History

Who was Monteath Douglas?

Thomas Monteath (1788 – 1868) was an army officer in the Bengal Infantry. Born in Jamaica to a Scottish father and English mother, he rose progressively through the ranks, becoming increasingly senior as he distinguished himself in campaigns in India: cadet, ensign, lieutenant, captain, major, then lieutenant–colonel, brigadier and finally major–general. In 1865 he was awarded the KCB for long service to the Empire.

In 1850 he inherited the fortune of his cousins Archibald and James Monteath (whose mausoleum now stands in the Glasgow Necropolis) together with the estate of Douglas Support (Lanarkshire), which came to his paternal grandmother Jean Douglas’s family through a labyrinthine series of wills and inheritances from the Douglas of Mains family line. He appended the Douglas name to his own in 1851.

In 1826 he married a widow, Lucinda Florence Boleau in Meerut, India. She died in 1837. Their eldest daughter Amelia Monteath Douglas married Sir William Scott of Ancrum in 1861 and died in 1890. The last known descendant of  Monteath Douglas died in Ancrum in the 1960’s.

In 1864, Thomas Monteath Douglas commissioned the architects Peddie and Kinnear to design his mausoleum on an imposing site at Gersit Law, overlooking the lands of his son-in-law, where the battle of Ancrum Moor had taken place during Henry VIII’s ‘rough wooing’ in 1545. Monteath Douglas died in 1868, and came to rest here, having secured for himself a solitary and commanding position over the surrounding landscape for future generations to look upon with awe.

Now restored, this 2016 photo shows the domed roof pierced by 48 glass stars, casting a soft green light into the interior star chamber.

Statistics

Name:  Monteath Douglas Mausoleum

Location:  Near Ancrum, Scottish Borders

Satnav:  O.S. NT 61275 26830, nearest to TD8 6TZ

Size:  Height 20m, tower 9m x 9m, base 19m x 12m

Restoration

On a warm summers afternoon in 2014, a group of friends were walking along Lilliars Edge when they came across the derelict and ivy-covered building which had once been the magnificent mausoleum. With little expectation of success they set up a Friends group and campaigned for its restoration, finding to their surprise that everyone thought it was a great idea. The land owners, the local authority and many local and regional groups supported their efforts and, despite some setbacks, the funding was finally secured in 2018 and work began in October of that year.

By the Spring of 2019 the building had been fully restored with new glazed stars in the roof, new oak doors and the whole building made fully watertight. Volunteers then took over to tidy the site, paint the 672 metal railings around the perimeter, and install new pathways to improve public access.

The restored mausoleum was opened to the public on Sunday 7th July 2019.

During the restoration works in 2018