Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Cardonnel, Adam de (d.1820)
CARDONNEL, afterwards CARDONNEL-LAWSON, ADAM [MANSFELDT] de (d. 1820), antiquary, was a grandnephew of Adam de Cardonnel [q. v.], secretary to the Duke of Marlborough, and the sole surviving son of Mansfeldt de Cardonnel of Musselburgh, a commissioner of the customs and salt duties in Scotland, by his wife Anne, the daughter and heir of Thomas Hilton of Low Ford in the county of Durham (Surtees, Durham, ii. 27; Autobiography of Rev. A. Carlyle, p. 218–19), Educated for the medical profession he practised for a while as a surgeon, but his easy circumstances left him leisure to indulge his taste for the study of antiquities and numismatics, with which he was especially conversant. Upon the institution of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, under the presidency of the Earl of Bute, in December 1780, Cardonnel was elected a fellow; he also served as curator from 1782 to 1784, and contributed to the second volume of the ‘Archæologia Scotica,’ i. 159–67, a ‘Description of certain Roman Ruins discovered at Inveresk.' When Captain Grose visited Scotland, Cardonnel, who then resided at Edinburgh, did all he could to assist his brother antiquary with notes from his extensive collections, besides accompanying him on various archæological expeditions, attentions which Grose gratefully acknowledged in the introduction to his 'Antiquities of Scotland' (p. xx). Some time in the autumn of 1789 Burns addressed a letter to Grose, and not being certain of the captain's address, he enclosed the letter under cover to Cardonnel at Edinburgh. While in the act of folding it up the quaint old song of 'Sir John Malcolm' ran through his mind, and he inscribed within the wrapper his well-known impromptu, 'Ken ye ought o' Captain Grose?' (Burns, Poetical Works, Kilmarnock edit., by W. S. Douglas, i. 360, ii. 149). Soon after this Cardonnel quitted Scotland, having by the failure of fourteen families, on whom, it is said, the property had been entailed, succeeded to the estates of his second cousin, Mr. Hilton Lawson, at Chirton and Cramlington in Northumberland. He served as sheriff for the county in 1796 (Gent. Mag. lxvi. i. 164), and assumed the surname of Lawson in addition to and after that of Cardonnel. In 1811 he began to pull down Chirton House, where he had hitherto resided, and went to live in a small farmhouse at Cramlington (Mackenzie, Northumberland, 2nd edit. ii. 411, 456). His latter days were chiefly spent at Bath. Dying in June 1820, aged 73, he was buried at Cramlington on the 14th (Cramlington Burial Register). By the death of his eldest son of the same names on 21 Nov. 1838 at Acton House, Acklington, Northumberland, without issue, the family became extinct in the male line (Latimer, Local Records, p. 100).
Cardonnel was the author of:
- 'Numismata Scotiæ; or a Series of the Scottish Coinage, from the Reign of William the Lion to the Union. By Adam de Cardonnel,' &c., with twenty plates drawn by the author, 4to, Edinburgh, 1786. This work, although taken in a great measure from Snelling's 'View,' which had been published in 1774, contains some curious historical matter, and the appropriations are generally correct.
- 'Picturesque Antiquities of Scotland, etched by Adam de Cardonnel,' four parts, 8vo and 4to, London, 1788-93, which forms a useful supplement to Pennant's 'Tour.'
[Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. ix. 24, 187, x. 239, 456, xi. 335-6, 378; Gent. Mag. lxxii. ii. 684, lxxxiii. ii. 394, (1837) viii. 325, 416; Bath Directory for 1812 and 1819; Cochran-Patrick's Records of the Coinage of Scotland, Introd. p. viii.]