Sir James Standsfield (d.1687)

Sir James Standsfield  was a colonel in the Parliamentary army. His sister-in-law was the wife of James Dalrymple, Viscount of Stair.  During the Commonwealth he established a woollen manufactury, fulling mill and dye house at Newmills, near Haddington. After the Restoration the government took steps to establish a cloth industry in Scotland to rival the English industry, and Standsfield was one of its enthusiastic promoters, obtaining government support to expand his establishment, described a “great manufactory stone house on the south side of the village of Newmylnes”. For this he was granted a knighthood by Charles II. In 1687 he was murdered by his son, Charles, whom he had disinherited for debt and debauchery.  Charles was executed for the crime in 1688. The proceedings of the trial are recorded in the Newgate Calendar. After Sir James’ death his business interests fell into financial difficulties and the mill was sold.

Standsfield seems to have also operated as a merchant in Edinburgh, to which a lot of his correspondence is addressed. Worlds End Close in Edinburgh was also called “ Sir James Stansfield’s Close”, because he had a house there ( By 1674, in partnership with William Blackett of Hoppiland, he held a lease of a lead mine in Glen Lyon, Perthshire. At about this time he also had dealings with Michael Blackett, who seems to have had difficulty obtaining payment from him (see Blackett to Standsfield 3 March, 1676) . In 1675, again in partnership with William Blackett and with finance from John Lindsay & Co of London he took a mining lease of Wanlockhead from Lord Queensberry. The enterprise did not meet with much success and, despite the erection of a smelt mill,  seems to have been abandoned in 1684. In 1692 the lease was taken on by Matthew Wilson and Arthur Wall of County Durham, who worked the site more successfully until 1710, when all the Wanlockhead mines were leased to The Governor and Company.

For a history of Wanlockhead see Harvey,W.S. & Downs-Rose, G. (1976) British Mining 3, 21-28 (available on the NMRS website). The article cites information from the Archives of the Duke of Buccleuch (the Queensberry family) at Drumlanrig Castle.

Note: the name was spelled consistently throughout his correspondence as Standsfield, although modern writing routinely names him as Stansfield.

Ian Hancock

See also:

James Miller, The Lamp of Lothian, Edinburgh, 1844.

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The Dukesfield Smelters and Carriers Project aimed to celebrate and discover the heritage of the Dukesfield Arches & lead carriers' routes between Blaydon and the lead mines of Allendale and Weardale. A two year community project, it was led by the Friends of the North Pennines in partnership with Hexhamshire and Slaley Parish Councils and the active support of Allendale Estates. It was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the generous support of other sponsors. Friends of the North Pennines: Charity No:1137467