Papers of the Keith family of Ravelstone

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

This collection is a miscellaneous collection of correspondence and legal papers, principally relating to the Keiths of Ravelston, but also other branches of the Keith family, including the Earls Marischal. The subject matter relates mostly to general topics such as property, finances, and family affairs, but the context is often unclear, and further research on the family would be helpful in understanding the various relationships exhibited, and ultimately obtaining greater use from the collection. 40 of the documents are drafts of letters.

Properties mentioned in the records lie in Edinburgh (including certain lands in the region of the auld provostis cloisheid ), Stonehaven (Aberdeenshire), Olrig (Caithness), Dunnet (Caithness), and Lumgar (?Scottish Borders, previously Roxburghshire). In addition to the papers of several branches of the Keith family, a group of records relate to the affairs of James Logan (fl 1629 - 1647), minister of Smailholm, (Scottish Borders, previously Roxburghshire), later, Galtoun (Shropshire), and to William Symontoun, merchant burgess of Edinburgh (fl 1623 - c. 1643). Other items which are of interest, include an account of the design and condition in 1707, of the Scottish Regalia (49); an undated autograph letter by Sir Walter Scott, relating to the death of his mother, who was apparently tended in her last illness by Dr James Keith (74); an invitation to Sir Walter's funeral, written by his son to Dr. Keith (75); a letter concerning a visitation to be made to Marischal College, c 1619 by the Bishop of Aberdeen (130); reference to a libel against the masters and scholars of Marischal College (64); and a fragment from the Session records of the parish of Keithhall (Monkeggie) in Garioch (Aberdeenshire), 1669-1671, which is apparently the oldest surviving fragment of these records (77).

Administrative / Biographical History

Ravelston estate, situated in Corstorphine parish, Edinburgh, belonged c. 1600 to George Foulis, whose son ?John was created a baronet in 1661. Sir Archibald, 2nd Baronet, executed at Carlisle for his share in the '45, took the name of Primrose about 1700, on succeeding to the estate of Dunipace, and sold Ravelston in 1726 to Alexander Keith, W.S., a soi-disant descendant of the Third Earl Marischal. His son, Alexander Keith (1705 - 1792), who built the present mansion, Ravelston House, was a close friend of Sir Walter Scott, who is reputed to have based some features of his Tully-Veolan (in Waverley) on the formal gardens there. The two families were related through Scott's grandmother, Jean Swinton (daughter of Sir John Swinton of Swinton (d 1799), Scottish Borders), whose sister Joanna, married Alexander Keith of Ravelstone (1705 - 1792).

Alexander's son received a baronetcy in 1822, when he acted as Knight Marischal to George IV, and, after his death in 1832, Ravelston went to his son-in-law, Sir William Keith Murray, Bart., of Ochtertyre, whose son, Sir Patrick, sold it in 1872 to his uncle, John Murray-Gartshore, Esq. (1804 - 1884).

For a brief account of the family and estate see John Small's Castles and Mansions of the Lothians (Edinburgh, 1883)

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically, although some bound items out of sequence

Conditions Governing Access

Open, subject to signature accepting conditions of use at reader registration sheet

Acquisition Information

The collection was purchased by Aberdeen University Library in 1954, from Thake and Paginton, House Agents, Surveyors, Auctioneers and Valuers, Newbury. It came to them from the estate of Lt. Colonel G.T.E. Keith, D.S.O.

Other Finding Aids

Interim descriptive list available in the Reading Room, Special Libraries and Archives, University of Aberdeen (e-mail: speclib@abdn.ac.uk).

Very brief collection level description available on Aberdeen University Library Catalogue, accessible online http://www.abdn.ac.uk/diss/library/

Alternative Form Available

No copies known

Conditions Governing Use

Subject to the condition of the original, copies may be supplied for private research use only on receipt of a signed undertaking to comply with current copyright legislation.

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Head of Special Libraries and Archives (e-mail: speclib@abdn.ac.uk) and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. Where possible, assistance will be given in identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with normal procedures

Custodial History

The collection comprises 87 documents. 75 of these were arranged in rough chronological sequence, guarded and bound into a volume, some time in the early twentieth or the nineteenth century. Of these, the first four and last two have apparently been introduced at a later date - the first four being 18th century documents completely out of order, and the last two, 19th century letters, out of accord with the binder's title Manuscripts 1552 - 1786. The other 12 are loose and have now been numbered in chronological order.

Accruals

No accruals expected

Related Material

Papers of James Francis Edward Keith (1696 - 1758), 18th - 19th c (GB 231 MS 3500)Papers of James Francis Edward Keith (1696 - 1758), 18th - 19th c (GB 231 MS 3500)Deeds, state papers, family papers, household papers and legal papers of the Keith family, Earls Marischal, and the Murray family, baronets, Ochtertyre, Perthshire, 13th c - 1938, are deposited in the National Library of Scotland (ACC 6026, 11041) Deeds, state papers, family papers, household papers and legal papers of the Keith family, Earls Marischal, and the Murray family, baronets, Ochtertyre, Perthshire, 13th c - 1938, are deposited in the National Library of Scotland (ACC 6026, 11041) Legal papers of the Keith family, Earls Marischal, and the Murray family, baronets, Ochtertyre, Perthshire, 1660 - 1760, are deposited in the National Archives of Scotland (GD 237/20)

Bibliography

No known publications using this material

Additional Information

This material is original