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John Douglas of Broughton




In 1671 William Murray (then Sir William Murray, Baronet) on his own resignation received a Crown charter of all the Broughton lands, in which charter they were of new erected into a barony to be called the barony of Broughton, the manor place of Littlehope, commonly called Broughton, to be the principal messuage. The tenure was changed from ward to taxed ward, the sum of L200 being fixed for ward and non-entry, the same for relief, and 1000 merks for marriage. The feu-duty was 1d. Scots, and permission was given to hold a fair yearly on 22nd September.

The lands thus acquired, which included the whole parish with the exception of one-half of Burnetland and one-fourth of Broughton Shiels, remained with the Murrays until 1719. Three years before that Alexander Murray had a tack of the teinds of the parish from John, Earl of Wigtown, who was patron of Stobo, Drumelzier, Dawyck, and Broughton, for three periods of nineteen years each, and for an annual payment of L200.


In 1719 Alexander Murray sold the whole property of Broughton, Peebleshire, to John Douglas (son of William, first Earl of March), between whom and his brother, James Douglas of Stow, there was a mutual entail whereby Broughton and Stow were destined to the survivor and his heirs, whom failing the heirs of their late brother, the Earl of March. James Douglas of Douglas of Stow died unmarried before 1732. John Douglas of Broughton, who was M. P. for Peeblesshire in 1722 and 1727, also died unmarried in 1732. In terms of the destination clause in the entail, William, second Earl of March, succeeded both to Broughton and Stow, but John Douglas had died so deeply involved in debt that the Earl of March, in order to safeguard his own possessions, applied to the Court for a warrant to sell for the benefit of the creditors.

This process was instituted in 1734, and the petitioners were the Earl of March, who was a minor at the time, and Charles, Duke of Queensberry and Dover, his tutor in law. Among those called for their interest as creditors were: - Isabella, Mary, and Jean Douglas, the Earl's sisters; John Horsburgh of that Ilk; John Borthwick, late of Stow (then of Trottenshaw); John and Patrick Murray, sons of the deceased Sir David Murray of Stanhope; Margaret Murray, daughter of Sir David Murray, and her husband, Mr. Thomas Hay, advocate. The debts due by John Douglas are not separately stated in the proceedings, but they, along with the debts due by the Earl's father, reached the large figure of £205,827 16s. 8d. Scots, on which the annual interest was £10,291 7s. 8d. The rental of Broughton is given at £4332 8s. 4d. Scots, made up thus: - £74 of house rents, £3817 10s. 8d. of rents from land paid in money (including a feu-duty of £13 6s. 8d. from the other half of Burnetland), rents paid in produces, etc., 12 bolls of bear and 48 of meal at £6 5s. per boll, 12 capons at 12s, 62 hens at 6s. 8d. and 7s., and 57 carriages at 13s. 4d.

It may be of interest to show how the selling price was calculated. On the depositions of James Naesmyth of Earlshaugh and John Sibbald of Burnetland, the property was held to be worth 22 years purchase of the free rental 'in respect there is a good mansion house.' The free rental was ascertained by deducting one-fifth in respect of teinds (£866 9s. 8d.) and the feu-duty of £2 16s. 10d. paid for Broughton Shiels. There remained £3463 1s. 10d., which at 22 years resulted in £76,188 Os. 4d. But, as we have seen, there was a tack of the teinds at a rental of £200; the minister's stipend was £408 11s. 4d. in money and 13 bolls victual at £6 5s., a total of £489 16s. 4d.; and the schoolmaster's salary was £40. These payments amounted yearly to £729 16s. 4d., whereas the teind rental as above was £866 9s. 8d., and accordingly there was a balance of free teind left of £136 13s. 4d., which in view of the length of the tack was calculated at 15 years purchase, or £2050. This sum added to £76,188 0s. 4d. fixed the selling price at £78,238 0s. 4d. At that price Broughton was exposed for sale and sold - there was only one offerer - to William Veitch, W.S., acting on behalf of John Murray, second son of Sir David Murray of Stanhope (by his second marriage), and as he was a minor he was represented in the decree which followed by his curators - Lady Margaret Scott, his mother; Sir John Scott of Ancrum, Baronet; Alexander Muirhead of Lenhouse and James Erskine.


When the 2nd Earl of March died in 1731, John Douglas of Broughton, was appointed guardian to his nephew, William, 3rd Earl of March, and later 4th Duke of Queensberry. However, John died in 1732, and so his cousin Charles 3rd Duke of Queensberry was served 'tutor-at-law' as the nearest 'agnate'


He and his brother, James, died unmarried.


See also:

  • Broughton estate
  • Note:
    The principal interest in the Peeblesshire constituency belonged to the earls of March, who as hereditary sheriffs were able to control the elections. An unsuccessful attempt to break this control in 1727 was made by Sir James Nasmyth, whose petition on the grounds of the partiality of the sheriff made no progress. However, after the 2nd Earl of March’s death, leaving an infant son, in 1731, followed by that of his brother, the sitting Member, John Douglas, a year later, Nasmyth obtained the support of the deputy sheriff for the ensuing by-election, at which he was returned. The petition of his opponent Sir Alexander Murray, 3rd Bt., of Stanhope, a former Member for the shire under Queen Anne, alleging irregularities in the election of the praeses and appointment of the sheriff clerk, was rejected. At the 1734 election an apparently neutral deputy sheriff returned both Nasmyth and Murray, each of whom had been chosen at separate meetings. On petition Murray withdrew, leaving Nasmyth to be elected.1 No opposition was offered in 1741 or in 1747, when John Dickson was brought in by the 3rd Earl of March, now of age.


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    Last modified: Monday, 25 March 2024