The name Rattray derives from the barony of Rattray in Perthshire. Legend has it that the land was acquired from Malcolm Canmore in the 11th Century. Part of the estate includes a ruined Pictish fort which lies on a serpent shaped feature; this may explain why two serpents support the coat of arms.
The earliest records mention the first laird, Alan who was recorded as witness on charters of Alexander II. Alan’s grandson Eustace fought at the Battle of Dunbar in 1296 where he was captured. His Son Adam swore an oath to Edward I in the same year.
Sir Silvester Rattray of Rattray was ambassador to England in 1463, after his death he was succeeded by his son, Sir John. Sir John was knighted by James IV in 1488 but was killed at Flodden in 1513. His eldest son was already dead leaving two daughters so the estate passed to his second son Patrick.
Patrick was intimidated into giving up the Barony by John Stewart, Earl of Atholl. Through the marriage of Patrick’s niece into the family, the Earl took control of the Barony and also took control of her sister. Thus Patrick was driven from his estate in 1516. He began the construction of Craighall a grand building perched on a 200 feet rock above the River Ericht. The stronghold of Craighall could not protect him from Atholl though and he was murdered in 1533.
Sir John’s third son Silvester succeeded his murdered brother, Atholl continued to intimidate the family however and Silvester petitioned the king for legal recognition as heir. He was succeeded by his son, David Rattray of Craighall. George The laird’s eldest son was also murdered in 1592 and another Silvester, his son, succeeded him.
Silvester died in 1612, leaving three sons. David, the eldest, fought for Charles I. John, the youngest, was captured after the defeat of Charles II in 1651 and incarcerated in the Tower of London.
Patrick Rattray was successful in uniting the barony of Kinballoch with Rattray and their other associated parishes into one free barony of Craighall-Rattray. This charter also claimed back Rattray land seized by the Earls of Atholl.
Patrick’s son, John, was physician to Bonnie Prince Charlie. He was with him throughout the Forty-five and was captured after the Battle of Culloden, but was fortunately reprieved. The twenty-second and twenty-third Lairds died without issue, and the estates passed to a cousin, James Clerk Rattray, sheriff depute of Edinburgh. He was a good friend of Sir Walter Scott who modelled “Tully-Veolan” the Baron of Bradwardine’s castle in “Waverley” on Craighall.
The family seat is still at Craighall-Rattray.
Rattray Clan History