William Douglas, 1st Earl of March

(c. 1665–1705)

William, 1st Duke of Queensberry, obtained an earldom for his second son from King William the third. He was created earl of March of the kingdom of Scotland on 20 April 1697, and also Viscount of Peebles, and Lord Douglas of Neidpath, Lyne and Munard.

The title of earl of March in the peerage of Scotland was conferred in 1697 on William Douglas, second son of William, 1st duke of Queensberry. His grandson William, 3rd earl of March, became 4th duke of Queensberry on the death without surviving male issue of his cousin Charles, 3rd duke of Queensberry, in 1778. Dying unmarried in 1810, the several titles of the duke passed to different branches of the house of Douglas. The earldom of March is stated by Sir Bernard Burke and other authorities to have devolved upon Francis, 8th earl of Wemyss, great-great-grandson of David, 3rd earl of Wemyss, whose wife was Anne, daughter of the 1st duke of Queensberry and sister of the 1st earl of March; and the title is now assumed by the earl of Wemyss. On the other hand, Francis, 8th earl of Wemyss, not having been an heir of the body of the 1st earl of March, Sir Robert Douglas says in The Peerage of Scotland that on the death of the 4th duke of Queensberry in 1810 “the earldom of March, it is supposed, became extinct.”

According to tradition, Neidpath Castle is haunted by lady in a brown dress with a white collar, known as Jean Douglas, the ‘Maid of Neidpath’. She is reputed to be the spectre of the youngest daughter of William Douglas, the Earl of March. Jean fell in love with the Laird of Tushielaw but was forbidden to see him by her father. The Laird was sent away while Jean pined away in grief. On the Lairds return he did not recognise Jean in her wasted state, and she is reputed to have died of a broken heart, doomed to wander the castle in sorrow. Sir Walter Scott stayed at the castle and wrote a poem about the legend adding to its popularity.

News report March 2011:
An historic Peeblesshire bridge is falling to bits. And Scottish Borders Council are doing nothing to stop it. The single arch hump-backed bridge, Manor Brig, was erected in 1702 by the Earl of March, William Douglas, to span the Manor Water into the Parish of Peebles. The Old Manor Brig, which goes over the Manor Water and leads to the Manor Sware on the outskirts of Peebles.

William (1st Duke of Queensbury) Douglas b: 1637
Mother: Isabel (of Douglas) Douglas b: 1642, dau of William, 1st Marquess of Douglas

Marriage  about 1693 Jane (of Tweedale) Hay (c. 1665–1705);
  1. Has Children William (2nd Earl March) Douglas
  2. John of Broughton, d 16 March 1732 unmarried
  3. James of Stow, d bef 1732 unmarried
  4. Isobel, d 9 Apr 1780
  5. Mary, d 14 mar 1781
  6. Jean