New York Times

   Hide Ads
Bit of Ancient Family History May Have Inspired the Countess-Oarswoman.
"Gin the Buckles Bide," Replied the Princess--Coat of Arms and Motto Derived from Incident
By Marconi Transatlantic Wireless Telegraph to The New York Times
LONDON, April 22---The Countess of Rothes, who steered one of the Titanic's boats, was unconsciously reenacting a piece of ancient family history.

Nearly 500 years ago this month, a Scottish Princess, who was in danger of drowning, was saved under dramatic circumstances by an ancestor of the Earl of Rothes.

The Earldom of Rothes was created during the fifteenth century. Some time before this a young Princess was in danger of drowning. It is believed she attempted to ford a stream but got into difficulties.

Reaching down from his horse, a rider lifted up the distressed Princess and placed her behind him.

"Grip fast!" he said, turning to her, as the horse plunged his way through the stream, and the lady, evidently gifted with a sense of humor, replied: "Gin the buckles bide."

Her reference was probably to the buckles of the riders' jacket.

To this day the motto of the Rothes family is: "Grip fast!" while three buckles are included in the coat of arms.

The Earl of Rothes's family, on being interviewed, said that the Countess of Rothes could not be called an athlete or a sportswoman in any sense of the word. To describe her as an expert oarswoman was "wrong."

Nevertheless the Countess of Rothes seems to have done sterling work and to have been comfort and inspiration to other women. Perhaps she recalled the family motto, “Grip fast!”

Share on FaceBook Twitter

Related Biographies:

Lucy Noël Martha, Countess of Rothes


Mark Baber


Encyclopedia Titanica (2004) ANCESTOR OF ROTHES SAVED A PRINCESS (New York Times, Tuesday 23rd April 1912, ref: #3313, published 30 July 2004, generated 16th September 2021 12:19:33 AM); URL :