James was the youngest of William of Castlemain's sons, his sister Elizabeth was younger. He married Jane, daughter of James Hannay of the Blairinnie branch of that family, who lived at Lochbank, Castle Douglas. She died 18th January 1861, aged 69. They had ten children.
James was a well known man, whose career filled an obituary of two columns in the local paper. His portrait and that of his wife were painted by his nephew Charles Sillem Lidderdale. They are now owned by the Scotts in New Zealand, descendants of his daughter Marion Shaw Lidderdale.
The obituary mentioned is a fitting memorial, but there is a better, in fewer words, by F.C. Madden, a retired banker, who was a youngster beginning his career in the British Linen Bank when they met.
This is what Madden says (in 1892), from his own knowledge of the man, and what an old Galloway woman had told him some thirty years before, when he was a lad in those parts. It shows how correct was the local tradition of those times. She began by insisting "that James Lidderdale the Solicitor and Hawker (sic) (No doubt she meant a 'writer', Scots for a Solicitor) of Castle Douglas was a representative of the old family which had held St. Mary's Isle and his ancestor had fled to the north of Ireland and that his more immediate progenitor, William of Castle Dykes, had found his way back to the stewartry in reduced circumstances."
"This old gentleman was uncle to the Governor of the Bank of England and a fine specimen of Country Lawyer, sparing but firm and decisive in speech, austere but kindly in his manners, methodical to a fault, not litigeous or given to advise a client to embark on law, prudent, taciturn and retiring, one who held to the even tenour of his ways, courting no man's favour and fearing no man."
"I well recollect the two or three occasions I was privileged to come in contact with him, when a boy in business. He reminded you of the granite of his native stewartry, hard, durable, useful and reliable."
He died with all his faculties unimpaired except for sense deafness.
In the possession of Eustace Henry Lidderdale is a piece of embroidery, framed, showing the Lidderdale arms impaling those of Hannay of Blairinnie. It is a small and beautifully fine piece of work and, what is s important, accurate. The impalement records the marriage of James Lidderdale to Jane, daughter of James Hannay of Lochbank, Castle Douglas.
Perhaps the embroiderers did not know about Marks of Cadency, or omitted them because the exact degree of the marks was unknown for one or both families. But there were no such marks although James Lidderdale was not the head of the family and James Hannay was probably not the head of his. In Nisbet's Book, vol.II is a good drawing of the shield showing the engrailled 'border', as he spells it, which is a complete edging of even small scollops. The ermine, according to the practice then, is shown with many small tails. Nisbet had and still has a European reputation in Armory and we should be proud that our arms are in his book. See Chapter 4 of "Lowland Lairds" by James Ferguson for Nisbet's reputation.
Source: Robert Halliday Lidderdale, An Account of the Lowland Scots Family of Lidderdale, 1950.
Letter from James Lidderdale to son William Halliday Lidderdale dated July 23, 1839, courtesy of Dean Neff, Ohio
23d July 1839
Mr. Wm. H. Lidderdale
I have received your letter communicating the melancholy news of the severe illness of poor Walter Clarke whose fate I dread ?? this time seated - You must act as Teller in his place till my return - John must sleep in the room above the bank - Be particular about seeing everything properly closed at night - I have written the Bank today - With the assistance of Mr. Miller who I am satisfied will give you every care in his power - I have no doubt every thing will go on well till my return - Yours affectionately
James's Lidderdale's accounts from the Almorness/Orchardton Estate (Castle Douglas) for the year 1855-56, showing details of the income and expenditure for the whole estate can be downloaded from:
Lidderdale memorial wall at the cemetary at Kelton, Scotland.
Photo courtesy of Della Makinson.