Hi again, Bryan
Well, I had my day at the library and, in between doing other things,
I found a few snippets to add to the bits of Ramsay history floating
round the net. No-one seems to have written much about AHMR, apart
from discussing his political activities, though I think there would
be interesting questions for a biographer to explore.
AHMR was a great-nephew of the 12th Earl of Dalhousie and much of his
heritage is Scottish upper-class: Kellie Castle, aristocratic cousins
nearby at Brechin Castle, the Royal Company of Archers, and English
boarding schools. Sometimes he is described as related to the royal
family; his second cousin married one of Queen Victoria's
He also had family roots in British India. His grandfather, General
Sir Henry Ramsay, Commissioner of Kumaon, was so settled there that he
bought 25 acres of the Himalayas for his retirement home. Lt-Col Henry
Lushington Ramsay, AHMR's father, was in the Indian Political
Department and published a book on the languages and customs of
Ladakh. Then, at the age of 39, in 1893, he married Anna Maria Sophia
Thomas in London. Next year, back in India, AHMR was born, and a year
later his sister Maud arrived.
After Eton and Sandhurst, 19-year-old AHMR joined the Coldstream
Guards. Wounded in 1916, he was given a job at the War Office. The
next year he married Ismay Crichton-Stuart (née Preston), 12 years
older than him, and already mother of three. In 1918 he was posted to
Paris, but was soon invalided out.
While AHMR was growing up, the Earls of Dalhousie had disposed of the
family seat, Dalhousie Castle in Midlothian, and, interestingly, they
had also sold Kellie Castle. Indian-born Jock bought Kellie "back" in
1924, raising questions in my mind about when he acquired the
Kellie-linked Maule name. His father and grandfather weren't called
Maule, though some of his grand cousins were.
AHMR and Ismay had four sons. The internment crisis in May 1940 was
followed the very next month by more distress when their eldest son
Alexander, a young captain in the Scots Guards, was seriously wounded
on active service. He died in a military hospital in Johannesburg in
1943. AHMR died in March 1955; his widow lived for another 20 years.
I wonder when he became a Catholic? Ismay's Anglo-Irish
Gormanston/Preston family were Catholic, as was her first husband, but
the Ramsays seem to have been Protestant since the 18th century. After
an ancestor had to go into exile for his Catholic/Jacobite sympathies,
the family only got their land back by signing up for the other side.
AHMR's grandfather encouraged Protestant mission work in India.
The 20th century Maule Ramsays would have known that Kellie Castle had
once had a private chapel. It seems that in AHMR's days private
services were again held at the castle, since one writer tells us that
the last Christmas midnight mass there was celebrated in 1959, with
the permission of the Bishop of Dunkeld.
In the 1930s excavations at the castle uncovered an underground
smugglers'(?) passage leading to the coast. The excavations may be
another sign of an active interest in family history. In 1920 AHMR had
written a biography of an adventurous ancestor whose life ended
tragically: "A Short Life of Sir Alexander Ramsay of Dalwolsey".
A few years after AHMR's death the family sold the castle. At that
time it had "modest but ample accommodation": three reception rooms,
seven bedrooms, a nursery, and a self-contained five-bedroom flat.
I do have more info about Ramsay/Maule history and a few titbits about
General Sir Henry, probably not relevant, but please just ask if you
want the family tree laid out befor you.
There's not much to add to the webpage I already suggested about the
Royal Archers, but this has a few different details:
So far, no luck with finding a really atmospheric MacJoseph fastness
for you, but will keep an eye out.
Hope this helps - Leli
Gazetteer for Scotland
Kellie Castle, Angus : historic seat of the Maule family, Earls of
Panmure and their successors the Maule Ramsays, now the home of the
Kerr Boyle family
by Jean Dundas
Pilgrim Press (1975)
plus google searches with people and placenames