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The Scottish Nation
Sanquhar


SANQUHAR, Baron CRICHTON of, a title in the peerage of Scotland, conferred 29th January 1487-8, by King James III., on Sir Robert Crichton of Sanquhar, who signalized himself at Lochmaben in 1484, when the recreant earl of Douglas and the treacherous duke of Albany made an incursion into Scotland from England, and attempted to burn that town on the day of St. Magdalene’s fair. He was the son of Sir Robert de Crichton of Sanquhar, appointed in 1464 hereditary sheriff of Dumfries-shire, great-grandson of Isobel de Ross, heiress of the Ross family, the original proprietors of the castle of Sanquhar and circumjacent lands. The first Lord Sanquhar died in 1502.

His son, Robert, second Lord Sanquhar, had, with a daughter, two sons. The elder son, William, third Lord Sanquhar, was killed at Edinburgh, in the house of the regent Arran, duke of Chatelherault, about 1552, by Robert, third Lord Semple; but the latter escaped all punishment, through the intercession of the regent’s brother, Archbishop Hamilton of St. Andrews, whose mistress was Semple’s sister. By his wife, Elizabeth, a daughter of Lord Fleming, he had Robert, fourth Lord Sanquhar, and Edward, fifth lord.
The son of the latter, Robert, sixth Lord Sanquhar, met with an ignominious end. Being, about 1605, on a visit at Lord Norrey’s seat in Oxfordshire, he engaged there in a fencing match with one John Turner, a fencing master. On taking up the foils, Lord Sanquhar told Turner that he played but as a scholar, and not as one that could contend with a master in his own profession, and requested that he would fence as with a scholar, the rule in such a case being to spare the face. Notwithstanding this precaution, Turner put out one of his lordship’s eyes, and for some days his life was in danger. After the lapse of seven years, he hired two men to assassinate Turner. One of them, named Robert Carlyle, shot him with a pistol, 11th May 1612, for which murder he and his accomplice were executed. Lord Sanquhar absconded, and a reward of £1,000 was offered for his apprehension. He was taken, and brought to trial in the king’s bench, Westminster Hall, 27th June of the same year, being arraigned as a commoner, under the name of Robert Crichton, Esq. He made an eloquent speech, confessing his crime, and was capitally convicted on his own confession. Archbishop Abbot of Canterbury, and other influential personages interceded for him with the king, James VI., but in vain, and he was hanged on a gibbet, erected in Great Palace yard, before the gate of Westminster Hall, on 25th June. He died penitent, professing the Romish religion. It is related that on a visit which he paid to the court of France, Henry the Great casually asked him how he lost his eye. “By the thrust of a sword,” said his lordship, not caring to enter into particulars. The king, supposing this accident to be the result of a duel, immediately inquired, “Does the man yet live?” These words but added to his desire for vengeance on Turner, who, he was persuaded, had deprived him of his eye on purpose. James would have pardoned him, had it not been that the insolence of the Scots had already led to several outrages being committed in England, in their pride that they had given a king to their “auld enemies,” the English, and he thought that an example was necessary to curb them in future. His lordship had married in 1608, Anne, daughter of Sir George Farmer of Easton, Northamptonshire, without issue, but he had a natural son, Robert Crichton, who was served heir of entail to him in the estate of Sanquhar, 15th July 1619.

The title devolved upon William Crichton, son of John Crichton of Ryhill, second son of the second Lord Sanquhar, who thus became seventh lord. In 1622, he was created viscount of Ayr, and in 1633, earl of Dumfries (see DUMFRIES, Earl of), both peerages now held by the marquis of Bute, (see BUTE, Marquis of).


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