The Family of Arbuthnott


Table 11.  Early in the nineteenth century, Alexander Arbuthnot left Scotland for Australia. He settled in a small hamlet on the Murray River in Victoria and founded a saw-milling business. His descendants continued the business and also built river boars and barges. There have been five successive generations, each giving their eldest son the name Alexander. The third Alexander had a steamboast named after him. The P.S. Alexander Arbuthnot' is being restored as a tourist attraction.

Table 10.  James Arbuthnot of Co.Down, whose mother's name was Sarah Dunbar but whose father's Christian name is unknown, went to Queensland after his marriage to Rose Johnson in 1853. They had five sons, Thomas, James, Robert, William and John, also three daughters, Margaret, Sarah, and Rose. Six generations of their descendants have lived in Queensland.

Table 8.  Also living in Queensland are the descendants of Samuel Arbuthnot who went to Australia in 1886. He was the son of Alexander Arbuthnot of Cookstown, Co.Tyrone. He settled at Homebush, Mackay, Queensland as a sugar farmer. His farm has passed from his son Alexander to his grandson Stewart.

Table 44.  William and Elizabeth Ann Arbuthnot of Co Down emigrated with several of their children to Doon, Victoria. A number of that family went to mine gold in Western Australia while others settled in New Zealand..


The descendants of Robert Arbuthnot of Rouen are believed to be among those Arbuthnots still living in France.

There are several Arbuthnots buried in the English cemetery at Florence in Italy. They belonged to the British expatriate community which lived there during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Many of them had retired there from India. Elnyth Arbuthnot, whose parents were members of this community, married an Italian nobleman, Count Capponi. The Count was a naval officer who fought with the Allies during World War II. Countess Capponi had Germans billetted in her country house, south of Florence, while her husband and son were hiding on the estate. For many months she concealed their whereabouts, while providing them with food after dark. After she was widowed in 1965, she went to live in the family house in Florence with her mother, Mrs Arbuthnot, a remarkable old lady, who had known the Brownings when a child and who lived until she was 101.

This brief outline of the history of the family had been compiled from facts available at the time of writing. We hope there are not too many important omissions. However knowledge in some areas is very sketchy, particularly concerning the first settlers in Ireland and those in New Zealand. It is hoped that anyone who feels they have more information to contribute will do so. Some may recognise ancestors among those mentioned and may thus be able to trace more easily their own family trees.

The Arbuthnott Missal, with the Prayer-book and Psalter may be seen at Paisley Museum, it is advisable to give advance notice of an intended visit. These books were written in manuscript and illuminated by the incumbent priest at Arbuthnott under the patronage of Robert Arbuthnott of that Ilk. All three were commissioned by him, for use in the Church, between 1480 and 1500. The Missal is the only Pre-Reformation Mass Book remaining in Scotland. The rest were all burnt at the Reformation.

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