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Thomas Douglas 






Thomas (26 Apr 1732 - 1787) was the eldest son of John Douglas (d. 1762) of St. George's, Hanover Square, an innkeeper of the Hercules Pillars in Hyde Park Road, and Mary Gardiner (d. 1766), sometimes referred to as Thomas Douglas of Grantham.

Of nine siblings only the three boys survived.


Originally engaged in mercantile pursuits (He worked in the cotton industry(1)), he went on to reside at Grantham in Lincolnshire. Served as High Sheriff of that County in 1776.  


He was well known on the turf, and entered a 'Confederate', from 1780 to 1785, with Earl Grosvenor in the match book at Newmarket. He bred racehorses(2).


He had estates in the counties of Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Flint, Lanark, Lincoln and Middlesex, with cotton mills in Lancashire.


His brother, William was a business partner and cloth merchant.


  • Birth:  1732
  • Death: 1787, in London

    Father: John Douglas, 1707 - 1762
    Mother: Mary Gardner


Marriage 1 Harriett Lucke

  1. Harriet Douglas, married Benjamin, Lord Bloomfield. She was a ranger of Hampton Court Park.
  2. John Douglas, MP
  3. Archibald Douglas, who entered the army and went with his regiment to West Indies, where he died young, leaving one daughter.
  4. Louisa Douglas, married John Norris, of Hawley House, Hants
  5. Mary Douglas
  6. Juliet Douglas


Upper Cotton Mill, HolywellNotes:

1.  The Flintshire Record Office, D/DM/299/6, detailed an important cotton project (in the Greenfield Valley, Flintshire) from 1785 -
Co-partnership indenture 1 January 1785
(i) Thomas Douglas of Grantham, co. Lincoln, esq.
(ii) William Douglas of Pendleton, co. Lancaster, merchant. (His brother)
(iii) Daniel Whittaker of Manchester, co. Lancaster, merchant.
(iv) Elizabeth Smalley of Holywell, co. Flint, widow.
(v) Peter Atherton, late of London, but now of Holywell, merchant.

Assignment by (i) - (iv) to (v) of one fifth share in messuages, cottages, lately erected cotton mill, lately erected corn mill and other buildings and lands, weirs, mill-ponds, banks, mill-races, streams and watercourses, and one fifth share in buildings formerly called the Upper Paper Mill, and in land called the lower part of the Long Meadow, and an 18 ft fall of water, and in a lately erected skin house and yard, all in Holywell, for the residue of several terms of years affecting them; assignment from (i) - (iv) to (v) of four fifth shares in the sites of the lowest corn mill and of the Black Jack works and messuages and lands in Holywell for the residue of a term of 99 years; terms, conditions and covenants specified.

The new 1785 partnership included brothers Thomas & William Douglas and Peter Atherton in addition to Daniel Whittaker and the Smalleys, their ambition was unbounded and in 1790 a fourth six story mill was added, The Crescent Mill. The mills collectively were known as The Cotton Twist Company of Holywell. The Upper Mill, worked 12,218 spindles, the Lower Mill, 7492 spindles and The Crescent Mill, 8286 spindles. 26,096 pounds of thread were produced in an average week, furnishing employment for nearly 1000 persons.


Partners had to be chosen with care, trust and management skills were essential complements to capital. Peter Atherton (-1799) was a machine builder and clock maker from Warrington who also helped Arkwright in the early days. Clock makers were clearly important in the development of the larger mechanical machines. Atherton diversified his interests and in 1783 he had joined William Douglas in a cotton venture in Pendlebury. He subsequently took over the Holywell Cotton Twist Company. He later developed a merchanting business in Liverpool and invested in a cotton mill in Mold. In the 1790s he became a partner in Philips & Lee of Salford ...


These Lancashire merchants were an incestuous lot, the same names cropped up again and again ... but together they built the backbone of the industrial revolution and transformed Flintshire


Thomas Douglas may have been a bleacher near the Spaw in Salford. The Spaw was the local interpretation of the word spa due to their being a natural pool of very good clear cold water there in which bathing took place it was conveniently situated below pub which was built over it. Thomas at one point offered 20 guineas for the return of velvet cloth that had been stolen from his croft which was out to dry. An apparently a common problem for the bleachers working in Salford at the time.


 2. [Bordeaux, ex-Nebuchadnezzar] gr c 1774 (King Herod - Sister to Gog, by Cygnet). Sire Line Herod. Family 5. Bred in Lincolnshire by Thomas Douglas of Grantham, who also bred the St Leger winner Serina (b f 1778 Goldfinder) and the Oaks winners Tetotum (b f 1777 Matchem) and Trifle (br f 1782 Justice), Bourdeaux was a full brother to Florizel and half brother to Flimnap* (b c 1765 South).


3.  Kenneth David Morton Douglas writes:
I have been searching for a Samuel Douglas that was alive around the same time as my great.great.great grandfather Rev James Douglas as I have in my possesion a letter (dated 19/05/1817) written by one Samuel Douglas to Rev James Douglas.

The letter concerns the will (which can be seen in the National Archives) of Ellen the Countess Dowager Conyngham (1725 - 1816) and a bequest that she made to one John Douglas of Grantham (1774-1839) and his four sisters.

They were the children of Thomas Douglas of Grantham (1732-1787) and his wife Harriett Lucke. Thomas was brother to Rev James Douglas.

The letter seems to imply that there was some skulduggery going on with regards the bequest and that Samuel, who must have been living in the London area, was trying to get to the bottom of it by visiting Doctors Commons and viewing the will.

Samuel is writing in response to a letter that Rev James had written to his mother and mentions in it the following names:-

Cousin Margaret Douglas

Joshua Douglas Esq (who apparently lived at Coghill Hall, which was purchased by Lady Ellen in 1796 and the name changed to Conyngham Hall).

He also asks where Marmaduke Douglas lived and in what part of Wales he died.


Any contributions will be gratefully accepted



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Last modified: Saturday, 18 March 2017