Alexander Grant of Aberlour

???? - 7th May 1854

Claimant or beneficiary


Returned Jamaica slave-owner and merchant, who appears in the compensation records largely in Chancery suits relating to his role as trustee to Alexander Donaldson. Although listed as a trustee he was able to bequeath as least some of the estates to his heir, Margaret Grant McPherson Grant (see 4., below).

  1. Born date unknown Aberlour Banffshire, died 07/05/1854 Arlington Street. 'Planter and merchant' in Jamaica 'who returned to Scotland c. 1838' [but was in London at Arlington Street in the mid-1830s]. 'For many years an active member of the Jamaica legislature'. Principal seat Aberlour House was built for him c. 1838. Left £300,000 in personalty at his death in 1854. Two of his executors were Charles McGarel and James Cavan (both of whom q.v.).

  2. It appears that he left Jamaica well before 1838 and was probably the Alexander Grant of 10 Warwick Square London who was tied to the announced sale by auction in 1819-1821 of several of the estates later described in the compensation records as subject to Chancery suits involving Alexander Grant of London or of Arlington Street. His will confirms him as the Alexander Grant West India merchant of 6 Biiliter Square, who disappeared from the trade directories after 1853, around the time of the death of Alexander Grant of Aberlour.

  3. Alexander Grant of Aberlour was the son of George Grant and Janet Donaldson. George Grant was the brother of Rev. Alexander Grant, late minister of Glenrinnes, who died in Elgin, Scotland, 28/07/1806.

  4. His estates in Jamaica and Scotland were inherited by his niece Margaret Gordon MacPherson Grant (1834-1877) who donated money to pay for St Margaret's Church in Aberlour, the organ in Inverness Cathedral and who set up the Aberlour orphanage in 1875. Margaret died in 1877, estate valued for probate at £195,500 3s 2d including moveable estate on Bryan Castle, Brampton Bryan and Low Layton estates in Jamaica. She had changed her name by the addition of Grant in 1854, under the will of Alexander Grant.

  5. Alexander Green Grant, son of Marrianne McKenzie 'fr Mustee' and Alexander Grant Esquire was born 18/10/1815 and baptised in Kingston, Jamaica, 06/07/1816. He is mentioned in the will of Joseph Green (d. 1826) as the son of 'my most intimate and particular friend Alexander Grant of Arlington Street', and in Alexander Grant's own will as 'my adopted son.' At Eton in 1832 (no parents' names given). Colonel Alexander Grant given at 'west end' in Elgin in 1836. Married Hannah Shepherd in Waterford, Ireland, in 1850. At 11 Stoke Terrace, Stoke Damerel in 1861, 'Retd. Col.'. Living at 1 Osborne Villas, Stoke Damerel in 1871, 'Colonel retired'. At 14 Cothell Terrace, age 75 in 1891.

  6. Will of Alexander Grant [formerly of Jamaica but now of Arlington Street] of Westminster 'heritable proprietor' proved 12/06/1854. The will identifies a debt to him, under a Chancery ruling in 1842, including accrued interest of £67997 3s 1d from the estate of the late Alexander Thomson, who had been a partner in Donaldson and Thomson, and with whom Alexander Grant was in partnership in a victualling contract for the Jamaica station in the late war.


  1. William D. Rubinstein, Who were the rich? A biographical dictionary of British wealth-holders Volume Two 1840-1859 (London, MS) reference 1854/20. 'Formerly of Jamaica and then of Arlington Street, Middlesex and Aberdeen [sic]' (Probate Calendar); the comment about the Jamaica Legislature in Rubinstein is from Gentleman's Magazine 1854 I p. 670.

  2. London Gazette, Issue 17451, 20/02/1819, p. 338 (Bryan Castle, Brampton Bryan and Stokes Hall); London Gazette, Issue 17623, 12/08/1820, p. 1558 (the three above plus Lowlayton, Orange Vale, Hampton Court, and Fairfield, together with a wharf at Port Royal and a house in Kingston, all identified as the property of Alexander Donaldson deceased); London Gazette, Issue 17688, 13/03/1821, p. 610 (Nonsuch and Unity). Alexander Grant the West India merchant appeared at Batson's Coffee House in the 1818 London Directory and then at 6 Billiter Square in the P.O. Directory between 1826 and 1853.

  3. "The Rev. Alexander Grant, late minister of Glenrinnes, was interred here, Aug. 1, 1806, and his Mother in 1777. This stone was repaired in 1807 by George Grant in Drumfurrich. Here lies also the remains of the said George Grant, brother of the Rev. Alex. Grant, who departed this life at Elgin, 23 April 1816, aged 85, in memory whereof this inscription has been added by desire of his son, Alex. Grant, late of the Island of Jamaica, on visiting his native county from London in Aug. 1829. Janet Donaldson, relict of Geo. Grant, Drumfurrich, died 1834, aged 78. By her son, Alex. Grant, Aberlour, 1844." From Andrew Jervise, Epitaphs & inscriptions from burial grounds & old buildings in the north-east of Scotland, with historical, biographical, genealogical, and antiquarian notes, also, an appendix of illustrative papers available at [accessed 30/01/2013]. The death of Rev. Alexander Grant, minister of Glenrinnes, was reported as 28/07/1806 in the Scot's Magazine, Vol. 68 p. 647 (August 1806).

  4. For an extraordinary account of the life of Margaret Gordon MacPherson Grant see Lachlan Shaw, The history of the province of Moray. Comprising the counties of Elgin and Nairn, the greater part of the county of Inverness and a portion of the county of Banff (Glasgow, Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1882) pp. 174-181, available at [accessed 06/02/2013]. For an account of the history of Aberlour Orphanage see [accessed 01/02/2013]. SC2/40/30 Banff Sheriff Court. For more on Margaret MacPherson Grant see; London Gazette 21562 16/06/1854 p. 1868.

  5., Jamaica Church of England Parish Register Transcripts, 1664-1880 [database online]., Eton School Lists, 1791-1850 [database online]. Pigot and Co.'s National Commercial Directory of the whole of Scotland, and of the Isle of Man... (1837). PROB 11/1717/341. Censuses online.

  6. PROB 11/2193/143.

Further Information

Wealth at death
Merchant and planter

Associated Claims (6)

£5,742 19s 3d
Awardee (Trustee)
£4,938 17s 4d
Claimants in List E or Chancery cases (Executor or executrix)
£3,563 12s 9d
Awardee (Trustee)
£19 10s 10d
Claimants in List E or Chancery cases
£4,590 6s 0d
Claimants in List E or Chancery cases (Trustee)
£5,510 19s 7d
Claimants in List E or Chancery cases (Trustee)

Associated Estates (3)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
1817 [EA] - → Trustee and Executor
1817 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Trustee and Executor
1817 [EA] - → Trustee and Executor

Legacies Summary

Commercial (1)

Name partner
Alexander Grant
West India merchant  
notes →
NB the will of Alexander Grant of Aberlour identifies him as the London merchant of the same name at 6 Billiter Square ...

Physical (1)

Country house
Aberlour House [Built] 
description →
Built for Alexander Grant 1838-9 to designs of W. Robertson. Modified by his niece and heir Margaret Gordon Macpherson Grant. Gordonstoun Prep School from the 1940s to...
notes →
Left by Alexander Grant to 'his niece', Miss Margaret Gordon Macpherson, who added Grant to her name and died in 1877 aged 43. Gordonstoun Junior School from 1940s to 2004. Now owned by Walkers (the...

Relationships (2)

Trustee → Testator
Business associates

Addresses (2)

12 Arlington Street, London, Middlesex, London, England
Aberlour House, Aberlour, Banffshire, North-east Scotland, Scotland