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William Douglas of Egilsay



William Douglas of Egilsay, Orkney (and of Spynie?) (c. 17th Century) was a Burgh commissioner for Shetland in 1667.

Egilsay Community Association list on their history page that:
'As part of the Bishopric estate the whole of Egilsay was feued to the Monteith family in the 16th Century. On the marriage of Marjorie Monteith to William Douglas, Chamberlain of Orkney, commemorated in the initialled skewputt, the island passed to the Douglas family.'

There remains the Douglas house on Egilsay, named Howan House, and the Buildings At Risk register notes the following: "The skewputt to the north east is initialled WD MM for William Douglas and his wife Marjorie Monteith, 17th century owners and heirs to the Island of Egilsay. The interior of the house retains a carved lintel on the south wall inscribed 16.AMICUS.ET.GENO.81., decorated with a heart and fleur-de-lis transforming into roses and thistles. A badly weathered stone fireplace with fluted jambs sits in the west gable"

Marjorie Monteith was the daughter and heiress of Patrick Mentieth of Egilsay

It is possible that his father was Alexander Douglas of Spynie in Elgin (himself the eldest son of Alexander Douglas, Bishop of Moray in 1606)

It was his son, Alexander, who became MP for Orkney and Shetland.

Its pre-eminence is confirmed by a 1668 sasine by which William Douglas of Egilsay disposed of Tafts to his son 'with the priviledge of the uppa thereof as the samen has been in use in all times bygane past memorie of man'.6 The uppa, ... Snippet from The little general and the Rousay crofters: crisis and conflict on an Orkney crofting estate


Note the Douglas elements on this Baikie coat of arms representing the inter-marriage between the families.

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Last modified: Wednesday, 18 July 2018