James Sandilands, 1st Lord Abercrombie

Sir James Sandilands, son of the preceding, was knighted before 1643, and was served heir to his grand father 5 July 1645. He had a charter to himself and his wife of the barony of Ferniflat, county Kincardine, 16 December 1643, and one of the barony of Abercrombie, in the county of Fife, on the resignation of James Crichton, 10 July 1646, but did not hold it long, resigning it on 18 June 1649. He was by patent dated at Carisbrook, 12 December 1647, created LORD ABERCROMBIE, with remainder to the heirs-male of his body. Being a riotous youth he wasted his whole estate in five years after his succession, and in 1649 disposed of the lands of St. Monans to Sir James Arnot of Fernie for 57,000 merks, the barony of Abercrombie, including the lands above-mentioned, being acquired on 10 January 1650 by General David Leslie, who took his title of Lord Newark from the castle on them. In March 1650 he embarked at Kirkcaldy for the Continent, where he remained till 1658. On 31 December 1666 he executed a disposition of his estates in favour of his creditors, on which he obtained a decreet, 27 February 1667, and in a charter of the estates of Largie and Fernyflat, in Kincardineshire, granted to Robert, Earl of Southesk, 5 August 1673 he is not styled 'quondam,' but as this was a charter proceeding on a recognition on account of alienation of the greater part of the estate without the licence of the king, it cannot be relied on to prove that he was alive at the date mentioned.

Lord Abercrombie married, first, Jean Crichton (contract 4 August 1643), daughter of Patrick Lichtoun of Dunninald. Having accused his wife of incontinency, he assaulted an elder and the kirk beadle of the parish of Abercrombie, who were sent to summon the lady to appear before the session. At a meeting of the Presbytery of St. Andrews held on I August 1649, it was resolved to summon Lord Abercrombie to their next meeting to answer for the assault and for his scandalous intemperance and other miscarriages. On 12 September he appeared before them, confessed his faults and promised amendment, and also that his wife should go to the session of Falkland and clear herself of the scandal alleged against her. He subsequently acknowledged, in a letter to the Synod of Fife, that this scandal was quite groundless, and had been invented by himself. The matter was referred to the Presbytery of Cupar, which body, at a meeting held on 17 January 1650, appointed him to appear in the church of Falkland on a Sunday forenoon after sermon and declare his guilt before the congregation. He was ultimately publicly censured by the Church. Meanwhile the baptism of his child had been delayed till the scandal had been cleared, and it did not take place till 30 April 1650, the child being presented, in the absence of Lord Abercrombie, who had by that time left the country, by the laird of Kilbracmonth, who bound himself to satisfy for anything that might thereafter be objected against Lady Abercrombie anent the scandal at Falkland. When Jean, Lady Abercrombie, died, is not known.

Lord Abercrombie married, secondly, Christian Fletcher, widow of James Grainger, minister of Kinneff, previous to 5 January 1664, when he grants her a liferent charter of the lands of Largie, under the designation of Dame Christian Fletcher, Lady Abercrombie. This was the lady who had carried away the crown of Scotland in her lap when Dunnottar Castle was about to be surrendered to the English, and who, along with her husband, was so instrumental in securing the subsequent safety of the Scottish regalia. In 1661 she got a grant from the Estates of 1000 merks as a testimony of their sense of the services she had rendered. There must have been some difficulty about the payment of this, as on 21 August 1686 James VII. granted warrant to pay to 'Lady Abercromby' the sum of 90 sterling, the balance due of 100 sterling granted her by Charles II. 'in consideration of her preserving the honours of the kingdom the time of the late usurpation. This proves that Christian Fletcher, Lady Abercrombie of 1664, was the Christian Fletcher, the wife of the minister of Kinneff above mentioned. It is also curious as showing that Lord Abercrombie, scapegrace though he was, must have had certain personal attractions, as he married his second wife certainly within a year, and perhaps less, of her first husband's death, Mr. Grainger having died between 14th January and 20th May 1663.

By Jean Lichtoun he had:-
  • 1. James.
  • 2. Anna, who appears as a creditor of her father in the deed of 31st December 1666 above mentioned, for the sum of £2000 due her by Lord Abercrombie's marriage contract with Dame Jean Lichtoun.


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