John Wedderburn of Balindean

1729 - 13th Jun 1803


Protagonist in the Joseph Knight case.

Son of Sir John Wedderburn of Blackness, 5th bart., who was executed in London in 1746 after fighting at Culloden on the side of the Jacobites. John the Younger had been at Culloden with his father as standard bearer in Lord Ogilvy's regiment. Following his father's execution, John Wedderburn, aged 17, fled to France then Jamaica. He was soon joined on the island by his three brothers James, Peter and Alexander. He settled in Westmoreland and fashioned himself as a surgeon, although it is not clear that he had any qualifications. Over the next two decades he prospered. Having been left a significant legacy by a great uncle in Scotland in 1752, John Wedderburn appears to have invested it in purchasing land and slaves in Jamaica. He returned to Scotland in 1763 and set about trying to reassemble the family's lost estate. By 1766 he was back in Jamaica but remained there only until 1768 when he returned to Scotland permanently and completed the purchase of Balindean, Perthshire. Despite the attainder of his father, John Wedderburn of Balindean used the title as the 6th bart., and official documents sometimes reflected this. Shortly after his death his eldest surviving son and heir, Sir David Wedderburn (q.v.), was once again formally raised to the Baronetcy.

John Wedderburn married twice. Upon his return from Jamaica in 1769 he married Margaret Ogilvy, eldest daughter of David, Lord Ogilvy (eldest son of John, fourth Earl of Airlie, in whose regiment he had served in 1745). She died in 1775, having had four children: John Wedderburn (1771-83), Margaret Wedderburn (1772-1807) (q.v.), Jean Wedderburn (1773-1861), David Wedderburn (1775-1858).

Both daughters married into East India Company families and moved to Prince of Wales Island (now called Penang Island, Malaysia). Margaret married Philip Dundas, Governor of Prince Edward Island and youngest son of Robert Dundas of Aniston M.P. and Lord President of the Court of Session. They had two sons: Robert Adam Dundas M.P. for Ipswich and later Edinburgh (m. Margaret Bruce, eldest daughter of Thomas, 6th Earl of Elgin; and Philip Dundas, Colonel in the Guards (m. Lady Jane Charteris, daughter of Francis, 7th Earl Wemyss). Jean married John Hope Oliphant, second in council in Prince of Wales Island (second son of Robert Oliphant of Bossie, Post-Master General for Scotland). They had one daughter.

In 1780 John Wedderburn married secondly Alicia Dundas (1754-1831; 2nd daughter of James Dundas of Dundas and Hon. Jean Maria Forbes). They had seven children: James Wedderburn (1782-1815) (q.v.), Maria Wedderburn (1783-1858), Susan Wedderburn (1783-1840), Louisa Dorothea Wedderburn (1786-1803); Anne Wedderburn (1788-1867), John Wedderburn (1789-1862) (q.v.), Alexander Wedderburn (1791-1839).

James Wedderburn initially went to Jamaica but had returned home by 1809, whilst Alexander joined the Coldstream Guards and fought during the Napoleonic Wars. He later served as military secretary in Ireland before retiring with the rank of colonel in 1830. Of the daughters, Louisa Dorothea married, to SirJohn Hope, afterwards created Lord Niddry of Niddry and succeeded his half-brother as 4th Earl of Hopetoun. They had nine sons and two daughters. Anne married Sir John Hope, 11th Baronet of Craighill, Fife, They had 8 sons and 2 daughters.

NB there is potential confusion between estates associated with Sir John Wedderburn of Ballindean (1729-1803) and his cousin, John Wedderburn (1743-1820), partner in Wedderburn, Webster (q.v.).

  1. Will of Sir [sic] John Wedderburn of Ballindean, Perthshire proved 29/11/1803. Under the will he stated that his marriage settlement provided for his wife Alicia Dundas and his younger children, and he left his property to his eldest son David Wedderburn merchant of London and his heirs, failing whom to his second son James Wedderburn and heirs, failing whom his third son John Wedderburn and heirs, failing whom to his youngest son Alexander Wedderburn and heirs, and then to any son to be born and heirs, then similarly to his daughters Margaret, Jean, Maria, Susan, Louisa and Ann and respective heirs. He identified his Jamaican property as his rights and interest in Blue Castle and Glenisla estates in Westmoreland. He provided for the education of his younger children and for £1500 to be spent on a house in Edinburgh for his widow.


  1. PROB 11/1401/335.

We are grateful to Roberta Wedge for her assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information

Married but no further details
Physician and planter

Associated Estates (7)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
1802 [EA] - 1803 [LA] → Joint owner

Joint purchase by John Wedderburn of Balindean and his brother James Wedderburn Colvile, mentioned in codicil to the latter's will dated 4/9/1802.

1798 [EA] - 1798 [LA] → Owner
1832 [EA] - → Previous owner
1780 [EA] - 1803 [LA] → Joint owner
1767 [EA] - 1768 [LA] → Attorney
1764 [EA] - 1765 [LA] → Other

Filed Crop Accounts for Carawina [1], 1764-65. Listed as Planter.

1780 [EA] - 1803 [LA] → Joint owner

Relationships (20)

Business associates
Uncle → Nephew
Uncle → Niece
Uncle → Nephew
Uncle → Nephew
Brother-in-law → Sister-in-law
Father → Daughter
Father → Son
Father → Son
Father → Son
First Cousins
First Cousins
First Cousins
Other relatives
Testator → Executor
Uncle → Nephew
Other relatives
Executor → Testator
Trustee → Testator