PATON – A Brief Family History.


In 1347 Elizabeth Mure (or Muir), only daughter of Sir Adam Mure of Rowallan, Ayrshire, married Robert Stewart, who later became Robert II, King of Scotland. The grandson of Robert the Bruce, Robert Stewart was the first of the Stewart Kings and reigned between 1371 and 1390. We trace our descent through Elizabeth Mure.

In 1576, Janet Muir, a daughter of William Muir of Rowallan, married Matthew Paton, a farmer of Fenwick, Ayrshire. Their grandson, Captain John Paton, was a prominent Covenanter in the Scottish Rebellion during the reigns of Charles I and Charles II. For his part in many battles against the Crown, he was declared a rebel and executed in the Grassmarket, Edinburgh in 1684. A monument in his honour is erected in Fenwick Churchyard.

In 1840, John Paton married Isabella Hendrie in Largs, Ayrshire and they had 10 children, 3 of whom emigrated. One of the sons, John, went to Nebraska, USA in the 1870’s as did his brother William. John was very successful and married a descendant of one of the “Mayflower” pilgrims. Another brother, Hugh, married Marianne Dunlop in 1868 and they both later emigrated to Sydney, Australia in 1913. Their daughter Agnes (Nancy) had gone there in 1911 and married Albert Phillips. Nancy’s elder brother, also named Hugh, had emigrated to Australia in 1902 where he became Minister of St. Stephens Church in Sydney between 1925 and 1933.

In 1872, Hugh and Marianne’s son, Dewar was born in Largs. He later became an Estate and Bank Agent in West Kilbride, Ayrshire, where in 1906 he married Mary Newbigging, daughter of the owner of Seamill Hydropathic Hotel. Thus it was that that establishment, still flourishing today, came into the family. Dewar’s son, Robert, qualified as a lawyer in Glasgow and in due course became chairman of the Hotel. The hotel was sold in 1964.

Robert, or “Bertie” as he was known, married Mary Grant, younger daughter of Donald Grant. Donald was born in Helmsdale, Sutherland, the son of a tailor there, and after an apprenticeship to a Bookseller and Stationer in Inverness came to Glasgow in 1893, where soon afterwards he set up in business as the Grant Educational Co. Ltd. In 1903, the firm moved to retail premises at 91-93 Union Street beside Glasgow’s Central Station. The firm was a noted and successful publisher of Educational Textbooks as well as selling Books, Stationery and Educational Supplies. Donald Grant also founded the Teachers’ Trading Association, a discount credit card organisation, principally for Teachers. It was one of the first of its kind.

Bertie and Mary had two children, Grant and Barry. Grant was educated at Strathallan School in Perthshire, as Bertie had been, and at Kelvinside Academy in Glasgow. Barry was at Glasgow Academy.

Grant failed to matriculate for Glasgow University and was apprenticed as an Electrician to James, Scott & Co. His apprenticeship was never completed as he was called up for National Service in 1960. He had been in the CCF during his school days and had then joined the Territorial Army (TA). Grant served in The Royal Artillery where he was commissioned. He then rejoined the TA on his discharge from National Service in 1962. It was during his Army service that Grant met Pamela West. Pam was from Anerley in South London and was a Travel Courier. Pam’s parents, Maud and Bert, were both from South London families. Pam had been elected Victory Queen for Penge in 1946 and was educated at Beckenham Grammar School. Pam and Grant married in Glasgow in 1963 and spent their first year of marriage in Toronto, Canada. They returned to Glasgow in 1964 and bought a house in Newton Mearns. Grant was now working in the family Bookselling business in Glasgow. Their only child, Fiona, was born in 1964. Over the next six years, Grant completed, first, the Diploma in Management Studies at Strathclyde University, then following that, he passed their Final Exams and was accepted into the Chartered Institute of Secretaries. Meanwhile, sadly, his father, Bertie, had become terminally ill with Alzheimers Disease. He died in 1972. His mother, Mary, died in 1998.
In 1971, the Grant Educational Co. was sold to Howard & Wyndham, who are more importantly remembered for their activities as Theatre Owners and Managers. The new owners appointed Grant as Managing Director of the Grant Educational Co., where he remained until 1977. In 1976 he was approached to be included in a shortlist of candidates for the position of Managing Director of Dillons University Bookshop in London. The recruitment process was soon concluded and Grant was appointed to the post. In August 1977, Grant, Pam and Fiona moved from Glasgow to their new home in Haslemere, Surrey. The Grant Educational Co. ceased trading in 1988. Howard & Wyndham Ltd went out of business in the early 1990’s.


Fiona was enrolled as a pupil at King Edward’s School in nearby Witley, where she remained until she went to Leicester University in 1982, where she took a degree in Astrophysics. After completing her degree, Fiona was offered a position as an Accountant with Coopers and Lybrand. She qualified in 1989 and was immediately offered a position with them in Sydney, Australia. Fiona moved to Sydney in 1989. Soon she was appointed to their Share Registry Division and was made a Partner in the firm in 1998. She became an Australian citizen in 1994. In 2001, she married John Loader, a New Zealand Architect working for the Sultan of Oman.


In 2007, Fiona gave birth to twin boys, Robert and Edward, and in 2009 again gave birth, this time to twin girls (identical), Zoe and Naomi.

Shortly after Grant’s appointment to Dillons, the owners, the University of London, sold the business to a mini-conglomerate, Pentos Ltd. Grant was appointed to their retail board and continued with Dillons until 1982, when he was approached by Blackwells of Oxford to join them. He was appointed Jt. Managing Director of their major retail company, University Bookshops (Oxford) Ltd. This company owned and controlled (at arms length) all the several individual companies which owned and managed a number of bookshops in university towns throughout Britain. Grant, by this time a “Master Bookseller”, was elected President of the Booksellers’ Association of Great Britain & Ireland in 1984, he was made a Freeman of the City of London in 1986 and elected to the Livery of the Worshipful Company of Stationers in 1988. Grant remained at Blackwells until 1990.

Grant and Pam settled in the Oxfordshire village of Eynsham in 1983. Pam continued her career as a Travel Courier for a while then embarked on the course to become a “Blue” Guide in Oxford. Shortly after that she took up the position of Visits Secretary at nearby Blenheim Palace, where she remained for ten years.

Grant’s brother Barry, had married Gail Storey in 1964 and they had two children, Amanda and Richard.

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This page last updated 16/07/2012