14. Alexander Farquhar Crawford

Alexander Farquhar Crawford of Pencloe Esq., Writer to the Signet

Residence: 11 Windsor Street, Edinburgh (tenant)

The ‘Minute of the Sale’ of Pencloe, dated 9th October 1778 records the sale of the property by Thomas Campbell (an acquaintance of Robert Burns) to William Farquhar of the neighbouring farm of Lochingerroch in Glen Afton. The Old Parish Baptismal Records of New Cumnock reveal the family of William Farquhar and Janet Crawford numbered six children including eldest son John (b. 1739) who succeeded to the lands of Pencloe. He is recorded as the owner of the property alongside tenant William Anderson in the 1813 Cess Roll of Ayrshire.

The next known owner is Dr. William Farquhar probably John’s brother and born in 1746 at Lochingerroch.  In 1802 ‘Wm. Farquhar, Esq. Surgeon, of New Cumnock, Ayrshire’ was chosen as the Annual President of the Royal Physical Society. In the Post Office Directory (1831-32) he is listed as Dr. William Farquhar of Pencloe, living at 2 lower Gray Street, in the Newington area of Edinburgh.  He died there on 29th July 1832, less than a year before the formal opening of the new parish church at New Cumnock. In his Trust Disposition Settlement (i.e. a deed of settlement allowing lands and buildings to be inherited) Alexander Farqhuar Crawford is identified as the executor (while a Mr McKnight is recorded as the tenant of Pencloe).

Pencloe Paper 1778

Although, at this time,  the exact relationship between Alexander Farquhar Crawford and Dr. William Farquhar is unclear his connection with New Cumnock is strong. He was the son of the Reverend William Crawford (b. 1762 d. 1820) , minister at Straiton (1791-1816), identified in the Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae (Synod of Glasgow & Ayr) as ‘probably the fourth son of William Crawford, farmer, New Cumnock‘. In the Old Parish Baptism Records of New Cumnock, there was a William Crawford born in June 1761 a fourth son to William Crawford and Elizabeth Kennedy, in Brockloch.

The Reverend William Crawford married Agnes McDermiet, daughter of the Rev. John McDermiet his predecessor at Straiton. Together they had 9 children including son Alexander Farquhar Crawford born on 29th October 1804. In 1816 the now Reverend Doctor Andrew Crawford was appointed Professor of Moral Philosophy at St. Andrews University. He died at St. Andrews in 1822, aged 60 years.


Alexander Farquhar Craufurd lived at 11 Windsor Street, Edinburgh and was a Writer to the Signet. Solicitors were once known as ‘writers’ and Writers to the Signet had special privileges and were entitled to supervise the King’s Signet, the private seal of the early Kings of Scots.

On the 6th October 1834 at Edinburgh he married Miss Jane Brown Douglas, eldest daughter of Archibald Douglas Esq., Advocate of 15 Great King Street in St Mary’s parish, Edinburgh. Alexander died at 11 Windsor Street on 12th March 1838 while his wife was expecting their  first child. Baby William Alexander Craufurd was born at Windsor Street on 31 March 1838 but sadly died the next day .

Proprietor John Farquhar Cess Roll 1813  :   Pencloe


Alexander Farquhar Crawford, family lair Newington Cemetery, Edinburgh

The headstone photographs was obtained through the Gravestone Photographic Resource (GPR). The copyright belongs to a GPR volunteer. Please visit GPR

The lands of Pencloe were acquired by William Cunninghame of Lainshaw in Stewarton and through him, presumably on his death in 1850, to his grandson Robert, Lord Handyside , one of the Senators of the College of Justice, and one of the Lords Commissioners of Justiciary for Scotland.