Arbuthnott Family Association
Arbuthnott crest
Newsletter 2004



AGM UK Branch, the AGM was held in October at Arbuthnott and was chaired by Keith Arbuthnott. At the meeting Hugh Arbuthnott retired from the position of Secretary. The committee thanked Hugh for all the work done as Secretary and in particular acknowledged the organisation required to set up the successful Gatherings. Charles Arbuthnott was elected as Secretary. Reports were presented by the Secretary, Treasurer and Historian.

Family Website, the family genealogical website has proved to be an excellent source of information for all Arbuthnot(t)s. Anyone who has not had a chance to view the site should register on line with www.kittybrewster.com. This Newsletter will not contain a section on Family News but please contact either myself, c.arbuthnott@btopenworld.com or Sir William Arbuthnot, Family Genealogist, arbuthnot@kittybrewster.com if you have any items of family news which should be added to the website.

AGM October 2004, this year the AGM will be held in London and with take the form of an informal gathering, starting at 6.30pm on Friday 1st October. The committee is very keen to encourage more younger members of the family to become involved. The Gathering in London will at held at The Old Doctors Butlers Head, 2 Masons Avenue, Bank, EC3. This Pub is not that easy to find and is between Bank and Moorgate tube stations, This will be a great opportunity to meet for a drink and a buffet supper after work. Please let me know if you would like to join us so that we have an idea of numbers, c.arbuthnott@btopenworld.com.  As the Newsletter only goes out to members please pass on details of this Gathering to others who may not be on the mailing list.

Arbuthnots in Fiction I am very grateful for the following contribution from Simon Arbuthnott and would welcome any comments on Arbuthnots in Fiction:

Arbuthnot(t)s in fiction
        A recent holiday abroad was a good excuse to settle down to some very light reading, and three-quarters of the way through an extremely improbable thriller, the name Aloysius (I ask you !) Arbuthnot cropped up. The fact that he was a pretty reprehensible character was somewhat mitigated by the fact that he had assumed the name in order to enhance his respectability and social position, and he was actually called, yes, Smith. It had the affect of bringing to mind other members of the family who had made their way into fiction.
        The great Sandy Arbuthnot (later Lord Clanroyden) must be the best known. He was the invention (not quite true - he was actually based on an immensely colourful real life character called Aubrey Herbert, who like Sandy, spoke several Eastern European languages like a native, and was offered the throne of Albania! His daughter later married Evelyn Waugh) of John Buchan, and he appears, with Richard Hannay, in Greenmantle, Mr Standfast, The Island of Sheep, and I think the Three Hostages. Unlike Aloysius, he is an archetypal hero, not a man of great humour, but that is not a Buchan trait, but cool of head and steady of hand, and ready for anything - “a white man”, as JB would have rather quaintly (if not very politically correctly) described him.
        Oscar Wilde had also used the name, in a play called “A Woman of No Importance”. She does not appear to have a first name, but is merely “Mrs Arbuthnot”. We are allowed to think the worst of her, but she turns out to be something of a brick.
Agatha Christie did not want to be left out, and Colonel Arbuthnot duly appeared on a railway journey to Istanbul in “Murder on the Orient Express”. He is harmless enough, and plays only a minor part in the action, but is frankly a bit of an old buffer, who is, without anyone missing him too much, duly despatched by the killer,who is in his turn exposed by Hercule Poirot.
        If you read Ronald Searle as a boy, in that fifties classic, “Down with Skool”, you might remember Sigismond Arbuthnot, the mad maths master. There is no way he would have got through a modern OFSTED inspection, and he now would almost certainly have wound up behind bars, but those were more robust times in the classroom, and the unspeakable things he did to the children (scraping a ruler up the nape of the neck was, I recall, one of them) may have helped fix simple algebra and pythagoras more firmly into the heads of reluctant pupils like Molesworth and Fotherington-Thomas.
        There will undoubtedly be others, and the above will be full of errors, and any corrections and additions will be welcomed. Arbuthnots (one notes that the one t spelling is preferred) will only ever be bit players in books - they have too many syllables to be the stuff of real heroes - but they are wheeled on, it seems, to hint at faded gentility, bufferdom, and an element of the silly ass.
Simon Arbuthnott

Newsletter by E-mail. I would like to distribute future Newsletters by email and therefore need to up date membership details to include email addresses. Please can you send your e-mail address to c.arbuthnott@btopenworld.com  

Charles Arbuthnott
May 2004