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Sir John Lauder


(Lord Fountainhall)

1646 - 1722

Judge and author of a noted journal. Born in Edinburgh, the son of John Lauder of Newington, a merchant and Baillie in the city, who had been elevated to hereditary baronetcy and bought an estate called Woodhead in East Lothian, which he later renamed Fountainhall. Having graduated from the University of Edinburgh, his father sent the young Lauder to study law in France and he recorded the details of his continental journeys in his journals. Returning in 1667, he wrote candidly about public affairs and political events in the times leading up to the 'Glorious Revolution' of 1688 and these journals are regarded invaluable by historians. He continued to record his observations on public events, legal decisions and his own thoughts for the remainder of his life, leaving extensive manuscripts which were published in the 19th century.

Lauder's journals tell us that, in 1681, he was one of the lawyers defending Archibald Campbell, 9th Earl of Argyll (1629-85), over the matter of the Test Act, along with Sir George Lockhart (1630-89) and Sir John Dalrymple (1648 - 1707). He was also one of the prosecutors of Robert Baillie of Jerviswood in 1684 and recorded the death of John Maitland, the 1st Duke of Lauderdale, in 1682 and the demise of Argyll in 1685. In 1689, Lauder was appointed a judge in the Court of Session, serving as Lord Fountainhall and a Lord of Justiciary in 1690. He refused the post of Lord Advocate in 1692, because of the political fall-out after the Massacre of Glencoe. He was also Member of Parliament from 1685 - 1707 and opposed the Union with England. He resigned from the Bench in 1709.


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