This page was last updated on 15 January 2024

Click here to 
Print this page

Biography finder





























Index of first names

William Douglas of Egilsay



Egilsay, Eagleshay or Egilshay.


COMMENT:  I have added notes to this page to clarify some of the detail.  However, it now awaits a rewrite to ensure it is indeed clearer.

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(1), 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" The house has since been renovated.

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 (Tofts, in Quandale, Rousay, Orkney) pre-eminence is confirmed by a 1668 sasine by which William Douglas of Egilsay disposed of Tofts 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'. The uppa, ... Snippet from The little general and the Rousay crofters: crisis and conflict on an Orkney crofting estate

On William's death, Egilsay descended to his daughter, Janet, who married James Baikie, 6th of Tankerness.

Howan HouseHowan House
Howan House, 'The Laird's House', before and after refurbishment


1 William (Chamberlain of Orkney) Douglas married Marjorie Monteith
    2 Sir Alexander (of Egilshay) Douglas MP  b. Bef 1688 d. 1718 married Janet Scott d. Aft 1718
        3 Cornet William (Yr. of Egilshay) Douglas b. Bef 1764 married Elizabeth Traill b. Bef 1764
            4 Janet (of Egilshay) Douglas b. Abt 1710



1. Research by the Traill family has:
    • William Douglas of Eigilsay married Elizabth Traill, whose daughter Janet married  James Baikie of Tankerness. Their son Robert Baikie of Tankerness married Mary Balfour.
    • Elizabeth is stated to be the daughter of George Traill of Holland and Catherine Baikie, he being the son of Thomas Traill of Holland Marion Craigie .

2.  Sir Alexander Douglas MP (d. 1718), of Egilsay, Orkney having plainly stated, following a challenge, that his mother was:
served heir and retoured to Patrick Monteith my grandfather who stood publicly infeft in the lands of Egilsay and others holden feu under the crown which rights were produced in the parliament of Scotland in anno 1703 and my right to vote in the election was determined in the parliament.

See also:
•  Howan House refurbishment [pdf]

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

Bookmark and Share



Any contributions to this item will be gratefully accepted


Errors and Omissions

The Forum

What's new?

We are looking for your help to improve the accuracy of The Douglas Archives.

If you spot errors, or omissions, then please do let us know


Many articles are stubs which would benefit from re-writing. Can you help?


You are not authorized to add this page or any images from this page to (or its subsidiaries) or other fee-paying sites without our express permission and then, if given, only by including our copyright and a URL link to the web site.


If you have met a brick wall with your research, then posting a notice in the Douglas Archives Forum may be the answer. Or, it may help you find the answer!

You may also be able to help others answer their queries.

Visit the Douglas Archives Forum.


2 Minute Survey

To provide feedback on the website, please take a couple of minutes to complete our survey.


We try to keep everyone up to date with new entries, via our What's New section on the home page.

We also use the Community Network to keep researchers abreast of developments in the Douglas Archives.

Help with costs

Maintaining the three sections of the site has its costs.  Any contribution the defray them is very welcome



If you would like to receive a very occasional newsletter - Sign up!



Back to top


The content of this website is a collection of materials gathered from a variety of sources, some of it unedited.

The webmaster does not intend to claim authorship, but gives credit to the originators for their work.

As work progresses, some of the content may be re-written and presented in a unique format, to which we would then be able to claim ownership.

Discussion and contributions from those more knowledgeable is welcome.

Contact Us

Last modified: Monday, 25 March 2024