- John ‘Jock’ Houison, was a burgess in Edinburgh in 1450, succeeded by his son, more detailJohn HouisonThe history of the Houison family is less well known, but the first entry in the story which lead to the joining of the Houison and Craufurd families is well documented.
John ‘Jock’ Houison was a worker on the King’s farm at Braehead, now on the outskirts of Edinburgh. When this event of note occurred is not conclusively known, and the monarch with whom it is associated is also unclear. The tale is chronicled in Sir Walter Scott’s book “Tales of a Grandfather”, in which he suggests that it was James V.
The event took place on Cramond Brig on the outskirts of Edinburgh, and now passed unnoticed by most, be it for the hotel which stands on Queensferry Road of the same name. Jock, busy threshing corn in his small cottage near the bridge hear a commotion outside, and on investigation saw a well dressed gentleman being attacked by muggers. Arming himself with his scythe, Jock when to the aid of the gentleman, and having successfully fought of the attackers, Jock then took the well dressed stranger into his humble dwelling, and tended the man’s wounds and gave him humble hospitality. Later, Jock accompanied the man back towards Edinburgh to ensure his safety. As they talked Jock told his new acquaintance of his work on the King’s farm, and the gentleman introduced himself as the ‘Goodman of Ballengiech’. Jock was then asked what the one thing he would most want in the world. Jock’s answer was honest and heartfelt, as he replied that to own the farm on which he worked would be his greatest wish. When they departed, Jock was invited by his new friend to visit him at the Castle the following Sunday.
Jock arrived at the gates, and on asking, an obviously well briefed sentry, for the ‘Goodman of Ballengiech’ was allowed to pass, where he was welcomed by the Goodman. An extensive tour of the castle ensued, culminating with Jock being asked if he would like to meet the King. The farmer was beside himself with excitement but said he didn’t want to cause any trouble. The Goodman suggested they go to the main hall where he was sure that they would find the King, among his noblemen and courtiers. Jock, wary of the pending encounter enquired of his host how he would recognize the King. The Goodman replied that when they came into royal presence the King would the only one wearing a hat. Reassured, they entered the great hall together, which was packed with courtiers. Petrified, Jock scanned the room to recognize his hated monarch, but quickly concluded who his host really was saying to his host “It must be either you or me for all but us two are bare headed”.
Most amused by this, the King made Jock a present of the farm of Braehead, and it is claimed conferred that he and his descendents would be free of all taxes and duty in the land of Scotland, (which unfortunately is rather difficult to prove). In return Jock and his successors should be ready to present a ewer and basin for the monarch to wash his hands, either at Holyrood Palace or when passing by Cramond Brig.
- James Houison had a charter of Cramond-Regis in 1465, succeeded by his son,
- George Houison, was witness to a sasine of Sir John Boubray of the lands of Colcairny, to his Uncle, William Moubray, ancestor of the present family. He was succeeded by his son,
- Andrew Houison of Cramond-Regis, had charter dated 10th February 1555, married to Elizabeth Bathgate, and was succeeded by his son,
- John Houison of Braehead, in Cramond Regis, had a charter dated 13th December 1575. He married Janet Moubray, daughter of Alexander Moubray in Dalmeny. He had a son, Alexander, his successor, and a daughter Elizabeth. He died in 1618.
- Alexander Houison of Braehead, had a son James to his wife, a daughter of Haldane of Saughton.
- James Houison of Braehead, married Alison Ramsay of Blackcraig. They had six children, but only their son Alexander, and daughter Agnes survived to adulthood. He died in 1680, and is buried at Cramond.
- Alexander Houison of Braehead married Martha Young of Craigleith, in 1664. He had several children, of whom only his son survived to adulthood and had issue.
- William Houison of Braehead married Margaret Mitchel of Alderstone, by whom he had seven children, of whom only his eldest son and successor, one daughter survived. He died in 1729 aged 63.
- John Houison of Braehead married Elizabeth Craufurd of Craufurdland, joining our two ancient families. He was succeeded, as was his wife, by daughter Elizabeth.
- Elizabeth Houison Craufurd of Craufurdland and Braehead, the only representation of these two ancient families, which up until her mother, had both been in the male line. Elizabeth married the Rev James Moody, who assumes the name of James Houison Moody Craufurd, to who she had seven children. Their sons were: 1) John, who died in infancy;2) Alexander, born I 1780, dying aged 16 in 1796;3) William, who succeeded his parents. William had four sisters: 1) Elizabeth Beatrix who died in infancy;2) Margaret, Elizabeth, who died in infancy;and 4) Isabella. Elizabeth, savour of Craufurdland, died on 1st April 1823, succeeded by her son William.
- William Houison Craufurd of Craufurdland and Braehead, married in 1808 to Janet Esther Whyte, only daughter of James Whyte of Newmains and his wife Esther Craufurd (mentioned above, whose father was a lineal male descendent of William, the third son of John Craufurd of Craufurdland and Janet Cunninghame. John and Janet were William’s Great, great, great, great Grandparents.)
- William and Janet had three children, a son John Reginald, and two daughters, Elizabeth Constantia, and Winifred Janet more detailJockIt is unclear whether any of Jock’s descendents were ever called upon to carry out the unique family service until the ‘King’s Jaunt’ by George IV in 1822. Masterminded by Walter Scott, the Houison’s were called upon to perform the duties and William Houison Craufurd presented his ewer and basin, and there George IV washed his hands. On this occasion, as he had no children at the time, he was assisted by the son and nephew of Sir Walter Scott.
The ceremony enlists the services of the three eldest males of the Houison Craufurds, who in order of age, hold the Basin, Ewer, and Silver salver with Linen towel.
Records suggest that it was then customary for this service to be offered to the Sovereign each time they come to Scotland, although it is unclear how often the service has been carried out. The current Laird's father, Peter Houison Craufurd has performed the ceremony three times, for three different Monarchs, Edward V, George VI , and our current Monarch Elizabeth II. The service was offer again as part of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations, but the palace replied that regrettably the Queen’s schedule was too onerous to allow it.
The service was listed in the book “Keepers of the Kingdom” by Bruce, Calder and Cator, and the photo below was taken of Peter with his two sons Alexander and Simon next two the River Cramond, which Cramond Brig crosses.
- John Reginald Houison Craufurd of Craufurdland and Braehead married Mary Hamilton, by whom he had two sons, Reginald and Archibald.
- Reginald Houison Craufurd of Craufurdland and Braehead married Emily Maud Hassard, but they did not have any children and after Reginald’s death, Maud passed the estate onto her nephew, John Douglas, son of Reginald’s younger brother Archibald and his wife Nelly Dalrymple Hays (the author’s great grandparents).
- John Douglas Houison Craufurd of Craufurdland and Braehead, married Irene Marlow, and they had two children John Peter, and Barbara.
- (John) Peter Houison Craufurd of Craufurdland and Braehead, was the 28th laird, and saw the Castle modernised extensively inside. He married Caroline Helen Berry, daughter of Lionel Berry, Viscount Kemsley. They have three children, two sons: 1) Alexander, 2) Simon, and daughter Tessa. Alexander is married to Christine Gray, and they have two daughters, Katie and Elisabeth. Tessa is married to Christopher Geall, and they have one son Jack, and three daughters, Sophie, Rosie and Poppy. Simon is married to Adity Priyadarshini, and has two daughters, Indra and Manisha.
- Simon Douglas Houison Craufurd of Craufurdland and Braehead, is the 29th laird. He and Adity have further modernised the castle, using the ‘Towerhouse’ as a luxury self-catering apartment for upto 16, and continue to renovate and restore the castle.