Record

CodeNA7505
Dates1519-1969
Person NameSpeid; of Ardovie
Epithetof Ardovie
ActivityThe Speid family are of ancient origin having owned the estate of Ardovie, Brechin, since 1519 when they exchanged the lands of Cookston with Sir David Carnegie of Kinnaird. The Speids of Cookston are mentioned in the 15th century in the charters of the bishopric of Brechin. The family owned the estate until 1969 when it was sold.The family followed the professions of merchant and writer. One Robert Speid of Ardovie was factor to Janet Rocheid, Lady Melgund in the late 1680s. William Speid was Town Clerk of Montrose in the 18th century.The family originally lived at the Mains of Ardovie until 1756 when Robert Speid (died 1793) built a new house financed by his wife's money. She was Christian Grierson, daughter of Homer Grierson, corn merchant in Brechin. She had a dowry of £6,000 and inherited a good fortune on her father's death. Christian and Robert had no children. The estate was inherited by Robert Speid WS, Edinburgh (died 1846 aged 82). He was the grandson of James Speid, merchant in Dundee, and Miss Scott, Dundee. He did not gain entry into his inheritance until after the death of Christian Grierson who held the estate in liferent. Robert Speid acted as her factor for a number of years before the had a dispute of unknown origin. During this period he, his wife Isobel Hall of Millholm, and their six children lived in Edinburgh. After Christian's death the family moved into Ardovie. The younger boys continued to attend school in Edinburgh while living with their aunt, Catherine Hall, mainly in Comely Bank, Edinburgh.On Robert Speid's death in 1846 the estate was successively inherited by his sons James Speid, John Speid (1814 - 1861) and Henry Speid. Henry had left for Canada via Portugal and South America and an advert had to be placed in various newspapers to locate him. Henry returned only once in 1860 to settle his affairs and then returned to Canada permanently. His granddaughter sold the remaining property in 1969.The estate and house were left tenanted until 1969. Gradually farms had been sold off in the intervening 100 years. The rump estate was bought by Mr and Mrs Syme of neighbouring Middledrums farms. The Ardovie furniture, portraits, silver, etc., were cleared by Janet Speid, granddaughter of Henry Speid, who removed documents found in drawers, etc. The house was then tenanted again until the early 1980s. When the Symes moved in the house was in a terrible state of disrepair. Their builder found a large wooden trunk in the outside brewhouse. It was full of lettes between Robert Speid WS, his wife, children and sister-in-law, Catherine Hall, letters of Robert Speid and Christian Grierson and various documents relating to other earlier Speids. Many papers had disintegrated in the damp condition but a great deal survived.
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