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Who was Dame Margaret Douglas of Balmakelly, who built Queensberry House?

There follows a brief early history of Queensberry House, in Edinburgh, then a T-plan structure originally erected by Dame Margaret Douglas of Balmakelly as a ‘Grand Lodging’.



Queensberry House was first built for Dame Margaret Douglas of Balmakellie.


The house is bought by Charles Maitland, Lord Hatton, who made internal alterations and added a look-out tower.


It is later bought by William Douglas, the first Duke of Queensberry.

Inherited by James Douglas, the second Duke of Queensberry, the house is extended to the west, with added pavilions at each end of the garden front and a new entrance is created from the Canongate.

The second Duke of Queensberry was influential in the abolition of the pre-1707 Scottish Parliament, and during the public disturbances around that time it was reported that the building’s most notorious incident took place. While the Duke attempted to placate the crowds his son roasted a servant boy on a spit: the oven is still visible, located within Parliament’s Allowances Office.
House re-harled, probably slated and subsequently let.

The house is bought by William Aitcheson, who strips the building of all its architectural fittings.


The house was later used an an army barracks, a public hospital, a House of Refuge and as a geriatric hospital. The house was finally acquired by the Scottish Office for the new Scottish Parliament building in 1997.

Balmakelly, or Balmakellie, is in Kincardineshire, not far from the Douglases of Glenbervie. Can anyone identify Dame Margaret? was she a Douglas by birth, or by marriage? was it coincidence it was bought by the Duke? Or was there a close family connection?

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Comment by William Douglas on August 30, 2016 at 18:13

The Scots Peerage, vol. 7, Balfour Paul, J. (1910), (Edinburgh: David Douglas), pp. 20-21.
Colonel Henry Maule, of Balmakellie, (Kincardineshire) who is found associated with his father in various writs. He was one of the 'Engagers' for the rescue of King Charles I., was in command of a regiment and was taken prisoner at the battle of Preston, but escaped. He was also at the battle of Dunbar in 1650, and was again taken prisoner at Worcester in 1651. He was fined £2500 by Cromwell, a sum afterwards reduced to £1000, which his father paid. He died 1667, being buried at Holyrood 8 April of that year. He married, first, 9 August 1649 (contract 1 and 3 August), Jean Wemyss, third daughter of John, first Earl of Wemyss, and widow of Sir Alexander Towers of Garmilton and Inverleith. She died before 10 May 1662, leaving issue, and her husband married, secondly, Margaret, daughter of Patrick Douglas of Spot, by whom he had one daughter, Margaret, married to Alexander Cochrane of Barbachlaw.

Henry Maule was the son of Patrick Maule, 1st Earl of Panmure, Sheriff of Forfar.

Now to find who Patrick Douglas of Spot was!

Comment by William Douglas on June 12, 2011 at 22:52

It has been suggested to me that this is the Margaret douglas I am seeking:

It was erected in 1636 by Sir Robert Montgomerie of Skelmorlie, to contain the burial-place and monument of himself and his wife, Dame Margaret Douglas, daughter of Sir William Douglas of Drumlanrig, ancestor of the Marquesses of ...  However, I am not so sure.

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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