Perdita woman: Jean Collace


While Jean Collace's name is not mentioned as frequently as her sister Katherine Ross's in writings about the Covenanters, Collace also identified with their cause. Her memoirs, like Ross's, begin with an account of her religious education in Edinburgh, where she was taught by Hugh MacKail (1640?-1666, DNB). She then lived with Ross for a year in Moray, before settling nearby with the Innes family, of which Sir James, third baronet of Innes, was then head.(Women's Life Writing, 2003.*) Although Sir James's sister, Lady Kilravock, is praised by both Collace and Ross as a loyal Covenanter, Sir James and his wife attended the local parish church. Collace initially accompanied them; however, after eleven years with the Innes family, she became convicted of "that woeful and sad sin of hearing the Curates"(fol.80v). A subsequent visit from her covenanting sister, during which both women fell ill, then confirmed Collace's desire to leave the family. As soon as Ross was well, she "undertook to carry" Collace to her own home, seventeen miles off. Collace then "met with the gospel," rejoicing both in her "sisters fellowship" and the ministry of Thomas Hog (fol.83r). When Ross later moved to Fife for the first time, Collace accompanied her and there became acquainted with Welwood.

Like Ross, Collace witnessed much persecution of the covenanting ministers, and was herself brought before the Falkland court in April 1675. Yet through the intercession of an unnamed woman, the judge was convinced not to pass sentence on Collace and her "family" (fol.99r). Since Ross was away in Moray at this time, this "family" probably consisted of Collace's other sister, Elizabeth, and their mother, both of whom fell ill and were cared for by Collace during the following years. Collace's memoirs break off in 1676, but her meditations written at the deaths of her sisters, Katherine (d.1697) and Elizabeth (d.1704), indicate that she maintained a close and affectionate relationship with both of them.

See also the Perdita biography of her sister Katherine Ross.

There is a new ODNB entry for her sister: 'Ross (nee Collace) Katherine (1635-1697).'

Biography by Faith Lanum.

National Library of Scotland: MS Adv. 32.4.4
The autobiographical writings and meditations of Katherine Ross and Jean Collace. (c. 1704)
(Author)Katherine Ross
(Author)Jean Collace

National Library of Scotland: MS Adv. 34.5.19, fols. 184-284
The autobiographical writings and meditations of Katherine Ross and Jean Collace. (after 1704)
(Author)Katherine Ross
(Author)Jean Collace