Diana Reid of Robertland, Honorary Secretary of the Convention of the Baronage of Scotland; born 1930, died July 15, 1997
DIANA Rosamond Angell was the only daughter of the Rev Cyril Angell, vicar of Evercreech in Dorset. Among her ancestors were Egbert Napier of Ettrick, killed in action with the Gordon Highlanders in 1916, and Sir Henry Lawrence, of the Indian Civil Service.
She was educated at Sherborne School for Girls and
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Bangour University of Wales, where, unusually for a girl at the time, she graduated honours BSc in Agriculture and Animal Genetics. She was a noted huntswoman and at the age of 18 was given the honour of ''carrying the horn'' for the Blackmoor Vale. She also hunted in Southern Ireland with the Galway Blazers over the estate of John Huston, the American film producer, who was a personal friend. In later years she enjoyed horse trails in the Canadian Rockies.
She also had strong American connections, where her forebears helped found the city of Providence, capital of the state of Rhode Island, where she was greeted as a distinguished visitor and honoured as a Daughter of the American Revolution.
It was in the hunting field that she met her husband-to-be, David Reid, then Master of Trinity Foot Beagles. David read law at Trinity, Swedish law at Uppsala, and Dutch law at Leyden. He was a Knight of Malta, and a genealogist of European reputation, being regularly consulted on ancient muniments and was appointed official archivist at Glasgow University.
After the marriage, the couple lived briefly in the West End of Glasgow before David acquired back from a kinsman the estate of Robertland, near Stewarton, together with the sixteenth-century ruined castle, a Georgian house, and the Barony of Robertland, where he and Diana took up farming.
About this time, the then Lord Lyon, Sir Thomas Innes of Learney, and Lord Borthwick persuaded David Reid to resuscitate the moribund Convention of the Baronage of Scotland, which encompassed the oldest families and the
old landed gentry in Scotland. After David's early death at 43, Diana took over as honorary secretary of the convention, and for 25 years played a major role in public life in Scotland in this work.
The work of the convention, which represents the holders of ancient baronies and families who have registered armorial bearings as the Court of the Lord Lyon is little known, and continues to maintain a low profile. In recent years, there has been a renewed public interest, partly because of well publicised commercial sales of land including the caput of the land to which is attached the barony title. As much as #80,000 has been paid by persons wishing to be known as ''baron'', although the title is honorary and carries no seat in the House of Lords. The convention views such transactions with some disfavour, although they are perfectly legal.
Some ancient baronies have been associated for centuries with particular families, for example Burnett of Leys, Farquharson of Invercauld, Hope of Luffness, and Hunter of Hunterson. Others, such as
the late Sir Nicholas Fairbairn of Fordell, rediscovered and resuscitated ancient baronies. Most of the Scottish aristocracy include baronies among their lesser titles, but seldom use them.
The convention meets twice a year, without publicity, usually in the houses of one of the members. Apart from her efficient skills with administration, it was one of Diana Reid's particular talents to charm such members into hosting these private occasions, and since they were usually held in castles, tower houses, or country mansions with beautiful gardens, throughout Scotland, the occasions were always memorable. In this way, Diana maintained an extensive social network throughout the landed gentry of Scotland which was probably unique, and she thus enjoyed the widest circle of friends.
In addition to the social side, there was also political work to be done. Recently she helped co-ordinate efforts by Agnew of Lochnaw, Baronet, and Nairn of Ballencrieff to lobby the Scottish Office to preserve the rights and privileges of feudal baronies in the face of Gov-
ernment plans to abolish feu duties, and ultimately to destroy the feudal system of land ownership in Scotland.
Diana is survived by three daughters and five grand-