The Mackenzies of St. Ninian’s, Edinburgh and New Zealand

St. Ninian's nr. Stirling, 1740s
Weaver Row, St. Ninian’s, to the left of the church tower, sixty years before John Mackenzie’s birth there. Original picture.

John Mackenzie, an Edinburgh gardenerwas baptised on 15 July 1805 in St Ninian’s near Stirling. His parents were James Mackenzie, a weaver, and Christian Hosie, living in Weaver Row. He had brothers: Peter baptised 1802, Andrew baptised 1808, Robert baptised 1815, and David Stewart born 25 April 1817. David, the youngest of these, was the one who went to New Zealand.

In 1849 David Stewart Mackenzie was a gardener at Canaan House, Edinburgh. In January that year he married Rebecca Noble, daughter of a Lasswade candlemaker. They had James on 5 November 1949 at Canaan House, Marion on 23 January 1851 at Bradford Street, Stockbridge, and Thomas Noble Mackenzie at Trinity House, Leith, on 10 March 1853.

Trinity House - birthplace of Thomas Noble Mackenzie.
Trinity House – birthplace of Thomas Noble Mackenzie. Photo MJ Richardson, CC licence

These three children were all baptised together in May 1853 at the United Presbyterian Church in Duncan Street, Edinburgh, very close to their uncle John Mackenzie’s new house, Rose Cottage, Grange Loan. In May David Mackenzie was residing at Wardie Lodge. Two more children were born before his family went to New Zealand in 1858. Thomas was Prime Minister there, briefly.

John Mackenzie was the gardener at Drylaw House before he married Margaret McLaren. Both were from Cramond parish, Edinburgh (which included Drylaw) on 14 October 1838.
Margaret was the daughter of John McLaren, a boot and shoe maker from Edinburgh, and Charlotte (possibly Hodson?) of Hindley, Lancs., and was born on 24 June 1811 and baptised at St Paul’s Chapel, Wigan. (John McLaren was the son of Peter McLaren, a weaver in Thornybauk, Edinburgh, and Margaret Lockhart.) Margaret died on 25 October 1890, after John, who died on 24 December 1884.

John and Margaret’s children were:

  • Christian Hosie Mackenzie, born c1839 at Drylaw, near Edinburgh, in 1861 a dressmaker, in 1871 no profession. Her father’s will made special provision for her because her health made her less able than her siblings to earn her own livelihood. Died 27 December 1894.
  • Charlotte Hodson Mackenzie, born 1841 at Drylaw, near Edinburgh, in 1861 a dressmaker, married 14 January 1868 Alexander Wilson, son of James Wilson and Helen Davidson, born Symington Lanarkshire c. 1844, a commercial traveller, later a draper at 427 Lawnmarket, with 5 employees in 1881. In 1908 living at 60 Fountainhall Road. Died 1923.
  • Sarah Tudor Mackenzie, born c1843 in Riccarton, Ayrshire near Kilmarnock,  in 1861 and 1871 a dressmaker. Married on 23 October 1878 Richard Lothian Dickson Roddick, an accountant, born 1834, son of James Roddick, once minister at Gretna, and Mary Dickson. In 1891 living in Morningside Road, died 1926.
  • Magdalene Mackenzie, born c1845 in Riccarton, Ayrshire near Kilmarnock, in 1861 an apprentice dressmaker, in 1871 a shopwoman, in 1894 a housekeeper, married 30 December 1894 John Turner, paper mill manager and widower, of Tower Street, Portobello, 54 years old, son of John Turner, paper maker, and Isabella Bryson. She died in Morningside Road on 14 January 1928.
  • James Mackenzie, born c1847 in Riccarton, Ayrshire near Kilmarnock. Schoolboy in 1861. Named in father’s will written 1877. Not mentioned in mother’s will 1890.
  • John Mackenzie, born c1850 in Riccarton, Ayrshire near Kilmarnock, in 1871 a clerk (booksellers). Later a bookseller of 37 Paternoster Row, London EC, “traveller to Messrs. William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh and London”, then residing in Lauriston Place, Edinburgh.[ref]See his will and inventory, naming Charlotte Mackenzie or Wilson as executrix and sole heir.[/ref], died 12 May 1908 in Edinburgh, leaving £7000 to Charlotte.
  • Gordon Mackenzie, born c1855 in Edinburgh, in 1871 an apprentice draper, in 1881 a draper. In late 1890 he was living at 68 Findhorn Place, and “carrying on business” in Grange Loan, before going bankrupt that year. In 1891 visiting in Linlithgow, draper on census form.

More about John Mackenzie – click here

The birth dates of the seven Mackenzie children have had to be deduced from censuses, in the absence of other records. The Ayrshire birthplace shown on censuses tells us where the family were in the 1840s.


  • Censuses, birth, marriage and death certificates, street directories, from websites on ‘About’ Page.
  • John Mackenzie’s will of 1885.
  • John Mackenzie the younger’s will of 1908
  • Caledonian Mercury, Scotsman newspapers etc.

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