Rachel Spottiswoode (Lindsay) (1569 - 1639)

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Birthplace: Scotland
Death: Died in Scotland
Managed by: Ann Vermeulen
Last Updated:

About Rachel Spottiswoode (Lindsay)

The Ormiston branch was for several generations distin guished as lawyers and statesmen. On the marriage, as already stated, in 1368, of John, second son of Sir Alexander Cockburn, kmght, with the only daughter of Sir Alexander Lindsay of Ormiston in Haddingtonshire, he obtained from his father-in-law a grant of these lands, which was confirmed by a charter of King David the Second the same year. Patrick Cockburn of Ormiston kept the castle of Dalkeith for King James the Second against the nmth earl of Douglas, then in rebellion, on account ot the murder of his brother the eighth earl. Having obtained the command of the town, he put himself at the head of the king's troops, defeated the rebels, though his army was inferior to theirs, and obliged them to retire. In 1508, King James the Fourth granted a charter of the lands of Ormiston, on the resignation of John Cockburn in favour of his son John Cockburn younger of Ormiston, and his spouse, Margaret Hepburn. On 30th October 1535, Christopher Armstrong, Thomas Armstrong of Mangerton, brother of the celebrated Johnny Armstrong and chief of the clan, with several others, were denounced rebels for not underlying the law for art and part carrying off, under silence of night, on the preceding 27th July, seventy draught oxen and thirty cows from John Cockburn of Ormiston, with three men their keepers.

Alexander, son of Sir Alexander Cockburn, bor n in 1535, having travelled some years for the improvement of his mind, was cut off at the early age of twenty-eight. He was a young man of great promise, and was for some time, with two of the sons of the laird of Longniddry, under the charge of John Knox, who, in his History, speaks of him as possessing great accomplishments. He was also much esteemed by Buchanan who wrote two elegies on his death.

The old house of Ormiston, the seat of the Cockburns, is associated with the memory of George Wishart, the martyr. In January 1545, after preaching at Haddington, that eminent reformer went on foot with Cockburn of Ormiston and two of his friends to the house of Ormiston, where the earl of Bothwell made him prisoner, and delivered him to Cardinal Bethune. On March 29, 1546, James Lawson of Highriggs and two others, found caution to underly the law for art and part of the assistance afforded to William Cockburn of Ormiston and the young laird of Calder in breaking their ward from the castle of Edinburgh. In 1547, John Cockbur n of Ormiston and Crichton of Brunston, on account of their favouring the reformed doctrines, were, by the regent Arran and his brother, Archbishop Hamilton of St. Andrews, banished the kingdom, and their estates forfeited. On August 3, 1548, Ormiston found caution to underly the law.

The family of Ormiston for a long series of years occasionally held the office of lord justice-clerk- The first of them who tilled that office was Sir John Cockbur n of Ormiston, who succeeded to the estate in 1583. In July 1588, he was admitted an extraordinary lord of sessibn in the room of Lord Boyd, resigned, and on the death of Sir James Bellenden he was knighted, and appointed lord-juhtice-clerk He was admitted an ordinary lord of session loth February 1593. At the parliament held at Perth in July 1604 he was chosen one or' the commissioners to go to England to treat of a project of union then in contemplation. In 1621 he voted in parliament in favour of the five articles of Perth. In 1623, he resigned the office of lord-justice-clerk, and died in June of that year. A curious letter is extant, quoted in the appendix to Pitcairn's Criminal Trials, vol. Hi., from the Denmylnc MSS. in the Advocate's Library, addressed by Mr. Alexander Colville, justice-depute, to Viscount Annand, a great favourite at court, dated December 20, 1622, relative to the justiceclerkship, in which it is stated that the laird of Ormiston, the then justice-clerk, was " so afflicted with extreme age, blindness, and other infirmities that he is altogether disabled either from walking abroad, or discharging the duties," and advising that in the appointment of his successor it should be considered that "young men and men of great clans are most dangerous for that place." Sir John Cockburn married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Sir John Bcllenden of Auchinoul, and widow of James Lawson of Humbie.

The next of the family who filled the office was Adam Cockburn of Ormiston, a younger son of John Cockburn of Ormiston, by his wifo Margaret Hepburn. He succeeded his brother John, as heir-male in the family estate, 28th December 1671. He was commissioner for the county of Haddington at the convention of estates in the years 1678, 1681, and 1689, and in the Scots parliament for 1696. He was nominated one of the commissioners to treat of tho union, 19th April 1689. On 28th November 1692, he was appointed lord justice clerk, in place of Sir George Campbell of Cessnock, and about the same time was sworn a privy councillor. On 28th May 1695, he was named one of the commissioners to inquire into the massacre of Glenco, and about this period he seems to have become unpopular, as in his letters to Mr. Carstairs he complains of the " lies raised against him." In me of these, dated 23d July 1695, he particularly complains of the earl of Argyle, who, ho observes, "reflected on the whole commission of Glenco." On his part, Argyle, in a letter addressed to Carstairs, complains bitterly of the authority given to the lord justice clerk, "who," he says, "with Sir Thomas Livingstone, has powers to seize persons, hordes, and arms, without being obliged to be accountable to the council, make close prisoners, or otherwise as they see fit." In February 1699 he was appointed treasurer depute, or chancellor of the exchequer. There seems also at this time to hive been an intention of making him an ordinary lord of session, which, however, was violently opposed by Argyle, who addressed a strong letter of remonstrance to Mr. Carstairs, dated 31st January 1699. On the accession of Queen Anne, he was dismissed from all his offices. In January 1705, however, he was again appointed lord justice clerk, and made an ordinary lord of session. In 1710 he was superseded in his office of justice clerk by James Erskine of Grange, but retained his place as a lord of session till his death, 16th April 1735, in the seventy-ninth year of his age. He was a man of a good understanding and of great application to business, but of a hot and overbearing temper. Macky, in his Memoirs, (p. 224) writing of him when he was fifty years old, describes him as "a bigot to a fault, and hardly in common charity with any man out of the verge of presbytery, but otherwise a very fine gentleman in his person and manners, just in his dealings, with good sonse, and of a sanguine complexion." Dr. Houston, however, speaks most unfavourably of him. He says, "Of all the (whig) partv, Lord Ormiston was the most busy, and very zealous in suppressing the rebellion (of 1715), and oppressing the rebels, so

that he became universally hated in Scotland, where they called him the curse of Scotland; and when ladies were at cards, playing the nine of diamonds, commonly called 'the curse of Scotland,' they called it 'the Justice Clerk.'" He married Lady Susan Hamilton, third daughter of the fourth earl of Haddington, and had two sons, John and Patrick. The latter, an advocate, married in 1731 Miss Alison Rutherford of Fairnalee, authoress of one of the sets to the tune of "The Flowers of the Forest." Of his son John, the last but one of the family, and the great promoter of modern agricultural improvement in East Lothian, a notice is given immediately under.

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Rachel Spottiswoode's Timeline

1569
1569
Scotland
1590
1590
Age 21
1596
1596
Age 27
1601
1601
Age 32
UK
1615
1615
Age 46
1639
December 2, 1639
Age 70
Scotland
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