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Crichton


The lands of Kreitton formed one of the earliest baronies around Edinburgh and are mentioned in charters of the early 12th century.

Thurstan de Crechtune was a witness to the foundation of the Abbey of Holyrood House by David I in 1128. Thomas de Crichton swore fealty to Edward I of England in the Ragman Roll of 1296. Thomas had 3 sons each of whom extended the family holdings, William his 2nd son married Isabel de Ross heiress to the barony of Sanquhar in Dumfriesshire.

A descendent of his Sir Robert Chrichton of Sanquhar, was sheriff of Dumfries in 1464 and coroner of Nithsdale from 1468 to 1469. His eldest son Robert, was created a peer with the title Lord Crichton of Sanquhar by James III in 1487.

Sir William Chrichton another descendant of Thomas de Chrichton was Chancellor of Scotland during the minority of James II. Following the death of his rival, the Earl of Douglas, Sir William organised the infamous black dinner at Edinburgh Castle of which at that time he was governor.

The young King James was in residence and the new Earl of Douglas and his brother were invited to dine at a royal banquet. After dinner the 2 Douglases were dragged to Castle Hill and executed. The douglas clan then laid seige to Edinburgh Castle and Crichton percieving the danger surrendered the castle to the king and an uneasy truce was declared. He was raised to the peerage with the title Lord Crichton.

The 2nd Lord Crichton obtained through marriage the barony of Frendraught in Banfshire.

The 3rd Lord joined the Duke of Albany in his rebellion against his royal brother, James III, the rebellion failed and the Crichton estates were forfeited for treason.

Perhaps the most celebrated Crichton was James, son of the Lord Advocate of Scotland during the reigns of both Queen Mary and her son James VI. He has passed into history as the Admiral Crichton on account of his superb mantal and physical prowess.

It is said that by the age of 20 he had mastered all the knowledge of his time and could speak and write at least 10 languages. He was also a superb equestrian, a feared swordsman and accomplished in all social graces. It is claimed that 50 doctors put questions to him of mind bending complexity which he answered with ease and the next day he attended a public joust and became champion of the field.

The Duke of Mantua was so impressed by his skills that he invited him to become tutor to his son Vincenzo. The young man did not take to his new mentor.

At a carnival in 1582 Crichton was set upon by a gang of masked bandits who discovered that his reputation was not vanity. He promptly killed 5 of his attackers and turned to dispatch the 6th on discovering that his opponent was none other than his young pupil, Vincenzo, he dropped his guard and Vincenzo stabbed him in the heart.

Another James Crichton was raised to the peerage of Scotland as Viscount Frendraught in 1642.

The present chiefly line descends form him and the family now make their home at the Castle of Monziie near Crieff.


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