CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 3193
TitleGordon of Buthlaw and Cairness: legal, financial and estate papers
Date1760 - 1921
Extent15 boxes: 1.80 linear metres
Creator NameGordon families of Buthlaw and Cairness (fl 17th c - 20th c)
Edmonds and Ledingham (now Ledingham Chalmers) (1850 - ); solicitors, Aberdeen
Administrative HistoryThe Gordons of Buthlaw were descended from a cadet of the family of James Gordon, the first laird of Lesmoir, and from Thomas Gordon of Broadland. Intermarriage with the family of Barclay of Peterhead, when two brothers, John and Thomas Gordon, married their cousins, Mary and Jean Barclay, daughters of John Barclay and Anne Gordon, led to legal complications in the inheritance of property both in Scotland and in Jamaica, where both families were in business. After the death of Thomas Gordon (1788 - 1841), 8th laird of Buthlaw, and 2nd laird of Cairness, the estate of Cairness and property in Jamaica passed to his son, James Wilkinson Gordon and his descendants, while the lands of Buthlaw were inherited by descendants of the aunts of Thomas Gordon.

In his early life, Thomas Gordon (1788 - 1841) served in the British, Russian and Hanoverian Army, and travelled extensively abroad. Throughout the Greek War of Independence (1821 - 1828) he offered his unwavering support to the Greeks, both from Scotland and through active participation on two separate occasions (1821 and 1826 - 1827). After the war, he divided his time between Greece, where he served in the army and reached the rank of major-general, and Scotland, where he wrote his 'History of the Greek Revolution', 2 vols. (London, and Edinburgh: Blackwood, 1832).

Genealogical information regarding the family is contained in W. Temple, 'The Thanage of Fermartyn' (Aberdeen: Wyllie, 1894), pp. 272 - 275; and J.M. Bulloch, 'The House of Gordon' (Aberdeen: New Spalding Club, 1903 - 1907) vol. 2, pp. 261 - 262; vol. 3, pp. 81, 315, 466 - 467, etc. J. M. Bulloch's extensive collection of Gordoniana, deposited in the University, which was drawn upon by Edward Gordon of Cairnfield for his manuscript 'Book of the Gordons' (known as the Gordon of Cairnfield manuscript: MS 1164), contains further details.

The firm Ledingham Chalmers, advocates, Aberdeen, was originally known as Edmonds and McQueen and was founded in 1850. One of the founding partners was Francis Edmond of Kingswells. The firm became Edmonds and Ledingham around 1900: Robert Ledingham was a partner in it from 1920 and worked there until his death in 1969. They had an office in Golden Square. In 1991 there was no longer an Edmond partner and the firm became Ledingham Chalmers, which is still in existence today (2001). The property at 1 - 17 Golden Square was sold in 2001, but the firm retains other offices. They originally represented King’s College, Aberdeen, and are now the legal advisers to Aberdeen University.

Edmonds and Ledingham were factors for the Cairness estate. The estate, near St. Combs in north east Aberdeenshire, was built for Charles Gordon of Buthlaw in 1791-1797 to a design by James Playfair.
SourceDeposited in the University in 1984, by Edmonds and Ledingham, Solicitors, Aberdeen.
DescriptionThis collection supplements, and in some instances, duplicates, the Gordon family papers deposited in MS 1160. It records the role of Edmonds and Ledingham, solicitors, Aberdeen, who acted as factors for the Cairness estate, particularly whilst the family were away from their North East estate. The deposit comprises trust papers of Thomas Gordon (1788 - 1841), 1849; trust papers of James Wilkinson Gordon, 1871 - 1902; accounts and correspondence re. financial position of Theodore J. Gordon, son of James Wilkinson Gordon, 1886 - 1899; papers re. Jamaican estates, 1876 - 1894; business accounts and other financial papers of Edmonds and Ledingham in their role as factors for the Cairness estate, 1881 - 1913; rentals of Cairness estate, 1868 - 1892 and 1902 - 1918; leases for properties on Cairness estate, 1871 - 1917; correspondence files re. Cairness estate business, 1859 - 1918; files re. management, maintenance, leasing, and general administration of individual farms and crofts on Cairness estate, c 1849 -1921; papers re. building work on Rathen manse, 1915 - 1919; plans of Cairness Estate, 1760 and 1785; misc. insurance policies on Cairness estate, buildings and contents, 1880 - 1910; papers re. sale of Cairness estate, 1920; papers re. improvements to Great Ness House, Shrewsbury, 1899 - 1902; correspondence re. proposed lease of property at 50 King Street, Edinburgh, 1908; and papers re. Fraserburgh and St Combs Light Railway, including draft Light Railways Act , 1896 - 1903.
AppraisalThis material has been appraised in line with normal procedures.
AccrualsNone expected.
ArrangementThe papers duplicate some material found in MS 1160, but it was decided to keep the collections separate and such duplicates have been retained. The list gives only summary descriptions. Where possible estate correspondence was kept in its original bundles by year, though the scattering of some of these bundles made it possible to rearrange their contents by topic or name of property. In all such cases cross reference should be made to the undisturbed general bundles where related material may be found.
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsThe records are available subject to the signed acceptance of the Department's access conditions.
Physical DescriptionNo physical conditions affecting use of collection.
Related MaterialMS 1160 Family and estate papers of the Gordons of Buthlaw, Newtyle and Cairness, Aberdeenshire (mid 17th century - 1938).
Publication NoteColin A. McLaren and Margaret A. Stephen, 'Estate and Family Papers of Gordon of Buthlaw and Cairness, 1642-1938 (MS 1160)', Reports and surveys of archives in northern Scotland, 'Northern Scotland', 2 (1976-1977), 184-187.

Aglai Kasdagli, 'Exploring the papers of the Scottish Philhellene, Thomas Gordon (1788 - 1841)' Cambridge Papers on Modern Greek, 3 (Kampos, 1995)

Aglai Kasdagli, 'Antapokriseis apo ti Gramvousa. Selides apo to archeio tou Thomas Gordon. Reports from Gramboussa: pages from Thomas Gordon's archives', Kretologica Grammata, 13, (1997)
Related RecordMS 1160
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