Nielsen Hayden genealogy

Helen Graham


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  • Name Helen Graham  [1, 2, 3, 4
    Gender Female 
    Person ID I25758  Ancestry of PNH, TNH, and others | Ancestor of TWK
    Last Modified 23 Mar 2020 

    Father William Graham,   b. Between 1463 and 1464   d. 9 Sep 1513, Flodden Field, Northumberland, England Find all individuals with events at this location (Age ~ 50 years) 
    Mother Annabel Drummond   d. Aft 1492 
    Marriage 25 Nov 1479  Muthill, Perthshire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 5
    Family ID F15869  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Humphrey Colquhoun,   b. of Luss, Argyll, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this locationd. Jan 1538 
    Marriage Abt 13 Jul 1509  [1, 2
    +1. Helen Colquhoun   d. Between 13 Jun 1594 and 13 Mar 1596, Aiket, Ayrshire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location
    Family ID F15431  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart
    Last Modified 21 Mar 2020 

  • Notes 
    • She was definitely a daughter of the first earl of Montrose. The will of William Graham, who was killed at the battle of Flodden Field in 1513, acknowledges a debt to the Laird of Luss (i.e. John Colquhoun, father of Humphrey), on account of his daughter's dowry, and also the Laird of Luss younger (i.e. Humphrey).

      Burke's Peerage and Burke's Landed Gentry, and thus many online sources, show William Graham's daughters Margaret, Elizabeth, and Helen, in that order, as daughters of William Graham by his second wife Janet Edmondstone.

      This cannot be true of Elizabeth. The Complete Peerage 4:470 says that Walter Drummond, grandson of John Drummond and Elizabeth Lindsay, "m., in Feb. 1513/4, his cousin Elizabeth, 2nd da. of William (Graham), 1st Earl of Montrose [S.], by his first wife Annabel, 4th da. of John (Drummond), Lord Drummond abovenamed." It can be seen that if Walter Drummond and his wife Elizabeth were cousins, it would have to be the case that Elizabeth was a daughter of William Graham's first wife, Annabel Drummond.

      CP says of Annabel Drummond that "[s]he was living 1492" and that her son William Graham, second earl of Montrose, was "a minor at his father's death", 9 Sep 1513, but "was served heir to him" 24 Oct 1513. The Scots Peerage narrates this latter event in a way that suggests that the younger William was still a minor on 24 Oct 1513: "William […] was under age at the death of his father, but in virtue of the Act of 24 August, was served his heir 24 October, 1513." SP goes on to emphasize and extoll his precocity: "He early displayed qualities of prudence and statesmanship which enabled him, over a long life," [etc.]. CP notes that the younger William "was present in Parl. [S.] 2 Jun 1514" and that he married his only wife, Janet Keith, in Dec 1515. All of which suggests that the second earl attained his majority no earlier than the end of 1513, which means that he has to have been born to Annabel Drummond no earlier than the end of 1492, and given that he could perfectly well have married while still a minor, plausibly as late as 1497 or 1498.

      Also, according to SP, William Graham and Annabel Drummond had a second son following William: "Walter, a younger son of the first marriage, who had a tack of Little Cairnie for nineteen years from the Abbot of Inchaffray, 8 January 1541-42, and appears to have been ancestor of the second family of the Grahams of Thornick, afterwards Cairnie." If so, this moves the end of Annabel Drummond's life to no earlier than the end of 1493. And again, given that the first son could easily have been born as late as 1497-98, she was quite possibly still living in 1498-99.

      The date of William Graham's marriage to Janet Edmondstone is unknown to us, but the earliest record of them as married is a charter dated 17 Mar 1505. According to CP she died between that date and 15 Apr 1506.

      The papal dispensation for Helen Graham's marriage to Humphrey Colquhoun was dated 13 Jul 1509.

      If Annabel Drummond died as soon as the records allow, say December 1493, and William Graham married Janet Edmondstone as soon as possible, say the first part of 1494, and Helen Graham was their first child, born say early 1495, then the papal dispensation for her marriage to Humphrey Colquhoun, dated 13 Jul 1509, was issued when she was fourteen. Which is hardly unheard-of among the aristocracy of 15th/16th century Scotland, but also adds up to a pretty tight fit.

      Additional to this is the fact that William Graham and Annabel Drummond married in 1479, and yet their eldest son and heir cannot have been born earlier than late 1513. It is implausible that they spent the first dozen years of their marriage having no children. We have seen that daughter Elizabeth has to have been the issue of William and Annabel. Margaret is specified by SP as a daughter of the second marriage. Aside from the fact that this implies, in SP's usual manner of listing offspring, that the other daughters, whose mothers are not noted, were from the first marriage, it also means that Helen, Jean, and Elizabeth are the only known offspring of William Graham whose birth can be used to fill the childbearing years from 1480 to 1492. (The other legitimate child of William Graham, Patrick, is given by SP as his son by his third wife, Christian Wawane.)

      Taken together, we think the evidence preponderantly suggests that Helen Graham was a daughter of William Graham's first wife, and probably, as the order of William's children in SP suggests, his eldest daughter.

  • Sources 
    1. [S376] Janet and Robert Wolfe Genealogy.

    2. [S800] The Scots Peerage, Founded on Wood's Edition of Sir Robert Douglas's Peerage of Scotland, Containing an Historical and Genealogical Account of the Nobility of That Kingdom. Ed. James Balfour Paul. Edinburgh: David Douglas, 1904-1914.

    3. [S3858] James Colquhoun, "Colquhoun of Luss." Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica Volume II, new series, 1877, p. 533., calls her "Catherine Graham".

    4. [S3859] The Chiefs of Colquhoun and Their Country by William Fraser. Edinburgh, 1869., calls her "Catherine Graham".

    5. [S128] The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant ed. Vicary Gibbs, H. A. Doubleday, Duncan Warrand, Howard de Walden, Geoffrey H. White and R. S. Lea. 2nd edition. 14 volumes (1-13, but volume 12 spanned two books), London, The St. Catherine Press, 1910-1959. Volume 14, "Addenda & Corrigenda," ed. Peter W. Hammond, Gloucestershire, Sutton Publishing, 1998.