From Clifton Hall in Midlothian to Duffus House near Elgin

Clifton Hall School
Clifton Hall School

I’ve been trying to figure out if Clifton Hall School is the same Clifton Hall in Midlothian owned my Maitland Ancestors. The location seems to be right and so does the turret on the right, looking at an old photo on the Ratho Local History site (see below).

Clifton Hall
Clifton Hall

According to the Ratho Local History site, Clifton Hall was sold to Thomas Gibson of Pentland, one of the clerks to the Privy Council of Scotland, in 1761. I’m guessing I’m probably descended from Thomas as the site mentions that the estate passed to the Maitland family by marriage of his grand-daughter (Helen Gibson-Wright) to Sir Alexander Charles Maitland, 2nd Bart.

Their son Alexander Gibson-Maitland married Susan Ramsay, the daughter of George Ramsay of Barntoun, and it was their son (Sir Alexander Charles Maitland, 3rd Bt) who inherited the Barntoun estates in 1865 and assumed then the additional names of Ramsay and Gibson. I hadn’t worked out how he inherited these estates until today. Basically, his grandfather George Ramsay of Barntoun was also the grandfather of Charles William Ramsay Ramsay. Charles died unmarried having got erysipelas from a scratch after having been knocked of a carriage (see below), and so the estates passed to his cousin:

At Barnton House, Midlothian, aged 21, Charles William Ramsay Ramsay, esq., of Barnton and of Sauchie, Stirlingshire, only son of the late Wm. Ramsay-Ramsay, esq., of Barnton, who was some time M.P. for Midlothian, by the Hon. Maria, only dau. of James, Tenth Lord Torphichen, and was born at Barnton, in the year 1844. Mr. Ramsay was present at the celebration a few weeks ago of the coming of age of Sir Norman Macdonald Lockhart, of Lee and Carnwath, and was then in his usual health. While returning to Lanark from a ball given by Mr. Monteath, of Carstairs, the driver of the omnibus on which Mr. Ramsay, with other gentlemen, was riding, confused by the darkness of the night, mistook a turn of the road, and drove the omnibus under some trees, a branch of one of which dragged Mr. Ramsay off the vehicle. In falling, Mr. Ramsay’s leg, coming in contact with the iron step of the carriage, sustained a wound below the knee, which was at first disregarded as a mere scratch, but which ultimately ended in erysipelas. The deceased was unmarried, and had only attained his majority in February last. His estates will probably devolve on his cousin, Sir Alexander C. Gibson- Maitland, Bart., of Clifton Hall, Midlothian, whose mother was the eldest dau. of Mr. George Ramsay of Barnton, the grandfather of the deceased.

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine (1866)

Apparently, Clifton Hall remained in the possession of the family Ramsey-Gibson-Maitland until about 1880 when it was purchased by Robert Bell, a pioneer in the coal and shale oil industries. This must be when this branch of the Maitlands moved to Castle Gogar (see more here). Barnton House (see below), which was the other Ramsay ‘home’ fell into disrepair and was eventually demolished.

Barton House Engraving
Barnton House Engraving

George Ramsay’s daughter Keith Alicia married Sir Archibald Dunbar, 7th Baronet of Northfield (1803-1898). They lived in Duffus House near Elgin, Morayshire. I’ve been trying to source a photo, but the best I can find is about the size of a postage stamp on the Gordonstoun School site. As mentioned, before, I went to Gordonstoun in the late 70s and was bizarrely in Duffus House. It was rented from Sir Archie Dunbar who I assume must be the current baronet. He lived in the Old Manse, which we went past every day on our way to breakfast. I don’t actually share an ancestor with Sir Archie, or at least not George Ramsay of Barnton. The baronetcy did go to Sir Archibald Hamilton Dunbar who was the son of Keith Alicia (Ramsay), but there was no heir so the title went via his half brother.

The Times | June 10, 1910: ORBITUARIES
Sir Archibald Hamilton Dunbar, seventh baronet, of Northfield, died on Monday it his Scottlsh seat, Duffus House, Elgin, in his 63rd year. Sir Archibald was the elder son of the sixth baronet by his first wife, Keith Alicia, daughter of Mr. George Ramsay, of Barnton, Mid Lothian. He entered the Army and served in the Berkshire Regiment for some years. After his retirement from the service and his succession to the title, in 189S, he devoted his leisure to historical and antiquarian studies, and some years ago published “Scottish Kings: A Chronology of Scottish Eist4ry.” He married in 1865 Isabella Mary, elder daughter of Mr. Charles Eyre, of Welford Park, Berks. There is no issue of the marriage, and the successor to the title is Sir Archibald’s half-brother. the Rev. Dr. Charles Gordon Cumming Dunbar, late Archdeacon of Grenada, whose wife, a daughter of Mr. W. C. Wentworth, the Australian statesman, died in 1891, leaving a daughter. The heir presumptive to the title is now, Mr. Arbuthnot John Dunbar, R.F.A., a great-grandson of the fifth baronet.

4 thoughts on “From Clifton Hall in Midlothian to Duffus House near Elgin

  1. The school is the “same” the “Clifton Hall”of your ancestors. I cannot at this moment recall how I know that, but several years ago I myself entertained the question you pose, and I somewhere received confirmation of the fact. Now if only I could remember what it was…. ‘Regards,…

  2. researching the ramseys to staffords of sauchieburnand would be grateful for any info and pictures of the sauchieburn estates.

  3. Could you please tell me more about Archdeacon Charles Gordon Cummings Dunbar and his wife especially any details of their funeral service and where they were buried,

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