Andrew CAVAYE & Chrissie GRIEVE
Chrissie& Andrew with their 8th to 13th children and 1st grandchild
Winks Ian Noel
Chrissie and Andrew .
Ronnie Dorothy Maysie
The Portobello Cavayes
Andrew Cavaye’s father Robert McClelland Cavaye (1808-1876)
about 1928 with the family at Castlelaw near West Linton
on the back steps in 1929
Chrissie’s mother, Grannie Grieve (Helen Gibson Dods c1847-1919)
In the back garden at Craig Royston, Portobello, probably in the winter before her death
Dorothy Cavaye as bridesmaid to her aunt Maysie, Portobello 1934
At the wedding, an outstanding monologue was delivered by Maysie’s Grieve cousin
Helen Gibson Dods Henderson, later better known as the actress Helena Gloag
Andrew Cavaye and Christina Hepburn Grieve
remarks by their eldest grandchild, Dorothy at the 2009 Portobello Cavaye reunion
we are, all of us Cavayes - descendants of, or married on to
descendants of, Andrew Cavaye and Christina Hepburn
Grieve. These two were married on his
At the time he married Chrissie Grieve, Andrew Cavaye was a fine handsome young man. Though not very tall in stature, he was dark with a well-groomed moustache and known for being impeccably dressed. His rise to this status in his life is truly remarkable.
He was born in Northfield Cottage in 1872 the ninth child of Robert McClelland Cavaye and Margaret Boyd Within two years of Andrew’s arrival the last child of the family was born, a girl, Louisa, but within eighteen months she had sickened and died, so Andrew was left as the youngest of a big family. This was a low point both financially and emotionally in the Cavaye family’s fortunes. In the words handed down to me, Robert McClelland Cavaye, the father, had not done a stroke of work since his nursery garden apprentice days in the early 1830’s, but lived on a very small annuity from his railway shares. In the early ‘70’s things were to deteriorate further until, when Andrew was nearly four, his father committed suicide cutting his throat with a razor . Eventually Dr. Balfour, senior, who had been rushed up from Portobello, pronounced him dead after six days from loss of blood Whether our grandfather remembered any of this or not, it could not have been a very good start to his life. General Cavaye, his Uncle, came down of course from Royal Circus. His carriage waited outside while all the business and legal pleas were drawn up to make Mrs. Cavaye more secure and the two Northfield Cottages bought and knocked together to give the big family a stable home. Mrs. Cavaye, Andrew’s widowed mother, was a very competent woman. She took in dressmaking and was even capable of joinery and laying a floor. Her standards were high and the General would come down regularly to keep an eye on things. If you have any skills in you hands, you must inherit them from her, I can assure you. My Auntie Maysie had none, I have none. Auntie Peggy had a lot as did Ronnie.
God for the Education Act of 1872.
Andrew Cavaye went to
during his days in Miller’s foundry and going on until he was fully
established, Andrew Cavaye walked down Fishwives’ Causeway to evening classes
about Chrissie Grieve at this stage? She
was two years younger than Andrew. The
Grieve family had lived in various colony type houses in the Restalrig area of
year after they were married they had twins a boy and a girl, who sadly
survived only a few days. A year later
their eldest child Bertie was born, my father. From there we go on to ten more boys and four
girls. The girl just before Peggy died
too, so that left a big family of eleven, with Ronnie, born in 1919, as the
youngest. She was a lovely smiling
woman, Chrissie, always laughing, always generous Andrew had a fiery temper and a short
fuse. I have
kept to his own gentlemanly interests and didn’t have much time for
conversation with women. He liked his
clubs and his sports, his bowls and his golf, his cars and the convivial company
of men. Women mostly stayed at home, men
went out to the club or the pub in the evenings. Grannie often
sneaked a visit to the cinema sometimes with Ronnie, while Grandpa was
out. When I was born, he said to my
mother, “You’re an awful family for girls.” She didn’t much like him for that. Both Winkie and Ian
especially, thought he was a bit unfeeling, when he saw them off to
prospered every year becoming well-known in
time he was away, trouble began brewing with the Inland Revenue and in 1925 he
had to pay back £8000 plus a £2000 fine.
This led to his having a heart attack in the office in Storries Alley.
Early in 1930, my father recalls, there was a problem with some
contaminated casks, a hundred hogsheads to Bertram of Quality Street.
Bertie had to take over the firm he had inherited at a terrible time. The great depression was just starting and the cooperage was hardly ticking over. The bottom had fallen out of the whisky market. Production was halted. Three year old whiskies were being offered at the filling price. Grannie had to be life rented and the money £1800 Andrew had left was to be divided between the eleven children. He was advised to declare himself bankrupt. He got no helpful advice from the family lawyer, John Loudon of J and A. Hastie, who suggested that if he was not able to repay the £3000 of borrowed capital he would have to sign a trust deed. This he couldn’t bear to do. Why should he be the only one of a family of eleven to suffer from the sudden decline of the business from which the whole family fortune had stemmed. In his own words in the lawyer’s office, “You are forcing my back to the wall. Something must be done.”
He sent out
enquiry letters to the Belgian, French and Swedish consuls for names of glass
and tumbler manufacturers in their respective countries. Subsequently, filling a suitcase with
tumblers, he tramped round the pubs of
We are now at the end of the life and sad early death at the age of 57 of Andrew Cavaye . Both he and his wife had got too fat in their middle age. Like many of us, being hard up and kept on small rations when they were young they were naturally happy to be able to afford the good things of life when they were more affluent. It didn’t do their health any good. As with us also.
What can I
add now about Christina Grieve, our grandmother? I loved her, whereas I had been very afraid
of Grandpa Cavaye. Ronnie was probably
the only one who wasn’t, so he said.
With that enormous family, she had to be relaxed and yet she couldn’t
have been laid back, for the household was always well organised, rooms were
always tidy and meals on time. It was a
well disciplined family and it can’t have been only Grandpa who asserted
himself. She was a very generous woman
not just to her children and grandchildren but, when she could afford it, (and
remember she never was hard-up during the depression) to any poor people in
talk about the particular child of Andrew and Chrissie who was their ancestor.
I’ll say something quickly about mine, Bertie, the
oldest. I absolutely adored my father.
He took up his position as the eldest of the family with all its aspirations
and responsibilities. He was one of the
first Scouts and became a King Scout as did both Doug and Winkie
after him. He trained as an officer in
the university OTC, eventually joining the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders. He told me a lot about the War. He spent most of his war time with the Seaforths in the
I have always taken him as my model for ethical behaviour and integrity. He believed in hard work. I also thought him a very logical thinker. I think I got my love of politics and argument from him. He got the OBE after all for his services to politics.
fourth generation Cavaye musician, teacher and
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