*07/03 - Re. Clan Oliphant: See lower portion of page ...
Margaret Ethel Kington Blair Oliphant of Ardblair (1861 - 1952)
She published five books - "True Romances of Scotland", "The Oliphants of Gask", "The Children of France", "The Maxtones of Cultoquhey" and The Beautiful Mrs. Graham

The children of James Maxtone Graham (15th Laird) and Margaret Ethel Kington Blair Oliphant

AncestorsMaxtone Graham - Arms and TartanJames Maxtone Graham
15th Laird of Cultoquhey and 8th of Redgorton
About the Arms & Tartan
Click on Crest
Cultoquhey -The House and Estate. A family gathering c. 1931 - the photograph
The children of James Maxtone Graham image courtesy of Robert Maxtone Graham

Ysenda Maxtone Graham
Married Smythe family.
(of Methven, Scotland)

Rachel Maxtone Graham
Married Townsend family.

Marriage and family ...

Anthony Maxtone Graham
Married Anstruther family.

Patrick Maxtone Graham
Married Taylor family.
Follow this link to USA and Papua New Guinea cousin branches of Maxtone-Graham family.
Parallel 'Tudor' (Norman and Saxon) lineage of current generations Maxtone Graham (this line)
and Drew-Smythe via Anstruther/Hanbury-Tracy lines - see "The Hastings Legacy" on this site.
Both lines join and trace back to the Kings of Wessex but divide with Lady Eleanor Brandon (this page)
and her sister (Hastings Legacy page) Frances Brandon - who married Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk.
The lines rejoin through the marriage of Anthony Maxtone Graham and Joyce Anstruther.

Burke's Landed Gentry - ScotlandMAXTONE GRAHAM FORMERLY OF CULTOQUHEY - Burke's Landed Gentry (Scotland) - View the Maxtone Graham entry. The article found there was created for the newly published (web-based) Burke's Landed Gentry (Scotland) Family Homepages - courtesy of Nina Hugill. Further family photographs appear there with the permission of Robert Maxtone Graham.

TOP of page

Clan Oliphant - Click on the image of Laurence Blair Oliphant to access Burke's Landed Gentry Scotland OLIPHANT pages.
From "The Times" London, April 15, 2002, (page 3)Laurence Philip Kington Blair Oliphant of Ardblair and Gask
Pretender challenges clan chief for title ... written by Helen Rumbelow

Bitter strife has broken out in the Highlands. The chief of a proud clan stretching back hundreds of years is facing a legal challenge to his title from a wealthy London banker.

Laurence Philip Kington Blair Oliphant of Ardblair and Gask, a striking figure sporting an impressive beard, is currently chief of his clan. He is directly descended from Oliphants who have been warriors in the Scottish cause for 700 years. His ancestors include the second in command to Prince Charles in the Jacobite rebellion of 1745; another who married Robert the Bruce's daughter, Princess Elizabeth; and Carolina Oliphant who wrote the famous lyrics about Bonnie Prince Charlie, Will Ye No Come Back Again? But he is having to contend with internecine strife in the form of a legal suit brought by Richard Oliphant, a millionaire City banker.

Richard Oliphant, 48, wants to be declared the official clan chief, giving him and his family important hereditary rights to use the title "the Oliphant of that Ilk and of Condie". Richard Oliphant employed Hugh Peskett, a consultant editor to Burke's Peerage, to research his family tree and to establish who is the rightful heir to the title. Mr Peskett, who is the authority on the 140 Scottish chiefs currently in power, traced back the family to Donald Olifard, a Norwegian nobleman who was shipwecked on the east coast in the 9th century.

The lawsuit is the result of a family feud that has been running for nearly 500 years. It started in the mid-1500s, when the Condie Oliphants branched away from the senior line of chiefs, which died out in 1748. It is Laurence Blair Oliphant's Gask line which has the most illustrious history, with the key role it played in the Jacobite rebellion. Richard Oliphant's most famous forefather on the Condie side is Laurence Oliphant, MP, spy and Times correspondent during the Franco-Prussian war in the 19th century. The two branches of the family even decided on different emblems: the Gask line chose the unicorn and the motto "Provide for all"; the Condie side decided on the falcon and the phrase "I strive higher". However, Laurence Blair Oliphant, 56, is descended from the Oliphant family's female bloodline, which does not have such a strong claim to the throne.

Mr Peskett believes that Richard Oliphant is the most senior member of family from the male bloodline, and therefore entitled to call himself the clan chief, with his daughters Iona and Cleodie named as his title heirs. "Richard Oliphant is the rightful chief of the name of Oliphant," Mr Peskett said. "The only reason that the title has got lost over the years is because his family moved around a lot and were out in India during the 1700s and 1800s, before returning to Scotland to settle on Skye." A petition has now been lodged with Scotland's heraldic court, the Court of the Lord Lyon in Edinburgh, on Richard Oliphant's behalf. Lord Lyon ordered advertisements to the claim to be placed in local newspapers last week so that any other potential usurpers could come forward. None have yet done so. The hearing is likely to go ahead next month, with Mr Peskett as chief witness. "There is no financial interest to the claim, aside from the odd freebie trip to clan meetings in America," Mr Peskett said. "It is all about maintaining feudal rights and the tradition of the clan."

Laurence Blair Oliphant said yesterday that he was surprised to hear of the claim to the title, which has established him and his wife, Jennifer, as head of the clan at the family seat at Ardblair Castle, in Blairgowrie, Perthshire, which has been handed down to the clan chief for 600 years. This is where the Oliphant portraits and artefacts are kept, including the large women's brogues that were worn by Prince Charlie when he made an escape from Scotland disguised as a female servant called Betty Burke.

From here Laurence Blair Oliphant hosts the Blairgowrie Highland games and is a prominent figure in the promotion of Scottish history abroad. A less enjoyable duty is welcoming the dozens of Oliphants who arrive at the castle from all over the world every year to greet their chief. "The Oliphants gained, risked and lost much over centuries of allegiance to the Scottish crown," he said. "But the family's noble past is an inheritance that cannot be taken away by any stroke of fate. "If the time comes that there is a recognised clan chief, then marvellous, because I can just tell the people who turn up unexpectedly at my house to go and ask him about their family history."

TOP of page

This has now had its follow-up, reported in - "Scotland on Sunday", 27th July, 2003
This representation of the Oliphant Clan device is streamed from Electric Scotland. Use it to visit Electric Scotland's many informative pages.Visit the Electric Scotland web site ...
City slicker clan chief the Oliphants forgot

"A MILLIONAIRE City banker has triumphed over his Perthshire farmer cousin in a long-running battle over the right to be declared Clan Chief of one of Scotland’s most ancient families.

Laurence Blair Oliphant, whose ancestors fought alongside William Wallace and Bonnie Prince Charlie, has been honorary head of the family since he inherited their Blairgowrie home from his father. The 57-year-old hosts the Blairgowrie Highland Games each year, visits schools to give lectures on Scottish history and has travelled the world as an ambassador for the Oliphants. But he was ousted from his position last week by London-based financier Richard Oliphant, following a 16-year trawl through the family records which showed he was the rightful holder of the title.

Richard Oliphant, who comes from Skye but was educated in England, was confirmed as Clan Chief by the Court of the Lord Lyon in Edinburgh, which adjudicates on matters of heraldry and chivalry - the last permanent court of its kind in Europe. But Laurence Oliphant last night told Scotland on Sunday it was unlikely he would let the matter rest. Locals also pledged their support, saying Laurence Oliphant had done an enormous amount for the area.

The dispute began in earnest last year when Richard Oliphant, a 49-year-old father of two, lodged a petition with the Lord Lyon saying he was the rightful head of the clan, which can be traced back to Norman times. Confusion over the leadership of the clan arose after a split in the 16th century into rival sides, the Oliphants of Gask and the Oliphants of Condie, each headed by their own chieftain. In his quest to be declared clan chief, Richard Oliphant hired acclaimed genealogist Hugh Peskett, noted for tracing former US President Ronald Reagan’s family tree back to Ireland. After 16 years of trawling through documents, the genealogist unearthed proof that Laurence Oliphant was descended from the female side of the clan. That meant Richard Oliphant - as the most senior representative of the male bloodline - was the overall Clan Chief with the title ‘Oliphant of that ilk’.

The Lord Lyon, Robin Blair, said in a statement: "I have granted a petition which was presented by Mr Richard Oliphant to be the Chief of the Oliphant Clan. The decision is open for challenge within a 20-year period if someone comes forward with better evidence and presents it before the court."

The former chief said he had not been officially notified of the Lord Lyon’s decision. He said: "I received a registered letter over a year ago informing me that the petition for the position had been made, but after that I didn’t hear a thing. I had expected - perhaps na´vely I realise now - that someone from the Court of the Lord Lyon would have contacted me and asked me to put forward the evidence from my side of the family. I had always thought that my side - the Gask side of the Oliphants - were the senior branch of the family. That was what was decided in the last court case back in the 19th century. I am turning it over in my mind, but the matter is certainly not done and dusted as far as I am concerned."

Laurence Blair Oliphant, who is married with three children, farms the 780-acre Ardblair Estate, near Blairgowrie, and rents out holiday cottages in the historic grounds. His son Charles, 27, and daughter Amelia, 25, are currently in America - as the honorary chieftain and chieftainess of a Highland Games in California.

The new chief last night praised the distant cousin he had ousted for the hard work he had done for the clan. Richard Oliphant said that while he is now the chief, Laurence Oliphant retains the lesser rank of chieftain for his side of the Oliphant family. He said: "There was no recognised or official chief of the Oliphant clan before my claim, and therefore it was not a challenge to anyone else’s title. I like Laurence. He has done a tremendous job for the clan and there is no rift between us. Being the head of the clan is like being the bow of a ship: you are at the head but part of the rest too. What would be the point in being the head of a family if you are not going to be supported and recognised by them?"

In the past, Oliphants fought alongside William Wallace at the siege of Stirling Castle and with King James IV at the Battle of Flodden. Laurence Oliphant’s four-times great-grandfather was aide-de-camp to Bonnie Prince Charlie during the 1745 Jacobite risings. The name Oliphant is said to derive either from Elephant, meaning great strength, or from the Norman French name Olifard.

Despite the ruling of the Lord Lyon, locals in Blairgowrie said the news was a "shame" and that they would continue to put their full support behind Laurence Oliphant. Bob Ellis, the Scottish National Party councillor for Blairgowrie, said: "I fully support Laurence, as I am sure the rest of the area will all do as well, because he and his family have done so much for Blairgowrie. I think that it is a shame." Colin Moodie, a committee member of the Blairgowrie Highland Games, said: "Laurence is an extremely popular and generous gentleman, who is highly respected and very well liked in the area. This will certainly not stop him from being the Chieftain of the Highland Games."

TOP of page

Helen Rumbelow - author of the initial article - writes again in "The Times" of July 28th, 2003 -

City gent wins in takeover bid for Highland clan

A CITY executive has been named chief of an historic Scottish clan after a leadership dispute that has rumbled on for more than a century.

After years of legal investigation, Richard Oliphant’s claim has been preferred to that of the flamboyant Highlander who is currently the public face of the family. The 49-year-old company secretary is now entitled to call himself “Oliphant of That Ilk” and now represent the Oliphants in the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs.

In recent years his rival, Laurence Philip Kington Blair [Oliphant] of Ardblair and Gask, has been considered the informal head of the family. Both he and Mr Oliphant are directly descended from the same Oliphants, who were warriors in the Scottish cause for 700 years.

Clan ancestors include the second-in-command to Prince Charles in the 1745 Jacobite rebellion; another married Robert the Bruce’s daughter; and Carolina Oliphant who wrote the lyric of Will Ye No Come Back Again? After the rebellion the family fell to internecine strife, with a chief challenge in the 19th century that failed to resolve the issue.

But now Richard, who lives in London and is company secretary for several leading firms, has been deemed to be of senior rank to Laurence, who hosts the annual Blairgowrie Highland Games from his seat at Ardblair Castle in Perthshire.

The Lord Lyon’s office in Edinburgh, a legal heraldic court, took a year to decide that Richard Oliphant was the rightful heir because he can trace his heritage through the male rather than female blood line of a confusing family tree.

I’m picking up and polishing one small tile that is Oliphant and sticking it back in the mosaic of Scottish history,” he said last night.

In his quest to be declared clan chief, he hired the acclaimed genealogist Hugh Peskett — who is noted for tracing Ronald Reagan’s family tree back to Ireland — who took 16 years to find the proof.

This has been something my brother and I have known about since we were ten, we have spent 30 years on this,” he said. “To say that I am challenging Laurence is wrong, there has not been a chief since at least the 19th Century, only chieftans, and it was my ambition to put that right,” he said.

Mr Oliphant intends to let Laurence carry on with his work publicising the family from his Scottish base, while he works from London on improving links among Oliphants, for example with a website.

Mr Oliphant has only daughters, but they will not inherit the title, which will instead go to his brother or nephew.

I thought it would be very ignoble of me to claim the title as a male heir and then change the rules for my daughters,” he said.

Mr Oliphant said he was counting on support from other Oliphants: “What would be the point in being the head of a family if you are not going to be supported and recognised by them?” But he may have some persuading to do. Laurence said that he was shocked to learn of the legal ruling and indicated another century of wrangling was on the cards.

The news certainly came as a surprise,” he said. “I had expected — perhaps na´vely I realise now — that someone from the Court of the Lord Lyon would have contacted me and ask me to put forward the evidence from my side of the family.

I had always thought that my side — the Gask side of the Oliphants — were the senior branch of the family. That was what was decided in the last court case back in the 19th Century.

It is a very sensitive issue that goes to right to the heart of one’s family history. I am turning it over in my mind, but the matter is certainly not done and dusted as far as I am concerned.

TOP of page