Archiver > SOUTH-AFRICA-EASTERN-CAPE > 2006-01 > 1137713772

From: "Celeste Mulholland" <>
Subject: Hugh GRANT's Family Tree
Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2006 01:36:12 +0200

In case anyone is interested - I got this off the Genes Reunited site (cut
and paste), his father spent time in Africa and its turns out that he is a
very removed but nevertheless proven cousin to Prince Charles ...

The family tree of Hugh Grant

Hugh Grant’s ancestry is a colourful Anglo-Scottish tapestry of warriors,
empire-builders and aristocracy. His Grant ancestors were military men,
whose careers took them to India, and then to South Africa. Hugh’s 2 x great
grandfather Lieutenant (later Major General) James Murray Grant was
stationed there as a Cape Mounted Rifleman in the 1860’s, fifty years after
Britain had successfully captured the Cape Colony from the Dutch. His son
Ronald was also a Cape Mounted Rifleman, fighting in the Boer War, and it
was in South Africa that he met his future wife, Mina, and her extraordinary
father, Dr James Stewart.

Hugh’s other 2 x great grandfather Dr James Stewart (1831-1905) was the son
of a dispossessed tenant farmer from Perth, and became a Doctor of Medicine
at Glasgow University. He fell under the influence of the great African
missionary and explorer David Livingstone and, in 1861, he set sail for
Africa with Mrs Livingstone. He explored much new territory, especially
along the Zambesi, from Livingstone’s H.Q. at Shupanga, he explored the
Zambesi. In 1870 he became Principal of the Missionary Institute, 700 miles
n.e. of Cape Town, reforming it to become a non-sectarian centre for
educational, industrious, religious and missionary activity and as such a
model for many later missions.

In 1874, he attended Dr Livingstone’s funeral at Westminster Abbey and, when
he returned to Africa, he founded a new mission, Livingstonia on the western
shore of Lake Nyasa (now in Malawi). He was also the first white man ever to
set foot on the northern shore of that great lake. He returned to Scotland
in the 1890’s and was Moderator of the general assembly of the Free Church
of Scotland.

In 1903, he published Dawn in the Dark Continent, an influential account of
the achievements of the African missions to date. He returned to Cape Town
in 1904, and died at Lovedale, being buried on the rocky promontory of
Sandili’s Kop. He was described by Lord Milner as ‘the biggest human in
South Africa’, whilst the Dictionary of National Biography. wrote, ‘As the
founder of Livingstonia, Stewart played no mean part as an empire-builder’.

Hugh’s grandfather, Major James Murray Grant, D.S.O. (1899-1974) was a
solider too, serving in the Seaforth Highlanders. In 1940, whilst efforts
were made to evacuate most troops from Dunkirk, Churchill deliberately left
the Highland Division stranded at St. Valery-en-Caux, in a futile attempt to
encourage the French to put up their own resistance to Hitler. The Division’
s commander surrendered to Rommel, but James bravely (or foolishly) urged
his own men to stand and fight, reminding them that no Seaforths had
surrendered in 300 years - as Hugh himself put it, ‘the old concept of
honour was to win at all costs or die’. In the end he was overwhelmed and
captured. He tunnelled out of his Prisoner of War camp with his bare hands,
but was captured after having been betrayed by a Swiss farmer. By an
extraordinary coincidence, he met the farmer again, on a ship, decades
later. Not surprisingly the farmer was extremely apologetic. Hugh is very
keen to make a film, starring himself, about his heroic grandfather but his
father (who was himself a Seaforth officer for a while) thinks movies
‘vulgarise’ the truth and is adamantly opposed to the plan.

The use of the forenames ‘James Murray’ indicate that Hugh’s earlier Grant
forebears belonged the Jacobite Grants of Glenmoriston, an offshoot of the
Grants of Freuchie, who suffered severely when Bonnie Prince Charlie’s army
were defeated at the Battle of Culloden in 1745. But the consequences were
worse for William Drummond, 4th Viscount Strathallan, who commanded the
troops under the ‘Young Pretender’: he was killed in the battle. The
ill-fated viscount was one of Hugh’s 7 x great grandfather on his mother’s

Also on Hugh’s maternal ancestry, we can trace his grandmother’s Randolph
line back to Bernard Randolph (d. 1628), a clothier of Biddenden, Kent, who
claimed descent from Sir John Randolph, justice itinerant in 1302, and who
is thought to be related to Thomas Randolph of Badlesmere, Kent (1523-1590),
Elizabeth I’s Chancellor of the Exchequer and intrepid ambassador to Ivan
the Terrible of Russia. Bernard’s 3 x great grandson John Randolph
(1749-1813), who was Hugh’s 5 x great grandfather, was a professor of
divinity at Oxford. Of his lectures, the DNB notes ‘most of the
undergraduates slept, and the only things carried away were the syllabus
given to each at the beginning, and the formidable list of authors for
future reading which was supplied at the close’. He became Bishop of London,
but died of a fit of apoplexy whist riding his horse, in 1813.

Weaving back through female lines we come to Hugh’s 6 x great grandfather
the 1st Earl of Bristol. The earl was father of Hugh’s ancestral uncle John,
Baron Hervey (1696-1743), privy councillor, and Vice Chamberlain to George
II’s wife Queen Charlotte, known as ‘pretty Mr Fainlove’ and described
recently as ‘unofficial court jester. Though a married man his attentions
could just as easily be swayed by good-looking young men…a notorious
troublemaker and not renowned for faithful friendship. The one exception was
Queen Charlotte, with whom he remained on the best of terms’. One of this
curious character’s descendants, and thus a cousin of Hugh’s, is fashionable
‘it’ girl Lady Victoria Hervey.

But Hugh has yet more illustrious cousins. The 1st Earl’s wife Elizabeth
Felton of Playford was a 12x great granddaughter of Edward III, making Hugh
a direct 20th cousin of H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, as shown below…


Edward III = Philippa of Hainault

John of Gaunt = Katherine Swynford (sister in law of Geoffrey Chaucer)

John Beaufort Earl of Somerset = Margaret Holland

Edmund Beaufort Duke of Somerset = Eleanor Beauchamp

Margaret = Humphrey Earl of Stafford

Henry 2nd Duke of Buckingham = Katherine Woodville

Edward Duke of Buckingham = Lady Eleanor Percy

Elizabeth = Thomas 3rd Duke of Norfolk

Henry Earl of Surrey = Frances de Vere

Thomas 4th Duke of Norfolk = Margaret Audley

Thomas 1st Earl of Suffolk = Catherine Knevett

Theophilus 2nd Earl of Suffolk = Elizabeth Dunbar

James 3rd Earl of Suffolk = Barbara Villiers

Elizabeth Howard = Sir Thomas Felton of Playford

Elizabeth = John 1st Earl of Bristol

By Anthony Adolf

This thread: