Sir Thomas Craig

c.1538 - 1608

Lawyer and poet. Although the details of his early life are not well-known, Craig was most likely the eldest son of William Craig of Craigfintray (Craigston) in Aberdeenshire. He was educated at St. Leonard's College at the University of St. Andrews, completing a degree in 1555, and in France, where studied law. He returned to Scotland about 1561 and was called to the bar in 1563. The following year he found himself appointed Justice-Depute, one of the country's most senior judicial officers, under Archibald, 5th Earl of Argyll (1530-73). Craig was a zealous prosecutor who presided over many of the criminal trials of the period.

Craig became a great supporter of King James VI, following him to London in 1603 to accept the English throne. In 1604, he served as one of the Commissioners examined the possibility of Union between Scotland and England. He was offered a knighthood on several occasions, but always refused, although his grateful King instructed that he should be addressed as "Sir Thomas". Craig acquired the Riccarton estate, near Edinburgh.

His works include the important legal treatise Jus Feudale (1603) and poems such as Genethliacon Jacobi Principis Scotorum (1566), which celebrates the birth of James VI but also provides an important historical record of Scotland at that time. Further poems commemorate Mary, Queen of Scots, marriage to Darnley in 1565 and James VI leaving Edinburgh for London in 1603.

His son, Sir Lewis Craig (1569 - 1622), was also a noted jurist.

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