Johnnie and Ishbel, the 1st Marquess and Marchioness of Aberdeen and Temair were much loved and respected not only at Haddo but also in Tarland further west in Aberdeenshire where they made their home in 1920.
They had moved to the House of Cromar when it became necessary for them to hand over the Haddo House and estate to their son George. Despite their very best efforts to find a solution to the financial issues which plagued the estate, none materialised and Lord and Lady Aberdeen approached Sir Alexander MacRobert, who made his fortune in India and who was their neighbour at Douneside, for financial help. He agreed to pay off accruing debt and to fund the annual deficit of the running of the estate. In return, the estate would be held in trust for Sir Alexander’s eldest son, Alasdair. Relationships between the families were cordial. When Sir Alexander’s first wife Georgina was dying from cancer, Lady Aberdeen was a frequent visitor and indeed when Sir Alexander himself died suddenly, she contacted his second wife Rachel, saying ‘If we can be of any use, please command our services’.
Under the terms of their agreement, Lady Aberdeen was required to leave the House of Cromar when her husband died. When that happened in 1934, in a letter she wrote to the Scotsman newspaper she declared that it was only through the friendly and generous arrangement with Sir Alexander that Lord Aberdeen had been able to see out his days in Tarland. However, things turned sour when a journalist chose to malign Rachel and accuse her of being ruthless with a much loved elderly lady. It has to be said though, that Rachel was only sticking to the terms of the agreement and that the MacRoberts had paid out a vast some of money over the years on condition that they would one day own the estate.
Read more in the new fascinating book, written by Marion Miller entitled - ‘Cawnpore to Cromar’.
The book can be purchased from Formartine’s, Tarves or for a full list of stockists see www.marionmiller.com.