Douglas of Rungallie

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USHER, master, of the King, (James IV) George Douglas of Rungallie;

Following my attention being drawn to the above entry, I made the following notes:

Sir George Douglas of Rumgally


linked with Duray/Durey & William Russell, student in St Leonards College, St Andrews

The May 1580 bill of household included such necessary positions as ushers of the king's chamber doors; a prerequisite to keeping out unwanted visitors as the royal court developed. The office of 'his majesteis houshald man and servand and depute ischear and kepar of his previe chalmer dur' was presented on 20 August 1572 to Alexander Young who, in December 1575, was additionally appointed as a valet of the king's wardrobe. ...

George Douglas of Rungallie, nominated as an ordinary gentleman of the chamber in October 1580, was appointed two months later as master usher of the king's chamber with the consent of George Douglas, bishop of Moray, the 'present maister ischear' of the king, although there is no evidence of the bishop's appointment.

In 1579, Sir James Scott of Balweary served heir to his father and received with many other lands, Rumgally (Rumgay).

26th June 1584. Extract registered Discharge by Robert [Stewart], Earl of March, bishop of Caithness and commendator of the priory of St. Andrews, with consent of the convent, granting to George Douglas of Rumgawie brother german of William Douglas of Lochleven, a discharge for the sum of 4000 merks, paid to the granter for ratification of the gift of pension in favour of Douglas...

Caution in 10,000 merks by James Scott of Balwery and Williame Scott of Abbottishall for George Douglas of Rumgally, that he will not harm Wemys, younger, of that Ilk, or his tenants and servants.

George Douglas, of Rumgawie, now Rumgally, but pronounced " Rumgay," probably a near relative of George Douglas, Bailie of Abernethy, found bail "pro omnibus."

Near the west end of the parish [PARISH OF KINGSBARNS] is Rumgay, or Rumgally, called in ancient writings Rathmatgallum. This formed part of the extensive barony of Strathmiglo, so long possessed by the Scots of Balweary. However, they only possessed the superiority, as the property was at an early period in other hands. We first find it in possession of a family of the name of Douglas; and from them it was acquired by Patrick Wemyss, fourth son of Sir David Wemyss of Wemyss, who died in 1591. From the Wemyss's it was purchased in 1658, by the Rev. James McGill minister of Largo, with whose family it for some time remained, when it was sold to a family of the Moncrieffs; afterwards it belonged to the Makgills of Kemback, and was ultimately purchased by Mr Thorns, merchant in Dundee, whose son, Alexander Thorns, Esq., is the present proprietor.

According to Douglas’s Peerage, the founder of the Rumgally or Rumgay family was Patrick, fifth son of Sir David Wemyss of Wemyss, and younger brother, not son, of Sir James of Bogie. The dates of the marriages of the brothers and sisters of this Patrick range from 1574 to 1598, so that as far as time is concerned he might have been father of Danesfort, who died in 1661, but is there proof that he was?

Lamont says that in 1658 Wemyss of Rumgay, then a young man, sold the estate for 16,000 merks to Mr. James McGill, minister at Largo: he adds that Rumgay held of the laird of Craighall.  Craighall did not belong to the Wemyss; it was purchased by Sir Thomas Hope, Lord Advocate, from the old family of Kynynmond, and is still [1874] in the possession of his descendants.

Between 1592-1599, there was a Sir Archibald Douglas of Rumgally. In the same period, Patrick Wemyss is listed as being 'of Rumgally'. In 1868, Rumgally appears to have been owned by Alexander Thoms. At some point, the Scots of Balwearie were based on the old estate of Rumgally, near Cupar. In 1889, William Seton is in residence. In 1904, Rumgally House was in the hands of David Robertson. In 1930, Robert Butlar was 'of Rumgallie'.

The following is extracted from The Scots peerage, Vol. VI, page 370:
George of Helenhill. He had a charter from James, Commendator of St. Andrews and Pittenweem, 25 April 1565, of an annual pension of 500 merks from the lands of these houses. As George Douglas of Helenhill he witnessed a charter of James, Commendator of Melrose, 19 June 1587, but he was also styled of Rumgally. He was knighted before 3 May 1588, and had a charter from his brother William of the lands of Aschescheillis, co. Peebles, in January 1588-89." During the captivity of Queen Mary in his father's castle George Douglas fell a victim to her charms, and so conspicuous was his admiration for her, that he was removed from that residence. He did not fail her, however, in her hour of need : it was he who, along with Lord Seton, met her on the mainland after her escape, and rode with her to Niddry and then to Hamilton. He was at the battle of Langside, and accompanied the Queen in her flight to England.

He married, first, after 1575, Jonet, daughter of John Lindsay of Dowhill and relict of Andrew Lundie of Balgony, and of Sir William Scott of Balwearie ; and secondly, after 1593, Margaret Durie, relict of William Scott of Abbotshall. He had issue one daughter,

Elizabeth, married to George Ramsay, afterwards Lord Ramsay of Dalhousie.

Sir George had also a natural son Robert, afterwards Robert Douglas of Clattie. Popular rumour said that he was the son of Sir George by Queen Mary, but no proof has ever been adduced for the statement. He was the father of Robert Douglas, the famous Presbyterian divine.


Fife and Kinross-shire OS Name Books, 1853-1855 - Volume 59

[situation] About 1 1/4 miles N.W. by N. [North West by North] from Pitscottie.
This is the mansion of the estate of Rumgally, it is a very old house and is supposed to have been a resting place for several of the Scottish Kings, when travelling between St. Andrews and Falkland Palace.
Above what was formerly an entrance are the arms armorial of a former proprietor. The only date is 1650. Several alterations have been made upon the house, showing the original walls to be about 3 feet thick. The field adjoining the house is all that remains of the parks, the remainder being used for farm purposes. Behind the house close by the river side is the farm steading, a very large and commodious structure. Both farm steading and Mansion house are occupied by the proprietor Alexander Thoms Esq.

Name Book 1854

"Rumgally belonged to 'James Butellare' in 1446, and is included in the charger of 1528, erecting certain lands belonging to Sir William Scott of Balweary into the barony of Strathmiglo. For some time the estate was in the posses sion of a cadet of the family of Wemyss of Wemyss" It was acquired in 1658 by the Rev. James M'Gill, minister of Largo.

A H Millar 1895

"Rungallie with lease of manor, mill" etc. is mentioned in a charter of Charles I, dated at Greenwich 18th June 1635.

Alexander Thoms was in Rumgally in 1853.

George Douglas of Helenhill was Commendator of St Andrews and Pittenweem.. "It was he who fell a victim to Queen Mary's charms to whom she turned in her hour of need. He accompanied her in he flight to England."

See also:
George Douglas of Lochleven who may be the one and the same person.



Sources for this article include:

• "The Household and Court of James VI of Scotland 1567-1603" by Amy L. Juhala

• The Scots peerage, Vol. VI, page 370

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