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The Brodie Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: UNITE

Let me share with you the remarkable history of your family name, Brodie. According to a charter, your family held the thanage of Brodie through ancient right, passed down by your paternal ancestors. The name Brodie is derived from the Gaelic word “Brothag,” which means ditch, hollow, or muddy place. It is possible that the Brodies share a common ancestry with the Morays and Inneses, who were also settled along the Moray Firth in the twelfth century, as evidenced by their coats of arms featuring three stars. Your family built a castle at Brodie, which has undergone construction over many generations and now features a core dating back to the sixteenth century.

Throughout the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the Brodies were prominent among the local nobility, and their name appears in various charters of the diocese of Moray. In 1484, Alexander Brodie of Brodie was summoned before the Lords of Council in Edinburgh to give an account of one of his verdicts as a local judge. Alexander Brodie of Brodie was a staunch supporter of the Reformation. In 1640, he attacked Elgin Cathedral and destroyed its carvings and paintings, which he deemed idolatrous. He also represented Elgin in Parliament and, in 1649, was one of the commissioners sent to negotiate with the exiled Charles II for his return to Scotland. Brodie was a skilled politician and, following the royalist defeat at the Battle of Worcester in 1651, he was summoned to London by Oliver Cromwell to discuss a potential union between Scotland and England. Despite initial resistance, he eventually accepted a judicial office under the Protectorate after Cromwell’s death in 1658. However, this decision led to his disfavor after the Restoration, and he was fined for his actions.

In 1727, Alexander Brodie of Brodie was appointed as Lord Lyon, King of Arms. A magnificent portrait of him wearing official robes still hangs in Brodie Castle. He served as Lyon during the Jacobite rebellion of 1745 and attended the Duke of Cumberland during his Scottish campaign. Following the death of his son, Alexander, in 1759, the chiefship of the clan passed to a cousin named James Brodie of Spynie. James married Lady Margaret Duff, the youngest daughter of William, the first Earl of Fife. Sadly, James’ eldest son perished in a drowning incident, and the estate subsequently passed to his grandson, William Brodie, who served as Lord Lieutenant of Nairn from 1824 to 1873. In 1979, the then chief, Ninian Brodie, entrusted Brodie Castle to the care of the National Trust for Scotland. The present chief is your grandfather, Alexander Brodie of Brodie, continuing the proud lineage of your family.

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