Dr James Christie
Dr James Christie was a talented and promising surgeon and physician who put family loyalties before fame and possible fortune in London, to serve his communities in Scotland with compassion and skill for over 40 years.
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Personal details and history
Date of birth
Place of birth
Married 30-11-1841, Panbride, Angus
Name of spouse
Margaret Biss Blake Trail - born c.1815: died 01-06-1882:
David Alexander(1845); James Robert (1846); Catherine (c1849); Francis William (c1854); John Charles (1856); Margaret Jane (1858);
Age at death:
Place of death:
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England
Date of death:
Western Cemetery, Dundee
Affiliations, clubs, offices and related subscribers
Free Church of Scotland
Clubs / societies
St John's representative elder in Dundee Free Presbyteries
Honorary Consulting Physician, Dundee Royal Infirmary Consulting Physician & medical inspector Factories' Act
Subscriber 238 – Anthony Trail – brother-in-law to Dr Christie (married to the sister of Anthony Trail – Margaret Biss Blake Trail):
Career and worklife
Physician and surgeon
Place of work
8 South Tay Street and Dundee Royal Infirmary
Same as home address
Career to date:
Educated Aberdeen and Edinburgh Universities, graduated M.A and M.D. from former Afterwards received in London the Diploma of the Royal College of Surgeons: Practised as G.P. in Huntly for 11 years: Moved to Carnoustie in 1844: Moved to Dundee in 1846 and succeeded to a large part of practice of Dr Carruthers in 1847: Served as Attending physician at Dundee Royal Infirmary from 1856 and Consulting physician from 1861: Also acted as Dundee Royal Infirmary governors' representative on the board of the Royal Lunatic Asylum, Dundee. Resigned active duties as a physician in 1882 and restricted his business to consulting physician (DRI) and Government appointment as Medical Inspector under the Factories' Act:
During the time he practised as a medical doctor in Huntly in his father’s and then his own practice, Dr Christie was caught up in the Disruption of 1843, in which ministers of the church broke away from the established Church of Scotland to form the Free Church of Scotland. The first test case was in Auchterarder in 1834, when the parish unanimously rejected the patron’s nominee as minister. Also known as the period of the Non-Intrusion controversy, Strathbogie (Huntly) was one of the headquarters of the movement and it was here that Dr Christie took a prominent part. In 1840, after the suspension of the Strathbogie ministers, Dr Candlish along with others appointed by the General Assembly went to Huntly to preach on the first Sabbath of the year. There was no adequate accommodation for the size of the meeting. It was Dr Christie, through his tact and sagacity, who secured the disused Roman Catholic Church for the congregation.
The sharp divisions in the community told on the medical practice of Dr Christie and it soon became apparent that it would not be feasible to continue his business interest in Huntly. In 1844 he, and his family, “removed to Carnoustie principally in consequence of the friendship existing with the family of the Revd. Dr Trail, the minister of Panbride”. James had married the youngest daughter of Dr Trail in 1841, although it is probable that the family friendship had existed long before that: James’ maternal grandfather was the Revd. Alexander Humphrey, minister in the Parish of Fordyce, who would have been a contemporary of Dr Trail. Incidentally, Alexander Humphrey wrote the Statistical Account 1791 for Keith, when he was assistant minister there.
Dr Christie’s obituary makes much of his abilities and the esteem in which he was held by his patients:
“In his collegiate course he displayed high gifts, and gave promise of a successful future. Having completed his medical training, he was invited by the late Sir James Clark physician to the Queen (Victoria), to establish himself in London with the promise of his introduction and support in recognition of the friendly relations with the Christie family in earlier days.”
Dr Christie did not take up this offer, but returned to Huntly to assist his ailing father with his medical practice.
“In the course of his two years’ residence at this place (Carnoustie), Dr Christie performed a very successful and difficult operation on a patient in Dundee, and on account of the popularity his name thereby acquired, he removed to Dundee in 1846, and commenced his professional career here.”
“By his patients he was greatly beloved. No one could have exceeded him in the care and attention he showed to those under his charge, nor could any one have been more willing to help in the hour of greatest need. When his advice was sought, he was always ready to give it, and this, combined with his frank, genial, and sympathetic disposition made him welcomed and loved. To the poor who asked his services he was a friend indeed, and equally attentive as to the rich; and many a family, on whom poverty had hardly pressed, can testify to his kindness of heart in giving them advice and attendance without fee or reward”.
“For a good many years Dr Christie served as one of the district physicians in connection with the Royal Infirmary, and latterly acted for a long period as consulting physician to that institution, of which he was also Governor, and as such, for a considerable time represented the Governors at the Royal Lunatic Asylum Board.”
Dr Christie left a net estate of £8811-15/-9. This included productive investments in the First, Second and Third Scottish American Trust Companies (Limited); the Dundee Perth and London Shipping Company; the Matador Land and Cattle Company; the Chicago Milwaukee and St Paul’s Railway Company; the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway; the Bluff Harbour Board, New Zealand; the East London Railway Company; the Hull Barnsley & West Riding Junction Railway; and the Corporation of the City of Auckland, New Zealand.
His funeral expenses amounted to £71- 15/-6 including £26-12/- for conveying his remains from Tunbridge Wells to Dundee paid to the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway.
Included in the provisions of his will were:
- “to pay to or on account of each of my daughters who may be unmarried at the time of my death the sum of Forty pounds to procure mournings for them.”
- “to divide the whole household furniture and plenishing that shall belong to me, as equally as possible among my daughters and the said Francis William Christie.”
- “ to Louisa Arnaud Christie spinster residing in Croydon Surrey my sister during all the years of her life so far as may be half yearly the interest of Two hundred pounds…”
- “I direct my said Trustees to realize and convert the residue and remainder of my estate into money and divide the same equally among all my children or the survivors of them…”
- “in the event of both of my daughters being unmarried at the time of my death I further direct my said Trustees to withdraw from the residue and remainder of my means and estate such sum as will reduce the Capital of the trust Estate to the sum of Five thousand eight hundred pounds and to divide so withdrawn equally among my sons or the survivors of them…”
- Old Parish Record. Huntly. Birth. 20 October 1813. 202/30 20. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Old Parish Record. Panbride. Marriage. 30 November 1841. 30 199. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Statutory Record. St Peter, Dundee. Death. 1 June 1882. 282/1 193. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Post Office Directory, Dundee, 1850 Local History Section, Dundee Central Library.
- Post Office Directory, Dundee, 1861/62 Local History Section, Dundee Central Library.
- Post Office Directories, Dundee, 1876-1879 Local History Section, Dundee Central Library.
- Post Office Directory, Dundee, 1880/81 Local History Section, Dundee Central Library.
- 1881 Census Scotland. St Mark, Dundee. 282/1 ED3 p.2. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Post Office Directory, Dundee, 1882/83 National Library of Scotland website.
- Dundee Obituary Book No.1 1869-94, p.26, 28 February 1884. Local History Section, Dundee Central Library.
- Testamentary Records. Wills and testaments. James Christie. Ref. SC45/31/31, Dundee Sheriff Court, 1884. ScotlandsPeople website.
- Dundee Council Graveyards, Western Cemetery. Volume 1, Register No. 142, Compartment 4, Lair No. 44,b,c. Purchased 2 December 1852 Friends of Dundee City Archives 0n-line.
- Post Office Directory, Dundee, 1856/57 Local History Section, Dundee Central Library.
- Post Office Directory, Dundee, 1861/62 Local History Section, Dundee Central Library.
The information above about James Christie has been collated from a range of digital and hard copy sources. To the best of our knowledge it is correct but if you are relying on any information from our website for the purpose of your own research we would advise you to follow up the sources to your own satisfaction. If you are aware of an inaccuracy in our text please do not hesitate to notify us through our Contact page.