Douglas of Knightsridge

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Knightsrig, Knightsridge, Knytfrig (Knytsrig)

Knightsridge House, 1831
Marching with Nettlehill on the west, but in the parish of Livingston, is the farm of Knightsridge; spelt in 1606, Knightisrig. The present house was erected in 1831 by Mr. Alexander Gray, Leith. The former building stood fully 100 yards to the north-east. Evidently there was a mansion here, for Sibbald in 1710 informs us it was inhabited by a cadet of Douglas of Pumpherston. The name Knightsridge in all likelihood originated from the fact that a ridge or portion of land here pertained to the Knights, presumably of St. John, whose head-quarters before the Reformation were at Torphichen. The ruined choir of the Preceptory, and the three stones marking the limits of sanctuary protection, are all that now remain to attest the former grandeur of this Order.

Two-storey classical cube on an ancient site up Dechmont Law, named after the Knights Hospitallers of St John of Torphichen. Unusual pedimented Ionic portico facing north and extraordinary massing of its chimneys to the centre of its pavilion roof. Converted into flats and extended, c.1995.

The present farm-house of Knightsridge was built in 1831. The former building stood fully 100 yds NE. Evidently there was a mansion here, Sibbald stating in 1710 that it was inhabited by a cadet of Douglas of Pumpherston. The name, mentioned in 1606, probably originated from a portion of land here having belonged to the Knights of St John, at Torphichen.

• James Douglas of Knightsridge & Pumpherston, witness to a charter in favour of James Douglas, Earl of Morton, on 22 April 1543
• Douglas, William, of Cliftonhall and Knightsrig, 21 Feb. 1600 died ... (Spelt in 1606 Knightsrig)
• Douglas, James, of Knightsrig, and portioner of Ratho byres Will dated 18 May 1588

James Douglas, of Knightsridge, son of Robert Douglas of Pumpherston, married Margaret Douglas, one of the four co-heiresses of John Douglas of Rathobyres, with whom he is named in an Acquittance dated 12 June 1576, and is then styled as brother to the deceased Mungo Douglas of Pumperston. James died on 6 April 1584, and was succeeded by his son, William Douglas of Knightsridge and Cliftonhall.

James Douglas of Pumpherston, the second son cf William Douglas of the same, [before-mentioned].
On 21st November 1672 this laird had a charter of the Kirklands of Levingstoun, called Canieland, in the shire of Linlithgow, reserving the liferent thereof to his said father, and to Isobel Euart, his mother, and it is worthy of remark that the old laird could not at this date have been less than eighty years of age. James had a disposition of the lands of Pumpherston, Knightsrig, and Canielands from Walter, Lord Torphichen, 7th May 1679, in which he is styled James Douglas of Knightsrig (Dechmont Law). He was Commissioner of Supply in the year 1686, and Commissioner for the Militia in 1689, and he was still living at I2th June 1696, when he gave an annual rent of £160 out of his lands of Pumpherston and Knightsrig to Mr James Henry, sone of Pittadro, W.S. He was deceased before 5th July 1697.

Mr. Thomas Douglas had a grant of the Deanery of Restalrig, which became vacant " by the simple dimission and resignation of Mr. James Lauder, last Dean and possessour thairof," reserving a pension of £100 to Mr. Nicholas Elphinston, 10th November 1573.  Douglas was minister of Strabrock, and was translated in the following year to the united parishes of Dalkeith, Laswade, and Glencorse. He derived little advantage from such preferment, having died in June 1575. In his latter will, dated 20th May 1575, Mr. Thomas Dowglas, Dean of Restalrig, constituted " his spouse, Marion Hammiltoun, his onlie executrix, with the oversicht of James Douglas, his son, James Douglas of Knightisrig, and James Hammiltoun of Kincavell ; and maist hamelie desiris and requeistis my Maister my Lord Regentis Grace to be ovirsman to help my wyf and bairnis as his Grace thinkis gude. Item, I leif to my said spous the rowme [place] of Clappertoun and Myln, &c.,' provyding alwyis gif my wyf can nocht leve chaist that scho marie ane godlie man and trew servand to our Kingis Majestic and my Lord Regentis grace, and that he quhome scho sail marie haif als sufficient ane leving as scho hes, and that scho marie nocht without the aviso and counsall of my Maister my Lord Regentis grace, Archibald Douglas of Kilspindie, and George Douglas of Parkend, Capitane of the Castell of Edinburgh."  His loyalty and attachment as a Douglas to the Regent Earl of Morton is sufficiently apparent.

Amongst those implicated in the murder of David Riccio/Rizzio, secretary to Mary, Queen of Scots were: James Erle of Mortoun, William Douglas of Quittinghame, Mr. Archibald Douglas his Brother, George Douglas, callit the postulat Sone naturale to Archibald Erle of Argus, Mr. Thomas Douglas of Clappertoun, James Douglas of Knytisrig, Jobne Douglas in the Scbiell, Hector Douglas in Spittlebauch, James Douglas thair. In his account of the affair, Patrick Ruthven, 3rd Lord Ruthven, himself one of the conspirators, mentions William Douglas of Loch Leven.




Sources for this article include:

•  The Records of the Parliaments of Scotland to 1707 Vol. I. No. 59

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