Earls of Queensberry (1633)


1st Earl of Queensberry, William Douglas, b.?, a.1633, d.1640


William Douglas was the 9th Baron of Drumlanrig, in direct descent from the 1st Baron of Drumlanrig, another William Douglas, who was an illegitimate son of James Douglas, 2nd Earl of Douglas. This branch of the family had fought for their King through the generations, even taking the Royal side against the last earls of Douglas. He was raised to the Peerage in 1628 as 1st Viscount Drumlanrig and 1st Lord Douglas of Hawick and Tibberis, and was created 1st Earl of Queensberry by a visiting King Charles I in 1633, the name deriving from the mountain of Queensberry in Dumfries-shire.


2nd Earl of Queensberry, James Douglas, b.b.1622, a.1640, d.1671


Son of the 1st Earl and Isabel Kerr (b.?, d.1628), daughter of Mark Kerr, 1st Earl of Lothian. A supporter of Charles I during the Civil Wars, he was captured by the Covenanters in 1645 and forced to pay a fine for his release, and further fined during Cromwell’s Act of Grace and Pardon.


3rd Earl of Queensberry, William Douglas, b.1637, a.1671, d.1695


Son of the 2nd Earl and his second wife Lady Margaret Stewart, daughter of John Stewart, 1st Earl of Traquair. He served as Sheriff of Dumfries from 1664 to 1667, when he was made a Privy Counsellor. He was Lord Justice General from 1680 to 1682, when he was created 1st Marquess of Queensberry, 1st Earl of Drumlanrig & Sanquhar, 1st Viscount of Nith, Torthorwald & Ross, and 1st Lord Douglas of Kinmont, Middlebie & Dornoch. He was also made an Extraordinary Lord of Session in 1681.



Marquesses of Queensberry (1682)


1st Marquess of Queensberry, William Douglas, as above


He was Lord High Treasurer of Scotland from 1682 to 1686. He was also installed as Constable and Governor of Edinburgh Castle. In 1684 he was created 1st Duke of Queensberry and 1st Marquess of Drumfries-shire.



Dukes of Queensberry (1684)


1st Duke of Queensberry, William Douglas, as above


He was Lord President of the Privy Council from 1686 to 1689, and in 1685 he was made a Privy Counsellor in England as well as Scotland. He was however removed from office in 1687 for maladministration.


2nd Duke of Queensberry, James Douglas, b.1662, a.1695, d.1711


Son of the 1st Duke and Lady Isabel Douglas (b.c.1642), daughter of William Douglas, 1st Marquess of Douglas (for whom see the earls of Angus). Educated at the University of Glasgow, he was made a Privy Counsellor in 1684 after his return from a Grand Tour of the Continent, and was Lieutenant-Colonel of the Dundee Horse Regiment. However he joined Prince William in 1688, and was appointed as a Privy Counsellor and Gentleman of the Bedchamber, and Colonel in the 6th (Scottish) Horse Guards and  He was Lord High Treasurer of Scotland from 1693 and Keeper of the Privy Seal from 1695 to 1702, and Lord High Commissioner to the Scottish Parliament, obtaining the abandonment of the Darien scheme while in this position. He was made a Knight of the Garter in 1701. He temporarily withdrew from the Government due to association with the Jacobite cause, but returned in 1705 to take up the Privy Seal, and was instrumental in obtaining the Treaty of Union. He was then Secretary of State for Scotland from 1709 until his death. In 1708 he was created 1st Duke of Dover, 1st Marquess of Beverley and 1st Earl of Ripon in the Peerage of Great Britain.



Marquesses of Queensberry (1682, continued)


3rd Marquess of Queensberry, James Douglas, b.1697, a.1706, d.1715


Eldest son of the 2nd Duke and Mary Boyle (see below). He became violently insane, infamous for murdering a young servant and roasting him on a spit at the age of 10, and so in 1706 a re-grant of the dukedom was obtained that excluded him from the succession. When he died, the marquessate also reverted to his younger brother.



Dukes of Queensberry (1684, continued)


3rd Duke of Queensberry, Charles Douglas, b.c.1698, a.1711, d.1778


Son of the 2nd Duke and Mary Boyle (b.?, d.1709), daughter of Charles Boyle, 2nd Baron Clifford of Lanesborough, himself son of Sir Richard Boyle, 2nd Earl of the County of Cork. In 1706 he was created 1st Earl of Solway, 1st Viscount of Tiberris and 1st Lord Douglas of Lockerbie, Dalveen & Thornhill. He was made a Privy Counsellor and Lord of the Bedchamber to George I and appointed Vice-Admiral of Scotland. However, he became an ardent advocate for the playwright John Gay, author of the Beggar’s Opera, which was highly offensive to the government, and when Gay was refused permission to produce a sequel, Douglas resigned his offices in disgust and allied himself with Frederick, Prince of Wales. When George III was crowned, Douglas became a Privy Counsellor once more. He was Keeper of the Great Seal in 1761 and Lord Justice General from 1763 to 1778, when he hosted the King and Queen at his residence of Amesbury House in Wiltshire His 1706 titles, and his father’s British peerages, became extinct at his death, his two sons having died before him.


4th Duke of Queensberry, William Douglas, b.1725, a.1778, d.1810


Great-grandson of the 1st Marquess, grandson of William Douglas, 1st Earl of March and son of William Douglas, 2nd Earl of March and Anne Hamilton, Countess of Ruglen. Prior to succeeding to the dukedom, he had also become 3rd Earl of March and, separately, 3rd Earl of Ruglen, in his own right, and after succeeding to the dukedom was also created 1st Baron Douglas of Amesbury in the Peerage of Great Britain in 1786. He was Lord of the Bedchamber to George III, but during the King’s illness of 1788 he advocated a Regency to support the Prince of Wales as the new sovereign. When the King recovered, this was not well received and he was dismissed. He later stripped the woodlands around his castles of Drumlanrig and Neidpath in order to fund the marriage of his illegitimate daughter to the Earl of Yarmouth, incurring the wrath of both Robert Burns and William Wordsworth for his destruction. He was, however, a patron of the arts, though he was also known for his excessive lifestyle, having a keen interest in horse-racing and being a member of the Hellfire Club. When he died without legitimate heir, his titles were dispersed according to the various rules of succession. The earldom of March passed to David Wemyss, 4th Earl of Wemyss, the earldom and marquessate of Queensberry passed to a direct descendant of the 1st Earl of Queensberry, for which see below, (though the marquessate’s lesser titles remained with the dukedom) and the dukedom passed to Henry Scott, 3rd Duke of Buccleuch.


5th Duke of Queensberry, Henry Scott, b.1746, a.1810, d.1812


Henry Scott had become the 3rd Duke of Buccleuch in 1751 and succeeded to the Queensberry dukedom by virtue of the fact that his paternal grandmother was Lady Jane Douglas (b.1701, d.1729), daughter of James Douglas, the 2nd Duke of Queensberry.


For a continuation of the line of Duke of Queensberry please consult the Buccleuch page.



Baronets Douglas of Kelhead (1668)


1st Baronet Douglas, James Douglas, b.1639, a.1668, d.1708


Son of Sir William Douglas (b.?, d.1673), the 2nd Earl’s younger brother, and Agnes Fawside.


2nd Baronet Douglas, William Douglas, b.?, a.1708, d.1733


Son of the 1st Baronet and Catherine Douglas, daughter of James Douglas, 2nd Earl of Queensberry.


3rd Baronet Douglas, John Douglas, b.?, a.1733, d.1778


Son of the 2nd Baronet and Helen Erskine (b.?, d.1754). He was MP for Dumfries from 1741 but held in the Tower of London on suspicion of being a Jacobite until 1748.


4th Baronet Douglas, William Douglas, b.?, a.1778, d.1783


Son of the 3rd Baronet and Christian Cunningham (b.?, d.1741), daughter of Sir William Cunningham, 2nd Baronet Cunningham of Caprington. He was MP for the Dumfries Burghs.


5th Baronet Douglas, Charles Douglas, b.1777, a.1783, d.1837


Son of the 4th Baronet and Grace Johnstone (b.?, d.1836). In 1810 he succeeded as 6th Marquess of Queensberry.



Marquesses of Queensberry (1682 continued)


6th Marquess of Queensberry, Charles Douglas, b.1777, a.1810, d.1837


From 1812 to 1832 he served as a Representative Peer, and in 1821 was invested as a Knight of the Thistle. In 1833 he was created 1st Baron Solway of Kinmount, in the County of Dumfries, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, allowing him an automatic seat in the House of Lords. He married Caroline Scott (b.?, d.1854), daughter of Henry Scott, 3rd Duke of Buccleuch & 5th Duke of Queensberry, and had a large family of at least eight girls. The barony became extinct on his death.


7th Marquess of Queensberry, John Douglas, b.1779, a.1837, d.1856


Younger brother of the 6th Marquess. He was made a Lord of the Bedchamber in 1835. He also attended the House of Lords after his succession and was a Whig Lord-in-Waiting from 1837 to 1841. He was also Lord-Lieutenant of Dumfries-shire from 1837 to 1856.


8th Marquess of Queensberry, Archibald William Douglas, b.1818, a.1856, d.1858


Son of the 7th Marquess and Sarah Douglas (b.?, d.1864), daughter of Major James Sholto Douglas, and a second cousin. Educated at Eton, he was a Cornet in the 2nd Life Guards before becoming MP for Dumfries-shire in 1847, and was made a Privy Counsellor in 1853, becoming Comptroller of the Household until 1856, when he succeeded his father. He was Lord-Lieutenant of Dumfries-shire from 1856 to 1858. He died while hunting when his gun exploded, but this story was perhaps to cover his suicide.


9th Marquess of Queensberry, John Sholto Douglas, b.1844, a.1858, d.1900


Son of the 8th Marquess and Caroline Margaret Clayton (b.?, d.1904), daughter of General Sir William Robert Clayton, 5th Baronet Clayton of Marden. He was born in Florence and educated at the Royal Naval College, and was a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy at the age of fifteen. He was a keen sportsman, and was one of the founders of the Amateur Athletic Club in 1866, which became the Amateur Athletic Association of England (the triple A). He was particularly interested in boxing, and was responsible for the development of the rules for conducting boxing matches that now bears his name, although he did not actually write them himself. He was a Representative Peer from 1872 to 1880, after which he resigned, refusing to take the oath of allegiance, which as an atheist he considered unacceptable. He also produced various writings on the subject of atheism and humanism. His eldest son, Francis Archibald Douglas (b.1867, d.1894), was created 1st Baron Kelhead in the Peerage of the United Kingdom in 1893, giving him a seat in the House of Lords denied his father, stirring his father’s resentment. This, and the son’s close ties to Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery, who became Prime Minister in 1894, created a bitter dispute between father and son. There was speculation at the time that Francis and Rosebery had an homosexual relationship, and that Queensberry threatened to expose the Prime Minister, but by most accounts Rosebery was an happily married man. Regardless, Francis was killed in an hunting accident, that may have been suicide or even murder, and his barony became extinct. In 1895, the Marquess was sued by Oscar Wilde after making defamatory remarks regarding the relationship between Wilde and another son, Alfred Bruce Douglas (b.1870, d.1945), but the case was withdrawn shortly after it opened after Queensberry’s lawyers threatened to expose Wilde’s relationships with several male prostitutes. Queensberry then successfully countersued, leaving Wilde bankrupt and imprisoned for two years.


10th Marquess of Queensberry, Percy Sholto Douglas, b.1868, a.1900, d.1920


Son of the 9th Marquess and Sibyl Montgomery (b.?, d.1935).


11th Marquess of Queensberry, Francis Archibald Kelhead Douglas, b.1896, a.1920, d.1954


Son of the 10th Marquess and Anna Maria Walters (b.1866, d.1917). He was a Representative Peer from 1922 to 1929.


12th Marquess of Queensberry, David Harrington Angus Douglas, b.1929, a.1954


Son of the 11th Marquess and Cathleen Sabine Mann (b.?, d.1959), daughter of the artist Harrington Mann and noted interior designer Dolly Mann. He was educated at Eton before joining the Royal Horse Guards. He chose to work in the pottery industry and was Professor of Ceramics at the Royal College of Art from 1959 to 1983. He was also President of the Design and Industry Association from 1976 to 1978 and was made a Fellow of the Chartered Society of Designers. As well as being 12th Marquess, he is also 11th Earl of Queensberry, 11th Viscount Drumlanrig and 11th Lord Douglas of Hawick and Tibbers.



The courtesy title for the heir is Viscount Drumlanrig.


(Last updated: 17/06/2011)


Back to main titles page