Crichton, Robert (DNB00)

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CRICHTON, ROBERT, sixth Lord Sanquhar (d. 1612), was the son of Edward, fifth lord. In 1605, while on a visit to Lord Norreys in Oxfordshire, he engaged in a fencing match with a fencing-master called Turner, when he accidentally lost one of his eyes, and for some time was in danger of his life. Seven years afterwards he hired two men to assassinate Turner, one of whom, Robert Carlyle, shot him with a pistol 11 May 1612, for which he and his accomplice were executed. Lord Sanquhar absconded, and a reward of 1,000l. having been offered for his apprehension, he was taken and brought to trial in the king's bench, Westminster Hall, 27 June of the same year, when, not being a peer of England, he was tried under the name of Robert Crichton, although a baron of three hundred years' standing. In an eloquent speech he confessed his crime, and being convicted on his own confession was hanged on a gibbet with a silken halter in Great Palace Yard, before the gate of Westminster Hall, on 29 June. Great interest was made to save his life, but James was inexorable, because it is said Crichton had on one occasion failed to resent an insult offered to his majesty in Paris (Letters and State Papers during the reign of King James Sext, Abbotsford Club, 1828, p. 36). Crichton died penitent professing the catholic religion. By his marriage at St. Anne's, Blackfriars, 10 April 1608, to Anne, daughter of Sir George Fermor of Easton, he had no issue. All his property was left to his natural son, Robert Crichton, but the heir male, William, seventh lord Sanquhar, disputed the succession, and on the matter being referred to James VI Robert Crichton was served heir of entail to him in the estate of Sanquhar 15 July 1619 (Hailes, Memorials of James VI, p. 51).

[Melrose Papers (Abbotsford Club), pp. 127, 132, 133, 264, 265; Letters and State Papers during reign of James Sext (Abbotsford Club, 1828), pp. 356; Douglas's Scotch Peerage (Wood).]

T. F. H.