James Craufurd

(James Crawford, Lord Ardmillan)

1805 - 1876

Judge. Born of Scottish parents in Havant (England), his father owned Ardmillan House in South Ayrshire. Craufurd was educated at Ayr Academy and the High School of Edinburgh, followed by the University of Glasgow and University of Edinburgh, where he read law. He was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1829.

He was appointed Sheriff of Perthshire (1849) and Solicitor-General for Scotland (1853) under the administration of George Hamilton-Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen (1784 - 1860). He was created a Lord of the Court of Session in 1855, with the title Lord Ardmillan, and six months later was appointed a Lord of Justiciary.

His most notable judgement related to the notorious Yelverton case in July 1862, when he decided that, under an 18th C. law, marriages of mixed religious tradition in Ireland were illegal. This judgement was overturned on appeal, but Ardmillan's original judgement was upheld by the House of Lords two years later. The unfairness of this old statute was eventually addressed by Parliament through the Marriage Causes and Marriage Law (Ireland) Amendment Act of 1870, which made marriages between Roman Catholics and Protestants legal.

Craufurd died at his home, 18 Charlotte Square in Edinburgh, and lies buried in the graveyard of St. Cuthbert's Church in the city.

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