On 'Lady Grange on St Kilda'
by Guusje Groote
The tragic figure of Lady Grange is portrayed by Morgan from a very
sympathetic point of view. It is a fictionalised historical account
presented from Lady Grange's own perspective. Lady Grange (Rachel Chiesley,
1682-1745) was married to James Erskine, the Scottish Lord Advocate,
but he repudiated her. After their separation in 1730, she started pestering
and stalking him. She spread rumours that he was a Jacobite sympathiser,
hence "sleekit Jacobite" (l. 10). Lady Grange became a serious
impediment to James Erskine and she was considered insane. Not much
later she was declared dead and while her funeral was staged in Edinburgh
she was abducted by Lord Erskine to Hirta, one of the remote islands
belonging to the storm-swept islands of St Kilda. In total she was imprisoned
there for 15 years. Eventually she managed to alert friends to her circumstances
by sending a letter, but they proved unsuccessful in rescuing her. She
was eventually removed to Skye, and died there in 1746.
(1) The Story of Lady Grange, in: The Living Age, vol. 9, issue 109 (June 13, 1846), New York.
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