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Although to be found today throughout the length and breadth of Scotland, Lanarkshire and the Borders were the original stamping grounds of bearers of the Aitken name.
It was in the Borders that they forged a close kinship with the distinguished Clan Gordon, who were later to also hold sway in the northeast of the country.
Both at home and abroad, Aitkens have achieved fame and distinction, and their proud tale is recounted here.
Aitken Clan Mini-Book Excerpt
"One particularly colourful and infamous bearer of the Aitken name was James Aitken, born in Edinburgh in 1752 and who, because of the artistic ambitions and pretensions he harboured, is better known to posterity as John the Painter.
Ironically, however, it is not as an artist that he is best known, but as what one biography describes as “the first modern terrorist.”
In a short and varied career that embraced shoplifting and highway robbery, he spent some time in America and returned to Britain in 1775 imbued with revolutionary ideals.
Launching a one-man crusade against the might of the British Crown in general and the Royal Navy in particular, he carried out a series of arson attacks over a period of several months on naval facilities in Bristol and Portsmouth.
Eventually tracked down and brought to justice, he gained the highly dubious distinction in March of 1777 of being hanged from the mizzenmast of a ship in Portsmouth dockyard – the highest gallows used in an English execution – watched by an estimated crowd of 20,000."