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TITLE
Balnespick and the Church Elders
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_I_F_GRANT_04
PLACENAME
Balnespick
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Moy and Dalarossie
DATE OF RECORDING
1969
PERIOD
1960s
CREATOR
Isabel F. Grant
SOURCE
The School of Scottish Studies Archives
ASSET ID
1354
KEYWORDS
audio
literary landscapes

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In this audio extract, Dr. I. F. Grant tells the story of her grandfather and the elders of the church. She is being interviewed by Eric Cregeen, Glasgow University Extra-mural department's first Resident Tutor in Argyll (1954-66).

Audio extract by kind permission of the School of Scottish Studies Archives, University of Edinburgh.

'My grandfather on my mother's side owned Balnespick and his father had been rather extravagant and the place was heavily in debt and he had difficulty in carrying on. As a young man he thought he was going to have to sell it. And he was a young man at the time of The Disruption, just before, well before The Disruption. Yes, about the time of The Disruption. And his sister was very keen on the Reformed Church and they had great difficulty in getting land there, but he gave them a piece of land and they - you can see the place; it's just as you go down the hill to go to the bridge across the Findhorn, just before you get to Tomatin. He gave them a piece of land and they built a church there.

And they came - the elders - came to make the final arrangements, and he said, 'Well, I think I'm going to have to sell Balnespick. In any case, I've got to go abroad to try and make money and I'm glad that the last thing I do before I go is to give something to the church. And they said to him, 'Well, don't be distressed. You've given this and I can tell you that you will come back and you'll beget a son who will have Balnespick after you.

And so the deed was done; my grandfather went off and became an indigo planter in India, made a certain amount of money and paid off the mortgage and came back and married and had a son. But, and when Uncle Willie, his son, was an old man, they very much wanted a little bit more of land - it would to be more convenient, and they came to him - the elders - and they said, 'Will you give us this little bit more?' And he said, 'Yes' - he was a very high church parson - but he said yes, and they said, 'Well, we're glad you've given it' and told him this story.'

Although born in Edinburgh and brought up in London, Isabel Frances Grant was 'first and foremost a Highlander, with a strong sense of belonging in the north country and in particular to the Grant country of Strathspey. She was justifiably proud of her family and their long domicile in the Highlands as the Grants of Tullochgorm' (Hugh Cheape, 2007).

Her interest in Highland life and culture shaped her writing and the museum she founded. Originally known as Am Fasgadh, (the Shelter), her collection and vision form the basis of what exists as the Highland Folk Museum today.

Well versed in Scottish history and Highland folk culture, Isabel Grant wrote her first book 'Everyday Life of an Old Highland Farm' in 1924, based upon the eighteenth-century account books of a distant ancestor, William Mackintosh of Balnespick, near Kingussie. Travelling through Europe, she was profoundly influenced by the open air museum movement and in 1934 she determined to follow by establishing a Highland folk museum. She resolved to record as much as she could of the quickly disappearing ways of Highland life as well as preserve many of its associated objects.

In parallel to her collecting activities, Isabel Grant continued writing and publishing. Her seminal work, 'Highland Folk Ways' (1961) detailed the material and non-material culture of the Highlands, primarily illustrating the former using the collections she had established herself. She was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1948 by The University of Edinburgh and an MBE in 1959 for her contributions to scholarship.

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Balnespick and the Church Elders

INVERNESS: Moy and Dalarossie

1960s

audio; literary landscapes

The School of Scottish Studies Archives

Literary Landscapes: Isabel Grant

In this audio extract, Dr. I. F. Grant tells the story of her grandfather and the elders of the church. She is being interviewed by Eric Cregeen, Glasgow University Extra-mural department's first Resident Tutor in Argyll (1954-66).<br /> <br /> Audio extract by kind permission of the School of Scottish Studies Archives, University of Edinburgh.<br /> <br /> 'My grandfather on my mother's side owned Balnespick and his father had been rather extravagant and the place was heavily in debt and he had difficulty in carrying on. As a young man he thought he was going to have to sell it. And he was a young man at the time of The Disruption, just before, well before The Disruption. Yes, about the time of The Disruption. And his sister was very keen on the Reformed Church and they had great difficulty in getting land there, but he gave them a piece of land and they - you can see the place; it's just as you go down the hill to go to the bridge across the Findhorn, just before you get to Tomatin. He gave them a piece of land and they built a church there. <br /> <br /> And they came - the elders - came to make the final arrangements, and he said, 'Well, I think I'm going to have to sell Balnespick. In any case, I've got to go abroad to try and make money and I'm glad that the last thing I do before I go is to give something to the church. And they said to him, 'Well, don't be distressed. You've given this and I can tell you that you will come back and you'll beget a son who will have Balnespick after you. <br /> <br /> And so the deed was done; my grandfather went off and became an indigo planter in India, made a certain amount of money and paid off the mortgage and came back and married and had a son. But, and when Uncle Willie, his son, was an old man, they very much wanted a little bit more of land - it would to be more convenient, and they came to him - the elders - and they said, 'Will you give us this little bit more?' And he said, 'Yes' - he was a very high church parson - but he said yes, and they said, 'Well, we're glad you've given it' and told him this story.'<br /> <br /> Although born in Edinburgh and brought up in London, Isabel Frances Grant was 'first and foremost a Highlander, with a strong sense of belonging in the north country and in particular to the Grant country of Strathspey. She was justifiably proud of her family and their long domicile in the Highlands as the Grants of Tullochgorm' (Hugh Cheape, 2007). <br /> <br /> Her interest in Highland life and culture shaped her writing and the museum she founded. Originally known as Am Fasgadh, (the Shelter), her collection and vision form the basis of what exists as the Highland Folk Museum today. <br /> <br /> Well versed in Scottish history and Highland folk culture, Isabel Grant wrote her first book 'Everyday Life of an Old Highland Farm' in 1924, based upon the eighteenth-century account books of a distant ancestor, William Mackintosh of Balnespick, near Kingussie. Travelling through Europe, she was profoundly influenced by the open air museum movement and in 1934 she determined to follow by establishing a Highland folk museum. She resolved to record as much as she could of the quickly disappearing ways of Highland life as well as preserve many of its associated objects.<br /> <br /> In parallel to her collecting activities, Isabel Grant continued writing and publishing. Her seminal work, 'Highland Folk Ways' (1961) detailed the material and non-material culture of the Highlands, primarily illustrating the former using the collections she had established herself. She was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1948 by The University of Edinburgh and an MBE in 1959 for her contributions to scholarship.