Kilgraston House, Bridge of Earn, Perth PH2 9BQ, UK
Charles Thomas Constantine Grant (July 2, 1831 - October 5, 1878) was the second son of John Grant of Kilgraston (June 13, 1798 - January 20, 1873), near Bridge of Earn, Perthshire and his wife Lady Lucy Bruce, 3rd daughter of the Earl of Elgin. He was born in 1832 at Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland. He was the third eldest of 13 siblings and Nephew of the Artist Sir Francis Grant PRA. 1803-1878. He married Janet Matilda Hay on the 8th October 1856 , she was the daughter of William Hay and Mary Garstin and they had a daughter Lucy Blanche Cordelia Grant.
Charles Grant entered the Navy at an early age. He served as a Midshipman on HMS Agincourt in 1846 , the flagship in which the Rajah Sir James Brooke 1803-1868 accompanied Admiral Sir Thomas Cochrane from Sarawak to Brunei. Grant became a favorite of the Rajah who took an interest in his career; they met again in England during 1847. Grant served with Charlie Johnson (who would later become the 2nd Rajah Brooke), Brookes nephew and son of his sister. Brooke enjoyed the vivacity of the young Boys on these ships, he called Grant "Hoddy Doddy". James Brooke had assiduously courted Grant with letters, poems and handsome presents ever since he first encountered the boy on HMS Agincourt in 1846. Brooke had arranged for "Hoddy Doddy " to be transferred to Kepples command and used his considerable charm to persuade the Laird of Kilgraston to let his son leave the navy and start work in the Sarawak Service once the Meander arrived in Kuching. Brooke had wanted his nephew Charlie Johnson also to quit the Navy for Sarawak. He had also persuaded Charlie's elder brother Brooke Johnson to leave the army and come to Sarawak with the promise of making him his heir, he became the Rajah's Aide-de-Camp and held the Title Tuan Besar. He had also changed his name to Brooke Brooke by deed pole. Their Cousin Arthur Crookshank aged 19 was also asked to join them and he remained there in charge suported by 2-3 ex seamen and frank McDougall the Bishop of Sarawak, while the Rajah James Brooke had returned to England.
Grant was appointed to HMS Meander, the ship that carried the Rajah back to Sarawak in 1848 after his triumphs in England where he had been acclaimed by the nation and knighted by the Queen. Rajah brought much needed reinforcements on his return, Spencer St John was to be the Rajah's private secretary. James Brooke wrote to the boy's father in Scotland proposing that he should leave the Navy and make his career in Sarawak. He became the Rajah's private secretary, and a valued member of the Government Service. Charlie Johnson met James Brooke in the early 1851 while James Brooke had called in at Malta with 2 Hoddy Doddy when he finally agreed to work for his Uncle. Charlie Johnson arrived in Kuching in 1852 with James Brooke and Grant returning in 1853 after 2 years absence. Charles Grant served sixteen years in Sarawak with Brooke Brooke and remained till the end of his life a devoted and loyal friend. A strain in the freindship with James Brooke appeared in 1857 when Brooke Brooke and Charles Grant returned to Kuching with wives, Brooke Brooke marrying Grant's sister Annie and Grant had married his sisters friend Matilda Hay. The two wives had quickly transformed the masculine word of Kuching with a new moral and social regime centered on the piano and Parlour. James Brooke, increasingly feling his separation from Charles Grant blaming Brooke Brooke and also suffering from ill health, made plans for retirement. Cassandra Pybus book "White Rajah" goes into much detail about dynastic succession where Brooke Brooke was bypassed for Charlie Johnson who became the 2nd Rajah Brooke in 1868.
It was a remarkable group of young men whom Sir James gathered round him at that time -- men who embraced a life of considerable hardship, loneliness and danger, and gave devoted service to the Rajah and his adopted country. In addition to a common allegiance and mutual dependence in an alien land, they shared the bond of similar background and upbringing. It was chiefly from the families of Brooke, Johnson and Grant that these men were drawn: brothers, sons and cousins were introduced into the Rajah's service and came under the influence of his strong personality. Inter-marriage strengthened ties of family and friendship. Harry Kepple wryly called these young men "The Rajah's Bower". Brooke Brooke married Charles Grant's sister; Grant's wife brought her brother Robert Hay, who became Brooke's good friend and supporter; not only Brooke's brother Charles joined him in the Service but later his younger brother Stuart, and his sister Mary's brother-in-law Harry Nicholetts.
Grant and his wife returned to his native Scotland when James Brooke retired to Sheepstore, Devon. Grant settled back to managing his estate in Kilgraston, Perthshire, he became and JP and DL.
In 1848, Brooke is alleged to have formed a relationship with 16 year old Charles T. C. Grant, who supposedly 'reciprocated'. Whether this relationship was purely a friendship or otherwise has not been fully revealed. One of Brooke's recent biographers wrote that as Brooke spent his final years in Burrator in Devon "there is little doubt ... he was carnally involved with the rough trade of Totnes." However, Barley does not note from where he garnered his opinion. Others have suggested Brooke was instead "homo-social" and simply preferred the social company of other men and have disagreed with assertions he was a homosexual.
BACK TO HOME PAGE