Search just our sites by using our customised search engine
Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

The Scottish Nation

WAUCHOPE, a surname derived from the lands of Wauchopedale, parish of Langholm, Dumfries-shrie.

The ancient family of Wauchope of Wauchope were originally settled in that district, but since the 13th century their descendants have possessed the lands on Niddry, Marischal, parish of Liberton, Mid Lothian, and are probably the oldest family in that county. The Wauchopes of Wauchope were proprietors also of the lands of Culter, Aberdeenshire, in the north of Scotland. Robert de Wauchope of Culter, with other barons of Scotland, swore fealty to Edward I. in 1296. Soon afterwards, a daughter of Sir Adam Wauchope marrying Cumin of Inverallachie, a branch of the earls of Buchan of that name. Culter came into possession of her husband, from whom were the Cumins of Culter. By a charter dated 4th December 1389, it appears that Alexander Wauchope of Wauchope, failing his own male issue, resigned that estate to Sir Adam de Glandonsyn, knight, whose mother was a Wauchope.

The direct ancestors of the Wauchopes of Niddry were hereditary bailies in Mid Lothian, to the Keiths. Great Marischals of Scotland, from whom they got the lands of Niddry Marischal in that county. Robert Wauchope of Niddry Marischal inscribed his name upon a tomb which he built in 1387. It was probably this laird of Niddry who founded a chapel there in 1389, and dedicated it to the Virgin Mary. Afterwards re-endowed by a descendant with a manse and glebe, at the Reformation both the chapelry and its revenues were attached to Liberton church.

Gilbert Wauchope had a charter of Niddry from King Robert III., and the names of Patrick Wauchope of Niddry and Isobel his spouse, occur in a deed, 6th November 1479. Archibald Wauchope of Niddry and Euphemia Scougal his spouse, granted two mortifications, of twelve merks yearly, out of Niddry Marischal, to a chaplain of Holyrood. Their son, Gilbert Wauchope of Niddry, appears repeatedly as deputy to the earl Marischal from 1527 to 1540. With a son, Gilbert, he had a daughter, Euphemia, who, in 1529, married Sir John Edmonstone of Edmonstone, knight. Robert Wauchope, who, according to Bishop Lesley, was primate of Ireland and doctor of the Sorbonne, and who died at Paris, 10th November 1551, is supposed to have been of this family.

Gilbert Wauchope of Niddry, the son, was a member of the celebrated Reformation parliament of 1560. He was succeeded in August 1571, by his eldest son, William Wauchope of Niddry, and he by his son, Robert Wauchope of Niddry. The latter married, first, in 1558, Margaret, daughter of Sir James Dundas of Dundas, whose widow was his stepmother, and had, Archibald his heir, and Mary, the wife of Gavin Sandilands of Lumfodder; and, secondly, Margaret, daughter of Sir J. Douglas of Drumlanrig, ancestor of the dukes of Queensberry, widow of William earl of Menteith, and of Edward Crighton of Sanquhar. This Robert Wauchope of Niddry, and Archibald, his son and heir apparent, were both forfeited in 1587, for aiding and abetting the turbulent earl of Bothwell in his treasonable and lawless proceedings. On the night of the 12th May 1589, Archibald Wauchope, while waiting in a house near the Borough Muir for the laird of Edmonstone, was beset by the latter, and the alarm being given, all Edinburgh was roused; the king came to the house and directed a herald to charge Wauchope to surrender under pain of treason. He obeyed the summons, and being conducted to Edinburgh, was consigned to the Tolbooth. Next day he and his accomplices were brought to trial, for the slaughter of the laird of Sheriffhull and his brother, John Gifford. The trial was continued till late the following night, some delay having been occasioned by his friends endeavouring to obtain a pardon from the king, and about eleven o’clock, when the candles were put forth, Wauchope and his fellow-prisoners escaped out at the windows of the Tolbooth, in the presence at least of a thousand persons, and the judge sitting on the bench. As Sir James Sandilands, the tutor of Calder, the principal person who assisted them in their escape, was soon after restored to the confidence of the king, it was thought that his majesty was not unwilling that the trial should have ended in such a way. On the 16th of the following January, young Wauchope killed a gentleman, a dependent on the abbot of Holyrood-house, for reproving him for striking an officer of arms. Immediately thereafter, he went to Edinburgh, and had a conference with Bothwell. He had married in 1584, Rachel, daughter of Sir James M’Gill of Rankeilour, knight, and widow of George Stewart of Rosyth. He was a papist, and under attainder, when in 1592 his wife petitioned parliament for an aliment, that “she and her bairns were reduced to want from his orrie leving and heis being all consumit in his vane uses and ungodly fantasies.” The same year the laird of Niddry was engaged in the Raid of Falkland, and on the evening of the 1st July, he and two of his brethren, with the laird of Samuelston and his brother, Alexander Abercrombie, and two Hepburns, were found lying sleeping in the meadow of Lesmahago, and taken prisoners by Lord Hamilton. He confined them in the castle of Drephan, the captain whereof was his bastard son, Sir John Hamilton, who, on his father’s departure, set them at liberty and fled himself (Calderwood, vol. v. p. 169.) Archibald, the young laird, came to an unhappy end, leaving a son, Francis, who succeeded before 1604, when he was served heir to his grandfather, and in 1609 an act was passed for restitution of the house of Niddry. Francis’ son, Sir John Wauchope of Niddry, was knighted by Charles I. when he visited Scotland in 1633. He was a distinguished Covenanter, and a member of the General Assembly of 1648. He married, first, Anne, daughter of Sir Andrew Hamilton of Redhouse, next brother of Thomas, earl of Haddington, and had by her two sons; 1. Andrew, his heir, and, 2. John, who married the heiress of Edmonstone; and, secondly, in 1653, Jean, widow of Sir John Ker of Tochton, by whom he had James, whose son succeeded in 1725, and carried on the line of the family. Sir John made a settlement of his estate on the heirs male of his eldest son in 1656, on which a charter passed the great seal, 17th January 1662. He was dead in 1683.

Andrew Wauchope, the eldest son, then younger of Niddry, married in 1656, Margaret, daughter of Sir John Gilmour of Craigmillar, president of the court of session, and had three sons; 1. William, his heir. 2. James. 3. Gilbert. He made an entail on the heirs male of the family, 12th February 1711, and died immediately thereafter. His eldest son, William Wauchope of Niddry, survived till 1725, when his two brothers being dead, and the two sons of his uncle, Lord Edmonstone, being also dead, all without issue, his cousin, Andrew, the son of James, his uncle by the half-blood, succeeded to the family estates.

Andrew Wauchope of Niddry married in June 1735, Helen, daughter of the Hon. Sir Andrew Home of Kimmerghame, and had three sons. Captain Andrew Wauchope of Niddry, the eldest son, succeeded his father, and married, in 1776, a sister of General Sir David Baird, and had, with six daughters, five sons. Andrew, the eldest, having been killed at the battle of the Pyrenees in command of the 20th foot, he was succeeded by William, the second son, a lieutenant-colonel in the army. Colonel Wauchope married in 1817, Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Baird, Esq. of Newbyth and niece of the marchioness of Breadalbane, and had one son, and a daughter. He died in 1826, and was succeeded by his son, Andrew Wauchope, Esq. of Niddry, born in December 1818; married 26th March 1840, Frances Marin, daughter of Henry Lloyd, Esq. of Lloydsborough, county Tipperary, with issue, a son, William, born in September 1841, and a daughter, Harriet-Elizabeth Frances.


The Wauchopes of Edmonstone, Mid Lothian, are a branch of the family of Niddry, John Wauchope, second son of Sir John Wauchope of Niddry, having acquired that estate by his wife, Anna, daughter of James Rait of Edmonstone. He got a charter of Edmonstone, dated 9th June 1671. At the baptism of this gentleman in 1633, Charles I., who was then in Scotland, and present, took from his own neck and put round that of the infant, a beautiful gold and enamel chain, still in possession of his descendants. He was an advocate, and in 1682 was appointed a lord of session, when he took the judicial title of Lord Edmonstone. He appears to have been a man of masculine mind and independent temperament, swayed neither by the desire of royal favour, nor by the bluster of the nobles. We find it recorded, that, in a case in which the celebrated Graham of Claverhouse was concerned, he severely reproved that formidable personage for having spoken rudely, and with warmth, to the chancellor when in court. Having disobliged King James VII. by the zealous part he took in the discussion “anent the taking away the laws and tests,” in opposition to the designs of his majesty, and also by having voted against a scheme for educating the young marquis of Montrose in the Roman Catholic faith, he was removed from the bench in 1688, notwithstanding the great influence of his brother, Lord Niddrie, who was a papist. After the Revolution, those in the administration were so thoroughly convinced of his integrity of character, and knowledge of the law, that they offered to reinstate him on the bench, but he declined the offer. He died in 1709. With seven daughters, he had two sons, John and Andrew, who both inherited Edmonstone, but neither of whom ever married. Their eldest sister, Anne, married, June 26, 1683, Patrick Don of Auldtounburn, 3d son of Sir Alexander Don of Newton, baronet, and had 2 sons and 4 daughters, one of whom married James Durham of Largo. The elder son, John Don, succeeded his uncle, Andrew Wauchope, in Edmonstone, and in consequence assumed the name of Wauchope. Dying unmarried in 1732, he was succeeded by his brother, James Don, who also assumed the name of Wauchope. This gentleman carried on the line of the family. John Wauchope of Edmonstone, his great-grandson, born July 10, 1816, succeeded his father in 1837.

On the death of Sir William Henry Don, 7th Bart., March 19, 1862, by the failure of male issue of the eldest and 2d sons of the first baronet, the title passed to the male issue of the 3d son, Patrick Don; and Mr. Wauchope of Edmonstone, Patrick’s great-great-grandson, heir male of the body of Sir Alexander Don, the first bart., resumed his family surname of Don, and became 8th baronet, as Sir John Don Wauchope.

History and Genealogy of the Family of Wauchope of Niddrie-Merschell
By James Peterson (1858)

Return to The Scottish Nation Index Page


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus