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William Douglas of Almorness



William Douglas of Almorness (abt 1874-1821) was an advocate and a British Member of Parliament in the House of Commons.

Probably born in New York in about 1784, he was the son of James Douglas of Orchardton and Elizabeth Douglas, daughter of William Douglas of Worcester. He was educated at Edinburgh High School and Trinity College, Cambridge.

He was admitted at Lincoln's Inn on 20th June 1806 and was called to the Scottish Bar. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh on 1st January 1812.  During a tour of the continent in 1818, accompanied by Hugh Williams, he became ill, and never fully recovered.

Alongside his uncle, Sir William Douglas of Castle Douglas, he was a partner in the Galloway Banking Co. (Douglas, Napier, & Co), established in Castle Douglas in 1806 and which ceased trading in 1821, because of a bad debt.

He was president of the Speculative Society between 1806 and 1809. An active Christian, he represented his parish as Ruling Elder at the Annual Meeting of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1811.

Having previously tried for Kirkcudbright, but been rejected, he was subsequently elected as member of Parliament for Plympton Erle (a constituency very close to the birthplace of his friend, Hugh Williams) from December 1812 to June 1816, during which time he is not known to have spoken, and has just seven recorded votes.

Involved in the design of the Douglas Mausoleum in Kelton, near Castle Douglas, he was interred there following his death, on 9 July 1821, just a few months after his father, alongside other family members.

An uncle, Sir James Shaw of Polmadie [1764-1843], Lord Mayor of London and an M.P. from 1809-1818, made strenuous efforts to have his uncle's Castle Douglas baronetcy transferred, without success.

Although he was unmarried, he had an illegitimate son, Charles Douglas. who joined the Honourable East India Company Service, serving as a military officer. He was born in about 1810. He appears to have benefitted from a number of legacies, though whether these reached him in India is not known.

Offered for sale in July 2021 by Abbott and Holder, when it was described as "Douglas M.P. F.R.S.E. (1784?-1821), William Italy; Rome, the Temple of Hercules Victor (AKA The Temple of Vesta) and the Piazza Bocca della Verità. Pen, ink and watercolour. c.1816-1818. Douglas funded and accompanied Hugh William ‘Grecian’ Williams F.R.S.E. (1773-1829) on his tour of the continent. The figure seated sketching to the left of the fountain is likely Williams. Provenance: The ‘De la Hanty Album’. Exhibited: Stephen Somerville (as Hugh William ‘Grecian’ Williams). 10×17.25 inches.


Almorness House was a single unroofed building annotated 'Ruin' as depicted on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Kirkcudbrightshire 1854, sheet 46), but it is not shown on the current edition of the OS 1:10000 map (1982). It is situated on the Almorness Peninsular, adjacent to Orchardton Bay.

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Last modified: Friday, 17 May 2024