Adam Cockburn, Lord Ormiston

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Adam Cockburn, Laird of Ormiston, Lord Ormiston (1656 – 16 April 1735), was a Scottish administrator, politician and judge. He served as Commissioner for Haddington Constabulary in the parliaments of 1681-2 and 1689, and in the conventions of 1678 and 1689. He was appointed Lord Justice Clerk on 28 November 1692.

Cockburn served as a member of the Privy Council, Treasurer Depute from 1699 until the accession of Anne, Lord Justice Clerk for a second term (1705–10), and a Lord of Session from 1705.


Adam was retoured heir to his brother John in the family's ancient estate of Ormiston, East Lothian, on 28 December 1671. Sasine of the estates followed on 12 June 1672 on a Precept from Chancery.

He was Commissioner for Haddingtonshire at the Conventions of Estates in the years 1678, 1681, and 1689, and in Parliament of Scotland for the year 1690. He was nominated one of the Commissioners to treat on the Union of Parliaments, on 19 April 1689.[1]

Adam Cockburn was appointed Lord Justice Clerk in place of Sir George Campbell of Cessnock on 28 November 1692 and at about the same time was sworn a Privy Councillor.[1]

He was one of the Commissioners named to inquire into the Massacre of Glencoe on 28 May 1695, and became somewhat unpopular in some quarters because of the powers awarded to his position in order for him to reach conclusions in the matter. On 6 February 1699 he succeeded Lord Raith as Treasurer-depute of Scotland, which he retained until the accession of Queen Anne, when he was dismissed from all his offices.[1]

He obtained a commission appointing him a second time Lord Justice Clerk dated 8 January 1705 and was at the same time appointed to succeed Lord Whitelaw as a Lord Ordinary in the Court of Session. He left the office of Lord Justice Clerk again in 1710 but retained his place as a Lord Ordinary until his death, on 16 April 1735, in his 79th year.[1]


He married (1) Susanna (born 20 July 1657, Tyninghame), daughter of John Hamilton, 4th Earl of Haddington. They had several children, of whom notably the MP John Cockburn of Ormiston. Two of his daughters married baronets. He married (2) Anne (died 1721) daughter of Sir Patrick Houstoun, 1st Baronet. [1] They had a daughter, Jean (1709 - 1792 Kelso, Scotland) who married William Walker.



 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainBarker, George Fisher Russell (1887). [ "Cockburn, Adam" ] Check |ws link in chapter= value (help). In Stephen, Leslie (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 11. London: Smith, Elder & Co. p. 177.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  • An Historical Account of the Senators of the College of Justice of Scotland, by Sir David Dalrymple of Hailes, Bt., with some further editing and additions, Edinburgh, 1849.
  • The House of Cockburn of that Ilk and Cadets Thereof, by Thomas H.Cockburn-Hood (Edinburgh, 1888) page 154.
  • Index to Genealogies, Birthbriefs, and Funeral Escutcheons, recorded in the Lyon Court, by Francis J. Grant, W.S., Lyon Clerk and Keeper of the Records, Edinburgh, 1908, p. 11.