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MacQueen had no great wealth behind him but he had a considerable income from cases involving the forfeiture of lands and property which had belonged to the defeated supporters of the rebellion
The estates of the Murrays had been sold in 1764 on the order of the Court of Session in Edinburgh. In 1780 they were bought by MacQueen who became, in that single year, Lord Braxfield and, as the owner of these lands and properties, the Laird of Broughton. MacQueen had become a Law Lord and was, in fiction, to acquire yet another name: under the pen of Robert Louis Stevenson, he was the hanging judge, Weir of Hermiston.
In real life Lord Braxfield was "a terror of the Bench" and every bit the hanging judge described in that story. Among the quotations ascribed to him are the words: "Come awa, Maister Horner and help me to hang some of the damned scoondrels" - these to a juror who had arrived late in Braxfield's court. He is also reputed to have said to a sheep stealer, who had ably defended himself in his court: "ay, ay, ye're a gey clever chiel, but you'll be nane the waur o' a hangin' "
Just a final word before leaving this village; Broughton House, which had belonged to the Murrays, burnt down in 1775 and from the ruins a farmhouse was built a little down the hill. Then in 1937 a new building was designed in the style of a Scottish fortified house of the 16th century. The architect was a young man, later to become world famous as Sir Basil Spence (possibly best known for his prize winning design of the new Coventry Cathedral in 1951).
This house, called Broughton Place, now looks very much at home in its fine hillside setting above Broughton. You approach it through an avenue of trees, some of which date from the 18th century, as does a well opposite the house, known locally as 'Prince Charlie's Well'
© 1996 Douglas Gregor