Brodie Crest: A hand holding a bunch of arrows.
Brodie Clan Motto: Unite.
Brodie Clan History: There are several theories on
the origins of the ancient Celtic surname of Brodie. One suggestion is
that the Brodie’s were one of the original Pictish tribes of Moray,
taking their name from the Pictish Royal family of ‘Brude’. The lands
of Brodie are around twenty miles from the Inverness stronghold of the
Pictish King Brude. Another interpretation is that the Brodie surname
comes from the Gaelic 'Brothaigh', meaning a mire or ditch.
The Brodie’s are first recorded in 1311 when
Michael de Brothie, son of Malcolm, Thane of Brodie, received a charter
from Robert the Bruce, erecting the old Celtic thaneage of Brodie into
Throughout the 14th and 15th centuries the
Brodie's are mentioned in many charters of Moray. Thomas de Brothy was
a juror at a court held near Inverness in 1376. John de Brothie is
recorded as attending on the Earl of Mar, Lieutenant of the North. In
1380 as John de Brothy he was witness to a matter between Alexander
Bur, Bishop of Moray, and Alexander Stewart, the infamous “Wolf of
John Brodie of Brodie is recorded as assisting the
Clan Mackenzie at the battle of Blar na Pairc, where Alexander
Macdonald of Lochalsh was defeated. Alexander Brodie, a local judge,
was summoned to the Lords Council in Edinburgh, 1484, to explain the
reason for one of the sentences he had given out.
Alexander Brodie, great grandson of John Brodie,
along with John Hay of Park, and one hundred and twenty five other
persons were, in 1550, denounced rebels, after an attack on Alexander
Cumming of Altyre and his servants, one of whom was cruelly mutilated.
The eldest son of Alexander, David, in a charter of 1597 had his lands
made into a free Barony of Brodie. David’s second son, Alexander,
bought the lands of Lethen near Elgin.
On New Years day, 1640, Alexander the 15th Laird
of Brodie, a covenanter and firm supporter of the protestant cause,
assisted Gilbert Ross, the minister of Elgin, in the destruction of the
carved rood-screen with its painting of the crucifixion at Elgin
Less is written of the Brodie Clan than many of
the other ancient families of Scotland. This is due to the fact that
all of the Brodie charters and records were destroyed in 1645 when Lord
Lewis Gordon the Catholic Marquis of Huntly, burned and plundered
Brodie Castle, in revenge for Alexander’s signing of the national
Alexander was appointed a Lord of session as Lord
Brodie in 1649. He was one of the commissioners, sent to The Hague in
Holland, after the Death of Charles I, to negotiate the return to the
country of the exiled Charles II. Lord Brodie was called to London in
1651 by Oliver Cromwell to negotiate a possible union between England
and Scotland. In a diary entry Alexander wrote, “resolved and
determined in the strength of the Lord, to eschew and avoid employment
under Cromwell.” After the reformation he was fined heavily for his
actions. He died in 1679.
Alexander’s son, James, married Mary Ker, daughter
of William, 3rd Earl of Lothian. As James was to be appointed a privy
councillor and commissioner of excise, Mary, writes in correspondence
of her concern with financial problems, recollecting that her husband
had been fined £24,000 Scots by the Privy Council in 1685 for holding
conventicles in Brodie Castle. James and Mary had nine daughters but no
son. James was succeeded by George Brodie, son of Joseph Brodie of
Asliesk, younger brother of Lord Brodie.
George’s second son, Alexander Brodie of Brodie, was appointed Lord
Lyon King of Arms in 1727 and continued in the role until 1754. He
attended the Duke of Cumberland as he crushed the second Jacobite
rebellion in Scotland. By supporting the Hanoverians the Brodie’s
avoided the fate of so many of the Highland Clans.
Brodie Castle, near Forres, was the seat of Brodie
of Brodie from time immemorial until the late 20th century. The castle,
as it stands, was erected by Alexander Brodie of Brodie in 1609.
The original building was a fine example of a
Scottish tower house built on a 'z' plan, two five storey high towers
with ornately corbelled battlements lie at opposite corners of a
rectangular central keep. This gave defenders a full field of fire
along all four walls. In 1645, the castle was partially burnt by the
Catholic Marquis of Huntly. An extension was built the 17th Century and
a lavish eastern wing was added in the 19th century.
In 1980 the Castle was taken into the care of the National Trust for
Scotland. Set in parkland with woodland walks, the house has a
magnificent library containing over 6,000 books. The house also
contains fine porcelain, French furniture, and a major collection of
paintings including 17th-century Dutch, 18th and 19th-century English,
and work of the Scottish colourists. Within the grounds lies an
impressive class II Pictish stone. Known as Rodney’s stone, after the
gravedigger, Rotteny, who found it in 1781 whilst digging the
foundations of nearby Dyke church.
The front of the stone bears a Celtic cross carved in relief flanked by
two intertwined serpents. On the reverse are two fish-monsters, a
Pictish beast, and the double disc and Z-rod symbols.
The highest concentration of people with the Brodie surname is in Moray (Elginshire), Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire (including the whole of Kincardineshire and part of Banffshire), Angus (Forfarshire), Edinburgh and the Lothians, Argyll and Bute (most of the county of Argyll, the Isle of Bute and part of Dunbartonshire), Renfrewshire and the Scottish Borders (Berwickshire, Peeblesshire, Roxburghshire, Selkirkshire and part of Midlothian).
Associated family names (Septs): Brodie, Brody, Brodey, Bryde, Brydie.
Clan Brodie membership certificates.