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THE EARLS & COUNTESS OF SEAFIELD

The Earls of Seafield & Findlater

I will give a brief mention to the Earls of Seafield as their family have been the principal land owners in Strathspey for the last four to five hundred years, and virtually all of the farmers in this entire story will have been their tenants.  Their Strathspey Estate is vast, from Kingussie to Nethy-Bridge and including Glen-More and the Rothiemurchus Forest, almost the entire valley is part of the estate. 

The Ogilvy family from Cullen have owned estates around Cullen and in Strathspey for several hundred years. In the early to mid 17th Century James Ogilvy rose to particular prominence, he was much involved in the union of the English & Scottish Crowns in the years leading up to the Act of Union in 1707.  He was already the Earl of Findlater, but the King clearly felt another Gong was deserved and he was created Viscount Seafield, about ten years later he was further elevated to Become the First Earl of Seafield making him one of the highest ranking members of  the Scottish Peerage.

In the early 18th Century the title passed from father to son in the usual manner until the 4th Earl died with no male heir in 1811. At this point the Earldom of Findlater became defunct, that of Seafield being differently entailed, was not fixed to Father -Son inheritance only. This allowed the title to pass via the sister of the 4th Earl and her eldest son ( whose name I can't find)  to the sons of her eldest son.  As firstborn the title passed to Lewis Alexander Grant.  Just to confuse you further, Lewis was often known as Ludovic.

 

Lewis' Grandfather Ludovic Grant had been the hereditary chief of Clan Grant when he married Margaret Ogilvy, sister of the third Earl. Lewis himself had inherited the Clan Chiefdom on the death of his father, he in addition became the 5th Earl of Seafield on the death of the 4th Earl, who had been the son of his grandmother's brother.  I am not totally sure if that relationship has a name, but whatever it is, the Gong passed on to him.  

When such a title is inherited by marriage, so that the new Earl, Duke or whatever does not bear the traditional family name it was frequently the  practice for the new Earl, to assume the family name attached to the title. As the hereditary Chief of Clan Grant it would have been difficult for Lewis to do this, so he adopted the time-proven practice of the snobby English and hyphenated his name to become Lewis Alexander Ogilvy-Grant 5th Earl of Seafield, as well as the various other titles that he already had.

 

Lewis the 5th Earl did not get to enjoy his bragging rights for long, as he died only a few years later. At this point his younger brother Francis William Grant became 6th Earl, he also took the hyphenated name which has remained the family name ever since.

After another 70 years or so, much there same happens again. The 8th Earl died in 1884 without an heir, the title passed to his uncleJames Ogilvy-Grant who became 9th Earl.

Wealthy landowners or not, the Ogilvy-Grant family was not immune to the slaughter of the First World War. James the 11th Earl was killed in action in 1915 in France. Following his death the Clan Chiefship passed to his younger brother Sir Trever Ogilvy-Grant, but the titles went to his daughter Nina Caroline who became the 12th but was of course Countess of Seafield not Earl, her son Ian is still the current 13th Earl of Seafield.

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