Charles John Guthrie, Baron Guthrie

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The grave of Charles John Guthrie, Dean Cemetery

Charles John Guthrie, Lord Guthrie (4 April 1849 in Edinburgh – 28 April 1920 in Edinburgh) was a Scottish lawyer.

Guthrie was the son of Rev Thomas Guthrie, editor of the Sunday Magazine. He was educated at Edinburgh Academy and Edinburgh University, and in 1875, was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates. From 1881 to 1900, he was legal adviser to the Church of Scotland, and in 1897, became a Q.C. In 1907, he was appointed a Judge of the Court of Session and a Lord Advocate. Lord Guthrie was a member of the Royal Commissions on Historical Monuments in Scotland (1908) and on Divorce and Matrimonial Causes (1909), and was Chairman of the Houseletting Commission (1906–07).

When he was young, Guthrie had been a friend of Robert Louis Stevenson, and published, in 1914, an appreciation of "Cummy," Stevenson's nurse. His other works include John Knox and his House (1898), and an edition of Knox's History of the Reformation in Scotland (1898), besides contributions to the memoir of his father, Thomas Guthrie (1875). From 1910 to 1919, he was President of the Boys' Brigade of Great Britain and Ireland, and was a member of various antiquarian societies.

In one of his first trials as a Judge, that of Oscar Slater, Lord Guthrie misdirected the jury and made highly prejudicial attacks on the character of the accused, contributing to a guilty verdict. Guthrie also failed to highlight misleading comments made by the Liberal Party's Lord Advocate, Alexander Ure, in his summing up. Slater was convicted, sentenced to death, but fortunately this was commuted and he was subsequently freed on appeal 20 years later, being awarded £6,000 in compensation.

Guthrie married the daughter of Rev. J.C. Burns, D.D., of Kirkliston, and there were two sons and three daughters to the marriage.[1]

Lord Guthrie died at Edinburgh 28 April 1920. He is buried in the north-west corner of the north section of Dean Cemetery


  1. ^ "Death of Lord Guthrie Scottish Judge And Friend of R. L. Stevenson.". Issue 42397. London: The Times. 29 April 1920. p. 18; col F. 

Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

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