Jardine Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Jardine Meaning
The surname Jardine comes from the French jardin, a “garden,” and would
describe someone who lived at or near a garden or perhaps worked in a
garden. The name probably crossed the Channel with the Norman
Conquest. It made its first appearance in Scotland with Winfredus
de Jardine who appeared on charter lists in 1153.
Jardine may also have originated from the Portuguese Jardim
Portuguese immigrants arrived in English-speaking lands and anglicized
their names.

Resources on

Jardine Ancestry

The Jardine
first established themselves in the 14th century when
they settled at Applegirth in Dumfriesshire and built Spedlins Tower
there. “From
then till records were kept and land accounted for and enclosed, the
family was
known as de Gardine de Applegirth.”
The spelling became Jardine by about 1500.

The Jardines were involved in various border skirmishes
with the English in subsequent centuries, at times invading English
lands and at other times being invaded. Their fortunes improved in the
late 16th century when Sir Alexander Jardine fought on the King’s side
and enlisted many men, known as “Jardine’s men,” into the Jardine clan.

The Jardines, unlike the Armstrongs, were able to hold onto their lands
and they remained a force on the Scottish borders. Among notable
Jardines from Applegirth in the following centuries were:

  • The Rev. John Jardine, one of
    leading figures in Edinburgh of the 18th century Scottish Enlightenment.
  • James Jardine, a farmer’s son,
    who became a civil engineer and in the early 1800’s helped build the
    Grand Union Canal which ran through England to London.
  • Sir William Jardine, the 7th
    baronet, who made natural history available to the Victorian reading
    public through his The Naturalist’s

In the 19th century, many
Jardines moved north to Glasgow, south into England, or emigrated –
Canada being a favored destination.

England. One
Jardine line from Closeburn in Dumfriesshire migrated south to England
William Jardine was a Justice of the Peace in Dunstable.
He died there in 1873.

deceased gentleman
had been ailing for some time and there is no doubt that the melancholy
of his son in India a few months ago hastened his end.”

His son William had died of cholera in India
that year at the age of 32. The Jardine
family, however, remained in India and Douglas Jardine, the
English cricket captain of the 1930’s, was later born there.

Lancashire Other
Jardines were to
be found in the north of England, mainly in Lancashire.
One family history recorded John and Catherine
Jardine from Dumfriesshire coming to Blackburn in the 1830’s.
Jardine later established his draper’s shop there. Jardine Organs
in Manchester dates back to 1846 when Frederick Jardine joined an
existing company of organ-makers. His uncle George had already
departed for New York and set up his own organ business there.

Nottingham The
larger Jardine presence in England turned out to be in Nottingham
further south. John Jardine, who started his working life there
as an apprentice watchmaker, built up a business in the late 1800’s
making lace-making machines. According to the Nottingham Illustrated:

“The appliances turned out by Mr.
Jardine have always enjoyed an exceptional reputation for accurate
adjustment, smooth and reliable working, and great durability.”

His son Ernest expanded the Jardine business into typewriters and
became a great benefactor for the town of Nottingham in the inter-war

. It was a ship surgeon from Lochmaben in
Dumfriesshire, William
, who would challenge the hegemony of the
all-powerful East India Company in Asia in the 1830’s. He
ventured into opium trading in China and co-founded the trading firm of
Jardine, Matheson and Co.

From 1842, when the company was first established in Hong Kong,
Jardines – as it is more usually called – developed into one of the
largest trading and industrial combines in the region. After
William’s death in 1843, the company was managed by a number of nephews
and their descendants, including Robert Jardine and the
Buchanan-Jardines. William Keswick, a great-nephew of the Jardine
founder, ran the business in the 1870’s and shifted its focus from
opium to real estate and railways. The Thistle
and the Jade
, first published in 1982, is a well-written history
of the company.

. Many Jardines
emigrated to Canada in the first half of the 19th century, in
particular to New Brunswick and the maritime provinces. This
early history has been covered in Donald Jardine’s 1997 book, Jardines of Atlantic Canada.

The first arrival from Dumfriesshire appears to have been “Old Jock”
Jardine in 1816, to be followed by two of his nephews John and
Thomas. They started a shipbuilding business in Richibucto (now
Rexton) Kent county, which was to be the basis of that town’s economy
in the era of wooden sailing ships for the next sixty years.

Another Jardine entrepreneur was Robert Jardine who arrived in the
early 1830’s. He emerged as a major railroad promoter for the
region and became actively involved in its politics. A number of
other Jardines were to be found at this time in New Brunswick, as well
as in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

The Jardine numbers in America are much
fewer than in Canada.

said that George Jardine came to New York from London in 1836 to make
barrel organs that were sometimes used in small churches to accompany
the congregational
singing. But he soon turned to building
organs with keyboards. Four of his sons
and two of his grandsons became organ builders.
Their work “was not of the highest price or grade, and
yet had a large circulation.

Some Jardines arrived via Canada, such
as John and Elizabeth Jardine who crossed the border from Ontario to
Michigan at the time of the Civil War and then settled in
Wisconsin. Later came Caribbean Jardines.

Caribbean. Jardines in
the Caribbean are perhaps more likely to be of Portuguese than of
Scottish origin. A large number of Jardims from the Portuguese
island of Madeira came to St. Vincent, Trinidad, and British Guyana
from the 1840’s onwards. Many of these Jardims became
Jardines on or after their arrival, such as John Gonsalves Jardine who
came to St. Vincent in the 1870’s.

South Africa. The Jardine
name in Durban dates back to 1858 when a Jardine family was recorded as
arriving in the port on the Phantom.
A more substantial presence occurred in the 1890’s when a prosperous
Jardine family came from Scotland and started work on a large manor
house in the then wild interior of the country. Calderwood House,
completed in 1902, was an elegant Victorian mansion of its time.
It has recently been restored.

Australia. William
Jardine from Dumfriesshire was one of the pioneer settlers of the Monaro
. He had arrived in Australia in 1841, reached
Monaro five years later, and he and his sons became sheep farmers there.

Another Jardine family, from a “fine old Scottish border
family,” were intrepid explorers of the remote northern Cape York
Peninsula. The Jardine river of northern Queensland was named
after them. Son Frank established a family cattle station at the
Somerset outpost. He married the neice of the King of Samoa and
lived out his life there, terrorizing the
local Aborigines and earning the nickname of “devil man.”


Jardine Miscellany

Spedlins Tower.  The seat of the chief of clan Jardine from the 15th century was at
Spedlins Tower on the banks of the river Annan.  In the 17th
century he was forced to move their seat from the fortalice because of
a grisly family secret.  A miller named Dunty Porteas had been
left to starve in the dungeon of the tower and his ghost – with his
tortuous screams of hunger and pain – is said to have driven the family
away (they ended up building a new home, Jardine Hall, on the other
bank of the river).

The Jardines in their desperation to rid his ghost had hired a minister
who carried out an exorcism.  This managed to confine the spirit
to the dungeon.  The binding was carried out with the aid of a
biblre that was left near the dungeon and acted as a barrier to Dunty’s
restless spirit.  The bible was sent to be rebound in Edinburgh in
1710, allowing the miller’s spirit to roam free and wreak havoc once
again, until the bible was returned to its rightful place.
Folklore to this day says that if you poke a stick into the dungeon of
Spedlins Tower it will come back half-chewed.

Over time Spedlins Tower fell into ruin and its ownership changed
hands.   It was restored in the 1980’s and is now owned by an
architect and his wife.  In a panel near the top of one side is
engraved the date 1605.  The two lower storeys bear the mark of an
earlier time.

Jardine Clan Symbols

Arms: argent, a saltire and chief gules, the latter charged with three mullets of first, pierced of the second;

Crest: a spur rowel of six points Proper;

Badge: a sprig of apple blossom;

Motto: cave adsum, meaning “beware, I am present.”

William Jardine, Taipan.  William Jardine was known for his legendary imperiousness and
sturdy pride.  He was nicknamed “the iron-headed old rat” by the
locals after being hit on the head by a club during a petition by the
China traders to the mandarins in Canton.  Jardine, after being
hit, just shrugged off the insult with dour Scottish resilience.

He had only one chair in his office in the Jardine clipper
flagship the Hercules, and
that was his own.  Visitors were never allowed to sit – to impress
upon them that Jardine was a very busy man.

Jardine was known as a brilliant crisis manager.  In
1822, during his visit to the firm’s Canton office, he found the local
office in management crisis, with employees in near mutiny against the
firm’s Canton officers. Jardine then proceeded to take temporary
control and succeeded in putting the office in perfect order in just a
matter of days.

He was also a shrewd judge of character.  Jardine was
even able to persuade the Rev. Charles Gutzlaff, a fanatic Prussian
missionary, to interpret for their ship captains while they were
engaged in the coastal smuggling of opium.  His pitch was that
Gutzlaff would be better able to gather more converts during these
smuggling operations.

Soon Jardine was being referred to by the other traders as
“Tai-pan,” a Chinese colloquial title meaning “Great Manager.”
James Clavell’s novel Taipan
is in fact based on William Jardine and the other Jardine tai-pans.

Jardine and Jardim.  There are two separate Jardine families to be found in
the Caribbean.   Firstly there are the Jardines who
can trace their lineage back to Scotland.  Then there are the
Jardines who can trace their families to the Portuguese island of
Madeira off the coast of Africa.   It so happened that the
name Jardim, a common Portuguese surname, sounded like Jardine to
English ears when these Portuguese arrived in the Caribbean during the

The same thing happened in the US and there are Jardine
families there who are Portuguese immigrants to the US.  Antonio and Augusta Jardim emigrated from
Madeira to Hawaii in 1883 and later settled in Oakland, California.

William Jardine in the Outback.  In his latter days, William Jardine would tell humorous stories about
his early life in Australia.  He had come to the Monaro district
in 1846 and started the Jindabyne flour mill in conjunction with Stuart

Here he had made the acquaintance of Jacky Jacky, the outlaw; and here
he had been the “white father” of a tribe of blacks who had to use the
mill weir to cross the Snowy river on their excursion to Kosciusko
after the Boogong.  Jardine continued:

“I wonder if my readers know how the
blacks treat the Boogong.  In September and October the tribes
migrate towards Kosciusko.  They are so lean they hardly cast a

The Boogong is a big moth which clusters in hundreds in
the clefts of the rocks when resting.  The natives scoop them out
onto a rug and make a fire as if they were going to cook a
damper.  Then the moths take the place of the damper and in a few
minutes nothing remains but a little white kernel, which the blacks
pick out with a sharp stick and eat faster than you can count.

In February and March the aboriginal, who has swollen up like a canine
the victim of misplaced confidence in a stray piece of meat, and greasy
as the inside of a whale, returns to the plains to return again next
Boogong season as lean and hungry as ever.”

Jardine was a sheep rancher.  He was emphatically a merinos man
and his chief aim was to keep this class at his Curry Flat ranch at its
highest perfection.  Every year the whole flock would be carefully
and thoroughly classed.  Only the very best quality ewes would be
kept for stud uses, the result being a strong combing wool of bright
lustre, regular serrations, and plenty of yolk.  The W.J. over
C.F. brand always managed to secure firm average prices on the London

The Jardine Mansion in South Africa.  Calderwood Hall was the family home of the Jardines who had emigrated
from Scotland to South Africa to settle in the wild interior of the new
colony of Natal.

Construction was planned to start in 1895, aiming for completion by
1900.  Bricks were made on site, using sand and clay from nearby
riverworks which were molded into shape and fired in straw kilns on
the farm. Today one can still see the handprints of the brick-makers
and the imprints of the straw where the bricks were placed to cool
after firing.

However, things were delayed by the loss in 1898 of imported building
materials such as the “brookielace,” tiles, steel pressed ceilings,
steel fireplaces, stained glass, doors and door surrounds, all imported
from Glasgow in Scotland.  All of these items sank into the waters
of Durban harbor when a rope snapped during offloading.  Luckily
these items were insured and the whole consignment was reordered and
arrived two years later.  It then took another two months to
transport everything to the building site by ox-drawn wagons.

Calderwood Hall was finally completed in 1902 and was the Jardine
family home for many years.  During their occupation Joseph
Jardine and his wife produced twelve children.   They were
all born in the “birthing room” on the ground floor (now the TV
lounge), as Edith refused to climb the house’s magnificent walnut
staircase after her sixth month of pregnancy.  The babies were
then transferred upstairs to the “nursing room” (now an ensuite
bathroom for the Indian suite) on the mezzanine level, where they were
cared for by nurse or nanny.

Over time the next generation of Jardines sold off portions of the
estate until there was only a house in a dilapidated state and a small
garden left.  It has been new owners who have renovated the
building into a country hotel.

Douglas Jardine – England’s Cricket Captain During Bodyline.  Douglas Jardine was the captain of the England cricket tour of Australia in 1932-33 that came to be known as the “bodyline” tour.  Even before the bodyline controversy erupted, Jardine had incurred colonial displeasure.

He would insist on wearing his Oxford Harlequin cap on the pitch – a
fashion statement regarded as pretentious Down Under – and dismissed
the locals as “an uneducated and unruly mob.”  When team-mate
Patsy Hendren was moved to observe: “They don’t seem to like you very
much over here, Mr. Jardine,” amid much booing and jeering during the
second Test in Sydney, the reply was as brusque as it was unambiguous:
“It’s fucking mutual.”

Tact and diplomacy were early alien concepts – as he showed in the
third Test at Adelaide.  He instructed his fast bowlers there,
Harold Larwood and Bill Voce, to target the Australian batsmen rather
than their stumps (the so-called “bodyline” attack).  Lockwood
seriously injured Australia’s captain Bill Woodfull with one vicious
delivery which landed just below the heart.  As the stadium fell
quiet, Jardine’s imperiously clipped voice could be heard to say: “Well
bowled, Harold.”

An outraged Australian Board of Control fired off a telegram to Lord’s,
the home of cricket, which made the following statement:

“Bodyline bowling has assumed such proportions as to
menace the best interests of the game, making protection of the body by
batsmen the main consideration.  This is causing intensely bitter
feelings between the players as well as injury.  In our opinion it
is unsportsmanlike and unless it is stopped at once, it is likely to
upset the friendly relations which exist between Australia and England.”

Neither Lord’s nor Jardine recanted and the tour limped on in a
strained environment.



Select Jardine Names

  • Sir Alexander Jardine was the successful chief of the Jardine clan during the Anglo-Scottish wars of the early 16th century.
  • Sir William Jardine, 7th baronet of Applegirth, made natural history available to all levels of
    Victorian society through his hugely popular The Naturalist’s Library.
  • Dr. William Jardine was the Scottish ship surgeon who became a trader in the Far East and co-founded the famous Hong Kong trading firm
    of Jardine Matheson (Jardines).
  • Douglas Jardine was an English cricketer famous (or infamous) for his captaincy of the English cricket team in Australia in 1933-33 during the Bodyline series.

Select Jardine Numbers Today

  • 6,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in the Scottish borders)
  • 2,000 in America (most numerous
    in California).
  • 8,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada).


Select Jardine and Like Surnames

The border between Scotland and England was a lawless area for well over three hundred years and the subject of many stories and hearsays.  Families on both sides of the border took part in the raids, attacking villages and stealing cattle on the way.  Eventually, following the unification of the Scottish and English crowns in 1603, the area was pacified.  There were mass executions and banishments, many to the new Protestant colony in Ulster.  These were some of the prominent Border family surnames at that time that you can check out.




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