The Gray Story


My interest in family history was prompted by the need to find a compatible donor for a bone marrow transplant. To do this we drew up a family tree showing all first cousins and their parents. From this chart and the subsequent testing that was done the doctors were able to determine who were potential matches. For example we found that one family of six had parents who had exactly the same HLA factors as my parents. Therefore the chances of one of them having the same mix that I have was good. However none of them matched at all.

What we did eventually find was that two sons of my father’s twin brother matched for five of the six factors and subsequent live testing found that this was a sufficiently good match to proceed with the transplant with one of them as a donor.

Looking at the charts aroused my interest in family background and I remembered that my mother had done a lot of work on the family tree in the 1960s after her family celebrated its 100 years in New Zealand. So using her material as a starting point I have been able to develop an interesting family tree with over 1000 names on it. The main family connection is with the Gray family, a noble family from Scotland with a rich and fascinating history especially around the time of Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth 1 when the fifth Lord Gray was a particularly prominent, even notorious politician. Several books have been written about him by Nigel Tranter. The main ones are in the Master of Gray Trilogy: Lord and Master, The Courtesan and Past Master.

I have followed up my interest by joining a genealogical society and undertaking further research there and in June 1999 I did further research in the Scottish Records Office in Edinburgh. As well as visit to the Edinburgh Public Library provided me with a lot more background information.

The overall family tree is included in the site and I will add to it as I obtain more data. However as a starting point here is the information about the direct line from me back to Lord Gray.







About 1540



Broughty Castle

Barbara Ruthven

5th Lord Gray Dundee

About 1570



Margaret Reid

Andrew, William

Before 1603

Feb 1661




James, John, William

About 1620

9 Jul 1656


Margaret Hill

Andrew, Alexander

About 1645





10 (Andrew last)


11 May 1783




9 (John first by second wife Elizabeth Tod)

15 Jul 1739

31 May 1831


Gray H, Benvie

Elizabeth Donald

7 (Andrew 2nd)

1 Jul 1775

3 Aug 1826


Easter Cairnie

Elizabeth Elder

9 (Margaret 6th)



John Clement



Margaret Ann Clement


8 (Robert 7th)


Robert Dickie Mataura

Margaret Marshall


This was my grandfather and mother. My mother, Eunice Dickie married John Cederman and had three children of which I am the eldest. I have twin sons.

Of interest are the prolific Andrews with their several wives and many children. No wonder the land and assets was dissipated by the 19th century.


  1. Andrew of Balbunnock
  2. Andrew of Benvie
  3. John Gray, Son of Andrew Gray
  4. Third Andrew Gray



First prolific Andrew scenario

1. Andrew of Balbunnock, Perthshire

Born: About 1645-1650

Died: 1709

Father: John Gray

Mother: Margaret Hill


(1) Elizabeth Turnbull (1666-1668) - Edinburgh, Midlothian register

Children baptised at Liff, Angus:

Helen - 1669 [died young]

Anna - 1671 [died young]

(2) Lilias Croll (chr 22 Jan 1636) - Montrose, Angus

28 Jan 1672, Canongate, Edinburgh, Midlothian

Children baptised at Liff, Angus:

John - 28 Feb 1673

Helen -14 Jun 1675

Mary - 16 May 1677

Patrick - 22 Mar 1679

Charles - 20 Sep 1681 

 (3): Marjory Tillock (30 Dec 1683) - Abernyte, Perth

(Birth found Margrat Tillock 23 Nov 1666)

Children baptised at Abernyte, Perth:

Helen - 1685

John - 1691 [died young]

Robert - 1705 Albenvie

Elizabeth - 14 Jun 1707 Albenvie

Andrew - 15 Mar 1709 Albenvie



Second prolific Andrew scenario


2. Andrew of Benvie.

Father: Andrew Gray of Balbunnock

Mother: Margery Tillock, third wife of above .

Baptised: 15 Mar 1709 Abernyte

Died: 11 May 1783


(1) Janet Mail

11 Nov 1736, Inchture, Perth.

She died 24 Jul 1737 after birth of male baby (no name given), christened 10 Jul 1737.

Baby died.

(2) Elizabeth Tod, 15

29 Jan 1738 at Inchture, Perth.

She was daughter of David Tod of Baledgarno.

Children baptised at Inchture, Perth:

John - 15 Jul 1739 (died 31 May 1831; married Elizabeth Donald 29 Nov 1771, she died 29 Jul 1835)

Andrew - 30 Aug 1741

David - 1 May 1743

Alexander - 5 May 1745 (died Jan 1797 London, Navy, no issue)

Robert - died before 1799 (He married Margaret, had 3 children Robert, Charles, Nelly) Thought at least two youngest children drowned with him in the river Devon.

Jean (married James Finn, had issue)

Charles 1763 - died 29 Dec 1822 (married Jean Archibald, had 6 sons, 6 daughters)

Isobel 12 Feb 1760

Barbara 12 Sep 1762



3. John Gray, son of Andrew Gray

Baptised: 15 Jul 1739 Inchture, Perth

Died: 31 May 1831, Gray House.

Buried: Benvie


(1) Elizabeth Donald

29 Nov 1771

(She died 29 Jul 1835. Her father Patrick)

Children baptised at Liff, Angus:

John - 11 Oct 1772 of Denhead M (1) Isobel Jack 12 May 1798 ; three children Elizabeth 1800, Helen 1802 and Ann 1804. Isobel died 22 Feb 1807.

(2) Jean Murdoch

23 Oct 1808

Married at Fowlis.

She died 1846 with 6 children


John died at Denhead 14 Mar 1838, buried at Benvie.

Andrew of Easter Cairnie (Liff, Angus) 1775 1826

Patrick 8 May 1778 10 Oct 1843 Dundee married Elizabeth Clark 14 Apr 1804 Kinnoul, Perth and had 3 sons and 6 daughters

Ann 1 Jul 1781


William 8 Feb 1788

Charles 5 Jun 1791



4. Third Andrew Gray, of Easter Cairnie

Born: 1 Jul 1775

Father: John Gray

Mother: Elizabeth Donald


(1) Elizabeth Elder

6 Jan 1805 Kinnoul, Perth.

Died 11 Sep 1866.

Children registered Forteviot, Perth:

John, 1805 - died young

William died unmarried

Margaret, 1808, married John Clement from Taymouth, Perth 1840 St Madoes, Perth. Issue.

Andrew, 20 Feb 1814 died 18 Jun 1876 aged 62, buried Fastern Cemetery, Dundee.   Married Ann Allan who died 11 No 1872. Issue

Patrick, 1815 - died unmarried

Alexander, born 4 Feb 1820, christened 13 Feb. Died unmarried 12 Dec 1909, Mataura, New Zealand




I have also been interested in tracking the main locations where the families lived and have found the following:

Original family began from a noble man from Normandy called de Gray who went to England with William the Conqueror and settled in the north at Chillingham Castle in the late 11th century. Descendants of this man spelled their name Grey and included the famous Earl Grey of the tea fame.

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Chillingham Castle and Chillingham Church

(Click to see bigger images)

From Chillingham, one of the Greys made his way north to Scotland with the court of Prince David when he returned to Scotland to be crowned David the First in 1124. He received a grant of land at Browfield in Roxburghshire. There is evidence of an Andrew Gray in Browfield near Dunbar in 1214.

This Andrew’s grandson, Sir Andrew Gray of Browfield fought with Robert the Bruce and was the second person to enter Edinburgh Castle during its capture in 1312.

His service was rewarded by charter dated 12 February 1315 of the lands of the Barony of Longforgan. It was four generations later that Sir Andrew Gray married Janet de Mortimer in the early fifteenth century and through her inheritance lived in a fine castle at Easter Fowlis near Dundee called Fowlis Castle. This castle is still there although only part of it still stands and it has some rather unsympathetic additions. It is now in flats.

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Fowlis Castle and the Church at Fowlis Easter

(Click for larger images)

This Andrew married twice and had a very large family so when his son Andrew inherited the title in 1445, the family was overflowing the castle. Andrew had previously been held in London as a hostage for the ransom of James 1 and had subsequently risen in favour including acting as an ambassador for Scotland in France and England.


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Castle Huntly (now a prison)

In 1445 he was created Baron Gray of Fowlis and in 1452 received permission to build a new castle, Castle Huntly. Castle Huntly was finally transferred in full to the Lyons of Glamis family in 1614. Part had previously gone as a dowry for Elizabeth Gray who married John, sixth Lord Glamis in 1487.







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Broughty Castle

In 1496 Baron Gray began to build Broughty Castle on the river Tay near Dundee. This land, on the site of an old fort, was obtained by exchange of the land at Browfield with the Earl of Angus. This site was held by the family until 1666.





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Gray House

It is not known where the family was based for the last half of the seventeenth century. However Gray House was built from 1714 - 1716 and held by the family until the late nineteenth century.  The house is currently being renovated for use as a country hotel.




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Kinfauns Castle

It is not known when the original castle was built on this site.  In 1807 William, 13th Lord Gray committed suicide at Kinfauns Castle at the age of 53 after being disappointed in love. His brother Francis, the 14th Lord Gray rebuilt the castle in 1822, and it was held by the family until 1922. It is now an upmarket hotel.




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