THE BARONY OF STRICHEN

In Abito Reale
About the Barony of Strichen

The Barony of Strichen is the larger barony in Scotland. Strichen is a village in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It sits on the A981, connecting it to New Deer 7.2 miles (12 km) to the southwest and Fraserburgh 8 miles (13 km) to the north-northeast, and the B9093, connecting it to New Pitsligo about four miles due west. The village got its name from Lord Strichen, the Baron of Strichen. It is situated on the River Ugie at the foothills of Mormond Hill. The Strichen White Horse is constructed of quartz on Mormond Hill, some 1500 m Northeast of Strichen.

 

There is considerable evidence of local habitation by early man in and around Strichen. Strichen Stone Circle to be found near to Strichen House in publicly accessible land. Further south lies the Catto Long Barrow and a number of tumuli.

There are several listed buildings within the village. The most significant is the Town House constructed to a design by the Aberdeen architect John Smith in 1816. It is described by Historic Scotland as an "excellent example of an early 19th century castellated Town House".

Strichen House, designed in 1821 in a commission for Thomas Fraser, 12th Strichen. 

Strichen lies in the district of Buchan in the county of Aberdeen. Possibly the earliest known proprietor prior to it becoming a barony was an Alexander Chalmer in the mid sixteenth century.  On 1 May 1514, Alexander Chalmer, feuar of Strichen, sold lands in Strichen to a Thomas Fraser, second son of Sir Alexander Fraser of Philorth.  This sale was confirmed by Mary, Queen of Scots, on 28 July 1558 [RGS. NAS Ref. C2/32/249].   On 2 August 1559, Queen Mary and her husband King, Henry Darnley, confirmed the sale by Alexander Chalmer, feuar of Strichen, of the lands of the Lordship of Strichen with its waulkmill lying within the barony of Strichen [RGS. NAS Ref. C2/31/509].  On October 8, 1573, King James VI confirmed Thomas Fraser of Strichen and his wife Isobel Forbes in the lands and Barony of Strichen, with the superiority of the Newton of Strichen with its tower, fortalice, mill, multures, woods, fishing, etc in Aberdeenshire. [RGS. NAS Ref.C2/34/6].

Thomas Fraser, 1st Baron of Strichen, was killed by John Gordon of Gight in December 1576. Thomas’s heirs were his daughters Katherine and Violet Fraser who disposed of the barony of Strichen to Thomas Fraser of Knockie, second son of Lord Alexander Fraser of Lovat, who was granted a Crown Charter for the barony on 25 January 1591[RGS. Ref. C2/38/269]. 

Thomas the son of Fraser of Lovat was born 1545; he married Isobel or Elizabeth Forbes the widow of William Chalmer of Philorth, and Thomas Fraser, son of Alexander Fraser of Philorth.  He died in Inverness on 2 October 1612, she died 1611.  Their son Thomas succeeded to the Barony of Strichen and was served heir to his father Thomas Fraser of Strichen, in the lands and Barony of Strichen, on 31 Oct 1612 [NAS. Ref. S/H.Aberdeen.582]. 

Thomas Fraser, 2nd Baron of Strichen, was the Sheriff of Inverness.  He married, firstly, Christian Forbes, daughter of William Forbes of Tolquhoun, and, secondly, Margaret McLeod, widow of Sir Roderick McKenzie of Cogach in 1628. On 10 March 1618, King James VI granted the lands and Barony of Strichen in the Parish of Rathen, Aberdeenshire, to Thomas Fraser the 3rd of Strichen, husband of Christian Forbes [RGS. Ref. C2/48/379].   He was succeeded by their son Thomas.   In 1621 he purchased the lands of Easter Moniak which he later gifted to his second wife.

Thomas Fraser, the 3rd Baron of Strichen, was born in 1612.  He succeeded his father in 1645. He married Christian, daughter of John Forbes of Pitsligo in 1628.  They had three children of whom Thomas, the eldest, succeeded his father. 

King Charles II granted Marjorie Inglis, relict of George Peacock an apothecary burgess of Aberdeen, and Paul Collison, a merchant burgess of Aberdeen, her husband, the lands and Barony of Strichen and others, which Thomas Fraser the fourth baron of Strichen, heir to his grandfather Thomas Fraser of Strichen, sold in 6 Sept 1648 [RGS. NAS Ref. C2/P.R. v. 87).

Thomas Fraser, 4th Baron of Strichen, married Marion Irvine, daughter of Robert Irvine of Fedderat 1656.  Thomas Fraser of Strichen was served heir to his father Thomas Fraser of Strichen, in the Mains of Strichen, also the cornmill and the waulkmill thereof; the lands of Burrahill, Hunleiskairne, Fairniebrey, Auchnary, Whythill, Thorwhat, Halkhill, Newhill, Bronside, and Newton of Strichen, within the Parish of Rathen, formerly united into the Barony of Strichen,; the lands of Aquorhies with the mill and pendicle called Freddayhill, and Newtonhill in the said barony and Parish; the lands of Kindrochties with its mill; the lands of Denend and the third part of the lands of Garthlie within the barony of Philorth, all now united into the barony of Strichen, on 15 January 1657 [NRS.S/H. Aberdeen.335].  King Charles II granted a Crown Charter of the lands and Barony of Strichen to Thomas Fraser and his eldest son Alexander, on 19 November 1676 [RGS.C2/267/36].  Thomas was succeeded by his eldest son Alexander who became 5th baron of Strichen. [RGS. C2/65/21] 

Alexander Fraser, 5th Baron of Strichen, married Elizabeth Cockburn, and Amelia Stuart a daughter of Lord Doune, she died 1699. Alexander and Amelia had several children of whom James succeeded.

James Fraser, 6th Baron of Strichen, was served heir to his father Alexander Fraser of Strichen 16 April 1702 [NRS.S/H].   James Fraser of Strichen died, without issue, before 14 August 1725 as on that date his brother Alexander, an advocate, was served as his heir [NRS.S/H], his testament was confirmed on 4 January 1726, by the Commissary of Aberdeen.

Alexander Fraser, 7th Baron of Strichen, was granted a Crown Charter of Strichen on 12 February1732. [RGS. C2/93/99] and on 24 May 1733 he was, then described as a Lord of Session (Judge), served heir to his father Alexander Fraser of Strichen [NRS.S/H].  Alexander Fraser, was the 7th baron and Lord Strichen, a Lord of Session, General of the Mint in 1764, on 19 Sept 1731 he married the Countess of Bute a daughter of the 1st Duke of Argyll, an agricultural improver, and died in Strichen on 15 February 1775 aged 76 [NRS.CS89.00.163]. 

On 23 February 1759, Alexander, a senator of the College of Justice, son of Alexander Fraser of Strichen, was granted a crown charter of Strichen and Lentron [RGS.105.19].  

On 5 May 1775, Alexander Fraser, the 8th Baron of Strichen, was served heir to his father Alexander Fraser of Strichen an advocate [NRS.S/H].  He married Jean, daughter of William Menzies a planter in St Ann’s, Jamaica.  The couple had eight children of whom Alexander, the eldest, succeeded on his father’s death at Strichen on 17 December 1794.

1764, Lord Strichen claimed the Earldom of Moray and the Lordship of Abernethy and Strathnairn. [NRS.GD1.616.92] 

On February 3, 1795, Alexander Fraser, the 9th Baron of Strichen was granted a Crown charter of Strichen [RGS.128.32].  He had a military career having been a Captain of the 1st Regiment of Dragoon Guards.  Captain Alexander Fraser, 9th Baron of Strichen, married Amelia, daughter of John Leslie of Balquhan, on 10 May 1800, and converted to Catholicism.  He died on 28 October 1803 and his titles and lands went to his only son Thomas Alexander born 1802.

Thomas Alexander Fraser, the 10th Baron of Strichen, was served heir to the Barony of Strichen on 30 April 1804, and subsequently was granted a Crown Charter of Strichen on 2 June 1817 [RGS.155.5].  Later he inherited the Lovat estates in 1815 becoming chief of the Clan Fraser of Lovat. [NRS.CS118.2]   

General Fraser had died 1782 and was succeeded by his half brother Colonel Archibald Campbell Fraser MP, 11th Baron of Strichen.  He died on 8 December 1815 having outlived his five sons and so the male line of the Frasers of Lovat became extinct and the lands, Lordship and Barony of Lovat and Glengarry devolved on Thomas Alexander Fraser of Strichen, [1802-1875], on 22 March 1816. [NRS.S/H]  Thomas Alexander Fraser was served heir to Hugh, Lord Lovat, 3 November 1823, and also to Thomas Fraser of Beaufort alias Lord Fraser of Lovat [NRS.S/H].

In 1855 a George Baird, 12th Baron of Strichen, purchased the Barony of Strichen.  He was a member of the family Bairds of Gartsherrie. Two farmers in north Lanarkshire, brothers  James Baird [1802-1876] and William Baird [1796-1876], established the firm of William Baird and Company in 1830 and built the Gartshore Ironworks which by 1843 had become the largest single pig iron producer in the world.  The family invested some of their wealth in land, notably in north-east Scotland, for example Alexander Baird purchased the Barony of Ury in Kincardineshire [NRS.RGS.254.34.122].  Another brother involved with the ironworks was Alexander Baird who married a Jean Moffat. George Baird, their son, was born in 1810.  This George Baird purchased Strichen in 1855.  George Baird of Strichen increased his estates in 1861 when he was served heir to his brother David Baird of Stichill, who died on 18 October 1860, in lands in Berwickshire, Kirkintilloch, and Grangemouth.  On his death his lands and titles passed to his son George Alexander Baird.  

On 4 February 1873 George Alexander Baird of Strichen, 13th Baron of Strichen and Stitchell, only child of George Baird of Strichen and Stitchell, was granted a Crown Charter of Strichen [RGS.267.36].  He too increased his landholdings when in 1877, George Alexander Baird of Strichen and Stichill was served heir to his uncle James Baird of Cambusdoon who had died on 28 June 1876. [NRS.S/H].

The Trustees of George Baird sold the barony to Edgar C. Fairweather in 1925 the 14th Baron of Strichen.

In 2003, Dr. Robert James Inglis Fraser became the 15th Baron of Strichen and finally in 2010 the Barony came back full of light with the 16th Baron of Strichen, the Much Honoured Prof. Massimiliano Muzzi of Strichen.

Massimiliano Muzzi of Strichen

Massimiliano Muzzi of Strichen, 16th Baron of Strichen

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