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Glenbuchat Heritage

56 Dr Alexander Profeit
The Glenbuchat Image Library
56 Dr Alexander Profeit

Dr Profeit

The Pictures above show:

1. Picture of Dr Profeit
2. Picture of Dr Profeit in Highland Dress
3. Picture of Dr Profeit’s House at Abergeldie painted by Queen Victoria.
4. Picture of Craig Gowan Dr Profeit’s house at Balmoral
5. Rev William Profeit at Glenbuchat
5. Profeit’s Hotel Dinnet. Bought by Dr Profeit for his nieces
(The Old Coaching Inn, a haven to weary travellers making their way up the valley with their horse and cart, was refashioned as the Profeit’s Hotel. Established by the nieces of Victoria's Royal physician at Balmoral, Dr Profeit, the hotel has continued to play host to sightseers and tourists from around the world. Indeed, Queen Victoria herself states in her diaries that she "stopped at the Profeit’s on her way home"! The Profeit’s still thrives today as the renamed Loch Kinord Hotel)
Pictures 1,2 and 4 are from the Royal Collection


Dr Alexander Profeit who eventually became Queen Victoria’s Commissioner and ran her estate at Balmoral had a close connection with Glenbuchat.

He was born and brought up in Towie the neighbouring village to Glenbuchat. After studying medicine at Aberdeen, he became the doctor at Towie and his medical practice included Glenbuchat. His name is recorded on a number of death certificates and he attended Alexander Walkers daughter when she died of TB at Castle Newe. At the dinner to say goodbye to Alexander Walker in 1870 he gave the farewell speech. Alexander Walker wrote a fiddle tune in his honour.

Click for details about Alexander Walker

DOCTOR PROFEIT.
Scottish, Strathspey ("Slow, when not danced"). B Flat Major. Standard tuning. AB. Composed by Alexander Walker and the famous Scottish violinist and composer James Scott Skinner (1843-1927). Walker (A Collection of Strathspeys, Reels, Marches, &c.), 1866; No. 44, pg. 16.


Alexander’s brother William was for a while the minister at Glenbuchat Church and Williams granddaughter lived for a while at Easterbuchat.

Profeit Family Tree:

Alexander Profeit

Birth 27 Oct 1834 in Towie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland Death 27 Jan 1897 in Crathie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Parents
Alexander Profeit 1799 - 1862
Mary Riach 1806 - 1880
Spouse
Isabella Anderson 1842 - 1888
Children

Robert Alexander Profeit 1868 - 1911
Mary Profeit 1869 - 1870
Charles William Profeit 1870 - 1937
Alexander Profeit 1873 - 1911
George Walker Profei t1874 - 1923
Albert Profeit 1876 - 1901
Leopold Profeit 1878 – 1917
Erskine Grant B Profeit 1880 - 1913
Victoria Helen Profeit 1883 –

Birth 1834 27 Oct Towie, Aberdeenshire,
Residence 1841 - Age: 7 Aberdeenshire,
Residence 1851 - Age: 17 Aberdeen West, Aberdeenshire,
Residence 1861 - Age: 27 Towie, Aberdeenshire,
Marriage to Isabella Anderson 1868 8 Apr - Age: 33 Logie Coldstone ,
Residence 1871 - Age: 37 Tarland, Aberdeenshire
Residence 1881 - Age: 47 Crathie and Braemar,
Death 1897 27 Jan - Age: 62 Crathie, Aberdeenshire,


Brother
William (Rev) Profeit

Birth 25 Jul 1837 in Towie, Aberdeenshire,
Parents
Alexander Profeit1799 - 1862
Mary Riach1806 - 1880
Spouse
Margaret Crawford Lamb 1862 -1919
Children

Mary Helena Profeit 1885 –

Residence 1841 - Age: 4 Aberdeenshire,
Residence 1851 - Age: 14 Towie, Aberdeenshire,
Residence 1901 - Age: 64 Glenbucket, Aberdeenshire,

1918 Voters Roll Easterbucket

James Hay Shepherd
Sarah Hay
George Forbes Duncan Farmer
Jane Duncan
William Henderson Ploughman
Miss Christine C Profeit (Wm Profeit’s Granddaughter)
William Symon retired shoemaker


Dr Profeit demonstrates the great change that took place in Deeside and Donside when Queen Victoria bought Balmoral in 1858, and how local people were elevated to high ranking positions.

Dr Alexander Profeit was born in 1833 at his Father’s Farm at Nether Towie, in the Aberdeenshire parish of Towie on the River Don, north-west of Balmoral. Towie is almost the nearest village to Castle Newe. Dr. Profeit had attended Towie parish school, Aberdeen Grammar School, and King’s College, Aberdeen University, where he graduated MA in 1855. In 1857 he graduated LRCS at Edinburgh. He married Miss Anderson (d. 1888) of Tarland, and by her had seven children. He practised medicine at Towie and Tarland, where he became a firm friend of Dr Robertson (Ballater GP). He was also the doctor for Glenbuchat. At Dr Robertson’s suggestion Dr. Profeit went to Crathie as parish doctor, creating tor himself a reputation for respect and efficiency.

In 1874, Queen Victoria’s Commissioner at Balmoral, Dr Alexander Robertson, and finally decided to retire, and the Queen approved the appointment of Dr Profeit in his place. Alexander Profeit’s royal career started when he was engaged as medical resident at Balmoral in 1874; he became Commissioner of Balmoral and Overseer of Abergeldie on 22 November 1875.

Dr Profeit had a quite unique acceptance among royal personages, from whom he received many tokens of regard and esteem. At Court, his services were indispensable. One of his last public duties was to take part in the arrangements for the reception of Czar, upon the occasion of his visit to Balmoral. At the Braemar Gathering the ‘Balmoral Men marched to the ground, under Dr. Profeit, Her Majesty’s Commissioner’.

The Queen corresponded with him freely, and trusted him so deeply, that she judged it safe to disclose personal matters, including about John Brown her beloved Highland Servant. When Dr Profeit died at Balmoral in January 1897, he had served his Queen for twenty-two years. Dr Profeit was executor of John Brown’s will.

In the attic of Craigowan, his house on the Balmoral estate, in an old tin-box, Dr Profeit had preserved three hundred letters written personally to him by the Queen. (Craigowan is now used by Queen Elizabeth and is her favourite retreat at Balmoral.) Dr Profeit had wished them to be kept private, but his son George saw Profit not just in name, and in 1905 he wrote to Edward King of Britain, asking for a huge sum of money in return for the letters.

Sir James Reid, an Aberdeen Doctor who had become the Queens Physician after Dr Marshall intervened, obtained the letters and handed them over immediately to a grateful monarch. There were over three hundred of them, many, as he noted in his diary were ‘most compromising’. It is said the Queen reportedly discussed her interest in communicating with the other world through Brown.

Dr Profeit took a great interest in the wider community. He was a regular attender at all the local highland games, won prizes in shooting competitions, sang at local concerts and gave public lectures on health issues.


His obituary notice (in the British Medical Journal) of Feb. 13, 1897 reads:

We regret to have to record the death of Dr. Alexander Profeit, Her Majesty's Commissioner on her estates at Balmoral. Dr. Profeit has been in failing health for the last two years and was on the point of surrendering his commission at the time of his death. Dr. Profeit was a native of the parish of Towie, Aberdeenshire, and began his education at the parish school. He proceeded to the Grammar School of Aberdeen, and the University of Aberdeen, where he graduated in Arts in 1855. Two years later he qualified in medicine, and settled down in practice in his native parish. He afterwards engaged in practice in Tarland, and finally in the parish of Crathie. When his friend, Dr. Robertson, resigned the Queen's Commission ship, twenty years ago, Her Majesty appointed him to the vacant post, which he has since filled with singular success and acceptance. He took an active interest in local affairs, and occupied the office of Justice of the Peace, county counsellor, and Chairman of the Parish Council. He was an agriculturalist of no mean note, and successfully developed the Queen's polled Aberdeen herd, which carried off many prizes and the leading shows in England and Scotland. Dr. Profeit's engaging personality, devotion to duty, and business capacity gained for him the esteem and confidence of his royal mistress and the household, as well as of the public at large. He had a quite unique acceptance among royal personages, from whom he received many tokens of regard and esteem. At Court, his services were indispensable. One of his last public duties was to take part in the arrangements for the reception of Czar, upon the occasion of his visit to Balmoral.
{Ed.--see also Walker's tune for "Doctor Robertson (1)"}

Dr Profeit’s life in more detail:
From many soures

In 1874 Queen Victoria’s Commissioner at Balmoral, Dr Alexander Robertson, finally decided to retire and the Queen approved the appointment of Dr Profeit in his place. Born in l833 at his Father’s farm at Nether Towie, in the Aberdeenshire parish of Towie on the River Don, north-west of Balmoral, and some 17 miles from the railway terminus at Alford, Dr Profeit attended Towie parish school, Aberdeen Grammar School, and King’s College, Aberdeen University, where he graduated MA in 1855.33 In I857 he graduated LRCS at Edinburgh.

He married Miss Anderson of Tarland, and by her had seven children. He practised medicine at Towie and Tarland, where he became a firm friend of Dr Robertson. At the latter's suggestion Profeit went to Crathie as parish doctor, creating for himself a reputation for respect and efficiency.

Alexander Profeit’ s royal Career started when he was engaged as medical resident at Balmoral in 1874; he became Commissioner of Balmoral and Overseer of Abergele on 22 November l875. Reared as he had been on a farm, Dr Profeit was a keen agriculturist, and he set about founding a herd of Aberdeen Angus black cattle which made the Queen’s name famous in the show ring. Latterly he had taken to breeding Hackney’s. His oldest son, who edited the famous Crathie Church Bazaar book, was appointed Vice -Council at Soulina Roumania

While Profeit’s independence of character, energy, zeal for his job and devotion to her won him Queen Victoria's regard, he and John Brown were enemies from the start, with neither willing to yield to the other. Profeit now knew Crathie and its people better than John Brown, a point that the latter resented. Profeit was permanently on hand at Balmoral and in medical practice at Crathie. He ministered to royal servants, estate tenants and locals alike. He was also a tireless organiser of the Braemar Gathering. of which the Queen was frequently hostess. John Brown resented Profeit’s involvement.

Before Profeit arrived at Balmoral, John Brown had had a prominent role in the hiring and firing of estate workers and gillies. When Profeit was appointed he was disturbed by the fact that Brown was so influential and el'1deavoured to scale down the Highland Servant’s importance. The situation led on one occasion to a useful employee being sacked. In the mid 1870’s Queen Victoria decided that she would like to have a ‘boy piper ‘as a part of her permanent Balmoral staff and Dr Profeit was dispatched to Corgarff in Strathdon parish, where the McHardy boys were winning a reputation for themselves as prominent pipers.
Edith Paterson, the daughter of one of the boys, Jamie McHardy, remembered: Come an autumn day in 1877 Jamie and his brother climbed into a box cart with grandfather for the journey to Balmoral, their pipes cushioned in the straw at their Feet. The day was hot and the pipes mute when Jamie would attempt to try a tune before the final descent on the Castle. ‘Ach,’ said grandfather, ‘there’ll be pipes there.’ And they trundled on again.

The Queen heard them play in the rose garden. There were no other pipes hut their own. And Jamie won with his test piece ‘Where the Gadie runs’. Backed by his own skill and Dr Profeit’s recommendation Jamie McHardy entered royal service for training under Pipe Major Ross of the 42nd Regiment. Edith Paterson went on: ‘My Father stayed with Queen Victoria For five years, 1877 to 1882.‘ John Brown was always off hand with him, as he was not a ‘Brown appointment’, and the boy was warned by the Highland Servant to keep his ‘eyes open and his mouth shut’ about life at Balmoral. At length, said Mrs Paterson, Jamie ‘streeve’ (‘quarrelled’) with John Brown, who refused to have him any longer on the staff. In his usual manner John Brown complained about him to the Queen, and despite Dr Profeit’s protestations, the young man had to go. His customary reference was ‘James McHardy left. Gave no offence. Signed, John Brown.' Said Mrs Paterson: ‘My father with youthful and in a fit of impatience tore it up.

In late September 1904 Dr James Reid was contacted by Edward VII's private secretary, Francis Knollys, who said that the monarch wished to consult Reid on a private matter.

The late Dr Alexander Profeit’s son George was in the process of threatening the King with blackmail concerning letters written by Queen Victoria to Dr Profeit about John Brown. George Profeit had opened a black trunk of his father's and discovered in excess of three hundred letters, ‘many of ‘them most compromising’ noted Dr Reid." The King wanted Reid to obtain the letters from George Profeit. Dr Reid was perplexed about how to proceed. During November l904 he asked for a meeting with Princess Beatrice at Kensington Palace to talk over the problem.

The King was willing to pay for the letters; the important point was that the monarch must have them. Shortly after the interview with Princess Beatrice, George Profeit met Reid to negotiate the sale. It took several visits from the difficult vendor to complete the negotiations, but on 5 May 1905 George Profeit handed over the letters for an undisclosed sum. Reid personally gave them to the King. The ‘compromising’ letters thereafter disappeared. adding one more twist to the mystery surrounding the relationship between Queen Victoria and John Brown, the fine detail of which is unlikely ever to be known for certain.

The whereabouts and provenance of the letters is shrouded in mystery and the purported ‘owners’ are reported to have said that the letters ‘will not be made public until the next century’. The Famous reason given is that the 'owners' ‘don’t want anything revealed while the present members of the Royal Family, particularly the Queen Mother, are still alive'

The definition of ‘compromising’ with regard to correspondence between Queen Victoria and john Brown is open to debate and should be assessed from the point of view of Queen Victoria’s character and personality rather than in prurient twentieth—century terms. Anything relating to the friends, especially the Queen’s gushing words of Familiarity and amity — which is probably the best explanation of" the Queens use of ‘love’ and ‘darling one ‘to John Brown — would be considered ‘compromising' by the paranoid Edward VII who himself was drawn into one episode concerning such letters





Picture added on 25 April 2019 at 22:34
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