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Highland Scots - Inverness & area:
The Baillies of Dochfour

For family tree see Baillie of Dochfour on Ancestry (subscription required)

For detail of the Inverness 'network' of Baillie, Inglis, Chisholm, Fraser and others in the Caribbean see Douglas Hamilton, Scotland, the Caribbean and the Atlantic world, 1750-1820 [Manchester, 2005]

Alexander, James and Evan were the sons of Hugh Baillie of Dochfour. All three, with their cousin George [son of Hugh Baillie’s brother William], were active in the slave trade and in the ownership of plantations.

Alexander Baillie

Evan Baillie

James Baillie

George Baillie

Their cousin George Baillie, the son of William Baillie of Rosehall, left Scotland aged 14 or 15 in 1770 for St Kitts, moving to St Vincent (1771), Grenada (1773), then back to St Vincent (1773) to work for Garraway and Evan Baillie. George returned to England 1783 in poor health but was back in St Vincent later the same year, where he was in partnership with Charles Hamilton from 1784 to c.1787.

Although he began his career with Evan, he later came to regard James as the more dynamic and transferred his connections. On James’s death in 1793 he took over the business and began importing cotton from the Guyana coast in the early nineteenth century – poaching trade by his contacts with planters and merchants.

Dochfour estate

For an account of the Dochfour estate and its importance see Historic Environment Scotland's Inventory of Gardens & Designed Landscapes

This includes the folowing:

The Baillie family was granted the Dochfour estate in the mid 15th century following their service in the Battle of Brechin, 1452.

In 1745, as a result of the Baillie's support of the Jacobite cause, Dochfour House was burnt and the estate forfeited. Lord President Forbes later returned it to the Baillies. On regaining the estate, Alexander Baillie began a scheme of redevelopment, continued by his successor Evan Baillie (1740-1835). A new house was built c 1780 and land to its south-east, between it and Loch Ness, was laid out as parkland. The lochside road and causeway were constructed as part of the Caledonian Canal scheme in c 1803.

A major phase of development took place during 1839-40 when Evan Baillie (1798-1883) commissioned the architect William Robertson (c 1786-1841) to remodel the house to form a grand Italianate villa. This was complemented, on its south-east side, by a series of formal terraced gardens cut into the steeply sloping site. This presented a striking contrast with the broad sweep of informal open parkland to the north-east.

This Italianate scheme was established by the time of Prince Albert's visit in 1847. He arrived by boat from Loch Dochfour and entered the grounds by an elaborate pedestrian gate, thereafter known as the 'Princes Gate'. Visiting at a time when he was deeply involved in the construction of Osborne House as a country retreat in the Italianate style (1845-51), he commented to Queen Victoria that he found Dochfour 'beautiful, the house elegant, with a fine garden.'

No mention is made of the source of the wealth which enabled these developments.


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