Select Crichton Miscellany
accounts over the years:
- Crichtons and Creoghtons Today
- The Crichton Castles in Scotland
- The Admirable Crichton
- The Creighton Memorial
- Pop Creighton of Nashville
Crichtons and Creightons Today
The Crichton Castles in Scotland
two ancient castles, both now ruins, that the Crichtons once held.
castle stands tucked away out of sight, on a terrace above
the Tyne river near the village of Pathhead in Midlothian. The
castle was built
as a home for the Crichtons and served as their residence from the late
until 1483. John de Crichton
the oldest part of the present castle complex – the lofty tower house
dominated the east range of the castle’s quadrangle.
son William became a
leading statesman and in 1439 was made Chancellor of Scotland, a
brought him great wealth and power. Sir
William added greatly to his father’s castle, building an innovative
and kitchen around a new courtyard. He also built a collegiate
where he paid priests to pray for his family’s salvation.
However, the 3rd Lord Crichton was a
Alexander Stewart, Duke of Albany. His
lands and titles were forfeit in 1483 when Albany was sentenced for
treason. Crichton castle was thus lost
to the Crichton family.
de Crichton swore fealty to Edward
I of England in the Ragman Roll of 1296. Thomas had three sons, each of
extended the family holdings. William his second son married
Isabel de Ross, the
heiress to the barony of Sanquhar in Dumfriesshire.
Sanquhar castle was built by this line of the
Crichton family sometime
in the 13th century. The castle was a
stronghold that was bounded to the west by the river Nith, to the north
burn, and made strong by a deep ditch running the remainder of the
boundary. It was visited by many notable
figures including Robert the Bruce, William Wallace, Edward I, Mary
Scots and James VI of Scotland.
The castle was sold by the Crichtons
mid-17th century to Sir William Douglas, the first Duke of Queensbury.
The Admirable Crichton
James Crichton, born in
Perthshire in 1560, was
a Scottish polymath who was known for his
extraordinary accomplishments in languages, the arts, and sciences. He was known as “the Admiral Crichton.” By the age of twenty he was an expert in just
about every field and had mastered around ten languages.
If that wasn’t enough he was also renowned
for his horsemanship and sword skills.
On a visit to Rome he impressed the Pope and the Duke of Mantua – so
much so that the Duke asked him to be tutor to his son Vincenzo. Alas Italian youths were less impressed with
such showmanship then Popes.
In 1582, at
the tender age of twenty-one, Crichton was attending a carnival when he
ambushed by a gang. He rapidly
dispatched five of them and was preparing to finish off the sixth when
revealed himself as young Vincenzo. Shocked by the discovery James was
unprepared for Vincenzo’s attack and Vincenzo promptly stabbed and
And in 1902.
The Admirable Crichton was a comic stage play written
1902 by the playwright J.M. Barrie.
Barrie took the title from the
sobriquet of a fellow Scot, the polymath James Crichton. The epigram-loving Ernest was probably a
caricature of the title character in Oscar Wilde’s The
Importance of Being Earnest.
The plot may have derived from Robinson’s Eiland, an
In Barrie’s play a group of Berlin officials – including a
capitalist, a professor and a journalist – were shipwrecked on an
a secretary, Arnold, became the natural leader of the group.
was erected in 1898 following the death in 1896 of JR
Creighton, Alderman, twice Mayor of Carlisle, and the leading figure in
local government projects. The decision to commemorate his life was
taken at a
special public meeting within weeks of his death. The
cost of the memorial is understood to
have been between £500 and £600, raised by subscription.
unveiled on 8 October 1898 and the Mayor, the Speaker of the House of
Commons (who was the
MP for Carlisle) and Creighton’s brother, the Bishop of London, gave
Creighton was a council member for 22 years and initiated many
projects for the improvement of the city, including the new Market Hall
Tullie House Library and Museum.
monument was erected upon a high stepped
base within a large triangular ornamental garden at the center of the
Street Improvement Scheme, and at the entrance to Carlisle from the
Pop Creighton of Nashville
or Pop Creighton was described by his son Wilbur as follows:
was a man of powerful physique, strong mind, firm conviction
and inflexible will. At times he was a
rough as pig iron and always as strong as steel.”
was a builder. The masterpiece of his
construction was the
Parthenon in Nashville, a
full-scale replica of the
original Greek temple in Athens and the centerpiece of the Tennessee
Exposition in 1898. It remains today a
stone foundations for the Parthenon were built
stronger than the other buildings in the Exposition.
One room, the Cella, was built of brick since
it as to house precious art works on loan for the occasion. In 1922, when the building was being made
permanent, these foundations could still be used to support the newer
Creighton’s salary as Chief Engineer of the Exposition was $100 a
week on which to raise a family of six children. He
was responsible for all the buildings, not
just the Parthenon, as well as miles of road and water lines, several
and four lakes.
The Nashville Banner reported:
Creighton had the distinction of
being selected as the Chief Engineer of the Centennial Exposition and
personally supervised the layout of the grounds and buildings.
interest in Centennial Park and the other parks of the city never
especially fitting him for his work on the Park Commission to which he
appointed in 1913. He was made chairman of the Commission in 1925
and held that
position until he was forced to resign this year on account of bad
beauty and convenience of Nashville’s Park system is due in great
Mr. Creighton, who gave his entire attention to the Parks in Nashville
the last few years of his life. The parks were his care and he loved
wonderful system of the parks in Nashville will remain as a lasting
his good work in their behalf.”
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