Boar's head

Alexander Nisbet's Heraldic Plates - Part 5
Andrew Ross & Francis J. Grant

Boar's head

Ross, Andrew (Marchmont Herald) and Grant, Francis J. (Carrick Pursuivant): Alexander Nisbet's Heraldic Plates, Originally Intended for his System of Heraldry, Lately Found in the Library of William Eliott Lockhart, Esq. of Cleghorn, Now Reproduced with Introduction and Notes, Genealogical and Heraldic. Edinburgh: George Waterston & Sons, MDCCCXCII.


Part 1 - Introduction
Part 2 - The Origins of the Nisbet Family
Part 3 - Sir Alexander Nisbet and his descendants
Part 4 - Alexander Nisbet, "the Herald"
Part 5 - Memoranda re Branches of the Nisbet Family



The Nisbets of Dalzell in the County of Lanark

In the fourteenth century the barony of Dalzell appears to have been in possession of the Dalzell family. In 1357, on the forfeiture of sir Robert Dalzell, the lands were granted by David II. to Robert, steward of St Andrews. In 1374 they were granted by Robert II. to sir Duncan Walace and Elenora de Bruyes, countess of Carrick. The Dalzells appear again in possession in 1398, when a charter of the barony was granted to George Dalzell by Robert III. The Nisbets appear to have been owners of at least a portion of the barony from a very early period.

In 1305 sir Robert de Nesebith paid to Edward I. of England for relief of his lands of Daliel at Martinmas the sum of five merks.

I. In 14-- John Nesbit receives sasine of the half barony of Dalziell.

II. In 1468 Herbert Neisbit receives sasine of one half of the lands of Dalziel. In a resignation of the lands in favour of his son John in 1477 he is described as "Lord of the half barrony of Dalzell."

III. John Nesbit, son and heir-apparent of Herbert, received a crown charter 28th April 1477. He appears as a witness 13th December 1485 and 22nd March 1495. On 23rd October 1495 he entered protestation before the lords to an action raised against him by Thomas Somervale of Braxfield.

IV. John Nesbit of Dalzell and Margarete Somervell, his spouse, daughter of Lord Somervell, received a crown charter of the lands, 20th November 1508. In 1509 he served on the assize for the trial of Alexander Lecprevik, junior of that ilk and others for the murder of George Hammilton. John Nesbit, with consent of his wife, conveyed on 16th August 1514 to "consanguineo meo Georgio Nesbit filio Philippi Nesbit de eodem," the lands of the half barony of Dalzell, reserving portions in Flemington, Hole, and Parkhed. In the absence of collateral evidence it is not possible to say what exact degree of relationship is implied by "consanguineo meo." In the present case it amounted to nothing more than a mutual admission that the families were descended from a common ancestor.

V. George Nisbet, second son of Philip Nisbet of that ilk, and his wife, Elene Rutherfurd, received a crown confirmation of the sale to him on 22 August 1513. He married (1) Agnes Hamilton, daughter of ? Hamilton of Broomhill, who died 1575, and (2) Jonet Dalzell, daughter of Robert Dalzell of that ilk. The names of his children who have been traced are -

(1.) David. (See No. VI.)
(2.) Thomas, in Flemington, who married and had a daughter Helen.
(3.) George, married and had a son Robert.
  (4.) Philip, married and had two daughters, Margaret and Marioune.
(5.) Elizabeth, married John Sleycht. Their marriage contract is dated 7th January and registered 28th January 1550.

George Nisbet received, on 2nd August 1530, from king James V., a respite for nineteen years for the treasonable assistance rendered by him to Archibald, sometime earl of Angus, his brethren and kinsmen and their accomplices, in their treasonable deeds, and for all actions and crimes committed by him. In 1541, with a number of Berwickshire lairds, he became cautioner for John Hume of Blackadder. He was succeeded by his son -

VI. David Nisbet, who was infeft in the half barony of Dalzell in 1544. He married Isobel Leith, daughter of Marioun Reidpeth and ? Leith. Their contract of marriage is dated 15th September 1559. Isobel Leith's tocher was 300 merks, and she was to be infeft in four husband lands of Nedder Mirdington, in the regality of Dalkeith and shire of Berwick. In connection with Mirdington the Dalzell Nisbets had a prolonged dispute with the earl of Morton, in which they were ultimately successful. Their children who have been traced are -

(1.) Robert. (See No. VII.)   (2.) Jane, married Alexander Greinsheillis in Muirhouse.

In 1544 David Nisbet sold to James Turnour, indweller in Wischaw, the lands of Braidhirst in the barony of Dalzell. He was appointed by Mary of Lorraine, of whom he was a devoted partisan, lieutenant of the border guard of horse maintained during the war with England, which ended with the Treaty of Berwick, and he received an order for payment on the earl of Eglinton out of the readiest of the taxes of the bailiary of Cunninghame of his outlays in connection with that office. Many years afterwards he applied to the privy council to enforce payment of the order. He states that the earl received a charge for payment, which he disregarded. His lordship was in consequence "ordourlie put to the horn . . . . at the proces of the quhilk the said erll hes lyne contempnandlie sensyne." The earl was ordained forthwith to make payment of Nisbet's outlays. In 1561, for invading the lands of David Spottiswoode of that ilk, he and his brother Thomas, along with their accomplices, all Berwickshire lairds, found caution to underlie the law. There is a contract, dated at Edinburgh, 9th February 1562, between David Nesbet, barroun Dalyell, on the one part, and William Aitkin of Dowmill on the other part, regarding the sale by Aitkin to Nisbet of the teinds of Kimmerghame for crop and year 1562. Hew Nesbet, burgess of Edinburgh, becomes cautioner of the baron's fulfilment on his part of the contract. David Nisbet was an active adherent of Mary Queen of Scots, and during the reign of that sovereign received many gifts of escheat of the enemies of the crown. In 1565 he received from Queen Mary a nineteen years' tack of the teinds of the parish of Dalzell. On 10th September 1567 the Lord Regent (Murray) with advice of the privy council "for certane ressonabill caussis and considerationis moving thame tending to the gude rewll and pacification of the cuntre," ordains David Nysbet of Dalzell to enter into ward within the fort of Inchkeith. On 15th June 1574 David Nisbet granted to Robert Nisbet, his son and heir-apparent, a charter of one half of the lands and barony of Dalzell. Among the witnesses are Philip Nisbet, the granter's brother-german, and James Nisbet, burgess of the burgh of Edinburgh. The charter is subscribed "David Niesbiet off Dallziel."

VII. Robert Nisbet married Margaret Weir. They received a crown charter of the forty shilling land of old extent of Dalzell on 12th January 1580. Their children who have been traced are :-

(1.) Robert (See No. VIII.)
(2.) Gavin. Accused on 11th November 1618 of art and part of the slaughter of James Hamilton in Brigbrae. The result of the trial is not recorded.
  (3.) George, married Jane Tod. Died 3rd November 1605, survived by his wife and a daughter Marioune.

Robert Nisbet died October 1626.

VIII. Robert Nisbet, married Margaret Dalzell. Their children who have been traced are (1) Robert (See No. IX.), (2) Mareoun. Robert (VIII.), with the consent of his son, sold the lands of Ravenscraig, with woods and fishings, in the barony of Dalzell and county of Lanark; part of his lands of Dalzell Nisbet to Robert Fleming in Clydeside and Margaret Hay, his spouse. Deed dated at Hamilton 6th July 1606.

IX. Robert Nisbet of Dalzell, married Rachaell Nisbet. By contract of alienation, dated 20th May and 19th July 1631, Robert Nisbet of Dalzell Nisbet with consent of his wife, Rachel Nisbet, and his mother, Margaret Dalzell, sold his lands of the half barony of Dalyell to Robert, master of Dalyell. Dalyell's sasine is dated 29th September and recorded 7th November 1632.


Note on the Families of Craigintinnie, Dean, and Dirleton,
in the Counties of Mid-Lothian and Haddington.

Almost as far back as our records extend, the Nisbet family is conspicuous in the records of the city of Edinburgh. In 1368 Alexandri de Nesbet was one of the representative members of the community who, taking into consideration how, through the ravages of war, the mortality of man, and the ignorance of youth, many bequests to the church of St Giles and the altars endowed therein by burgesses had been abstracted or misapplied, decided in future to keep a register of the annual rents belonging to the church and its altars. The register so initiated formed the foundation of one of the most interesting volumes of the famous Bannatyne club series (Registrum Cartarum Ecclesie Sancti Egidii de Edinburgh, published in 1859, and edited by the late David Laing). In the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries there occur throughout the volumes issued by the record commission references to many Nisbets, burgesses of Edinburgh, but of too disjointed a nature to permit of their being linked together for the purpose of proving a regular family succession. The statement originally made by Mr George Crawfurd (a brother of Thomas of Cartsburn), in his Historical and Critical Remarks on the Ragman Roll, on the authority of sir John Nisbet (No. VI. in the Dean genealogy), and subsequently reaffirmed by the famous antiquary John Riddell, a descendant by the mother's side from the house of Dean, was, that the Dean family, and consequently Craigintinnie and Dirleton, were descended from Adam Nisbet, a son of a baron of Dalzell, who came to Edinburgh in the time of king James IV. A glance at the arms of Nisbet of that ilk and at those of the barons of Dalzell indicates a distinct origin for the two families, but that they were related, or at least considered themselves to be descended from a common stock, is proved by the conveyance granted in 1513 by the baron of Dalzell and his wife Margarete, daughter of the Lord Somervell, to "consanguineo meo" George Nisbet, son of Philip Nisbet of that ilk, and it will be observed that the Nisbets of that ilk, on obtaining possession of the estate, adopted with slight variation the arms of the Dalzell Nisbets. The tradition in the Dean family is so far borne out by the records. There was an Adam Nisbet, a burgess of Edinburgh early in the sixteenth century, who was the common ancestor of the Craigintinnie, Dean, and Dirleton families. The origin of this common ancestor has not been ascertained; a protracted search, for which the authorities of H.M. Register House and the municipality of Edinburgh courteously gave every facility, has failed to clear up the mystery of his ancestry.

Here it may be permissible to note - I do not know where it may more conveniently be interjected - a striking feature in the history of the Nisbet family - its undeviating loyalty to the sovereign. We have seen how unselfish devotion to the cause of king Charles I. brought about the ruin of the main stem, and how the Dalzell family proved their loyalty to Mary of Lorraine and to her daughter, Mary Queen of Scots. In like manner, a scrutiny of the old registers shews that Adam Nisbet, whatever his extraction, was a supporter of the old Catholic party and of the queen regent, Mary of Lorraine. His eldest son Henry, provost of Edinburgh, must have had his loyalty subjected to many severe tests while giving king James I. the unswerving support he did during that monarch's long struggle with Presbytery. Adam Nisbet's grandson, the founder of the Dirleton family, had probably fewer scruples and greater courage in undertaking the defence of the great Montrose in 1641.

Adam Nisbet was a burgess of Edinburgh in the reign of king James V. and his widow, the queen regent, Mary of Lorraine. He supported the queen-mother in her struggle with the lords of the congregation, and received from her many gifts of escheat in the course of the war. That he was held in estimation by his fellow-citizens is proved by the terms of the admission of his second son William to the roll of burgesses in 1567, before which year Adam Nisbet died; his wife's name was Elizabeth Hay. His family consisted of at least two sons, Henry and William, and three daughters, Christiane, Marioune, and Elizabeth.

I. Henry Nisbet, born 1535, was on 23rd January 1561 made a free burgess and guild brother of Edinburgh, "be ressoun of his wife, Jonet Ballenden, second dochter of James Ballenden, writer" His wife's name as "Jonet Bannatyne" occurs with his own in numerous records. Her real patronymic was "Bannatyne." She was the eldest daughter of James Bannatyne of Newtyle, "tabular" of the college of justice, and his wife Katherine Taillefeir, and was born 30th September 1541; her second brother was the famous George Bannatyne, to whose literary tastes and patriotic exertions we owe the preservation of many of the finest works of our early Scottish "makkars," and in honour of whom the Bannatyne club was designated. She died in 1621, and her executor was her son Patrick Nisbet of Dryden, afterwards sir Patrick Nisbet of Eastbank, father of founder of the Dirleton family. By 1569 Henry Nisbet was a bailie, and he was provost of the city of Edinburgh from 6th December 1597 to 7th November 1598. He was a man of considerable estate, his name frequently appearing on the record as a creditor in bonds granted by various noblemen and others. As one of the commissioners for burghs he was a member of the privy council, and occupied a leading position in the troubled politics of the day. He was a supporter of captain James Stewart, afterwards earl of Arran, and lord chancellor of Scotland, in his struggles with the Scottish nobles, who endeavoured, and at length succeeded in overthrowing that favourite. The downfall of Arran had no adverse effect upon the fortunes of Nisbet. His name frequently occurs in the church histories of the period as a uniform upholder of king James's ecclesiastical policy. He died in 1607, aged 72; his will, recorded in the commissary court books of Edinburgh 16th January 1608, is not now extant. His portrait, in possession of Mr and Mrs Nisbet Hamilton Ogilvy, is preserved at Archerfield House, Haddingtonshire, and is of great interest as one of the earliest - if not the earliest - portrait in existence of a provost of Edinburgh. It shews an aged man of dignified appearance and resolute countenance, seated in a chair of state, attired in a garb of black velvet, a skull cap of the same material, and deep ruffles round the neck and wrists. A ruddy complexion, keen eyes, grey moustaches, and a beard pointed after the fashion of the time, complete the picture. In a corner appears the provost's arms - argent, on a chevron gules between three boar's heads erased sable, a cinquefoil of the field. On 1st June 1608 his sons received permission from the municipality of Edinburgh to erect a monument over their father's burial place in Greyfriars. The names of his children who have been traced are -

(1.) James. (See genealogy of the Craigintinnie family.)
(2.) William. (See genealogy of the Dean family.)
(3.) Patrick of Eastbank. (See genealogy of the Dirleton family.)

In the will of sir Patrick Nisbet of Eastbank, dated 10th November 1647, he recommends "earnestly to my tua sons and also to my deirest friend sir Lues Stewart, and my much beloved and honoured nephews sir Henri Nisbett and sir William Nisbett to see fulfilment" of the stipulations in his will and in his daughter's marriage contract. According to this will we should have the following descent:-

Henry Nisbet, provost of Edinburgh = Jonet Bannatyne



from whom

from whom

of Eastbank,
lord of session,
from whom

which tallies with Nisbet's statement (Heraldry, Vol. I. p. 315, edition 1804), except in so far as Patrick was the brother of James and William, while Nisbet makes him the son of a brother.

II. William Nisbet "second son to umquhile Adam Nisbet is maid freeman and burgess" of Edinburgh 9th July 1567. He was a prosperous merchant, and became a bailie of Edinburgh. He is described in the commissary record as "ane honest and discreit man quha decesit in the pest," 26th September 1585. Confirmation of his estate was granted to Isobell Mauchane, his relict, and Henry Nisbet, merchant burgess and one of the bailies of Edinburgh, his brother-german. His children were -

(1.) Edward, born 18th April 1571, married Margaret Crystie, daughter of Alexander Crystie. His eldest son was -
(i.) William, who in September 1614 purchased from Mr John Young of Wilkieston a right of servitude over certain property in the High Street of Edinburgh.
(ii.) A daughter, Isobel.

Edward Nisbet was, with Thomas Nisbet , son to the laird of Nisbet, accused of the slaughter of James Carmichael, son to the gudeman of Vderine (the word is so written in the original Justiciary record, and is probably intended for "Edrom," which at that time was in possession of the Carmichaels). The issue of the case is not recorded. In 1596 he was admitted a burgess of Edinburgh, when he was designed the eldest son of William Nisbet, merchant burgess. On 31st December 1606 he sold to James Nesbet, merchant, "eldest lawfull son to Henry Nesbett lait provost of the said brucht my fader brother," a house in Grays close. A witness is Thomas Nesbet, sone to (George) Nesbet of that ilk.

(2.) Agnes. (3.) Thomas (4.) Margaret; and (5.) Cristiane; they all died before 31st August 1592. (6.) Katherin, who died 1st September 1601, confirmation of her estate being granted to her mother, Isobell Mauchane. (7.) William, who left a son, to whom his grandmother Isobel Mauchane bequeathed 100 by her will dated 15th August 1602.

Isobel Mauchane, after her first husband's death, married George Bannatyne, merchant and burgess of Edinburgh, the second brother of her sister-in-law, Jonet Bannatyne, wife of Henry Nisbet, to whom reference has already been made. They had a son who died in infancy, and a daughter, Jonet, who married George Foulis of Ravelston, master of the king's mint, second son of James Foulis of Colinton; their eldest daughter, Jonet, married Gilbert Primrose, clerk of the privy council (see Rosebery genealogy). Isobel Mauchane died 27th August 1603, aged fifty-two. In his Memorials, issued by the Bannatyne club, her husband pays a graceful tribute to her memory.

III. Cristiane, to whom in 1585 her brother, Bailie William Nisbet (II.) left a legacy of 40.

IV. Marioun Nisbet, married John Graham, burgess of Edinburgh. She died August 1568, leaving -

(1.) John.
(2.) Henrie.
(3.) Thomas.
  (4.) Catherine.
(5.) Marioun.
(6.) Margaret.

On 26th January 1569, John Graham is asked by Henry and William Nysbetts, their mother's brother, to make provision for the children, and grants a bond in favour of his brothers-in-law for the benefit of his children for 600 merks. On 11th September 1581 there is a contract between Henry and William Nisbetts, merchant burgesses of Edinburgh, and John Graham, stating that John Graham has paid them 400 merks, to be equally divided to John, Henry, Thomas, and Mariote, the children of himself and his deceased wife.

V. Elizabeth. She married Thomas Ackenheid, who on 6th February 1567 was made burgess and freeman of Edinburgh "be reassoun of his spouse, Elizabeth Nesbet, dauchter to umquhille Adam Nesbet, burgess of this burgh."

Jonet Bannatyne, wife of Provost Henry (1.), had a sister Katherine, who married (1) James Bannatyne, writer, Edinburgh, and (2) William Stewart, clerk-depute of the burgh of Edinburgh. There is a discharge by Henry Nisbet, merchant and burgess of Edinburgh, to his sister, Katherine Bannatyne, relict of umquhile James Bannatyne, writer, for 100 merks, due by the deceased James Bannatyne to the said Henry Nisbet, dated 18th February 1587. There is an acknowledgment, 22nd February 1587, by Henry Nisbet and George Bannatyne, merchant burgesses of Edinburgh, to William Stewart, clerk-depute of Edinburgh, of a sum of money on behalf of Jonet and Agnes Bannatyne, daughters of James Bannatyne, younger, writer, and his spouse, Katherine, who thereafter was spouse to the said William Stewart. The witnesses are James Nisbet, son to Henry, and John Bannatyne, brother to Janet and Agnes. By contract, dated 22nd February 1594, Jonet Bannatyne, daughter to umquhile James Bannatyne, writer, and John Nisbitt, servitour to Mr Alexander Guthrie, common clerk of Edinburgh, and spouse to the said Jonet, acknowledges to have received from George Bannatyne, merchant burgess of Edinburgh, 400 merks, being the sum which William Stewart, clerk-depute of the burgh of Edinburgh, and spous for the time to umquhile Katheren Bannatyne, mother to the said Jonet, deliveret to the said George. Jonet Bannatyne's and John Nisbit's marriage contract was dated at Edinburgh, 27th January 1594.

Contemporary with the preceding family there was Bailie James Nesbitt, designed in the later deeds in which his name appears as "elder" merchand burgess of Edinburgh, apparently to distinguish him from James, provost Henry's elder son. This James Nisbit was admitted a burgess on 3rd July 1571. His wife's name was Issobell Aikman. They had, with other children, John, writer in Edinburgh, admitted guild brother in 1602, and Sibilla, wife of capitane Thomas Ewine. There is a discharge by Sibilla Nisbet and her husband to her father of all claims on account of her succession to him or to her deceased mother, Issobell Aikman, dated at Edinburgh 15th July 1593.



I. James Nisbet of Restalrig, and burgess of Edinburgh, was the eldest son of Henry Nisbet, provost of Edinburgh 1597-8. On 24th November 1601, he was admitted a guild brother of the city, being designed as "eldest son of Henrie Nesbet, merchand, lait provost of the burgh." He was a distinguished and successful merchant of the city. He married Marioune, one of the daughters and heirs portioners of sir John Arnot of Birswick, provost of Edinburgh, and treasurer depute to king James VI., by Margaret Craig, his wife, sister of sir Thomas Craig of Riccartoun, the other heir portioner of sir John being Helena, wife of sir George Home of Manderston. James Nisbet died June 1621. Confirmation of his estate was granted to his relict on 9th January 1622. She subsequently married sir Lues Stewart, a distinguished pleader of the time, who, along with sir John Gilmour and John Nisbet, first of Dirleton, were selected by the great marquis of Montrose to be his counsel when in 1641 he was prosecuted for treason by the committee of estates. Dame Marioune and her second husband lent large sums of money to sir Alexander Nisbet of that ilk, the grandfather of the herald. The children of James Nisbet and Marioune Arnot who have been traced are -

(1.) Henry. (See No. II.)
(2.) Robert, who had a daughter Agnes.
(3.) Marion, who married sir Alexander Dalmahoy of that ilk.

II. Sir Henry Nisbet of Craigintinnie, knight, married Isobel Nicolson, daughter of Thomas Nicolson of Cockburnspath, lord advocate. Their children who have been traced are -

(1.) John, who died 24th June 1664, and was buried in Greyfriars churchyard.
(2.) Patrick. (See No. III.)

Sir Henry Nisbet entered into a tack of the teinds of his lands of Restalrig with John lord Balmerinoch on 13th March 1632. He died at his house in Blackfriars wynd, Edinburgh, on 5th January 1667, bequeathing his whole estate to his eldest surviving son, Patrick. He was buried in Greyfriars churchyard.

III. Sir Patrick Nisbet, infeft in the lands of Craigintinnie May 1667; created a baronet 2nd December 1669; exchanged, in 1672, the lands of Craigintinnie for those of Dean, with his cousin Alexander Nisbet of Dean. The lands conveyed are described as twelve oxengates of the town and lands of Restalrig, which had been feued out in three separate portions by Robert Logane of Restalrig. The conveyance is dated 22nd June 1672, and is granted for certain large sums of money paid and other good causes. (See Dean genealogy for further notice of sir Patrick Nisbet and his descendants.)

IV. Alexander Nisbet of Craigintinnie, formerly of Dean. Exchanged in 1672 the lands of Dean for those of Craigintinnie. He married Katherine Porterfield, daughter of Walter Porterfield of Comostoune. They had -

(1.) William Nisbet of Craigintinnie, institute of Dirleton, under the 1687 entail of that estate by sir John Nisbet.
(2.) Captain Alexander.
(3.) Captain Thomas, died a lieutenant-colonel at Bergen-op-Zoom, 14th April 1758, aged 87.
  (4.) Jean, married Alexander Gordon of Woodhall. She died March 1763, aged 87.
(5.) Emilia, married the Rev. Mr Hepburn, minister of the gospel.

By disposition dated 3rd and 22nd April 1683, Alexander Nisbet, with consent of his wife, Katherine Porterfield, sold to Henry Nisbet, younger of Dean, four of the twelve oxengates of land which had been conveyed by sir Patrick Nisbet (No. III.) to Alexander Nisbet (No. IV.) by the disposition of 1672. In 1693 Henry Nisbet sold these four oxengates to Andrew Massie, one of the regents of the college of Edinburgh, in liferent, and Andrew Massie, his son, in fee. In 1735 Ann Massie, spouse to William Graham, junior, merchant in Edinburgh, disponed them to William Miller, younger, seed merchant, near the abbey of Holyrood house. In this last conveyance the four oxengates are described as the north-east room of Restalrig, together with the whole links on the north side of the Blackside loan. Confirmation of Alexander Nisbet's estate was granted 19th May 1696. Katherine Porterfield was dead in 1693.

V. William Nisbet of Craigintinnie and Dirleton. (For marriages and children see Dirleton pedigree.) Infeft in the remaining eight oxengates of the lands of Restalrig, described as the south-east and middle rooms of Restalrig, on 24th October 1712. He executed an entail of the estate of Restalrig on 5th September 1722 to David Nisbet, son of his second marriage with Mrs Jean Bennet, daughter of Mr Robert Bennet, dean of the faculty of advocates, whom failing, to Walter Nisbet (see No. VI.), the second son of his first marriage with a niece of dame Jean Morison, the third wife of sir John Nisbet, first of Dirleton, whom failing, to Mrs Christian Nisbet, his eldest daughter, and sir John Scott of Ancrum, her husband. He was succeeded by his son Walter.

VI. Walter Nisbet of Craigintinnie, died at Edinburgh 1st February 1752, and was succeeded by his daughter (and apparently only child) Jean Nisbet.

VII. Jean Nisbet of Craigintinnie made up a title to her father and died in the same year, 1752; succeeded by her cousin John (IX.), son of -

VIII. Dame Christian Nisbet, wife of sir John Scott of Ancrum. They had four sons and one daughter. They were succeeded in the estate of Craigintinnie by their second son John (No. IX.)

IX. John Scott-Nisbet of Craigintinnie, baptised 15th May 1729. Died at Edinburgh 31st December 1764. Married, 21st December 1756, Margaret, daughter of Chambres Lewis, collector of customs, Leith. His wife, Mrs Margaret Scott-Nisbet, died at Portobello 2nd November 1828, aged 88. He was the last Nisbet of Craigintinnie, and in 1762 he sold the lands to William Miller.



I. Sir William Nisbet of Dean, bailie and merchant burgess of Edinburgh, second son of Henry Nisbet, provost of Edinburgh in 1597-8, was born in 1569. He had a long and successful career as a merchant in Edinburgh, besides being engaged in many commercial transactions abroad. He purchased the lands of Dean, including the toune and walk mylne of Dean, and the mure, called the hieland mure, from John lord Lindsay of the Byres in 1609. In 1610 he purchased the Pultrie lands and office of Pultrie from lord Napier for 1700 merks. In 1612 his charters of the barony of Dean and the lands of Pulterlands, "with the office of his hienes pultre," was ratified by parliament. In 1621 he purchased from John Johnston six oxengates of land lying runrig through the town and lands of Dean, and the peat ground extending west and south from the mansion-house, which had been sold to Thomas Johnston, the grandfather of John, by Patrick, master of Lindsay, on 4th June 1562. In the later titles of the estate the lands are described as the lands of Dean, with the corn and waulk-mills, commonly called Bells-miln; the piece of ground called highland muir, belonging in commonty to the heritors of Ravelston and Dean; and the lands called Poultry-lands, lying next to and below the village of Dean. William Nisbet built, before 1621, the principal mansion-house of Dean, which was situated in the immediate vicinity of Edinburgh towards the north-west. He married, before 1596, Jonet Williamson, who died in May 1622. Confirmation of her estate was granted to her husband 28th February 1624. No mention of children is made. Among the stones built into one of the walls in the Dean cemetery is one shewing the arms of Nisbet of Dean impaled with those of Williamson - a saltire between a boar's head erased in chief, and three mullets in flank and base, with the initials S.W.N., D.J.W. (sir William Nisbet, dame Jonet Williamson).

From 31st January to 1st October 1616 William Nisbet filled the office of provost of Edinburgh. He was knighted in 1617 on the visit of James VI. to Edinburgh. He again filled the office of provost from 30th September 1617 to 5th October 1619, and from 1st October 1622 to 30th September 1623. It was in all probability sir William Nisbet who extended his hospitality to Ben Jonson on the occasion of the famous dramatist's visit to Drummond of Hawthornden in 1619, and whose kindness is recalled in a passage in the letter from Ben Jonson to Drummond, dated from London 10th May 1619 - "Salute the beloved Fentons, the Nisbets, the Scots, the Livingstounes." Like his father, provost Henry, sir William was a strenuous supporter of king James's ecclesiastical policy. He married for his second wife dame Katherine Dick, daughter of sir William Dick of Braid, who died 13th May 1630. In the confirmation of her estate, granted to her husband 26th September 1631, her three children, William, Jonet, and Elizabeth, are named; the latter was born 2nd July 1626. Two stones in the Dean cemetery commemorate the Dick alliance - the one an impaled shield, shewing the arms of Nisbet and Dick; the other, a remarkably fine stone, shews (1) on a chevron between three boar's heads erased three cinquefoils, for Nisbet; (2) a fess between two mullets in chief and a crescent in base, for Dick. The shield is surmounted by a side helmet closed and a rich mantling, and above the helmet on a wreath for a crest, a dexter hand supporting a castle triple towered with the motto, Hic mihi partus honos. The lettering is S.W.N., D.K.D., (sir William Nisbet, dame Katherine Dick). In 1637 sir William was sheriff-principal of the county of Edinburgh. His portrait, in possession of Mr and Mrs Nisbet Hamilton Ogilvy, is at Archerfield. It represents him in a black velvet dress with gold belt and clasps, the skull cap ornamented with white lace, which also adorns the collar of his habit, a large and expressive eye, a prominent nose and a fine mouth, with grey eyebrows, pointed beard, and moustaches, go to the formation of a countenance which does not convey to the spectator that keen determination so conspicuous in provost Henry's portrait. The arms on the picture are identical with those on the stone in the Dean cemetery, and they may be blazoned for the sake of the tinctures, viz., argent, on a chevron gules between three boar's heads erased sable three cinquefoils of the field; crest, a hand sinister holding the castle of Edinburgh, motto, Hic mihi partus honos. He was succeeded by his son.

II. William Nisbet of Dean, served heir to his father 17th October 1639. He married dame Margaret Murray, daughter of John Murray of Polmais, who survived him, and afterwards married Mr Alexander Persone of Balmadies. William Nisbet died in October 1655; his daughter Janet died April 1665, and was buried in Greyfriars churchyard. He was succeeded by his eldest surviving son.

III. Alexander Nisbet of Dean. He exchanged in 1672 the lands of Dean for those of Craigintinnie with sir Patrick Nisbet of Craigintinnie. (See Craigintinnie pedigree for further notice of Alexander Nisbet.)

IV. Sir Patrick Nisbet of Craigintinnie was the second son of sir Henrie Nisbet of Craigintinnie, his elder brother John having died on 24th June 1664. Sir Patrick was created a baronet on 2nd December 1669, while still proprietor of the estate of Craigintinnie. In 1672 he exchanged the lands of Craigintinnie for those of Dean with Alexander Nisbet of Dean. He married Agnes Brown, daughter of James Brown of Stevenson, and had -

(1.) David, designated in the Dirleton entail as fiar of Dean.
(2.) Henry. (See No. V.)
(3.) Patrick, married Anna Belshes, and had a son, John, a writer in Edinburgh.
(4.) James, chirurgeon apothecary, burgess of Edinburgh, married Jonet Baillie. He died before 1724, survived by his wife and had -
  (i.) Patrick, died in 1742.
(ii.) Agnes, died 16th February 1734.

(5.) Isabel, married Alexander Stuart, second baron of Torrance.
(6.) Nancy, died November 1670, and buried in Greyfriars churchyard.

Among the stones in the Dean cemetery is one shewing a chevron between three fleurs-de-lis, and the initials D.A.B., the arms and initials of Agnes Brown. She died at the age of one hundred. Some account of sir Patrick's prolonged disputes with the kirk-session of St Cuthberts parish will be found in Mr Lorimer's Leaves from the Buik of the West Kirk; (David Douglas, Edinburgh, 1885) Sir Patrick matriculated his arms in the Lyon register about 1672 as follows: argent, a chevron gules between three boar's heads erased sable; crest an eagle with wings displayed proper; motto, Non obest virtuti Sors. Sir Patrick was succeeded by his eldest surviving son.

V. Sir Henry, who was infeft in 1682. He married (1), on 9th February 1657, Christian Riddell, a niece of the third wife of sir John Nisbet of Dirleton, and daughter of sir John Riddell of that ilk (their contract of marriage is dated 5th and 11th March 1681), and had -

(1.) Sir John. (See No. VI.)
(2.) Sir Alexander (See No. VIII.)
(3.) Sarah, who married (1) Captain Walter Riddell of Granton, who died 1738 s.p.; (2) sir John Rutherford, to whom she had
  a large family, the eldest being Henry Rutherford, whose great-grandson and heir male of line was Henry Charles Rutherford of Redfordgreen, in the county of Selkirk. She died 26th January 1787.

Sir Henry Nisbet married (2) Margaret Sinclair, and had a son Robert, whose general service as heir to his father and mother was dated 20th March 1730. Sir Henry built a second mansion-house on Dean estate, called the Western Place of Dean. He also built a family tomb at St Cuthberts parish church. He died in August 1713, and was succeeded by his eldest son.

VI. Sir John Nisbet, served heir to his father 9th November 1713. He married Anna Myreton or Morton, eldest daughter of sir Andrew Morton of Gogar and dame Jean Murray, his spouse. Their contract of marriage is dated at Gogar 23rd August 1717. Her tocher was 30,000 merks. They had, with other children-

(1.) Sir Henry. (See No. VII.)
(2.) Christian, married, April 1741, John Riddell of Granton, W.S., and had issue.
(3.) Ann, married, 15th November 1752, John Glassford of Dougalston. She died 8th April 1766. Their eldest daughter, Anne, married Henry Riddell of Little Govan, and they were the father and mother of the
  famous antiquary and authority on peerage law, John Riddell, advocate, who was born 1785, and died in 1862.
(4.) Euphan, married Fergusson of Craigdarroch, and had issue.
(5.) Joanna, married William Chalmers of Wester Dalry, surgeon in Edinburgh, and had issue. She died 2nd May 1808.

Sir John died 30th March 1728. His widow survived until her hundredth year.

VII. Sir Henry Nisbet was served heir to his father 20th July 1730. Infeft 1731. During his minority a portion of the estate called Nisbet parks, commonly distinguished as the Easter and Wester parks, with the dwelling-house, were sold by his uncle Alexander (VIII.), acting as his tutor-in-law, to Archibald Murray, advocate, brother-german of Alexander Murray of Cringletie, for the price of 39,821, 16s. 8d. Scots. Date of deed 17th June 1734. Four years afterwards another portion of the barony, situated at the foot of Leith wynd, was sold to the governors of Trinity hospital. He was killed at the battle of Tournay, October 1746, and, dying without issue, was succeeded by his uncle.

VIII. Sir Alexander Nisbet, merchant, Charlestown, South Carolina, served heir to his nephew 20th March 1747. Infeft same year. He married, October 1742, Mally Rutherford, who died 19th June 1797, daughter of Sir John Rutherford, and had -

(1.) Henry. (See No. IX.)

(2.) John. (See No X.)

(3.) Elizabeth, who died s.p.

Sir Alexander died at Charleston, South Carolina, 7th October 1753. He was succeeded by his eldest son.

IX. Sir Henry Nisbet, who was served heir to his father 19th June 1754. Infeft 1761. Died, unmarried, 1762. He was succeeded by his brother.

X. Sir John Nisbet, served heir to his brother 12th September 1764, and infeft same year. His wife was Claudine Favre, a French lady. They had -

(1.) John. (See No. XI.)
(2.) Alexander, married, and died in America in 1813, leaving a daughter.
(3.) A daughter, died in infancy.

Sir John Nisbet, who served with in the Royal Scots Greys, was drowned on his passage from America in the spring of 1776.

XI. Sir John Nisbet, served heir to his father 15th August 1781, and infeft same year. He married, in November 1797, Maria, daughter of Mr William Alston, South Carolina, United States. She was born 2nd February 1778. They had issue one child, a son, who died in infancy. The American estates known as Deanhall plantation were situated on Cooper river, parish of St John, Berkeley county, South Carolina. A contract of separation was executed by the spouses in 1810, and there was no surviving issue of the marriage. Sir John died at Naples, 18th September 1827.

Sir John Nisbet, last of Dean, feued a portion of the lands of Dean in 1825 to John Paton, builder, in Edinburgh. In 1837 Sir John's trustees sold the greater portion of the lands of Dean to John Learmonth, esquire, merchant in Edinburgh, afterwards lord provost. In 1842 Mr Learmonth acquired a further portion, and in 1847 the remainder of the lands and barony of Dean.



Sir Patrick Nisbet of Eastbank, knight, one of the senators of the college of justice, was the third son of Henry Nisbet, provost of Edinburgh 1597-8 and Jonet Bannatyne. There is a contract dated 3rd December 1613, by which James Nesbet, merchant burgess of Edinburgh, with consent of Marioune Arnot, his spouse, sells to "Mr Patrick Nisbet, advocate, my brother-german," in consideration of the sum of 1200, an annual rent to be uplifted out of a tenement in the High Street of Edinburgh. Like the other members of his family, he was a strong supporter of king James VI. and king Charles I. in their ecclesiastical policy. He was admitted lord ordinary 1st November 1636. He was knighted by the marquis of Hamilton, the royal commissioner, on 14th November 1638. In 1641, as a keen supporter of the king, he was deprived of his office, which was conferred upon Archibald Johnstone of Warriston, then clerk to the general assembly of the church of Scotland. He died between November 1647 and July 1648, predeceased by his wife, who was a daughter of John Arthur of Newtown Arthur, advocate, one of the commissaries of Edinburgh, and Helen Home, his wife. By his will, dated at Edinburgh, 10th November 1647, confirmation of which was granted 5th July 1648, it appears the following children survived him:-

(1.) Mr Henrie.
(2.) Mr John, designed in his father's will commissar of Edinburgh. (See No. I.)
(3.) Jonet, married to Patrick Blackburne, and had issue. Her tocher was 5000 merks. 1000 merks was bequeathed to Agnes Blackburne, Jonet's eldest daughter.
  (4.) Catherine. Her portion was 7000 merks. She married Walter Riddell of Minto, a son of Walter Riddell of Lilslie (Lilliesleaf). One of their two daughters married sir Robert Lawrie of Maxwellton, and was the mother of Anne (immortalised by the song of "Annie Lawrie"), who married Ferguson of Craigdarroch, M.P.

Sir Patrick recommends "earnestly to my twa sones, and also to my deirest friend, sir Lues Stewart, and my much beloved and honoured nephews, sir Henri Nisbett and sir William Nisbett, to see fulfilment" of the obligations undertaken in his daughter Jonet's contract of marriage.

I. Sir John, son of sir Patrick Nisbet of Eastbank, senator of the college of justice, was born in Edinburgh 1st July 1610; admitted advocate 19th November 1633; acted as sheriff-depute of the county of Edinburgh in 1639, and was afterwards appointed one of the commissaries of Edinburgh. In 1641, when Montrose was prosecuted by the committee of estates on a charge of treason, John Nisbet was one of the three counsel whom the prisoner petitioned to be allowed to plead for him, the other two, who were greatly Nisbet's seniors, being sir John Gilmour and sir Lues Stewart. He purchased the estate of Dirleton 1663; filled the double office of lord advocate and lord of session 1664-1667, being the last who combined the two offices. A dignified portrait of sir John Nisbet in the dining-room at Archerfield represents him in the judge's robes and wig of the period. The countenance is noble and intellectual, with a keen, searching eye. In obedience to the act of parliament of 1672, he matriculated his arms in the Lyon register as follows: argent, on a chevron gules between three boar's heads erased sable as many cinquefoils of the field, in the honour point a thistle slipped vert; crest a dexter hand issuing out of a cloud and holding a balance all proper; motto, Discite justitiam. He married (1) ? Monypennie, second daughter of Monypennie of Pitmillie, by whom he had a son, who died young; (2) Helen Hay, and had a daughter Jean, who married (March 1673) sir William Scott, younger of Harden, and afterwards (in 1710) sir William Scott of Thirlestane. There was no issue of either marriage. He married (3) dame Jean Morison, daughter of sir Alexander Morison of Prestongrange.

By deed of entail dated 29th September 1687, sir John entailed the estate of Dirleton on William Nisbet, eldest lawful son of Alexander Nisbet of Craigintinnie, and a series of substitutes. He died on 9th April 1688. Confirmation of his estate was granted to sir William Scott, on behalf of his wife, Jean Nisbet, as the only child of the deceased. In 1693 lady Harden and her husband presented a petition to parliament setting forth the injustice of the entail by the exclusion of the entailer's only child, and praying that it might be set aside. The petition was remitted to John, earl of Tweeddale, the chancellor, and sir James Stewart, lord advocate, with power to settle with the parties, or otherwise to report to parliament. No report was made. Lady Harden was served heir of line and taillie to her father 24th June 1697. A series of lawsuits went on for many years between lady Harden and the heir of entail regarding the payment of considerable sums of money, in which she or her representatives were upon the whole successful.

II. William Nisbet of Dirleton, served heir to his father, Alexander Nisbet of Craigintinnie, 18th June 1696. Institute of entail under the deed executed by sir John Nisbet above mentioned. He married (1) a niece of dame Jean Morison, the third wife of sir John Nisbet of Dirleton. He married (2), on 29th March 1688, Jean, daughter of Mr Robert Bennett, dean of the faculty of advocates; their marriage contract is dated 20th April 1711. She died 29th June 1762. With other children, Mr Nisbet had by the first marriage -

(1.) Jean, born 17th March 1690, married seventh lord Banff, 2nd April 1749.
(2.) Margaret, baptised 10th September 1690.
(3.) William. (See No. III.)
(4.) Christian, married sir John Scott of Ancrum. (See that pedigree.)
(5.) Anne, married sir John Hume of Blackadder. She died at Prestonpans 1st January 1779.
(6.) Katherin, married, in 1722, Colin Campbell, younger of Aberuchil. She died 20th January 1763.
  (7.) Janet.
(8.) Magdalen.

By the second marriage -

(9). David, died before 8th June 1728.
(10.) Wilhelmina (described in her obituary notice as the nineteenth child), born 1724. Married, August 1747, David, earl of Leven and Melville. She died 10th May 1798.

William Nisbet, who was born before 1666, represented the county of Edinburgh in parliament. Died October 1724, and was succeeded by his eldest son.

III. William Nisbet of Craigintinnie and Dirleton, served heir to his father 9th February 1725. Married Christian, daughter of sir William Bennett, baronet of Grubbett. He died March 1733, confirmation of his estate being granted to William Nisbet (see No. IV.), his eldest son.

IV. William Nisbet of Dirleton, grand master of the freemasons in Scotland, served heir to his father 7th November 1733. Married, 2nd February 1747, Mary, only child and heiress of Alexander Hamilton of Pencaitland and Dechmont, and heiress of entail of James, fifth lord Belhaven. A three-quarter length portrait of him by Allan Ramsay, dated 1750, is in the dining room at Archerfield. He died 1st March 1783, and his wife in March 1797. They had -

(1.) William Hamilton Nisbet. (See No. V.)
(2.) John Hamilton Nisbet of Pencaitland, Dechmont, and Winton. Born 1751, died 1804. Married, in 1782, Janet Dundas, daughter of the second Lord President Arniston. They had no children, and he was succeeded in the Pencaitland estates by his sister Mary (3).
(3.) Mary, born 1750. She married (1) William Hay, heir-presumptive to George,
  marquess of Tweeddale, who died in 1781. They had issue a boy, who died in infancy. She married (2) Walter Campbell of Islay and Shawfield, and had issue -
(i.) William, died unmarried.
(ii.) Mary, married James, sixth lord Ruthven, and had no issue. She died in 1885, aged 96.
(iii.) Hamilton, married Robert Montgomery, eighth lord Belhaven, and died s.p.

V. William Hamilton Nisbet of Belhaven and Dirleton was born in 1747. He was a musician and composer of some repute in his day. In 1801 he matriculated arms, quartering the coat of Nisbet of Dirleton as registered by his predecessor sir John Nisbet, with those of Hamilton of Pencaitland, being gules, a sword paleways argent hilted and pommelled or, between three cinquefoils of the second; crest, a dexter arm issuing out of a cloud and holding a balance all proper; motto, Discite justitiam; supporters, two horses argent bridled gules, with the motto underneath, Ride through. Mr Hamilton Nisbet married Mary, daughter of lord Robert Manners, and granddaughter of John, second duke of Rutland. They had an only child.

VI. Mary Hamilton Nisbet of Belhaven and Dirleton. She married (1) Thomas, seventh earl of Elgin and eleventh earl of Kincardine, which marriage was dissolved by act of parliament in 1808. She married (2), on 20th April 1808, Robert Ferguson of Raith, who died 3rd December 1840. She died 9th July 1855. By her first marriage she had five children -

(1.) George Constantine, lord Bruce, born 5th April 1800. Died 1st December 1840, unmarried.
(2.) William, died young.
(3.) Mary. (See No. VII.)
  (4.) Matilda Harriet, married, 14th October 1839, sir John Maxwell, Bart., and died 31st August 1857. He died 6th June 1865.
(5.) Lucy, married, 14th March 1828, John Grant of Kilgraston, who died 20th January 1873.

VII. Lady Mary Bruce, married Robert Adam Dundas, eldest son of Philip Dundas, governor of Prince of Wale's Island, and grandson of the first Lord President Dundas. Lady Mary and her husband assumed the name and arms of Christopher Nisbet Hamilton on succeeding to the estates of Bloxholm and Alford in the county of Lincoln, and to Belhaven and Dirleton in East Lothian. In 1855 lady Mary matriculated the following arms: quarterly, first and fourth, Hamilton of Pencaitland; second, Nisbet of Dirleton; third, argent, a chevron gules between three pine apples proper, a chief sable for Christopher; supporters, two white horses; motto, Ride through. Lady Mary died in 1883. She was succeeded by her only child -

VIII. Mary Georgiana Constance Nisbet Hamilton, who succeeded in 1885 to the estates of Winton and Pencaitland. Married, 1888, Henry Thomas Ogilvie, second son of sir John Ogilvie, Bart. of Innerquharity.

A.R., M.H.

EDINBURGH, March 1892.

Part 1 - Introduction
Part 2 - The Origins of the Nisbet Family
Part 3 - Sir Alexander Nisbet and his descendants
Part 4 - Alexander Nisbet, "the Herald"
Part 5 - Memoranda re Branches of the Nisbet Family

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