surname, now very rare, derived from the parish of that name in the
county of Linlithgow. Among the favourites of James III. hanged by the
incensed nobles over Lauder bridge in 1478, was one Torphichen, a
“The name,” says Dr.
Hetherington, in his description of the parish in the New Statistical
Account of Scotland, “is evidently Celtic in its origin, but
etymologists are by no means agreed with regard to its true composition
and meaning. The word Tor is unquestionably hill, but the latter part of
the name is more doubtful. Some assert it to mean ten, and say that it
refers to a range of hills in the vicinity having ten summits. The
range, however, has not more than seven distinct summits; and the Gaelic
word fichead means twenty, not ten, as they assume. The most probable
derivation seems to be Torfeochan, or the hill of the Ravens. It may be
regarded as some corroboration of this meaning that there is an estate
in the neighbourhood of the village named Crawhill, and that the crest
of the most extensive land proprietor in the parish is a raven chained
to a rock, as if in allusion to the parochial name.”
TORPHICHEN, Baron, a
title in the Scottish peerage, granted in 1563 to Sir James Sandilands,
who at the Reformation was chief of the knights of St. John of Jerusalem
in Scotland. These knights were at one time called knights of Rhodes,
and finally knights of Malta. Their principal residence in this country
was a little to the north-east of the village of Torphichen, and Sir
James Sandilands having acquired all their property there, got it
erected into a temporal lordship.
The surname of Sandilands
is very ancient, being derived from lands of that name in the upper ward
of Lanarkshire. Some writers affirm that the noble family of this
surname belonged originally to Northumberland, and were driven into
Scotland after the English conquest, in the reign of Malcolm Canmore.
Their immediate ancestor was Sir James Sandilands, a valiant knight, who
distinguished himself in the wars against the English in the reign of
David II., from whom he had two charters, one of the lands of Wiston in
Lanarkshire. He had also a charter of confirmation in 1346 from William,
Lord Douglas, of lands in Douglasdale. He married Eleanor, countess of
Carrick, sister of Douglas, and widow of Alexander, earl of Carrick, the
son of Edward Bruce, king of Ireland, and received with her, in free
marriage, the barony of West Calder, Mid Lothian. This grant was
confirmed by Duncan, earl of Fife, the superior of the same, and by
David II. IN consequence of this alliance, the family of Sandilands
quartered the arms of Douglas with their own. Sir James was killed at
the battle of Halidonhill in 1333. His widow was afterwards three times
married, being five times in all. With a daughter, Marion, Lady Kennedy
of Dunure, they had a son, Sir James Sandilands of Calder, whose name
frequently occurs in the register of charters of King Robert II. He
married, in 1384, the princess Johanna, second daughter of that monarch,
and widow of Sir John Lyon of Glammis.
Their only son, James
Sandilands of Calder, was one of the hostages for King James I., when he
was allowed to visit Scotland 31st May 1421; also when he finally
returned to his kingdom 28th March 1424. At that time his annual revenue
was estimated at 400 merks. He was dead before 7th December 1426.
His son, Sir John
Sandilands of Calder, was assassinated near Dumbarton, in 1456, on
account of his unshaken loyalty to James II., by one Patrick Thornton,
of the king’s court, a favourer of the Douglas faction. The murderer,
with his accomplices, was apprehended and executed.
Sir John’s son, also
named Sir John Sandilands of Calder, made over, in 1466, his estates to
his son, Sir James Sandilands. The latter had a charter of the lands and
barony of Airth, Bisset, Slamannan, Bannockburn, &c., dated July 14,
1488. He was twice married, first to Margaret, daughter and heiress of
John Kinloch of Cruvie, Fifeshire, and had, with two daughters, two
sons; John, who succeeded him, and James Sandilands of Cruvie, ancestor
of Lord Abercrombie; secondly, to Margaret, daughter of Andrew Ker of
Auldtounburn, ancestor of the dukes of Roxburghe, without issue. After
his death, she married the third earl of Errol.
Sir John Sandilands, the
elder son, married Elizabeth, daughter of James Scrimgeour, lord of
Dudhope and constable of Dundee, and had a son, Sir James Sandilands of
Calder, who is described in Crawford’s Peerage as a person of great
wisdom and of the most exemplary piety and virtue. He died after 1553.
By his wife, Margaret or Mariot, only daughter of Archibald Forrester of
Corstorphine, he had, with two daughters, two sons, John, who succeeded
his father, and James, first Lord Torphichen.
The elder son, John
Sandilands of Calder, married, first, Margaret, daughter of Sir Robert
Barton of Over Barnton, high-treasurer of Scotland, and had one son,
James, who died in 1577, leaving a son, James, second Lord Torphichen;
secondly, Johanna, third daughter of John, Lord Fleming. By this lady he
also had a son, Sir James Sandilands of Slamannanmure, one of the
gentlemen of the bedchamber to King James VI., and on 2d October 1595,
appointed constable and keeper of the castle of Blackness.
James, first Lord
Torphichen, second son of Sir James Sandilands of Calder and Elizabeth
Scrimgeour, was, on account of his great talents and learning,
recommended by Sir Walter Lindsay, preceptor of the order of St. John of
Jerusalem in Scotland, to the master of that order at Malta, as a person
well qualified to be his successor. The knights of this order were
introduced into Scotland, in 1153, by David I., and had many possessions
conferred on them by him and his successors. When the knights Templar
were suppressed in 1308, they got possession of the extensive property
of that great rival order, which had its chief seat at Temple,
Mid-Lothian. In 1291 and 1296, Alexander de Wells, “prior hospitalis
sancti Johannis Jerusalemitani in Scotia,” swore fealty to Edward I.;
and from precepts which the English king issued to the sheriffs to
restore the property of the knights, the order seems, even at that early
period, to have had estates in almost every shire except Argyle, Bute,
Sir James Sandilands
resided for some years at Malta, and gave such proofs of his ability
that he was admitted one of the knights and inaugurated as the future
preceptor. On Sir Walter Lindsay’s death in 1538, he was invested with
the title, power, and jurisdiction of Lord St. John of Jerusalem in
Scotland. He was often employed in negotiations of importance with
England, and both he and his brother were great supporters of the
Reformation, which he embraced in 1558. After John Knox’s arrival in
Scotland in 1555, it is well known that he resided for some time at
Calder, preaching often in Edinburgh. A portrait of the reformer is hung
up in the hall or gallery of Calder house, the seat of Lord Torphichen,
where it is asserted by some writers that he dispensed the ordinance of
the Lord’s supper for the first time in Scotland after the Reformation.
The picture bears on its back the following statement: “Mr. John Knox:
The first sacrament of the super given in Scotland, after the
Reformation, was dispensed by him in this hall.” This is incorrect. The
first time the sacrament of the Supper was dispensed after the reformed
manner in Scotland was in the castle of St. Andrews in 1547. (M’Crie, p.
50, 1st ed.) The account given by Knox himself, in his History of the
Reformation, seems to imply that he dispensed this ordinance in the west
country before he did it in Calder House. Calderwood (vol. i. p. 306)
says: “In the beginning of January, 1556, Mr. Knox was conveyed to Kyle
by Robert Campbell of Kingzeancleuche, and taught in the Barr, Carnell,
Kingzeancleuche, Aire, Ochiltrie, Gathgirth, and ministred the Lord’s
Table in some of these parts. The erle of Glencarne sent for him to
Finlaston, where he also ministred the Lord’s Table, wherof the erle,
his ladie, two of his sonnes, and certane of his friends were partakers.
From thence he returned to Calder, where diverse from Edinburgh and
other parts of the countrie assembled, as weill for doctrine as for the
right ministratioun of the Lord’s Table, which before they had never
In 1559, Sir James
Sandilands joined the lords of the Congregation who were in arms against
the queen-regent at Cupar Muir, Fifeshire, and the following year, after
the death of that princess, he was sent to France by the reformers to
give an account of their proceedings before Francis and Mary, “not so
much,” says Calderwood (vol. iii. p. 39), “to seeke pardon for anie
bypast offences, as to purge his countriemen, and lay the blame of the
late tumults upon the Frenche. The Gwisians rebuked him sharplie that
he, being a knight of the holy order, should have taken upon him anie
message or instructions from rebels, for that execrable religion which
had been latelie condemned in the council of Trent,” and he was
dismissed without an answer.
Two years after Queen
Mary’s return to Scotland, he resigned into her hands the property of
the knights of St. John of Jerusalem in Scotland, and on 24th January
1563, she was pleased, on payment by him of 10,000 crowns of the sun
(equal to about £1,100 sterling, a large sum in those days), and an
annual rent of 500 merks, to grant to him and his heirs and assigns
whatever, the lands and baronies of Torphichen, Liston, and the other
estates of the order, in different counties, erecting the same into the
temporal lordship of Torphichen. He died, without issue, 29th November
1596, when his title and estates devolved on his grand-nephew, James
Sandilands of Calder, as above stated.
James, second Lord
Torphichen, was, in the decreet of ranking of the Scots nobility, dated
in 1606, placed immediately after Lord Boyd, whose peerage dated before
1459, and died in 1617. He was twice married, but had issue only by his
first wife, Elizabeth, daughter of James Heriot of Trabrown, viz. a
daughter, Isabel, wife of Hugh Wallace of Elderslie, and four sons. 1.
James, third Lord Torphichen, who voted in parliament in 1621 against
the five articles of Perth, and died the following year. 2. John, fourth
Lord Torphichen, who died in July 1637. 3. Hon. William Sandilands of
Hilderston, Linlithgowshire, tutor of Calder. 4. Hon. Robert Sandilands.
William’s son, Walter Sandilands, younger of Hilderston, married in
1674, Anna Hamilton, daughter and heiress of James Hamilton of Westport,
Linlithgowshire, and, in consequence, assumed the name and arms of
Hamilton. Walter’s son, Sir James Sandilands Hamilton of Westport, dying
in 1733, was succeeded by his brother, Sir Walter Sandilands Hamilton,
whose daughter, Grizel, married John Ferrier, Esq. of Kirkland,
Renfrewshire, writer in Edinburgh, and their son, on succeeding his
grandfather, in 1763, also took the name of Hamilton.
The fourth Lord
Torphichen had, with two daughters, three sons. 1. John, fifth lord, who
succeeded his father when very young. 2. Walter, sixth lord. 3. Hon.
William Sandilands of Coustoun, Linlithgowshire, which lands were
entailed by his son, William Sandilands of Coustoun.
During the minority of
John, fifth Lord Torphichen, he was placed under the guardianship of his
uncle, the Hon. William Sandilands of Hilderston, who was commonly
called the tutor of Calder. His lordship protested against the
“Engagement” to march into England for the rescue of Charles I., in
1648. He was one of the few peers who sat in the parliament of Scotland
in January 1649, and died in July following, unmarried. His brother,
Walter, sixth Lord Torphichen, was four times married, and had issue by
all his wives. On his death in 1696, he was succeeded by his second
youngest son, James, seventh Lord Torphichen.
This nobleman took the
oaths and his seat in parliament, 6th July 1704, and gave his warm
support to the treaty of union. As lieutenant-colonel of the 7th
dragoons, he served on the continent in the wars of Queen Anne. On the
breaking out of the rebellion of 1715, he hastened from London to
Scotland, where his regiment happened to be stationed. At the head of a
body of 500 horse and foot, he marched from Edinburgh, 17th October, to
Seton house, the seat of the earl of Wintoun, which had been taken
possession of by the rebels. Finding them, however, too strongly
entrenched within the surrounding high stone wall, to be dislodged
without artillery, he returned to Edinburgh, after exchanging some
shots. At the battle of Sheriffmuir, 13th November, at the head of his
regiment of dragoons, he did good service against the Highlanders. IN
1722, he quitted the army, and by George I. was appointed one of the
lords of police. He died 10th August 1753, after possessing the title 57
years. He had married Lady Jean Home, youngest daughter of the first
earl of Marchmont, and sister of the celebrated Lady Grizel Baillie,
and, with three daughters, had eight sons. 1. James, master of
Torphichen, a lieutenant in the 44th foot, who received no fewer than
twenty-six wounds from the rebels at the battle of Preston in 1745, and
after lingering for more than three years, died, 20th April 1749, of
consumption, unmarried. 2. Walter, eighth Lord Torphichen. 3. Hon.
Patrick Sandilands, who obtained the command of one of the East India
Company’s country ships, on account of his gallant behaviour in
repulsing a party of Angria pirates who had boarded the vessel. He was
drowned in a storm at sea, with out issue. 4. Hon. Alexander Sandilands,
who died young. 5. Hon. Andrew Sandilands, a lieutenant in the 21st
foot, or Royal Scots fusiliers, who behaved so well at the battle of
Dettingen that he was promoted to a company in August 1743. At the
battle of Fontenoy in April 1745, he was shot through the thigh. He was
at that time major of the regiment, but on account of that wound he
quitted the army at the peace, and died, unmarried, 27th June 1776. 6.
Hon. George Sandilands, who died young. 7. Hon. Charles Sandilands,
lieutenant R.N., who died in the Carthagena expedition under Admiral
Vernon in 1741. 8. Hon. Robert Sandilands, an officer in the army, first
in the Scottish brigade in the Dutch service, and afterwards in a
regiment of light dragoons. He married Grizel, daughter of Sir Thomas
Kirkpatrick of Closeburn, baronet, and died 18th May 1791. His only son,
James, succeeded as tenth Lord Torphichen.
Walter, eighth Lord
Torphichen, was admitted advocate in 1727, and as sheriff-depute of Mid
Lothian, was extremely active and useful when the rebels had possession
of Edinburgh in 1745, in preserving order and inducing the inhabitants
to provide necessaries of all kinds for the king’s forces. He succeeded
his father in 1753, and died 9th November 1765. By his wife, Elizabeth,
only daughter and heiress of Alexander Sandilands, M.D., physician of
the British hospital in Flanders, he had four sons. 1. James, ninth Lord
Torphichen. 2. Hon. Alexander Sandilands, lieutenant in the Royal Scots
Greys, who died 20th November 1806, in his 46th year, unmarried. 3. Hon.
Walter Sandilands, who died young. 4. Hon. Hugh Sandilands, lieutenant
78th foot. Accompanying his regiment to the East Indies, he was severely
wounded on board the Monarca, in the engagement between Sir Edward
Hughes and Admiral de Suffrein, one of the bravest and most skilful of
the French naval commanders, 2d September 1782, and died the following
month at Madras.
James, ninth Lord
Torphichen, born 15th November 1759, was in his youth an officer in the
21st foot, or Royal Scots fusiliers, in General Burgoyne’s unfortunate
expedition to America, and was one of those who piled their arms at
Saratoga in 1777, in consequence of the convention concluded by Burgoyne
with General Gates. Being exchanged, he had a company in the 24th foot
in 1781, and a lieutenancy in the Coldstream foot guards in 1787, in
which regiment he had a company, with the rank of lieutenant-colonel, in
1793. He served under the duke of York in the campaign in Flanders in
1793 and 1794, and retired from the service in 1795. He was chosen one
of the 16 Scots representative peers in 1790, and again in 1796, and
died in 1815. He had married Anne, only surviving child and heiress of
Sir John Inglis of Cramond, baronet, but without issue. He was succeeded
by his first cousin, James, only son of the Hon. Robert Sandilands.
This nobleman, 10th Lord
Torphichen, born July 21, 1770, married Nov. 3, 1806, Margaret Douglas,
second daughter of John Stirling, Esq. of Kippendavie, and by her, with
one daughter, Mary, Hon. Mrs. Ramsay of Barnton, he had three sons. 1.
Robert, master of Torphichen, born 3d August 1807. 2. The Hon. And Rev.
John Sandilands, M.A., rector of Coston, Leicestershire. 3. Hon. James
Sandilands, at one period captain in the 8th hussars. The 10th Lord
Torphichen died March 22, 1862, in his 92 year.
His eldest son, Robert,
succeeded as 11th Lord Torphichen. The family of Torphichen are
heirs-general of the original line of the house of Douglas.
The property belonging to
the knights of St. John of Jerusalem in Scotland at the time of the
creation of the title of Lord Torphichen, comprised no less than eight
baronies in different counties, but the lands have been gradually sold
till little more remains than that portion in which the title is vested,
lying around and adjacent to the ancient preceptory of the order.
The title of Lord St.
John, held by the preceptor of the knights of that name in Scotland,
entitled its holder to a seat in parliament, and was possessed, without
patent, in virtue of the office, which was one of great power and
importance. The title of Lord Torphichen which replaced it, was granted
by the charter of Queen Mary, dated January 24, 1563, which is the only
writing under which the Lords Torphichen were entitled to sit and vote
in the Scots parliament. The grantee and his heirs and assigns acquired
the newly erected barony of Torphichen, with a right to all the
immunities, privileges, dignities, and pre-eminences vested formerly in
the preceptors. The title being thus conferred, without further
creation, must be considered a territorial one.