New light shed on the MacRoberts of Dounside


A Deeside authoress has released her first book, entitled ‘Cawnpore to Cromar ,’ which tells the captivating story of a famous local family.

Marion Miller’s premiere publication is a detailed account of the history of the MacRoberts of Douneside who made their fortune in India and from their home in the Howe of Cromar.



Many Deeside and Donsiders will remember Marion from when she ran the Millers Visitor and Retail Centre at Midmar, which at that time was hailed as one of Scotland’s most popular and distinctive tourist destinations.

Marion has long been fascinated by the lives and exploits of the landowners of the North-east and, having retired from her career, she enjoys a busy family life and now finds time to write.

She said: “The story spans a century and is set on two continents at a time of great social, political and economic upheaval, in what is a truly fascinating period in world history.

“Alexander MacRobert, who was later to become Sir, began life in humble circumstances in Aberdeen, but he turned an ailing woollen mill in India into one of the most successful enterprises in the British Empire.

“In 1888, he purchased the farm of Douneside from where he and his first wife, Georgina could enjoy their visits home.

“Ultimately, the wealth he created provided an endowment, along with other land and property assets, which formed the basis of one of the United Kingdom’s major charitable trusts (The MacRobert Trust is still based in Tarland today.)”

Sir Alexander may have played his part in World War One when his mills worked flat out to clothe the forces, but following the deaths of their three aviator sons, two in active service during World War Two, his second wife, Rachel, issued a very personal challenge to the Nazis by donating five planes to the RAF.

This book not only sheds new light on the legend of ‘MacRobert’s Reply,’ but tells the story of Sir Alexander and his first wife as well as the influence American Rachel had on agriculture and the local community.

The book is published by Librario, priced at £12.99, and is available from Yeadons in Banchory, Deeside Books in Ballater and the Finzean Farm Shop.

Marion will give a talk at Alastrean House, Tarland on Monday, August 4, on her work as part of the Aboyne and Deeside festival.