Hon. John Douglas of The Barras

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John Douglas of The Barras was the son of the 9th Earl of Angus, and brother to the 10th Earl.

Father: Douglas, William (9th Earl of Angus)
Mother: Graham, Egidia "Giles"

He married Jean Fraser, b. ABT 1566 Barras, Kincardine, daughter of Thomas Fraser, 6th of Durris.

Sir John, who sold The Barras to his brother-in-law, Sir George Ogilvie (dsp?)
Archibald = ?, had 3 daughters
Elizabeth, married Sir George Ogilvie, Governor of Dunottar Castle, 1st Bart of Barras (d after 11.08.1679) as his first wife.



Robert Douglas in Mekill-Barras, par. of Kynnef in the Mearns is recorded 19 Jun 1582



The following tells how Elizabeth, then Lady Ogilvie saved the Honours of Scotland:

Sir George Ogilvie, of Barras, first baronet (fl. 1634–1679), royalist army officer, was descended from the Ogilvies of Balnagarno, Forfarshire, and was the son of William Ogilvie of Lumgair, Kincardineshire, and Katherine, niece of Alexander Strachan of Thornton. In 1634, by a contract dated 31 January, he married Elizabeth (d. 1653), daughter of the Hon. Sir John Douglas of Barras, Forfarshire, fourth son of William, earl of Angus, and purchased Barras from his wife's brother.

Having in early life served in the German wars, Ogilvie was in 1651 appointed by William Keith, sixth Earl Marischal, with the title of lieutenant-governor, to hold the earl's castle of Dunnottar against the forces of Cromwell. Special importance attached to the trust committed to him from the fact that the honours or regalia of Scotland (crown, sceptre, and sword of state) had been placed in the castle, but for the supply of armaments and provisions he was almost wholly dependent on his own exertions. On 31 August 1651 the committee of estates addressed an order to Alexander Lindsay, first earl of Balcarres, authorizing him to receive the regalia from Ogilvie, whom they directed to deliver them up to Balcarres; but Ogilvie declined to do so on the ground that Balcarres was not properly authorized to relieve him of the responsibility, which had been imposed on him by parliament. He, however, declared his readiness to deliver them up if relieved of responsibility, or his readiness to defend his charge to the last if properly supplied with men, provisions, and ammunition. The castle was summoned by Cromwell's troops to surrender on 8 and 22 November, but Ogilvie expressed his determination to hold out. While the castle was closely besieged, the regalia were, at the instance of Margaret Erskine, dowager Countess Marischal, delivered by Lady Ogilvie to , the wife of the minister of Kinneff, who concealed them about her person, and, passing the lines of the besiegers without suspicion, took them to the church of Kinneff, where they were placed below the floor. Although Ogilvie had received a warrant from the Earl Marischal (a prisoner of war in London) empowering him to deliver up the castle to Major-General Deane, he maintained a firm attitude until he obtained terms as favourable as it was possible to grant. On 1 February 1652 he sent a letter to the king asking for speedy supplies of ammunition and provisions. These were not granted him, but on 12 April the king sent him a message approving of his fidelity, urging him to hold out until winter, and permitting him either to ship the regalia in a vessel sent to transfer them to Holland, or to retain them should he think the removal would dishearten the garrison. The castle was surrendered on 24 May to Colonel Thomas Morgan, who had received the siege guns needed to reduce the fortress. The conditions were that the garrison should march out with the usual honours, and be permitted to pass to their homes unmolested. The favourable terms were granted in the hope of obtaining possession of the regalia; but as Ogilvie failed to deliver them up, he and Lady Ogilvie were detained prisoners in a room of the castle until 10 January 1653, only obtaining their liberty when all hope of recovering the regalia was dissipated by a false but circumstantial report that they had been carried abroad. Ogilvie was also required to find caution in £2000 sterling.

The regalia remained in concealment at Kinneff until the Restoration, when they were delivered up by Ogilvie to Charles II. Subsequently forgotten, they were rediscovered by Walter Scott in 1818 and have since been on display at Edinburgh Castle. For his services in connection with their preservation, he was by letters patent on 5 March or 5 July 1662 created a baronet of Nova Scotia, and on 3 March 1666 received a new charter of the lands of Barras, which was ratified by parliament on 22 August 1670 and on 17 August 1679. In 1667 he was named a commissioner of supply for Kincardineshire, and in 1670 a commissioner of excise for the county. There is no record of the date of his death. He was buried at Kinneff, where there is a monument to him and his wife in the rebuilt church; the couple are also commemorated with an inscription at Dunnottar Castle. In 1701 their only son, Sir William Ogilvie, published a pamphlet setting forth the special services of his father as preserver of the regalia, in contrast to those rendered by the Earl Marischal, the title being A true account of the preservation of the regalia of Scotland. The pamphlet, which was reprinted in the Somers Tracts, gave rise, at the instance of William Keith, second earl of Kintore, to an action before the privy council, which, on 8 July 1702, passed an act for burning the book at the cross of Edinburgh, and fined Sir William Ogilvie's son David, one of the defenders, £1200 Scots. The baronetcy became extinct with the death (c.1840) of Sir William Ogilvie, the eighth baronet.

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Last modified: Friday, 17 May 2024