Major Hugh Rose (Ross) of Glastullich, Ross and Cromarty

(c) Highland Council; Supplied by The Public Catalogue FoundationHugh Rose (Ross) was born in 1767, son of the parish minister of Creich and later Tain. Hugh and his brother William Baillie Rose were the two sons of the Rev Hugh Rose, parish minister of Creich (1759-70) and of Tain (1770-74). By 1794 Hugh was fulfilling the duties of deputy paymaster general for the West Indies, having been appointed to this position by the holder of the office, a Mr Phipps. Concern about the excessive cost of stores in the West Indies led to the establishment of a parliamentary commission and to the trial in 1809 of Valentine Jones, Commissary of Stores, on charges of corruption. Hugh Rose was in effect the go-between in dubious transactions involving Jones and a merchant Matthew Higgins. Higgins also used a trading house (consisting of his own brother, his clerk’s brother, and Hugh Rose’s brother William Baillie Rose) to take excessive profits, sometimes receipted under false names. Rose was not called on to give evidence.

He made a fortune in the Government commissariat service in the West Indies, returning to Scotland about 1802. He came to Ross-shire and bought Glastullich, Calrossie and Tarlogie, as well as Bayfield in Nigg. In 1799 Hugh Rose married Arabella Phipps, the daughter of Col. Isaac Phipps of Manchester Square in London, who had been paymaster general in the West Indies. Their children were a son Hugh Munro-St Vincent born in 1800, a second son Isaac followed who died in infancy, Rebecca in 1802 and Mary born in 1804. Hugh acquired a share in plantation Geanies in Berbice in 1801, along with J Crawford Macleod of Geanies and John Bethune, the son of another Ross-shire minister. He became addicted to legal actions and took forty years proving that the only son of George Ross of Cromarty, the former army agent, was illegitimate so that he, Hugh Rose (before he added “Ross” to his surname), might claim the estate through his second wife, Catherine Ross Munro, heiress of entail to the estates of Culcairn and Cromarty. It was then that he added the name of Ross to his own, styling himself Rose Ross till his death in 1846. Strangely enough, he had an earlier indirect connection with part of the property he ultimately acquired. At the end of the 17th century, a family of Reochs were tenants of Castlecraig, one of them, William, being a great-grand-uncle of Hugh Rose Ross.

As the owner of extensive properties in Easter Ross (including Bayfield, Phippsfield and Calrossie), Hugh funded on supplying the British Fleet in the West Indies. The Rosses built the lodge and west drive, enclosed the park south-west of the house with shelter belts, laid out a rose garden and introduced ornamental planting throughout the policies. Hugh Rose Ross was known as an enthusiastic agricultural improver, responsible for modernising his properties. He oversaw the management of the policy woods, informal planting and the construction of footpaths on Gallow Hill and the headland. Further planting was done by George W. H. Ross in the late 19th century. Despite the estate’s high capital value, it was still encumbered by debt. Brigadier-General Sir Walter Charteris Ross (d.1928) sold some tenanted farms to reduce the continuing debt. By 1964, his son, Colonel ‘Geordie’ Ross, decided to sell the estate to the Nightingale family, retiring to a house built within the Walled Garden. The estate remains in private ownership.

Hugh’s wife Arabella ‘in the act of preparing Medicine for the relief of a sick and indigent Family, suddenly expired on the 9th November 1806, aged 27 years’. According to a local legend she was, in fact, murdered by Hugh’s quadroon mistress, who has been brought back from the Caribbean to their home at Bayfield House, Nigg. Hugh Rose, through his second marriage to Catharine Munro, acquired the estate of Cromarty and changed his name to Hugh Rose Ross.
In 1829 he still owned plantation Experiment on the east side of the Berbice river, which he renounced in favour of the government [Foreign Office Library, Land Claims]. Experiment had been owned by Roderick Rose & Co in 1798 – possibly an unidentified relation.

Hugh Rose (Ross) born: 31 October 1767; married: 16 July 1799;  died: 30 September 1846.


Hugh Rose (Rev.) born: 1730 – died: 22 September 1774

Married: 22 June 1758

Mary MacCulloch born: 1735 (?) died. 17 Dec 1793


[S2175] Ancestry Public Member Trees,, ( Operations, Inc.), Higgins Family Tree Owner: higgins_philip2006 (Reliability: 3).

[S1595] Stirnet Genealogy, Peter Barns-Graham, Rose02 (Reliability: 3).


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