This name comes from the lands
of Sandilands in Clydesdale. The family who were later to bear the name, may
originally have fled to Scotland from Northumberland in the reign of Malcolm
Sir James de Sandilands distinguished himself
in the wars against the English, and was rewarded with a royal chartyer to
his lands by David II.
He married Eleanor, the only daughter of Sir
Archibald Douglas, Regent of Scotland, who was the widow of Alexander Bruce,
Earl of Carrick. Sandilands received from his brother-in-law, Lord Douglas,
the lands of Calder in Lothian. Sir James was killed at the Battle of
Halidon Hill in 1333.
The Sandilands found themselves in opposition
to their Douglas releatives as they were unshakeablein their loyalty to
James II. John Sandilands and his uncle, James were assasinated at Dumbarton
by Patrick Thornton on the orders of the Douglas faction.
James Sandilands then inherited the estates
and married an heiress, Margaret Kinlock of Cruvie. One of their sons, James
Sandilands of Cruvie, established the line later to become Lords
Sir James Sandilands of Calder, a friend of
the protestant reformer, John Knox, was also preceptor of the powerful
religious and military Order of the Knights of St John, whose headquarters
were at the Priory of Torphicen in West Lothian.
When the Order was suppressed he managed to
obtain a grant of its land on payment to the Crown of ten thousand crowns in
gold and an annual rent of five hundred merks.
Sir James kept his seat in Parliament, being
created Lord Torphicen.
The first Lord s half-brother, Sir James
Sandilands of Slamannan, was a Gentleman of the Bedchamber to James VI and
later the keeper of Blackness Castle. The second Lord had four sons, two of
whom were to succeed to the family title. John ,the fourth Lord, although a
supporter of Charles I strongly advised against the plan known as
Engagement, which was sought to invade England in 1648 to rescue the king,
in return for certain conditions, after he had been handed over to
Parliament by the Scots army.
The plan was ill-conceived, and ended in
disaster. James, seventh Lord Torphicen, took his seat in Parliament in 1704
and was a supporter of the Treaty of Union.
He served in the army on the Continent only
returning to Scotland at the outbreak of the rising of 1715. He fought at
the battle of Sheriffmuir. In 1722 he was appointed by George I one of the
Commissioners of Police. His eldest son was wounded during the campaigns of
1745 against the forces of Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Young Pretender:and he
later died of consumption.
His second son, Walter, who had embarked upon
a career in the law, succeeded to the title while sheriff of Midlothian.
James, the sheriff,s son was a colonel in the Coldstream Gaurds and was
elected a representative peer to the House of Lords from 1790 to 1800. He
was succeeded by his first cousin, James, from whom the present Lord
Torphicen, who still lives at Calser, is lineally descended.