John David Gordon Boyd
1774 – 1850
Relationship to Fawn: 6th great grand-uncle
In Another Story of the ’45, we introduced the Beldorney Gordons. By the latter part of the 18th century, the Gordon laird of Beldorney, Kildrummie and Wardhouse sold Beldorney and Belcherrie to Thomas Buchan of Auchmacoy, and his son Thomas, younger of Auchmacoy, in June 1776, and Succoth [or Socach] in October 1777.
“The Gordons thus ceased to be Lairds of Beldorney, after a tenure of 216 years, but continued to be lairds of Wardhouse and Kildrummie for more than a century longer . . . ” (A Short Family History of the Later Gordons of Beldorney, and of Beldorney, Kildrummie, and Wardhouse by Captain Douglas Wimberley)
It is to the families of Wardhouse and Kildrummie that we turn in this essay. Legally John David Gordon, he seems to have gone by John David Gordon Boyd, incorporating the family name of his mother, Charlotte Boyd. We are descended from his sister, isabella Gordon, who married George McHaffie.
This family line trails off significantly from our main branch, but it’s an interesting story. John David Gordon Boyd was part of the Spanish Gordons. Their story has its origins on the bloody field of Culloden as so many others do as well.
Arthur Gordon was born in Beldorney, Aberdeen, in 1729, a younger son of James Gordon, lord of Beldorney and Kildrummy, and of Mary Gordon, lady of Wardhouse and of Law.
In response to a law under the provisions of which every landowner in Scotland who was a Catholic had either to renounce his adherence to the Catholic Church or to forfeit his landed property to the Crown, many became secret Catholics.
In Another Story of the ’45, we met Arthur’s brother, John Gordon, 9th Laird of Beldorney. In that essay we referenced a secret chapel. John had made the choice to be a secret Catholic and hide out in Scotland after Culloden, but his younger brother Arthur Gordon, made another decision.
Though he was not inheriting his family lands, Arthur had in his own right a substantial amount of cash wealth. Concluding that a government that could insist on confiscating property could also confiscate cash eventually, and not choosing to hide out, Arthur left for the south of Spain in 1754. And why not? Oranges growing in abundance on the banks of the Guadalquivir. Green groves of olive trees yielding their plentiful crops. A rich harvest of grapes producing sherry wine. Arthur decided to invest in the production of white sherry wine in this sunny setting, and he prospered. He settled in Jerez and married into a Spanish family. His wife was Rosario Morrow, but they had no children.
In 1787, Arthur Gordon built the below house for his residence at the place known as Atarazanas. The winery was located just behind the residence and was entered from a side street. The house itself was later known as “Las Atarazanas”.
As the business grew, he brought over other relatives to help build the enterprise. It started with two of his nephews, Robert and James Arthur. They both came to Jerez and resided in the Atarazanas’ house while their uncle lived in Cádiz from where he managed the business and contracted the shipping. After Arthur retired in 1794, James Arthur and Robert created a new partnership under the name Gordon & Co. They brought over other Gordons, including our John David who arrived in Spain at the age of 20.
John David completed his education at the Scots College in Valladolid. Having ben raised publicly as a Protestant, it was during this time that he became a Catholic. He seems to have become very involved in Catholic causes, including Catholic emancipation in Ireland and supporting the Mission in Scotland. Later in his life he helped complete a project important to his father, the building of the new church of St, Margaret at Huntly, including providing the stun from his quarry at Kildrummie. In 1828 Bishop Paterson referred to him as a “great benefactor to the Mission in Scotland.” In the late 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, his commitment to Cartholic causes must have led him into many secretive corridors and adventures.
Charles Edward Gordon lived for many years. In that time, John David devoted himself to the wine business and Catholic matters. He married Maria del Carmen Beigbeider of Xeres de la Frontera in 1805, which became his home. They had many children who all also married into Spanish families. His father died in 1832 and John David succeeded to the properties of Wardhouse and Kildrummy Castle at the age of 60. The law regarding forfeiture of lands held by Catholics was in practice void by this time, so he succeeded to the position as an open Catholic.
Though Spain remained his home, he plowed the rents of his Scottish estates back into the estates, developing and improving the estates of Kildrummie and Wardhouse by extensive planting, improving the houses of the tenant farmers, and laying out convenient farms and building steadings. Further: “Despite the family living much of the time in Spain, Wardhouse flourished in the 19th century, being used as a sort of Balmoral, and as a home for various unmarried aunts and cousins. The Granary was used for large entertainments.”