Grant, John (d.1528) (DNB00)

GRANT, JOHN (d. 1528), second laird of Freuchie, the Bard, the eldest son of John Grant younger of Freuchie (now Grant in Strathspey), and grandson of Sir Duncan Grant, first laird of Freuchie, succeeded his grandfather, Duncan, as second laird in 1485. He was surnamed 'The Bard,' sometimes 'The Bard roy,' on account of his poetical talents. Grant attached himself by bond of maurent to the Earl of Huntly [see Gordon, George, d. 1502?], then the most powerful nobleman in the north of Scotland, and his own overlord. At Huntly's castle in Strathbogie, on 15 Sept. 1484, the marriage of Grant with Margaret, daughter of Sir James Ogilvie of Deskford, Banffshire, was arranged. There is a tradition that the father of this laird marched at the head of the clan Grant in 1488 to the assistance of James III during the insurrection of the prince, and that along with some other highland clans the Grants arrived only in time to find the decisive battle of Sauchieburn already fought and their king dead. But as Grant's father died in 1482 the tradition, if true, has probably reference to this second laird of Freuchie. He, at least, is mentioned in that struggle as having captured a traitor and conveyed him to Edinburgh (Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, i. 98).

Under James IV the Earl of Huntly became chancellor of Scotland and royal lieutenant in the northern counties, with a special commission for promoting the peace of these counties by dealing summarily with the more unruly clans. Grant supported his overlord so heartily in this work that as a reward the king conferred upon him several extensive estates in Inverness-shire and Morayshire. In 1498 he received the lands of Glencarny and Ballindalloch, and in 1509 the barony of Urquhart, while upon two of his sons were bestowed the neighbouring lands of Glenmoriston and Corriemony. At an earlier date he had acquired by purchase and exchange several estates adjoining his own patrimony, and to consolidate these he obtained a royal charter erecting them into the barony of Freuchie.

His barony of Urquhart, after the battle of Flodden in 1513, was invaded and laid waste by a party of the Macdonalds of the Isles, the most refractory of the clans. But Grant succeeded in subduing them and recovered his lands. He held special commissions for the pacification of the highlands, and contributed largely towards the efforts of James IV. In 1492 he, with certain others, was sent by the Earl of Huntly to inflict punishment on the clan Mackenzie, which, among other enormities, had been guilty of the slaughter of Harold of Chisholm. In this he acquitted himself successfully (History of the Clan Mackenzie, p. 74). Among other services he captured certain freebooters who infested Braemar and the upper reaches of the river Dee. During the regency of John, duke of Albany, Grant was summoned to take part in a military expedition into England; but taking his cue from Huntly, as the allegiance of the country was divided, he held back. He was afterwards obliged to condone his disobedience by purchasing a remission.

Grant died in May 1528. He had, besides five daughters, three sons: James (1485?-1553) [q. v.], his successor; John, who got Corriemony, and became ancestor of the Grants of Corriemony and Shenglie, from whom descended Charles Grant, lord Glenelg [q. v.], and others; and John Mor Grant, a natural son, of Glenmoriston, the ancestor of that branch of the family of Grant.

[The Chiefs of Grant. by Sir William Fraser, K.C.B., i. 71-95; Acta Dominorum Concilii, pp. 267, 273, 298; Gregory's Highlands and Islands of Scotland, pp. 50-114.]

H. P.