Obituary of Captain Andrew FLETCHER of East Saltoun

Category: Obituaries, East Lothian Last Updated: Saturday, 23 August 2014 Written by Nathan Zipfel Print Email

From the East Lothian (Haddingtonshire) Courier, ca. 1950


"Famous Shorthorn Breeder"

The death took place, on Friday night, of Captain Andrew Mansel Talbot FLETCHER, D.D., J.P., of Saltoun, Pencaitland, the well-known and successful breeder of pedigree Shorthorn cattle.

The eldest son of the late John Fletcher of Saltoun, Capt. Fletcher, who had been in ill health for some months, was born in 1880. Educated at Eton and Magdalene College, Cambridge, he was commissioned in the 2nd Life Guards, serving with them in the South African War. In 1903, when he succeeded his father, he resigned his commission, but on the outbreak of the First World War rejoined the Army and was attached to the Forage Department of the A.S.C. before invalided out of the Service in 1917.

Capt. Fletcher was a racing motorist of some note in the early days of that sport, and was also at one time one of the leading six shots in Scotland.

It was, however, as a breeder of pedigree Shorthorn cattle and as a benefactor to Saltoun and district that Capt. Fletcher was best known. He took up the breeding of Shorthorns many years ago, and this proved so eminently successful that blood from the Saltoun herd is to be found in all parts of the world. Capt. Fletcher scored some signal successes at the annual Perth shows and sales of pedigree cattle of that breed, and only last week, a December bull from the Saltoun herd realised the figure of 1900 guineas. The byres and steading at Saltoun Home Farm were a model of neatness, and farmers from all over the world who visited them were greatly impressed at all they were shown. On the occasions of these visits Capt. Fletcher showed his guests the greatest hospitality at Saltoun Hall, a generosity that was freely commented upon.

Although he took no part in public affairs, Capt. Fletcher had a keen interest in the welfare of the district in which he resided, and was the donor of the Public Hall in the village of East Saltoun which bears his name. One of his most recent acts of generosity was the provision some years ago, of a shooting range attached to the Fletcher Hall for the local Miniature Rifle Club. Entertainments at Saltoun Hall were always a feature of the social life of the district, and each year Capt. and Mrs. Fletcher very generously entertained the children of Saltoun Public School to a visit to the pantomime in Edinburgh.

A former president of the United East Lothian Agricultural Society, Capt. Fletcher took a keen interest in the annual ploughing matches held in recent years by that organisation, and gave several cups for competition in that event. He also took an interesting the annual ploughing matches held in the Pencaitland and Saltoun area.

Capt. Fletcher, who was a Justice of the Peace for East Lothian, married, in 1902, Frances Jane, the elder daughter of the late Sir. F. S. WINNINGTON, 5th Bart, and is survived by his wife, on son (mr. John T. T. Fletcher) and one daughter (The Countess of Mexborough).

Saltoun has been the seat of the Fletcher family since the 17th century, when Sir Andrew Fletcher of Inverpeffer, a judge in the Court of Session, purchased the estate from Lord ABERNETHY. At one time Capt. Fletcher also owned the estate of Margam Castle, Port Talbot, South Wales, and before he disposed of a portion of these lands, frequently resided there. Saltoun Hall, a fine Elizabethan mansion contains the valuable library formed by the famous Andrew Fletcher who died in 1716.


The funeral took place to Saltoun Churchyard, on Wednesday, and was attended by a large and representative gathering of mourners.

Prior to the interment, a service was held at Saltoun Hall, and was conducted by the Rev. R. ECKERSLEY, Haddington, and the Rev. Dr. A. CAMPSIE, Bolton and Saltoun. The choir of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Haddington took part in the service, and the praise included the hymns, "O God Our Help in Ages Past" and "For All the Saints" in addition to the 23rd Psalm.

Following the service, the coffin was borne from the house by estate employees and placed on a farm cart covered with greenery for conveyance to Saltoun Churchyard. Dr. Campsie and Mr. Eckersley officiated at the graveside, and the Holy Trinity Church Choir rendered the hymn, "Abide With Me."

The pall-bearers were: -- Mr. Geo. WATSON (chauffeur). Mr. James BAPTIE (head gamekeeper), Mr. Donald DOW (under gamekeeper), Mr. A. S. ADDISON (head forester), Mr. J. RUSSELL (forester), Mr. J. DINGWALL (Shepherd), Mr. J. MAIN (retired farm manager, Saltoun Home Farm), and Mr. C. TOSH (farms' grieve).

Among those present were: Mrs. Fletcher, Capt.. John Fletcher, London (son); the Countess of Mexborough (daughter) and the Hon. Anthony SAVILLE (grandson), Arden Hall, Yorkshire; Mrs SPEIR (sister), Miss Bertha Speir (niece) and Mr. R. Speir (nephew), North Berwick; Mrs. GRAHAME (sister), Miss Violet Grahame (niece) and Miss Sheila Grahame (niece), North Berwick; the Marquis of Tweeddale (also representing the Lady Clementine WARING) and the Marchioness of Tweeddale; Lt. Col. W. E. PEEL, Eaglescarnie; Lt. Commander A. M. THOMSON, Bolton Muir; Major and Mrs. W. H. CALANDER, Preston Hall; Mr.and Mrs. Hugh DE PREE, Beechhill; Lt. Col. H. B. O'BRIEN, Kilduff; Mr. R. C. SIMPSON, Gullane; Mr. D. S. BURNET, Mr. R. M. LESLIE, Mr. J. RALSTON, Mr. A. KENNEDY, Mr. A. TAIT and Mr. R. SCOTT, Haddington; Mr. and Mrs. F. MACGILLIVRAY, Greenhead; Mr. David SCOTT, Howden; Mr. T. TAIT, Greenlaw; Mr. Wm. J. MCPHERSON, Glenkinchie; Mr. F. DURIE and Mr. F. P. PRENTICE, Saltoun; Mr. J. MAXWELL, Gilchriston; Mr. E. I. REID and Mr. E. I. Reid, Jr., Herdmanston; Mr. David BAILLIE, Seton Dene, Longniddry; and Mr. W. F. MUNRO, factor, Saltoun Estates.

The Earl of Mexborough (son-in-law), Lord POLLINGTON (grandson), Lord WHITBURGH and Major Sholto DOUGLAS were unavoidably prevented from attending the funeral as they are abroad at present.

The many beautiful floral tributes included wreaths from the tenantry of Saltoun Estates, Farms and Estates staff, the indoor staff at Saltoun Hall, Margam Estate office staff, Margam , and Pyle Agricultural Show Committee, Saltoun School children and staff, Saltoun W. R. I. and the Directors of Scottish Malt Distillers, Ltd.

Sign on Saltoun Church reads:  
"Deo. O. M. ET. M. Sacrum.  Lord Innerpeffer, Andrew Fletcher Esq., the Patriot.  Lord Milton.  This sprire was erected by Gen. Fletcher Campbell, as a monument to the virtue of his ancestors, and an example for their posterity to imitate.  Salton. 1805.

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