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Jardine Clan Society of New Zealand

Official Website Of The Jardine Clan Society Of New Zealand

Jardine Clan History

Spedlins Tower

Pictured Above: This substantial late fifteenth-century tower-house, which was remodelled in the 17th century, has recently been restored. It consists of a main block of three principal storeys, corbelled rounds and a double garret furnished with crow-stepped gables and slated roofs. Work has now been extended to the layout of garden terraces and policies, including the building of two new single-storey pavilions flanking the garden terrace to the South of the tower.

 Pictured Below: An aerial view of Jardine Country. The River Annan can be seen curving flanked on both sides by trees, to the right hand side the fully restored Spedlins Tower ad to the left the walled garden of Jardine Hall with only the stable block now remaining.




Dunty's story is officially documented in an extract from the St Mungo Parish Register sent in by Ailsa (Wellington, New Zealand ) , and in a work done by Mr. Gilchrist and Mr. Shannon taken from the Statistical Account of Scotland of 1841.

It should be noted that for his antics the Ghost of Porteous was called "Dunty" ~ one who knocks....

The strange story of the Miller of Spedlin's Tower has been handed down in the Jardine family since the days of Charles II, and the authentic version of it recorded here was chiefly compiled from information kindly supplied by Colonel Sir William Jardine of Applegarth, Bt. O.B.E. T.D. DL, 22 Hereditary Chief of the Clan Jardine, who has corrected the manuscript and made some most interesting additions, thus giving the story special value by bringing it in line with the family documents and traditions.

The story of his death by starvation in Spedlin's Tower

The Miller of Spedlin's Tower

by J. A. Middleton

“In the reign of King Charles II, 1651-1685, Spedlin's Tower, a strong fortress on the south bank of the river Annan, in Dumfriesshire, was owned and occupied by a powerful baronet, Sir Alexander Jardine, of Applegarth, who ruled like a little king in true feudal state, and had a crowd of retainers to do his every bidding.”

“The story goes that a certain miller named Porteous, who lived in the parish of Applegarth, was accused, whether rightly or wrongly, of setting fire to his mill, and, being arrested on suspicion, was confined in a deep dungeon in the depths of Spedlin's Tower, in the care of Sir Alexander Jardine.”

“Soon after the miller's incarceration, the Lord of Applegarth was called away to Edinburgh on some pressing and unexpected business, and in his hurry he forgot to leave behind him the key of the dungeon in which Porteous was confined, which he always carried about with him wherever he went.”

“The massive iron door of the dungeon was safely locked, and as the day passed on the wretched prisoner behind it began to feel the dread pangs of hunger most acutely. Night came on, but no gaoler appeared to relieve his sufferings. The stout iron door shut out all assistance, and soon the unhappy miller began to realise that he had, either by accident or intent, been left to his fate. Unable to bear his sufferings, he screamed continually, in the most piteous manner:

“Let me out ! Let me out ! I’m deein’ o’ hunger.” But no help came, and still the pitiful cries rang through the vaulted roofs of the tower. "When Sir Alexander Jardine reached Edinburgh, he rode through one of the city gates, and as he did so the sight of a big bunch of keys carried by a warder reminded him, in a flash, that he had left a helpless prisoner behind him to starve.”

“He at once sent back a courier with orders to speed post haste to Applegarth with the key, and release the prisoner without delay.”

“The courier started off immediately, for he knew it was a matter of life and death. But before he had time to arrive there the wretched Porteous had perished of hunger, having first gnawed off one of his hands in his extremity.”

Dunty is restrained with the Spedlins Bible of the Jardine Clan.

“From that moment, the miller’s ghost began to haunt Spedlin's Tower in the most terrible fashion, and the Jardine family had no peace by night or day from its visitations.

Sir Alexander, whose fault had been forgetfulness, not wilful cruelty, was sorely troubled, and according to the old use and wont appealed to the family chaplain to exorcise the unwelcome visitor, whose agonised cry of ‘Let me out – I’m deen’ o’ hunger !’ rang constantly through the Tower, and made life perfectly unbearable.”

“The chaplain, with great solemnity, at once performed the mystic rite of exorcism, using for the purpose a large black lettered Bible which belonged to the Castle.”

“Yielding to his strenuous efforts, the ghost immediately ceased its outcries and kept within the bounds of its dungeon, the scene of its mortal agonies, no longer waking the echoes at night with its tears and lamentations, and once more the family breathed freely. A new misfortune, however, occurred in the death of the chaplain who had “laid” the ghost, for he died with mysterious suddenness soon after he had performed the mystic rite.”

“All went well until the Bible, which had been used to exorcise the spirit (and had since then been used every day by the Jardine’s for family prayer) began to show signs of wear, and was sent to Edinburgh to be rebound. The moment it left the Castle the spirit of Porteous, taking advantage of its absence, became ‘extremely boisterous in the pit’. It made noises in the dungeon like those of a huge bird flapping its wings, and at times threatened to break down the iron door by nearly shaking it off its hinges. It was also always sure to remove any twig which was thrust through the keyhole, and cried incessantly, ‘I'm deein'o' hunger !’ The terrified family could only suffer in silence while the Bible was being repaired; but the moment the Holy Book was returned to Applegarth, the ghost once more became quiet and ceased to roam about the Tower uttering its despairing cries.”

“The family at once became convinced that under no circumstances must the Bible remain a single night away from the Castle, and a solemn conclave was held at which it was decided to deposit the Bible in a stone niche, which is still to be seen in the wall of the ancient staircase.”

“These things were done, and the spirit of Porteous found rest and has never troubled the Jardine family again from that day to this.”

“Jardine Hall, the old seat of the Jardine family (but sold with the estate of Applegarth in 1886) is situated on the opposite side of the river, its windows overlooking the old walls of Spedlin's Castle. The latter was in its day a strong fortress, flanked by round turrets, and is now a ruin in a most excellent state of preservation, but without any roof, which gives it an eerie appearance quite in keeping with that of a haunted castle. Some steps of a stair within the old dungeon are still shown on which Porteous was found stretched out by the courier who arrived too late to save him from a cruel and lingering death.”

“Jardine Hall itself, which is so closely connected with the history of Spedlin's Tower, was by no means free from a share of the haunting of the dead miller, for during the time that the Bible had gone to Edinburgh to be rebound, the ghost, getting out of the dungeon, presented itself at the new house (to which the family had removed), making a great disturbance, and actually hauling the baronet and his lady out of bed. Some accounts, indeed, say that so terrifying was its behaviour that the unfortunate owner of Jardine Hall refused to wait until the Bible was repaired, but recalled it before it reached the capital, in order that its holy presence might quell the restless spirit, and keep it confined to its dungeon.”

Sir William Jardine of Applegirth

7th Baronet

Sir William Jardine 7th Baronet

Date of Birth: 23 February 1800

Date of Death: 21 November 1874

Place of Death: Sandown, Isle of Wight

Married: Jean Home Lizars, - sister off William Home Lizars (1788-1859) famous copper-plate engraver & printer

Sir William Jardine was a leading naturalist who did much to promote an interest in natural history. "When writing his books, he learned to etch, to draw on wood blocks for wood engraving, to lithograph and to use a variant of lithography called papyrography. One of their finest books on fishes ever printed was Jardine's The British Salmonidae, for which he did the drawings and etchings himself.

Sir William was the first President of the Dumfriesshire and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society from its founding in 1862 till his death in 1874.

Jardine Hall

Jardine Hall, Lockerbie, Scotland

– The New Digs built: 1818 (Architect Edward J. May)

Demolished: 1964 under ownership of Captain (Ronnie) Cunningham Jardine

In 1821 Jardine inherited his title and the newly built family home of Jardine Hall near Lockerbie complete with a 5,000 acre estate on the edge of the River Annan, on the death of his father Sir Alexander Jardine 6 Baronet. He was educated at Edinburgh High School before becoming a medical student at the University of Edinburgh in 1817. Jardine made use of his independent means to pursue his interest in the natural world, becoming an highly regarded geologist, entomologist and botanist, developing particular areas of expertise in the fields of ornithology and ichthyology (the study of fish). Jardine was able to establish links with a very broad range of fellow enthusiast’s right around the world, many of whom contributed specimens to Jardine's growing collection which, by the time of his death, comprised tens of thousands of specimens or skins representing 6,000 different species: all housed at Jardine Hall. Jardine’s true contribution was in the way he chose to share the knowledge he was accumulating. In 1842 he published "The Naturalist's Library". This comprised 40 leather-bound volumes, each a handy pocket-size 5 inches by 4 inches. The library was divided into four phylum categories: Ornithology, Mammalia, Entomology, and Ichthyology, and each volume included a description of each known species plus hand-coloured illustrations.

- Brideshead Detonated!

By Sophie Campbell

12:01AM GMT 20 Jan 2007

Pictured; ‘Ran out of Dynamite’ -Jardine Hall Stable Block, all that remains of Jardine Hall today.

Less than half a century ago, the demolition of country houses was still a matter of private expediency rather than public concern. Sophie Campbell looks back to a time when stately piles were reduced to piles of rubble

Captain Ronnie and I are fact-checking: '1962. We'll go firm on that.  

  'Oh no,...... hang on a second…....' He puts his hand over the phone and calls his wife, 'Teresa!....- When did I blow the house up? Was it '62?' It turns out it was 1964.

They have a faded photograph of their toddlers in front of the sandstone facade of Jardine Hall, near Lockerbie in Dumfriesshire, just before Ronnie Cunningham-Jardine, then aged 30, hired a firm of demolition experts to plant gelignite in each corner and blow the place to bits. 'They pushed the plunger and nothing happened. She just shook and sort of recovered. It took six goes before she collapsed in a cloud of dust.'

It was not quite as casual as it sounds. The vast house, built in the late 18th century and, in Victorian prosperity, augmented with an extra servants' floor, was first put into the hands of a Bond Street dealer. He supervised the careful removal of the cherubs on the ballroom ceiling, the parquet floors, the cornices, the mahogany doors and window frames. Unauthorized – though equally expert – boys from Glasgow shinned up the drainpipes at night to swipe the lead off the roof. All that was left were the iron beams, the walls and the bare roof (the stone, quarried on the estate, ended up supporting the bridges over the A74).

It also wasn't that unusual. The same thing happened to the nearby estates of Dryfeholm and Halleaths, and was happening across Dumfriesshire, Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales at a rate of two a week by the late 1950s. 'At the time, we reckoned that about 750 houses had been pulled down between 1880 and 1970,' says John Harris, the architect, historian and author of No Voice from the Hall, a memoir of his love affair with doomed country houses. 'Now we know it's about 1,800.'

Dealers such as Crowthers of London and Charles Brand in Dundee were seasoned housebreakers. Parts of country houses – sometimes whole rooms or staircases – ended up in mansions and museums in America, or in more prosperous country houses at home. It was quite normal, supportive in fact, for friends and family to turn up at day sales, hoping for a bargain.


The Buchanan-Jardines



Pictured: Castlemilk House, Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire, Scotland

Castlemilk was a substantial baronial mansion house located in Annandale, Dumfriess & Galloway. Castlemilk lies on the water Milk, 3 miles (5kms) south of Lockerbie. Building started in 1864 and wasn't completed untill 1870 on the site of an older property dating back to 1796. The house was built for Mr. Robert Jardine (1825-1905) who was the nephew of William Jardine (1784-1843) the opium trader who founded the Jardine-Matheson trading company in Hong Kong. it was the largest house ever built by famous architecht David Bryce (1803-1876) and said to be his finest work.

Castlemilk rises to three storeys and features 'pepperpot' turrets, corbelled bartizans and crow stepped gables. The four storey tower and castellated porte-cochere on the east front.

The main block of the house was built with the purpose of entertaining in mind and comprises of a large gallery which gives access to the dining room, library, drawing room and conservatory which was later re-modeled as a billiard room.

The interior is styled in richly decorated Neo-Jacobean wood panelling throughout the staircase, book-cases and chimney pieces.

To the Southeast of the principal block lies the private apartments whilst t the northeast corner lies the entrance and service apartments.

A stable block, coach house and estate office forms a u-plan extension to the north east of the house. The fine gardens include a parterre to the south of the house and a terraced garden leads to a formal avenue of trees and a reflecting pool.

The North side also includes a fountain designed by Bryce.

Pictured: The long manacured driveway into Castlemilk House

Pictured: The Main Library featuring the Neo-Jacobean style oak panelling & bookcases displayed under the one of many large un-supported carved ceilings.

Major Sir Rupert Buchanan-Jardine, Bt (1923-2010)

The last owner of Castlemilk House in Dumfriesshire, Scotland was a Soldier, Landowner and Master of the Dumfriesshire Foxhounds, a position he held for 51 years. He was decorated with the military cross and also received the Bronze Lion from Queen Whilelmina of the Netherlands .

Shortly after he left the army in 1949, Sir Rupert by now a war hero, was married in 1950. He began focusing on running the large estate which he was soon to inherit from his father after his fathers death in 1969. In addition to this he would continue to grow his fathers well-bred hunt pack of black and tan fox hounds and immerse himself in what was to become his greatest passion - fox hunting.

When hunting, as he knew it, was eventually banned he decided that his hounds which he had bred specifically for their physical strength, nose and voice, would be impossible to control sufficiently to comply with the new rules. Sir Rupert retired from hunting and gave his hounds away, mostly to overseas packs so that they could continue to hunt in the manner for which he had bred them.

Pictured: Master of the Dumfriesshire Hunt, Sir Rupert with his mainly black pack of fox hounds on the hunt (left) and opening the meet at Castlemilk House (right)