Janet Buchanan was a wealthy heiress and orphan when she married James Fea VI of Clestrain in 1720, having inherited the Buchanan lands which included the estates Sound in Shapinsay and Carrick in Eday including:
|....houses, biggins, yards, crofts, town maills, quoys, quoylands, outbrecks, outsetts, annexis, connexis, parts, pendicles and pertinents.|
She was the only child of Thomas Buchanan, of Sandside and later of Sound in Shapinsay, and Margaret Douglas. Her parent's marriage contract is dated 8th November 1708.
Her paternal grandfather was James Buchanan, a merchant in Edinburgh, who was a brother of Arthur Buchanan. James's brother had acquired the lands in Eday and Shapinsay from Sir John Buchanan of Scotscaig in Fife.
Her maternal grandfather was Sir Alexander Douglas 2nd of Egilsay, who was Stewart of Orkney and tacksman the Bishopric rents from 1705 to 1714. In accordance with the marriage contract of Thomas Buchanan and Margaret Douglas, she was vested in her father's lands in Eday, Evie, etc. in security for her dowry.
From the Register of Sasines, we find that there is a charter signed by Thomas Buchanan on 10th August 1710, but by 15th September 1710, he had died. Janet's mother had died by 1st February 1717, leaving Janet an orphan. Her grandfather, Sir Alexander Douglas, had been formally appointed her "tutor dative". When he died, Janet's uncle, Cornet William Douglas was appointed. Janet could only have been around 11 years old when she was married to James Fea VI of Clestrain. He was 27 years.
Thoughts of Janet having been born before her parent's marriage or that the marriage pre dated the marriage contract seem precluded by the terms of the 1708 contract, which specifically show that her parents were not already married and also that she was not yet born.
The following reference to a teacher for Janet Buchanan after her marriage comes from a cash book of James Fea under the date April 1721 or 1722, among "disbursements I wes att upon my wife's account" when in Edinburgh:
|To Incident in getting Miss
Ker ingaged to waite upon her and teach her
To Miss Kerr in pairt payment of a year's fee having aggreed wt her at 100 mrk p. an two guineas is
| £1 14 0
£25 4 0
While we do not know the date of Janet Buchanan's birth, the evidence suggests that she was extremely young at the time of her marriage in 1720.