James Wedderburn (judge)

James Wedderburn, Solicitor General for Scotland
Isabella Clerk - Mrs. James Wedderburn, by Sir Henry Raeburn
31 Heriot Row, Edinburgh (right)

The Honourable James Wedderburn FRSE (12 November 1782–7 November 1822) was a 19th-century Scottish judge who served as Solicitor General for Scotland from 1816, dying in office aged 39. He is sometimes called James Wedderburn-Colville.[1]


He was born in Inveresk House on 12 November 1782 the fourth son of Isabella Blackburn and James Wedderburn Colville (died 1802) of Ochiltree House in Ayrshire.[2][3] He was educated at the grammar school in Musselburgh.

His father died in 1802 and he became wealthy. In 1803 he was admitted as an advocate at the Scottish bar. In 1804 he undertook further study at Lincoln's Inn in London the aim at the English bar.[4]

In 1810 Allan Maconochie, Lord Meadowbank appointed him Advocate Depute to Scotland. However he resigned in 1811 to take on the role of Sheriff of Peebles.

In 1814 he was living with his family at 126 George Street in Edinburgh's New Town.[5]

In July 1816 he was appointed Solicitor General for Scotland.

In 1821 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His proposer was Sir William Arbuthnot.[6]

He lived his final years at 31 Heriot Row in Edinburgh.[7] He died on 7 November 1822, aged 39, during a visit to his sister Lady Selkirk at St Mary's Isle in Kirkcudbrightshire. He is buried there.[8]


He was brother to Andrew Colville.

In December 1813 he married Isabella Clerk (1789–1865), sister of Sir George Clerk, 6th Baronet of Penicuik and John Clerk Maxwell of Middlebie (father of James Clerk Maxwell).[9] They had three daughters and four sons: Janet Isabella (1815–1852) married James Hay McKenzie WS, Jean (1818–1897) married Peter Blackburn of Killearn, Jemima (1823-?) married Prof Hugh Blackburn of Killearn, Peter's brother, James Wedderburn (1814–1863), George Wedderburn (1817–1865), John Wedderburn (1820–1879), Andrew Wedderburn (1821–1896).[10]

Jemima Blackburn was a noted artist.

Artistic recognitionEdit

His wife Isabella was portrayed by Sir Henry Raeburn around the time of their marriage.


  1. ^ DeBrett's Peerage
  2. ^ "Ochiltree House". Scottish Castles Association. Retrieved 2019-04-05.
  3. ^ "Isabella Wedderburn (Blackburn) (1756 - 1821) - Genealogy". geni.com. Retrieved 2019-04-05.
  4. ^ The Wdderburn Book p.313
  5. ^ Edinburgh Post Office Directory 1814
  6. ^ Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 978-0-902198-84-5.
  7. ^ Edinburgh Post Office Directory 1822
  8. ^ The Wedderburn Book
  9. ^ The Book of the Old Edinburgh Club vol 31
  10. ^ The Wedderburn Book p.314