George Alston of Craighead



Alston, Mr. George (Senior) – Alston is an English and Scottish name with two possible origins. It could be a locational name given to someone who lived in a town called Alston, a name derived from an Old English personal name and the word tun, meaning settlement. The son of Glasgow Merchant George Alston of Muirburn, George Alston Senior was born on 10th September 1819. His father and mother were direct cousins. 

In the 1841 census George was living at Liverpool. He married Margaret Christina Wallace (b1837-d1892) on 15th April 1862 at Blysthwood, by then the only surviving daughter of Robert Wallace and Katharine Tennant. He acquired Craighead House in 1862. According to the valuation roll of 1865 George Alston Senior owned the mansion House, lawn, offices, porters lodge and Craighead Farm. He also owned the nearby plantations. 

Incredibly George was bequeathed Craighead following the death of 2 sisters, the Misses Brown, relatives on his mother’s side. His ownership continued throughout the 1870’s. His son George Alston Junior was born in Blantyre at Craighead in 1864. Other children followed, mostly born in Edinburgh. Katherine (1869), Isabella (1873), Margaret (1874), Helen (1876), Frances (1877), Violet (1879 Blantyre, Lanarkshire), Robt (1880 Blantyre) all at Craighead in the 1871 census. 

In 1882 Craighead House was burned out but was renovated shortly after. George Alston Senior died on 7th January 1884 and is buried at Dean Cemetery in Edinburgh.  His will directly benefited Margaret Christina Wallace or Alston widow, John Patrick Alston of Muirburn, William Hamilton Alston mercht Ceylon, Charles Tennant Wallace Lt Col 74th Regt, Robert Hugh Wallace Major RA and Charles Henry Alston merchant Glasgow.

From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2017

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