2014 Scottish Referendum and the Earl of Seafield
The Earl of Seafield, a peer of the United Kingdom confirmed his family ties to the Tory party remained as strong as they were when his forebear signed the 1707 Treaty of Union against the wishes of the Scottish nation.
At time of the referendum he personally donated – £100,000 and the Reidhaven Trust Estate, a trust belonging to the family donated a further £20,000 to the Better Together campaign.
The Treaty of Union
1 Aug 1705: James Ogilvy, Earl of Seafield and a member of the Court Party, was one of the Scottish commissioners.
He wrote to the Earl of Godolphin, the Queen’s senior minister and Lord Treasurer of England, with clear reasons why he supported union. Edinburgh, 1 August 1705:
“My reasons for conjoining with England on good termes were these: that the kingdome of England is a Protestant kingdome and that, therefor, the joyneing with them was a security for our religion. 2nd, England has trade and other advantages to give us, which no other kingdome could affoord; 3rd, England has freedome and liberty, and that the joining with it was the best way to secure that to us; and 4th, that I saw no other method for secureing our peace, the two kingdomes being in the same island, and forreign assistance was both dangerous to ourselves and England and that, therefor, I was for a treatty.”
It was the Earl of Seafield, who in 1707 as lord chancellor of Scotland, signed the Treaty of Union and remarked: “Now there’s ane end of ane auld sang”.
The Earl of Seafield 1815- to date
Scottish nobleman John Charles Grant Ogilvie – born September 4, 1815 – was the eldest son of Francis William Ogilvy-Grant, 6th Earl of Seafield.
He succeeded his father as Earl of Seafield in 1853 and sat in the House of Lords as a Scottish Representative Peer.
A tradition maintained up to August 1958 when the Scottish peerage was given up in favour of an elevation to the Peerage of the United Kingdom.
The Earl continued to sit in the house of Lords as a Tory supporter.
The current Earl of Seafield, who is the 13th, is Ian Derek Francis Studley.
Born in 1939 and educated at Eton, he spent his adult life managing the family estates.
The head of a family which is one of the largest landowners in Britain holding 84,500 acres in the lowland district of Cullen on the Moray Firth and Strathspey in the North-east.
In recent years, the Seafield family has diversified their land use from traditional hunting and shooting.
A number of rural businesses have been set up and there have been efforts to manage the environment and promote conservation. (The Scotsman)
Common Agricultural Policy – Subsidy Claims – 2016
Reidhaven Farms: £73,425.73 Reidhaven Estate: £2,402.00 Seafield Heirs Trust: £3287.80
The multi-million pound Seafield and Strathspey Estates operate through a number of housing, estate development, and trading concerns and include wind-farms, arable tenanted farming, forestry, Salmon Fishing on the River Spey, accommodation and field sports including red and roe deer stalking and grouse shooting.
Seafield Estate: This is the main business in the Cullen area with let farms and residential property and provides the administration for the management of all the family ownerships and related businesses.
There is considerable interaction with the local villages. As the major landowner in the area, the Estate acts as a facilitator, making land available for housing and commercial needs to enable the settlements to grow.
Land use is mainly divided between reasonable sized arable holdings and commercial forestry.
Much of the farm output is in the form of quality malting barley for the local whisky distilleries.
Salmon Fishing on the River Spey Strathspey Estate
Strathspey Estate is the trading name of the Reidhaven Estate and offers a range of field sports – primarily salmon fishing, but also by arrangement red deer and roe deer stalking, and grouse shooting.
A wind farm at Boyndie Airfield, near Ogilivie-Grant Estate has been generating electricity since 2006 with eight turbines now on the site.
With business interests at both Cullen and Strathspey, income is generated from forestry and the letting of agricultural land at Cullen.
Seafield Heirs 2009 Trust: This small farming business also grows cereals and qualifies for Single Farm Payment entitlements.
Dava Enterprises Ltd: This Company provides a small industrial site at the former Boyndie Airfield, near Banff (Seafield)
3 November 1996: Viscount Reidhaven – His Family Trust Fund – and the Long Shadow of an Islamic Sect
James Ogilvie-Grant, Viscount Reidhaven, the heir to Earl of Seafield, was educated at Harrow and lives in Kent. He is a trustee of The Reidhaven Trust. But he has a troubled past.
Fearing the Naqshbandi Sufi sect’s influence on his son, his father, the 13th Earl of Seafield, arranged to put his son’s share in £25m inheritance into a trust.
Almost six years after his father employed a team of former SAS soldiers to seize and spirit him away from the Naqshbandi Sufi sect to the remote west coast of Scotland, where he was put through a course of debrainwashing by a “cult-buster” flown in from America.
The Earl’s son is still seeking to convince the trustees that he has broken the sect’s hold over him.
It transpired that Viscount Reidhaven embraced Islam in June 1990 and joined the six-hundred year-old and widely respected Naqshbandi Order under the tutelage of Muhammad Iqbal Ali, a brother-in-law of Yusuf Islam of the Islamia Schools Trust.
It was this Order and Mr Ali who were referred to in the press as an “Islamic cult” and a “guru” respectively.
The fears that the Viscount had been “brainwashed” were apparently founded on discussions at the home of his father between himself and Mr Ali in which “matters were discussed which the Naqshbandi Order does not normally deal with outside meetings of adepts” (Q News 30.09.94).
This was compounded by expensive gifts given to Mr Ali by Mr Ogilvie-Grant and the impression that he was not free to make any decision without referring it to the former’s advice.
In addition to obvious concerns about his son’s health and freedom of action, the Earl of Seafield was concerned about the administration of the Reidhaven Estate as well as the Strathspey Estates to which the Viscount is heir.
Currently the Reidhaven Estate is being administered by a curator but the Viscount is applying for control to be passed back into his own hands.
He has emphasised that he is and has always been a Muslim since the time of his conversion and has never been brainwashed by Mr Ali or anyone else connected with the Naqshbandi Order.
Serious questions have been raised about the legality of the kidnapping of Mr Ogilvie-Grant and his detention in a secret Highland location. (artsweb.bham.ac.uk)
30 Jun 1998: Scots aristocrat convicted of making nuisance phone calls
Viscount Jamie Reidhaven, 34, who stands to inherit £40m and an 85,000-acre estate in Banffshire from the Earl of Seafield, was kidnapped from the cult by two former SAS soldiers hired by his father.
Reidhaven appeared at Seven-oaks Magistrates’ Court in Kent, accompanied by the earl, where he pleaded guilty to “causing annoyance by using a telecommunications system” after making a series of threatening calls to his local pub. The court was told Reidhaven, of Leigh Road, Hildenborough, Kent, was banned from his local pub, the Hare, after a disagreement with the landlord. (The Herald)
30 Jun 1998: Viscount James Reidhaven described as “a walking advert for reform of the House of Lords” yesterday
Viscount James Reidhaven – who once had to be rescued from a religious cult by former SAS men – waged a campaign against his local pub. Yesterday, the 34-year-old son of the wealthy Earl of Seafield admitted making nuisance calls. The shamed heir to a pounds 40million fortune later said: “I want to put this all behind me and get back to Scotland and reclaim my inheritance.”
He claimed he still heard voices in his head as a result of brain- washing by a sect. But unless the Government carry out their promise to reform the House of Lords, he will be able to shape the laws of the land when he succeeds his father. (The Record)
11 Aug 2014: Earl of Seafield sidesteps referendum public debate challenge
Hundreds of local people have signed a petition calling on one of Scotland’s wealthiest landowners, who made a six-figure donation to the ‘Better Together’, to debate the Scottish independence referendum question in public.
The petition has been raised by Macduff-based ‘Yes’ campaign organiser, Ross Cassie, after he challenged the Earl of Seafield, who owns vast swathes of land in Banffshire and Moray, to meet him in a public debate.
But his efforts to draw one of Scotland’s richest men into the political arena have drawn a blank. Attempts by the ‘Banffshire Journal’ to contact the Earl of Seafield elicited a polite, but terse, “No comment” from his Edinburgh-based media representatives.
Since Mr Cassie challenged the Earl to “put his mouth where his money is” in a ‘Banffshire Journal’ front-page exclusive last month, more than 250 local people have backed the Macduff independence activist’s call for the debate to take place.
Mr Cassie said: “The Earl should be prepared to debate his reasons for making the campaign donation in public.
“I’m a democrat and I believe that if somebody tries to influence people to vote a certain way, they should be prepared to be held to account, expect to debate the issue and justify their view.”
“I have now written to the Earl of Seafield at his estate and sent him a copy of the petition which shows an overwhelming demand for this debate to take place.
“People want to know why he is prepared to spend £100,000 to encourage people to vote ‘No’.” (JohnoGroat Journal)
17 Aug 2017: One’s Own Private Station: Private Rail-House Built So the Earl of Seafield’s Aristocratic Family Could Travel Straight to Their Castle
East Lodge, in the grounds of Castle Grant in Morayshire, was once the Earl of Seafield’s own private train terminal. It was constructed to prevent the Scottish peer having to mingle with other passengers travelling in the Highlands.
The opulent Baronial style train station, known locally as Lady Catherine’s Halt, even has a drum tower and turrets. It was built in 1863 by the Inverness & Perth Junction Railway Company in thanks to then Earl John Charles Grant Ogilvie, 7th Earl of Seafield, who allowed them to run the railway line through his estate. The A-listed building has since undergone significant refurbishment and converted into a unique three-bedroom house.
It was once part of the grounds of Castle Grant which hit the headlines in 2014 after being repossessed from former Rangers owner Craig Whyte. The castle was reportedly bought by Sergey Fedotov, director general of the Russian Author’s Society, for £1million. (The Mail)
7 Aug 2017: Earl of Seafield Loses Grouse Moor Case to Frozen Food Tycoon
Alistair Erskine, a frozen food tycoon who sued a shooting estate’s trustees, claiming he was misled over the numbers of birds he could shoot, will receive compensation after the Supreme Court ruled in his favour.
He claimed that despite spending £530,000 to improve a grouse moor above the banks of the River Spey, five years of hard shooting yielded just 180 brace, or 360 birds – a far cry from the 2000 birds he had anticipated taking each year.
Despite previously losing in two lower courts, Mr Erskine took his £1 million damages claim against the landowners, the trustees of Viscount Reidhaven’s trust – including the Right Honourable Ian Derek Francis Ogilvie-Grant, 13th Earl of Seafield – to the Supreme Court.
Five judges at the Supreme Court said that he was due compensation. The Court of Session will now determine the damages payable by the owners of the moor at Castle Grant, near Grantown-on-Spey.
The Reidhaven Estate, along with the Seafield and Ogilvie-Grant Estates, forms part of the 54,000 Strathspey Estate within the Cairngorm National Park. Castle Grant, which was sold in 1983, was the family seat.
It was occupied by Jacobite forces in 1747 when the then laird was blocking the path of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s army. (The Scotsman)
Countess of Seafield The Richest Woman in Scotland
14 Aug 2017: A Biography of Sorts – 13 Earl of Seafield’s sister – Lady Pauline – The Lady Chatterly of the Highlands
Lady Pauline Nicholson, who died on January 10 aged 65, was a classic example of the poor-little-rich-girl in the Swinging Sixties, exuding a happy innocence yet going on to marry four husbands and to earn a reputation north of the border as “the Lady Chatterley of the Highlands”.
She was born Pauline Anne Ogilvie-Grant on May 26 1944 to the Countess of Seafield, who had caused a scandal of her own by eloping at 26 to make a marriage that broke down after Pauline was born.
Lady Seafield was a peer in her own right and was said to have been the richest woman in Scotland after the Queen.
Her daughter grew up a shy, stammering girl at Cullen House, near the Banffshire coast, where her main company was a nanny and the chauffeur, whom she called “Pop” – to the distress of her father on the rare occasions they met.
As Pauline grew up she attracted a series of young admirers and found her mother’s efforts to control her life constricting.
After being refused permission to share a flat with another girl, she married her brother-in-law, Jamie Illingworth, at 19.
The match collapsed after two years: “All I did was to swap one sort of a prison for another,” she recalled.
By the time Pauline divorced in 1970, her parents were dead, and she had inherited the twin Revack and Dorback estates, which included 26,900 acres of grouse moor, deer forest, salmon fishing and 15 tenanted farms on Speyside.
Her next marriage, in 1972, was to a long-standing boyfriend, the Scottish landowner Sir William Gordon-Cumming of Forres, 6th Bt and Chief of the Clan Cumming.
They had been stepping out for some years, and it seemed a natural alliance. But this too failed after four years.
Then she married, in 1976, Hugh Sykes, a businessman with whom she had a son, which did not prevent another divorce.
By now Pauline’s enthusiasm for the state of wedlock was waning. She took up with one of her underkeepers – an affair closely observed by the local newspapers.
They reported how he had left his wife and four children to live in the lodge after Lady Pauline had taken to calling at his council house to drink whisky before going out with him to hunt foxes, sometimes until 3am.
When this liaison wilted she took up with the head keeper (though an affair was later denied).
But this did not stop the first keeper’s wife describing her as someone “who picks off gamekeepers like she picks off red deer”.
Pauline was wounded by the “Lady Chatterley” label, but wistfully replied to criticism by saying that she had no regrets: “I would do it all again. I was always looking for love.”
One consequence, she admitted, was a rift with her brother, the 13th Earl of Seafield, who no longer spoke to her. “It was a gamekeeper too far,” she explained. “We used to be very close.”
She met her fourth husband, whom she married in 1989, while drinking at his hotel at Nethy Bridge. Unlike his predecessors, Dave Nicholson brought her lasting happiness.
A down-to-earth Lancastrian, he left a wife and four children, then energetically set about helping his new spouse to diversify what had been a purely sporting estate at Revack, where the revenues from grouse shooting and deer stalking were declining.
They turned the estate into a tourist attraction, with a restaurant and craft shops as well as woodland walks.
It attracted 40,000 visitors a year and gave employment to 40 local people, who, like her many friends, held her in great affection.
A herd of automated Jurassic Park dinosaurs to roam the property was being considered when Pauline, who had thrown herself into the project with gusto, developed breast cancer.
In 1999 she sold both estates, which had an initial price tag of £7 million, sending a personal note to each of her employees.
The properties had been in the family for 800 years, and the sale was a heart-wrenching experience for her.
In need of warmth, Lady Pauline Nicholson built a four-bedroom house overlooking a golf course in Tobago.
As her condition continued to deteriorate she also bought a house in Dorset, from which she would drive up to Scotland, stopping to play golf at courses along the way before reaching Speyside, where (as the former landowner) she was an honorary member of the local club, playing off a handicap of 12.
Excellent history of the Seafield family at: (http://theesotericcuriosa.blogspot.co.uk/2010/06/pair-of-noble-dames-nina-12th-countess_10.html)