Nairne, Robert (DNB00)

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NAIRNE, Sir ROBERT, of Strathord, first Lord Nairne (1600–1683), lord of session, was representative of a family which claimed descent from Michael de Nairne, who on 10 Feb. 1406–7 was witness to a charter of Robert, duke of Albany. He was the eldest son of Robert Nairne of Muckersie, and afterwards of Strathord, both in Perthshire, by Margaret, daughter of Sir John Preston of Penicuick, Midlothian, lord-president of the court of session. Like his father, he became a member of the Faculty of Advocates. With other royalists he was captured by a detachment from General Monck at Alyth, Forfarshire, 28 Aug. 1651, and sent a prisoner to the Tower, where he remained till the Restoration. By Charles II he was appointed one of the lords of session, 1 June 1661, receiving also the honour of knighthood; and on 11 Jan. 1671 he was appointed one of the court of justiciary. On 23 Jan. 1681 he was created a peer of Scotland by the title of Baron Nairne, to himself for life, and after his decease to his son-in-law, Lord William Murray, who assumed the surname of Nairne [see under Nairne, John, third Lord Nairne]. At the trial of the Earl of Argyll in 1681 Nairne was compelled from fatigue to retire while the pleadings on the relevancy were still proceeding. The judges who remained being equally divided as to the relevancy, and the Duke of Queensberry, who presided, being unwilling to vote, Nairne was sent for to give his vote. According to Wodrow he fell asleep while the pleadings for the relevancy were being read to him, but being awakened after this ceremony had been performed, voted for the relevancy of the indictment (Sufferings of the Kirk of Scotland, iii. 336). On 10 April 1683 Lord Castlehill was appointed to be one of the criminal lords in place of Lord Nairne, who was excused from attendance on account of his great age. ‘This,’ according to Lauder of Fountainhall, ‘provoked the old man to reflect that when he was lying in the Tower for the king Castlehill was one of Oliver Cromwell's pages and servants, and Nairne died within six weeks after this’ (Historical Notices, p. 435). By his wife Margaret, daughter of Patrick Graham of Inchbrakie, Perthshire, he had an only daughter, Margaret, married to Lord William Murray, who became second Baron Nairne.

[Wodrow's Sufferings of the Church of Scotland; Lauder of Fountainhall's Historical Notices; Brunton and Haig's Senators of the College of Justice; Douglas's Scottish Peerage (Wood), ii. 279–80.]

T. F. H.