Grant, James 1485?-1553, third laird of Freuchie, surnamed The Bold, eldest son of John Grant [qv.] (d. 1528), of Freuchie and Margaret Ogilvie, his wife, was born about 1485. Like his father he attached himself by bond of maurent to the Earl of Huntly [see Gordon, George, d. 1502?], who was his overlord in certain of his lands, and royal lieutenant in the north. In respect of other lands he was a vassal of James Stewart, earl of Moray, natural brother of James V, and he also entered into a bond of maurent service to Moray. A question arose between the king and his brother respecting the lands Grant held from Moray, and Grant was threatened by the king with deprivation of these lands for having paid the feu duties to Moray instead of to the king. But the matter was satisfactorily arranged, though it delayed the feudal investiture of Grant in his lands for a number of years after his father's death.
In 1528 the clan Chattan rendered itself obnoxious to government. The neighbouring clans were empowered to extirpate it, saving alive only the priests, the women, and the children. The women and children were to be shipped off to Norway (Miscellany of the Spalding Club, ii. 83). The clans recoiled from this atrocity, and Grant protected some of the clan Chattan, to whom he was related by marriage (A. M. Shaw, The Mackintoshes and Clan Chattan, p. 197). For this he was processed before the council and condemned to pay a fine of 1,000l. Scots.
Grant took part in 1544 in an expedition under the Earl of Huntly against the Clanranald and the Mackenzies of Kintail, during which the Frasers of Lovat fought the celebrated battle of Blarnan-leine, or field of shirts, with the Macdonalds. The combatants, on account of the excessive heat, stripped to their shirts, and both parties were all but exterminated (Diurnal of Occurrents in Scotland, p. 34).
From James V in 1535 Grant obtained the privilege of exemption from appearing in any court, save the court of session in civil causes, and the high court of justiciary in criminal causes. This extended to all his servants, dependents, and tenants, and was to endure during his lifetime. Several years later, when the advance of the Reformation was alarming churchmen, Grant was appointed bailie of the abbey of Kinloss by Robert Reid, bishop of Orkney. The Bishop of Moray about the same time feued out the church lands in Strathspey to Grant on the understanding that they would be divided by the laird between himself and seven of his friends of the same name. The Clanranald, in revenge for his raid of 1544, aided by the Camerons, ravaged Grant's lands of Urquhart, and took his castle of Urquhart. Grant sought redress by the law. His assailants made no appearance, and he was legally placed in possession of a large tract of his now outlawed enemies' lands in Ross-shire (Registrum Magni Sigilli, lib. xxx. No. 314). On their giving assurance that they would respect his Urquhart estates and tenants he allowed them to repossess their lands under his own superiority.
Grant died at his castle of Freuchie on 26 Aug. 1553, and was buried at the church of Duthil. He was twice married: first to Elizabeth, daughter of John, sixth lord Forbes, and secondly to Christian Barclay, and had four sons and several daughters. His sons were John Grant of Freuchie, who succeeded him, and William, Duncan, and Archibald, all of whom obtained portions of the church lands of Strathspey. Archibald became the ancestor of the Grants of Monymusk, from whom descended Sir Francis, lord Cullen [qv.], and William Grant, lord Prestongrange [qv.].
Fraser's The Chiefs of Grant, i. 96-122
Gregory's Highlands and Islands of Scotland, pp. 159-79.
Contributor: H. P. [Henry Paton]