HISTORICAL and AUTHENTIC
ACCOUNT OF THE
Ancient and Noble Family
EARLS MARICHAL OF SCOTLAND.
From their origin in Germany, down to 1778
Including a narrative of the Military
Achievements of JAMES FRANCIS EDWARD KEITH,
Field-Marshal in Prussia, &c.
A FULL AND CIRCUMSTANTIAL ACCOUNT OF ALL
Attained Scottish Noblemen,
Who lost their titles and estates in 1715 and 1745,
For their adherence to the Stuart cause.
By P. BUCHAN,
Author of the Recreation of Leisure Hours,
Annals of Peterhead, &c.
Pirlchrum eminere est inter illustres viros.
Printed by P. Buchan;
For Clark & Sangster, Peterhead
G. Clark, Aberdeen, A. Constable &Co.
and W. Laing, Edinburgh; and
G.&W.B. Whittaker, London.
To the Right Honourable
EARL OF KINTORE,
As your Lordship has been pleased to permit me to lay before the world, under your sanction, the Origin of that Family who had the honour of giving your Lordship birth, and who ranked among the illustrious sons of the brave, when their Country called their matchless arms into action; and whose deeds shall be told with rapture to the sons of generations yet unborn. I now Dedicate it to your Lordship with every testimony of respect and esteem, and with a sense of the obligations which Caledonia lies under to it, in being saved by its timely assistance from the galling and tyrannic yoke of a foreign foe.
May you, therefore, My Lord, walk every way worthy of the name which you bear; and may the inspiring mantle of your noble ancestors, who fell gloriously in the field of freedom, and who procured for your Lordship the distinguished rank which you are entitled to hold in society, inspire you with sentiments of honour congenial to every lover of his country, and the blood of the virtuous to flow uncontaminated in each vein; which is the earnest wish of one who has the honour to be,
The origin of the Ancient and Noble family of Keith, of whom the Earls Marischal are descended, has long been considered as a desideratum with the antiquarian. Like that of many other ancient families, it has given rise to much discussion and conjecture: and, although this ennobled race have been known to fill, for upwards of seven hundred years, the most honourable offices under the crown, their first introduction into Scotland has never been satisfactorily explained; nor has their descent been traced with that accuracy and intelligence in the annals of our country*, which favour they received at the Scottish court, and their long celebrity would demand.
In laying before the public the following History of this respected family, it is deemed necessary to state, that, the first portion of it, down to the time of William, commonly called the Keeper of the Tower, is copied from an original manuscript of great antiquity, preserved in the family of Marischal till the unfortunate step taken by the last Earl in 1715, in favour of the Pretender. Its authenticity may be relied on; and the continuation has been taken from another genuine MS. Which carries down the History to the death of George, last Earl Marischal, A.D. 1778.
To render this work worthy of the patronage of those to whom it is offered, (as a tribute of respect to the memory of departed worth,) no labour or research has been spared to collect from various sources additional information, to illustrate the history of this exiled family. Therefore, in laying it before the public, the compiler deems it no ways necessary to offer an apology for its intrusion upon their notice. As to the merits of its arrangement, he confidently hopes they are such as enable the reader to peruse the work with pleasure. The orthography, indeed, has undergone a little change, having been modernized in order to accommodate the plebeian reader, as many abbreviations in the original, would almost have put it out of his power to have read it, or obscured the sense so, that he would have found little pleasure in its perusal.
The variety of stile, and manner of composition which are here exhibited, can only be accounted for in its having been written at different periods-by people possessed of different abilities, and allowed to remain in its pristine order, as far as was not derogatory to the sense of its authors.
The Biographical sketches of the lives of those Scottish Noblemen, who were attainted of high treason, for their adherence to the unfortunate house of Stuart, (taken from douglass Peerage, the Earl of Airly excepted, who is from Kerslys,) present us with a mournful epoch of blind zeal, sacrificed to a cause which the least dawning of reason might have convinced them never would prosper; for in all cases, [God directs the affairs of men.]
If I have now succeeded in rescuing from the hands of devouring time, the fragments of other years, the impartial reader (not the pedant would-be critic) can only determine; to whom I consign them, hoping he will appreciate rightly what of them is found worthy of his favour, although I am proud to say, by the kind reception which my former productions met with, my country have already honoured my pretentions, (presumptions as they may appear to some) to a fair and candid hearing. The letters also, which I have received from many literary characters both in London and Edinburgh, whose reputation stands high in the assembly of letters, testify that I have not laboured in vain. Even Royality itself has deigned to smile upon my humble efforts**, so that my time has not been altogether prostituted to the factitious whim of the day.
May these relics of antiquity, therefore, be found many years hence worthy of a place in the cabinet of the man of taste; which is the unbiased wish of their Editor.
* It is said Buchanan took revenge, by omitting, as far as was in his power, the deeds of this ancient family, as one of them had deeply offended him.
FULL AND AUTHENTIC
ACCOUNT OF THE
THOUGH Scotland, by reason of its soil, situation, and neighborhood with a powerful, and rival people, could not hitherto arise to that pitch of riches and grandeur to which other nations have arrived. Yet, for a long an uninterrupted race of monarchs, and the antiquity of its noble family, it can at least vie with any in Europe. Of the nobility, some are originally Scots, and others, at different times came hither from foreign countries: Of the last sort are the Keiths, the chief of whom is the Earl Marischal, whose origin was from Germany, thus:
After the Germans, under Augustus Cezar, had subdued all Germany on that side of the Rhine, they employed the army against the Chattie, a warlike people, bordering on the Saltus Hercynius, who had frequently triumphed over the Charusii, and their other neighbours, and put a stop to the Roman Conquest. Augustus sent Germanicus Cezr, his sisters grandson, and husband to his grand child Agrippina, on this expedition, with eight legions, commanded under him by C. Syllius, and A. Ciecina, to subdue that powerful people, who being assisted by the Cherusii Chanci, and other confederates, engaged in the common defense against the prevailing Romans, who could never be reduced entirely till the time of the Emporer Tiberius; when Germanicus marched against them with four legions, and double the number of auxiliaries, and gave Ciecina the command of other four legions, and five thousand auxiliaries, and he having appointed L. Apronins with a body of men to guard the passes, fell in with them and slew great numbers; the old men and children, with many of the women were taken prisoners, and the rest forced to secure themselves from the fury of the enemy, by swimming the river Adrana.
After this disaster, the Chatti offered terms of peace, but Germanicus refused the conditions they proposed, and burned Mattium, their capital city; upon which, a part of them under Arpus, submitted to the Romans, and retained possession of that country, now subject to the landgrave of Hesse Cassell, one of whose titles is Chattorim Priceps; but the rest of the Chatti reckoned this submission dishonourable; abandoned their country, and after they had sought shelter for sometime among the woods and mountains, and lost all hopes of returning into their country, fell down into Batavia, now Holland, expecting to find a safe retreat.
Here they settled, and passed a course of years, but the natives afraid of a people who they heard were so warlike, and whom they observed to be so industrious and thriving, sent them orders to leave their country, and seek out one more spacious, and less populous. This was very surprising to the Chatti, who durst not return to the continent, all now possessed by the Romans; and therefore, they desired assistance for transporting them beyond seas, which Battavia desirous to be rid of them, readily granted. Being provided with ships, they set sail with their wives and children and by a storm were forced upon different courses; for some of the whom Cambden calls Chatti Euchness, were carried into the mouth of the Thames, whither they all probably designed as the nearest coast, but the greatest part by the tempest was driven to the northern parts of Scotland, which Fordon calls Chatti Malibosei, and landed in a country which ever since has been called Chatt-ness, or Caithness, where they resolved to settle; finding encouragement from the largeness of the country, and want of people to inhabit it.
The Scots, alarmed with the arrival of strangers, enquired their original and design: The Chatti related their adventures, pleaded favour, because they had suffered by the Romans, whom the Scots had so vigorously opposed, and desired habitations, but the Scots either afraid of the neighbourhood of a people trained up in war, whose stubborn tempers might sometimes prove dangerous; or, suspicious that they might endanger their safety by joining their enemy, refused them any share of their country, and commanded them to depart; to which, the Chatti, unwilling to set to sea after the dreadful storm the had escaped, would not yield, but resolved to make good their settlement. Whereupon the Scots being informed of their number being but small, sent a body of men against them. The Chatti would willingly have declined fighting, but reckoned death preferable to sea danger, and finding that force sent against them was but very inconsiderable, they encountered the Scots, and defeated them.
This loss the Scots designed to revenge, and repair, by employing a greater force, and entirely cutting off the Chatti; but, considering that the country they had possessed, was neither well inhabited, nor very valuable, and that they could not be driven out without very much blood; they therefore, resolved to wait a more convenient opportunity, and so suffered them to prepare habitations and settle themselves. The Chatti increased, and spread themselves over the coast country, till their number and power raised the jealousy, and awakened the envy of the Scots, who marched against them with a great army, and falling unexpectedly, after great havock, drove them from the coast to the mountainous parts of the kingdom, where they found such shelter from the hills and woods, as secured and defended them from the rage of the Scots.
It was about this time that the Prince of the Chatti, whose name was Gilly Chattan Moir, having married the daughter of Brudus, king of the Picts, began to be suspected of favouring his father-in-law, against Alpinus, who was then the Scots king: But when his son Kennethus the 2nd , came to the throne, he being desirous to revenge his fathers death, who had been defeated and slain by the Picts, declared war against them; and among the rest of the nobility, he likewise summoned old Gilly Chattan Moir, prince of the Chatti, to attend his standard. He being loath to appear in arms against his father-in-law, and yet willing to show his allegiance to his own king, stayed at home himself, but sent his eldest son with a body of men to king Kennethus, which was so glorious to the Scots, and proved the utter extirpation of the Picts. The youngest son of this Gilly Chattan Moir succeeded his father as prince, or head of the clan, and it was in his time that the Chatti were driven to the wilds of Lochaber, and the neighbouring mountainous shires, where they spread into the famous families of Mc.Intoshes, Mc. Phersons, &c. all acknowledging for their head, or chief, the lineal descendant of that surviving son of Gilly Chattan Moirs; who, at this day, is the representative of the family of Keith.
The Chatti, having for a long time continued a distinct people from the Scots, being governed by their own prince and laws, living in the highlands, till the Scots observed them to be a just and industrious people, made a peace, and settled a friendship with them: Yet they continued under their prince and laws, not being permitted to marry, or form any relation with the Scots, till the reign of Malcolm the 2nd, king of Scotland, about the year 1005.
We shall satisfy ourselves with the general sketch given above; after they were admitted to join and unite themselves with the Scots. The histories and public records of the nation, give a more particular and exact relation of those who have been chiefs of that race, since their union with the Scots: The first of whom was ROBERT.
Prince of the Chatti, in the reign of Malcom the 2nd, when Sueno, king of Denmark, had conquered England, overthrown their king, Ethelred, and assumed the royal authority, and shortly after designed to reduce Scotland to the same condition; and therefore, sent Olavius, governor of Norway, and Enecus, viceroy of Denmark, thither with a formidable army, who first proved victorious in a battle near Nairn, in Murray; but afterwards were entirely routed at Mortlach; Enecus being killed and Olavus forced to scamper to the hills.
Sueno enraged with this overthrow, equipped two fleets, in which he ordered two considerable armies, one from England, and another from Denmark, both commanded by his kinsman, Camus, of extraordinary fame for his strength and martial exploits, to be embarked for Scotland, and the fleet being joined at St. Abbs Head, Camus landed his men at the Red-Head, in Angus; and after sacking Montrose, and ruining Brechin, proceeded to commit the greatest cruelties over all the country.
King Malcom, upon the first news of the enemies designing this expedition, resolved to put the kingdom in the best posture possible; but finding the nation much weakened, and dispirited by the former battles, and the enemy already in possession of one corner of the country, for they had entirely reduced Murray into their obedience; and he, being also destitute of all hopes of any other relief, resolved upon employing the assistance of the Chatti, who had been for a good many years pent up in the mountains; and by advise of his nobility, he commissionated some persons to represent the present posture of his affairs to them, to engage their assistance; offered them all the privileges and immunities of natural Scots; to contract marriages, and to unite as one people with them.
The Chatti very readily embraced the terms, and being informed of the enemies arrival, they took arms, and under their leader, Robert, marched to join the king, who had levied an army as great as the shortness of time, and conveniences of the country would allow; and at the crossing of Tay, being reinforced by the Chatti, advanced straight upon the enemy, and encountered them at Barry, about six mile from Dundee. Both parties engaged with the greatest eagerness imaginable; the battle continued long, and never did commanders manifest more courage and conduct, nor soldiers more fury. Multitudes fell upon both sides; the fields were covered with carcasses, and the neighbouring brook seemed to run in blood. But at last, by a favourable providence, the Scots became victors, and the Danes were overpowered, and forced to give way. The Chatti, under their young chieftan, fought with a notable bravery, and raised the admiration of both their young enemies and allies.
The Danes being routed, Camus thought of saving himself and some other eminent persons, who had outlived the danger of the battle, and therefore endeavoured to make his escape into Murray, where the rest of his countrymen had settled the year before. The Scots were so shattered and famted in the former engagement, that they were not able to pursue; but Robert, commander of the Chatti, designing to make the victory complete, carries with him a party of the fiercest and stoutest of his men, and about two miles from the place of battle, came up with Camus, whose prodigious strength, and undaunted courage had been know to the Scots on a former occasion. Desire of glory on the one hand, despair on the other, and their numbers being nearly equal, made the engagement most fierce. The two champions fought single handed with great fury; and Robert, by his matchless valour, slew Camus upon the spot, and killed the rest who followed him.
The king having heard the news, and desired to see Camus, who had appeared so formidable in battle, went straight to the place, and viewed him stretched on the ground; highly commended Roberts valour, and for memorial of it, he dipped his three middle fingers in the blood of Camus, and drew threes strokes, or pales, on Roberts shield, as the badge of his achievement. Robert having before the battle assured his soldiers that God, whose house those savages had demolished, and whose service they despised, would give them victory, and said to those about him VERITAS VINCIT; Which pales and words, Robert and his successors have ever since kept for their arms and motto, in memory of that great action. There is yet upon the ground an obelisk of stone, called Camuss Cross, where are engraven the pictures of Camus dying, and the Scots killing the Danes; and a little village nearby retains the name of Cameston to this day. In the last age, Boethius, and our good author, who knew the country, testify that a multitude of big bones was digged up in one of the adjacent fields, and a huge stone coffin, in which some of Camuss prodigious bones were found.
This victory, so great, so happy, and seasonable to the Scots, nearly sunk by former disasters, and ruined by the power of a barbarious enemy, was next to the favour of heaven, and the valour of a great king, ascribed to the Chatti, and their magnanimous commander; and therefore, both king and people desired to make most liberal acknowledgements, and pay the greatest marks of respect to Robert, and to his valiant followers.
The King knighted Robert, and for a reward of his services, created him hereditary great Marischal of Scotland, which is an office of great dignity and eminence, and of great power in peace and war, foreby one of the chief ancient offices of the crown; before officers of state were introduced into the nation.
And, for supporting this dignity, the King conferred on him many lands; the chief of which was called from his name, Keith Marischal, in East Lothian. Most of those who had followed Robert, and served the King in the last battle, were sent home and rewarded, not only with ample right and title to the lands they formerly possessed, but had also others distributed among them, whose posterity continued to this day very powerful and numerous; spreading into the families of Macintosh, Farquharson, Machperson, Shaw, &c. under the general name of Clan-Chatten; and their commander, or chief, has since, instead of the German work Chattus, or Cattus, been according to the Scots dialect Keth, or Keith.
He, (Robert) married Margaret Frazer, daughter to Simon Frazer of Tweedale, and of him descended a race of the greatest heros that ever Scotland produced.
II. SIR ROBERT KEITH
Succeeded his father, when Suenco, King of Norway, invaded Scotland in the reign of King Duncan. He commanded a part of the Scottish army at the battle of Culross, and when they were unfortunately defeated, he escaped alive; and with Bancho and Macbeth, afterwards fell upon the Norwegians in the camp, and made such a dreadful slaughter, that there was scarce so many saved as to conduct and carry off the King to his ships. He married Elizabeth Straquhan.
III. SIR ROBERT KEITH
Succeeded to his father, and married Elizabeth Cumming, daughter of John, chief of that ilk; who, by King Alexander the 1st, was advanced to great honour and riches, and laid the foundation of many great families.
IV. SIR PATRICK KEITH
His son succeeded, and married Margaret Marr, daughter to the Earl of Marr.
V. SIR WILLIAM KEITH
Succeeded to his father, when Stephen, King of England, sent a formidable army against Scotland, because David refused to do him homage for the lands of Cumberland and Northumberland, &c. Having formerly sworn fidelity to Maud, the righteous heir, for these lands he got in England with his Queen. The Earls of Merch, Monteith, Angus, with Sir William Keith Marischal, encountered the English at Allerton, and after a bloody battle, proved victorious; slew many of the English, and took many prisoners; among them was the duke of Glocester, general of the English army, anno 1133. He married Elizabeth Seton, daughter of the Earl of Wintons predecessor.