Notable Mathesons

Every Matheson has a unique part to play in the lives of their own family and that of the Clan. In addition, members of the Matheson family have made their mark in all walks of life throughout history and across the world. These are just a few of them.

Sir James Matheson, 1st and last Baronet of the Lews, was from the Shiness branch of the Sutherland Mathesons. He and Dr William Jardine founded Jardine Matheson & Co, a highly successful mercantile company which traded in India and China. When he returned to Scotland, he bought the island of Lewis in 1844, and was created Baronet of the Lews in 1851 for his exertions and generosity in alleviating the sufferings of the inhabitants of the island during a period of famine.

Sir Alexander Matheson, 1st Baronet of Lochalsh (b 1805), six times great grandson of Dugald an Oir, joined his maternal (Sutherland Matheson) uncle’s firm, Jardine Matheson & Co, in China. When Alexander returned to Scotland in 1840 he started to buy land in Ross-shire, and in 1851 he recovered the Lochalsh estate. He was created Baronet of Lochalsh in 1882. His 5th son, Torquhil George, became a General in the British Army.

Sir Louis Matheson, KBE, CMG was born in Huddersfield, UK, in 1912 and became the foundation Vice Chancellor of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. He died in 2002.

Major-General John Matheson 1912-2003 was a distinguished man of medicine and a renowned surgeon who saw active service in the Second World War and then lectured at Edinburgh University and in the Royal Army Medical Corps. He specialised in tropical diseases but had a reputation as an expert on such subjects as gunshot wounds and gas gangrene.

The Very Rev Dr James Matheson 1912-2007 Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1975, had a distinguished career that bridged ecclesiastical divides. From a beginning as a Free Church minister, he moved to the Church of Scotland, serving initially in Dunedin, New Zealand, before returning to his native country as minister of Blackhall St Columba's Parish Church in Edinburgh. His growing interest in Christian Stewardship led to his appointment as the first full-time secretary of the Church of Scotland's stewardship and budget committee, for which he was awarded an honorary doctorate of divinity by the University of Edinburgh.