Douglas of Cliftonhall

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Douglas of Clftonhall   The coat of arms depicts those of a 2nd son of Douglas of Pumpherston

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Coat of Arms: Erm. on a chief az. three stars ar. a bordure gu.
Crest: A hand holding a man's heart ppr. ensigned with a crescent ar.
Motto: Meliora sperando.

Cliftonhall - an extract of history:

Clifton Hall is a mansion used as a school, located two miles east of Broxburn, in West Lothian.. The mansion replaced a castle, or old house.

In the 16th Century, we find that the owner of Clifton Hall was Thomas Macalzean. On June 10th 1556, by command of the Queen Regent, he was deprived of his office by the Assessor by the Town Council of Edinburgh, for “evil, heich and unpleasant language to her Grace,” in the discharge of his official duties. The Assessor protested against this decree and after a lapse of a few months was restored by the Queen Regent.

On October 8th 1561, Thomas Macalzean was elected Provost of Edinburgh. A cordial supporter of the Reformation, he was one of those appointed by the General Assembly to decide questions and revise sentences. On October 1570, he was appointed Lord of Session in the room of Henry Balnavis, deceased, and took the title of Lord Clifton Hall. He died about 1581 leaving an only daughter and heiress, Euphame.

Euphame Macalzean was the most celebrated of all Scottish witches. After a long and notorious career she was tried by the High Court of Justiciary for numerous crimes ranging from common witchcraft to a conspiracy against the life of the King. She was sentenced to death by burning and paid the full penalty on the Castle Hill of Edinburgh on 25th June 1691. Euphame is the only Scottish witch on record to have been burned alive. Other offenders were always strangled by the common hangman before being burned at the stake. Her lands and goods were forfeited, but her children were restored on giving up the lands to the King’s favourite, Sandelands of Slamannan; but as no male heirs existed little benefit could be reaped by the successors, and the title of Clifton Hall became extinct.

A century later, the estate belonged to a family named Douglas. Archibald Douglas was a persecutor of the Covenanters and rode in the troop of the Laird of Hatton (a nearby estate, the mansion house of which was partly destroyed by fire in 1952). Both these gentlemen were under the celebrated General Tam Dalyell of the Binns, who routed the Covenanting Army at Pentland and who raised the regiment known as the Scots Greys.

In 1703, the estate was purchased by George Wishart, son of the Rev. William Wishart, minister at Kinneil. He served in Carmichael’s Regiment of Dragoon Guards, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and in 1706 was created baronet by Queen Anne.

Research notes:
• The 1639 will of Wm DOUGLAS, of Cliftonhall refers to James WASON as sister’s son. ?Watson of Saughton.  James Watson, portioner of Saughton in 1623, mother is said to be Anna Douglas.
• Archibald Douglas rode with General Tam Dalyell of the Binns in the Scots Greys.
• Douglas, William, of Cliftonhall and Knightsrig, 21 Feb. 1600 died ...
• The laird of Pumpherstoun is included in a list of gentlemen of the name of Douglas who bear evil will against Andro, Lord Stewart of Uchiltrie, on account of the slaughter of James, Lord Torthorwald ; and the Privy Council being determined that "all unlauchfull revenge so dishonourable to the natioun and offensive to his Heynes salbe forborne," Pumpherston and Uchiltree are required to enter into reciprocal assurances in ;^iooo to keep the peace towards each other, 2nd March 1609. Joseph Douglas of Pumpherston was on an assize 20th December 1616, and in 1636 he witnesses the baptism of his grand-daughter Margaret Douglas. His latter will is dated at Cliftounhall 23rd April 1637, and he died within the same year. He had a son, William, who succeeded him ; another son, Mr Hew, who witnesses a deed at Cliftounhall 31st January 1623 ; a daughter, Jean, married to Mr Robert Dalgleish of Lauriston, solicitor to Charles H, whose only child, Margaret, married in 1662 to Ludovick Craig of Riccarton ; and a second daughter, Margaret, who married (contract dated 12th October 1626) George Ker, burgess of Edinburgh.
•  Archibald Douglas of Cliftonhall is listed as a Covenanter in about 1650.
• From 'A history of the Society of Writers to Her Majesty's Signet' : FRASER, SIMON, of Ford. 19th December 1767. Apprentice to, and eldest son of, William Fraser of Ford, W.S. — Died 25th September 1819. Mar. 2d March 1784, Janet Cruickshank, daughter of Captain Charles Douglas of Cliftonhall, Philadelphia. (Elsewhere 2nd daughter and Cliftonhall, near Philadelphia) Presumably Philadelphia, USA. The American property was so named by Capt. John Wilcocks in 1749 when he acquired it from Henry Lewis III. In 1761, he sold Cliftonhall to Charles Cruikshank.
•  Jean Cruikshank, daughter of Charles Douglas of Cliftonhall, married Simon Fraser of Ford on 9 July 1794
•  Margaret DOUGLAS, (daughter of George Douglas born 26/4/1802, Hownam, Roxburghshire, and Elspeth Bogue born 21/3/1802) born 26 July 1844 Clifton Hall, Midlothian, Scotland married Joseph FORBES 14 May 1866 at Maryborough, Queensland, Australia and died 11 November 1916 buried at Tiaro, Queensland, Australia. Joseph died 4 October 1917 buried at Tiaro. Joseph listed his occupation as farmer and residence as ”Laburnum Bank” They had 7 children.

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Last modified: Thursday, 16 January 2020