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The Scottish Nation

DURHAM, a surname derived from the city of Durham in the north of England. The first of the name in Scotland took root here in the early part of the thirteenth century.

      In the reign of Robert the Bruce, Sir William Durham, a distinguished knight, had a grant, in 1322, from that monarch of the lands of Grange, afterwards called Grange-Durham, in Forfarshire.

      A descendant of this Sir William, John Durham, (second son of Alexander Durham of Grange, living in 1525) having realized a fortune by engaging in commercial pursuits, acquired the lands of Pitkerrow, Omachie, &c. His great grandson, Sir James Durham, was knighted by King Charles the First. His son, Sir James Durham of Pitkerrow, an eminent lawyer, was by the same monarch appointed clerk of the Exchequer, and director of the Rolls, from which offices he was removed during Cromwell’s time, but at the Restoration was reinstated in them, when he received the honour of knighthood from Charles the Second. His third son, Sir Alexander Durham, for his services in the royal cause, was knighted by Charles the Second, and constituted lord lyon king at arms. He died unmarried, when he bequeathed the lands of Largo, which he had acquired by purchase, to his nephew Francis, the son of his eldest brother, James of Pitkerrow, one of the ministers of Glasgow, a memoir of whom is given below. The estate of Largo formerly belonged to the famous admiral Sir Andrew Wood, who received a grant of it from James the Third in 1483, and it continued in possession of his descendants till the time of Charles the First. After the restoration it was purchased by Sir Alexander Durham, lord lyon.

      The above named Francis was succeeded by his brother, James Durham, Esq. of Largo, who married Margaret, daughter of Sir Thomas Rutherford, of Hunthill. This lady, on failure of issue male of her father and brother, became heir of line to the title and honours of Lord Rutherford, in the peerage of Scotland, dormant since the death of Robert, the fourth baron, in 1724. Her descendant, Admiral Sir Philip Charles Durham, quartered the arms of Rutherford with his own, and the family claims the peerage of Rutherford. [See RUTHERFORD, Lord.]

      Of this family was General James Durham of Largo, born January 14, 1754, who served in the army no less than seventy years, having entered as a cornet in the second dragoon guards, June 22, 1769. On the 21st of September 1794 he received the brevet of major; and, having raised the Fifeshire Fencibles, he was appointed lieutenant-colonel of that corps, October 23, 1794. From March 1804 to December 1808, he acted as brigadier and major-general in 1813, and that of general in 1830. He died February 6, 1840. He was twice married, but having no issue, was succeeded in his estates by his brother, Admiral Sir Philip Charles Calderwood Durham.

      Sir Philip entered the navy at an early age, and soon distinguishing himself, was rapidly promoted. In 1782, he joined the Royal George as lieutenant, and on the 29th August of that year, when that vessel sunk at Spithead, he was one of the four lieutenants who were saved. He subsequently commanded the Spitfire, the Anson, and the Defiance, in which last he was at the battle of Trafalgar, where he was wounded. For his services in this engagement, as well as in the West Indies, he was made a G.C.B., and towards the conclusion of the war was appointed commander-in-chief of the Leeward Islands. He represented Queenborough in 1830, and Devizes in 1837.  He was twice married, first to Lady Charlotte Bruce, daughter of the fifth earl of Elgin, and secondly to Anne, only daughter and heir of the late Sir John Henderson of Fordel, Fifeshire. He died April 2, 1845.

      The Durhams of Duntarvie, and those of Luffness, are branches of the same stock.

DURHAM, JAMES, a distinguished minister of the Church of Scotland, eldest son of John Durham, Esq. of Easter Powrie, now called Wedderburn, in Forfarshire, and descended from the ancient family of Grange Durham, was born about 1622. He was educated at the university of St. Andrews, which he left without taking a degree, having then no design of following any of the learned professions. He married, early in life, a daughter of Durham of Duntarvie, and lived for some time on his estate as a country gentleman; but being with his lady on a visit to his mother-in-law at the Queensferry, he was induced to hear a sermon preached by Mr. Ephraim Melvine, and became deeply impressed with religious feelings. In the civil wars he served as a captain, under his brother Sir Alexander Durham, but was so much affected by two remarkable deliverances which he had in an action with the English, that, encouraged by the celebrated Mr. David Dickson, he determined to devote himself to the ministry, and accordingly studied divinity under Mr. Dickson at the university of Glasgow. In 1647 he was licensed to preach by the presbytery of Irvine; and in November of that year, he was ordained minister of the Blackfriars’ church, Glasgow, where he became one of the most popular preachers of his time. In 1650, on Mr. Dickson becoming professor of divinity at Edinburgh, Mr. Durham was chosen to succeed him at Glasgow; but before he was admitted to the chair, the General Assembly appointed him chaplain to Charles the Second, a situation which he held till after the king’s defeat at Worcester. In 1651, when Cromwell and his army were at Glasgow, the Protector, we are told, came unexpectedly on a Sunday afternoon to the outer High Church, while Mr. Durham was preaching, and the latter, availing himself of the opportunity, upbraided the usurper to his face for having invaded the country. Next day Cromwell sent for him, and told him he thought he had been a wiser man than to meddle with public affairs in his sermons. Mr. Durham answered, that it was not his common practice, but that he judged it both wisdom and prudence to speak his mind on the occasion, seeing that he had the opportunity of doing it in his own hearing. Cromwell dismissed him with a caution, but met with so many similar instances of reproof from the Glasgow clergy, that he deemed it expedient not to adopt any more severe course against any of them. On the death of Mr. Robert Ramsay in the same year, Mr. Durham succeeded him as one of the ministers of the inner High Church, his colleague being Mr. John Carstairs, his brother-in-law by his second marriage, having married Carstairs’ sister, the widow of the famous Zachary Boyd. His incessant labours and severe study brought on a premature decay of his constitution, and, after some months’ confinement, he died June 25, 1658, at the early age of 36. He was the author of some religious works, sermons, and tracts, a list of which is subjoined:

      Dying Man’s Testament to the Church of Scotland, or a Treatise concerning Scandal. 1659, 8vo. Edin. 1680, 12mo.

      Exposition of the Book of Job. Glasgow, 1659, 12mo.

      A Commentary upon the Book of the Revelation. Amst. 1660, Edin. 1680, 4to.

      62 Sermons on Isaiah, liii. Edin. 1683, 4to. 1723. fol.

      Clavis Cantici; or an Exposition of the Song of Solomon. Lond. 1669, 4to.

      The Law Unsealed; or an Exposition of the Ten Commandments. Lond. 1675, 4to. Edin. 1676, 8vo.

      The Unsearchable Riches of Christ, and of Grace and Glory in and through Him. Glasg. 1685, 12mo.

      An Exposition of the Song of Solomon. Glas. 1688, 4to.

      Heaven upon Earth, in the Serene Tranquility of a Good Conscience, in several Sermons. Edin. 1685, 12mo.

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