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Clan Chichton

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Clan Chichton is a Scottish chiefly family


One of the earliest baronies around Edinburgh was formed from the lands of Kreitton and is mentioned in charters of the early 12th century. <ref>George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, 114</ref> Croich is Gaelic for 'boundary' and 'toun' is the old Scots word for homestead. <ref>David Dorward, Dictionary of Scottish Surnames, 57</ref>

In 1128 Thurstan de Crechtune witnessed the foundation of Holyrood Abbey by David I of Scotland. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 114</ref>Thurstan's son, Thomas de Crichton is listed on the Ragman Rolls of 1296, swearing fealty to Edward I of England.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 114</ref>Thomas's three sons each extended the family's holdings.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 114</ref> The second son, William, married Isobel de Ross who was the heiress to the barony of Sanquhar in Dumfriesshire.

Middle Ages

Their descendant, Colonel Sir Robert Crichton of Sanquhar was sheriff of Dumfries in 1464 and Coroner of Nithsdale from 1468 to 1469. His eldest son was created a peer with the title Lord Crichton of Sanquahar by a James III in 1487, although the title does not seem to have brought the family great happiness.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 114</ref>

William, third Lord Sanquahar died accused of the murder of a fencing master, who, years before had accidentally blinded him in one eye. The title passed through a younger line of the family to the family of Crichton-Stuart.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 114</ref>

Another descendant of Thomas de Crichton was Sir William Crichton who in 1439 was appointed to the office of Chancellor of Scotland, during the minority of James II of Scotland.Crichton organised the infamous black dinner at Edinburgh Castle of which he was constable.The Earl of Douglas and his brother were invited as guests of honour to a royal banquet at the castle, where King James was in residence. After the dinner the two Douglases were dragged from the boy king's presence and executed on Castle Hill.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 114</ref>

The Clan Douglas were never slow to take revenge and laid siege to the castle. However Crichton surrendered the castle to the king and a truce was declared. However the Douglases would go on to make an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Crichton. Crichton was later given the title Lord Crichton in 1448 and sent to arrange the marriage of the king with Mary, daughter of the Duke of Geuldres.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 114</ref> In 1450 he made a considerable loan to James II. He also invested his wealth in Crichton Castle, adding to it and transforming it into an impressive courtyard castle. The second Lord Crichton obtained the barony of Frendraught in Aberdeenshire. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 115</ref>

The third Lord Crichton joined the Duke of Albany in rebellion against James III and as a consequence of its failure, lost Crichton Castle. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 115</ref> James Crichton is perhaps the most celebrated member of the Clan Crichton. He is known in history as the 'Admirable Crichton' due to his superb mental and physical prowess. He is said to have mastered all of the knowledge of his time and been able to speak and write in ten different languages, all by the age of twenty. He was also a feared swordsman. James Crichton studied at the University of St Andrews then travelled to Paris where he challenged professors of the city to dispute with him on any branch of science or literature, and offering to answer in any of his ten languages. The following day he was declared champion at a public joust. However in 1582 Crichton was set upon by a gang, of which he killed five of the attackers. When he turned to the sixth member of the gang - the gang leader, Crichton saw that it was one of his own students and dropped his guard whereupon he was stabbed in the heart. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 115</ref> Nine months of court mourning followed.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 115</ref>

Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries

During the Civil War another James Crichton, 1st Viscount Frendraught supported the royalist James Graham, 1st Marquis of Montrose. Crichton was present at Montrose's defeat at the Battle of Carbisdale (also known as the Battle of Invercarron) in 1650. Tradition maintains that Crichton gave his horse to Montrose so that he could escape. Nine months of court mourning followed.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 115</ref> Crichton was taken prisoner and died of his wounds soon after.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 115</ref>

Modern History

The double-barrelled surname originates from the fact that the chiefs are direct descendants of the Maitland family, the Earls of Lauderdale, and Clan Makgill. Royal Navy Captain Frederick Maitland married Margaret Dick. Dick's grandmother was an heiress of Clan Makgill of Rankeilour and a descendant of James Crichton, 1st Viscount Frendraught of Clan Crichton through inter-marriage. One of their direct descendants Charles established his right to the chiefship and was recognised by a Lyon Court decree in 1980. The family live at the Castle of Monzie near Crieff. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 115</ref>

The current chief is David Maitland-Makgill-Crichton (b.1972)