Select Jardine Miscellany


Here are some Jardine stories
accounts over the years:


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
shadow.  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 moulded 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 werre cearly 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.



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