Explore your roots, unearth your history and discover your hidden heritage. Tartan can take you on a journey back in time and give you an excuse to wear some of the world’s finest textiles.
After having a closer look at Clan Macpherson last month, this month we are turning our gaze to Clan Grant.
A bit of history
The exact origins of the Grants are hard to tie down, some historians suggest that the Grants came over with the Normans and others suggest the Grants are descended from King Alpin. What the case may be, we do know is that the Grants acquired lands around Stratherrick in the thirteenth century.
During the Wars of Independence the Grants fought on the side of William Wallace and later Robert the Bruce, who was to confer upon them lands in Strathspey, where they have been based ever since. That is not to say that Grants have not made their way out into the wider world, no no, Grants can be found in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States. The Cherokee Nation even has a connection the Grants, Ludovick Grant was captured at the siege of Preston in 1715 and transported to South Carolina where he married a Cherokee woman. In fact, in 2010 the Chief of the Clan, the Rt. Hon. Sir James Grant invited members of the Cherokee Nation to take part in the 130th Abernathy Highland Games. So, it seems that the Grants are a truly international Clan.
Back in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Grants were one of the lucky clans to escape the Highland Clearances, owing in no small part to the charity of “Good Sir James” Grant who, seeing that his clansmen were threatened, decided to build Grantown-on-Spey to provide a home for those at risk of losing theirs. This spirit of generosity has become a tell-tale trait of the Grants. Sir Alexander Grant donated around £200,000 to the National Library of Scotland (that’s about £6,000,000 in today’s money!)
That’s enough history for now, surely? Let’s get to grips with the human element of Clan Grant. Among the descendants of the clan we can count artists, titans of commerce, actors and even a president of the United States!
William Grant founded the Glenfiddich distillery in 1886 and on Christmas day the following year the first fiery drops of whisky flowed from the still. Glenfiddich is notable as being the first distillery to produce single malt, before William got involved, all proprietary whiskies were blended. William Grant’s whiskies are now sold in 180 countries around the world and account for some 35% of the total of all single malt sales.
Sir Alexander Grant, the same one I mentioned above, worked his way up through the ranks of McVitie and Price Ltd to become the head of the company. Alexander’s greatest achievement in his time at McVities was to create the Digestive Biscuit, that’s right a Grant is directly responsible for the more than 71million packets of chocolate digestives eaten in the UK each year, which is about 52 biscuits a second, by the way!
Ulysses S. Grant, the S doesn’t stand for anything, was descended from Clan Grant on his father’s side of the family. Grant was a noted general during the American Civil War, it is said that he carried a small piece of Grant tartan with him on the battlefield, and later became the 18th President of the United States. Ulysses apart from being a noted general was also a noted tippler. His dipsomania was so notable that a group of congressmen reported Grant’s drunkenness to Abraham Lincoln who is said to have asked which kind of whisky Grant preferred as “if it made fighting generals like Grant, I should like to get some of it for distribution.” Clearly Grant’s drinking didn’t hinder his abilities too much then!
As great as whisky, biscuits and presidents are (especially the first two, sorry Ulysses), no list of noteworthy Grants would be complete without at least a mention of my favourite Grant of all… I am, of course, talking about Hugh Grant. Hugh burst onto the international stage in 1994’s Four Weddings and a Funeral. Since then Hugh has appeared in films such as Bridget Jones’ Diary, About a Boy, Mickey Blue Eyes and Cloud Atlas. As well as showing up in movies, Hugh is no stranger to showing up in the tabloids and was an instrumental voice during the Leveson Inquiry into phone hacking in the UK press.
If like Ulysses S. Grant, you wish to keep a little Grant tartan by your side, can I suggest taking a look in our store? We have a huge selection of products available in Grant tartans where you are sure to find something for any occasion. Until next time, stand fast.