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Index of first names

Douglas of Spynie


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A collection of people of, associated with or from Spynie, and notes relating to them.

The genealogy of this branch has yet to be determined.

  • Alexander Douglas of Spynie married a daughter of Robert Baikie, 7th of Tankerness who died 04.04.1817
  • Alexander Douglas of Spynie in Elgin (eldest son of Alexander Douglas, Bishop of Moray in 1606), was father of William Douglas, Chamberlain for the Earldom of Orkney, to whom he disponed his lands of Spynie in 1687 (probably this William).
  • Alexander Douglas of Spynie, chamberlain for the Earldom of Orkney, 1664
  • Alexander Douglas of Spynie, 24th Sep 1666, appointed Rev David Kennedy
  • Patrick Dunbar, who was the son of Patrick Dunbar of Blervie, was a ministerin Duffus, Moray, in 1608. It would appear he succeeded Mr John Keith at Duffus in or before 1609, He married Elspet, daughter of Douglas of Spynie, who survived him to remarry John Gray, minister of Dornoch.
  • Children of William, 1st Lord Douglas
    • Alexander de Douglas, a canon of Spynie and vicar capitular of Elgin
    • Henry de Douglas, a canon of Spynie
    • Hugh de Douglas, a canon of Spynie, Archdeacon of Moray
  • JOHN INNES, of Leuchars, Baillie of the Regality and Constable of the Castle of Spynie (offices confirmed to him by Act of Parliament, 1641), had joined in 1625 the Scots Guards in the service of the King of France. He m. 1622, Elizabeth, only dau. of Archibald Douglas, of Pittendreich, and d. 1645, leaving issue,

    1. JOHN, of Leuchars, imprisoned by the Covenanters, and his estate sequestered until the Restoration.

    2. Robert, killed by the Covenanters at Leuchars.


  • Elizabeth Douglas of Spynie married Rev John Gray (died 21st Jan. 1638) as his second wife. She was widow of Patrick Dunbar, minister of Duffus
  • Alexander Douglas of Spynie, son of Alexander Douglas of Spynie, Bishop of Murray. He was served heir to his father, January 5, 1654. (Inquis. Retor. Abbrev. Elgin and Murray, no. 97.) He died previous to July 27, 1690, at which date his son William Douglas of Eagleshaw was served heir to him.
  • Alexr. Dowglas of Spynie, and Marie Innes, his mother, ... (1649)


When Episcopacy was restored in 1606, Alexander Douglas, minister at Elgin, was made Bishop, and held the See for 17 years. He seems to have resided at Elgin, and but little at Spynie, which continued under the management of Innes of Cotts, the Constable of the Palace and Regality. He conveyed the lands of Spynie, as well as Morriston and Burgh Briggs, to his son, Alexander Douglas, retaining for himself and his successors only the precinct round the palace. Alexander Douglas, the Bishop's son, is said to have married Mary Innes, and died, when Provost of Banff, in 1669.

The Douglases, who were probably a branch of the Pittendrich family, continued in possession of the estate of Spynie until about the close of the century, when they sold it to James Brodie of Whitehill, a cadet of the family of Brodie.

The family of Douglas sold the estate of Spynie to James Brodie of "VVhitehill, about the close of the 17th century.


During the Commonwealth, Cromwell sent deputies into the islands of Orkney and Shetland, who committed great irregularities, particularly in the clandestine alteration of the weights and measures. Charles II. restored episcopacy, and commanded the rents of the church lands to be paid to the bishop. As the family of Morton was then in embarrassed circumstances, the possession of the crown lands was committed in trust for the family to George, Viscount Grandison, who appointed Alexander Douglas of Spynie as factor to receive the crown rents of the islands, and to grant feu charters. Spynie's mission to Shetland is well remembered ; for he was instructed to dispute the validity of all tenures which did not depend on confirmations from the crown; and as many of the recent settlers possessed only dispositions and sasines from the old udallers, which they expected would have been at least preferable to the despised .shynd-bill, they were likewise compelled to make up new titles as vassals to the king. From this period, then, may be dated the complete subversion of the ancient laws of the country. The udallers now abandoned for ever the open space of the lawting, where, beneath no other canopy than the sky, their fathers had met to legislate for at least six centuries. They were henceforward required, as vassals of the crown, to give suit and presence at the courts held within some covered hall at Kirkwall and Scalloway.

The right of representation in parliament, bestowed on the people of Orkney,—for, till the late Reform Act, those of Shetland were denied the privilege of sharing in the election of a member of the British senate, and which right was necessarily exercised under the Scottish law regulating freehold qualifications,—likewise entailed on the former, in the most complete manner, all the forms of feudal conveyancings, and thus caused them farther to seek an alteration of the usages of their forefathers.

In the reign of Queen Anne, the Morton family acquired still larger and less qualified grants of the islands, and especially their vice-admiralty, and the right of patronage to all the churches ; and, in 1742, the Earl of Morton obtained from parliament a discharge of the claim of reversion previously competent to the crown: but, in the year 1776, the earl found this property so troublesome to him, from the vexatious lawsuits in which it had involved him, that he sold his entire rights over Orkney and Shetland for the sum of £60,000 to Sir Lawrence Dundas. The Earl of Zetland, whose father, Lord Dundas (lately deceased), obtained this title, is now lord-lieutenant of the Stewartry. The islands pay their proportion of the land-tax, and in every other respect have become subject to British laws, their internal administration being committed to the sheriffs and justices of peace.


Further notes:
According to the pedigree proved and recorded at the Lyon Office, Alexander Douglas of Spynie in Elgin (eldest son of Alexander Douglas, Bishop of Moray in 1606), was father of William Douglas, Chamberlain of Orkney, to whom he disponed his lands of Spynie in 1687. The said William Douglas married Marjorie, daughter and heiress of Patrick Monteith of Egilshay, by Marion, his spouse, daughter of Patrick Smith of Braco, and disponed in 1688 the lands of Egilshay to his eldest son, Alexander Douglas, Yr, of Egilshay (representative and heir of line of the family of Monteith of Egilshay), afterwards Sir Alexander Douglas of Egilshay, Knight, who married Janet Scott, relict of Alexander Crookshank of Warriston (M.C. 12th April, 1688), by whom he had an only son. Cornet William Douglas, Yr. of Egilshay, who died V. P. leaving by Elizabeth, his spouse, daughter of Thomas Taill of Holland, a daughter, Janet Douglas, heiress of Egilshay. She married in 1736, James Baikie, 6th of Tankerness, and their son, Robert Baikie, 7th of Tankerness, succeeded to the estates of Egilshay, and became representative and heir of line of the families of Douglas of Egilshay and Monteith of Egilshay.

On the tombstone, in Elgin Cathedral, of Alexander Douglas, Bishop of Moray, is a shield bearing the arms of Douglas :
—Ermine, a heart, on a chief three mullets ; impaling, quarterly, first and fourth, three stars (Innes) ; second and third, three boars* heads couped (Aberchirder).
1 The signet of the Bishop bears a heart only.
2 The present Baikie of Tankerness bears in the second grand quarter of his armorial achievement:—
First and fourth, Ermine, a human heart proper, on a chief azure three mullets argent, as representing Douglas of Egilshay.

On the tombstone, in St Magnus Cathedral, of George Douglas, who died 1611, and Elizabeth Douglas, his spouse, who died 1630, is a shield bearing :
—Quarterly, first and fourth, three piles ;
second and third, a heart ; over all as many mullets in fess.
1. Proceeding's of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Vol. XXXIV.
2. Blazon of Episcopacy.

Robert Baikie, 5th of Tankerness, who married Margaret, daughter of Laurence Sinclair of Quendale,
and widow of Andrew Bruce of Muness, and left with other issue an eldest son, James Baikie, 6th of Tankerness, Provost of Kirkwall during the rising in favour of the Royal Stuarts. He married Janet, daughter of Cornet William Douglas, Yr. of Egilshay, and Elizabeth, his spouse, daughter of Thomas Traill of Holland, and heiress to her grandfather, Sir Alexander Douglas, Knight of Egilshay, and was succeeded at his death in 1764 by his eldest son, Robert Baikie, 7th of Tankerness, who married Mary, daughter and co-heiress of Thomas Balfour of Huip (see Balfour), and died the 4th of April, 1817.

George Brodie, the Laird of Brodie, lived to enjoy his new property for but seven years. His eldest son James succeeded him, but five years later, there was again mourning at Brodie Castle for the death of the Laird. James was succeeded by his immediate younger brother, Alexander, who became Lord Lyon of Scotland. The prosperity of the family greatly increased during the Lord Lyon's reign, but on his death in 1860, the estates descended to his son Alexander who was barely of age at the time. He lived but a few years after his succession, and, dying unmarried, there was once more a break in the direct descent. The nearest male heir was James Brodie of Spynie. His grandfather was James Brodie of Whitehill, (the immediate younger brother of Joseph Brodie of Asleisk), who had married Margaret Brodie, one of the ten daughters of James Brodie of Brodie, and had purchased the lands of Spynie from Douglas of Spynie. James Brodie of Spynie, the grandson, who now became Laird of Brodie, was thus a second cousin of the last Laird. He had qualified as an Advocate, and became Sheriff Depute first of Sutherland and Caithness and afterwards of Moray and Nairn.


Research comment:
I am looking for a link to the Douglas family of Earlsmill, c1550.  Is there one?

See also:

  • Spynie Palace

  • Douglases in Elgin
  • Help with this branch of the Douglas family would be very welcome

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