The Gordon Connection

THE  GORDON  MAUSOLEUM:  The  Fourth  Duke  of  Gordon’s  first  Duchess  (Jane  Maxwell)  died  in  1812  and  was  buried  at  Kinrara  near  Aviemore.   In  1820 the  Duke  married  one  of  his  long-time  lovers,  Jean  Christie.  His  Second  Duchess  died  in  1824  and  lies  in  this  magnificent  mausoleum  of  Elgin  freestone  under  a  canopy  supported  by  12  pillars.   Her  name  is  not  inscribed  on  the  stone  but  her  son  Adam  was  buried  beside  her  in  1834  and  an  inscribed  slab  marks  his  grave.

THE  GORDON  HIGHLANDERS:  The  Gordon  Highlanders  were  raised in  the  1790s  by  the  Fourth  Duke.   The  popular  image  of  the  recruitment  drive  is  that  of  the  First  Duchess  (Jane  Maxwell)  and  her  daughters  dispensing  kisses  and  the  King’s  Shilling  to  would-be  soldiers.   The  legend  is  based  on  one  incident  when  a  gallant  young  lad  received  a  sovereign  from  the  Duchess’  lips.

“The  Last  Dukes  of  Gordon  and  their  Consorts   1743 – 1864”  by  George  Gordon  1980


1st Marquis of Montrose

Lord Graham, Montrose’s eldest son, had come with his father “with the bodie of his armie”, from Elgin on 4 March1645 to the Bog o’ Gight (now Gordon Castle). While there, the son, “a proper youth about 16 yeiris old, and of singular expectatioune, takisseiknes, deis in the Bog in a few dayis, and is bureit in the kirk of Bellie, to his fatherisgryt grief.”John Graham had been campaigning with his father since September 1644 and had therefore been with the army through the hard winter campaigns. A few days after arriving at ‘Bog of Gight’, Lord Graham took ill and died.

He was buried in Bellie Churchyard, probably within the old church, now long gone. All attempts to find his grave have been unsuccessful due to later interments in the area. In March 2011, two representatives of the 1st Marquis of Montrose Society came to see the Friends and, with the assistance of Moray Council, erected a memorial stone to mark the last resting place of this young man.

In August of the same year, some 20 members of The 1st Marquis of Montrose Society, some from as far away as the south of England, travelled to the Churchyard. Together with a number of Friends and members of the Fochabers Heritage Group, they held a brief but very fitting official unveiling ceremony, followed by a happy gathering at Baxters Highland Village for afternoon tea.


1st-marquis-of-montrose-logoThis memorial is placed here in remembrance of lord john graham, a youth of only 14 years, who died at bog of gight castle in the early days of March 1645 and who was interred within the walls of Bellie Kirk.Lord graham was the son and heir of James Graham, 1st Marquis of Montrose, who led the royalist campaign in Scotland during 1644 and 1645 in support of King Charles I. A hard fought campaign, which commenced with the raising of the King’s standard at Blair Atholl on 30 august 1644, had seen royalist victories at Tippermuir,Aberdeen and Inverlochy. Lord graham had accompanied his father throughout this bitter winter campaign and it is thought that the harsh conditions which lord graham bravely endured during this time very likely contributed to his demise. The Actual cause of death however may have been typhus.

Erected by the 1st Marquis of Montrose Society, WHILST gratefully acknowledging the co-operation of The Moray Council, The Friends of Bellie kirk and Baxters.