Arbuthnott Family Association

Newsletter 2006


Annual Gathering and AGM 2005 UK Branch, A small gathering took place in Edinburgh on Saturday 8th October. It was noted that membership fees would remain unaltered, £35.00 for life membership and £2.50 for annual membership. Younger family members are to be encouraged to join, it seems that 18 would be an ideal age. As school leavers become students the family association could be a very useful source of contacts.

Annual Gathering October 2006 UK Branch. This year the annual gathering will be on Friday 13th October in London. We are very fortunate to have been offered the use of meeting rooms at S J Berwins offices in the city of London. The evening will start at 6.30pm and will include a buffet supper and drinks. During the evening we will hold a short AGM and the main purpose of the evening is friends and family to meet each other. The offices are next to Southwark Bridge and have views down the Thames. The cost for the evening will be £15.00, which will include the buffet supper.

Please can you let me know if you will be able to come to the gathering so that I can confirm the arrangements with SJ Berwin. The address is 10 Queen Street Place, London, EC4R 1 BE, the best tube station is Cannon Street. I can supply maps and parking details if required. All the details are on this web link.

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 visit This Newsletter contains a section on Family News, which has been complied by William but please contact either myself, the Hon Secretary or Sir William Arbuthnot, the family Genealogist if you have any items of family news which should be added to the website. At the AGM, the meeting acknowledged the work done by William in respect of the web site.

In the News: Extracts of Family news complied by William Arbuthnot

Every day, people write giving me further information for the Arbuthnot websites ( and news alerts and

The  most sportive Arbuthnot was surely Admiral Sir Robert Keith Arbuthnot, 4thh

In Scotland, Hon David Arbuthnott was in the news expressing his great relief when some recently stolen historic pewter pieces were dug up and returned to Dunkeld Cathedral.

Gill Arbuthnott (Table 7) is having great success with her children’s stories, “The Chaos Questt”, “The Chaos Clock” and “The Waterbringers

A communion token named Arbuthnot (sic) has surfaced (the 449th token in Burzinski’s book). It is dated 1839 at which time James Milne was Minister at Arbuthnott.  And we came across Arbuthnott Lodge in Crieff, which was named after his first parish by Alfred S Barron, Minister at Arbuthnott 1925-1933. Many other places named Arbuthnot(t) are listed on the website.

James Arbuthnot, MP, our first Privy Councillor since Charles Arbuthnot (1767-1850), friend of Wellington, has been appointed Chairman of the Select Committee on Defence. His wife, Emma, has been appointed the first District Judge in the Arbuthnot family.

The renowned Dr John Arbuthnot, physician to Queen Anne and inventor of the character John Bull was also apparently guardian to “Peter, the wild boy” when he first arrived in London. He and Pope wrote the text for Handel’s opera, “Estherr”. Dr John and his wife have a large part in Professor Djerassi’s recent play “Calculus

We have learned that Dr Sir William Arbuthnot-Lane was grandson of Dr Joseph Ewing and Jane Ann Arbuthnot (descendant of Rev Nicholas Arbuthnot of Newton Hamilton, Co Armagh – Table 75). He was also the basis of the central character in George Bernard Shaw’s “The Doctor’s Dilemmaa

James Lycurgus Arbuthnot had at least six black mistresses and a vast number of children and descendants, most of whom live in the area devastated by hurricane Katrina. Many of them have had to move as a result of Katrina and one lady, on returning to see the devastation wrought on her house by the floods, had a fatal heart attack. This is the branch to which Grover (“Rock”) Arbuthnot belonged; he was shot dead on the streets of New Orleans aged 21 in 2004, his parents both having been killed equally young. It is hard keeping up with this family since few of them use the internet.

I have now found that it seems likely that the Alexander Arbuthnot, who was unlawfully hanged by General Andrew Jackson, was the son of Dr Thomas Arbuthnot, Sr of Balglassie and of Arbuthnottshaugh, surgeon in Montrose who married Margaret Forbes.

In Mauritius, a memorial has been erected at the Apravasi Ghat to the memory of 75 Dhangar tribalmen of India who were indentured by George Clerk Arbuthnot in 1834 and brought by him to their new country.

This brings me to an important book that has just been published. Called “The Fall of Arbuthnot & Coo ), ISBN 81-88661-40-6. It is the story of the failure of the mercantile house which was the greatest of the Madras finance houses and was the origin of the phrase “safe as Arbuthnots”. The company was set up by George Arbuthnot, 1st of Elderslie, and sixteen of his relations worked with the firm, the last of whom was Sir George Gough Arbuthnot. He was six times member of the Legislative Council of Madras, seven times Chairman of the Madras Chamber of Commerce and President of the Bank of Madras.  After the Governor, he was the most important and respected man in Madras. However it turned out that he and his trusted colleague, Patrick Macfadyen, had been speculating with the firm’s (meaning the customers’) money as well as their own and maintained their optimism that things would come right, even as the enterprises failed to do so. When the money ran out in 1906, many Indians found their savings were lost, Macfadyen committed suicide, while Sir George was sentenced to 18 months “rigorous imprisonment”, effectively for false accounting. This book reports the story off the trial, as reported in great detail in the Press.

William Arbuthnot

Future Dates:     It is intended that there will be a gathering in October 2007 in London, which will include the AGM and that there will be Family Gathering at Arbuthnott in 2008, in July.

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 me your e-mail address to  Charles Arbuthnott  7a Woodhall Bank, Edinburgh EH13 0HL     0131 441 1815          July 2006