William Cochrane of Muirfield - Banker

William Cochrane

Died 1799

Biography: 

Of Muirfield and/or Gullane. Possibly married (1748) to Lillias Steuart, daughter of Sir John Steuart, 2nd Bart of Allanbank. A sometime woollen-draper in Edinburgh. Joint-manager (1762-1766), with Robert Herries (1730-1815), of Herries, Cochrane & Co. (the London branch of John Coutts & Co.) on Jeffrey Square.1

  • 1. The idenfication of Cochrane with Cochrane of Gullane, married to Lillias Steuart is based on one of the Yale editions (The General Correspondence of James Boswell, 1766-1769, Volume 1: 1766-1767, p. 32), which states that Cochrane was the uncle of the Coutts'. Assuming that he meant the Coutts brothers (See James Coutts), this would probably make him the William Cochrane of Gullan  who married their mother, Jane Steuart's, sister Lillias Steuart. In Correspondence of James Boswell and John Johnston, however, he is given the designation of Muirfield. Both designations may be correct, but the Yale editions have known to be erroneous on individual identifications before. The death year of Cochrane is also information from Correspondence of James Boswell and John Johnston, and so refers to a William Cochrane of Muirfield. Muirfield lies on the outskirts of Gullane, east of Edinburgh.

Life with Boswell: 

Boswell describes Cochrane as "a good, plain, comfortable Scots fellow; and his wife, though a lean exisitence, is a quiet civil being. He is entrusted by my father to pay me my allowance, and being his great friend, takes upon him to lecture me on my idle views of life."1

Cochrane is first mentioned in Boswell's journals on November 26, 1762 when Boswell went to see him in London to get his £25 allowance from home. Boswell met with Cochrane on several further occasions during his 1762-63 stay in London, including on May 15, 1763 when the two went together to hear Dr. Blair preach.