Arbuthnott family and estate papers

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Various inventories of the Arbuthnott muniments, 18th c - 19th c, including a 2 volume inventory made by George Hume in 1822, together with deeds described therein, 13th c - 19th c (bundles have been disturbed since Hume's listing, and arrangement and numbering is frequently at odds with his inventory); several genealogies of the Arbuthnott family, 16th c - 20th c; estate, household and personal accounts, 15th c - 20th c; extensive estate papers, including baron court papers, correspondence, accounts, valuations, rentals and tacks, early 15th - 20th c; legal papers, 15th c - 20th c, including marriage contracts, action between Lord Arbuthnott and the Laird of Dun, 1680 - 1682, and papers re. the roup and sale of Arbuthnott and Fordoun estates, 1920; papers relating to Arbuthnott House, including contract for its repair, 1754, proposed plans, 1839; papers relating to teinds, stipends and heritors, 17th c - 18th c; papers relating to Bervie fishings, 1587 - 1775, Haltoun fishery, 1817 - 1819, and Catterline harbour, n.d.; personal papers, including military commissions and related papers of John, Lord Arbuthnott, 1861 - 1920; sermons of Henry Davidson, 18th c; miscellaneous correspondence and other papers, relating to family, business and other matters, late 18th c - 20th c.

Much of the early correspondence is political in nature, and has in the past, been bound into 2 volumes. Examples of its contents include letter to the Laird of Arbuthnott from James, Earl of Arran, Governor of Scotland, stating that an English army was preparing to invade Scotland, and summoning Arbuthnott and his friends to Edinburgh on 13 Apr, with 40 days provisions, 13 Mar 1549/ 50; and letter to the Laird of Arbuthnott from James VI, summoning him to a meeting at Halyruidhous on 24 Nov to assist in putting sum spedie ordour to the reformation of sindre thinis that ar amiss bayth in religioun and politie , 14 Nov 1588.

Estate papers relate principally to the baronies of Arbuthnott and Fordoun, and to lands lying in the parishes of Ecclesgreig, Fordoun, Arbuthnott, Bervie, Garvoch and Glenbervie.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Arbuthnott family take their name from the lands and parish of Arbuthnott, Kincardineshire, first mentioned in a charter of c 1170 - c 1174, in which the lands were granted to one Osbert Oliphant, Sheriff and Forester of the Mearns. Hugh de Swinton inherited the lands from Osbert c. 1188, possibly through marriage to Osbert's daughter, and took the title of 1st Laird of Arbuthnott. Hugh, 3rd Laird of Arbuthnott, 1240 - 1260, is believed to have begun building Arbuthnott house, ancestral seat of the family, and present home of Viscount Arbuthnott c. 1242. The heritable title of Viscount Arbuthnott, was granted in 1641 to Robert, 18th Laird, in a vain attempt by Charles I to win him over from the Covenanters.

Sales of family papers and lands took place in the 1890s and early twentieth century. The family library was sold in Edinburgh in 1892; and The Arbuthnott Missal, Arbuthnott Prayer Book (or Horae), and Abuthnot Psalter, written by James Salter between 1482 and 1491, were all sold in London in 1897. Sale catalogues for both are retained with the deposit papers of this collection, please ask staff for further details. A sale catalogue for the estate, dated 1901, is in the University's Local Collection (ref. L fpKi7 Q5 A).

Principal Alexander Arbuthnott compiled the Arbuthnott genealogy in the 16th century, on which most later accounts are based, and of which an 18th century transcription was used in James Balfour Paul and Robert Douglas, The Scots Peerage, 9 vols (Edinburgh: Douglas, 1904 - 1914). For further details on the family see also, Christy Bing, The Lairds of Arbuthnott (Edzell: Capability Publications, 1993); and William Fraser, Report on the Manuscripts of the Right Honourable John, Viscount of Arbuthnott, at Arbuthnott House, in the County of Kincardineshire in Historical Manuscript Commission, Eighth Report (London, ?1880), pp. 297 - 304) (which also contains a description of the family papers).

Arrangement

None observed - listing in process.

Conditions Governing Access

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

Acquisition Information

See Archival History

Other Finding Aids

Interim list available in the Reading Room, Special Libraries and Archives (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

Records relating to the Manor of Tintinhhull, Somerset, were extracted from this deposit and transferred to the Somerset Record Office, Taunton, in 1988.

Custodial History

The family records were surveyed at Arbuthnott House by the Historical Manuscripts Commission in 1880. Later surveys were subsequently made by the National Register of Archives, Scotland (NRAS) in 1947, 1962 and 1963, at which time the records were in the custody of Messrs Lindsay, Howe and Company, W.S., Edinburgh. These surveys were superseded by NRAS survey no. 5, dated Nov 1968, by which time all surviving records were believed to have been transferred to Arbuthnott House, Kincardine.

The records covered by NRA(S) survey no. 5 were deposited in the University by John Viscount of Arbuthnott in July 1971.

In 1975 a further group of papers were located in the offices of Clark, Oliver, Dewar and Webster, Arbroath. In 1979 the University received two additional deposits of Arbuthnott records, though it is not clear if either of these relate to the papers found in Arbroath in 1975. In March 1979 a collection of estate maps was transferred from the Scottish Record Office; and in October 1979 a group of records, as yet unsorted, were transferred from Arbuthnott Estate offices, Laurencekirk. A letter from the Viscount of Arbuthnott, 8 Nov 1979, states that he has found 3 additional boxes of 19th century records, but there is no record of whether these were subsequently deposited.

Accruals

No accruals expected

Related Material

Papers of Charles Arbuthnott (1767 - 1850), diplomatist and politician, 1791 - 1885 (GB 231 MS 3029) Collection of extracts from Kirk Sessions and other records of the parish of Arbuthnott, Kincardineshire. Compiled by Archibald Mason, 1903 (GB 231 MS 2246) Collection of extracts from Kirk Sessions and other records of the parish of Arbuthnott, Kincardineshire. Compiled by Archibald Mason, 1903 (GB 231 MS 2246)Papers of the Arbuthnott family (drawing on the above GB 231 MS 2246) (GB 231 MS 2889)Papers of the Arbuthnott family (drawing on the above GB 231 MS 2246) (GB 231 MS 2889)Papers of the Arbuthnott Family, Arbuthnott, Kincardineshire, 1814 (extracted from the Davidson and Garden Collection) (GB 231 MS 2769/ III)Papers of the Arbuthnott Family, Arbuthnott, Kincardineshire, 1814 (extracted from the Davidson and Garden Collection) (GB 231 MS 2769/ III)Papers relating to the history and genealogy of the Arbuthnott Family; including Alexander Arbuthnott's Continuation of the Genealogie of the Noble Family of Arbuthnott, n.d. [associated with the Spalding Club, c. 1845] (GB 231 MS 843/ 3)Papers relating to the history and genealogy of the Arbuthnott Family; including Alexander Arbuthnott's Continuation of the Genealogie of the Noble Family of Arbuthnott, n.d. [associated with the Spalding Club, c. 1845] (GB 231 MS 843/ 3)Poem, The Club, and other works relating to Peterhead, addressed to George Arbuthnott, 1808 - 1813 (GB 231 MS 689)Poem, The Club, and other works relating to Peterhead, addressed to George Arbuthnott, 1808 - 1813 (GB 231 MS 689)

Bibliography

Christy Bing, The Lairds of Arbuthnott (Edzell: Capability Publications, 1993)William Fraser, Report on the Manuscripts of the Right Honourable John, Viscount of Arbuthnott, at Arbuthnott House, in the County of Kincardineshire in Historical Manuscript Commission, Eighth Report (London, ?1880), pp. 297 - 304). This report contains short but informative historical account of the family, and a description of the family papers (now deposited in the University: GB 231 MS 2764). William Fraser, Report on the Manuscripts of the Right Honourable John, Viscount of Arbuthnott, at Arbuthnott House, in the County of Kincardineshire in Historical Manuscript Commission, Eighth Report (London, ?1880), pp. 297 - 304). This report contains short but informative historical account of the family, and a description of the family papers (now deposited in the University: GB 231 MS 2764). Some of the records in GB 231 MS 2764 were used by Viscount Arbuthnott's son, Keith Arbuthnott, in his unpublished thesis An Examination of the Long Term Historical Development of a Selected Farm Business: Arbuthnott Home Farm, Kincardineshire. A copy is held with the deposit papers. Some of the records in GB 231 MS 2764 were used by Viscount Arbuthnott's son, Keith Arbuthnott, in his unpublished thesis An Examination of the Long Term Historical Development of a Selected Farm Business: Arbuthnott Home Farm, Kincardineshire. A copy is held with the deposit papers.

Additional Information

This material is original