About John Abercrombie
John Abercrombie the elder of 2 sons of John Abercrombie, market gardener at Prestonpans. 
Variations of the name – Abercromby
Origin of the name –
Birth date – 1726
Birth Place – Prestonpans, Edinburgh, Scotland
Baptisms – 2 potential baptisms found at Scotlands People
CJB I have found no baptism at Scotlands People in 1726 – the following ae the only baptisms I found.
26 Mar 1724 John Abercrombie -
parents James Abercrombie and Marion Fergusson FR1515
Parish Leith South Edinburgh City City/Midlothian (O.P.R. Births 692/02 0050 0242)
Farmer in Rotterburgh? born 22nd with James Telfer Farmer there and Adam Muir Brewer in Canongate
8 May 1726 John Abercrombie Baxter? had his son John baptised
Cupar (O.P.R. Births 420/00 0020 0038 Cupar - Scotlands People)
Date of Death – 30 April 1806 – some sources say 1st May or 2nd May
Place of Death – at his apartments, Charlton-street, Somers Town
Burial St. Pancras in Middlesex, England.
Notes on his death
“In the Spring of 1806, being in his eightieth year, abercrombie met with a severe fall, by which he
broke the upper part of his thigh-bone. This accident, which happened to him on the 15th of April,
terminated in his death. After lying during the interval, in a very weak exhausted state,
without much pain, he expired in the night between April and May as St. Paul’s clock struch twelve.
He was lamented by all who knew him, as cheerful, harmless and upright”
This publication also claims that Abercrombie wrote “Every man his own gardener” in prison
Parents: John Abercrombie (Gardener)
Marriage: Find my past search
Parish Records Collection - marriage
License Date : 02 Jan 1753 License Year: 1753 Bride Surname: TRIPHOOK
Dual Date : 02 Jan 1753
Groom Surname: ABERCROMBIE
License Date : 15 Aug 1760 License Year: 1760 Bride Surname: Wade
Dual Date : 15 Aug 1760
Groom Surname: ABERCROMBIE
Record source: Vicar-General Marriage Licence Allegations 1694-1850
Data provider: Society of Genealogists
Transcriptions © Society of Genealogists
From about 1751 to 1759 Abercrombie worked as gardener to Sir James Douglas. He married a member of the Douglas family household and with his wife soon began what would become a very large family, consisting of 16 daughters and two sons. Abercrombie then returned to Scotland for 10 months.
Occupation: Scottish horticulturist important to renovating garden techniques. Musgrave (2009, p.48) in ‘The Head Gardeners’ - “Gardener-turned-nurseryman-turned–writer”
John served his apprenticeship with his father, John Abercrombie. In 1744 he moved south where he worked for a number of places, including the Royal Gardens at Kew and Leicester House. Abercrombie became gardener to Doctor Munro at Sunning Hill, Berkshire, England and to several others including Lord Bateman, Lord Kensington and Sir Robert Darling.
In 1763 he lived in Hackney, working as gardener to Mr. Alveres before setting up a successful market gardening business in 1770. He will have been a contemporary of and in competition with Loddiges. after a couple of years he became a publican in Mile End which he turned into the "Artichoke Tea Garden" , but returned to gardening as his wife did not like the life style. He then started writing.
He was apparently invited to superintend the gardens of Catherine the Great in Russia but declined choosing instead to send a copy of "Every Man his Own Gardener".
From the late-1790s and into the early-1800s Abercrombie was occasionally employed to plan gardens and pleasure grounds. He continued his interest in tea and in practical gardening and writing up until his death.
Between 1767 and 1789 he wrote at least fifteen works including the following.
1767 - He is noted for the book ‘Every Man His Own Gardener’, which he co-wrote with Thomas Mawe. Apparently Abercrombie paid Thomas Mawe (gardener to the Duke of Leeds) to put his name on the title page, although Mawe is alleged to have contributed nothing. (http://www.sisley.co.uk/gardeners.shtml)''
‘The British fruit-gardener’ : and art of pruning : comprising, the most approved methods of planting and raising every useful fruit-tree and fruit-bearing-shrub ... The true successful practice of pruning, training, grafting, budd by John Abercrombie ... First published under the name of Tho. Mawe. By: Abercrombie, John, - Adams, John, - Mawe, Thomas. - John Adams Library (Boston Public Library) Publication info: London :MDCCLXXIX  Contributed by: John Adams Library at the Boston Public Library (archive.org)
1789 ‘The Gardener’s Pocket Journal’ sold an edition of 2000 copies a year
Family History and Biographical notes:
He came from a family of professional gardeners.
He had a large family but survived them all except one son, who distinguished himself at sea in the service of his country.
“…Prestonpans, near Edinburgh, Scotland. It was here that Abercrombie began work as his father's apprentice in 1740 at the age of 14, and from where, in 1745, the loyalist Abercrombie witnessed the Battle of Prestonpans as it took place beneath his father's garden wall.”