Life in the north of Scotland during the eighteenth century for most people, was rudimentary at best. The national government was remote and local government unheard of, leaving social organization to the community.
James Grant of Grant was born at Castle Grant in 1738. On the death of his father Sir Ludovick in 1773, James inherited the vast Strathspey estate, which extended from Lochindorb in the north to Aviemore in the south, as well as the large Urquhart estate. He was a member of Parliament, Lord Lieutenant of Inverness and raised two regiments for the Crown at the start of the French revolutionary war.
Academically brilliant and innovative, Sir James was one of the leaders of the ‘Age of Improvement’, overseeing agricultural advances and even town planning when he established the village of Grantown on Spey.
During the famine of 1782/3 Sir James’ initiative kept the population from starving by importing grain from the South, largely at his own expense.
Using the extensive records of the Seafield Muniments, Martin Fraser vividly describes life during of the eighteenth century and Sir James’ role in improving it for his tenants beyond measure. Many of the documents were written by the author’s great-great-grandfather, who was secretary and subsequently factor to Sir James. Together they recorded the life and times of ordinary people living ordinary lives on an estate owned and run and extraordinary man.