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History of West Calder
Chapter VIII. Family of Badds, &c.


The history of West Calder would not be complete without reference to the oldest and most historic family in the parish, viz.— The Douglases of Badds.

The history of this family (who still possess part at least of the ancient patrimony) is a very interesting one, and deserves a chapter to itself.

The family estate is still very extensive but I think it once included the whole, or at least most of the parish. The mansion house has been described in a former chapter, as “a relic of antiquity,” and was probably the first substantial stone-built house in the parish.

The name “Badds” seems to me to be of Saxon origin, and was probably descriptive of the land itself as being the “bad” or worst portion of the ancient Barony of Calder— extensive tracts of which have never yet been cultivated, and probably never will.

The Douglases of Badds are of ancient, noble, and even Royal descent, being a lineal branch of the great Douglases of historic fame.

The following account of how they became connected with the Sandilands of Calder, and finally settled at Badds, is of sufficient interest. to warrant its insertion here :—

Family of Torphichen.

The first authentic account of this ancient family is in the reign of David II., 1336, when Sir James Sandilands obtained a grant from that monarch of lands in the county of Peebles for his lands of Craiglockhart and Stennypath in the county of Edinburgh. He also possessed the land and barony of Wiston, in Lanarkshire, and in 1346 he obtained a confirmation of the lands of Sandilands and Reidmyre, in Douglasdale, from William, Lord Douglas. Having greatly distinguished himself under that illustrious commander, in war against the English—(the war of Scottish Succession)—he became a great favourite, and obtained the hand of Elionora, Countess of Carrick, and sister of Lord Douglas, in marriage. She was the only sister of Archibald Douglas of Douglas, and relict of Alexander Bruce, Earl of Carrick—(a title previously held by Robert the Bruce)—and with her he received the Barony of West Calder in liberum marilagium, to be held in like manner as Earl William held the said Barony from Duncan, Earl of Fife.

Thus the arms of an Earldom that once outvied and disputed the Crown of Scotland with the Stuarts, through descent from Baliol and Comyn, the cousins and rivals of Robert the Bruce, is held by the De Sandilands (of Torphichen peerage—a title instituted in 1564, on the suppression of the Knights of St John of Torphichen, which was founded about the year 1099).

And it is further worth noting, that the Barony of Badds, cut out of the ancient Barony of Calder, was granted to Leonard Douglas who got a charter of the lands of “Badds” from John Sandilands fiar of Calder, with consent of his father Sir James, to himself in life rent, and William, his third son, in fee, dated 10th April, 1558.

Thus the Barony of Badds was founded, and probably about this time the first mansion house on the estate was built. It stood on the west of the road to Carnwath, near Badds Mill.

This William Douglas married Jean Bruce, daughter of Bruce of Clackmanan, the lineal descendant of Robert the Bruce, thus in a double line the ancient royal blood of Scotland flows in the veins of the Douglases of Badds.

While writing this, I have before me a Genealogical Tree of the Family of Badds, compiled by one David Martin, in May, 1823, and possessed by one Isabella G. Panton, Edinburgh, in November, 1875, which is a very interesting study, so far as it goes, but is sadly lacking in dates, as only a very few are inserted. Nothing but an exact copy of this genealogical tree would convey all the information it contains, so the reader must be content with a few of the more interesting extracts.

In the first place, Margaret (daughter of the foresaid William Douglas) married William, son of Archibald Haldane, in Peebles, 9th June, 1597, and her tocher was 200 merks—a large sum in those days—but now only worth £11 2s. 3d. sterling, per annum. This would entitle her to rank by courtesy as a lady, with the privilege of wearing silks, furs, and ornaments, according to the old laws and customs of Scotland.

The next in succession to William Douglas is Joseph, married to a daughter of Denham of West Shiells, and secondly to Beatrix Brown; from him sprang Katherine, married to James Smith in Nether Adderston, 22ni May, 1552. Also Elizabeth, married to Williani Flint of Muirhall, from whom sprang the' Flints of Burnhouse and Powbeth, also, Mr Patrick Flint, a minister; and Barbra, married to Kinloch, brother to Kinloch of Alderston; their great-grandchild, James Kinloch, being a seceding preacher in America ; and also Catherine, who married Francis Easton, surgeon in Mid-Calder—whose daughter, Jean Easton, married Bichard Robertson, innkeeper at the Shotts, whose son, John Robertson, was an innkeeper in Whitburn. Bailies, merchants, portioners, tenants, dyers, glovers, smiths, masons, and wrights, are mentioned as springing from the Ivinloch branch of the Flint family.

Next in descent to Joseph Douglas is James, married to Jean Sandilands, granddaughter to Lord Torphichen, by whom he seems to have had two daughters and one son. Of the daughters, “Marion, married to Peter Kenoway of Odowell, who had 23 children”— but whether it was Marion or her husband Peter who had the 23 children I am unable to say, from the quaint nature of the record. Margaret married to Mr Hugh Kennedy, of Easter Inch of Bathgate, minister of College Kirk, Edinburgh, 6th June, 1662. They had a family of five daughters and three sons, whose names only are mentioned. The son is simply described as James Douglas of Muirhousedykes.

I now come again to William Douglas, married to Jean Mason, 8th December, 1554. This seems very strange and rather confusing, so I am forced to conclude that this stage of the genealogical tree represents a second marriage of the said William Douglas, and the offspring therefrom, and as such I will treat it.

This William (whoever he was—whether old William or young William) seems to have had a family of six sons and four daughters. Of the sons, Walter seems to have been the eldest, and is described as Go vernor of the Leeward Islands, a situation at present worth ^3000 a-year.

William, an officer in the army, married to Jean, daughter of James Douglas of Muirhousedykes.

John, surgeon in London.

Alexander, minister at East Calder, and twin brother of John.

George, surgeon in London.

Of the daughters, Jean, the eldest, married to Stevenson of Herdmanshiells.

Catherine married 1st to Campbell of Cla-thick, and secondly to Mr, Murray, minister at Stirling.

Mary seems to have been unmarried, while

Christian, the youngest daughter, married Mr John Wilson, minister of the gospel at Glencross.

The above Alexander Douglas, minister of East Calder, seems to have had a family of six, of which the following is the simple record :—

1. Alexander, merchant in St Kitts.
2. Jean, married Aretas Akers of St Kitts.
3. Robert, planter in St Kitts.
4. Isabella.
5. Mary, married Mr James Stoddart, minister, Kirkintulloch.
6. John Leigh, lieutenant in the navy.

I would not have noticed this branch, had it not been for two reasons: first, It is evident that their uncle Walter, who was governor of the Leeward Islands, had induced the first three named to settle in St Kitts, one of these islands; and secondly, because the marriage of this Jane Douglas seems to have been how the peculiar name Aretes Akers was introduced to the Badds family.

But to return to Walter Douglas, (Governor of Leeward Islands,) who seems to have been the then heir-at-law: He is credited with three children—

1st, Jean, married to Squire Smith, of St Kitts.
2nd, John, a colonel in St Kitts (and heir of Badds.)
3rd, James George, merchant in London. This John (colonel in St Kitts) had three children— '

1st, John (his heir), and designated “at present Member of Parliament for Hindon, in Wiltshire.”
2nd, James, captain and lieut.-colonel in 3rd regiment of Foot Guards.
3rd, Margaret, married to Colonel Dal-rymple, Governor of Guadaloupe.

And now, to conclude the geneological tree, we find that John Douglas (1LP. for Hindon) had five children—

1. Charlotte; 2. Agnes; 3. Mary; 4. John, the eldest son and heir, and 5. William.

It is to be regretted that the dates are not supplied to these latter scions of the Badds family, as it would have been a guide to the period included in the genealogical tree.

After leaving the genealogical tree, the next owner of Badds that I can trace is George Alexander Douglas, who succeeded to the estate about 1819, at which time the property of Craigs, in Dumfries-shire was purchased from Charles Douglas, Marquis of Queensberry, by funds expressly left for the purpose, “to be entailed on heirs male or female.”

This George Alexander Douglas seems to be the last of the direct male line, for his sister’s son, the Rev. Alexander Houston, succeeded him in 1838. He was educated for the English Church, but I cannot:find that he ever held a benefice, but took the name of Douglas in addition to his own, and was known as the Rev. Alexander Houston-Douglas. He died about 1852-3, leaving a widow but no family, and was succeeded by his only sister, Miss Elizabeth Houston, who also took the name of Douglas. At the time Miss Houston-Douglas succeeded to Badds estate she was well advanced in years, and very infirm in health, but notwithstanding these circumstances, possessed the estate for 19£ years, somewhat to the surprise of those who knew her best. She resided principally in London, and died about! 872-3. Her cousin, Captain James Stoddartr “a-nephew of the old Laird, George Alexander Douglas" was the next heir, but he only held the estate for about 26 months, and died in 1875, when nearly 80 years of age. He also would have taken the name of Douglas on succeeding to Craigs and Badds, but on the death of his uncle, above referred to, he took the name of Douglas, and succeeded to the family property and residence of Chilston Park, nine miles from Maidstone in Kent. Mr Stoddart Douglas was twice married, but bad no family; his widow resides in Tunbridge Wells, and has a handsome jointure from the estates.

The present owner of Badds (nephew of Miss Douglas) is Aretas Akers Douglas, J,P., and LLP. for East Kent in the present Parliament of 1880, and whose address is given in the London Court Directory as— “Carlton Club, S. W., and Union Club, W.C.; Chilston Park, Maidstone : Badds, West Calder, Edinburgh, N.B., and Craigs, Dumfries, N.B.”

He is also more particularly described in a list of Members of the House of Commonas eldest son of the Rev. Arctas Akers of Mailing Abbey, Kent, by Frances, daughter of Francis Hollis Brandam, Esq., Tunbridge Wells, and was born in 1851. Married in 1875 to Adaline Mary, daughter of Henry Austen Smith, Esq. of Hayes Court, Kent. Was educated at Eton, and University College, Cambridge ; and called to the Bar at Inner Temple, 1874. Assumed the name of Douglas in addition to his patronymic, 1875. Is patron of a living in the English Church. A Conservative ‘by conviction.’ Is sincerely attached to the Established Church of England; and will support the Union of Church and State by every means in his power. And is also in favour of the present inequalities of Local Taxation being reduced.”

Since succeeding to the estate, Mr Akers Douglas has, with the requisite consent, broken the entail, so that Badds Barony as an heritable Barony has ceased to exist, after having endured as such for more than 300 years: for better or for worse fulfilling the proverb which is prominently carved on, an old house in the High Street of Hawick— “ All was others ; all will be others.” And in despite of the defiant and shrewd advice carved on the lintel of an old thatched house in the Ducal town of Alnwick—

“That which your Father old hath purchased, and left you to possess:

To you dearly hold,

To show his worthiness. ”

As straws are said to show how streams run, so, I cannot conclude this chapter without relating the following incidents which have come under my notice.

The first is taken from the West Calder Session Records, and proves that James Douglas of Badds, who was married to Lord Torphichen’s granddaughter, resided on his own estate, and took his share in the ordinary affairs of the parish. The incident in question is the baptism of twins named Flint, who were related to him by marriage, and I will give the entry in its own quaint way:—

“Anno 1677.—James and John Flints— James and John twins, lawful sons to Mr Patrick Flint and Helen Hamilton his wife, were born 2§th and baptised 26th October. Witnesses to their baptism were James Douglas of Badds, James John and Thomas Flints.”

It is not said who was the officiating minister, but a prelate, the Rev. George Robertson, was then incumbent of the parish, which may also account for the extraordinary haste of the baptism.

Muirhall, Burnhouse, and Powbeth, as we have already seen, were at one time in the possession of these Flints—the one at Muirhall having married Elizabeth Douglas, the grandmother or great-grandmother of these twins. Thus the genealogical tree is confirmed by the Session Records—from which it was perhaps originally taken, in conjunction with the Family Records.

The other two incidents to which I wish to refer, thro\v a lurid light upon the originally wild state of the lands in and around the Calders.

Calder was a favourite hunting ground of James VI., and the wild boar was then the chief object of the chase, which proves that the district was then comparatively wild and uncultivated. And I often wonder if it was in the wilds of Calder that James and his hunting party were overtaken in the furious storm that drove the King to take refuge in a pig hut—where, for the first, if not the only time in his life—he perforce overcame his well known aversion to smoking tobacco in order to drown the more objectionable stench in his place of refuge.

That much of Calder was then wild and inhospitable is clearly proved by the following incident, which I have extracted from “Chambers’ Domestic Annals of Scotland,” vol. i. p. 838 :—

1592, June 28.—The Earl of Bothwell, with 300 armed followers, made an attempt to seize the person of King James VI. at Falkland Palace, in Fifeshire, but failed to do so. Thereafter his majesty came over the water, and made ane oration in the Great Kirk at Edinburgh. Immediately after the fray, Both well and his men came over the water, and there were 18 of them taken at Calder Muir, lying sleeping for want of rest and entertainment; and, immediately after their taking, they were all brought to Edinburgh and (five of them) hangit.”

Most of this country was one great Oak Forest at one time, wherein roamed the snow-white Caledonian bull; those ferocious Caledonian boars, which, as Martel tells us, were used to heighten the torments of unhappy sufferers on the cross; and whose monstrous tusks are still occasionally unearthed by the plough and the* spade ; the elk, the stag, and the wolf; and even when we are told that* at one time this island was raised from under the sea, and that the fossil remains of prehistoric animals, whose bones are larger than the elephant’s, the whale’s, or the great behemoth’s itself—need we then wonder at anything science or research may bring to light?

Doubtless the retainers of the Douglases, of whom we have been speaking, were more or less of Pictish origin, and, like themselves, lithe and swarthy, which may in part account for the distinctive features and shape which even to this day is observable between their descendants and those of their fairer and more burly brethren of East Lothian. In one remarkable custom a peculiar distinction still survives—for while we still hear of “bondagers” as farm labourers, in East Lothian, I never yet heard the term used in the freer, if wilder, South West.


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