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The Scottish Nation

MARJORIBANKS, a surname, derived from the lands of Ratho-Marjorie, in Renfrewshire, so name from their having been bestowed on the princess Marjorie, only daughter of Robert the Bruce, on her nuptials in 1316 with Walter, high steward of Scotland, ancestor of the royal line of Stuart. These lands, subsequently called “Terre de Ratho-Marjoribanks,” came into the possession of a family of the name of Johnston, who, from them, assumed the name of Marjoribanks, though they continue to bear in part the Johnston arms. Several of this family were members of the Scottish Estates. On the institution of the court of session in 1532, by James V., Thomas Marjoribanks was one of the ten advocates selected to “procure” or plead before the lords. On March 2, 1535, he was appointed advocate for the poor, jointly with Dr. Gladstanes, the salary of £10 a-year, with his consent, being given to the latter. He acquired the lands of Ratho in September 1546. The same year he was provost of Edinburgh and commissioner for that city in the Estates, and again represented it in parliament in 1546. He was admitted a lord of session and appointed clerk-register 8th February 1549, but was deprived of the latter office in 1554, on an accusation of having falsified a warrant of the court.

In 1539, Thomas Marjoribanks had a charter as follows: “Magister Thomae Marjoribanks, 36 Bovatus terrarium de Ratho.”

In 1544, there appears a crown charter in favour of “Thomas Marjoribanks dividistat terrarium de Mains of Spotts et terrarium de Handarewood.”

In 1552, there is an entry in the records. “Unam terram in Edinburgh, Jacobi Marjoribanks.”

Christian Marjoribanks, believed to be the granddaughter of the above-named Thomas Marjoribanks, married in 1586, George Heriot, the founder of the magnificent Hospital at Edinburgh. She was his first wife, and is described as “the daughter of a respectable burgess.”

In 1604, Thomas MarjorIbanks of Ratho, held these lands, as appears from the following: -- “Thomas Marjoribanks de Ratho et Mariae Douglas, ejus conjugi villa et terrarium de Ratho extendandam ad triginta sexta bovatas cum mansione laeu et pratu.”

In 1610, John Marjoribanks of Ratho got a charter as follows: -- “Johannis Marjoribanks de Ratho, triginta sex bevatas terrarium de Ratho.”

In 1645, Andrew Marjoribanks possessed certain property at Salt Prestons, now Preston Pans, thus described: -- “Magister Andrae Marjoribanks, quorundam tenementarium et acrarum in Salt Prestons.”

James Marjoribanks of Marjoribanks and Bowbardie or Balbardie, had two sons, Andrew, and George, surgeon, Edinburgh. The latter went to Waterford, in Ireland, and married the daughter of the Bishop of Waterford, by whom he had several daughters. The eldest married Mr. Moneypenny of Pitmilly, Fifeshire, and was grandmother of Lord Pitmilly, a judge of the court of session, who retired from the bench in 1831.

The elder son, Andrew Marjoribanks of Marjoribanks, married in 1744, Mary Chalmers, and had 3 sons and 2 daughters. Christian, one of his daughters, married Mr. Wardrop of Torbanehill, and was mother of James Wardrop, Esq., the celebrated oculist and surgeon in ordinary to George IV.

The eldest son, Alexander Marjoribanks of Marjoribanks, born in 1750, was convenor of Linlithgowshire for more than 30 years. He was proprietor and superior of the barony of Bathgate, which was part of the extensive possessions given by King Robert the Bruce, to his daughter Marjorie, on her marriage with Walter, the high steward of Scotland, but in 1824 he voluntarily relinquished the superiority, that Bathgate might be created a burgh of barony, of which he was chosen the first provost. He sold the estate of Marjoribanks. He died Sept. 3, 1830. He married in 1790, Katherine, daughter of Gilbert Laurie of Polmont, lord provost of Edinburgh, and had, besides other children, who died in infancy, 3 sons and 4 daughters.

Sons: 1. Alexander. 2. Andrew, born in 1797, died in 1824. 3. William, born in 1800, lieutenant, R.N., lost in the ship Confiance, off the coast of cork, April 21, 1822. 4. James, born in 1801, lieutenant, East India Company’s service, died Nov. 28. 1825. 5. Gilbert, born in 1802, went to Sidney, New south Wales, and died there. 6. George, born in 1806, surgeon, died in 1828. 7. Thomas, born in 1809, ordained in 1834, minister of Lochmaben, Dumfries-shire, and in 1849 translated to Stenton, Haddingtonshire, married in 1835, Mary, only daughter of Rev. Dr. Cook, Professor of Moral Philosophy in the university of St. Andrews; issue, 3 sons and a daughter. 8. Erskine.

Daughters: 1. Katherine Erskine, wife of William Balfour, merchant, of the family of Balfour of Pilrig, who died in 1859 without issue. 2. Mary, married Robert Horsburgh, Esq., factor at Tongue to the Duke of Sutherland. 3. Christian, wife of John Scott Moncrieff, Esq., Accountant, Edinburgh. 4. Sarah, wife of William Turnbull, Esq., died without issue.

The eldest son, Alexander Marjoribanks, born Oct. 31, 1792, is a magistrate for Linlithgowshire. The estates of Balbardie and Bathgate, which had been for several centuries in the family, were at Whitsunday 1861 sold to the Trustees of Stewart’s Hospital, Edinburgh, for £48,000.


The descendant of a younger branch of this family, Edward Marjoribanks, a native of Linlithgowshire and proprietor of the estate of Hallyards, Mid Lothian, married a daughter of Archibald Stewart, Esq., lord provost of Edinburgh when Prince Charles had possession of that city in 1745, and was for many years a wine merchant at Bordeaux in France. On succeeding to the estate of Lees in Berwickshire, in 1770, as heir of entail, he returned with his family to Scotland. His eldest son, John, born at Bordeaux in 1762, at one period a captain in the Coldstream guards, became a partner in a banking house at Edinburgh. In 1814, he was elected lord provost of that city, and the following year created a baronet. In 1811, he was chosen M.P. for Buteshire, and in 1818 for Berwickshire. While chief magistrate of Edinburgh he distinguished himself by carrying forward the improvements of the city, and was the chief promoter of the erection of the new gael and the Regent’s bridge. In 1825, he was again lord provost of Edinburgh. Sir John died Feb. 5, 1833, in his 71st year. He had married in 1790 Alison, eldest daughter of William Ramsay, Esq., of Barnton. His eldest surviving son, Sir William Marjoribanks, 2d baronet, born Dec. 15, 1792, died Sept. 22, 1834. Sir William’s son, John, born in 1830, became 3d baronet.

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