Menu

1722

Birth of Robert McQueen, Lord Braxfield, Lord Justice Clerk – "the hanging judge"

Robert McQueen the son of John McQueen of Braxfield, a small estate on the edge of Lanark, was born in Lanark in 1722. Educated at Lanark Grammar School and Edinburgh University he qualified in law in 1737.

By 1780 he was appointed Lord of Justiciary and in 1778 became Lord Justice Clerk by which time McQueen became regarded as the foremost expert in Feudal Law in Scotland. In 1793/94 he presided at the trials for sedition of reformers such as Muir, Skirving and Margarot.

Lord Braxfield was one of the last Scottish judges to use the Scots tongue. This, his immense capacity for drink and his coarse manner in the courtroom resulted in a lasting reputation.  On one occasion when a defendant remarked that Jesus was a reformer Braxfield replied 'Muckle he made o' that, he was hanget.' Braxfield died in 1799 and is buried in Lanark.