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John Douglas, cotton manufacturer and banker





Douglas of Gyrn crestJohn Douglas of Gyrn, (died 21st October 1839), son of William Douglas, fustian manufacturer, Manchester, Lancashire, was a partner in Douglas, Smalley & Co. the Holywell cotton manufacturers. He also established a bank at Holywell, Messrs. Douglas, Smalley & Co, in which his father may have had an interest. He was, in 1821, high sheriff of the county.

Educated at Manchester grammar school, John Douglas, was one of the "original" members of the Manchester Assembly rooms, and steward of the school anniversary in 1812 as colleague to John Williams, Esq. (afterwards one of the justices of the Queen's bench).

He married on 4th March 1805 Anna, the eldest daughter of Joseph Tipping, of Ardwick, esq. and resided for some years at Pendleton old hall, before purchasing a mansion, Gyrn.

Gyrn Castle has had its shares of ups and downs. Once part of the estates of the Mostyns of Cilcain, Gyrn was purchased in 1817 by John Douglas, who spent the next seven years building the present castellated mansion on the site of an earlier house. The Douglas family later fell on hard times, and, in 1856, Gyrn was bought by Sir Edward Bates, a Liverpool ship owner and politician, who accumulated enormous wealth during a career spanning most of Queen Victoria's reign. The Guide Books of North Wales speak of its spacious and well-furnished picture gallery as well worthy the attention of connoisseurs.

Alexander Douglas, 'the ancestor of the present owner of Gyrn', was a descendant of the house of Morton, and came to England in the suite of James the first, on his accession to the English throne. The king granted him possessions near Reath, in Yorkshire, where his family settled, but by their adherence to the house of Stuart during the civil wars, having raised a troop of horsemen, at their own expense, from among their tenantry, which were made prisoners on their march to join the king's forces, they were despoiled of their estates, which were never restored, notwithstanding reiterated applications to Charles the second ; this being one of the many instances of ingratitude in that monarch. In the female line the present Mr. Douglas is descended from the family of Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester and Lord Chancellor of England, who made a conspicuous figure in the reigns of Henry the eighth, and Mary.

Mr. Douglas' grandmother, and her maiden sister Joanna, were the last of the Bishop's family who bore the name, and were the only children of William Gardiner, Esquire, of Send Place, near Dorking, and J Haling, near Croydon, in Surrey, which latter mansion he inherited from the bishop, who originally built it.

He died on the 21st October 1839, at the age of 69, and was buried in a vault of the parish church at Llanasa, near Holywell, leaving one son and several daughters. His son, John Hargreave Douglas (1), died in March 1841, aged 32, and was buried at Cheltenham. One daughter married the late Colonel Morgan, of Golden Grove, in the parish of Llanasa; and another the Rev. Robert Trimmer, M.A., rector of Holy Trinity and S. Mary's, Guildford.


The attached pdf contains additional information about John Douglas.


The following are listed as apprentices in Chelmsford.  Note the children's ages!




1.  John Hargreave Douglas was a Tax Commissioner for the County of Flint


See also:
Douglas of Gyrn




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Last modified: Monday, 25 March 2024