Robert Graham (born c. 1660 and died 1719 in Perthshire). Owner of Drumsad and also acquired other lands: Damside, Kirklands of Aberuthven, Woodside of Kincardine, Wester Lands and Baillie lands of Abe Ruthven (this land he sold to David Haldane (married to Mary Graeme) of Aberuthven). Writer (Solicitor) in Perth. Robert Graham was a scion of James Graham, 1st Marquis of Montrose.
Married to Elspeth Cunningham.
Robert Graham was admitted in Edinburgh as a Notary Public on 12 April 1682 at age about 22 years. Became a Writer (Solicitor) in Perth.
March 12 1688 Appointed Deputy Town Clerk – PE1/47/4 Chart of the Magistry in Perth.
Also, a tutor to Oliphant children.
26 April 1694 William Patton appointed as Town Clerk in Robert Graham’s absence – PE1/47/4 Chart of the Magistry in Perth.
June 21 1694 Robert Graham made Notary in Perth.
1697 (23 September) built a handsome house – had eight children between 1692 and 1707 – James, John, Mungo, David, Thomas, Helen, Isabel and Euphame.
“It is evidently the initials of this Robert Graham that are engraved on the lintel of the King’s Arms’ Close, High Street, which would mean that in 1699 he was the owner of the property.” – Cowan, S. , Ancient Capital of Scotland, Volume 2, 1904. Above the doorway to the house in question are the initials R.G. and E.C. as well as the date 1699.
17 December 1716 Robert Graham was in bad health and was dismissed as Town Clerk – “dismissed as Town Clerk by means of the gout” – PE1/47/4 Chart of the Magistry in Perth. “The dismissal of Robert Graham from the Town Clerkship in 1716 was followed by considerable discussion as to who was to be his successor” – Cowan, S., Ancient Capital of Scotland, Volume 2, 1904. Assigned to his on James all debts “resting” to Robert on his decease and all rents of lands due to him.
The article below appeared in Venture Faire, the Annual of the 1st Marquis of Montrose Society,
‘Restoration of Clan Graham linked building in Perth’ by Dr Paul S Philippou
An iconic Perth building associated with Clan Graham has recently undergone extensive renovation. The house at 13-17 High Street, Perth (at the foot of the High Street close to the River Tay) was once the home of Robert Graham (c1660-1719) – scion to James Graham, 1st Marquis of Montrose – and his wife Elspeth Cunningham. The old name for the entry to the building was Kings Arms Close, a reference to the public house that was situated behind the house until 1890. A well-known Perth hostelry, the King’s Arms Inn (also known as Ann Hickson’s Tavern) was used as an HQ by the Jacobite Army during the 1745/6 rising. The inn underwent demolition in the 1890s to provide space to extend the Perth Conservative Club, 15-21 George Street.
Robert Graham was admitted as a Notary Public in Edinburgh on 12 April 1682 at age about 22 years and subsequently became a Writer (Solicitor) in Perth. On 12 March 1688 Graham was appointed Deputy Town Clerk of Perth and subsequently Town Clerk. He also acted as tutor to the children of the Oliphants of Gask whose townhouse (now demolished) stood nearby in the Watergate/Oliphant’s Vennel. Graham was made Notary in Perth on 21 June 1694 but continued as Town Clerk until 17 December 1716 when in bad health he was ‘dismissed as Town Clerk by means of the gout.’ The process of finding his replacement was according to Samuel Cowan, a Perth local historian writing in 1904, ‘followed by considerable discussion as to who was to be his successor.’
A particularly attractive feature of the house at 13-17 High Street is the (now restored) engraved and painted lintel and pediment (carved tympanum) above the doorway to the property featuring the initials RG and EC (Robert Graham and Elspeth Cunningham respectively), the date 1699, and heraldic emblem of a coroneted head with scallop shells; the latter an acknowledgement of the familial connection to the 1st Marquis of Montrose. The rather handsome house whose construction dates from 23 September 1697 was home to the Grahams and their eight children: James, John, Mungo, David, Thomas, Helen, Isabel, and Euphame. The choice of James as the name of Robert’s first born son is perhaps a reflection of the esteem that the 1st Marquis of Montrose was (and continues to be) held in by members of Clan Graham. As well as the house at 13-17 High Street, Robert Graham, who was born in Perthshire, also owned land at Drumsad, Damside, Kirklands of Aberuthven, Woodside of Kincardine, Wester Lands and Baillie lands of Aberuthven.
The renovation of 13-17 High Street was substantial and included structural repairs to the main building and roof as well as restoration of the nineteenth-century shopfronts that form the lower floor of the building. Among the former occupants of these premises is included Peter Robert Drummond of Madderty (1802-1879), bookseller, author, conservationist, and agriculturalist, who in 1832 opened a circulating library at Number 15. A poor quality cement render that reduced the visual impact of the building has been replaced by a traditional lime harl and bright ochre limewash. Whilst the colour of the limewash might not be to all tastes it is accurate for a late seventeenth-century residential building in this part of Scotland and allows an appreciation of the building as it probably appeared when occupied by the Grahams.
Historic Scotland’s support of the restoration of 13-17 High Street forms part of a four-year programme of investment (2015-2018) in historic buildings located in Perth city centre and in the Bridgend area that occupies the River Tay’s eastern bank.
Chart of the Magistry (PE1/47/4), Perth & Kinross Council Archives, Perth
Samuel Cowan, Ancient Capital of Scotland: The Story of Perth from the Invasion of Agricola to the Passing of the Reform Bill, Volume 2 (Perth: 1904)
Paul Philippou and Roben Antoniewicz, Perth: Street by Street (Perth: 2012)