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STRACHAN, Alexander of Carmylie
(About 1415-)
(About 1435-)
STRATHACHIN, John in Le Claypottis
(About 1465-)
STRACHAN, James 'persone' of Fettercairn, Reverend Mr
(About 1498-Before 1576)


Family Links

1. Unknown

STRACHAN, James 'persone' of Fettercairn, Reverend Mr

  • Born: About 1498
  • Marriage (1): Unknown
  • Died: Before 7 July 1576 1

   Other names for James were STRACHAUCHIN, James, Master,2 STRATHAUCHAN, James Maister 3 and STRATHAUCHIN, James parson of Fethercarne.1

  General Notes:

At first glance, this career seems enormously successful for a mere 'persone' of Fettercairn. The rationale for including such disjointed references here is this: the arms of Claypotts connect the man who was the parson of Fettercairn to the Carmylie Strachans, and to the man who was canon of Aberdeen, as being the same James Strachan. There was a James Strachan who was minister of Clatt in the same period - whether they are two different men, as listed here - or the same man has been left open. A career in the Church was a recognised pathway for younger sons of landed gentry, however surprising it may seem to modern observers.

"James Strachan (Strathauchin)
bro. of John Strachan of Claypotts; parson"

from https://www.ancestor.abel website

"Chapter XXVI.


THE first minister of the parish, so far as can be traced, was 'Maister David Setone, persone de Fethyrcarne,' whose name thus appears in minutes of the Council Register of the Burgh of Aberdeen, in 1491, as a member of committee anent land causes, and again, in 1498, as clerk pro tempore to the commissioners of burghs engaged in a matter affecting their foreign trade. He was also designated 'Rector of Fethyrcarne,' and held office at least till 1514.
Along with him, or for a time in his absence, Alexander Rait was 'Vicar de Fethircarne' in 1508 and 1509. The next in charge was 'Master James Strachauchin' a cadet of the House of Thornton, who appears as " persone " from 1523, or from the demission of David Setone, till 1556 or a later date. An original letter, in the Register of Panmure, shows that he was minister in 1523, and a deed recorded therein that he was so in 1556, when appointed a tutor, as the nearest of kin on the 'moder syde' to 'Johne Thornetoune of yt ilk' Another tutor was 'Johne Strauchauchin of Claypottis' probably a brother according to the said letter copied as follows by the late Andrew Jervise: -

"Honobl Ssr and Cune (cousin) - ples zou well, I ame adveset yt ze ar to be fra zor place ye maist pt of yis somer quharfor praie zou yt ye will caus deliver to mybruder ye berar my blak govne ye vestiment wt ye ptnitis (patens) and ye siluer chalice for I feir yt ye thrie pt of ye fruits of ye beficis sal be taken yis zeir as it wes ye last zeir under God's kepe ys. At Claipotts, ye
xxj day of May, '23, zour cuyne (cousin).

'M. Ja. Strachauchin,
psone of fethercarne. "
'To ane honbl man this cam
Thomas Strachauchin of Carmiiy.'

from The History of Fettercairn: A Parish in the County of Kincardine

15,000. [a.d. 1566.] Sulph. cast from a good impression.
1and 3/8 in. [xlvii. 148.]
An ornamental shield of arms : on a chief three cinquefoils.
Betw. three sprigs of foliage.
S ~ m ~ iacobi ~ strathauchen
Laing's Suppl. Catal., No. 926."

from Catalogue of Seals under the heading "CANONS"

"The same arms (as those of John Strachan of Claypotts) appear on a seal of James Strachan, canon of Aberdeen, dated 1541, and another of Thomas Strachan of Carmyllie dated 1547. James Strathauchin of Carmyllie, was one of the curators recommended by John Strachan to his grandson in his testament of 1593, and subsequently Gilbert Strachan of Claypotts was appointed curator to the young heiresses of Carmyllie.

It is likely that the Strachan Claypotts were related to the Carmyllie family, and were members of a cadet branch of the 'de Strachans'. However, one historical account infers they might be a cadet branch of the Strachans of Thornton [Ref. 'The Lands and Tower of Claypotts']. No direct evidence is presented in this reference."

from The Lands and the Tower of Claypotts

"Call Number UYUY150/1
Title Register of evidences
Date 1536-1538, (1413-1538), 19th century

Description Transcripts of non-collegiate documents, written into cartulary or chartulary, 1536-1538. Registrum evidentiarum et privilegiorum universitatis Sancti Andree, written c. 1536-38 for James Strachan, rector of the University. Bound in black leather with earliest university stamp in gold on both covers, clasp missing. Probably bound in c. 1620 and repaired in 19th or 20th century when spine was titled and stamped with oval university stamp."

from University of St Andrews Archive Catalogue


1542. Mr. James Strathauchin.

Prebendary of Belhelvy. Registrum omnium vasorum, etc. Made at his Visitation, the first on record. (O. C., xxiii. i.) The Assessors are Mr. Alexander Galloway, canon of Aberdeen and prebendary of Kinkell; Mr. Alexander Spittall, canon and prebendary of Clatt; Mr. James Wawin, canon and prebendary of Oyne; Mr. John Elphinstone, canon and prebendary of Innernochty. In the following year Strathauchin was Rector of the University of S.Andrews."

from Officers and Graduates of King's College Aberdeen

"Call Number UYSS110/AE/11
Title Precept of Pope Julius III in favour of James Thornton Date 8 March 1549 [1550]
Description Precept of Pope Julius III in favour of James Thornton

Precept of Pope Julius III directed to the precentor of Glasgow and James Strachan (Strathauchan), canon of the church of Aberdeen, for James Thornton, canon of St Salvator's College [Fife] to be admitted to the rectory of Forteviot [Perthshire], which church was resigned by John Thornton senior.

Black lead seal survives: IVLIVS PAPA III, topped by wreaths and bust; SS Peter and Paul, SPASPE and cross.

Extent 1 sheet
Language Latin

from University of St Andrews Archive Catalogue

"The Reformation and its aftermath:
There is not much information on how the events of the Reformation impacted on Belhelvie parish. The Scottish Parliament adopted 'Knox's Confession' in 1560 leading to the establishment of the first General Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland. This incarnation of the Kirk was divided over the role of Bishops within it, and the problem was not settled until 1638. In that year Bishops were removed and the Kirk of Scotland became the kirk of the National Covenant. However the transformation from Roman Catholic to Presbyterian parish did not appear to be that difficult for the incumbent clergyman. James Strachan, who must have been an interesting character, is said to have served as the last Roman Catholic parish priest between 1550-1560. In 1559 he was given custody of '91 ounces' of the utensils of Aberdeen's Cathedral. However, another source lists James Strachan as the minister who served Belhelvie from 1567 until 1574, in other words, after the Reformation. This suggests that the same man, with some theological retraining, served the parish during the transitional period between confessions of faith.

This should not really surprise us. Although the date cited for the Reformation in Scotland is usually 1560, it actually took a considerable time for the majority of parishes to be converted from Catholicism. Many of the existing clerics simply remained in place and adapted their services according to the state of the reformation in their area. It is quite possible that James Strachan accepted the new protestant confession and continued in his parish service as before. He was certainly among the signatories on 5th January 1558 to 'counsel given by the dean and chapter of Aberdeen to the bishops' which paved the way for the Reformation to take place in Aberdeen. In addition to his work for the parish, during this period Strachan also held the post of rector of Aberdeen University.

The prebend's manse in Old Aberdeen was already in a state of ruin by 1573, at which point James VI (or rather his Regent) confirmed James Strachan's donation of the feudal rights of the ecclesiastical lands of Belhelvie to Mr Thomas Gardin and his wife Elizabeth Stewart. Connections between Belhelvie and the prebendary manse seem to have been severed soon after this. King Charles I (1625-1649) confirmed that the lands and belongings of the parson of Belhelvie, as located in Old Aberdeen, were granted to John Rind, a merchant of Edinburgh, in 1642. However, just the following year the parish church of Old Machar had its feudal rights to the Belhelvie mansion confirmed, whilst Gilbert Kirkwood of Pilrig obtained the rights to the parson of Belhelvie's manse there. The Marquis of Huntly ultimately acquired the three lodgings of Belhelvie, Daviot and Forbes and enclosed them to make a large garden, with Belhelvie's manse as the dwelling house."

from Belhelvie History - Kirks

"There are no records existing from whence a list of the Provosts could be obtained, but in an original rental book of all the benefices in Scotland (M.S.) which I found in the Lyon Office, the following Account of the Provostry and Prebendaries of Guthrie is inserted as given up by Alexander Guthrie of that Ilk at Haddington 13 Jan. 1573/4.
L. Scots.
Maister James Strathauchan Person & provost2 Rental XLVII
David Arnot, Vicar and Reader Rentl. XX
Sir Pat. Guthrie Prebendar of Langlands in Hilltoun pertaining
to the same Kirk Rentl. XX
Ane prebendarie of ten pounds out of Little Loure possest by
James Guthrie Rentl. X
Mr. Will. Garden Person & Vicar of Kirkbuddo & Prebendary of
Guthrie the Rental XL mks. XXVI XIII IV
The prebendary of Langlands & Hillton of Guthrie set in Tack to
Sir Patrick Guthrie XX
( total) CXLIII XIII IV"

from Late Fifteenth Century Church Paintings from Guthrie and Foulis Easter

(at Belhelvie in 1567)

"JAMES STRACHAN, M.A., parson 1567, died before 29th May 1576, and had issue William, evidently of Chapel of Garioch (Logic Durno) (q.v.). [Reg. Pres. Bene., i, (4), 43; Reg. Epis. Mora, 405, 407.]"

from volume 8 addenda * corrigenda Fasti Ecclesiae

parson of Fethercarne
Testament Dative and Inventory
Edinburgh Commissary Court

from Wills and Testaments 2 3 4 5 6 7

  Research Notes:

1529 Gilbertus Strathauchin
1531 " "
1542 Jacobus Strathauchin (Rector of St Andrews in 1543)
1600-1619 John Strauchane

1600 James Strathauchin
1629 Andrew Strachan
1634 William Strachan
1651 John Strachan

1634 Andrew Strachan
from Calendar of the University of Aberdeen

James married.


1 National Records of Scotland, Legal records - Wills and testaments.

2 Internet Site, The History of Fettercairn: A Parish in the County of Kincardine.

3 e-books, Late Fifteenth Century Church Paintings from Guthrie and Foulis Easter.

4 e-books, Catalogue of Seals.

5 Internet Site, The Lands and the Tower of Claypotts.

6 e-books, Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae by Hew Scott.

7 Internet Site, Parish ministers 1560-1948.

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