CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 2727
TitleWilliam Duff of Braco: papers
Date1665 - 1869
Extent0.37 linear metres
Administrative HistoryWilliam Duff of Braco, Banffshire (1697-1763), Whig M.P. for Banffshire from 1727-1734 was created Baron Braco of Kilbryde, Co. Cavan, Ireland, in 1735 and he wisely remained a supporter of the government during the 1745 rebellion, and in 1749 he was created Viscount Macduff and Earl Fife. He first married Janet, daughter of the 4th Earl of Findlater, who died in 1720, and then in 1723 he married Jean, daughter of Sir James Grant or Colquhoun, 6th Baron of Grant. He died in 1763 at Rothiemay and was buried at Grange, though later his body was removed to the mausoleum at Duff House. His father, William Duff of Dipple in Morayshire, who had acquired estates there and in the neighbouring counties of north-eastern, traced his descent from the Duffs of Muldavit through a nephew of that family, Adam Duff in Clunybeg. This branch had been in existence since the 14th century but no proof has been found of any definite connection with the family of the ancient Earls of Fife. The family became connected with the Royal Family by the marriage in 1889 of Alexander, 6th Earl Fife to H.R.H. Princess Louise, eldest daughter of Edward, Prince of Wales, afterwards King Edward VII. The Earl had succeeded to his father's Irish peerages and the barony of Skene of Skene, Aberdeenshire, in 1879 and was created Earl of Fife in the peerage of the UK in 1885. Immediately after his marriage, he was created Marquis of MacDuff and Duke of Fife with remainder in default of male heirs to his daughters by Princess Louise and their male issue. On his death in 1912 without male issue the Irish dignities of Earl Fife, Viscount MacDuff and Baron Braco became dormant as well as other UK peerages apart from the Dukedom of Fife which passed to his daughter Alexandra Duchess of Fife (died 1957) and was inherited in 1957 by her nephew, formerly Lord Carnegie, son of her sister Maud and the 11th Earl of Southesk.

The family of Wharton Duff of Orton, Morayshire, is descended form Lady Sophia Henrietta Duff (1740 - 1826), 5th daughter of the 1st Earl Fife, and Thomas Wharton (1735 - 1816), whose son Richard (1782 - 1862) assumed the additional surname of Duff on inheriting the estate of Orton from his maternal uncle, the Hon. Arthur Duff, in 1805. In 1809 he married his cousin, Lady Anne Duff (1781 - 1829), daughter of his uncle Alexander (1731 - 1811), who had succeeded as 3rd Earl Fife on the death of his brother a few months earlier. The three elder children of this marriage died without issue and the estate of Orton passed to the family of John Wharton Tod (?1845 - 1935), the son of their youngest daughter Jemima (1815 - 1846) and John R. Tod, who belonged on his mother's side to the Duffs of Hatton who were descended from an uncle of the 1st Earl Fife; John Wharton Tod in turn assumed the surname Wharton Duff in 1904.
Custodial HistoryThis collection was recorded as having belonging to Mrs Wharton-Duff of Orton when surveyed for the National Register of Archives (Scotland) in March 1955. It had been in the possession of Henrietta Tayler at some time and much of it was used by her and her brother as material for various works on the Duff family.
SourceDeposited in August 1960.
DescriptionCorrespondence of William Duff of Braco, relatives, friends and others, 1713 - 1796; Family correspondence, 19th century; Legal writs and discharges, 1665 - 1863; Accounts, mainly household, of William Duff of Braco, his wife and Richard Wharton Duff of Orton, 1735 - 1786, 1812 - 1841; Letters patent, commissions, diplomas, passports, etc. of Hon. Arthur Duff of Orton, Richard Wharton [Duff] and Alexander Thomas Wharton Duff, 1779 - 1852; Collection of miscellaneous manuscripts, genealogical notes, mementos, etc., 1778 - 1858.
Arrangement1 - Correspondence of William Duff of Braco, his relatives, friends and others
2- 19th century correspondence; arranged in alphabetical order of name of writer
3 - Collection of legal writs and discharges relating to the Duff family or estates, with some 18th century transcriptions of 16th and 17th century manuscripts
4 - Accounts, mainly household, of William Duff of Braco, and his wife and of Richard Wharton Duff of Orton
5 - Collection of letters patent, commissions, diplomas and passports granted or issued to Hon. Arthur Duff of Orton, Richard Wharton [Duff] and Alexander Thomas Wharton Duff
6 - Collection of miscellaneous manuscripts, genealogical notes, mementoes

Some of the letters are undated and the name of the recipient doubtful, although some have pencilled annotations presumably by Henrietta Tayler, who had arranged the correspondence according to the name of the writer. This alphabetical sequence has been adhered to but the correspondence has been divided into two sections: MSS2727/1/1-262 from 1713-1796 and MSS 2727/2/1-148 from 1800-1869. Many of the letters quoted in the Tayler book 'The Book of The Duffs' as coming from the collection at Orton are not preserved here and certain items also appear to have been added by Henrietta Tayler.
Access StatusOpen
Related MaterialMS 2226, MS 2149, MS 2568, MS 3175
Publication NoteThe Duff of Braco and Wharton-Duff of Orton Papers, 1665-1869. Northern Scotland, Volume 2, No.1 (1974-75), pp.86-89.

The Book of the Duffs (Alastair and Henrietta Tayler, 2 volumes, Edinburgh, 1914) and Lord Fife and his factor : being the correspondence of James second Lord Fife, 1729-1809 (Alastair and Henrietta Tayler, Heinemann, London, 1925)
Related RecordMS 997
MS 2521
MS 2066
MS 2067
MS 2213
MS 801, 803 - 820, 822 - 836
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