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Douglas of Baads


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Leonard Douglas acquired the estate of Baads in Midlothian and became known as 'of Baads'.


Leonard Douglas got a charter of the Lands of the Baddis, part of the barony of Calder, from Sir John Sandilands to himself in lliferent and William his third son, in fee, dated 16th of April 1551.


It was probably about this time that their first house on the estate was built. In the History of West Calder it is said to have stood to the west of the road to Carnwath, near Baads Mill, although there is no trace of any building having stood there. On John Adair’s map of 1735, Baads House is shown in a north-westerly direction from Little Harwood. This map was surveyed in 1680, and an earlier map, that by a Dutchman Domed Blaeu, was printed in 1654, showed Baads to be situated west of Muirhousedykes, which was wrong.


Leonard Douglas had three or more sons. The third, named William, succeeded. He married Jean Bruce, daughter of Bruce of Clackmannan, a lineal descendent of Robert the Bruce. This William is mentioned in the proceedings of the Baron Court of Calder Comitis. This court passed a decree on 19th April, 1586, that all men of the Barony had to possess horse, armour, and servants, to attend upon the Laird, and to follow him into any battle. It gives a list of names, among them “William Douglas of Baddis”. William’s son, Joseph, who inherited Baads, was an elder of Mid Calder Church, and is buried in the churchyard there. His tombstone, which is the oldest that is decipherable, reads: “T.S. I.W. Heir lyth Joseph Douglas of Badds who departed this lyfe the 20 day of Aprile Anno dom 1636.”

Baads remained in the family til William Douglas renunciated it in 1720, when it passed to his brother, Col Walter Douglas, who sold it. He was one of seven sons of William Douglas of Baads (d. 1705) and his wife, Joan, daughter of James Mason of Park, Blantyre. Another of his brothers was the surgeon John Douglas (d. 1743), a fourth, James, (1675-1742) a physician and anatomist.

However, in 1787, it was bought back by Alexander Douglas of Baads (1731-1787).  He was the son of Reverend Alexander Douglas and Isabel Houston. He married Elizabeth Taylor on 26 September 1765. He died in 1787. 


It was probably this Rev Alexander whose daughter Isobel married Sir James Douglas, British Consul at Naples, who died there on 6 May 1795. (But note this is disputed)


It was still in the family in 1852 when Elizabeth Douglas succeeded. She died in 1873, unmarried. The estate then passed to her cousin James Douglas Stoddart, who changed his name to James Douglas Douglas of Baads. James' grandfather had married Mary, daughter of Rev Alexander Douglas, son of William Douglas of Baads and Joan Mason.


The family tree is in the genealogy section.


Viscount Chilston, of Boughton Malherbe in the County of Kent, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1911 for the Conservative politician and former Home Secretary Aretas Akers-Douglas. He was made Baron Douglas of Baads, in the County of Midlothian, at the same time.


  • Aretas Akers-Douglas, 1st Viscount Chilston, 1st Baron Douglas of Baads, (1851-1926)
  • Aretas Akers-Douglas, 2nd Viscount Chilston, 2nd Baron Douglas of Baads, (1876-1947)
  • Eric Alexander Akers-Douglas, 3rd Viscount Chilston, 3rd Baron Douglas of Baads, (1910-1982)
  • Alastair George Akers-Douglas, 4th Viscount Chilston, 4th Baron Douglas of Baads, (b. 1946)

I am uncertain if there is a link to Baads Castle, in West Lothian.


ALEXANDER DOUGLAS  (of Baads), licen. by Presb. of Biggar 14th June 1716; ord. to Skirling 29th April 1718; dep. 1719; reponed 1721; pres. by George I., and adin. 28th Oct. 1725; died 5th Sept. 1749. He marr. Isabella (died 4th June 1775), daugh. of Andrew Houston of Calder, and had issue-Sholto; Alexander, merchant in St Kitts; Jean (marr. Aretas B. Akers of St Kitts); Robert, planter in St Kitts; Isabella; Mary (marr. James Stoddart, min. of Kirkintilloch); Admiral John Leigh, R.N.


1.  Extract from The Gentleman's Magazine, Vol103 (2 Nov 1833): Alex Houston, clerk, of Baads, Edinburgh, late Rector of Hartley Mauditt, Hampshire, to use the surname and arms of Douglas of Baads in compliance with the direction of his grandfather, the late Alexander Douglas of Baads.
2.  For details of the Douglas of Baads West Indian estates, see Douglases in the West Indies.

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Last modified: Saturday, 18 March 2017