows from tax year 1781/1782 to tax year 1794/1795. The records for the next couple of years are missing, but then we have for tax year 1797/1798 Alexander Anderson of Udale correctly in the country area of the Parish of Cromarty and still being taxed on the basis of 15 windows.


We get confirmation that Alexander was residing at Udol from the Old Statistical Account, published 1794, which states:

There was a survey of the estate of Cromarty taken by the late Mr. George Ross; as also, of the estate of Udal by Mr. Anderson the present proprietor, and accurate maps of both properties made out. … There are now but 8 proprietors in the parish, except the Lairds of Cromarty and Udal, the property of all the rest put together is but trifling. The former, resides constantly in England, the latter, lives upon his property. It is worthy of remark, that the estate of Udal has been in possession of the same family for a period of 200 years [something of an exaggeration]. The present proprietor, Mr. Anderson, has planted a considerable extent of it with firs and forest trees, which come on very well.

Regarding the tree planting, the first edition Ordnance Survey maps from the 1870s, show extensive planting on the higher ground, and along the perimeter burns of the estate to the east and west, and around Udale House itself. This may not have been the picture back in the 1790s, of course, but it probably had not changed that much. There are some very large beech trees still on the grounds, and I presume these are some of those planted by Alexander Anderson.

yrs truly and Jonathan Gorvett under a beech tree which surely must have been planted by Alexander Anderson of Udol; photo by Andrew Dowsett

It must have been a very happy time for the family at Udol, a son and six daughters growing up on the beautiful grounds, the estate filled with schemes of improvement, the family attending functions at home or in town, or making social calls on the neighbouring proprietors. Udol sits within just a few miles of many stately homes in all directions: Cromarty House, Newhall House, Poyntzfield House, Braelangwell, Invergordon Castle, Flowerburn, Raddery etc. etc. It was a good time to be the laird.


The children of Alexander Anderson and Jane Anderson

The children, six daughters and one son, were: 1. William Henry Anderson (c1783–1819), 2. Ann Anderson (c1785–1813), 3. Justina Anderson (c1788–1812), 4. Margaret Anderson (c1792–1855), 5. Caroline Anderson (1797–1877), 6. Emily Anderson (c1800–1837) and 7. Jane Anderson (?–1814).

1. William Henry Anderson (c1783–1819)
William Henry almost certainly was named after a) his uncle William of Russell Square and Highwood Hill, and b) Henry Davidson, with whose family the Andersons were so closely involved. I would be very surprised if Alexander’s acquisition of wealth in Jamaica had not involved Henry Davidson in some way. Perhaps he facilitated his role as a planter there. This branch of the Andersons had reached a low ebb in South Carolina but had suddenly flourished again.

William Henry became (for a time) a wealthy broker in London, in partnership with other Anderson relatives. He married (the banns were read in July and August 1811), in St Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster, Sarah Lewis. However, their two children were actually born before their marriage. Alexander was born in Islington on 27 June and baptised 4 December 1810. William Henry was born on 10 June and baptised 18 August 1811, baptised just after the marriage whilst the family were residing at Goff’s Oak, Cheshunt, Hertforshire. I’m not quite sure what his relationship with Sarah Lewis actually was: his will (written 15 October 1817) directs his executors to apply the interest on his insurance policy payment “for the maintenance and education of my two sons Alexander and William Henry by Sarah Lewis otherwise Sarah Noble otherwise Sarah Anderson which two sons are now at school at Miss Browells in Kentish town”. That peculiar phrasing does not clarify if Sarah was alive, dead or vamoosed. I note that in 1812, in St George, Bloomsbury, one Barnard Noble married a Sarah Lewis, and I suspect that Sarah had “vamoosed” as Sarah Noble.

William Henry was still resident in Goffs Oak when he died in 1819, still in his thirties.

Constitution 9 May 1819
On the 1st inst., at his house, Goff’s Oak, near Cheshunt, Herts, William Henry Anderson, Esq. son of the late Alex. Anderson, Esq. of Udoll, North Britain.

His unusual will contains an even more unusual codicil, revealing that all was not well between him and his uncle, William Anderson, son of Dr William Anderson, and that he had been ill for some time:

Goffs Oak Hertfordshire November 25th 1818 Whereas the Policy of Insurance at the Equitable Insurance Office as alluded to in the annexed will has been handed to my Uncle Wm. Anderson Esqr. of Russell Square to Cover those supposed debts which gave him so much uneasiness at my first Illness and as it now appears that the whole of my Debts amount only to a small proportion of the Sum which will be recoverable from the said Policy of Insurance at my Decease my will therefore is that when the said policy shall be recovered all the Surplus after payment of my lawful Debts and funeral Expenses is [to] be placed in the hands of my Exrs. before mentioned to wit Thomas Spencer Thomas Edwards and Arthur Geddes to be disposed of in the manner before described that is to say in the first place to my two Sons Alexander & William Henry in equal proportions or either of them surviving or in failure of them as stated in my will in like manner to my Sisters Caroline and Emily or either of them Surviving and I have too much Confidence in the justice and liberality of my Uncle to think that he will oppose my before named Exrs. in Carrying this my last will into effect …

Despite his confidence that Uncle William would let things be, I see the confirmatory note on the probate administration reads:

On the 27th July 1819 Admon (with the will annexed) of the goods &c of William Henry Anderson late of Goffs Oak near Cheshunt … was granted to William Anderson Esqr. a Creditor of the sd. decd.

I don’t know what the story was as to how William Henry fell into debt to Uncle William, although I see from the London Gazette of 27 January 1818 that on 23 January there had been a dissolution of the partnership of “William Anderson and William Henry Anderson, and afterwards by them and the undersigned Duncan Davidson Milligan, as Brokers, in Mincing-Lane”. Had he made an unwise speculation, or had he perhaps borrowed from his uncle in order to purchase his house at Goff’s Oak?

William Henry Anderson of Udol lived and worked in London, moving just north of it in his last years to Goff’s Oak. When he wrote his will on 15 October 1817 the education of his two sons, Alexander (1810–1874) and William Henry (1811–1873), was being finished close to him as they were “at School at Miss Browells in Kentish town”. This was a boarding school in the north of London.

However, when his two sons were younger they had been sent north to reside at Udol House with his sisters and they were educated in Scotland. Younger son William Henry (born 1811) would later marry Jemima Fowler of Raddery, just five miles from Udol. And the London burgess ticket dated 1826 of elder son Alexander (born 1810) states that he was from London but had been a student at the Academy of Fortrose. Neighbour George Gun Munro of Poyntzfield had sent his son George to the Academy there, and young George had thought so highly of the school that when establised in Grenada he sent back a substantial donation. The children of other lairds were educated at Fortrose Academy.

Raddery House, where William Henry Anderson and Jemima Fowler were married; photo courtesy of Black Isle Images

frontage of Raddery House; photo by Andrew Dowsett


There is a crucial difference between English and Scots law relating to inheritance and illegitimacy. Alexander and William Henry were both illegitimate at birth. According to English law they could not inherit. But according to well-established Scots law they became legitimate and could inherit if the parents subsequently married, even if their parents married in England, provided the father was Scottish. This may well have been behind that temporary marriage to Sarah Lewis or Sarah Anderson or Sarah Noble. William Henry was simply protecting his sons’ interests. And their subsequent residence in Scotland and attendance at a Scottish Academy would assist their case.

These measures were in vain in relation to Udol as young Alexander did not inherit, and Udol passed from his father William Henry Anderson to his uncle William Anderson. However, the children prospered. Young Alexander married Mary Ann Taylor about 1832 (their first child was born in 1833) and became Manager of the Mercantile Bank of India and then Manager of the Bank of Queensland, residing for a time on Threadneedle Street itself! His father would have wished him to have become Anderson of Udol, and in fact he clearly retained the Udol association for in the death notices he is called “of Udol”. The Australian death notices are the most informative presumably because of the Bank of Queensland connection. This, for example, is from the Australian Town and Country Journal of 2 May 1874: “On the 23rd January, at St. Peter’s Port, Guernsey, Alexander Anderson, of Udol, Cromarty, Scotland, aged 67, formerly manager of the Chartered Mercantile Bank of India and the Bank of Queensland.”

The younger son, William Henry initially was apprenticed to sugar broker William Scott to learn his trade. He married in 1844 Jemima Fowler of the Fowlers of Raddery in Rosemarkie:

Parish of Rosemarkie Marriages
William Henry Anderson, Esquire, City of London, and Miss Jemima Fowler, Raddery House, were married, after regular proclamations, at Raddery on the fourteenth day of August, one thousand eight hundred and forty four years.

William Henry was later to become a Captain in the East India Service and emigrated to New South Wales. Like his brother, he never lost sight of his Udol connections, and when he died, the death notice in the Australian papers (for example, the Sydney Morning Herald of 6 September 1873) said: “ANDERSON– August 16, at his residence, Redfern, William Henry Anderson, of Udale, Cromarty, Scotland, aged 64 years.”

2. Ann Anderson (c1785–1813)
Ann Anderson was the first daughter to marry, and she didn’t go far for her man. He was the young laird of Newhall, Charles Lockhart, son of Thomas Lockhart of Newhall, Commissioner of Excise, and Henrietta Urquhart.

Scots Magazine
Aug 1. 1807 At Udoll, Charles Lockhart, Esq.; Newhall, to Miss Anderson, eldest daughter of Alexander Anderson of Udoll, Esq.

Their story, and unfortunately it was to be a sad one, is told here.


3. Justina Anderson (c1788–1812)
Justina died, sadly, just in her early twenties. It must have been a terrible blow to the family.

Aberdeen Press and Journal 20 May 1812
Died at Udoll, on the 29th April, Justina, second daughter of the late Alexander Anderson, of Udoll, Esq.

4. Margaret Anderson (c1792–1855) and 5. Caroline Anderson (1797–1877)
Margaret resided with her married sister Caroline. And Caroline’s husband was a most interesting character. He was lawyer William Ross Macao, the son of William Macao, whom we have met before. William Macao was born in China, and had risen from being servant to Urquhart of Braelangwell and footman to Newhall to accountant with the Excise in Edinburgh, marrying a daughter of Ross of Invercharron. Several tales in this Story behind the Stone series feature William Macao; just search for Macao in the index to the series. His grave lies beside one of the Braelangwell Urquhart ladies, of whom he was very fond, in St John and St Cuthbert joint Church Cemetery, Edinburgh.

photo by Jim Mackay

photo by Jim Mackay

Son William Ross Macao married Caroline Anderson in 1832:

Inverness Courier 11 April 1832
MARRIAGES. … At 13, Henderson Row, Edinburgh, on the 2d current, William Ross Macao, Esq. W.S., to Caroline, daughter of the late Alexander Anderson, Esq. of Udoll.

They emigrated two months later for America, heading for Canandaigua, Ontario County, New York, USA, William Ross Macao completed a naturalisation statement on his arrival:


William Ross, Caroline, and Caroline’s sister Margaret resided at Canandaigua, which is in the northern reaches of New York State, close to Lake Ontario and the Canadian border, for the rest of their lives, There were no children. They were both involved in a runaway horse accident in 1847, I note. Poor Margaret is recorded as being blind in the 1850 New York Census and died a few years later in 1855, her death being announced in the Scottish papers.

Caroline passed away, much later, in 1877 and William Ross Macao in 1887, but not before he married for a second time, in 1879. His new bride was Adeline Louisa Marshall, a native New Yorker.

courtesy of

They are all commemorated on a tall pyramidal memorial in West Avenue Cemetery, Canandaigua, New York State.

photo courtesy of

photo courtesy of

photo courtesy of

The memorial was clearly challenging to photograph, so I have adjusted the images to make them more readable (just a bit!) I think Margaret’s face reads:

MARGARET, lies Interred below[?], Daughter of Alexr. Anderson late of Udall Scotland. Died 30 Augt 1855, Aged 62 years

And that of William Ross Macao and Caroline Anderson:

WM. R. MACAO, Writer to the Signet, Born [Edinburgh Scotland] 29 APRIL 1800 died 25 Sept 1881

and that of Adeline Louisa (or Louise, according to other notices):

WILLIAM ROSS MACAO for nearly fifty years a … resident of Canandaigua The … …
ADELINE LOUISA, wife of WM R. MACAO born Oct 23, 1831, died April 4, 1893.

6. Emily Anderson (c1800–1837)
Emily was residing in St George Parish, Edinburgh, when she married Lieutenant John Johnson in 1822.

Aberdeen Press and Journal 2 October 1822
At No. 14, Hill Street, [Edinburgh], on the 16th ult. by the Reverend Mr Dickson, John Johnson, Esq. of the Royal Artillery, to Emily, daughter of the late Alexander Anderson, Esq. Udoll, Ross-shire.

John Johnson (1794–1848), the son of a Captain in the Royal Engineers, had a most unusual career, and is closely associated with the establishment of New Zealand as a colony.

At the time of their marriage, he was a Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery, on half-pay, and he and Emily went on to have five children whilst residing in Forres, Moray, at least one more either when they were out in New South Wales or on their return to Gravesend, Kent, and certainly one final child in Gravesend, baptised there in December 1837 who died a few months later. Emily herself died in December 1837 at Gravesend.

She is buried in the graveyard of St Botolph’s Church, Northfleet, close to Gravesend. I found an abbreviated summary of her inscription in Some Monumental Inscriptions of St Botolph's Church, Northfleet Noted by T.C. Colyer-Fergusson (1913):

Head, foot and body stone: Emily dau. of Alexander ANDERSON of Udol, Ross-shire, wife of John JOHNSON, M.D. d. at Gravesend 13 Dec. 1837, 36. Penuel Emily her infant daughter 18 April 1838.

Her husband was a Lieutenant, Army Surgeon and M.D. He was appointed Colonial Surgeon to New Zealand in February 1840 and settled in Auckland. He was a skilled painter, and his early landscapes of New Zealand, mostly in ink and wash, are greatly valued for their historic and artistic merit.

From the New Zealand government pages:

DR. JOHN JOHNSON appears to have left us a detailed substantial account of his 1846–7 journey to the Central Lakes, a diary covering six weeks in 1840, and very little else. He was New Zealand's first colonial-surgeon, one of the half-dozen officials appointed in Sydney to assist Lieutenant-Governor William Hobson when he was sent, in January 1840, to acquire sovereignty over New Zealand and set up British government there. Presumably he had but lately arrived in Sydney, for his name does not appear on the manuscript List of Officers shown in the Returns of the Colony 1836–40, held by the Mitchell Library; and that library's newspaper indexes list him as a medical practitioner only after 1840. His life before 1840, then, remains quite unknown [they need to read this story], and the years afterwards have thrown up only a few disjointed fragments. Johnson did not cross the Tasman with Hobson, but followed him to the Bay of Islands in March, on the Westminster. This ship was also bringing Sarah Mathew, wife of Hobson's Surveyor-General, to join her husband. A few phrases of her journal tell us that Johnson claimed to be half a Highlander [his mother was Penuel Grant, from a distinguished Highland military family], and that he was a kindly, pleasant travelling companion, given to literary discussions. The Auckland Public Library has a manuscript journal by Johnson, from 17 March 1840, when he arrived at the Bay of Islands, to 28 April – sixty-eight pages of bold clear writing followed by sketches of ships and people done with neatness, clarity, and some playful touches.

Udale_story_Dr Johnson Residence.jpg
the residence of Dr John Johnson in Auckland, drawn by himself

The newspaper announcement of his death indicates his position:

DIED, On Friday morning, July 28, at his residence, Auckland, John Johnson, Esq., M.D., Colonial Surgeon, and Coroner of this district, aged 54 years, much lamented by the inhabitants.
The friends of the deceased Doctor John Johnson are respectfully informed that his funeral obsequies will take place this day, and that it is proposed to leave his late residence for the place of interment precisely at three o’clock in the afternoon.
Auckland, Saturday, July 29, 1848.

He is buried in Symonds Street Cemetery, Auckland, adjacent to the grave of Captain Hobson.

Auckland memorial commemorating Dr John Johnson; courtesy of

The place in history of John Johnson M.D. is assured as he was a signatory to the Treaty of Waitangi (Māori: Te Tiriti o Waitangi), a document, to quote Wikipedia, of central importance to the history, to the political constitution of the state, and to the national mythos of New Zealand. It has played a major role in the treatment of the Māori population in New Zealand, by successive governments and the wider population, a role that has been especially prominent from the late 20th century. … It was first signed on 6 February 1840 by Captain William Hobson as consul for the British Crown and by Māori chiefs (rangatira) from the North Island of New Zealand.

section of the Treaty of Waitangi featuring the signature of Dr John Johnson, widower of Emily Anderson

7. Jane Anderson (?–1814)
I know virtually nothing about Jane Anderson as her existence would not even be suspected if it were not for her death notice.

Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser 8 April 1814
April 5, at her brother’s house [i.e. this must have been the “in-town” house of William Henry Anderson] in Marchmont-street, Brunswick-square, Miss Jane Anderson, of Udoll, North Britain.

I note that Russell Square (where William Anderson resided in-town) and Marchmont Street are very close to each other. Further investigation of this Jane Anderson would be desirable.


Udol after the Death of Alexander Anderson

Those are the children of Alexander Anderson and Jane Anderson of Udol. Skipping back to Alexander himself, all things run their course. After a long period in Udol, Alexander Anderson died in 1809. He would have been 77 years of age at the time, but his children were still quite young.

Inverness Journal 3 Mar 1809
Died on the 24th. February, Alexander Anderson Esq. of Udall.

On Alexander’s death, Udol passed to William Henry, the only son of Alexander and Jane. We see the sasine transferring some of the ownership rights later that year:

Sasine (187) Oct.23.1809.
William Henry Anderson of Uddoll, as heir to Alexander Anderson of Uddoll, his father, Seised, Oct.20.1809,– in Uddoll and Fishings thereof, par. Cromarty;– on Pr. Cl. Con. by Henry Davidson of Tulloch, Sept.8.1809. P.R.19.26.

William Henry was employed as a broker, in partnership with his Uncle William (Jane’s brother), in London. However, at least his mother, widow Jane, and his sister Justina remained in Udol House. Jane died just a couple of years later, despite being much younger than her husband.

Scots Magazine 1811
May … 25. At Udall, Mrs [Jane] Anderson of Udall.

And the following year, 1812, unmarried daughter Justina also passed away at Udol.

With his parents and sister Justina now deceased, and sister Ann married and away, William Henry let Udol House, with the advertisements giving our first accurate picture of the mansion as it was at that time.

Inverness Journal and Northern Advertiser 29 May 1812
The HOUSE of UDALL, completely furnished.
It consists of a Drawing Room, Dining Parlour, Seven Bed Rooms, Store Room, Kitchen, Cellars, &c. The House has been lately repaired, painted, and papered.
For further particulars apply to Walter Ross, Esq. of Nigg, Cromarty.

Walter Ross acted as factor for the Cromarty Estate, but William Henry clearly had Walter acting on his behalf as well. The House was not taken up initially, and the following year William Henry put the whole estate up for let.

Caledonian Mercury 22 April 1813
For such a number of years as may be agreed upon, and entry to be had at Whitsunday first, The House and Lands of Udoll, comprising above 500 Scotch acres of arable and pasture land.
       The house, which is pleasantly situated within a few miles of Cromarty, is very commodious, and has been lately repaired and enlarged, and will be found to be well adapted for the comfortable accommodation of a genteel family. The lands are advantageously situated on the sea coast, and there is an extensive muscle [mussel] scalp in the immediate neighbourhood of the farm, which by being properly attended to, might become profitable.
       The proprietor is particularly anxious to afford every encouragement for carrying on improvements, and offerers will therefore find his attention more directed to affording every facility to them, than to the extraction of a high rent.
       The ground officer will shew the lands, and point out the boundaries.
       Offers may be addressed to the proprietor, William H. Anderson, Mincing Lane, London, or Mr Masson, 25, James’s Square, Edinburgh.

Where did the other sisters (Margaret, Caroline, Emily and Jane) reside, given that Udol House was being let? Wherever they were based, they remained in the area some of the time anyway. I see them at two separate events in close succession in 1818:

Inverness Courier 5 November 1818
The Nairnshire Harvest-home meeting was held in Richardson’s Inn, Nairn, on Thursday the 29th ult. … The ball commenced at nine o’clock, and was kept up, with the greatest spirit and animation, till past two in the morning, when the company, consisting of about one hundred persons, sat down to an elegant supper &hellip Among the Ladies were observed the following:– … Misses Anderson, Udol
Caledonian Mercury 2 November 1818
NORTHERN MEETING. The Northern Meeting was held at Inverness on Wednesday the 21st ult. … Among the ladies were observed the following:– … the Misses Anderson of Udal … Miss Munro of Poyntsfield …

One has to assume that the sisters were hoping that a suitable husband might be found at these social gatherings, and one of the ladies did indeed marry in this period. We see Emily marrying, in Edinburgh, Lieutenant John Johnson of the Royal Artillery.

What happened to the remaining daughters of Alexander Anderson and Jane Anderson, Margaret, Caroline and Jane? Well, as we have seen, Jane went to reside with her brother William Henry in London and died there in 1814, and Margaret emigrated with her sister Caroline and brother-in-law William Ross Macao to New York State.

Those are all the daughters of Alexander Anderson of Udol, formerly of Hanover Parish in Jamaica, and Jane Anderson his spouse. But what of their only son?

William Henry Anderson, the proprietor of Udol, was working with several relatives as a broker in London. We have seen that he had leased out Udale House and the Estate after his parents and sister Justina died. He himself was residing at Goff’s Oak, near Cheshunt, when he died in 1819, in debt to his uncle William Anderson, the sugar broker, of Russell Square and Highwood Hill. I have not discovered how he came to borrow money from his uncle.

The middle-aged William Anderson himself now became the new proprietor of Udol.


William Anderson of Russell Square and Highwood Hill (1761–1825) marries Ann Deffell (1774–1842); he becomes Anderson of Udol

William Anderson, the son of Dr William Anderson of Udol, was a successful merchant broker in London, dealing particularly with the West Indian trade. There are countless advertisements informing the public of forthcoming sales of West Indian goods, and here is a small collection.

advertisements from the Public Ledger of (top left) 2 September 1809, (bottom left) 18 June 1810 and (right) 4 April 1811

Note that whilst he certainly dealt in sugar, it was by no means the only product in which he was making money.

William utilised a crest and motto which can be found engraved on his seal, signet rings, cutlery and tableware. You would assume that he must have therefore matriculated a coat of arms with the College of Arms in England (he certainly didn’t with Lord Lyon in Scotland) but I am not aware if he actually did.

The motto was “Crescit sub Pondere Virtus” (Virtue Thrives Beneath Oppression) and the crest was a palm tree with two weights suspended from a branch on the right. I have seen a variant of this crest used by a separate family, but with an oak tree instead of a palm tree. A palm tree variant was one crest utilised by the Earl of Denbigh. The palm tree may have been in consequence of William Anderson’s fortune arising from West Indian sources. Alternatively, it may be an allusion to Psalm 92:12 “The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree”!

Dorothy Anderson, whose husband was descended from William Anderson of Russell Square, has kindly provided me with an image of William’s seal, which bears his crest and motto, and a large “WA” for “William Anderson”.


William resided at Russell Square and then Highwood Hill where he re-built Highwood House. He married Ann Deffell on 28 February 1795. I have already indicated a large age gap between Alexander of Hanover Parish, Jamaica, and Udol, and Jane Anderson. The gap was not so extreme in the case of William and Ann Deffell, for he was 33 and she was still a minor, but with only half a year to go before turning 21. (She was baptised in St Dunstan, Stepney, on 13 August 1774 when she was 11 days old).

painting of Highwood Hill

William and Ann went on to have, I believe, ten children. Several of his sons became involved in the family business, or became merchants in their own right. I have already mentioned that the Deffell connection was a good one as Ann’s father John Deffell was also a successful merchant, and another of his daughters, Elizabeth Caroline, married Henry Davidson of Tulloch. And another daughter, Justina, married her cousin William Mackenzie, son of John Mackenzie of Bayfield.

There are simply too many children to deal with them all here, but Henry, the oldest surviving boy, was his heir. Carrying on a seeming Anderson tradition, he married Sarah Ann Meredith in 1859 when he was 55 and she was – 18. Henry as the heir of his father appears in litigation associated with the Lockhart daughters to which we shall come. His brother Duncan became a merchant and broker. You can see him and two of his brothers still at Mincing Lane in 1839:

A List of the Brokers of the City of London, at Michaelmas 1839

Anderson, Duncan, 6, Mincing lane.
Anderson, Hugh, 6, Mincing lane.
Anderson, Robert Milligan, 6, Mincing lane.

And in 1841 quite a number of the family, including his mother, are in household at his home, West Farm, in East Barnet, Hertfordshire. With Duncan and six servants, there are: his mother, brothers Hugh, Robert and Henry and sisters Ann and Emily. It must have been a lively household.

Daughter Emily (1806–1865), she who was cast in the role of Little Red Riding Hood in the painting by Thomas Lawrence when she was about 15 years old, was one of the household with Duncan in 1841. Duncan died in 1850 of consumption, and the household seems to have splintered. Emily can be seen in 1851 and 1861 as a fundholding boarder in Hastings, which seems a rather unfulfilled existence. In the painting, Lawrence is said to have captured the innocence of a girl passing into womanhood, with a threatening world all around her. The way it worked out, it would appear that Emily never really had to deal with life; she just lived on her annuity in lodging houses. I might be doing her a disservice, as you don’t need a job or family to have a satisfying life. She was said to have had a theatrical touch when a child so for all I know she was the life and soul of the Hastings Dramatic Society. It would be interesting to learn more about her later life. Emily died in Battle, i.e. the town of Battle, not far from Hastings, in 1865.

None of the children except Henry, fleetingly, had anything to do with Udol, unlike their father.

Although William Anderson of Russell Square and Highwood Hill did not possess Udol until later in life, he had much earlier secured a land interest in the area. I see a sasine whereby he and his mother gained property in Cromarty:

Sasine (54) Apr.25.1787
Ann Davidson, relict, and William Anderson, Merchant, London, son, of Dr. William Anderson of Udall, Seised, in liferent & fee respectively, Apr.4.1787, in a Tenement [etc etc in Cromarty] P.R.15.144

This I think will be when widow Ann Anderson ms Davidson moved back from Udol into Cromarty, into this very property. I say “moved back” as she would of course have resided in Cromarty with her father, William Davidson the Cromarty Sheriff Clerk, until her marriage.

It was, naturally, Henry Davidson who facilitated William Anderson becoming the new proprietor of Udol. In a complex series of sasines, in 1814 Henry Davidson of Tulloch gets Udoll with the Crofts and Fish Zair thereof (P.R.22.155 and G.R.975.103). And later in 2014 (sasine no. 225) Udoll is transferred to William Anderson.

William Anderson of Russell Square and Highwood Hill, and now of Udol, and Ann Deffell had, as I mentioned, ten children, eight of them surviving to adulthood. Henry (1803–1873) as the eldest surviving boy was his heir. But it seems that even prior to his death in 1825, William had passed a proprietary interest in Udol on to Henry. I assume that is why we see this notice for Henry Anderson, Esq. younger of Udoll (and, of course, Henry Davidson junior) seeking to enrol on the County list, to establish their voting rights.

Inverness Courier 9 September 1824
COUNTY OF CROMARTY. The Sheriff Clerk hereby intimates, that the Michaelmas Head Court will hold this year at Cromarty, on Tuesday the 19th day of October next, and that Claims for Enrolment have been lodged with him for Henry Davidson, jun Esq. Merchant in London, Henry Anderson, Esq. younger of Udoll, and Charles McLeod, Esq. Advocate, of which all concerned are requested take notice. JA. TAYLOR, Sh. Clk. Cromarty

Henry thus had become the new proprietor of Udol, and in fact very briefly technically was the last Anderson of Udol. The relevant sasines, where Henry first is seised in Udoll, and then passes it to Thomas Mackenzie of Inverinate, may be found in the General Register:

Sasine 38, (No.) 1825-06-20 GR1371/201
Henry Anderson, Merchant, London, as heir to William Anderson of Udoll his father, Seised, Jun.14.1825 in the Town and Lands of Udoll, parish of Cromarty, on Ch. Conf. and Pr. Cl. Con. by Henry Davidson of Tulloch, and Duncan Davidson of Tulloch, May 20.1825
Sasine (44) Nov.8.1825.
Thomas Mackenzie of Inverinate, W.S. Seised, Oct. 19.1825., – in the Town and lands of Udoll; and Teinds of the said town and lands of Udoll, par. Cromarty;– on Disp. by Henry Davidson of Tulloch, to William Anderson of Udoll, Jul.18.1814; Ret. Gen. Serv. of Henry Anderson, Merchant, London, as heir to the said William Anderson, his father, Jul.4.1825;– and on Disp. and Assig. to him, with consent of the Trustees and Executors of the said William Anderson, May.18–30.1825. G.R.1387.246.

Why did Henry Anderson immediately offload Udol? His father clearly had once wished him to become established in the area. We know this because, two years before his death, William had passed on to Henry lands and properties in the North of Scotland which he had previously acquired from the Munros. In the Highland Archive Centre is a sasine in Latin which has been summarised thus:

Grant of Sasine to Henry Anderson of various lands and properties in Ross-shire and Cromarty-shire, resigned by his father William Anderson of Udol, Esquire 20 Dec 1823 Details of lands in Alness, Craggan, Delny and Knocknaguill, and also fishings

It is in Latin (I have since found that HCA/D538/8/12 covers much the same territory and is in English), and other areas mentioned include parts of the lands of Contullich, Multavie and Lealdie known as Balnacruive, Belnasharig, Balnacraig and Balnabaa and also all and whole the house and lands of Alness with the brewhouse, and all and whole the lands of Craggan and Inver, all and whole the house and lands of Kildermorie, parts of the lands known as Culcraigie – the list goes on for much longer. I was unaware before reading this of how much land William had purchased in Easter Ross.

Henry passed the land on to Duncan Davidson of Tulloch, yet another Davidson/Anderson deal.


In Litigation with the Lockhart Daughters

I have no records of Henry or even his father William of Russell Square and Highwood Hill ever residing in Udol. By this period any concept of a resident Laird on the Estate had gone. But Henry does crop up in a tangled, complex case involving the daughters of Charles Lockhart, who had married Ann Anderson (1785–1813). She, you may remember, was the daughter of Alexander Anderson of Hanover Parish in Jamaica who purchased Udol in 1774.

The case found its way into numerous legal casebooks. The shortest summary of the case, which reached its dizzy heights at the House of Lords, is in Cases decided in the House of Lords on appeal from the Courts of Scotland 1828, 1829 at page 481.

Walter Ross and Henry Anderson, (Representative of William Anderson), Appellants. – Scarlett – Maitland.
Mrs Henrietta Lockhart or Wilson and Husband, and the Trustees of the deceased Mrs Ann Lockhart and her Husband. – Murray – Campbell.
Sir Coutts Trotter, and Others, Trustees of the late Colin McKenzie, Charles G. Urquhart, and Others, Respondents. – Miller.
Tutor and Curator – Discharge. – Held, (affirming the judgement of the Court of Session), 1. That a discharge of an heritable bond by tutors, after the expiration of the tutory is not valid; and, 2. That the tutors granting such a discharge, are liable to repay the amount of the bond to the party to whom they had granted the discharge, and against whom the bond has been revived.
Charles Lockhart, Esq. had three daughters, Henrietta, Ann, and Jane. The two former were twins, and were born in June 1802; the latter was the youngest of the family. In September 1803, Mr Lockhart executed a mortis causa trust-deed in favour of Mr Walter Ross and the late Mr William Anderson. This deed contained the usual clauses, exempting the trustees from personal responsibility, except for actual intromissions; but it did not contain any nomination of guardians to the children. Mr Lockhart died in 1804; and on the 3d of February 1805 Mr Ross was appointed by the Court of Session factor loco tutoris to the children. Thereafter, on the 2d of June 1808, a gift of tutory was obtained from Exchequer, in favour of Mr Ross, Mr William Anderson, Sir Charles Ross, Mr William Henry Anderson, Mr Charles Gordon Urquhart, and the mother, Mrs Lockhart. By that deed they were named “tutores dativos et administratores dict. Henriettae Lockhart, Annae Lockhart, et Jeanniae Lockhart, duran. toto spatio annisque earum respectivarum pupillaritatum ullis tribus. eorum, in vicecomitatu die Ross residen. lie a quorum existen. pro administratione,” &c. In 1810 these persons, in their character of tutors, lent L.3000 of the money belonging to the pupils to David Urquhart, Esq. of Braelangwell, for which he granted an heritable bond over his estate, and bound himself to repay it “to the said Henrietta Lockhart, Ann Lockhart, and Jean Lockhart, their heirs, &c. or to their said tutors above named and designed, or their quorum,” &c. Infeftment was taken in these terms.

Well, I hope you followed all that. Let me know if you have. All I can say is that Henry Anderson, having appealed to the House of Lords and lost, must have suffered thereby a serious financial loss.

This case also explains the following sasine, which is when the Lockhart daughters secured their interest in Udol:

Sasine (190) May.2.1810.
Henrietta, Ann & Jean Lockhart, daughters of Charles Lockhart of Newhall, and their Tutors, Seised, Apr.28.1810, in Udoll, with the Crofts and Fishings thereof, par. Cromarty; in security of £2,000;– on Bond by William Henry Anderson of Udoll; Mar.7.1810. P.R.19.108.

And it also explains the following sasine whereby the Lockhart daughters gave up their hold over Udol:

Sasine (48) Jul.8.1826.
The Heirs and Representatives of William Henry Anderson of Udoll, Merchant, London,– and Henry Anderson, Merchant, London, eldest son and heir of William Anderson, Merchant there, purchaser, get Ren Nov.28.Dec.7.1825, by Henrietta Lockhart, and the Rev. William Wilson of Soham, Co. Cambridge, clerk, her husband, and Ann Lockhart, and John Argyll Robertson, MD, Edinburgh, her husband,– of the Town and lands of Udoll, with the Crofts and Fishings thereof, par. Cromarty;– and of £2,000, in Bond by the said William Henry Anderson, to the said Henrietta and Ann Lockhart, and Jean Lockhart, their sister, Mar.7.1810. (Vide 1 S. No. 224). G.R.1421.203.

A final note before we leave the Andersons of Udol. Upon the sale of Udol in 1825, everything in Udol House was rouped off. In the Cromarty Sheriff Court Register of Deeds, SC24/16/3, there is a copy of the Roup Roll, showing who bought what of the Anderson possessions.

The Minister, Donald Sage, only three years into his manse in Resolis, can be seen acquiring bits and pieces for his home – 1 Fender & Fire Irons £1.-.6; Fender & Fire Irons £2.-.6; Basin Stand -.18.-.
Major Munro Poyntzfield picked up many of the household goods.
Others were more modest – Charles Aird Balblair purchased 1 Grate & Grid Iron for 6d.
Murdoch Ross Poyntzfield picked up 3 Chairs for 1s., 3 Old Treas [trays] for 3d. and 4 Chairs for 12s.
John Holm Ferryton purchased a Table Cover for -.1.6 and a Bed Cover for -.9.6.
My great-great-great grandfather Hugh Ferguson, of the Balblair Ferry Inn, bought 2 Beer Horns for -.1.1, presumably for his customers’ use!

And so the story of the Andersons of Udol ends. The next proprietor of what was now called Udale was a character who will be very familiar to anybody who watched the television series “Gentleman Jack” – the devious George Mackay Sutherland.


George Mackay Sutherland of Udale

portrait of Captain George Mackay Sutherland

More on George Mackay Sutherland’s time at Udale may be found here.

We have seen how Udale had passed from the Andersons to Thomas Mackenzie W.S. in 1825. He did not hold it long, and the sasines record George Mackay Sutherland (1798–1847) obtaining Udale in 1831. Sutherland resided within Braelangwell House (and hence was a resident of Resolis, and worshipped in the Resolis Established Church) whilst a new Udale House was being built in 1832. Was the old one torn down first, and the new one rebuilt on the same site?

Inverness Courier, 7 March 1832

The relevant sasines relating to the transfer may be found in the General Register.

Sasine (8) Dec.5.1831.
George Mackay Sutherland of Lightcliffe, Yorkshire, presently residing at Braelangwell, Seised, Nov.28.1831.– in the Town and lands of Udoll and Fishings of the same, and Teinds, par. Cromarty;– on Disp. by Thomas Mackenzie of Applecross, W.S., Nov.11.1831. G.R.1658.141.
Sasine (9) Dec 5.1831.
The Trustees under the Mar. Settl. between George Mackay Sutherland of Lightcliffe, Yorkshire, presently residing at Braelangwell, and Elizabeth Walker of Crownest in the parish of Halifax, Co. York, Seised, Nov.28.1831,– in the Town and lands of Udoll and Fishings of the same, and Teinds, par. Cromarty;– in security of £4,000;– on Bond and Disp. by the said George Mackay Sutherland, Nov. 15.1831. G.R.1658.146.

Here are two envelopes addressed to George Mackay Sutherland from his brother Duncan Forbes Sutherland just at the time when Sutherland was residing at Braelangwell and having a new Udale House constructed and just after.



The Udale House which George Mackay Sutherland constructed is the one that sadly burnt down in 1931, just one hundred years old. Fortunately at least two photographs were taken of it, both in the form of postcards.


postcard image of Udale House; the postmark is FE 12 27 i.e. 12 February 1927


Having a new house built to his requirements, Sutherland now went about securing his boundary with the Cromarty Estate, with whom, as we have noted earlier, there seems to have been an uneasy relationship regarding territory. The cost of dyking this great distance must have been considerable.

Inverness Journal and Northern Advertiser 29 November 1833
Contractors Wanted, for Building a March DIKE betwixt the Estates of Cromarty and Udoll, conform to Specification to be seen in the hands of Captain Sutherland of Udoll, and Robert Mitchell, Writer in Cromarty, with either of whom Estimates may be lodged.
The line of the Dike, which is of considerable extent, will be pointed out to intending Contractors by the Grieve at Udoll, and security will be required for the execution of the Work.
26th November, 1833.

A dyke still runs along the south boundary between Udale and Colony (Estate of Cromarty); I know not if this is the one built in this period.

dyke separating the two estates to the south, along with some of the famous Clydesdales of Udale, the Kirkmichael Trust Treasurer and Ben, in 2010; photo by Jim Mackay

During this period, Udale was not so much an economically viable estate, more a 500 acre plaything. Sutherland enjoyed for a time the role of a Highland laird, dabbling in agricultural improvement, becoming involved in local politics, developing a renowned pack of hounds, but it could never be an economic concern given his outlays.

In 1838 he became involved in a local controversy. The church in Cromarty had timetabled their fast for the 28 June 1838, the same day as the Coronation of Queen Victoria, which was to be celebrated in Cromarty by a splendid public dinner organised by George Gun Munro of Poyntzfield. Sutherland, a military man, and a church-goer, attempted to persuade the minister, Reverend Alexander Stewart, and kirk session to change the date to no avail. As a consequence he did not attend the dinner. The fuss blew up, with the inevitable letters to the papers. I was greatly taken by a letter printed in the Inverness Courier of 4 July 1838 which had originally been written by Sutherland to the minister in Cromarty where he uses the line “Should he persevere, my own feelings dictate the propriety of my absenting myself both from the feast and the fast.” Reverend Stewart wrote to the paper to put his position, and George Gun Munro of Poyntzfield responded vigorously: “Sir,– I observed in your last Courier a weak and silly letter from that spoiled pet, the effeminate Rev. Alexander Stewart, Cromarty, whose unchristian pride is condemned not only by the public, but by his clerical brethren, for his rude and insolent attack on me and my loyal supporters, in language unbecoming his sacred character. We treat with ineffable contempt his puerile production…”

Exciting times! Alexander Stewart was a highly regarded minister, who came out in the Disruption of 1843 and became a leading local light of the new Free Church.

There was personal tragedy for the Sutherland family during their time at Udale too, for their young son died. He is buried in Kirkmichael – we don’t know exactly where, but we suspect in the burial area reserved for the related Sutherlands of Flowerburn. Or perhaps it was in the nave mausoleum of his friend, George Gun Munro of Poyntzfield. We have already mentioned the proximity of Kirkmichael to Udale, but the drone shot below shows it best.

Cromarty Register of Deaths
1843 … 1 Feb George Sackville Sutherland Captn. Sutherland of Udale's Son, Burried at Kirkmichael

looking across the fields of Udale and the site of Udale House (blue ellipse) to Kirkmichael (red ellipse); photo by Andrew Dowsett

But for more about Captain George Mackay Sutherland, have a look at our story here.


a Sutherland seal, with wildcat rampant

the Sutherland bronze memorial in Kirkmichael, with a more peaceful wildcat; the “sans peur” we think is an heraldic pun, as wildcats were said to be unable to purr; photo by Andrew Dowsett


Udale House in the time of Captain George Mackay Sutherland of Udale

There are two good images of Udale House of which I am aware, both obviously taken long after Mackay Sutherland’s time, but showing the house he had Robertson of Elgin design and construct. One shot, a good bit earlier, I think, by Urquhart of Dingwall, is from high up in the walled garden. The other, from much closer but from the same angle, is in postcard form, and the postcard is datestamped Feb 12 27 i.e. 12 February 1927. I think this one is much later – the trees are more developed, the ivy has been stripped from the frontage. Otherwise there is little difference between the two images, both showing the two storey main building with one storey wings coming forward at the east and at the west. In this it is similarly styled to nearby but older Poyntzfield House.


The portico has four columns, Doric I think, though the images are not clear. The central block of Udale House appears to have two hip roofs (where all four sides of the roof slope downwards fairly gently, with no gable to the roof; stronger in high winds). The two blocks to the front both also have a hipped roof. The front blocks appear to be connected to the central block by angled passageways, lower than the blocks themselves. All the hipped roofs are pierced in the centre by substantial chimney blocks.


There were clearly substantial internal changes. An 1863 advertisement says “The House contains Dining, Drawing, and Breakfast Rooms, five Bedrooms, two Dressing-rooms, with Servant’s accommodation.” A 1921 advertisement, so close to the time of the datestamped postcard, says “4 Public Rooms, 8 Bedrooms, also Servants’ Accommodation.” I imagine the servants’ accommodation would have been in the wings, so my grandfather, when residing there in 1871, would have been to the front of the house. The laird and his family would have occupied the central block, and their bedrooms would have been upstairs.


The Grounds of Udale House

Whilst Udale House was the creation of George Mackay Sutherland, I am fairly sure that the layout of the grounds and garden would have been carried over from the Andersons.

From advertisements in this period we know what facilities there were on the grounds, although they seem to have been a moveable feast. In 1851, there were “Coach-Houses, Gardener’s House, Cow-House, Dog-Kennels, &c.” while in 1863, there were ”Keeper’s House and Kennel, Stabling for four Horses, Coach-House, &c.” By 1921, with the advent of the motor-car, there were “Gardener’s Cottage, Stabling for Five Horses, also Garage”. The large and productive garden was consistently mentioned.

Udale House may be gone, but the layout of gardens, drives and out-buildings such as coachhouse, gardener’s cottage and kennels as drawn on the first edition Ordnance Survey mapping is still discernible on the ground. Several of the structures are still there.

25 inches to the mile, first edition Ordnance Survey, surveyed 1871

We know for sure which building was the coachhouse, the long, stretched out structure to the south west, at the end of its own coachway. It nowadays is a dwelling-house, named helpfully the Old Coachhouse. The building was designed with wide openings in its west and east gables, presumably so that coaches could be drawn right through without requiring to be turned. The coachman would have slept above.

photo by Andrew Dowsett

photo by Andrew Dowsett

photo by Andrew Dowsett


Opposite the coachhouse, and on the other side of the road to the west, is what must have been the kennels. On the first edition, 25 inches to the mile Ordnance Survey (seen above), the kennels I think will be the structure shown half grey (which the Ordnance Survey used to show a wood or metal building) and half red (a stone or brick building) to the west of the grounds, opposite the long coachhouse. The kennels on the second edition Ordnance Survey mapping (seen below) are specifically shown now as a smaller building (Mackay Sutherland’s pack of hounds were long gone), located even further away from Udale House. I presume these spots were chosen to keep the noise of barking as heard from the laird’s residence to a minimum!


The building which I presume was the gamekeeper’s house, north of the kennels, became the house known nowadays as Marchburn.

photo by Andrew Dowsett

In the very north east corner of the walled garden, to the east of the wee burn that runs through the grounds, there is a building shown on Ordnance Survey mapping which I think logically has to have been the gardener’s cottage, constructed of wood or metal. It does not now exist. There is a structure built onto it, shown in blue (which signifies glass) which has to be the greenhouses.


For the walled garden itself, take a look at the Urquhart postcard, which shows that the wall not only was very tall in itself but also was surmounted by a metal railed fence, presumably to keep out marauding deer. The metal posts of that fence, I am informed by Alasdair Cameron, are of wrought iron with an unusual cross section. Within the garden can be seen fruit trees, soft fruit bushes, a rose bush and, I believe, the inevitable Scottish cabbage patch!


A tiny, strange building is shown on the centre of the southern extent of the House grounds on the First Edition Ordnance Survey mapping. It is still there at time of writing, but unfortunately had its roof smashed in by a falling tree in 2021.

photo by Andrew Dowsett

The large trees are beech, the smooth skin unfortunately marred by youngsters of the past carving their names for posterity.

photo by Andrew Dowsett

photo by Andrew Dowsett

On the ground, you can still identify the coachway down from the coachhouse, bordered by beech trees.

Jonathan Gorvett and I standing on the former coach route from coachhouse to the drive; photo by Andrew Dowsett

The drive to Udale House in those days came up from Jemimaville, betwen the stylish gate piers (still in place), crossed to the west of the Udale Burn, and then re-crossed the burn just below the dam to come in from the west of the house grounds, just beside the avenue to Poyntzfield. It swept around the front of Udale House, which faced south, and led thereafter towards the external road. That road ran, as it does now, from Jemimaville, past the steading for Udale Farm, round the north side of the grounds of Udale House and then uphill to Blinkbonny and, eventually, Upperwood, which is actually in the parish of Resolis. Within the grounds, a coachway ran from the coachhouse to join the main coachway before it swept in front of Udale House. Whilst the drive to Udale House came through the gate piers down at Jemimaville, there was a separate access just to the east for Udale Farm itself.

Everything was designed to give maximum amenity to the laird’s family in Udale House.

the burn (coloured blue) flowing down via two dams through the south wall of the walled garden (I have coloured the walls green)

The first edition Ordnance Survey extract also shows a small burn coming down the slopes above Udale House, towards its east side. It flows through two sizeable dams, and then through the tall wall of the walled garden. The burn and dams are still there (although the burn itself is culverted in the field below the grounds of the house). But the opening in the south wall of the walled garden is surprisingly small – I did wonder if it was designed as a flow regulator, to even out the passage of water past Udale House in times of spate, but the contours would suggest built property was perhaps above flood risk. You can never be sure though, and in any case it may have been to prevent flooding of the fields below. It was this burn (marked in blue above), a little above the walled garden, that James Junor was alleged to have fallen into in the 1902 manslaughter case tried in Edinburgh.

photo by Andrew Dowsett

photo by Jim Mackay

There was clearly much communication between Poyntzfield and Udale, even before the two estates were joined, as there was a sizeable avenue between the two estate houses. Without that shortcut, you would have to go down the long drive of one, along the public road, and then back up the long drive of the other. It was along this short-cut avenue that Captain Mackenzie and the Grieve’s wife, Christian Grant, strolled, with the dancing master skipping from one of the bordering trees to the next to keep an eye on them. This was during the scandal that had the whole parish talking in 1834, and which is summarised here.




The Gun Munros of Poyntzfield – and Udale

Captain Sutherland moved away from the Black Isle and Udale was purchased by James Matheson of Achany, M.P. The Sasine (RS3/2302/90) states:

At Dingwall the twenty seventh day of October One thousand eight hundred and forty five years There was by or on behalf of James Matheson Esquire of Achany present Member of Parliament for the Burgh of Ashburton presented to me Notary Public subscribing a Deposition granted by George MacKay Sutherland Esquire residing at Shibden Hall near Halifax, and bearing date as in the Precept of Sasine herein after inserted by which Disposition the said George MacKay Sutherland sold alienated and disponed to the said James Matheson and his heirs and assignees whomsover heritably and irredeemably all and whole the Town and Lands of Udoll or Udale

Matheson held it for only a couple of years, selling it to Gun Munro of Poyntzfield in 1848. Udale for a long time would be associated with the Gun Munros, who had been in the adjacent estate of Poyntzfield since 1760 and must have often looked across the fields to Udale with an eye to acquisition.

looking from the site of Udale House towards Poyntzfield, with the fertile fields in between in the process of being harvested. The straggly line of trees and bushes is where Udale Burn runs; photo by Andrew Dowsett

The Gun Munros held both Poyntzfield and Gruids, close to Lairg, residing at Poyntzfield and managing Gruids remotely. It made much logical sense to swop Gruids for Udale. Although Gruids had been in the family for a long time, it had not been profitable. There had been for generations a history of tenants who would not, or more likely simply could not, pay their rent. Earlier Gun Munros had been more relaxed about non-payment.

In 1791, George Gun Munro of Poyntzfield (c1744–1806) wrote to his uncle (GD347/73/61): “I am quite distress'd for Cash myself– not a penny from Gruids instead of which I was obliged to send them some more meal the other Day” and in 1795 (GD347/81/9) “I have many Offers for the Gruids– & from Sheep farmers of Course– I know not what to do– there is such a prodigious number of people upon the property– I lean towards the people but my Interest pulls me forcibly the other way”.

However, it was to be 1820 before a later Gun Munro, Sir George Gun Munro of Poyntzfield (1788–1852), evicted many families to make way for more profitable sheep farming. The tenants did not go easily. Officials trying to serve eviction notices were seized and bound by the tenants. One of them was suspended over flames and scorched on both sides. Eventually freed, the officers headed off towards Golspie. It was all in vain, of course, as the military and the police eventually cleared the tenants.

This then was Gruids, distant to the Gun Munro family. Could Gruids, now more attractive as a sheep farming enterprise, be sold and Udale, which is contiguous with Poyntzfield, be purchased instead? The problem was that the Poyntzfield estate including Gruids was tied up in a Deed of Entail. An Act of Parliament had to be passed to facilitate the deal and the purchase of Udale had to be fitted in to this complex arrangement. It was snappily entitled: “An Act for exchanging certain detached Portions situate in the County of Sutherland of the entailed Estate of Poyntzfield, belonging to Sir George Gun Munro Knight, for the Lands of Udale situate in the County of Cromarty, belonging to James Matheson Esquire, continuous to the said Estate of Poyntzfield, and for securing the Purchase of other Lands, to be entailed, and to form, along with the said Lands of Udale, Parts of the said entailed Estate of Poyntzfield. 2d July 1847.”

The subsequent massive sasine (RS3/2403/48) implemented the land trasfer, and commences:

At Edinburgh there was on behalf of Sir George Gun Munro of Poyntzfield Knight presented to me Notary Public subscribing a Disposition and Deed of Entail granted by James Matheson Esquire of Achany and the Lews Member of Parliament for the combined counties of Ross and Cromarty bearing date as in the Precept of Sasine &c. herein after inserted and recorded in the Register of Taillies the twenty eighth day of January Eighteen hundred and forty eight by which Disposition and Deed of Entail the said James Matheson upon the narrative and for the causes therein specified sold alienated gave granted and disponed from him his heirs and successors to and in favor of the said Sir George Gun Munro as heir of Entail now in possession of the entailed Estate of Poyntzfield and the other heirs of Entail appointed to succeed to the said Sir George Gun Munro in the said entailed Estate in terms of the destination contained in a Disposition and Deed of Entail executed by the now deceased Sir George Munro of Poyntzfield in the County of Cromarty with consent of Mary Lady Munro his wife dated the thirteenth day of September Seventeen hundred and eighty four registered on the Books of Council and Session the fifteenth day of January Seventeen hundred and eighty five and recorded in the Register of Tailzies the third day of March Seventeen hundred and eighty seven…

This continues for more than another 20 pages, detailing the succession of heirs.

The story of the Gun Munros of Poyntzfield, and now Poyntzfield and Udale, is told in several of this series, and I shall not make this history of Udale any longer by repeating that material. The Gun Munros were resident proprietors, generally well-liked by their tenants. The story of the Estate of Udale for this period is really the story of the amalgamated Poyntzfield and Udale. This “benevolent laird” period was actually the time when the battle for crofters’ and tenants’ rights was gaining momentum, and there would be meetings in Jemimaville and other communities organised by members of the Highland Land Law Reform Association in contrast to the kind of social events where the laird put in a kindly appearance.

But here is one lovely little piece that provides some information on Udale itself.

Ross-shire Journal 20 September 1895
Resolis – Childrens Treat.– The children attending the Jamimaville Sunday School, along with their teachers, had their annual treat on Saturday last. The place selected was the Sisters Park, a place just behind Udale House, and so named from two large trees growing in the middle of the field, their branches intertwined, and forming a delightful shade, under which about thirty sat down to a very pleasant tea, presided over by Mrs H. Munro, Mr Munro and Miss Ferguson. After ample justice was done to tea, cookies, &c., a happy evening was spent with games, races, swings, &c., the wide spreading branches of the trees being very convenient for the swings. A tug-of-war, which was gone into with real zest, was so exciting, that the onlookers, even staid matrons, joined issues with the children. The children, locked in one another’s arms, were left to roll on the grass, while their guardians pulled with might and main on the rope, till at last all were rolling on the grass. The last but not least cause of excitement to the youngsters was the opening of a large basket full of books, dolls, sweets, &c., from which everyone got a fair supply. Three hearty cheers being given for Mr and Mrs Munro and the visitors, the children departed, highly delighted with their outing.


Udale Farm

The farm until 1920 was usually leased out by the proprietor to farming tenants. There were once multiple tenancies, but from the 1800s at least Udale was farmed as a single unit. It has had several noted farmers down through the years.

Its cropping and stocking were reviewed in detail in The Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland for 1877 when it had been farmed for 11 years by James Adam Gordon. He had found it weed-infested when he first came into it, but with much labour in his first few years had dealt with that problem. The piece is too long to include in full (it can be found as Appendix 4), but I include some sections of particular interest, including a section that deals with a surprise crop – whins! He was a heavy fertiliser user, applying in addition to farmyard manure and seaweed, bone meal, crushed bones, coprolite superphosphate, muriate of potash, nitrate of soda and common salt.

The compact, little, but valuable estate of Udale, belonging to Mr George Mackenzie [Gun Munro] of Poyntzfield, and leased as one farm by Mr James Gordon, lies in this parish. It is beautifully situated on a pleasant slope running down to the Cromarty Firth, and has for several years been one of the best farmed holdings in the counties. It extends to about 450 acres, of which 270 are arable, the remainder being partly under wood and partly moorland. The farm faces the north and rises from sea-level to a height of about 400 feet. The soil varies a good deal … A portion of the lighter land on the heights was found unsuitable for turnips, and consequently it was sown down with whin seed along with oats, about 30 lbs. being given to each acre. The whins came away beautifully, and for seven years running from 10 to 12 tons per acre were reaped every season … Mr Gordon grows no barley, but produces both wheat and oats of the finest quality. … Mr Gordon generally grows from 12 to 15 acres of potatoes, chiefly Victorias. The potatoes are usually planted on the lighter and more gravelly land, and get about the same quantity of manure as the swedes, except that the potash is slightly increased. Mr Gordon has cultivated a few new varieties form the plums of Victorias, which now afford a larger return than the original variety. The farm is worked by four pairs of good substantial horses. For some years, Mr Gordon kept a stock of cross cattle, breeding from polled cows and shorthorn bulls, but since 1871 he has been devoting a good deal of attention to shorthorn breeding…Mr Gordon has for many years been one of the most extensive sheep farmers in the counties, and in addition to a large mixed stock of sheep, he has been rearing a few pure bred Leicesters…

However, the most famous farmer nowadays would probably be Alexander Allardyce Middleton, of the noted farming Middletons of Rosefarm, Davidston and many other farms in the north. He was a successful and innovative farmer. He continued to reside at Rosefarm while he managed Udale on a 19 year lease. This is why, in the advertisement (the Inverness Courier of 21 November 1902), it is stated that a new farmhouse would be erected.


He gave up Udale at the end of 1902, a year which had been a particularly unhappy one on the farm.

First off, James Beddie, a 14-year-old farm servant at Udale, residing at Jemimaville, died after an accident in which he was cut when the reins of a horse slipped. He expired on 28 June, and the jury at the subsequent Fatal Accident Inquiry at the Sheriff Court in Cromarty came to the verdict that he had died of tetanus poisoning arising from the accident to his hand (SC24/22/1902/2).

Then, on 31 July there was a drunken squabble on a path through the turnip field above, i.e. to the south of, the steading at Udale between Alexander Mowat, a farm servant at Rose Farm, and James Junor, cattleman at Udale, five days after which Junor died. He was a pensioned soldier, with one leg, one eye and a reputation for drinking, and had fallen into the gully or burn beside the path after the altercation. There was much debate as to whether or not his death was due to the fight or falling into the burn, or indeed if he had fallen into the burn at all. Mowat was tried at the High Court in Edinburgh for murder, accused of assaulting Junor when trying to get a bottle of whisky from him, but when all the evidence was heard the Solicitor-General withdrew the charge of murder, and asked for a verdict of culpable homicide. The jury returned a verdict of guilty of culpable homicide, and he was given a sentence of 12 months’ imprisonment. I won’t go into all the details of the case but here are a few snippets.

Alexander Thomson, grieve at Udale, whose house is indicated on the sketch map associated with the trial, had been at Cromarty with Junor attending Church (it was the Fast Day). Junor had got his pension the day before and witness was trying to keep him sober, but Junor had taken drink in several public-houses. They drove home in a cart, and got to the farm about three in the afternoon, Junor being a good deal the worse of drink, and had had to be lifted into the cart… Cross-examined, witness said there was a sharp drop of about seven feet at the foot of the grass slope close to the burn, and marks as if a man had fallen down. Deceased’s cap was found there…

Dr R. Gregor Dick, Resolis, said Junor told him he had got a hammering, and looked like it. When witness asked him how he had got his injuries, he replied that the Rose farm servant had tried to take a bottle of whisky from him, and had knocked him down and kicked him… The appearance of the body corresponded with the account the man gave of the treatment he had received from the farm servant from Rose farm.


Dr Robert Crerar, who had assisted at the post-mortem, said that to a great extent a fall on the rock bed of the stream would account for the injuries.

Alexander A. Middleton, tenant of Rose and Udale farms, for the defence, said that the accused was in his employment as a ploughman. He spoke to the prisoner’s good conduct, and said that on the morning after the accident, Dr Dick had told him that the deceased’s injuries might have been caused by him falling into the burn. If the accused were acquitted, he would take him back to his service.

Roderick Mackenzie, labourer, said he had assisted in bringing Junor home. The slope looked as if someone had rolled down. The broken bottle was got in the burn.

Thomas Middleton, Farness, said that as a J.P. he took the deposition of the deceased; and clarified from a question by a juror that the river was a gully with a driblet of water, and big stones and boulders at the bottom, and one might fall without being wet. If the deceased did fall he could not say how he got out.

There was much more, and conflicting, evidence from other witnesses, and those wishing to follow it up will find the trial casework at the NRS under AD15/02/25 “Precognition against Alexander Mowat for the crime of murder at Udale Farm, Jemimaville, Cromarty, Ross and Cromarty” 1902 and JC26/1902/107 “Trial papers relating to Alexander Mowat for the crime of murder at Udale Farm, Jemimaville, Cromarty” 1902. And there is a plan, a rough sketch drawn by the Procurator Fiscal, to be found under RHP82468 “Sketch plan of a turnip field at Udale Farm, Cromarty, Ross and Cromarty showing the locus of a murder and three pieces of evidence. Noted are a pathway, bank of a burn, garden, steading, stack yard, workmen's houses and Thomson's house.”

I can personally testify that the gully is steep and treacherous, having slipped down it myself. And it is clearly a dangerous spot – Kirkmichael Trustee and photographer Andrew when crossing the fence here tore his trousers on the barbed wire!

Alexander A. Middleton gave up Udale Farm at the end of 1902, having held it for 19 years, and was promptly sued by Major G.W.G. Munro of Poyntzfield because he had not reclaimed some parts of the farm! It was not a good year. The Sheriff at Dingwall Sheriff Court, when it eventually reached court in 1904, suggested this was a case for settlement, and the parties did indeed then settle out of court.

The advertisement looking for the next tenant states that a new house would be built for the successful applicant. A.A. Middleton hadn’t needed a farmhouse, of course, as he was running Udale from Rosefarm. Later advertisements confirm that a comfortable new farmhouse was constructed in 1903, which can be seen on the second edition Ordnance Survey maps, surveyed 1904, to the north-east of the farm steading.

the new Udale farmhouse at the top here, built in 1903, as surveyed in 1904

Middleton remained at Rosefarm, long associated with the family – and quality potato growing – where he died in 1910. A tall, ornate Celtic cross headstone stands in the Gaelic kirkyard to commemorate him and his wife, Esther Murray Taylor.

memorial commemorating Alexander Allardyce Middleton and family on the east side of the Gaelic Churchyard, Cromarty; photo by Jim Mackay

The Fraser family then took over the farm of Udale, maintaining the high standards expected of the farm. By this time the North of Scotland College of Agriculture (NOSCA) had been established (for whom I once worked myself!) and I note they had phosphate fertiliser trials on Udale. The Ross-shire Journal of 13 September 1907 reported an inspection by 50 farmers in the area, led by Mr Esslemont of NOSCA, with the conclusions being that you get best results from soluble phosphate, and if the source of the phosphate is sparingly soluble then it has to be very finely ground to be of any benefit at all. “The company adjourned to Udale farm-house, where they were provided with a delightful tea by Mr Fraser and the Misses Fraser. At the farm the new steading was greatly admired by the party.”

part of the extensive steading still kept immaculately at Udale; photo by Jim Mackay

Roderick Fraser was a contractor in Inverness as well as farmer at Udale, and I do not know if it was the contracting business or farming that was the cause, but he became bankrupt in 1912 and Udale was given up.

There was a little scandal with the next farmer, John McLennan, in 1917 – for selling milk at a price higher than the statutory maximum. He was fined the princely sum of £2! He was an enterprising chap – I see in 1912 he operated a Jemimaville to Dingwall bus service “Yesterday Mr John Maclennan, Udale Farm, Poyntzfield, commenced his weekly coach service from Jamimaville to Dingwall. A large number of people availed themselves of the facilities available in this direction, which are much appreciated. For further particulars see our advertising columns” (North Star and Farmers’ Chronicle, 28 November 1912). But he was a successful farmer, and when Udale came up for sale after the war, he fought off competition to buy it himself for the remarkable sum of £8,890.

About 1923 the farm was purchased by the rich Alexander Macdonald of Home Farm, Portree, farmer and director of Portree Tweed Mills. His son Angus Matheson Macdonald (his mother was Margaret Matheson) became the new farmer at Udale. Angus became proprietor as well as farmer in 1930.

As we have seen, a new farmhouse had been built in 1903 and hence Angus resided in the farmbouse and let the mansion house when opportunity arose. It had been empty for some time, the most recent tenant being Vice-Admiral Bruce, when it burned down in December 1931.

I will not come further up-to-date, but I must mention Jasper Chapman (1903–1984) who farmed at Udale in the 1950s/1960s. He had a particular aversion to wheeled tractors as they left wheel tracks, and hence Udale was still being cultivated by horses long after other farms in the area had moved on. But his aversion to tractors did not extend to caterpillar tractors, and he was in fact an early user of a caterpillar tractor for ploughing whilst still using his horses. Thanks to Alasdair Cameron for that memory, as he visited Udale as a small farm with his father and James Stuart the vet, a friend of Jasper’s. Some years later, James Stuart would buy Udale and son Hamish Stuart would become the farmer… Jasper Chapman had what must have been the last steam-powered mill in the Black Isle, with its tall brick chimney. I tried tracking down what happened to that mill, and found the boiler of the engine was taken to the Scottish Agricultural Museum then in Edinburgh, now the National Museum of Rural Life in East Kilbride. Sadly (November 2022) “it is not accessible to view. The boiler is stored across the site at the collection centre, and therefore not in one specific place to look at. For example, the wheel and various cogs are in one building whereas other parts are stored in sealed crates. My understanding is that the boiler was dismantled as some parts are hazardous to health and these were stored in sealed containers.” One can but hope that it will be put back together and put on display once more.

From information on the Cromarty Image Library, Jasper Chapman had a trotting pony called Charger and would come down to the shop in Jemimaville several times a week. And he and his sister Rhoda would take the pony and trap down to the East Church in Cromarty on Sundays. When Charger died in the late 1950s he was buried in the front garden of Udale House

As I say, I shall not come more up-to-date, except to note that Udale was farmed from 1971 to 1979 by Hamish Stuart, at that time Regional Councillor Stuart, whom I would occasionally meet of an evening in the long-lamented Balblair Ferry Inn. Hamish sold it to Danish farmer and entrepreneur Lars Gisselbaek and came under fire for doing so from fellow SNP members, but Hamish was quoted in the P&J as saying “My main concern is land use, not land ownership. I am certain Mr Gisselbaek will farm this land very well.” and “I received an offer I could not refuse.” But it was soon re-sold, and it has been well run since 1982 by J. & J. Henderson. I was present at a ploughing match in the fields below the steading on a dreich 1 February 2020, and it was good to see the rich soil of Udale being turned over by so many ploughs, from the most modern to some that were ploughing when the earlier mentioned farmers were active!

photo by Jim Mackay

Behind good friend Michael Paul and his tractor you can just see Kirkmichael, across the Udale Bay. It is above the mouldboard extensions of his plough.


Udale, Michael and Kirkmichael; photo by Jim Mackay


Residents of Udale House under Gun Munro Ownership

With the Estate of Udale now under Gun Munro ownership, Udale House, although still a tremendous asset, became superfluous as the proprietor’s estate house. At times it was rented out to distinguished tenants, usually for the shooting, at other times it became the convenient choice for accommodation of close relatives.

There was shooting to be had on the estate, but the big draw was the wildfowl on Udale Bay, now an RSPB reserve with more statutory designations than you can shake a stick at.

Here are some of the residents, culled from the Valuation Rolls and other sources:

1848 H.J. Errington
The Inverness Courier of 30 May 1848 reports: “At Udale House, on the 22d inst., the Lady of Henry J. Errington, Esq., of a daughter.” Henry Joshua Errington had married Ann Gordon Munro, daughter of George Gun Munro of Poyntzfield (1788–1852) and Jemima Charlotte Graham (c1795–1867), so Udale House was still in fact occupied by the Gun Munro family. He appears to have resided in Udale House for several periods. He must have vacated the House for another tenant, for in 1849…

1849 Colonel J.G. Ross
The Inverness Courier of 22 February 1849 carries an advertisement:

The whole Household Furniture in Udale House, belonging to Colonel J.G. Ross, will be exposed to Public Sale, commencing on Thursday, 26th April ensuing, at 11 o’clock A.M., and to continue until the whole is Sold off. Particulars will be given in a future Advertisement…

1850 H.J. Errington, Esq.
Errington appears to have been a passionate gardener, and in the following piece it emerges that there was a hothouse at Udale as early as 1850:

Inverness Advertiser and Ross-shire Chronicle 22 January 1850
UDALE HOTHOUSE.– While lately going through some parts of the county of Cromarty, we were favoured, by the gardener at Udale, the residence of H.J. Errington, Esq., with a visit to the green-house, and were quite struck with the splendid appearance presented by the geranium and fuschias of all kinds, and bulbs of every description. We have been favoured with visits to similar places in several other quarters of late, but we are constrained to say that the appearance of the most tender plants at Udale is far superior to any we have seen elsewhere. Mr Errington is rather celebrated for the attention he pays to horticulture, the cultivation of flowers constitute his principal delight, and we found, on enquiry, that the superiority of his plants is owing almost entirely to his personal attention and skill.

1851 Captain William F.J. Lautour
In 1851 the house is let again, and more details of what is on offer can be seen in the advertisement in the Inverness Courier of 6 February 1851


The property is taken up by William Lautour, who clearly wished to use Udale as a base for further exploration (read shooting the poor wildlife) of the Highlands, as per the advert in the Inverness Courier of 25 September 1851:

WANTED, from the 1st of October 1851 to the 1st March 1852, a DECKED VESSEL, from 15 to 20 Tons O.M., with good accommodation and light draught of water. Letters, p.p., stating terms, must be addressed Captain Lautour, Udale House, by Fortrose.

Lautour clearly wasn’t happy with the kind of boat he was offered, so he had his own built. She was named, and you couldn’t make it up, “Rifleman”. The Illustrated London News of 26 November 1853 carried a lovely etching of her, and an article:

The New Sporting Yacht “Rifleman.”
This graceful craft has lately been built at the ship-yard of Mr. Madams, at Whitstable, for that distinguished sportsman, William Lautour, Esq., Udale House, Ross-shire. The Rifleman is a yacht of 25 tons O.R.; length over all, 40 f.; beam, 13 f.; mast, 64 f.; boom, 38 f.; gaff, 14  f.; bowsprit, without stem, 10 f. Being intended more immediately for wildfowl shoting on the northern shallows and rivers, her draught of water does not exceed three feet and a half… The Rifleman, which we Engrave, with the town of Whitstable in the background, is now on her voyage to Cromarty.


Having purchased his ideal boat, Lautour sold his current one, built only the previous year:

Inverness Courier 5 January 1854
TO BE SOLD, a Fifteen Feet BOAT – built last Summer by Hayward of London, with Oars, Sculls, Sails, &c. – Copper-fastened throughout.
       Two PUNT GUNS – one by Charles Lancaster, London, and one by Westley Richards, London.
       Also, Two GUNING PUNTS.
       A NEWPORT PAGNELL DOG-CART, built last June, with a Set of Brown Leather Harness.
       Apply to Captain Lautour, Udale House, Fortrose, Ross-shire.

1855 (Valuation Roll) W.F.J. Lautour Esquire.
William Francis Joseph Latour, Captain of the Grenadier Guards, was a great sportsman and held the Udale shootings for several years. Lautour placed an advertisement, which had a lot more behind it than you may think, in the Inverness Courier of 14 September 1854:

WANTED, for a small Lowland Shooting in Ross-shire, a Single Man, as GAMEKEEPER. He must perfectly understand his business, especially the destruction of Rabbits. Particulars, stating Age, Wages asked, and Character, to be addressed, Captain Lautour, Udale House, Fortrose, Ross-shire, N.B. September 12, 1854.

I wonder if the Udale shepherd applied! I say this as Lautour had raised a complaint, heard before the Justices of the Peace at Cromarty Sheriff Court on 9 October, against John Macgregor, shepherd at Udale, for having on four occasions trespassed on the farm of Udale “in search of pursuit of game.” Macgregor’s plea was that he was in search of rabbits upon the lands mentioned in the petition, but not of game. The Sheriff Court did not enter the part of his statement that he was acting under the orders of his master (John Ross, the farmer of Udale), for the protection of his crop, and was within and upon his master’s farm. The Justices found Macgregor guilty.

This judgment caused consternation amongst farmers in the north, involving as it did the right of agricultural tenants to shoot rabbits on their lands for the protection of their rights, thought to have been by law indisputable. A bill of suspension of the sentence was therefore presented to the Lords of Justiciary in Edinburgh, and their Lordships at once set aside the sentence of the Justices at Cromarty, and found Captain Latour liable in the whole costs.

1856 – 1857 (Valuation Rolls) H.J. Errington (again)
Errington made the press once more, on this occasion in relation to his love of plants – but this time with a tale of woe. This is from the Inverness Advertiser and Ross-shire Chronicle of 16 September 1856:

Whereas, between Monday and Thursday night, the 11th of September, some evil disposed person or persons Stole Geraniums, &c. from the Pleasure Ground of Udale House, the residence of Henry Errington, Esq., any one who can give information as to the offending parties will receive the above reward, by applying at Mr Graham’s, Bookseller, Invergordon.
Udale House, September 12, 1856.

This seems a little rough on Errington, particularly as he and his wife were wont to give prizes to the most deserving of the pupils at Jemimaville, and even held balls at Udale for the entertainment of his staff.

1858 (Valuation Roll) Lady Munro
This will be Jemima Charlotte Graham.

1860 – 1862 (Valuation Rolls) Lieut. Col. James Fraser

1863 (Valuation Roll) Captain Firman
The advertisement for Udale House in 1863 gives further details of Udale House and grounds (Inverness Advertiser 3 March 1863)


1864 (Valuation Roll) Captain H.B. Firman
Captain Firman R.N. was another gentleman who enjoyed boats, and I see from the Inverness Courier of 12 January 1865 that in a storm “the yacht belonging to Captain Firman, Udale, which was anchored close to the south ferry shore [this would be at Balblair], got loose and was driven on the beach below the pier. One man was on board of her in charge, and his escape was narrow.”

In 1865, the contents of Udale House and the farm stock were sold off, prior to the long-term occupation of Udale House by James Adam Gordon. Transport was run from Invergordon Ferry, at Balblair, to Udale for those interested in the sale coming from the north side of the Cromarty Firth.

Inverness Advertiser and Ross-shire Chronicle, 12 May 1865

1865–1883 (Valuation Rolls) James A. Gordon
James Adam Gordon was the son of the farmer of the Mains of Braelangwell, Samuel Gordon, and Helen Hunter. He held mansion house, land and shootings of Udale. But curiously, for a couple of years (1867 and 1868) James S. Begg and his wife occupied Udale House, despite the fact that the Valuation Rolls say it was occupied by James Gordon. There are several records in that period of Mr or Mrs Begg, Udale House, attending various functions, and then there is a vast sale of household goods as James Begg Esquire is “about to proceed to India”. This sale includes such unlikely items as “a set of Musical Glasses, with Instruction Book” and a “remarkably fine White Goat’s Head, Stuffed”.

Inverness Advertiser and Ross-shire Chronicle, 25 August 1868

But James Gordon and family definitely were in Udale House at the time of the 1871 Census. And there was a lovely surprise for me when I had a look at this return. The household at Udale House in 1871 actually included my own grandfather, Murdo Mackay. His parents had arrived from Lochcarron a few years earlier to break in a croft at Alness Ferry, and Murdo was being gainfully employed before he took over the croft himself.

1871 Census Return for Udale House, at this time with 20 rooms with one or more windows

Murdo Mackay Alness Ferry, unknown date, but before 1902

For more on James Adam Gordon (1834–1911) see the tale “Samuel Gordon (1798–1866) and Helen Hunter (1803–1867) – Glenmuick, Argyll and the Mains of Braelangwell” here.

It was in this period that the Ordnance Survey carried out their first surveys of the area, and reported their research on the names they placed on their maps (they got Kirkmichael wrong, calling it St. Michael’s, despite every document mentioning the building and parish going back to the 1400s giving the name Kirkmichael – and despite much debate, they still refuse to accept the error). Their Udale entry has a mistake as well – the authorities for spelling include a “Mr. James Grant Farmer Udale” – there was a James Grant, but he was the gamekeeper at Udale, not the farmer; but I suspect they meant Mr. James Gordon, who was the farmer.

[authorities for spelling] Mr. James Grant Farmer Udale by Cromarty / Revd. G. Russell Manse Cromarty / H. Murray Esr. Factor Navity by Cromarty.
This name is applied to a large farm house with extensive offices and vegetable garden detached, the dwelling house is two storey high, offices one, the whole is slated and in excellent repair. Property of Mrs. Munro Poyntzfield by Cromarty.

1884 (Valuation Roll) unoccupied
By now Udale House, built in 1832, was probably showing its age. The Gun Munros intended to have it occupied by their own family again. They therefore empoyed Andrew Maitland, the Architect in Tain, who had once resided nearby at Braelangwell for several years, to renew it. Maitland advertised for contractors in the Northern Chronicle on 1 August 1894:

       Plans and specifications can be seen with A. Maitland & Sons, Architects; and Offers to be lodged with them on or before Saturday 4th August.
       Tain, 23rd July, 1894.

1895 and 1905 (Valuation Rolls) Miss Charlotte Prichard
Lieut. Col. George Mackenzie Gun Munro had married in 1890 S.H.S. (Sissylt Herbert Stewart) Prichard, so again this was a family connection. George Mackenzie Gun Munro was the son of Innes Colin Munro of Poyntzfield and Sissylt was the daughter of Charles Henry Prichard. “Miss Charlotte Prichard” was Sissylt’s sister. When Charlotte died at Udol House in 1908, I see a record of how much money she left – “Miss Charlotte Prichard, of Udol House, Invergordon, Ross-shire, late of Brislington, Somerset – £39,116.”

1896 and 1897 (Valuation Rolls) Benjamin Roger Stewart Prichard
B.R.S. Prichard was Sissylt’s brother and acted for some years as the factor for the Poynzfield Estate. In 1897 he departed, and had a good send off:

North Star and Farmers' Chronicle 02 December 1897
The many friends of Mr B.R.S. Prichard, Udol House, factor for the Poyntzfield estates, will be pleased to hear that he has received an important appointment as assistant manager to the Baljan Tea Company, Assam, India. We have no doubt Mr Prichard’s affable disposition, and endearing manner, will win for him many friends in the south, as he is a gentleman of rare attainments, and has been a great boon to the district, having taken an active interest in its welfare at all times. The Workman’s Club feel deeply indebted to him for the many kindnesses he has shown them. He was a good bowler and an enthusiastic curler. The good wishes of all the people of the parish go with him. On Monday night a few friends met Mr Prichard at the Workmen’s Club and presented him with a travelling case and meerschaum pipe. Dr Lawson made the presentation.

1909 Lieut. Col. George Mackenzie Gun Munro
From the death certificate: “1909 … George Mackenzie Gunn Munro Landed Proprietor Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) 3rd Seaforth Highlanders married to S.H.S. Prichard [died] June Twenty-eighth 5 H. 0 m. P.M. Udale House Cromarty [age] 47 [informant] S.H.S. Munro Widow”.

And now here is a coincidence of which I was not aware until informed by my cousin James Holm of Easter Ferryton who had just read this story: our maternal grandmother, Annie Munro (1887–1956), had been a cook at Udale House. This must have been some time before her marriage (on 25 June 1909) as she returned from Edinburgh, where she had been working in another big house, shortly before her marriage. Her parents were George Munro, the grieve at nearby Farness, and Annie Grant Macaskill. She resided in Udale House and the family story is that there were tales of Udale House being haunted by a Green Lady (curiously, given the Davidsons of Tulloch connection, Tulloch Castle was also said to be haunted by a Green Lady). No doubt the creaks and groans of an old house in the wind would make anyone think there was a ghost about. But the sound of clanking chains being drawn over the roof…! And more recently the young daughter of a lady who resided in the Coachhouse was observed on the swing chatting and laughing but nobody else could be seen. Whe she was asked to whom she had been speaking, she replied “To a nice lady, dressed in green.”

Given my paternal grandfather had resided in Udale House, it was rather a surprise to find that my maternal grandmother had lived there too.

on the right, Annie Ferguson ms Munro, once cook in Udale House, with my father and mother probably about 1946 at Auchmartin

1911 (from the Census of that year) – head of household: Sissylt Munro
She was the widow of Lieut. Col. George Mackenzie Gun Munro who had died at Udale House in 1909. There were also her daughter Sissylt, two female servants – and one Amelia Smith, a hospital nurse.

While the nurse was residing at Udale House she taught classes and gave lectures. Two out of quite a few pieces:

North Star and Farmers’ Chronicle 23 February 1911
Presentation. – On Saturday evening, a deputation, representative of the members of the St Andrew's Red Cross Association, met in Udale House, Poyntzfield, and presented Nurse Smith with a handsome thermos flask and case, suitably inscribed, in recognition of her valued services, rendered as teacher of the Ambulance Class. Mr Macdonald, Sheep Park, presided, and Mr James Craigen, Kirkton, made the presentation.
The Ross-shire Journal 17 March 1911
HOME NURSING.– The first of a series of lectures on Home Nursing was delivered by Nurse Smith, at Udale House on the evening of Saturday last.

There was a most interesting marriage function at Udale House at the start of the first World War in 1914. Young Sissylt Munro of Udale House married William Stewart or George William Fraser, depending on the source. He signed the marriage certificate as William Stewart, but was a tea planter from India once known as George William Fraser. He at the time was residing on “Ensay, Obbe” close to Harris, although I believe the family came from Cromarty originally.

There is a surprising reason for the ambiguity over his name, which was explained to me by correspondent Gavin Stewart. Proprietor William Stewart left the island of Ensay to his nephew George William Fraser, on strict condition he changed his name to exactly “William Stewart”! And the “Obbe” was the name of the village that became Leverburgh, although apparently there is now some thought of reverting to the original.

This would be one of the last wedding receptions in Udale House in the Gun Munro era. This is how it was reported in the society paper Gentlewoman of 26 September 1914:

A marriage took place on August 19th between Miss Sissylt Ann Gunn Munro, daughter of the late Colonel Munro and Mrs. Munro, of Poyntzfield, and Mr. William Stewart, son of Mr. [Gordon] Fraser. The ceremony was performed at All Saints and St. Regulus [the Episcopalian Church], Cromarty, by the Rev. H. Robinson, and the bride was given away by her mother. Miss Munro wore a gown of white soft satin, the bodice composed of Brussels lace and orange blossom, and the train of silver and satin brocade trimmed with orange blossome and tulle. She was attended by, as bridesmaids, her cousin, Miss Lyon MacKenzie, Miss Fraser and Miss J. Fraser (sisters of the bridegroom), and Miss Margaret Maitland Makgill Crichton, who were dressed in soft pink satin, with tunics of lace, and black velvet hats, trimmed with a big pink rose. The bridegroom’s presents to them were old paste shoe buckles, and he was supported by Mr McIntyre as best man. Following the ceremony, a reception was held at Udale House by the bride’s mother, but owing to the War, only near relatives attended. Afterwards, the bride and bridegroom left for Loch Maree for their honeymoon, the bride going away in a Saxe blue corded silk coat and skirt and ninon bodice, with a Saxe blue panne hat. The principal presents included: bridegroom to bride, sapphire and diamond ring, catseye and diamond ring, diamond and pearl earrings; bride’s mother, silver tea service, liqueur glasses, fish server; bride to bridegroom, polo pony; bridegroom’s father, cheque.

1915 (Valuation Roll) Mrs SHS Munro
This is of course Sissylt Munro; she must have moved to Poyntzfield House when Udale House was sold in 1920. At any rate, she died in 1938 at Poyntzfield House. Like many others of the Gunn Munro family, she is buried in Kirkmichael without memorial.

Before Udale was sold, though, Udale House had a curious interlude in 1918 when it was temporarily a boarding-house. I know nothing more of this enterprise.

Ross-shire Journal 11 October 1918
Udale House, which is situated within three miles of the Invergordon-Balblair Ferry, and about the same distance from Cromarty, has been taken over as a first-class boarding-house by Mrs Calder, John o’ Groats Hotel, Caithness.


The Estate of Udale, including Udale House, is sold

In 1920, the Munro family sold Udale, including Udale House itself. Many estates were sold in this post-war period, but I have been told that the Munro family had suffered from investing heavily in a Canadian railway which did not pay its way. There were four children:
Sissylt Ann Gunn Munro (1891–1868), born in Malta, who married Major William Stewart of Ensay and is buried in Fortrose Old Cemetery,
George Colin Gunn Munro (1894–1976) who was the heir and owned and resided for some of the time in Poyntzfield House through into at least the 1940s, and is buried in Rosskeen,
and twins born in Poyntzfield House
William Alexander Gunn Munro (1896–1970) who died in Cambridge and whose ashes are buried in Ascension Cemetery there and
Matthew Herbert Gunn Munro (1896–1949) who died in Ardoch close to Poyntzfield and is buried in Kirkmichael without memorial.

headstone commemorating Sissylt Ann Gunn Munro in Fortrose Old Cemetery; photo by Jim Mackay

headstone commemorating George Colin Gunn Munro in Rosskeen Cemetery; photo by Davine Sutherland

headstone commemorating William Alexander Gunn Munro in Ascension Cemetery, Cambridge

The sale advertisement for Udale Estate in 1920 provides more details of the estate and of Udale House itself.

The Scotsman, 22 December 1920

The estate was purchased by the sitting tenant, John Maclennan for £8,890. How could a tenant afford such a sum?

Aberdeen Press and Journal 30 December 1920
Ross-shire Estate Sold
The estate of Udale, in the parish of Cromarty, was exposed for sale on Tuesday in the Station Hotel, Inverness, at the upset price of £8000. There was spirited competition, and the estate was purchased by Mr John Maclennan, tenant of the farm of Udale, for £8890.

The very next year he offered Udale House for sale, presumably hoping to reduce the loan he must have taken out.

The Scotsman, 13 April 1921

By 1926, there was an urgent advertisement seeking to sell or rent Udale House, at a reduced price.

The Scotsman, 31 March 1926

Farm, farmhouse and Udale House were purchased by Alexander Macdonald of Home Farm, Potree. The land was farmed by his son, Angus Matheson Macdonald, who resided in the farmhouse, and after a few years became proprietor as well. But Udale House was let out. I see from the Valuation Rolls that the final occupant, in 1930, was Vice Admiral Bruce.

I see it being offered to let in March 1931 “Ross-shire.– To let, Udale House, shooting and fishing, situated within easy reach of Inverness; furnished or unfurnished, for season or period of years. Full particulars from A. Macdonald, Udale, Poyntzfield.” (The Scotsman, 4 March 1931).

And then occurs the sad event on which we must end, as we are now moving into more modern days:

Aberdeen Press and Journal 9 December 1931
Damage Done at Udale House.
       Fire broke out yesterday morning at Udale House, a beautiful mansion in the Black Isle, and did considerable damage.
       The flames could be clearly seen from the Invergordon sea front.
       The mansion, which was unoccupied, was for several years the residence of Admiral Bruce, and is owned by Mr MacDonald, Udale.

And thus the final incarnation of Udale House was burnt down one century after its construction. But Udale Farm continues to be a model agricultural enterprise as it has been down through the centuries.


the fertile fields of Udale, with the Cromarty Firth beyond; photo by Andrew Dowsett


Appendix 1 – the passage of Anderson ownership of Udol superimposed on the family descent



Appendix 2 – the Wives of the Andersons of Udol, and some conjecture

The Andersons of Udol were a successful family, and part of their success must be attributed to their marrying into families of status and, sometimes, wealth. Working up the family tree, we can see the pattern.
Broker William Anderson (1761–1825) married Elizabeth Deffell, daughter of a rich merchant.
Dr William Anderson (?–1772/73) married, as his second wife, Anne Davidson (c1730–c1793) of the rich and powerful Davidsons of Tulloch.
Hugh Anderson of Bridgecastle (c1706–1748) married Elizabeth Falconer (1709–), the daughter of advocate Alexander Falconer of Kipps, of the influential Falconers of Halkerton, and relatives of the wealthy Trents of Leith, Inverness and Pennsylvania.
Alexander Anderson of Udol (1731–1819) married his own cousin, Jane Anderson, a well established method of keeping the money in the family.
I cannot be sure if Elizabeth Trent, wife of Reverend Alexander Anderson (1672–1721), minister of Duffus was indeed one of the rich merchant family of Trents of the 1600s and 1700s but the earlier Elizabeth Trent, Elizabeth Falconer’s grandmother, certainly was.
Margaret Munro (–1740) who married Reverend Hugh Anderson (1662–1749) of Drainie was almost certainly the daughter of the influential Sheriff Clerk of Moray, Andrew Munro, and his wife Barbara Cuming.
Grizel Row (–1708), who married Reverend Hugh Anderson of Udol (c1633–1704), was the daughter of the Principal of King’s College, Aberdeen, a position of considerable status – until he was removed from post.
And at the top of the tree, Reverend Gilbert Anderson (1597–1655), minister of first Cawdor and then Cromarty, married Elizabeth Bruce. I do not know who her family was, but I suspect she may have been the Elizabeth Bruce who was youngest daughter of Sir John Bruce of Airth and Margaret Elphinstone. I say this as an elder daughter, Christian Bruce, married, in 1626, Thomas Urquhart of Kinudie, minister of Ardersier, and son of John Urquhart of Cromarty. (Their son Thomas, minister of Dipple, became Thomas Urquhart of Braelangwell). Gilbert’s first position was Minister of Cawdor, next door to Ardersier. This is just supposition at the moment, but the connections are very obvious. And it would absolutely fit with the careful Anderson process of marrying wisely!


Appendix 3 – William Trent, Merchant of Inverness, and father of William Trent, founder of Trenton, Capital of New Jersey, U.S.A.

There follows a short summary of the Trent family and connections with the Anderson family of Udol or Udale. There is a separate Story behind the Story on the life and times of William Trent of Inverness and his family here.

I am sure that Elizabeth Trent, wife of Reverend Alexander Anderson of Duffus, was the daughter of William Trent, merchant of Inverness, who died a relatively young man in 1677. His brother, Maurice Trent, merchant of South Leith, Edinburgh, lived right through to 1701, and assisted his nieces and nephews. Maurice Trent’s own daughter, Elizabeth, married James Falconer, Lord Phesdo, and their grand-daughter was to marry Hugh Anderson of Bridgecastle, son of Reverend Alexander Anderson of Duffus. I think that Hugh of Bridgecastle therefore married his second cousin once removed – I believe that’s right, although I would not want to guarantee it!

When trying to discover the family of Reverend Alexander Anderson’s wife Elizabeth Trent, I immediately targeted the children of William Trent, merchant in Inverness and brother of Maurice in South Leith, Edinburgh. Why the children of the merchant in Inverness? Well, there were only a handful of families in Scotland named Trent, and Duffus is not far from Inverness! We know from the Duffus Kirk Session records that Alexander Anderson was in Inverness for periods and that would be understandable if his wife’s family were there.

With some difficulty I pinned down all the children of William Trent, merchant in Inverness, from primary sources. I had to do this as Trent family secondary sources are chaotic, with fantasy family histories crowding out the Ancestry website. These are the hard facts:

The brother of William Trent (–1677), merchant in Inverness, was Maurice Trent (–1701), merchant in Leith, Edinburgh, and Maurice became William’s executor following William’s early death, as demonstrated via CC11/1/3 Inverness Commissary Court “Testament Dative and Inventary of William Trent Merct. in Inverness” which states “Testament Dative and Inventar of the goodes gear & debts which perteined and were resting to William Trent somtyme merchant in Invernes the tyme of his decease who dyed the [blank] day of [blank] last 1677 years faithfully made & given up by Maurice Trent merchant in Leith brother to the said defunct exre. dative qua creditour”. Interestingly, cautioner for Maurice Trent was James Falconer of Phesdo advocate, his son-in-law.

The Inverness Baptism Register contains a gap from 1656 to 1674 inclusive. This is why the baptisms of only the last two children of William Trent may be found in the register. I have read that William Trent junior was born in 1653, but the register is complete for that year so I think that he was born later, after 1655, in fact. Given that there is a gap in the register, I looked for the children in other primary sources. The seven children of William Trent, merchant in Inverness were therefore:

1. Janet Trent (–1734) established via her marriage register entry with her second husband, minister Robert Baillie in Edinburgh: “Mr Robert Baillie Minister of Lamingtoun & Jennet Trent daughter to ye deceist William Trent merct in Invernes maried on Tewsday 25 Aprill 1699”. Janet Trent’s first husband, Angus or Aeneas McBean (1656–1689), was the last Presbyterian minister deposed under Episcopacy and his wiki entry may be read here. Robert Baillie was a frequent guest minister at Inverness and was finally translated there. He became a very popular minister in Inverness; his congregation had to see off several attempts by other congregations to have him translated.

2. William Trent (–1724) established via multiple primary sources. First: CC11/1/4 Inverness Commissary Court “Testament Testamentar Legacy Latter Will & Inventar of the Goods Gear & Debts which pertained & belonged to the deceast Robert Baillie late Minr. of the Gospell at Inverness the Time of his Decease who dyed upon 11th February 1726 … given up by the Defunct himself in as far as Concerns the Nomination underwritten & now by Jannet Traint [Trent] Relict … Debts resting to the Defunct … Resting by the deceast [William Trent died in 1724] William Traint designed in the Contract of Marriage unde[rwritt]en mert. [merchant] in London the Ex[ecut]rix. broyr. [brother] therafter mert. [merchant] in Philadelphia the Sum of Two Thousand merks Scots money of prin[cipa]ll. four hundred merks mo[ne]y. foresd. of Liquidat Expences together with the due & ordinary @rent [annualrent or interest] of the sd. princll. from Whitsunday 1700 to the time foresd. of the Defunct’s Deceass contained in the Contract of marriage past betwixt the sd. Defunct on the on part and the sd. Exerix. with the speciall advice & Consent of the sd. Deceast William Traint her Broyr. on the other part, Dated at Edinr. 28th March Jaivi& & Ninety nine years [1699].” This debt, which had not been settled by brother-in-law William Trent in Philadelphia before his death, was still being pursued thirty years later by Robert Baillie’s grandson. In CC11/1/5 Inverness Commissary Court “Testament Dative and Inventary of Robert Baillie” a key debt is a sum of money due by the “Contract of Marriage Entered into betwixt the said deceast Mr. Robert Baillie and the also deceast Janet Trent Relict of the deceast Mr. Aeneas McBean sometime Minister of the Gospell at Inverness sister to the also deceast Mr. William Trent merchant at London with Consent of the said William Trent and he as burden taker for payment of the said Tocher … The which Contract of Marriage bears date the Eight day of March 1699 years”. And the third piece of hard evidence for William’s origins comes via CC8/8/81 Edinburgh Commissary Court “Testament Dative and Inventary of Maurice Trent Merchant in Leith 1701 … Item be Wm Trent son to Wm Trent merct in Inverness by bond daitit the 6 of May 1699”.

3. James Trent (–1697/8) established via GD23/2/27 Charter by Hugh Robertson, provost of the burgh of Inverness, and William Duff, senior, James McLean and John Barbour, bailies thereof, with consent of the members of council, to Alexander Duff of Drummuir, merchant of the said burgh, of two roods of burgh- built land, with houses, buildings, kilns and yard, lying on the west side of the Church Street of the said burgh, and other subjects, all lying within the territory thereof; which subjects formerly pertained heritably to deceased William Trent, merchant of the said burgh, and were adjudged to the said Alexander Duff by decreet of sale, by the lords of Council and Session, on 28th July 1691, against James Trent, son of the said William, and his tutors….” James had travelled a great deal as a merchant, spending time in Inverness, Sweden and London before joining his brother William in Philadelphia. As the eldest boy, James was subject to litigation to force him to become heir to his father and hence be liable for his father’s debts (CS98/2856 Stewart vs Trent: Decreet 19 February 1687).

4. Anna Trent (1675–) established via the Inverness Baptism Register for 29 July 1675: “William Trent merct burges off Inverness had … baptized called Anna (being born the 13 day) …”.

5. Thomas Trent (1676–) established via the Inverness Baptism Register for 9 October 1676: “The said day William Trent merct haid a child baptized named Thomas …”

I have seen statements that there was a further brother, called Maurice, who became one of the Trent brother merchants in Pennsylvania. I have no reason to doubt this, but I have not seen primary evidence demonstrating the relationship as of yet. Update: I do now.

6. Maurice Trent, second lawful son, established via the same Inverness Baptism Register entry for 8 and 9 April 1696 which also identifies…

7. Elizabeth Trent, who married Inverness merchant Robert Neilson and gave birth to triplets in April 1696 as per the important Inverness Baptism Register entry below. There are no further children recorded to the couple, and I am sure that Robert Neilson died within the next few years and Elizabeth re-married Reverend Alexander Anderson of Duffus.

Inverness Baptism Register
8th & 9th Apprile 1696 Robert Neilson mert. of Inverness and his spouse Elizabeth Trent had three male children born to them [changed to him] (the last of qch. dyed in the birth) the first was baptised be Master William Innes minister at Karnoch and named (James) the second which was baptised one the fryday thereafter be Master William Stewart minister off Kiltearn, was named (Maurice) Wittnesses to the first James McLean mrct. Baillie James Stewart Late Baillie James Trent laull. son to the Deceast William Trent merchant of Inverness & James Thomson mert. in the said burgh) god fathers, to the second Maurice Trent Second Laull. son to the said William Trent merct. John Barbour Late baillie & David Stewart mert.

Isobell Stewart, the wife of William Trent, merchant in Inverness, succeeded him and is identified in the first will of her son James Trent (PROB 11/445/68) written on 20 November 1695 and probate granted 6 April 1698 whereby he makes his mother sole legatee: “I Capt. James Trent lately residing in Sweden but at present in the City of London … to my dear mother Isabella Stuart living at Inverness”. She worked with brother-in-law Maurice on the executry of her late husband and hence the documents in the NRS catalogued as GD23/5/71 “Discharge by Isobel Stewart, factrix for Maurice Trent, merchant at Leith, executor to deceased William Trent, sometime merchant at Invernes, to James McIntoshe, merchant in Invernes. 26 Aug 1682–13 Jul 1685”. There are five of these discharges or receipts, all written by Charles Stuart for Isobell, dated 26 August 1682, 3 January 1683 (when one of the witnesses is “Maurice Trent Student in Invernes”), 16 July 1683 (when one of the witnesses is “William Trent Student at Invernes”), 20 December 1683 (when one of the witnesses is “William Trent Student their”) and 13 July 1685. These receipts demonstrate that Maurice (the second boy) and William (the third boy) were born later than is generally thought.

In the publication American Wills Proved in London it is stated that the first will of James Trent was revoked and granted to William Trent his brother instead: “James Trent, resident of Sweden but now in the City of London [Captain of the ship Charles in the King’s service, who died in Penna.] dated 26 Nov 1695. My whole estate to my mother Isabella Stuart of Inverness, Scotland. Exec: Mr. Thomas Coats of London, merchant. Wits: John Ruck, William Brookhouse and William Scordy, notary. Pr. Apr 1698 by the named exec.; revoked in Nov 1699 and granted to the brother William Trent. (PROB 11/445/109).”. I have not seen primary evidence of this revocation, and the National Archives probate reference is incorrect, but I have asked the National Archives if they can locate it. Update: the National Archives confirms that the probate reference is an out-of-date one and should be PROB 11/445/68, but that the revocation itself will be contained within the Probate Act Book under PROB 8/92, which I have ordered.

The reason for the revocation was because, on 30 October 1697, James Trent wrote another will (PROB 11/448/92), revoking former wills, and instead making his brother William sole legatee: “I James Trent of the Town of Invernes … at present in the province of Pensilvania in America … to my Brother William Trent of Philadelphia in the said province of Pensilvania Merchant”. William Trent was a highly successful businessman, was appointed to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, and in 1719 built a large property in adjacent New Jersey which formed the nucleus of the city of Trent-Towne, now Trenton, capital of New Jersey. He is popularly called “Judge Trent’ in order to distinguish him from his son, Major William Trent, a merchant and celebrated participant in the French and Indian War (1754–1763).

Trent House, Trenton, New Jersey; image by Zeete - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,


We thus have firm evidence of children Janet, William, James, Anna and Thomas, and now Maurice and Elizabeth, to William Trent merchant in Inverness and his spouse Isobell Stewart (as she signed herself). Daughter Elizabeth married Inverness merchant Robert Neilson first, but I think it almost certain that she then married Reverend Alexander Anderson of Duffus, but will seek confirmation first from sasine sources.

For the sake of completeness, the seven children of merchant Maurice Trent in South Leith and his wife Margaret Young found in the South Leith baptism register are: Marie (1653), Elizabeth (1655), Johne (1656), Samuel (1658), Maurice (1659–1660) who died, according to the South Leith burial register, the following year, Margt. (1660) and William (1666–1706). William became William Trent of Pitcullo in Fife, starting another small Trent dynasty there, but died in Edinburgh quite a young man, with his death recorded in South Leith burial register in April 1706: “William Trent of Pitculloch, dyed near to the Tolbuith, in the Fortieth year of his age, on Tuentieth and Eight day, and was buryed on the Thirtieth day.” Father Maurice had purchased Pitcullo before 1700 (RH8/1398 Instrument of Sasine in favor of Maurice Trent, merchant in Leith, in the lands of Pitcullo and others, lying in the parish of Leuchars and shire of Fife. Recorded in the General Register of Sasines 21 Aug 1700). His son then became William Trent of Pitcullo, marrying Margaret Colquhoun (RH8/422 Special Service of Margaret Colquhoun, relict of William Trent of Pitcullo, in one third of the heritages in which the said William Trent died infeft. 31 Dec 1706). The Pitcullo Trents are of great interest, but will not be followed here!

It was Maurice Trent of Leith who initiated the Trent family connections with New Jersey, early purchasing land there. And, to quote John E. Pomfret (“The Proprietors of the Province of West New Jersey, 1674–1702” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 75, 1951, 117–146: “In July, 1681, a share was bought by Maurice Trent of Leith, Scotland, merchant, and Hector Allen of Prestonpans, mariner. In 1695 Trent vested power of attorney in his nephew, Maurice Trent of Philadelphia, to dispose of his holdings, which were purchased the following year by John Reading, Jr., and John Ladd of Gloucester.” Now that we have firm evidence that Maurice was, in fact, the second lawful son of William Trent of Inverness, this arrangement makes perfect sense.

I quote from the Wikipedia entry for Major William Trent: “William Trent was born to William Trent (Trenton) and his second wife Mary Coddington on February 13, 1715 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His father was a distinguished merchant and trader in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Trent was the second son born to Mary Coddington Trent, and was her only child to survive to adulthood. Her first son, Thomas, died in infancy. The children of William Trent Sr.’s first marriage were James, John, Maurice, and Mary Trent. However, by the year 1735, the three older sons had all died leaving William Trent Jr. and his sister as the only surviving children of his family.
     “Trent senior founded Trenton, New Jersey by buying a large tract of land in 1714 below the falls of the Delaware River and developing his country house there. Moving to the new site in 1721 with his family, Trent also platted the town around his house. The young Trent grew up with his father’s wealth, gained from trading and shipping in furs, dry goods and slaves, with merchants and interests in the North American and Caribbean colonies, and England. His father had interests in 40 ships. His father served in the provincial governments in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey.” For more, see the young William Trent’s entry in Wikipedia here, and you may enjoy the Facebook page here of the re-enactment society “Captain William Trent’s Company”, their activities based on the events around the time when young Trent became Captain.


Participants in the re-enactment group Captain William Trent’s Company; photo courtesy of their Facebook page


Appendix 4 – Udale in “Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland for 1877”

The compact, little, but valuable estate of Udale, belonging to Mr George Mackenzie [Gun Munro] of Poyntzfield, and leased as one farm by Mr James Gordon, lies in this parish. It is beautifully situated on a pleasant slope running down to the Cromarty Firth, and has for several years been one of the best farmed holdings in the counties. It extends to about 450 acres, of which 270 are arable, the remainder being partly under wood and partly moorland.
       The farm faces the north and rises from sea-level to a height of about 400 feet. The soil varies a good deal. On the fields that lie under a level of about 100 feet, it is principally shingly, with a gravelly bottom overlying the Old Red Sandstone, which is here covered to a considerable depth. The middle fields, lying between 100 and 200 feet above the sea, consist of a rich deep black loam close to the sandstone. On some parts of these fields the Old Red Sandstones comes within 3 or 4 feet of the surface, and here the soil is a strong reddish clay, suitable for all kinds of crops, though probably not quite so safe for potates as the more gravelly land. On the higher fields the soil is of an inferior class, and consists chiefly of a moorish boulder clay, with here and there an irony pan underlying it. Mr Gordon is an extensive stock farmer, and to suit his cattle and sheep endeavours to have as much grass in summer and as many turnips in winter as possible.
       The system of rotation pursued is therefore rather an exception one. He generally allows the land to lie three or four years under grass, and breaks it up for a crop of turnips, the farm-yard manure being spread on the lea before being ploughed down in winter. After turnips comes either wheat or oats and tares mixed, the mixture being used for feeding stock. Then turnips follow again, and after that wheat or oats sown out with grass seeds. The system is confined to the heavier soils. The lighter soils are broken up with either potatoes or oats, followed by turnips, and then oats with grass seeds.
       A portion of the lighter land on the heights was found unsuitable for turnips, and consequently it was sown down with whin seed along with oats, about 30 lbs. being given to each acre. The whins came away beautifully, and for seven years running from 10 to 12 tons per acre were reaped every season. The sub-soil in these higher parts is very fair clay, and the roots of the whins must have abstracted nourishment from it. The whins were used for horses, cattle, and sheep, and it was curious to observe that the pure bred shorthorns and Leicesters took more readily to the whins than the other kinds of cattle and sheep. The whins were reaped with one of Samuelson’s mowers, the same implement having reaped a field of 22 acres for five years in succession. Before being given as food, the whins are put thrice through a whin-mill, made by Messrs Mackenzie & Co., Cork. The first of the crop is used about the beginning of November, and unless caught on the root by a severe frost, which makes the whins woody and tough, they are quite soft and easily eaten. Cattle and horses get them under one roof, but to sheep they are supplied in troughs on lea fields. The cultivation of these whins enabled Mr Gordon to carry a heavier stock of both cattle and sheep than he could otherwise have done; and by their roots having pierced through and loosened the firm pan which underlies the soil on these higher fields, the parts on which they were cultivated have been permanently improved. Of the 22 acres sown down with whins 12 were ploughed to the depth of about 8 inches last spring, and sown with oats. The crop was a very fair one, and yielded about 4 quarters an acre – the highest yield ever reaped from the field [no doubt due to whins being legumes, and fixing nitrogen].
       Mr Gordon grows no barley, but produces both wheat and oats of the finest quality. As much as 8 quarters of wheat per acre have been grown on the farm, while the general yield runs from 3 to 5 quarters per acre. The weights per bushel varies from 60 to 62 lbs. Chiddam and Fento are the varieties used, about 4 bushels of seed being given to the acre. The Fenton variety generally affords the largest yield. The wheat is sown in autumn as soon as the turnips are eaten off the land by sheep. Finefellow is the variety of oats most largely sown. The yield of oats varies from 3 to 7 quarters per acre, and the weight from 42 lbs. to 43 lbs. per bushel. About 4 bushels are given as seed to the acre. A broadcast-sowing machine and manual-delivery reapers are employed. As already stated, two turnip crops are taken in each rotation, one after lea and another after stubble.
       Mr Gordon never cross-ploughs any, but grubs thoroughly. When he obtained possession of Udale about eleven years ago the land was very dirty, and at the first rotation a considerable amount of labour had to be spent in clearing away large quantities of weeds. The soil, however, is now thoroughly clean, and in a very high manurial condition.
       Mr Gordon begins to sow turnips about the 10th of May, and gives about 3 lbs. of seed to each acre. About two-thirds of the turnip break is usually put under swedes. Besides from 15 to 25 loads of farm-yard manure per acre (spread on the surface before ploughing), a very heavy dose of artificial manure is applied. The dose ranges from 6 cwt. to 12 cwt. per acre, and is composed of bone meal, crushed bones, coprolite superphosphate, muriate of potash, nitrate of soda (not more than 1 cwt.), and common salt. Considerable quantities of seaweed are also used for manuring both turnips and potatoes
       .As might have been expected from the very short interval between the two root crops in the rotation, a good deal of loss was at first experienced by “finger and toe,” but by the application of the above-mentioned mixture the ravages of this destructive plague have been completely checked. Mr Gordon gave special attention to the cultivation of turnips for some years, and has been very successful in his experiments. He attributes the prevalence of “finger and toe” throughout the country chiefly to the fact that in the mixture of artificial manure usually applied to turnips, all those ingredients necessary for nourishment to the plant are not present in the requisite proportions. He has grown three crops of turnips in four years, with but very little appearance of “finger and toe,” but this he thinks could be done only when these turnips are eaten off by sheep, by which system a good deal of what the turnips absorbed from the land during growth is returned to it in the sheep-droppings.
       Mr Gordon generally grows from 12 to 15 acres of potatoes, chiefly Victorias. The potatoes are usually planted on the lighter and more gravelly land, and get about the same quantity of manure as the swedes, except that the potash is slightly increased. Mr Gordon has cultivated a few new varieties form the plums of Victorias, which now afford a larger return than the original variety.
       The farm is worked by four pairs of good substantial horses. For some years, Mr Gordon kept a stock of cross cattle, breeding from polled cows and shorthorn bulls, but since 1871 he has been devoting a good deal of attention to shorthorn breeding. Of the shorthorns, however, more anon. Mr Gordon has for many years been one of the most extensive sheep farmers in the counties, and in addition to a large mixed stock of sheep, he has been rearing a few pure bred Leicesters. Of these, also, more anon.
       Towards the end of last year Mr Gordon purchased the estate of Arabella from Mr Fraser…


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