Elizabeth Grant of Rothiemurchus

(The Highland Lady)

1797 - 1886

Writer and social observer. Born at No.5 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh, the eldest child of Sir John Peter Grant, heir to the estates of Rothiemurchus, a man of brilliant mind and with political and legal ambitions. Grant was privately educated at home, her early years included much time spent at The Doune, the family house in Rothiemurchus. Here her acutely observant mind stored up details of the rapidly changing Highland scene and society, and of the many people she met. These details, set out vividly in the 1840s for her children, nephews and nieces, were, after her lifetime, to be published as Memoirs of a Highland Lady (1898), albeit in abridged form as edited by her niece, Lady Strachey. In 1988, the first full version of her memoirs was published after the original manuscript was loaned to the National Library of Scotland by one of her descendants, introducing a delightful composition to a world-wide audience.

Spending more time in Edinburgh from 1816 onwards, she met and socialised with a wide variety of eminent people, all recorded in sharp and lively detail. In 1827, due to her father's acute financial problems, her family moved to Bombay (India). Here she met and married Colonel Henry Smith of Baltiboys, Co Wicklow. She lived in Ireland for over fifty years and produced not only her memoirs of her life in Rothiemurchus and Edinburgh, but also further memoirs of part of her long life in Ireland during the potato famine (The Highland Lady in Ireland: Journals 1840-50), as well as a memoir of her time in France (A Highland Lady in France 1843-1845).

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