John Clerk, Lord Eldin

John Clerk, Lord Eldin FRSE FSA (1757– 30 May1832) was a Scottish judge based in Edinburgh.

Lord Eldin
John Clerk, Lord Eldin.jpg
John Clerk, Lord Eldin, portrait by Henry Raeburn, c.1815.
Solicitor General for Scotland
In office
Preceded byRobert Blair
Succeeded byDavid Boyle
Lord of Session
In office
10 November 1823 – 1828
Preceded byWilliam Bannatyne, Lord Bannatyne
Succeeded byJohn Fullerton, Lord Fullerton
Personal details
BornApril 1757
Died30 May 1832


He was the eldest son of Susannah Adam, the sister of John Adam and Robert Adam, and John Clerk of Eldin. He was born in April 1757 in Edinburgh.

Though originally intended for the Indian Civil Service, he was apprenticed to a Writer to the Signet. After serving his articles he practised for a year or two as an accountant, and eventually was admitted a member of the Faculty of Advocates on 3 December 1785.[1]

He had an extensive practice at the bar. A keen Whig, on 11 March 1806 he was appointed Solicitor General for Scotland in the Grenville administration, an office which he held during the year that the ministry lasted. His practice at the bar had been for some time falling off, and his health had already begun to fail, when, on 10 November 1823, he was appointed an ordinary Lord of Session in place of William Bannatyne, Lord Bannatyne. Assuming the title of Lord Eldin, he took his seat on the bench 22 November; but his health was poor. After five years of judicial work he resigned in 1828, and was succeeded by John Fullerton, Lord Fullerton.[1]

Section of Lasswade old kirk used as the Eldin vault

His father, his uncle George and himself were friends of the geologist James Hutton.[1]

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1784.[2]

Clerk died unmarried at his house at 16 Picardy Place, Edinburgh,[3] on 30 May 1832. He was buried with his ancestors in the Eldin vault in the Old Kirk of Lasswade, just south of Edinburgh.

His collection of pictures and prints was sold by auction at his house in March 1833; a serious accident occurred, the floor giving way.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Barker 1887.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Edinburgh Post Office annual directory, 1832-1833". National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 20 January 2018.

  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainBarker, George Fisher Russell (1887). "Clerk, John (1757-1832)". In Stephen, Leslie (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 11. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 42–43.

External linksEdit

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