School of Divinity

Kate's warmth and the affection she inspired in others

Ample surviving textual evidence illustrates that Kate was an extremely warm and personable figure.

Uncommonly friendly

Most of Kates voluminous correspondence has been lost. Nearly all the 50 letters that have survived mention a letter recently received from her and assume she will reply in the near future.

Some writers sent separate letters penned on the same day to Grey Colin and to Kate, dealing with similar business from slightly different angles. Comparing these parallel letters reveals how much warmer and easier was the tone when writing to Kate (GD112/39/5/6 & 7; 9/3 & 4; 10/6 & 7).

'My ewil tennent Keit'

Kate held lands directly from the earl of Atholl and on three occasions, the earl sent his best wishes to 'my ewil tennent Keit' (GD112/39/6/5 & 21; 7/21). Some incident relating to her tenancy must have provoked this humorous nickname.

'Ane weilbelovit maistres'

Atholl's affectionate moniker and the willingness of Argyll and Campbell of Carrick to call Kate by her Christian name show an ease and familiarity which were not common in 16th-century correspondence.

The addresses on the verso of the letters provide a further indication of the affection in which Kate was held.

Argyll wrote to his 'luffing ant' (GD112/39/3/27) and Patrick Murray to his 'special aunt' (GD112/39/7/1), while John Carswell called Kate his 'special friend' (GD112/39/9/16), and James Douglas, 4th earl of Morton, regarded her as his 'very good and special friend' (GD112/39/5/14).

Even an erstwhile enemy, Ewin MacGregor, addressed Kate as 'ane honorabill woman and ane weilbelovit maistres' (GD112/39/11/15).