Saturday 17 March 2018

(324) Baillie of Polkemmet and Leeds Castle, baronets

Baillie of Polkemmet, baronets
The Baillie family of Polkemmet are said to trace their descent through the Baillies of Jervistown and of Carphin from the Baillies of Lamington, but they emerge into history only with the purchase of the Polkemmet estate in West Lothian at the beginning of the 17th century. For the best part of two centuries they remained an obscure and minor gentry family, but Thomas Baillie (1708-85), who was a Writer to the Signet (solicitor) and his son William Baillie (c.1737-1816), who was trained as an advocate and who was made a judge of the Court of Session in 1795 as Lord Polkemmet, raised the status of the family somewhat. It is said that it was intended to make William Baillie a baronet, but that he died before effect could be given to this intention, and that the honour was therefore conferred on his son, Sir William Baillie (1782-1854), 1st bt., instead. There are several similar recorded cases, and it would not be particularly remarkable except that the dates are puzzling. Lord Polkemmet stood down from judicial office in 1811 and that would be the logical time for him to have been honoured. He lived until 1816, so there was plenty of time to confer a baronetcy on him. But if at the time of his death there was an unrealised intention, why was the baronetcy not actually conferred on his son until 1823? The son had spent twenty years as a junior army officer in India, and there seems to be nothing in his career to justify such an honour, so it probably was belated recognition of his father - but the timing remains puzzling.

Either the accumulated proceeds of his father's long career in the law or else the opportunities that India provided for personal enrichment allowed Sir William Baillie to greatly enlarge and remodel Polkemmet House in the 1820s or 1830s. He had a very large family of thirteen children and some physical expansion of the house was probably necessary to accommodate them. The heir to Polkemmet was the eldest son, Sir William Baillie (1816-90), 2nd bt., who married but had no issue. He left Polkemmet to his widow, but the baronetcy passed to his nephew, Sir George Baillie (1856-96), 3rd bt., who was a farmer in Australia. When he died unmarried of typhoid, the title passed to his brother, Sir Robert Alexander Baillie (1858-1907), who had been brought up in Australia but came back to England to study at Oxford and later joined the Imperial Yeomanry. When the 2nd baronet's widow died in 1910, Polkemmet passed to Sir Gawaine George Stuart Baillie (1893-1914), who had inherited the baronetcy from his father as a teenager in 1907. Sadly, Sir Gawaine was one of the many gallant young subalterns who met an early death in the first weeks of the First World War, and the title and estate passed to his younger brother, Sir Adrian Baillie (1898-1947), 6th bt. Coal mining had begun on the Polkemmet estate in 1913, and the mine became productive from 1921, significantly increasing the wealth of the family. After service in the First World War, Sir Adrian joined the diplomatic corps in 1921, but he resigned in 1928 in order to stand as a Unionist candidate for West Lothian in the 1929 General Election. He was not successful on that occasion, but fared better in 1931, in which year he married. His bride was Olive Cecilia (1899-1974), the daughter of Almeric Hugh Paget (from 1918, Lord Queenborough) and through her mother, Pauline Payne Paget (née Whitney), one of the heirs of William Collins Whitney (1841-1904), an American politician and financier, and of Col. Oliver Hazard Payne, one of the founders of Standard Oil. Shortly before her death in 1916, Pauline Paget had settled £4,000,000 on her two daughters. Olive Cecilia, the elder daughter, had already been divorced twice when she married Sir Adrian Baillie, and with her second husband she had in 1926 bought Leeds Castle in Kent and invested a substantial part of her settlement in its restoration and modernisation. Leeds Castle became the Baillies' home, and the process of restoration and redecoration continued throughout the 1930s. Lady Baillie made Leeds Castle a place of lavish hospitality, where politicians, the aristocracy of Europe, wealthy Americans and film stars were frequently entertained. During the Second World War, Lady Baillie did her best to continue entertaining, although the main building of the castle was used as a war hospital. When she died in 1974, Lady Baillie left Leeds Castle to a charitable foundation charged with its preservation for public benefit. The castle has been open to the public since 1976, but much of its atmosphere of luxury and influence survives.

Sir Adrian and Lady Baillie had one child, but their marriage also ended in divorce in 1944. When Sir Adrian died of pneumonia in the harsh winter of 1947, the baronetcy and the Polkemmet estate passed to their son, Sir Gawaine George Hope Baillie (1934-2003). The Polkemmet Colliery was nationalised in 1948, and Polkemmet House was leased to the Trefoil Trust and later to the Scottish National Police College. During the 1950s, the Polkemmet estate was sold to the National Coal Board, and after the Police College gave up its lease on the house in 1960, the Coal Board pulled down the mansion. In 1959, Sir Gawaine set up an engineering business in Burgess Hill (Sussex), which he continued to run until his death. He had many other interests, however, and during the 1960s he was a successful amateur racing driver. Once his mother had decided to leave Leeds Castle to a charitable trust and it was clear that he would not inherit it (though he did inherit the wider Leeds estate), he decided to buy a new property nearer to his business in Sussex. He settled on Freechase at Warninglid, a rambling late 19th century house with fine views across the Weald to the south Downs. His intention seems always to have been to rebuild the house, and after obtaining plans for a neo-Georgian house from Claud Phillimore, he settled on building a Modernist house, which was built on the old site in 1975-77, to the designs of Tom Hancock and Tony Swannell. True country houses in a pure Modernist style are remarkably rare, perhaps because their is an innate contradiction between the relaxed and rather messy opulence of country house life and the Modernist aversion to decoration and ornament. Freechase has, however, been accounted one of the more successful examples of the genre, and it is at least spatially interesting. It is now the home of Sir Gawaine's son, Sir Adrian Louis Baillie (b. 1973), the 8th baronet, and his family.

Polkemmet House, West Lothian

At the core of Polkemmet House (West Lothian) was an early 17th century house built for Thomas Baillie (d. 1645) or for his father, also Thomas Baillie, who acquired the estate in about 1600. The estate descended through seven generatons to William Baillie (d. 1816), who was admitted an advocate in 1758 and later became a Lord of Session (Law Lord) as Lord Polkemmet. He was succeeded by his son, Sir William Baillie (1782-1854), who was made a baronet in 1823. About that time, the house at Polkemmet was enlarged and remodelled in the castellated style associated with David Hamilton, although there seems to be no evidence that he was personally involved here. By 1854, the footprint of the house seems to have been very much as it remained in the 20th century, and it may well be that Sir William Baillie was responsible for a second phase of alterations before his death, as the house later had a visual complexity that seems unlikely for the 1820s. There were also some fancy decorative touches, including a pair of onion-dome capped turrets on the entrance front and a a tower with a concave-sided pyramidal roof, which feel later 19th century. 

Polkemmet House: entrance front and side elevation, early 20th century.

The house was enlarged again in 1912 by Dick Peddie and Forbes Smith for the trustees of Sir Gawaine Baillie, 5th bt, who was killed in the first year of the First World War. His mother made Polkemmet available as a hospital, but returned to the house after the war. Her second son, Sir Adrian Baillie (1898-1947), who succeeded as 6th bt., entered politics and became MP for West Lothian, 1931-35 and later for Tonbridge, 1937-45. He lived principally in London, but used Polkemmet occasionally (the Duke and Duchess of Kent were entertained here on one occasion, while staying at Holyroodhouse). After the voters of West Lothian declined to re-elect Sir Adrian as their MP in 1935, however, the family made less and less use of the house. 
Polkemmet House: the entrance front from an old postcard.
Polkemmet House: staircase hall.
At the outbreak of the Second World War Polkemmet was made available to the County Council, which established an experimental residential school for physically disabled children, run by the Trefoil Trust, in the house. This continued until 1951, when the school moved to more suitable premises elsewhere and was replaced as tenant by the Scottish Police College. In 1960 the college moved to Tullieallan Castle, and the house was left empty. The estate had by then been sold to the National Coal Board, which demolished the house in the 1960s. The grounds and outbuildings were, however, preserved, and in 1971 opened as a country park and golf course. Coal mining, which ceased in 1985, has left much of the former estate as an industrial wasteland.

Descent: sold c.1600 to Thomas Baillie (fl. 1600); to son, Thomas Baillie (d. 1645); to son, Thomas Baillie (d. 1660); to son, Thomas Baillie (c.1646-1704); to son, Thomas Baillie (1678-1758); to son, Thomas Baillie (1708-85); to son, William Baillie (c.1737-1816), Lord Polkemmet; to son, Sir William Baillie (1782-1854), 1st bt.; to son, Sir William Baillie (1816-90), 2nd bt.; to widow, Mary, Lady Baillie (d. 1910) and then to his great-nephew, Sir Gawaine George Stuart Baillie (1893-1914), 5th bt.; to brother, Sir Adrian William Maxwell Baillie (1898-1947), 6th bt.; to son, Sir Gawaine George Hope Baillie (1934-2003), 7th bt., who sold in 1950s to National Coal Board; demolished after 1960.

Leeds Castle, Kent

The romantic moated setting of the house has ensured that since it opened to the public in 1976, Leeds Castle has become one of the most popular heritage attractions in England, with around half a million visitors a year. But the same qualities have been attracting visitors and owners for centuries, and ensured that the castle has been almost continuously occupied since medieval times. The manor of Leeds was in the hands of the de Crevecoeur family by about 1120, and they had a motte and bailey castle here, corresponding to the Gloriette and the main island. The 'stagnum' or moat is first mentioned in 1272 and was created by damming a marshy bottom which is fed by the river Len. The castle came into royal possession in about 1278, and was a favourite place of King Edward I, who made it part of the estate he settled on Queen Eleanor (d. 1290), though he continued to invest in its development throughout the 1280s and 1290s. For more than two centuries, it continued to form part of the dower of successive queens, the last being Catherine of Aragon, for whom it was extensively updated in 1518-22.

Leeds Castle in the early 18th century, showing the new block built by Sir Richard Smythe in its original form.

In 1552 the castle was granted by the Crown to Sir Anthony St. Leger (d. 1559) of Ulcombe (Kent), whose grandfather had been constable of the castle in the later 15th century. His descendants sold it to Sir Richard Smythe in the early 17th century, and it was apparently he who first built a modern house within the site of the castle. This is recorded in an 18th century oil painting as a two-storey, seven-by-three bay battlemented block with typical 17th century cross-windows.  Sir Richard Smythe sold Leeds Castle in 1632 to Sir Thomas Colepeper, who settled it on his son, Sir Cheney Colepeper, whose Parliamentarian allegiance ensured that the castle was not slighted during the Civil War, although it was used as both an arsenal and a prison. 

When the 6th Baron Fairfax emigrated to America in 1745 to live on his vast American estate, he gave Leeds castle to his younger brother, Robert Fairfax (1707-93), who at the end of his life succeeded as 7th Baron.  18th century views of the castle show that he remodelled the main building in a Gothick form, with quatrefoils set in the upper parts of the wall over pointed windows. Nothing is known of the interiors of this time.

Leeds Castle in the late 18th century, showing the Gothick fenestration applied to the Smythe range by that time.
In 1821 the estate devolved upon Fiennes Wykeham-Martin, who at once began to rebuild the post-medieval house (which he linked by a two-storey stone bridge to the Gloriette) and to add turrets and battlements to the Gloriette and the Maiden's Tower. The proportions of his new Main Building were very much those of its predecessor, but it was apparently a complete rebuilding, not a remodelling. 

Leeds Castle: the new main building erected in 1822-25. Image: Nicholas Kingsley. Some rights reserved.
The work was undertaken in 1822-25 to the designs of William Baskett of Camberwell, who produced a characteristically naive piece of early 19th century medievalism: a symmetrical rectangular two-storey block with battlements, octagonal angle-turrets, generous Tudor-style windows, and a large central tower pulling the composition together. By the time the new range and associated works had been completed, the castle had outwardly assumed very much its current form.

Leeds Castle: the castle from the south-west in 1869. The outward appearance is much the same today.

Leeds Castle: ground plan in 1869.

Nothing coherent seems to survive of the original internal decoration, although the original internal layout is known from a plan of 1869.

After Lady Baillie bought the castle in 1926, she set about transforming the interior of the castle into a comfortable modern residence, with the assistance of Owen Little as architect and first Armand Albert Rateau (in 1927-29) and later Stephane Boudin (in 1936-39) as interior designers. Under Rateau, Lady Baillie seems to have stuck to an essentially medievalising style, but in the later work, undertaken after her marriage and to the designs of Boudin, she moved to a more fashionable neo-Georgian manner, executed with considerable flair and no expense spared.

Leeds Castle: staircase by A.A. Rateau, c.1927-29.
Image: Nicholas Kingsley. Some rights reserved.
From the Rateau period there remain the heavily moulded Jacobean style ceiling of the so-called Heraldry Room at the centre of the main building. In the 19th century this was known as the Great Hall, and the ceiling may be a cast of a genuine 17th century one, although the source has not been traced. There are also three neo-medieval rooms of c.1927 on the ground floor of the Gloriette, fitted up with some genuine French late medieval work. The internal courtyard of the Gloriette has stone walls and Tudor windows, except at the south end, where timber framing in a late medieval French style was introduced c.1927, together with a winding staircase lined with linenfold panelling. Lady Baillie's private apartments on the first floor were decorated by Boudin. The Yellow drawing room is in a mid C18 Palladian style, with some French touches. The Thorpe Hall room next door is the complete panelled Artisan Mannerist interior of the Great Parlour from Thorpe Hall (Hunts), built in 1654-56 by Peter Mills. On the other side of the staircase landing are the Library of 1938-39, copied from an engraved design by Daniel Marot, and the elegant panelled dining room, which is painted a pale blue.

Leeds Castle: Yellow Drawing Room, decorated by Boudin, c.1936-39. Image: Nicholas Kingsley. Some rights reserved.

Leeds Castle: the Thorpe Hall room. Image: K. Hoffmann.
On Lady Baillie's death in 1974, Leeds Castle was handed over to a Trust charged with its preservation for public benefit. It has been open to the public since 1976, and it also hosts grand weddings and conferences; it has been used several times for high profile political conferences, including some of the discussions leading to the Middle East Camp David Accords and the talks between the parties in Northern Ireland that led to the Good Friday Agreement. The estate surrounding the castle continues to belong to the Baillie family.

Descent: Crown granted 1552 to Sir Anthony St. Leger (d. 1559);to son, Sir Warham St. Leger (d. 1597); to Anthony St. Leger (d. 1602); to Sir Warham St. Leger, who sold 1618 to his kinsman Sir Richard Smythe (d. 1628); to Sir John Smythe (d. 1632), whose heirs sold 1632 to Sir Thomas Culpeper of Hollingbourne, who gave it to his son, Sir Cheney Culpeper (d. 1663), whose executors sold to his cousin, Thomas Colepeper (1635-89), 2nd Baron Culpeper; to widow, Margaret, Lady Culpeper (d. 1710); to daughter, Catherine (d. 1719), widow of Thomas Fairfax (1657-1710), 5th Baron Fairfax; to son, Thomas Fairfax (1692-1782), 6th Baron Fairfax, who gave the castle in 1745 to his brother, Robert Fairfax (1707-93), 7th Baron Fairfax, when he emigrated to America, where he owned some 5,000,000 acres in Virginia; to nephew, Rev. Dr. Denny Martin Fairfax (d. 1800); to brother, Gen. Philip Martin (d. 1821); to kinsman, Fiennes Wykeham-Martin (d. 1840); to son, Charles Wykeham-Martin MP (d. 1870); to son, Philip Wykeham-Martin MP (d. 1878); to widow, Elizabeth (d. 1893); to Cornwallis Philip Wykeham-Martin (d. 1924); to Fairfax Wykeham-Martin, who sold 1926 to Hon. Olive (1899-1974), wife of Arthur Wilson Filmer (div. 1931) and later wife of Sir Adrian Baillie (1898-1947), 6th bt. (div. 1944); she bequeathed the castle to the Leeds Castle Foundation and the estate to her son, Sir Gawaine Baillie (1934-2003), 7th bt.

Freechase, Warninglid, Sussex

Freechase, Warninglid: the house in c.1905, from an early postcard.

A rambling red brick and tile-hung house in a free Old English style, which was built c.1885-88 as the replacement for an earlier small rectangular cottage.  The architect has not been identified, but the clients were Capt. Frederick Charteris (who died in 1887 while it was under construction) and his wife, Lady Louisa Charteris, whose sister lived in the adjoining property, Lydhurst.  The gardens were developed by George Berney Allen after he bought the house in about 1898, and continued to be enhanced by Charles Nix, who came here in 1938 after downsizing from Tilgate House, and by his son, Lt-Col. Christopher Nix.

Freechase, Warninglid: the new house designed by Tom Hancock and Tony Swannell, built in 1975-77. Image: Elara Fritzenwalden.

In 1970 the estate was bought by Sir Gawaine Baillie, 7th bt., who needed a new family home to replace Leeds Castle, which his mother placed in the care of a charitable trust. He probably always intended to rebuild the house, and initially approached Claud Phillimore, who produced designs for a neo-Georgian building. 
Freechase, Warninglid: the drawing room of the new
house built in 1975. Image: Architectural Review.
Sir Gawaine then changed his mind, and decided to build a Modernist house, for which the designs were supplied by Tom Hancock in association with Tony Swannell. It was built in 1975-77 on the site of the Victorian house, overlooking the fine views to the south, and was described soon afterwards (by John Martin Robinson in 1984) as 'perhaps the finest post-war country house in the Modern style', although that was (and remains) a field offering limited competition. Despite the use of expensive materials, the exterior is hardly more prepossessing than a secondary school of the 1960s. The low and spreading design derives from pre-war Modern Movement exemplars, but there are nods to a more contemporary Brutalism in the flat roof and square piers clad in Portland stone, supporting a Portland stone fascia. The external wall surfaces are clad in aluminium panels and large windows of tinted glass. The house is essentially L-shaped, with the kitchen and offices in one wing and guest and family rooms in the other, and a triangular centre in the angle between the two, which contains a two-storey drawing room with a rather Space Age elliptical staircase at one end. This has a genuinely interesting form, and the internal finishes, including joinery and plasterwork, are of an unusually high standard, but there is nothing to make the interior opulent: nothing to replace the colour, richness, decoration and allusion rejected by Modernism. The sterility of the house was to some extent offset by historic furniture and by Sir Gawaine's extensive collection of early Meissen porcelain, but these were sold after his death. Further photographs and plans of the house can be seen here.

Descent: built c.1885-88 for Capt. Frederick Charteris (1837-87); to widow, Lady Louisa Charteris (1836-1930); sold c.1898 to George Berney Allen (1862-1917); to brother, Charles T. Allen, who let to Sir Reginald Tuck; sold 1938 to Charles George Ashburton Nix (1873-1956); to son, Lt-Col. Christopher Nix; sold 1970 to Sir Gawaine Baillie (1934-2003), 7th bt.; to son, Sir Adrian Baillie (b. 1973), 8th bt.

Baillie family of Polkemmet, baronets

Baillie, Thomas (fl. 1600). He married, c.1600, Elizabeth Polwarth of Cathlaw, and had issue:
(1) Thomas Baillie (d. 1645) (q.v.);
(2) James Baillie; married, 1642, Christian Hamilton of Airdrie;
(3) Elizabeth Baillie; married, 1637, Robert Hamilton (d. 1661), son of William Hamilton of Boghead, and had issue one son and one daughter;
(4) Katherine Baillie; married, 1653, John Sommerville.
He purchased the Polkemmet estate.
His date of death is unknown. His wife's date of death is unknown.

Baillie, Thomas (d. 1645). Elder son of Thomas Baillie (fl. 1600) of Polkemmet and his wife Elizabeth Polwarth of Cathlaw, born about 1603. He fought for the Royalist cause under the Marquis of Montrose at the Battle of Kilsyth. He married, 1625, Alison, daughter of Sir James Muirhead, and had issue:
(1) Thomas Baillie (d. 1660) (q.v.);
(2) Margaret Baillie; married, 30 April 1654 at Hamilton (Lanarks), Robert Flemyng of Ravens Craig (Lanarks) and had issue.
He inherited Polkemmet from his father.
He was killed at the Battle of Kilsyth in 1645. His wife's date of death is unknown.

Baillie, Thomas (d. 1660). Only son of Thomas Baillie (d. 1645) of Polkemmet and his wife Alison, daughter of Sir James Muirhead, born about 1626. He married, 1644, Margaret, daughter of William Baillie of Carphin, and had issue:
(1) Thomas Baillie (c.1646-1704) (q.v.);
(2) John Baillie; said to have been educated at Oxford; a cornet of cavalry;
(3) Jean Baillie (d. 1722); married, 6 November 1692 at Bothwell, as his second wife, Archibald Nisbet (c.1631-95) of Carphin, and had issue one son; buried 25 February 1722.
He inherited Polkemmet from his father in 1645.
He died in 1660. His wife's date of death is unknown.

Baillie, Thomas (c.1646-1704). Elder son of Thomas Baillie (d. 1660) of Polkemmet and his wife Margaret, daughter of William Baillie of Carphin, born about 1646. He married, 1667, Ann, daughter of Thomas Inglis of Murdiston, and had issue:
(1) Thomas Baillie (1678-1758) (q.v.);
(2) John Baillie; died without issue;
(3) William Baillie; an officer in the guards (Capt.); died unmarried;
(4) Robert Baillie; died unmarried;
(5) Gavin Baillie (d. 1759?); magistrate of Leith (Midlothian), 1722-23; married 1st, 1721, Katharine Gray; married 2nd, 18 June 1724 at Edinburgh, Margaret, daughter of Andrew Aitken of Edinburgh, merchant, and had issue one son and one daughter; possibly the person of this name buried at Bothwell (Lanarks), 16 April 1759;
(6) Bethia Baillie; married, 5 March 1703 at Livingston, Rev. John Smith of Livingstone; died without issue;
(7) Margaret Baillie; died unmarried.
He inherited Polkemmet from his father in 1660.
He died in 1704. His wife's date of death is unknown.

Baillie, Thomas (1678-1758). Eldest son of Thomas Baillie (d. 1704) and his wife Ann, daughter of Thomas Inglis of Murdiston, born 1678. He married, 1706, Ann Cockburne of Borthwick, and had issue:
(1) Thomas Baillie (1708-85) (q.v.);
(2) William Baillie (b. 1710), baptised at Livingston, 7 February 1710; died young;
(3) Ann Baillie; died unmarried;
(4) John Baillie (1713-36), born 3 March 1713; migrated to Georgia (USA), where he had a grant of 400 acres of land, 1734; died there, 1736;
(5) Patrick Baillie (b. 1714), baptised 22 June 1714; surgeon; lost at sea;
(6) Bethia Baillie (b. 1717), baptised at Livingston, 5 March 1717; died young;
(7) William Baillie (b. 1718), baptised 22 September 1718 at Livingston;
(8) Isabel Baillie; married, 22 December 1735, Robert Livingston (1706-59) of Badlornie (alias West Quarter) and had issue;
(9) Catherine Baillie (1720-1800), baptised at Livingston, 22 August 1720; married, 2 June 1751, Andrew Wardrop (1694-1774) of Forbeau Hill, and had issue one son; died 25 October 1800;
(10) Jean Baillie (b. 1721), baptised at Livingston, 2 October 1721; died unmarried;
(11) Bethia Baillie (b. 1723), baptised at Livingston, 4 February 1723; died unmarried.
He inherited Polkemmet from his father in 1704 and also property from his mother's family.
He died in 1758. His wife's date of death is unknown.

Baillie, Thomas (1708-85). Eldest son of Thomas Baillie (1678-1758) of Polkemmet and his wife Ann Cockburne of Borthwick, baptised at Livingston, 22 April 1708. Apprenticed to Robert Hepburne WS; admitted a Writer to the Signet, 1732. He married, 1731, Isabel (d. 1777), daughter of Rev. Alexander Walker, minister of Kirkurd, and had issue:
(1) Ann Baillie (d. 1733); died in infancy, 12 November 1733;
(2) Thomas Baillie (1733-41), born 2 March 1733; died young, 1741;
(3) Christine Baillie (d. 1736); died young, 23 September 1736;
(4) William Baillie (c.1737-1816), Lord Polkemmet (q.v.);
(5) Mary Baillie (d. 1769); married, 23 June 1763, as his first wife, Stair Agnew (1734-1809), Virginia merchant and later 6th bt. of Lochnaw, and had issue two sons and three daughters; died 9 April 1769;
(6) Henrietta Baillie (d. 1742); died young, 11 July 1742;
(7) Robert Baillie (1741-1826), born 21 June 1741; died unmarried, July 1826;
(8) Thomas Baillie (1743-72), born 4 August 1743; an officer in the Royal Navy (Lt., 1766); died at sea, 14 August 1772;
(9) Isabell Baillie (d. 1757); died young, 24 July 1757.
He inherited Polkemmet from his father in 1758.
He died at Polkemmet, 3 February 1785. His wife died at Polkemmet, 13 August 1777.

William Baillie, Lord Polkemmet
Baillie, William (c.1737-1816), Lord Polkemmet. Second, but eldest surviving, son of Thomas Baillie (1708-85) of Polkemmet, born about 1737. He was admitted to the College of Advocates, 1758, and practiced as an advocate. Sheriff-Depute for West Lothian for over 20 years. In 1795 he was made a judge of the Court of Session by the title of Lord Polkemmet (resigned 1811). He was much liked by his fellow Scottish lawyers for his good humour and use of Scottish dialect. Never one of the great legal minds of the age, he relied upon a fund of common sense in his judicial decisions. It was intended to make him a baronet but he died before this was done, and a baronetcy was accordingly conferred on his son some years later. Physically, he was noted for the exceptional length of his fingers. He married 1st, 3 December 1768 at Edinburgh, Margaret (b. 1751), daughter of Sir James Colquhoun, 1st bt., of Luss (Dunbartons), and 2nd, 15 April 1803, Janet (c.1756-1833), daughter of George Sinclair of Ulbster, and had issue:
(1.1) Thomas Baillie (b. 1770), born 20 February and baptised at Edinburgh, 25 February 1770; probably died young;
(1.2) Mary Baillie; married, 21 September 1800, at Polkemmet House, James Johnston (d. 1841) of Straiton (Midlothian), and had issue;
(1.3) Helen Baillie (d. 1826); died unmarried, 10 May 1826;
(1.4) Isabella Baillie (d. 1844); died unmarried, 28 November 1844 and was buried at Greyfriars Cemetery, Edinburgh;
(1.5) James Baillie (b. 1781), born 18 June 1781 and baptised at Edinburgh, 14 July 1787; an officer in the HEICS; died unmarried in the lifetime of his father;
(1.6) Sir William Baillie (1782-1854), 1st bt. (q.v.);
(1.7) Janet Baillie (c.1783-1817); married, 25 August 1804 at Polkemmet House, Dugald John Campbell (1783-1827) of Skerrington (Ayrs.), and had issue one daughter; died of 'nervous fever', 25 June 1817 and was buried at Ayr (Ayrs.);
(1.8) Eliza Hope Baillie (1784-1855), born 23 March and baptised at Edinburgh, 6 April 1784; married James Campbell of Dunmore; died 5 October 1855;
(1.9) Robert Baillie (1790-1806); a midshipman in the Royal Navy; died unmarried on HMS Atlas in the West Indies, 19 November 1806;
(1.10) Penuel Jane Baillie (c.1792-1856); married, 24 April 1817, Farquhard Campbell (1760-1829) of Ormsary House, South Knapdale (Argylls), and had issue two sons; died 29 November 1866.
He inherited Polkemmet from his father in 1784.
He died 14 March 1816. His first wife's date of death is unknown. His widow died 19 January 1833.

Baillie, Sir William (1782-1854), 1st bt. Eldest surviving son of William Baillie (d. 1816), Lord Polkemmet, and his first wife, Margaret, daughter of Sir James Colquhoun, 4th bt., of Luss (Dunbartons), born 25 July 1782 and baptised at Edinburgh, 14 July 1787. An officer in the Bengal Army (Cadet, 1798; arrived in India, 1799; Cornet, 1800; Lt, 1805; retired, 1818). He was created a baronet, 14 November 1823, an honour which it had been intended to confer on his father. He married, 25 April 1815, Mary Lyon (1793-1872), daughter of James Dennistoun of Colgrain (Dunbartons.) and co-heir of her mother, Margaret, daughter of Robert Dreghorn of Blochairn, and had issue:
(1) Sir William Baillie (1816-90), 2nd bt. (q.v.);
(2) James Dennistoun Baillie (1817-76), born 21 June and baptised at Barony (Lanarks), 28 June 1817; emigrated to Australia with his younger brother in 1838 or 1840 and took up farming at Carngham, but became insolvent in the 'great crash' of 1841-42; sold Carngham in 1843 and bought a farm later known as Polkemmet near Horsham, Victoria, which he farmed until 1858, when he returned to Scotland; civil servant; lived at Manuel House, nr. Linlithgow; died 1 May 1876; will confirmed 14 May 1877 (effects £21,246);
(3) Robert Baillie (1818-83), born 6 October and baptised at Barony (Lanarks), 20 November 1818; educated at Royal Military College; an officer in the 77th regiment (Ensign, 1837; Lt. 1841; retired 1845); lived at Manuel House, nr. Linlithgow; died at Royal Edinburgh Asylum, 12 May 1883; administration of goods confirmed, 14 September 1883 and 25 April 1884 (total effects £2,113);
(4) Margaret Dreghorn Baillie (1821-70), born 7 January and baptised at Barony, 19 February 1821; died unmarried, 26 August 1870;
(5) Margaret Colquhoun Baillie (1822-68), born 3 March and baptised at Barony, 10 April 1822; died unmarried, 12 October 1868 and was buried at Whitburn;
(6) Thomas Baillie (1823-89) (q.v.);
(7) John Hope Baillie (1825-37), born 3 March 1825; died young and was buried at Boulogne (France), 18 February 1837;
(8) Janet Sinclair Baillie (1826-83), born 1 August 1826; lived at Manuel House, Linlithgow; died unmarried, 12 March 1883; will confirmed 12 June 1883 (effects £13,558);
(9) Alexander Hope Baillie (1827-83), born 14/15 October 1827; married, 30 April 1878, Edith Caroline (c.1842-1928), second daughter of Fairfax Fearnley of Sutton (Notts), but had no issue; died 19 September 1883; will confirmed in Edinburgh, 25 March 1884 (effects £15,110) and sealed in London, 23 April 1884;
(10) Mary Isabella Baillie (1829-64), born 7 March 1829; married, 29 September 1848 at Linlithgow, as his second wife, Alexander Baron Seton (1806-84) of Preston (W. Lothian) and had issue five sons and three daughters; died in childbirth, 14 January 1864;
(11) Elizabeth Penuel Jane Baillie (1830-87), born 10 July 1830; married, 31 August 1854 at Muree, Bengal (India), Dr. Samuel Reeve Tucker (1824-57) MD HEICS, and had issue one son; died at Glen Eira City, Victoria (Australia), 14 June 1887 and was buried at St Kilda Cemetery, Melbourne;
(12) Helen Jane Baillie (1831-1902), born 1 December 1831; died unmarried at Mentone (France), 7 May 1902; will confirmed in Stirling, 31 July 1902 (estate £11,974) and sealed in London, 7 August 1902;
(13) George Augustus Frederick Baillie (1833-82), born 31 July 1833; an officer in the East Lothian artillery militia (Capt.); lived latterly at Clifton, Bristol; married, 16 February 1871, Mary Gertrude (1841-1922), fourth daughter of Benjamin Peyton Sadler RN, and had issue one son and three daughters; died 7 April 1882; will confirmed in Scotland, 24 August 1882 (effects £523).
He inherited Polkemmet from his father in 1816 and radically remodelled it.
He died at Perth (Scotland), 28 January 1854. His widow died 17 December 1872.

Baillie, Sir William (1816-90), 2nd bt. Eldest son of Sir William Baillie (1782-1854), 1st bt., and his wife Mary Lyon, daughter of James Dennistoun of Colgrain, born 2 February 1816. Educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford (BA 1836). JP and DL for West Lothian; Conservative MP for West Lothian, 1844-47; Convenor of West Lothian for 27 years. An officer in the Midlothian Yeomanry Cavalry (Capt.); Hon. Col. of 1st Brigade of Scottish Division, Royal Artillery. He succeeded his father as 2nd baronet, 28 January 1854. He married, 14 April 1846, Mary (d. 1910), eldest daughter of Stair Hathorn Stewart of Physgill (Wigtowns.), but had no issue.
He inherited Polkemmet from his father in 1854. After his death it passed to trustees for his widow, and then to his great-nephew, Sir Gawaine Baillie.
He died 21 July 1890 and was buried at Whitburn; his will was proved in Scotland and sealed in London, 4 June 1891. His widow died 7 June 1910.

Thomas Baillie (1823-89)
Baillie, Thomas (1823-89). Fourth son of Sir William Baillie (1782-1854), 1st bt., and his wife Mary Lyon, daughter of James Dennistoun of Colgrain, born 21 June 1823. He emigrated to Australia with his brother James in 1838 or 1840, returned to Scotland in 1857, but went back to Australia in 1863. A trustee and member of session of the Scots Presbyterian Church in Melbourne; and a Trustee of the Presbyterian Ladies' College there. He married, 27 December 1849, Elizabeth Simpson (1826-1900), daughter of James Ballingall of Australia, and had issue:
(1) William James Baillie (b. & d. 1851), born 16 January 1851; died in infancy, 21 January 1851 and was buried in the Old Cemetery, West Melbourne;
(2) Mary Dennistoun Baillie (1853-99), born 1853; married, 5 August 1874, Lt-Col. Thomas Caradoc Rose Price CB (1841-1911) and had issue three sons and one daughter; died 22 March 1899;
(3) Sir George Baillie (1856-96), 3rd bt., born 20 October 1856; educated at Scotch College, Melbourne and Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge (BA 1881); pastoralist in Victoria; JP for Victoria and New South Wales (Australia); succeeded his uncle as 3rd baronet, 21 July 1890; died unmarried of typhoid fever, 2 April 1896 and was buried at St Kilda Cemetery, Melbourne;
(4) Sir Robert Alexander Baillie (1859-1907), 4th bt. (q.v.);
(5) William Baillie (1861-1928), born 25 April 1861; married, 1892, Mary (d. 1946), daughter of Rev. Walter Fellowes, vicar of St John, Toorak, Melbourne (Australia) and had issue three daughters; died 24 April 1928;
(6) Elizabeth Janet Baillie OBE (1864-1935), born 22 August 1864; awarded OBE 1918; married, 25 March 1885, Brig-Gen. the Hon. William Edwin Cavendish MVO (1862-1931) of The Farm House, Holkham (Norfk), son of William George Cavendish, 2nd Baron Chesham, and had issue one son and one daughter; died 2 May 1935; her will proved 19 June 1935 and certified at Edinburgh, 3 July 1935 (estate £27,211).
He lived at Toorak, Melbourne, Victoria (Australia).
He died at Queenscliff, Victoria (Australia), 7 January 1889, and was buried at St Kilda Cemetery, Melbourne. His widow died 21 May 1900 and was also buried at St Kilda Cemetery.

Baillie, Sir Robert Alexander (1859-1907), 4th bt. Second surviving son of Thomas Baillie (1823-89) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of James Gallingall of Australia, born 24 August 1859. Educated at Scotch College, Melbourne (Australia) and Brasenose College, Oxford (matriculated 1879; BA 1882). An officer in the Australian squadron of the King's Colonials Imperial Yeomanry (Capt., 1901; Maj., 1903). He succeeded his elder brother as 4th baronet, 2 April 1896. He married, 13 July 1887 at the Scots Church, Melbourne (Australia), Isabel (d. 1945), daughter of David Elliot Wilkie of Ratho Byres (Midlothian), and had issue:
(1) A daughter (b. & d. 1891); died in infancy, 18 December 1891;
(2) Sir Gawaine George Stuart Baillie (1893-1914), 5th bt.(q.v.);
(3) A son (b. & d. 1895); died in infancy, 27 November 1895; 
(4) Sir Adrian William Maxwell Baillie (1898-1947), 6th bt. (q.v.).
He spent most of his life in Australia, but was living at Colchester (Essex), where his regiment was garrisoned, at the time of his death.
He died 16 October 1907. His widow died 1 February 1945; her will was proved in Scotland and sealed in London, 15 August 1947.

Sir Gawaine Baillie, 5th bt.
Baillie, Sir Gawaine George Stuart (1893-1914), 5th bt. Elder son of Sir Robert Alexander Baillie (1859-1907), 4th bt., and his wife Isabel, daughter of David Elliot Wilkie of Ratho Byres (Midlothian), born at Melbourne (Australia), 29 May 1893. Educated at Eton. He succeeded his father as 5th bt., 16 October 1907. An officer in 2nd Dragoon Guards (Scots Greys) (2nd Lt., 1912). He was unmarried and without issue.
He inherited Polkemmet on the death of the 2nd baronet's widow in 1910. After his death, his mother established Polkemmet as a Red Cross Hospital in his memory.
He was killed in action at Rebais (France), 7 September 1914; his body was cremated and the ashes buried in the Baillie Mausoleum in the grounds of Polkemmet, and later reinterred in the churchyard at Whitburn.

Sir Adrian Baillie, 6th bt.
Baillie, Sir Adrian William Maxwell (1898-1947), 6th bt. Second son of Sir Robert Alexander Baillie (1859-1907), 4th bt., and his wife Isabel, daughter of David Elliot Wilkie of Ratho Byres (Midlothian), born 5 May 1898. Educated at Eton and Royal Military College, Sandhurst. He succeeded his elder brother as 6th baronet, 7 September 1914. He was an officer in the 2nd Dragoon Guards (Scots Greys) during the First World War (2nd Lt., 1917; Lt., 1919; resigned 1919). JP and DL for West Lothian. An officer in the Diplomatic Service, 1921-28 (2nd Secretary). Unionist MP for West Lothian (which he also contested in 1929 and 1935), 1931-35 and Conservative MP for Tonbridge, 1937-45. He married, 4 November 1931 at Holy Trinity, Brompton (Middx) (div. 1944), the Hon. Olive Cecilia (1899-1974), daughter of Almeric Hugh Paget, 1st Baron Queenborough and formerly wife of Hon. Charles John Frederic Winn (1896-1968) and Arthur Thomas Filmer Wilson-Filmer (1895-1968), and had issue:
(1) Sir Gawaine George Hope Baillie (1934-2003), 7th bt. (q.v.).
His wife purchased Leeds Castle (Kent) in 1926 and after his marriage he lived there until his marriage broke down. He inherited the Polkemmet estate from his brother in 1914 and came of age in 1919; he let the house from 1939 and the estate was sold after his death to the National Coal Board. He also bought Howden House, Livingstone in 1931 but sold it to the Ministry of Agriculture in 1946.
He died of pneumonia, 8 January 1947; his will was proved in Scotland and sealed in London, 9 April 1947. His ex-wife died 9 September 1974.

Sir Gawaine Baillie, 7th bt.
Baillie, Sir Gawaine George Hope (1934-2003), 7th bt. Only child of Sir Adrian William Maxwell Baillie (1898-1947), 6th bt., and his wife, the Hon. Olive, daughter of Almeric Hugh Paget, 1st Baron Queenborough and formerly wife of Arthur Wilson Filmer, born 8 March 1934. During the Second World War he was evacuated to stay with cousins on Long Island, New York (USA). Educated at Eton and Cambridge. He succeeded his father as 7th bt., 8 January 1947. In 1959 he set up HPC Engineering at Burgess Hill (Sussex), a company making parts for the automotive, aerospace, computer, defence, medical and machine tool industries, and he remained Chairman and Managing Director for the rest of his life. In the late 1950s and 1960s he was an amateur motor racing driver, and achieved considerable success in races around the world. He was a Governor of the Star & Garter Homes for Disabled Servicemen. He and his wife collected early Meissen porcelain models of birds and animals, building on a collection formed by his mother; he also secretly amassed a remarkably complete collection of mint British Empire stamps; these collections were sold after his death. He married, 28 December 1966, Lucille Margot (1934-2012), only daughter of Senator Louis Philippe Beaubien of Montreal (Canada) and formerly wife of Peter Melvill-Gardner, and had issue:
(1) Liza Katharine Baillie (b. 1969), born 8 April 1969; married, Apr-Jun 1994, Ian Curtis (b. 1968) of Abbot's Leigh Place (Sussex), accountant and company director, and had issue two sons and two daughters; now living;
(2) Sir Adrian Louis Baillie (b. 1973), 8th bt. (q.v.).
He inherited the Leeds Castle estate from his mother in 1974, but not the castle itself, which was vested in the Leeds Castle Foundation. In 1971 he built Freechase, a new, Modern Movement house, on his property at Warninglid (Sussex).
He died 21 December 2003; his will was proved 19 April 2004. His widow died 9 March 2012.

Baillie, Sir Adrian Louis (b. 1973), 8th bt. Only son of Sir Gawaine George Hope Baillie (1934-2003), 7th bt., and his wife Lucille Margot, only daughter of Senator Louis Philippe Beaubien of Montreal (Canada) and formerly wife of Peter Melvill-Gardner, born 26 March 1973. Educated at Eton, Manchester Univ. (BA), City Univ. (Dip. Law), the Inns of Court School of Law, London Business School (MBA), and Middle Temple (called to bar, 1999). Investment manager; Director of the Hepatitis C Trust. He succeeded his father as 8th baronet, 2003. He married, 6 September 2006 in Ohio (USA), Amber Rose (b. 1980), daughter of Ms. Sheri Laine of Del Mar, California (USA), and had issue:
(1) Sebastian Gawaine Baillie (b. 2011), born 18 April 2011;
(2) Eloise Laine Baillie (b. 2013).
He inherited Freechase, Warninglid and the Leeds Castle estate from his father in 2003.
Now living.


Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 1924, pp. 182-83; Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 2003, pp. 221; Debrett's Peerage & Baronetage, 2015, p. B38; J. Cornforth, 'Boudin at Leeds Castle', Country Life, 14 April 1983, pp. 925-28 and 21 April 1983, pp. 1018-21; J.M. Robinson, The latest country houses, 1984, pp. 2, 152-54, 209; M. Miers, 'Leeds Castle: the inside story', Country Life, 8 May 2003, pp. 106-11; J. Harris, Moving rooms: the trade in architectural salvage, 2007, pp. 75-76; J. Newman, The buildings of England: Kent - West Kent and the Weald, 4th edn., 2012, pp. 355-58; Leeds Castle guidebooks, 1989, 2009.

Location of archives

Baillie family of Polkemmet, baronets: estate and family papers, 1672-1773 [National Records of Scotland, GD170/3556-3712]

Coat of arms

Azure, nine mullets (three, three, two and one) or within a bordure counter-nebuly argent and sable.

Can you help?

Here are a few notes about information and images which would help to improve the account above. If you can help with any of these or with other additions or corrections, please use the contact form in the sidebar to get in touch.

  • Can anyone provide any internal photographs of the original Freechase, or identify the architect of the house?
  • Can anyone add to the rather inadequate genealogical information for the earlier generations of this family?
  • Can anyone explain the reason for, and the timing of, the conferral of the baronetcy on Sir William Baillie in 1823?

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 17 March 2018.


  1. Could I ask where you found the 1869 photograph and more importantly, do you have any more shots showing the C19 landscape please?

    1. A copy of Wykeham-Martin's Description of Leeds Castle 1869 extra-illustrated with eight collodion prints, available on Ebay:


Please leave a comment if you have any additional information or corrections to offer, or if you are able to help with additional images of the people or buildings in this post.