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Index of first names

Douglas of Kirkness


Kirkness CofA
House Douglas of Kirkness
Lords of Kirkness and
Issued from Archibald,
3rd son of William Douglas,
6th Earl of Morton

There are two places named Kirkness, one in Orkney and one in Kinross.  Both have a Douglas family associated with the name. I am not sure that I have managed to distinguish between them. This may, in part, be due to errors in early historians confusing two of the sons of the 6th Earl, Archibald and George.

Sir George Douglas of Kirkness, d1609, 4th son of William, 6th earl of Morton, is the first Douglas of Kirkness, in Kinross.  He married (1597) Margaret Forrester, daughter of Thomas Forrester of Strathendry. 

Sir Archibald Douglas, who got from his father the lands and barony of Kirkness,Chart. in pub. archiv. of whom the Douglases of Kinglassie and Strathendrie are descended (Archibald, 3rd son of William Douglas,
6th Earl of Morton)

Sir George's eldest son son was Archibald, born about 1600, died 1620, who married in 1625 , as her first husband,  Elizabeth Broun, daughter of Robert Broun of Finderlie and Balquharne and his wife Katherine Douglas (dau of John Douglas of Kinneston, cadet of Lochleven). Their only son, Sir William, k1650, succeeded him as 3rd of Kirkness (See below). 

Sir William was succeeded by his eldest son, Sir Robert, 4th of Kirkness, b 1684, married Jean Balfour, (see below*) daughter of John, 3rd Lord Balfour of Burleigh. His 2nd son was Sir William of Kinlassie. Sir Robert had two sons, William and Robert, both of whom died without issue, and so Sir William of Kinlassie inherited as 5th of Kirkness.

His son, Charles Aytoun Douglas of Kinlassie became 6th of Kirkness, married Christian Hepburn of Kinglassie (d 1788). Their 3rd son, Charles, was next to inherit, the 1st and 2nd sons having no male issue.

This Charles, (1727-1789) a Rear Admiral, was created a baronet for his services in the Royal Navy in Canada.

The Scots Baronetage states: "The last of this line is Major General William Douglas of Kirkness, who died in 1747." Actually, the title reverted to his uncle William, 5th of Kirkness.  According to Wikipedia, he was a brigadier-general, and married to Lady Anne Howard, daughter of Charles Howard, 3rd Earl of Carlisle as her 2nd husband. (see below**)  It should be noted that his sister, Isabel, was retoured heir to him in 1754. From his other sister, Helen, who married Rev Robert Douglas, minister of Portmoak, descends the Douglas-Clephanes and the Marquis of Northampton.

It appears from the document reproduced below that the lands passed to the surviving daughters, Helen and Margaret and that Helen's daughter, Ann Jean Douglas acquired " the Superiority of the lands and Barony of Kirkness with the Priors Manse of Saint Servan within the Town of Kirkness " but this was subsequently lost, through debt, to the church.

The earliest Douglas of Kirkness, in Orkney, that I have been able to identify is Sir Archibald (b. abt 1600), son of Sir Archibald Douglas of Killour. This line apparently continues through Sir Howard Douglas, Bart, though I have no records of the use of 'of Kirkness' after Sir William, 1644-1683. However, although Sir Howard's line goes back to Sir Archibald, he has been described as being a 'lineal descendant of Sir George Douglas of Kirkness'.  Howard, therefore, would seem to be a grandson of Sir Charles, Bt, the 6th of Kirkness. Was there also a connection with Orkney?

Grave of Sir William DouglasColonel Sir William Douglas, who had his own regiment, fell at Broxmouth, where there is a monument in his honour, following the disastrous Battle of Dunbar in 1650.  30 officers of the Douglas of Kirkness Regiment died that day, and countless soldiers. This is probably the same William Douglas who was required to supply an armed force from the county of Kinross under the terms of the 1649 'Act for putting the kingdom in a posture of defence'.

A Col William Douglas of Kirkness is mentioned in a Fife deed dated 8th Feb 1738, possibly William Douglas, MP, died in Flanders, 1747 (mentioned above).

A son of one of the Forresters of Carden married about 1496 the heiress of Strathenries of that ilk, and the estate continued in the name of Forrester till the reign of King Charles the Second, when a younger son of Douglas of Kirkness married the heiress, and got the lands. Note that George, 1st of Kirkness, married a Forrester of Strathendry.

In 1684, a charter was ratified in favour of Sir William Bruce of Kinross which makes mention of 'Robert Douglas of Strathhendry, Mr George and Elizabeth Douglas, children to late Sir William Douglas of Kirkness,' and 'with another charter granted by the principal and masters of St Leonards College of St Andrews, to the said Sir William Bruce and his foresaids, of the lands and barony of Kirkness, with the priories, manse and ward in the town of Kirkness and inch in Loch Leven, called St Serf's Inch, with the boat, fishings and others therein mentioned with the pertinents, lying within the sheriffdom of Fife,'.  We note above that Sir William was succeeded by his eldest son, Robert who was born in 1684, and that Sir William was already dead. 

*r was previously married to George Oliphant of Gask. Her sister, Hon Susan Balfour, married Robert Douglas of Strathendry.  Jean and Robert also had a daughter, Margaret, who married Adam Smith, whose son, Adam, was a Scottish moral philosopher and a pioneer of political economics.

Anna Maria, daughter of Robert Douglas, of Kirkness, (she d. on 21 January, 1844) married on 31 August, 1817 Andrew Clephane, baptised at Portmoak on 14 August, 1780, an Advocate and Sheriff of Fife. He was the son of George Clephane, of Carselogie, who married twice.

Death: 12 Feb 1773 - At her house in Kirkness, Mrs Margaret Douglas of Kirkness - Scots Magazine


Spencer, the 2nd Marquess of Northampton married, on the 24th July, 1815, Margaret, eldest daughter of Major-General Douglas Maclean Clephane, of Torloisk, and had issue four sons and two daughters, all of whom survive him : 1. Charles, now Marquess of Northampton ; 2. Marianne-Margaret, Viscountess Alford, married in 1841, and lately left a widow; 3. Lord William Compton, Capt. R.N. who married m 1844 Eliza, third daughter of RearAdm. the Hon. George Elliot, C.B. and niece to the Earl of Minto, and has issue; 4. Lord Spencer Scott Compton, Capt. 15th Light Dragoons; 5. the Rev. Lord Alwyne Compton, who married in August ?1922 Florence-Caroline, eldest daughter of the late Rev. Robert Anderson, of Brighton, and niece to Lord Teignmouth; 6. Lady Margaret-Mary-Frances-Elizabeth, born at Rome in 1830, a few days before her mother's death.

Charles, the 3rd Marquess was born in 1816, and is unmarried. In 1831 he assumed, by royal sign manual, the name of Douglas before his own, as heir to his mother of the estate of Kirkness, to which she succeeded on the death of her paternal grandmother, Anna Jane Douglas, of Kirkness, who died in 1827.


Decisions of the Court of Session, 1753, Feb. 2. Captain W. Douglas against Mrs Douglas.

Captain Douglas, as heir-male of Kirkness, pursues reduction of a settlement in 1722, made by the deceased Sir Robert Douglas in favours of heirs of line, and by the Major-General in 1711 in favours nominatim of this defender, founded on the original grant by the Earl of Morton to his second son, and heirs-male of his body, which failing, to return to the family ; and another charter in 1638 by the next Earl of Morton, to the grandson of the first granter, and heirs-male of his body, with the like clause of return, and an express prohibition not to do any thing in prejudice of the return, which proceeded on an onerous transaction, and a conveyance by the Earl of certain apprisings acquired by the Earl on Kirkness's predecessors debts.   The outcome, as far as I can determine, was that Kirkness did not revert to the Earl of Morton


Extract from "The College of St. Leonard: Being Documents with Translations, Notes and Historical Introductions"


These lands were feued by St Leonards College to Sir John Bruce of Kinross, who held the same, with the Prior's Manse of St. Serf, for a yearly payment of ;f 60 Scots for the Barony of Kirkness and £4 Scots for said Prior's Manse. The Subjects were Sub-feued by Sir John Bruce to Douglas of Kirkness.

By Disposition dated 25th February 1767, the Prindpal and Masters of the United CoU^e of St Salvator and St Leonard, who were then superiors of the subjects, in terms of Act of Parliament passed in 1747, sold and disponed to Mrs. Ann Jean Douglas, Spouse of George Clephane of Carslogie, " the Superiority of the lands and Barony of Kirkness with the Priors Manse of Saint Servan within the Town of Kirkness " for the sum of ;£'225 Sterling, under reservation to the said Prindpal and Masters and thdr successors in office of the yearly payment of ;f 60 Scots, in place of the like sum being the feuduty formerly payable to them for said Barony of Kirkness, and the other annual payment of £4 Scots, in place of the like sum being the feuduty formerly payable to them for the Prior s Manse.

It was part of the agreement to seU said superiority that over and above said reservation a permanent security by infeftment for an irredeemable annuity or yearly payment equal to the foresaid two former feuduties should be granted to the said Principal and Masters and their successors in office by the proprietors of the lands, Barony and others, contained in the said disposition. Mrs. Isabel Douglas, then the proprietor of said lands and Barony of Kirkness, being incapable of granting any security for the said yearly payments, Margaret Douglas and Helen Douglas, both lawful daughters of the deceased Sir Robert Douglas of Kirkness and the said Geoige Clephane, by a formal obligation, dated 25 th and 27th February, 1767, bound themselves, conjunctly and severally and their heirs, executors and successors, to procure a permanent security by infefhnent upon the land and others mentioned in the said disposition from the proprietors thereof for payment to the said Principal and Masters and their successors in office of the said two annuities or yearly payments and to deliver that security to the said Principal and Masters and their successors in office, and in the meantime they bound and obliged themselves conjunctly and severally and their heirs, executors and successors whatsoever, to make payment to the said Principal and Masters and their successors in office or to their factor for the time being of the said two annuities or yearly payments.

The teinds of the lands of Kinglassie and the Vicarage teinds of Ryelaw, &c, have all been appropriated for augmentations of stipend to the Minister of the Parish of Portmoak.

Burke's Landed Gentry - The Kingdom of Scotland

memorial**RICH, fifth Viscount Irvine, born 6, and baptized at Horsham 23, January 1687-88 ; succeeded his eldest brother 18 May 1714. In 1715 he was appointed Governor of Hull and Colonel of the Life Guards, and on 13 December 1717 Colonel of the 1st Dragoon Guards. In 1720 he was nominated Governor of Barbadoes, but as he was preparing for his departure for that island he died 10, and was buried 17, April 1721, in the Ormond vault in Henry vn.'s Chapel, Westminster Abbey. Administration of his goods was granted to his mother, P. C. C. 27 June 1721. He married, soon after 21 November 1717, Anne, third daughter of Charles (Howard), third Earl of Carlisle. She was appointed in 1736 a Lady of the Bedchamber to the Princess of Wales (mother of George in.), and for the rest of her life was a prominent figure at Court. She was authoress of several poems, and is noticed in Duncombe's Feminead. On 11 June 1737, contrary to the wishes of her relatives, she was married, secondly, at St. George's, Hanover Square, to Colonel (afterwards Brigadier-General) William Douglas, a descendant of the family of Douglas of Kirkness, cadets of the Earls of Morton. He died while in command of the British forces in South Beveland in 1747, and was buried in the chapel at Kew (where there is a memorial to him). She died 2 December 1764, and by her will, dated 1 December 1762, with eleven codicils, proved 19 December 1764, she desired to be buried near her second husband at Kew.

The Decisions of the Court of Session 1795. December 9.
The Heritors of Portmoak against Mrs. Anne Jean Douglas.
The teinds of the lands of Kirkness, the property of Mrs. Anne Jean Douglas, in the parish of Portmoak, originally belonged to the Priory of St. Serf's Inch in Lochleven, and afterwards to the Priory of St. Andrew's. At the Reformation, they were vested in the Crown, and were bestowed by James VI. in 1586, on St. Leonard's College in St. Andrew's, which is described in the gift as founded by him for promoting the study of theology. This gift was ratified by act of Parliament in 1612.
Mrs. Douglas has a lease of her teinds from the College.
The family of Kinross are superiors of most of the lands in the parish, of which they are also patrons; and, in that capacity, they had right, under the acts 1690 and 1693, to the teinds not heritably disponed; but they have since granted heritable rights of them to most of their vassals.
The Minister of the parish having got an augmentation to his stipend, a scheme of locality was made up, in which a great part of the burden was laid on the lands of Kirkness, out of which no part of the old stipend had been paid, while those heritors who had heritable rights to their teinds were totally exempted. Mrs. Douglas objected, That the teinds of a college can only be burdened ultimo loco.
and more..
Whitehall, February 3, 1831.

The King has been pleased to give and grant unto the Most Honourable Spencer-Joshua Alwyne Marquess and Earl of Northampton, Earl Compton, and Baron of Wilmington, on behalf of Charles Comptqn;, commonly called Earl Compton, 'a minor, his' eldest son and heir apparent, by Margaret his late Marchioness, who was the eldest daughter and coheir of William Douglas M'Clean Clephane, of Torloisk, in North Britain, Esq. late a Major-General in the Army; deceased, the eldest son and heir of George Clephane, late of Carslogie, in the shire of Fife, Esq. by Ann Jean his wife, the only child of the Reverend Robert Douglas, Minister of Portmoak, in the Shire of Kinross, by- Helen his wife, who was the sister of Isobel Douglas, of Kirkness, in the said county, spinster, all deceased, His royal licence and authority that his said son, Charles Compton, commonly called Earl Compton, may, in compliance with a proviso contained in a deed of entail made by the aforesaid Isobel Douglas, take and use the surname of Douglas, in addition to and before that of Compton; that he may use the designation of Kirkness; and also bear the arms of Douglas quarterly with those of Compton, Douglas in the second quarter; such arm's being first duly exemplified according to the laws of arms, and recorded in the Heralds' Office, otherwise His Majesty's said licence and permission to be void and of none.effect:
And also to command, that the said royal concession and declaration be registered in His  Majesty's College of Arms,

See also:
•  Douglas of Carr
•  Douglas of Strathendry
•  Kirkness, Kinross
•  Strathendry Castle
•  Sir William Douglas of Kirkness' Regiment of Foot


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