Sinclair-Lockhart of Stevenson, Castlehill, Cambusnesthan and Murkle

The Sinclair-Lockhart family are an offshoot of the Sinclairs of Stevenson, who in turn descend from the Sinclairs of Longformacus, who in turn descend in the male line from the St. Clairs of Herdmanston and in the female line from the Sinclairs of Roslin.

The baronetcy of Stevenson near Haddington in East Lothian was created in 1636 for the successful Edinburgh merchant burgess, Sir John Sinclair of the Longformacus family. He had bought the estate in 1624 after living there for some years. In 1695 his great-grandson, also Sir John Sinclair, married Martha Lockhart, daughter of Sir John Lockhart of Castlehill and widow of Cromwell Lockhart of Lee. Martha became the sole heiress to her father on her brother’s death in 1696, when she became known as ‘Lady Castlehill’. Martha’s father had bought the barony of Cambusnethan, near Wishaw in Lanarkshire, in 1680 and following her husband’s death in 1726, Martha returned to live there[1] until her own death in 1752. After her death, the baronies of Cambusnethan and Castlehill were to be bequeathed to the younger sons of her family with Sir John Sinclair of Stevenson, on the proviso they adopted the name Lockhart.

Martha’s second son, John changed his name to Lockhart to inherit, but he died without male heirs. The estates then passed to her third son, George, Lord Woodhall, who also died without male heirs. In 1764, Lord Woodhall’s nephew, Captain James Sinclair (d. 1808) inherited the lands and passed them down to his son, Robert and they have been enjoyed by several generations of the Lockhart-Sinclair family since then.

Their main residence was Cambusnethan House and at about 9pm on a Saturday evening, 16th March 1816, the house[2] was ‘burnt to the ground’. However, by 1820 it had been completely rebuilt by Sir Robert Lockhart (d. 1850) in a neo-gothic style and was henceforth known as Cambusnethan Priory, although to pay for the new building, Sir Robert had to sell off some 50 acres of land.

In 1899, Sir Robert Charles Sinclair of Stevenson and Murkle died without male heirs and the title passed to his second cousin once-removed, Major-General Graeme Alexander Lockhart. He assumed the name Sinclair-Lockhart from that point on and became baronet of Castlehill, Cambusnethan and Stonehouse in Lanarkshire, Stevenson in East Lothian, and Murkle in Caithness. He was also a Justice of the Peace, Deputy-Lieutenant of Lanark and was a Companion of the Order of the Bath, a prestigious British order of chivalry in recognition of Sir Graeme’s illustrious military career. However, when he died in 1904 without issue, the baronetcy and lands devolved on his nephew, Robert Duncan, the son of his brother, George Duncan Lockhart who had emigrated to Auckland in New Zealand, where the family thrive to this day.

Robert Duncan Sinclair-Lockhart arrived in Scotland in 1905 as the new baronet of Stevenson and Castlehill, when he entertained his tenants to dinner at the Black Bull Hotel in Stonehouse, part of the Cambusnethan estate. He explained to his tenants that he had to return to New Zealand due to his business commitments (he was an auctioneer), but fully intended to return to live at Cambusnethan in a few years. Unfortunately, he never did; he died unexpectedly in 1918 at the age of 58 in Auckland, New Zealand, and no Sinclair-Lockhart ever lived at Cambusnethan again.

By the 1920s, half of the 6,500 acres of farmland had been sold to pay death duties. In the early 1980s the family did once again visit their ancestral home but shortly afterwards, in 1985, the Priory was sold. The building has been empty and unused for many years now; it has been struck by fire twice and what with incidents of vandalism over the years as well, it is now ruinous and in danger of collapse. The lands of Stevenson and Murkle were inherited in 1899 by the sisters of the last of the Stevenson family, Sir Robert Charles Sinclair and only the baronial titles were inherited by the Sinclair Lockhart family.

[1] Lady Castlehill’ s recipe book from Cambusnethan House, Lady Castlehill’s Receipt Book 1712-1713, was published in 1976 and the original is held at the Mitchell Library, Glasgow.
[2] It was reported at the time that the fire had started in the chimney of the butler’s pantry and that ‘the flames burnt with such irresistible fury’ that little of the building could be saved, apart from one wing.

Nina Cawthorne


Sir John Sinclair, Lord Stevenson (1667-1726) [M.P. for Lanark] m. 1695 Martha, dau. of Sir John Lockhart of Castlehill (Lanarkshire) and Katherine Thomson
Margaret Sinclair, unmarried
Martha Sinclair, unmarried
Helen Sinclair, unmarried
Katherine Sinclair, unmarried
Anne Sinclair m. c.1731 George Bogle of Daldowie (Lanarkshire)
Patrick Sinclair ( -c.1763) [Writer to the Signet], unmarried
Thomas Sinclair, unmarried
William Sinclair, unmarried
Charles Sinclair (1700- ), unmarried
James Sinclair (1700- ), unmarried
John Lockhart of Castlehill (c.1697 -1761) m. Charlotte, dau. of James Bogle and Ann Hamilton
Martha Lockhart (1742- )
Isobel Lockhart (1744- )
unnamed dau. Lockhart
Charles Sinclair (1700- ), unmarried
James Sinclair (1700- ), unmarried
George Lockhart of Castlehill, Lord Woodhall (c.1699-1764), unmarried
Sir Robert Sinclair, Lord Stevenson (1696-1754) m. 1733 Isabella, dau. of Col. James Kerr and Elizabeth Fleming
Elizabeth Sinclair (1734- ) m. 1759 William Hay of Spott (East Lothian)
Martha Sinclair (1735- ), unmarried
Agnes Sinclair (1736- ), unmarried
Sir John Sinclair of Stevenson and Murkle (c.1737-1789) m. 1760 Mary, dau. of William Blair of Blair
Capt. James Lockhart of Castlehill (1739-1808) [letter from Lord Nelson] m. 1773 Mary Amelia, dau. of Walter Nisbet of Nevis and Mary Webbe
Ann Lockhart (c.1775-1859), unmarried
Caroline Lockhart (1790-1854) m. 1809 Major David Robertson [Hon. East India Company]
Sir Robert Lockhart of Castlehill (1774-1850)
m. (1) 1804 Eliza Anne, dau. of Richard Newman Toll and Grizel Purdie of Thornbury Park, Gloucestershire, England and Hamilton, Lanarkshire
Mary Amelia Lockhart (1805-1875) m. 1834 Alexander Downie [merchant in Glasgow]
Eliza Ann Lockhart (1807-1882) m. 1825 John Piercy Henderson of Foswell Bank (Perthshire)
Sir James Sinclair Lockhart of Castlehill (1808-1873), unmarried
Susan Lockhart (1810-1863) m. 1835 William Dalglish (Glasgow)
Maj. Robert Alexander Lockhart (c.1812-c.1853) Major, 80th Regiment
John Hamilton Lockhart (1814-1842) m. 1835 Harriet Nicholson, dau. of James Affleck and Jean Gibson
Anne Lockhart (1836-1843)
Jane Lockhart (1838-1845)
Ann Nisbet Lockhart (1816-1899) m. 1845 Thomas McCall [merchant in Glasgow]
m. (2) 1817 Charlotte Simpson, dau. of Capt. William Mercer of Potterhill
William Mercer Lockhart (1818-1849) [drowned at Wannan, NSW, Australia]
Charlotte Lockhart (c.1826-1857) m. 1852 James Baird of Cambusdoon (Ayrshire)
Frances Charlotte Mercer Lockhart (c.1828-1893) m. 1850 Robert Swan [Auctioneer, Lanark]
Louisa Lockhart (1828-1888) m. 1857 Lt. Col James McGrigor
Margaret Douglas Lockhart (c.1832-aft. 1851), unmarried
Roberta Emilia Lockhart (c.1834-1912), unmarried
Barbara Forbes Lockhart (1836-1909) m. 1859 Alexander Whitelaw of Gartshore
Maj. Gen. Sir Graeme Alexander Sinclair-Lockhart of Castlehill, C.B. (1820-1904) m. 1861 Emily Udny, dau. of James Brebner, Advocate, Aberdeen, and Margaret Pirie
George Duncan Lockhart (1821-1890) Christchurch, N.Z. m. 1854 Elizabeth Amanda, dau. of John Thomas, gentleman
Charlotte Elizabeth Mercer Lockhart (1859-1884) m. 1883 Edward Richardson
George Malpas Sinclair Lockhart (1863-1867)
Sir Robert Duncan Sinclair-Lockhart (1856-1918) m. 1895 Flora Louisa Jane Beresford Nation, dau. of Capt. Edward Power and Jane Nation
Sir Graeme Duncan Power Sinclair-Lockhart (1897-1959) m. 1932 Jeanne Hamilton, dau. of Capt. John Ferguson of Glasgow, no issue
Elizabeth Sinclair-Lockhart (1903-1984) m. 1929 Walter Raleigh Grace
Robert Nation Sinclair-Lockhart (1907-1944), unmarried
Sir John Beresford Sinclair-Lockhart (1904-1970) m. 1949 Winifred Ray Cavaghan, no issue
Bruce Sinclair-Lockhart (1910-1965) m. 1940 Joan Marian Belle, dau. of Brigadier-General Ronald Henry Quillam, C.B.E., and Gwendoline Bewley
Sally Elizabeth Sinclair-Lockhart (1942-2007) m. 1964 Stuart William Veitch
Sir Muir Edward Sinclair-Lockhart (1906-1985) m. 1940 Olga Ann White-Parsons
Sara Ann May Sinclair-Lockhart (1942-2019) m. 1968 Nicholas Welcome Wilcock
Sir Simon John Edward Francis Sinclair-Lockhart (1941- ) m. 1973 Felicity Edith Stewart
Robert Muir Sinclair-Lockhart (1973-2001)
James Lachlan Sinclair-Lockhart (1973- )
Fiona Mary Sinclair-Lockhart (1979- )

Capt. James Lockhart of Castlehill (1736-1808) by Henry Raeburn. Courtesy

Sir Robert Duncan Sinclair-Lockhart (1856-1918). Photograph courtesy

Cambusnethan Priory, c.1820, rebuilt after a catastrophic fire. Engraving courtesy

Cambusnethan Priory as it looks today. Photograph courtesy of The Scotsman

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