Select Jardine Miscellany

Here are some Jardine stories and accounts over the years:

Spedlins Tower

The seat of the chief of clan Jardine from the 15th century was at Spedlins Tower on the banks of the rivver Annan.  In the 17th century he was forced to move their seat from the fortalice because of a grisly family secret.  A miller named Dunty Porteas had been left to starve in the dungeon of the tower and his ghost - with his tortuous screams of hunger and pain - is said to have driven the family away (they ended up building a new home, Jardine Hall, on the other bank of the river).

The Jardines in their desperation to rid his ghost had hired a minister who carried out an exorcism.  This managed to confine the spirit to the dungeon.  The binding was carried out with the aid of a biblre that was left near the dungeon and acted as a barrier to Dunty's restless spirit.  The bible was sent to be rebound in Edinburgh in 1710, allowing the miller's spirit to roam free and wreak havoc once again, until the bible was returned to its rightful place.  Folklore to this day says that if you poke a stick into the dungeon of Spedlins Tower it will come back half-chewed. 

Over time Spedlins Tower fell into ruin and its ownership changed hands.   It was restored in the 1980's and is now owned by an architect and his wife.  In a panel near the top of one side is engraved the date 1605.  The two lower storeys bear the mark of an earlier time.

Jardine Clan Symbols

Arms: argent, a saltire and chief gules, the latter charged with three mullets of first, pierced of the second;  Crest: a spur rowel of six points Proper; Badge: a sprig of apple blossom; Motto: cave adsum, meaning "beware, I am present."

William Jardine, Taipan

William Jardine was known for his legendary imperiousness and sturdy pride.  He was nicknamed "the iron-headed old rat" by the locals after being hit on the head by a club during a petition by the China traders to the mandarins in Canton.  Jardine, after being hit, just shrugged off the insult with dour Scottish resilience.

He had only one chair in his office in the Jardine clipper flagship the Hercules, and that was his own.  Visitors were never allowed to sit - to impress upon them that Jardine was a very busy man.

Jardine was known as a brilliant crisis manager.  In 1822, during his visit to the firm's Canton office, he found the local office in management crisis, with employees in near mutiny against the firm's Canton officers. Jardine then proceeded to take temporary control and succeeded in putting the office in perfect order in just a matter of days.

He was also a shrewd judge of character.  Jardine was even able to persuade the Rev. Charles Gutzlaff, a fanatic Prussian missionary, to interpret for their ship captains while they were engaged in the coastal smuggling of opium.  His pitch was that Gutzlaff would be better able to gather more converts during these smuggling operations. 

Soon Jardine was being referred to by the other traders as "Tai-pan," a Chinese colloquial title meaning "Great Manager."  James Clavell's novel Taipan is in fact based on William Jardine and the other Jardine tai-pans.

Jardine and Jardim

There are two separate Jardine families to be found in the Caribbean.   Firstly there are the Jardines who can trace their lineage back to Scotland.  Then there are the Jardines who can trace their families to the Portuguese island of Madeira off the coast of Africa.   It so happened that the name Jardim, a common Portuguese surname, sounded like Jardine to English ears when these Portuguese arrived in the Caribbean during the 1800's.

The same thing happened in the US and there are Jardine families there who are Portuguese immigrants to the US.  Antonio and Augusta Jardim emigrated from Madeira to Hawaii in 1883 and later settled in Oakland, California.

William Jardine in the Outback

In his latter days, William Jardine would tell humorous stories about his early life in Australia.  He had come to the Monaro district in 1846 and started the Jindabyne flour mill in conjunction with Stuart Ryrie. 

Here he had made the acquaintance of Jacky Jacky, the outlaw; and here he had been the "white father" of a tribe of blacks who had to use the mill weir to cross the Snowy river on their excursion to Kosciusko after the Boogong.  Jardine continued:

"I wonder if my readers know how the blacks treat the Boogong.  In September and October the tribes migrate towards Kosciusko.  They are so lean they hardly cast a shadow.  The Boogong is a big moth which clusters in hundreds in the clefts of the rocks when resting.  The natives scoop them out onto a rug and make a fire as if they were going to cook a damper.  Then the moths take the place of the damper and in a few minutes nothing remains but a little white kernel, which the blacks pick out with a sharp stick and eat faster than you can count. 

In February and March the aboriginal, who has swollen up like a canine the victim of misplaced confidence in a stray piece of meat, and greasy as the inside of a whale, returns to the plains to return again next Boogong season as lean and hungry as ever."
Jardine was a sheep rancher.  He was emphatically a merinos man and his chief aim was to keep this class at his Curry Flat ranch at its highest perfection.  Every year the whole flock would be carefully and thoroughly classed.  Only the very best quality ewes would be kept for stud uses, the result being a strong combing wool of bright lustre, regular serrations, and plenty of yolk.  The W.J. over C.F. brand always managed to secure firm average prices on the London market.  

The Jardine Mansion in South Africa

Calderwood Hall was the family home of the Jardines who had emigrated from Scotland to South Africa to settle in the wild interior of the new colony of Natal.

Construction was planned to start in 1895, aiming for completion by 1900.  Bricks were made on site, using sand and clay from nearby riverworks which were moulded into shape and fired in straw kilns on the farm. Today one can still see the handprints of the brick-makers and the imprints of the straw where the bricks were placed to cool after firing.

However, things were delayed by the loss in 1898 of imported building materials such as the "brookielace," tiles, steel pressed ceilings, steel fireplaces, stained glass, doors and door surrounds, all imported from Glasgow in Scotland.  All of these items sank into the waters of Durban harbor when a rope snapped during offloading.  Luckily these items were insured and the whole consignment was reordered and arrived two years later.  It then took another two months to transport everything to the building site by ox-drawn wagons.

Calderwood Hall was finally completed in 1902 and was the Jardine family home for many years.  During their occupation Joseph Jardine and his wife produced twelve children.   They were all born in the "birthing room" on the ground floor (now the TV lounge), as Edith refused to climb the house's magnificent walnut staircase after her sixth month of pregnancy.  The babies were then transferred upstairs to the "nursing room" (now an ensuite bathroom for the Indian suite) on the mezzanine level, where they were cared for by nurse or nanny.

Over time the next generation of Jardines sold off portions of the estate until there was only a house in a dilapidated state and a small garden left.  It has been new owners who have renovated the building into a country hotel.

Douglas Jardine - England's Cricket Captain During Bodyline

Douglas Jardine was the captain of the England cricket tour of Australia in 1932-33 that came to be known as the "bodyline" tour.  Even before the bodyline controversy erupted, Jardine had incurred colonial displeasure.

He would insist on wearing his Oxford Harlequin cap on the pitch - a fashion statement regarded as pretentious Down Under - and dismissed the locals as "an uneducated and unruly mob."  When team-mate Patsy Hendren was moved to observe: "They don't seem to like you very much over here, Mr. Jardine," amid much booing and jeering during the second Test in Sydney, the reply was as brusque as it was unambiguous: "It's fucking mutual."

Tact and diplomacy werre cearly alien concepts - as he showed in the third Test at Adelaide.  He instructed his fast bowlers there, Harold Larwood and Bill Voce, to target the Australian batsmen rather than their stumps (the so-called "bodyline" attack).  Lockwood seriously injured Australia's captain Bill Woodfull with one vicious delivery which landed just below the heart.  As the stadium fell quiet, Jardine's imperiously clipped voice could be heard to say: "Well bowled, Harold."

An outraged Australian Board of Control fired off a telegram to Lord's, the home of cricket, which made the following statement:

"Bodyline bowling has assumed such proportions as to menace the best interests of the game, making protection of the body by batsmen the main consideration.  This is causing intensely bitter feelings between the players as well as injury.  In our opinion it is unsportsmanlike and unless it is stopped at once, it is likely to upset the friendly relations which exist between Australia and England."

Neither Lord's nor Jardine recanted and the tour limped on in a strained environment.


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