The Douglas Archives

A collection of historical and genalogical records

We have known for sometime that Elizabeth, daughter of John Douglas of Newcastle married William Douglas, 12th Laird of Cavers (d1698).  However, who is this John Douglas?


Today, I came across this reference:

We possess an unrecorded chapter in connexion with the water supply of old Newcastle. Before the arrangement between William Grey, author of the ^^Chorographia," and the Corporation in 1647, there can be no doubt that the Newcastle people drew their main supply from wells.
The conduit in Pandon Bank would continue to supply the wants of the town in a great measure, but towards the end of the century this was found totally inadequate to meet the growing needs of the consumers. At that time one of the leading men in Newcastle was John Douglas, a solicitor, who subsequently became town clerk. During his visits to London, Douglas became acquainted with William Yarnold, a water engineer, whom he invited to Newcastle with a view to ascertaining if means could be devised for increasing the supply. Yarnold came up to the north in the summer of 1697, and the same year he made a, proposal to the Mayor and burgesses ** to supply the inhabitants with good and wholesome water by bringing it in main pipes and trunks through the open streets, to the intent that from the said pipes by smaller branches the said water might be carried into all and every the dwelling houses or places where the owners or occupiers thereof should be willing to take in and pay for the same.'* Yarnold secured all the available springs inside and outside the walls, and erected cisterns on columns in different parts of the town, and into these he forced the water with an engine. The agreement between Yarnold and the Corporation is dated nth Oct., 1697.
Three years later the contractor admitted his friend Douglas, and fourteen other principal townsmen, into partnership, reserving to himself, however, the entire profits connected with the laying down of new branches and the sale of brass cocks, bosses, lead piping, and *' sowder.'' Being unable to personally superintend the undertaking, Yarnold deputed his friend Douglas to manage for him, and he in turn appointed Lionel Moore his deputy. Thus matters progressed till the year 1707, when Yarnold again visited Newcastle and quarrelled with his head agent, with whom he had a costly and protracted action at law.


Today's research has also revealed that Oley Douglas, MP, (1689-1719) married the daughter of either John or Thomas Harris (accounts differ, one being an African trader, the other a London merchant, but both wealthy!). They had a daughter, born within days of her father's death, who married Sir Edward Blackett (1719-1804). I have also uncovered Oley's father to have been John Douglas, who made a fortune as an attorney, in Newcastle, and bought the Matfen estate from the Carnaby family between 1680 and 1702.


It seems likely that John Douglas, the solicitor and John Douglas the attorney are one and the same. But is he also the father of Elizabeth?

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Comment by William Douglas on December 28, 2010 at 12:33
Elizabeth was a sister of Oley Douglas, and so her father was John Douglas. As a widow, she married Andrew Hume, son of the Earl of Marchmont.
Comment by William Douglas on December 27, 2010 at 0:04

Further research reveals that John was town clerk of Newcastle, and resigned this role in favour of his son Joshua.

Joshua's daughter, Martha, married Sir Thomas Clavering, 7th Bart.

Making conections

The more information you can give about the people you mention, the more chance there is of someone else connecting with your family.

Dates and places of births, deaths and marriages all help to place families.

Professions also help.

'My great-grandmother mother was a Douglas from Montrose' does not give many clues to follow up! But a bit of flesh on the bones makes further research possible. But if we are told who she married, what his profession was and where the children were baptised, then we can get to work.

Maybe it is time to update the information in your profile?

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