Captain Andrew Douglas


Captain Andrew Douglas of Mains (lineage uncertain) was involved in the slave trade of the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

A well-known former slave was Scipio Kennedy. He had been brought to Scotland by Captain Andrew Douglas of Mains in 1702 from the West Indies, where he had been transported as a young boy from the African west coast. In 1705, Scipio joined the family of the Captain's daughter, Jean, who married Sir John Kennedy, 2nd Bt Of Culzean, and it was in Culzean that Scipio got his surname. He stayed in this family for an initial 20 years, during which time he was baptised and probably also received some education. Through his baptism, Scipio was free according to Scots law, so that when he decided after 20 years to continue service with his former owner for another 19 years, this was formalised by an indenture, which is held in the NAS (NAS ref. GD25/9/Box 72/9). Little is known about his later life, though he appears once in the kirk session minutes of Kirkoswald on 27 May 1728 (NAS ref. CH2/562/1), accused of fornication with Margaret Gray, whom he later married. We know from references in the old parish registers that they had at least eight children and continued to live in Ayrshire until Scipio's death in 1774.


The BBC reports that Scipio had been taken from his home in Guinea at the age of six and was granted his freedom at Culzean in 1725.

The work to trace his history was carried out as part of The National Trust for Scotland's Heritage Lottery Fund project This is Our Story, which commemorates the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade.

Scipio was bound for the West Indian plantations when he was bought by Captain Andrew Douglas of Mains in Dunbartonshire.

In 1705, Captain Douglas' daughter, Jean, married John Kennedy and Scipio went with her, eventually moving to Culzean, in Ayrshire.

He took the family surname of Kennedy, learned to read and write and was instructed in textile manufacture.

In 1725, Scipio was given his freedom and a home in the grounds of Culzean Castle. He married local woman Margaret Gray three years later, with whom he had eight children.

See also: Douglases and the slave trade

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This page was last updated on 29 June 2015

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Last modified: Monday, 21 April 2014