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Broun / Brown - Wyld Ancestry Pages

Original document re ancestry compiled by Canon Claud Leonard Broun

The BROUNS or BROWNS of Scotland seem for some reason to have been much less numerous than their namesakes in England. The Brouns of Colstoun near Haddington trace their descent from Patrick Broun in the twelfth century; their crest is a lion rampant grasping a fleur-de-lys with the motto 'Majestas floreat'; they also had a Talisman, the Colston Pear, whose legend may be read in Debret, one of the family having been made a Baronet by King James VII in 1686. In the next century another Broun became a judge with the title Lord Colstoun, of whom anecdotes are told in Dean Ramsay's 'Scottish Life and Character'.

My great-great-grandfather married a lady who at the age of 17 took part in the welcome extended to Prince Charles Edward in 1745. She lived to the age of 100, dying in 1828. My grandfather Wyld remembered being introduced as a small boy to this old lady, whom he knew as 'Grannie Broun'. The family were in business in Edinburgh and Glasgow till my grandfather Broun about 1840 extended the business to Australia. (The firm of Brown and Co flourished in London and Sydney till recently).

In Australia he met Duncan MacKellar of Glendaruel, once chief of that clan. When the clans broke up he entered the Merchant Navy and captained a ship which was captured by the French in the war of 1812 and taken into Brest. Captain MacKellar managed to free himself and his crew and brought his ship safely home, for which gallant action he was given a gold medal, which was shown me when I was a boy., by his daughter Margaret my great-aunt. Later Duncan emigrated to Australia and started a sheep-farm, concerning which my aunt had Bushranger stories to tell. My grandfather married the elder daughter Mary. My father, their third son, was born at Wooloomooloo, Sydney, in 1850.

There follows a rather higgledy-piggledy family tree - with some mistakes: Robert Broun, his great-grandfather, appears as George; Sophia Whettall appears as Whetham.

The MacKellars, I regret to say, fell under the control of the Campbells; some of them took part in the Massacre of Glencoe in 1692. My great-aunt told me that from that date the men of the family had white hair at the age of 25.

My grandfather John Broun anglicized his name for business purposes and settled in London. The family were Presbyterian and my father was brought up on the Shorter Catechism. He was a religious boy and knew his Catechism well but he used to manage always to get stumped by the last question to avoid being put onto the Longer Catechism! In London the family conformed to the Church of England, and my father after being educated at Highgate, Wadham College Oxford and St John's College Highbury, was ordained both Deacon and Priest in the Church of England in 1874.

Next year he married his cousin, Marion Wyld. My father's grandfather, George (Robert: ed) Broun, had married Amelia (Isabella: ed) Wyld. According to a tradition the Wylds were descended from Merlin! In the 18th century this particular family appears at Penicuik; James, Amelia's brother, bought a house in Fife, and became James Wyld of Gilston. He married Marion Stodart, whose mother was Marion Haig of Bemerside (Alison Turnbull: ed). They had 15 children. Robert, the eldest, was a philosopher and at one time Provost of South Queensferry. William was a soldier in the Indian Army, and fought in the Sikh war and in the Mutiny. George, my grandfather, was M.D. of Edinburgh, but he migrated to London; there he nearly spoilt an excellent practice by takingup Spiritualism and Homoeopathy. He was also one of the first recruits of the London Scottish. He was over 6 foot and had a bushy beard, originally red; his nickname among the boys of Edinburgh was Carrotyheid.

In London he met at church a family as large as his own named Kennedy. John Kennedy the second had left Ayrshire in the middle of the 18th century, and married an English lady, Nan Hadfield. Their son Benjamin married Sophia Whetham (Whettall:ed), and their daughter Mary Emily was my grandmother; she lived to be nearly 88, and beside being a nature-lover solved the chess problems in the Times till almost the end of her life. The Kennedies were Unitarians, but were converted to the Church of England by the incumbent of 'Quebec Chapel' (now the Church of the Annunciation) who afterwards became Canon Holland of Canterbury; he was one of my godfathers.

I was born on July 31st 1879; my mother died a fortnight later; and I was baptized on August 20th. My father was curate in Harmondsworth in Middlesex at the time; but previously he had been at Much Wenlock in Shropshire, and at Hythe in Kent. I was named Leonard after the Patron Saint of Hythe, and the reredos there is a memorial to my mother. Shortly after, my father became curate of St James' Newlands in West London, where he stayed five years; he taught me the rudiments of cricket (of which he was very fond) in Kensington Gardens; my other recollections include watching for a large flag to be run up in Notting Hill to tell us by its colour the winners of the Boat Race, and sailing a yacht on the Round Pond. My schooldays began at a Kindergarten quite near to our home in Holland Park Gardens.

In 1887 my father accepted the living of Verwood and West Moors, in Dorset but marching with the New Forest, where he maintained 3 Churches and 3 Schools almost entirely out of his own pocket, besides building a new Chancel and Vicarage at Verwood, and a new stone Church and School with houses for the Curate and Schoolmaster at West Moors. I was sent away to a Boarding School in May 1887 at Clevedon in Somerset, and moved to the Preparatory School of St Andrews College Bradfield in Berkshire after Christmas, owing to an outbreak of scarlet fever, and thereafter in May 1890 to Stoke House near Slough to be prepared for an entrance scholarship at Winchester which I gained in July 1892.

(note re Claud Brown's love of cricket, not shared by Claud Leonard; he was completely put off cricket by (a) not being any good at it and (b) having to field in one of several games going on on Winchaester's playing fields and being dangerously nearer to the batsmen in the game behind his back than to those in his own game: his eyesight was suspect too and he wore pince-nez for reading - though the same two pairs did him from 1890 till 1944. Also re CB's love of cricket: when old and blind he had to be read out the complete scores of all first-class cricket from the Times daily, a job given to his granddaughter Marion much against her will! Ed.)

The following is transcribed from later writings of Claud Leonard Broun

Most people are interested in their ancestors; and I suppose that that interest need not be snobbish unless it includes the idea that their own ancestors are superior to other people's. I will therefore begin with what I know of my own;

it will in any rate be of interest I hope to my descendants.

The name Broun is of course the same as the more familiar Brown, neither of them is a very common name in Scotland for some reason, and of course originally, and where Board School Education has not eradicated our native tongue, they are pronounced alike.; A small girl who had just entered St.Matt­hew's Day School in Edinburgh, where I was Priest-in-Charge, was asked by her mother, "Did you see Mr Broun today ?" She answered with great scorn, "It's Mr Brown Mother, fancy ca'in the Minister Mr Broun " - our old Scottish way of speech [ toun, goun etc.] having no doubt been corrected by the teacher.

As a matter of fact I was registered at birth under the name of Brown, and continued to spell my name that way till I was about fifteen; but my father, who had very little interest in such questions, one day told me that our name was really Broun, having been changed, I think by his grandfather, for business reasons, but not legally.

I further discovered that our family crest was that of the family of Broun of Colstoun near Haddington, but as to the exact relation to that family, together with the legend of the Colstoun Pear, may be found in Debrett's Baronetage, I have never had the patience to enquire.

Our Brouns, so far back as the aforesaid great-grandfather, were honest merchants in Leith, though my father said they came from Haddington.

My great-great-grandmother, known as 'Granny Broun', was something of an Edinburgh character; she lived to be a hun­dred, dying in 1828; and as a girl of seventeen she took part in the welcome to Prince Charles Edward, and I think danced at the ball at Holyrood in September 1745. My maternal grand­father well remembered being introduced as a small boy to the awesome old lady, and her remark, "Aye, laddie, ye've a braw sappy hand".

Her grandson, my father's father, John Wyld Broun or Brown, born in 1808, extended our family business to Australia and made a considerable fortune - as did at least one of his brothers. He spent some time in Sydney ( where 'Brown & Co.' still fourishes ) and I suppose it was there he met my grand­mother, Mary MacKellar.

Duncan MacKellar, 'the old man' as my aunt Mrs Malcolm always called him, came from Glendaruel, and was recognised as the Chief of the MacKellars. He married Margaret Dick, a Greenock lady ( I possess a water colour sketch of the Cloch light­house which she painted in 1811 ); left the Highlands about that date and entered the Merchant Navy. The ship he commanded was taken by the French in 1812 and carried into Brest; but in the night he managed to free himself and his crew, overpowered the prize-crew, and brought the ship safely home, for which he was awarded a gold medal by the owners.

Later he became a squatter in Australia, and my great-aunt Margaret used to describe to me the dangers they ran from bush-rangers. According to my aunt, all the MacKellar men of her family had white hair by the age of twentyfive, which was believed to be a curse incurred for their taking part, at the bidding of the Campbells, in the Massacre of Glencoe - a fact which somewhat modified my pride in my Highland ancestry.

My mother's father, George Wyld, born in 1821, also came of an old Scottish stock - in fact the Wylds claimed descent from Merlin! My great-great-grandfather was in business at Penicuik; his son James married Marion Stodart, of a Lanark­shire family; her mother was Marion Haig of Bemerayde.2- James bought Gilston in Fife, and there his large family was brought up.

My grandfather graduated M.D. at Edinburgh and then went to London, where he built up a flourishing practice, though somewhat spoilt by his adherence to spiritualism and to homoeopathy. He was one of the first volunteers in the London Scottish, of which his red beard and six foot stature must have made him a striking feature.

In London he made the acquaintance of a family of Scottish extraction, but domiciled for a century in England - the Kennedys. A John Kennedy was born in Ayrshire in 1694. His son also John Kennedy, born 1728,3 left Ayrshire for England, and married Nan Hadfield, one of those sisters so handsome that they were known as 'the Lancashire Witches'.Their younger son Benjamin, born 17864 married Sophia Whittal and had a family as large as the Wylds.

It was this family with which my grandfather became friendly, and he eventually married Mary Emily Kennedy, born in 1829.

To London also came my grandfather Broun, having made his fortune in Australia, to plant the firm 'Brown & Co.' in Mask Lane. The Brouns and Wylds had intermarried already in Scot­land, so that my grandfathers were cousins. My father, Claud Brown, was the third son and had been born at Woolamoolo (?) near Sydney, in 1850. The family settled down in London at Lancaster Gate, and my father went to school in Highgate, and then to Wadham College, Oxford, where he read Theology, and after a course at St John's College, Highbury, was ordained deacon in Lent 1874 and priest in Advent the same year. In the following year he married Marion Janet Wyld, George Wyld's eldest child.

In religion, my forbears had all, so far back as I know of them, been adherents of Presbyterianism, except the Kennedys who were Unitarians. In 1843 ( the Disruption ) the Wylds had become enthusiastic Free-Kirkers; my great-aunt Augusta used to describe to me how she and other members of the family had accompanied the disrupting ministers from the Assembly in St Andrew's, George Street, down the hill to the hall in Canon-mills where they organised their schism from the Established Kirk. The result of migration to London however was that my grandparents ultimately conformed to the Church of England.

The Kennedys also were won over by a Mr Holland, the in­cumbent of what was then called Quebec Chapel - now long known as the Church of the Annunciation - who afterwards became a Canon of Canterbury. He was one of my godfathers.

Both my mother and father were devoutly religious. I have a copy of the Vulgate given to my father in 1864, when he was fourteen, a proof of the bent of his mind already at that age. He held several assistant-curacies, including one at St Leonard's, Hythe to which church he afterwards gave a marble reredos, depicting the entombment of our Lord, in memory of my mother.

After over three and a half years of happy married life, my mother died, a fortnight after my birth.

I was born in Harmondsworth in Middlesex, where my father was then assistant curate, on July 31st, 1879, and baptised by him on August 20th. My own life was nearly cut short in infancy by whooping-cough, through which I was nursed by my mother's mother and my great-aunt Margaret MacKellar. My father's parents both died I believe in the year of my birth.

1 probably 1809 or 1810

2 Alison Turnbull

3 1729

4 1784

5 Whettall