the surname of a family, designed of Westerhall, in Dumfries-shire,
who possess a baronetcy, the first of whom on record was Sir John de
Johnstone, one of the Scots barons who swore fealty to King Edward I.
in 1296, and is styled “Johannes de Johnston, chevalier del comitat de
Dumfries,” &c. His son, John de Johnston, in the reign of Robert the
Bruce, was a witness in a charter of Thomas Randolph, early of Moray,
of the lands and barony of Cumlangan, which the said earl gave to his
nephew, Eilliam de Moravia. His son, Gilbert de Johnston, a witness in
the same charter, had a son, Sir John de Johnston, a distinguished
warrior in the reigns of King David II. and King Robert II. In 1370,
he defeated an English army who had invaded Scotland, and in 1372 he
was one of the guardians of the west marches. He died about 1382 or
1383. His son, Sir John de Johnston, got 300 francs of the 40,000,
went by the king of France, in 1385, to be divided among the Scots
nobles, his faithful allies, in the war against England, and from the
proportions a comprehensive scale may be formed of the power of those
to whom the various sums were paid. Sir John died about 1420.
His son, Sir
Adam, at the head of his vassals, joined the Scots army under the earl
of Ormond, and behaved gallantly against the English at the battle of
Sark, where the Scots obtained a complete victory. He was afterwards
very instrumental in suppressing the rebellion of the earl of Douglas
and his brother the earl of Ormond, and King James II. made him a
grant of the lands of Peddinane, now Pettinane, in Lanarkshire. The
Westerhall family have long borne the principal coat of the name of
Johnstone, charged for difference with the heart and crown of Douglas,
in memory of the seizure of the rebellious earl, by their ancestor.
Sir Adam, had, by a first wife, two sons, John, his heir, ancestor of
the Annandale branch (see ANNANDALE, marquis of), and Matthew, who
continued this line. By a second wife, Lady Janet Dunbar, daughter of
the earl of March, and widow of Lord Seton, he had other three sons.
second son, was the first to reside at Westerhall, which became the
designation of the family. The seventh in descent from him, Sir James
Johnstone, knight, was member for Dumfries, in the convention
parliament, summoned by the prince of Orange, in 1688-9, and died in
1699. He had two sons.
William, succeeded him as second baronet of Westerhall. By his wife,
Henrietta Johnstone, he had two sons, and died in 1727. The second
son, John, a lieutenant-colonel in the army, who died in 1740, married
the dowager marchioness of Annandale, daughter and heiress of John
Vanden Bempde of Harkness Hall, Yorkshire. By this lady, Colonel
Johnstone had two sons. Richard, the elder, in 1793 assumed, by act of
parliament, the surname and arms of Vanden Bempde, and in 1795, by
sign-manual he took the surname of Johnstone. He was created a baronet
of the United Kingdom on 6th July of the same year, and on
his death in 1807 was succeeded by his son, Sir John Vanden Bempde
Johnstone, M.P., D.C.L.
baronet, Sir James Johnstone of Westerhall, elder son of the second
baronet, became, in 1740, provost of Lochmaben, and chiefly
distinguished himself by his attention to local improvements. To him
the inhabitants of that part of the country were greatly indebted for
good roads and convenient bridges. He was the first to propose that a
bridge should be thrown over the Esk at Langholm, by which the people
of Westerkirk have ready access to the limekilns and coalpits of
Canobie. The family mansion of Westerhall is situated in the parish of
Westerkirk, in the churchyard of which is the family vault of the
Johnstones. Sir James married the Hon. Barbara Murray, eldest daughter
of the fourth Lord Elibank, and by her had fourteen children. Of
these, James, the eldest son, succeeded as fourth, and William,
another son, as fifth baronet. George, a third son, distinguished
himself as a naval officer. After passing through the subordinate
stations, he was, in February 1760, appointed master and commander. In
1761, he sent the first notice of the Spanish declaration of war to
Admiral Rodney, then commanding in the West Indies, in consequence of
which the Havannah was taken. In August 11, 1762, he was advanced to
the rank of post-captain. In 1763, he was nominated governor of West
Florida, and on his return to England he was elected M.P. for Appleby,
and afterwards for Cockermouth. In the course of a speech in
parliament he threw out some reflections on Lord George Germaine,
afterwards Viscount Sackville, which occasioned a duel between them in
1770, but fortunately it was attended with no serious consequences to
either party. Captain Johnstone took a strong interest in the affairs
of the East India Company, and distinguished himself by a violent
attack on the conduct of Lord Clive. He contributed some material
information to the pamphlet, entitled ‘A Letter to the Proprietors of
East India Stock, from John Johnstone, Esq., late one of the council
at Calcutta;’ and in 1771, he published ‘Thoughts on our Acquisitions
in the East Indies.’ In 1778 he was one of the commissioners sent out
with the earl of Carlisle and William Eden, afterwards Lord Auckland,
to treat with the congress of the revolted American colonies, which
mission ended unsuccessfully. As commodore of a squadron destined for
the Cape of Good Hope, with the outward bound East Indiaman under
convoy, he was, on 30th April 1781, attacked by a French
squadron, under Mons. de Suffrein, in Porto Praya Bay, island of St.
Jago, but beat them off. He subsequently took some Dutch prizes.
Having put one of his officers under arrest, he was afterwards much
harassed in the courts of law in consequence, but on appeal, the House
of Lords decided in his favour, only 24 hours before his death, on 24th
May, 1787. By his wife, a lady of the name of Dee, he had a son, John
Lowther, who succeeded as sixth baronet.
younger son of the third baronet, was progenitor of the Johnstones of
Alva, Stirlingshire. Sir James Johnstone, fourth baronet of
Westerhall, eldest son of the third baronet, was a lieutenant-colonel
in the army, and M.P. during the lifetime of his father, he occupied
himself for years in searching for lead in the lands of Glendinning,
parish of Westerkirk, and in 1760, discovered a valuable mineral vein,
which, on being analysed, proved to be antimony, the only one in Great
Britain. He died in 1797, without male issue.
William, succeeded as fifth baronet. He married Miss Pulteney, niece
of the earl of Bath and of General Pulteney, and acquiring with her an
immense fortune, in 1767 changed his name, by royal sign-manual, to
Pulteney. He represented, first, Cromarty, and afterwards Shrewsbury,
in seven successive parliaments. In 1790 he founded the professorship
of agriculture in the university of Edinburgh. He subsequently became
an extensive speculator in American lands, a large proportion of which
he sold to great advantage. On his death on 30th May 1805,
the greater part of his estates devolved upon Sir James Morray
Pulteney, who, in 1794, had married his only daughter. The Westerhall
estates and title passed to his nephew, the son of his brother,
Captain George Johnstone, as above mentioned.
Lowther Johnstone, sixth baronet, was, in 1810, elected M.P. for
Weymouth, and died the following year.
son, Sir George Frederick Johnstone, 7th baronet, born in
Dec. 1810, and M.P. for Weymouth 1832, was one of the claimants of the
Annandale peerage. He married, Oct. 24, 1840, Lady Louisa Elizabeth
Frederica Craven, only daughter of 1st earl of Craven, and
died 7th May, 1841, in consequence of a fall from his
horse. By his lady he had posthumous twin sons, the elder of whom, Sir
Frederick John William Johnstone, succeeded at his birth, 5th
August same year, as 8th bart. His twin brother’s name is
George Charles Keppel. Their mother married, 2dly, in 1844, Alexander
an adherent of the Stuarts, was the son of James Johnstone, a
respectable merchant of Edinburgh, where he was born in 1720. On the
breaking out of the rebellion of 1745 he joined the standard of the
Pretender, and was by Lord George Murray appointed his aide-de-camp.
He also acted as assistant aide-de-camp to the prince, who,
immediately after the battle of Prestonpans, bestowed upon him a
captain’s commission. He subsequently raised an independent company,
with which he joined the duke of Perth’s regiment, and served
throughout the rebellion. After the battle of Culloden he remained for
some time in concealment, first in different places in the north, and
latterly in the house of Lady Jane Douglas, at Drumsheugh, near
Edinburgh. At last, in the disguise of a pedlar, he made his escape
into England, and embarking at Harwich, reached Holland in safety. He
subsequently entered the French service, and was sent to Canada, where
he acted as aide-de-camp to the commander of the forces. On the
conquest of those provinces by the British he returned to France, and
devoted his latter years to writing, in the French language, ‘Memoirs
of the Rebellion in 1745 and 1746,’ which, after his death, was
deposited in the Scots college at Paris, and a translation of which
was published at London in 1820.
an eminent physician, fourth son of John Johnstone, Esq., of Galabank,
was born at Annan in 1730. He studied medicine at Edinburgh, and
afterwards at Paris, and took his degree of M.D. at the former place
in 1750. He settled in practice at Kidderminster, where he acquired
much local celebrity, by his skill and success in treating a malignant
epidemical fever then raging there, of which he published an account
in 1758. His reputation was considerably extended by several
publications on professional subjects, and also by some important
medical discoveries, amongst which were the use of mineral acid vapour
in counteracting febrile contagion, and a cure for the ganglion of the
nerves. Several physiological papers were contributed by him to the
Philosophical Transactions, which he afterwards enlarged and published
separately. The intimate friend of George Lord Lyttleton, he wrote an
affecting account of that amiable nobleman’s death, inserted in Dr.
Johnson’s Lives of the Poets. He subsequently removed to Worcester,
where he died in 1802. His son, the late Dr. John Johnstone of
Birmingham, was the author of the Life of Dr. Parr, and several
treatises on medical subjects.
Johnstone’s works are:
Medica de Aeris Factitii imperio, in corpore Humano. Edin. 1750, 8vo.
Dissertation; concerning the Malignant Epidemical Fever of 1756; with
an Account of the Malignant diseases prevailing since the year 1752,
in Kidderminster. Lond. 1758, 8vo.
Essay on the
use of the Ganglions of the Nerves. Shrewsbury, 1771, 8vo.
on the Malignant Angina, or Putrid and Ulcerous Sore Throat. To which
are added, some Remarks on the Angina Trachaelis. Lond. 1779, 8vo.
of the Welton Water near Tewkesbury; with Thoughts on the use and
diseases of the Lymphatic Glands. Lond. 1787, 8vo.
Essays and Observations; with Disquisitions relating to the Nervous
System, by James Johnstone, M.D.; and an Essay on Mineral Poisons, by
John Johnstone, M.D. Lond. 1795, 8vo.
Extraordinary Cases of Gall-Stones. Phil. Trans. Abr. xi. 211. 1758
On the Use
of the Ganglions of the Nerves. Ib. xii. 122. 1764.
History of a
Foetus, born with a very Imperfect Brain. To which is subjoined a
Supplement to the Essay on the Use of Ganglions. Ib. 404. 1767. Ib
xiii. 8. 1770
Paralysis Rheumatica, cured by Tinct. Guiac. Volatil. and the
application of Caustics. Med. Com. ix. 388, 1785.
Hydrophobia. Memoirs Med. i. 243. 1782.
Angina Pectoris, from an unexpected Disease of the Heart. Ib. 376.
Pharyngea; or, on a Defect of Deglutition, from a Straitening of the
Esophagus. Ib. ii. 177. 1789.
the Angina and Scarlet Fevers of 1778. Ib. iii. 353. 1792.
A Case of
Calculi passing through the Bladder into the Rectum. Ib 536.
A Case of an
Ulcer of the Bladder communicating with the Rectum. Mem. Med. iii.
Case of a
Rupture of the Bladder opening into the Pelvis. Ib. 544.
Account of a
Species of Phthisis Pulmonalis, peculiar to persons employed in
pointing Needles in the Needle Manufacture. Ib. v. 89. 1799.
an eminent divine of the Church of Scotland, youngest son of John
Johnstone, Esq., a highly respectable magistrate of Annan, by
Elizabeth, daughter of the Rev. Thomas Howie, minister of that town,
was born there in 1747. He received the elementary part of his
education at the parish school, and in 1762 entered on his academical
studies at the university of Edinburgh. In 1771 he was appointed
minister of Holywood, and in 1786 the degree of D.D. was unanimously
conferred on him by the university of Edinburgh. He was among the
first to second Sir John Sinclair’s patriotic project of a complete
Statistical Account of Scotland; and from the materials furnished by
him, the account of Holywood was prepared. In 1794 he drew up, for the
Board of Agriculture, ‘A General View of the Agriculture of the County
of Dumfries;’ and, in general, he availed himself of every opportunity
to promote the improvement of the agricultural and social condition of
his native country. He died in 1805. – His works are:
for which Christ came into the World. A Sermon. Edin. 1786.
on the Revelation of St. John. Edin. 1794, 2 vols, 8vo.
Divine Authority and Encouragement of Missions from the Christians to
the Heathens. A Sermon. Edin. 1797.
An Essay on
the Influence of Relition on Civil Society and Civil Government. Edin.
1801, small 8vo.
A volume of
his Sermons, with a Memoir of his Life, by his nephew, the Rev. John
Johnstone, minister of Crossmichael, was published in 1808.
novelist, see SUPPLEMENT.
Manuscripts of J. J. Hope Johnstone of Annandale
By Sir William Fraser, K.C.B., Edinburgh (1897) (pdf)