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History of West Calder
Chapter XVII. Old Will between James Sandilards and his Son-in-Law, James Douglas

This will, now 231 years old, is in the possession of William Graham Esquire, Meadowhead, and may aptly be inserted here in sequence to the foregoing valuation rolls, as illustrating how lands and heritages “change and chop about” from one lord ling to another, and how in the absence of male heirs females inherit and transmit some estate. At the same time it gives one peep into the fireside or domestic circle of two noble families in the parish of West Calder as constituted in the year 1654, the one having given his only child and daughter, some time previously in marriage, was now arranging that his estate should offer to her and her husband—the parents of a goodly flock, the male-heirs of which also faded away in the early part of this century, leaving ‘Douglas’ an assumed name by female right of descent.

The quaint document is before me as I write, and bespeakes its own age and story. The paper and hand writing are beautiful specimens of the artistic tastes of the period, which in many instances were less utilitarian than now.

The writer was a dominie in the ancient historic parish of St. John’s of Torphichen, and seems to have been learned in the Old Scots Law—a fact worth noting, seeing ministers and lawyers did not disdain to become schoolmasters till something better turned up. The language employed was then, and had long been the national and fashionable literature or dialect of the Scottish people and court.

Premising that this James Sandilands, then an old man, was son of one Lord Torphichen and brother of anotlier : I will now give the will verbatim et literatim in its own simplicity.


Contract of alienation between James Sandilands of Muirsdykes, &c., and James Douglas of Badds.

Dated 20 March, 1654,

At Calder the t wen tie day of March the yeir of God Jmvic and fyftie fowr yeiris. It is appoyntit conbractit and aggreit betwixe the pairteis following. They ar to say James Sandilandis of Mnirsdykis with the special! advyse consent and assent of Margret Somer-vaill his spouse On the ane pairt And James Douglas of Baddis on the other pairt In maner following That is to say, fForsameikle as the said James Sandilandis hes no childrien now on lyfe Bot only Jeane {Sandilandis spouse to the said James Douglas of Baddis, And now being resolved to provyde his landis and heritage in his own lyfetyme for eschewing questions and controversies whiche may aryse thairanent efter his deceise Thairfoir the said James Sandilands with consent of the said Margret Somervaill his spouse for the love and^favour quhilk he hath and bears to the’said James Douglas and Jeane Sandilands his spouse, And to thair many hopefull childreni', and for the obleisments conditions provisions and reservations erterspecifeit And speciallie for the souraes of money conteinit in ane band of the dait of thir presentis grantit be the said James Douglas to the said James Sandilands The said James Sandilands with consent as said is, sells annaleis and dispones to and in favours of the said James Douglas and the airs laufullie procreat or to be procreat betwixe him and the said Jeane Sandilands his spouse All and haill the lands of Muirisdyks with howsses biggiugis yairds tofts crofts muires mosses commonties pairts pendicles and all and sindrie thair pertinents lyand within the Barrony of Calder, parochen of Wast Calder and shirefdome of Edinburgh (reservand always to the said James Sandilands, and the said Margret Somervaill his spouse and longest leiver of tham twa thair lyfrent rycht actnall and reall possessioim of the saids haill lands with thair haill pertinents maills and dewties thairof duiring all the days of thair lyfetyme) And the said James Sandilands binds and oblaisses him his airs and assignays with all convenient diligence To inf eft and sease the said James Douglas and the airs laufullie procreat or to be procreat betwixt him and the said Jean Sandilands his spouse In all and haill the saids lands of Muirisdyks with the pertinents In dew and competent forme ar effeirs Be charter precept of Seas sing and Instrument of Sessing to follow thairupon To be lialden fra him of his Immediate superior of the saids lands siklyke and alse frilie in all respects As the said James Sandilands his predices-sours or authors holds or may hold the samyne And that atlier be resignatroime or confirmative m as best sail pleis the said James Douglas and his foirsaids with sufficient clausses of warrandice to be conteinit thairintill And it is speciallie aggro it upon, and condiscendit unto be mutuall consent of bothe pairteis That if it sail pleis the said James Sandilands to desyre to have the power of his own lands reestablished in his own person to be other ways disposed upon induiring his own lyfe-tyme the said James Douglas binds and oblcis-,ses him his airs and assignays To repone the .said James Sandilands to his full rycht and title of the saids lands of Muirisdyks and to that effect To quyte clame renunce and dispone the whole benefite of this present contract and infeftment to follow heir upon with all that lies followed or may follow thairupon To and in favouris of the said James Sandilands lie always relei van d the said James Douglas and his foirsaids of all bands gran tit be the saids James Douglase to him and of all bur-theins sowms of money or debts whiclie the said James Douglas lie’s undertaikin, or sail tmdertak for him any tyme befoir his deceis, Ariel heirunto and to all and sindrie the premisses both the saids pairteis bind and obleis-ses thame and their foirsaids [and ilk ane] to* otheris with consent of the said Margret So-mervaill to stand and abyde thftirat firme and stable in all the conditions above expressed And to reiterate thir presents in more ampill forme and manner as athers of the saids pairteis shall think necessav And for the mair securitie Bothe the saids pairteis ar content and consents that thir presents be insert and registrate in the cowrt buiks of Justice or any other cowrt books of any judge or Judgis within this nation, To have the siienth of ane decreit of ather of tin saids J udgis with thair auctoritie interponeit thairto That lettres of !iorning on sex days onlye, And others neid-full may pas heirupon in forme as effeirs and constitutes

Thair law full procervatours &c. In witnes quhairof both the saids pairteis lies subscryint thir presents (writtin be Allane Tennent scho'olemaister in Torphichen) with thair hands, day, moneth, place, and yeir of God foirsaid Befoir thir witnesses Master Williame Sandelanclis of Ililderstoun and

Master Patrik Weir schoolmaster at Calder with others divers.

[signed] M.S. j. Sandilandis

J. Douglas Mr W. Sandelandis witnes Mr P. Weir witnes.

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