MALISE GRAHAM, a junior grandson of Sir Patrick the Graham of Dundaff, ancestor of the ducal house of Montrose, married Euphemia Stewart, Countess Palatine of Strathearn, of which dignity James I deprived them, but created Malise Earl of Menteith in 1427. William, 7th Earl and Lord Justice General, established his right as Earl Palatine of Strathearn in 1630; but this aroused such envy that his confirmation was recalled, and the arms of Strathearn were ordered to be “dashed out of his windows.” He was created Earl of Airth in 1633. His son, Lord Kilpont, was murdered under dramatic circumstances by Stewart of Ardvoirlich, as recorded in Scott’s Legend of Montrose. William Graham, Lord Kilpont’s son, succeeded his grandfather as Earl of Airth and Menteith, but little was left of the estates. Since his death in 1694, the Earldoms of Airth and Menteith and Strathearn have been dormant. There are many cadets of the Grahams of Menteith, of whom the most celebrated are the Grahams of Gartmore and Ardoch, descending from the fifth son of the 1st Earl, and of which house the Scottish patriot, R. B. Cunningham-Graham of Ardoch, M.P., was lately the representative.
SIR WALTER SCOTT says, “few families can boast of more historical renown than that of Graham.” Their origin is wrapped in the mists of antiquity, but tradition has it that the Grahams are descended from a famous warrior who breached the Roman Wall in 420, and won it the name of Graham’s Dyke. The first recorded appearance of the name is William of Graham, one of the witnesses to David I’s Holyrood Charter (1143-47). He obtained the lands of Abercorn and Dalkeith. His grandson, David Graham, acquired from William the Lion, before 1214, certain lands near Montrose. Under Alexander I his son obtained the lands of Dundaff and Strathearn from the Earl of Dunbar, and those of Strathblane and Mugdock from the Earl of Lennox. Sir William Graham of Dundaff, chief of Clan Graham, during the reign of James I married, as his second wife, May Stewart, the second daughter of King Robert III. Patrick, his eldest grandson, was in 1445 raised to the peerage as Lord Graham, in recognition of his gallantry in the field and his services as a Lord of Regency during the minority of James III. William, 3rd Lord Graham, was in 1504 created Earl of Montrose, the title being derived from the lands of “Auld Montrose.” James, 5th Earl, was the celebrated Marquis of Montrose, the Marquisate being created in his favour in 1644. James, 4th Marquis, was created Duke of Montrose in 1707. From him is descended the present Duke, Chief of the clan. It was through the efforts of the Marquis of Graham (afterwards Duke of Montrose) that in 1782 the Act of 1746 (which abolished and made penal the use of the Highland garb) was repealed. Highlanders were thereby placed under a debt of gratitude to the House of Montrose that will never be forgotten.