Dr. James Crichton

1765 - 1823

Physician and philanthropist. Born into a notable Sanquhar family, Crichton's father was a solicitor who was Provost of the town. His grandfather had twice filled the same position, serving for a total of 29 years, the longest serving Provost in Sanquhar's history. The young Crichton trained in medicine at the University of Edinburgh and joined the East India Company and worked in India and China. There he rose to become physician to Lord Mornington, the Governor-General of India and was able to amass a considerable fortune.

He returned to Sanquhar in 1808. The following year he purchased the estate of Friars' Carse, on right bank of the River Nith next to Ellisland, which had been the home of poet Robert Burns between 1788-91. In 1810, Crichton married Elizabeth Grierson (1779 - 1862).

Crichton died at Friars' Carse in 1823 and lies buried in Sanquhar Kirkyard. The couple had no family and he had directed that the bulk of his estate - almost £100,000 - was used to establish a college in Dumfries. While a college proved impossible at that time, Elizabeth eventually used the money to found the Crichton Royal Hospital in the town, which has subsequently become the multi-college Crichton Campus. Various of his possessions found their way into the hospital archives, including a book of oriental maps and engravings, published in 1796, and his Chinese teapot with the Crichton Crest and motto God Send Grace.

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