Manuscripts and Special Collections

Biography of Sir Andrew Buchanan (1807-1882)

Andrew was the only son of James Buchanan of Blairvadack, Ardenconnal, Dunbartonshire (1776-1860), and his wife Lady Janet Sinclair (d 1867), daughter of the 12th Earl of Caithness. He had five sisters:

  • Helen John Sinclair (d 1893), m. in 1828 William Wootten Abney (d 1866) of Measham, Leicestershire
  • Jane Dennistoun (d 1877), m. in 1826 William Tritton (d 1851) of Somerset, and had:
    • Andrew Tritton
  • Camilla, m. in 1829 Richard Fox of Awbawn, co. Cavan (d 1864), and had issue
  • Charlotte Macgregor Murray, m. in 1834 Charles Henry Forbes (d 1875) of Kingairloch, co. Argyll
  • Mathilda Frances Harriet (d 1894), m. in 1844 Patrick Maitland of Freugh (1804-1859), and had:
    • John Maitland (1845-1869)
    • William Maitland (1854-1881)
    • Patrick Maitland (1856-1877)
    • Janet Evelyn Sinclair Maitland (d 1863)

He entered the diplomatic service in 1825 and spent his early career in Constantinople and Corfu, with brief sojourns in Rio de Janeiro and Washington in the 1830s. He was appointed as a paid attaché to St Petersburg in 1838 and remained there until 1841.

From 1841 to 1844 he worked at Florence, before returning to St Petersburg as the secretary of legation. In 1852 he moved to the Swiss Confederation as minister-plenipotentiary, and the following year he was posted to Denmark as envoy-extraordinary to the king. His wife died while the family were living in Copenhagen. After service in Madrid from 1858 and subsequently in the Hague from 1860, he held postings as ambassador to Prussia (1862), Russia (1864) and Austria (1871-1878).

He retired in 1878 and was rewarded with a baronetcy. He died on 12 November 1882 at his home, Craigend Castle in Stirlingshire, which he had purchased in 1851.


He married 1stly, in 1839, Frances Katherine Mellish (d 1854), daughter of the Rev. Edward Mellish, Dean of Hereford and grand-daughter of William Mellish of Blyth Hall and Hodsock, Nottinghamshire (1708-1791), and had:

  • Sir James, 2nd Baronet (1840-1901), Commander in the Royal Navy. m. in 1873 Arabella Catherine (d 1935), daughter of Goodwin Colquitt-Craven of Brockhampton Park, Gloucestershire
  • Edward (1844-1870)
  • Sir Eric Alexander, 3rd Baronet (1848-1928), m. in 1898 Constance Augusta (d 1914), daughter of Captain Charles Edmund Tennant, RN, of Needwood House, Burton-on-Trent, and had:
    • Charles James, 4th Baronet (1899-1984). JP Notts, DL 1954. Ed Harrow and Sandhurst. ADC to governor of Madras 1928-32, High Sheriff Notts 1962. m. in 1932 Barbara Helen (d 1986), daughter of Lt Col. Sir George Stanley, and had:
      • Sir Andrew George, 5th Baronet (1937-)
      • Hugh Charles Stanley (1942-)
      • Georgina Mary Gabrielle (1932-)
      • Constance Carolyn (1934-)
    • Mary Constance Victoria (1901-1982), m. in 1921 Major Thomas Garrett Mayhew (d 1965), and had issue.
  • Andrew Archibald (1850-1932), m. in 1882 Ellen Maria (d 1919), daughter of Philip Edward Blakeway, and had:
    • Andrew Sinclair (1882-1957) m. in 1915 Violet Nita, daughter of Sir Anderson Critchett, 1st Baronet
  • George William (1854-1924) m. in 1885 Lady Georgina Meriel Bathurst (d 1922), daughter of the 6th Earl Bathurst, and had:
  • Florence Jane (d 1882), m. in 1865 Captain Maxwell Fox, Royal Navy (d 1899)
  • Frances Matilda (d 1908), m. in 1873 John Willis Clark (d 1910), Registrar of Cambridge University, and had issue
  • Louisa (d 1923), m. in 1871 Sir George Francis Bonham, 2nd Baronet (1847-1927), diplomat, and had:
    • George Lionel Bonham (1873-1910) m. in 1898 Amy (d 1910), daughter of Captain Henry Brooks Gaskell
    • Eric Henry Bonham, 3rd Baronet (1875-1937), m. in 1910 Ethel (d 1962), daughter of Lt Col. Leopold Richard Seymour
    • Cecil Maurice Bonham (1887-1908)
    • Edith Florence Bonham (1877-1937), m. in 1900 Sir Evelyn Mountstuart Grant Duff (d 1926), diplomat
    • Lilian Frances Bonham (1883-1953), m. in 1911 George Jardine Kidston (d 1954), diplomat
    • Evelyn Mary Bonham (1885-1965)
  • Janet Sinclair (d 1923)

He married 2ndly, in 1857, Georgina Eliza Stuart (d 1904), 3rd daughter of Robert Walter, 11th Baron Blantyre. There were no children of this marriage.

Archive Collections

  • Correspondence and other papers of Sir Andrew Buchanan and the Buchanan family form the Buchanan Collection held in Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University of Nottingham
  • Liverpool Archives holds correspondence with the 15th Earl of Derby, 1874-1878
  • The National Library of Scotland holds letters to Sir Henry Elliot, 1876
  • The Bodleian Library, Oxford, holds correspondence with Lord Kimberley, 1853-1864
  • The British Library holds correspondence with Sir Austen Layard, 1861-1877
  • Hampshire Record Office holds correspondence with Lord Malmesbury
  • Cambridge University Library Department of Manuscripts and University Archives holds correspondence with Lord Mayo
  • The National Archives holds correspondence with Lord John Russell, 1860-1865; and letters to letters to Odo Russell, 1872-1877
  • Nottinghamshire Archives holds letters to John Savile, 1852-1868. The catalogue is available through Access to Archives (A2A)
  • Lambeth Palace Library holds letters to AC Tait relating to continental chaplaincies, 1860-1866

Published Works

  • G. C. Boase, ‘Buchanan, Sir Andrew (1807–1882)’, rev. H. C. G. Matthew, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [available online to subscribers,]

Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

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