|NEWS & REVIEWS|
Mary’s social considerations were followed by Constance, her granddaughter. Constance inherited an amalgamation of Mary Nisbet’s estates, Winton and the Christopher estates of Bloxholm and Wellvale in Lincolnshire.
In East Lothian alone, these included 3 mansion houses included pictures and contents collected on grand tours of Europe or from the Elgin’s time in Constantinople and Athens. They also included 4 villages which the family had built and cherished, and nearly 40 farms, some of the best in Scotland.
A party thrown by this heiress to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee is worth reporting: she entertained 1,000 at Biel, 1,200 at Dirleton, 500 at Innerwick and 800 at Winton! Some party! The party goers sent a message to the Queen by carrier pigeon!
Into this family and social arena entered Henry Ogilvy, advocate and younger son of Sir John Ogilvy. They married in 1888 when Constance was 45.
As with the Jubilee parties, reports of the wedding matched what would be reserved for a royal wedding today.
Together they spent time on their estates, living mainly at Biel, but moving from one property to another. Latterly, after Henry’s death in 1909, Constance lived mainly at Winton Castle.
Henry and Constance were involved in church building not only with the 9 parishes for which they were principal heritors in East Lothian, but also in Henry’s native Dundee and Angus.
This theme was shared with Henry’s grandmother, Lady Kinnaird of Rossie Priory, Dundee, whose influence may have come from her cousin, the 7th Earl of Shaftsbury.
With no children of their own, they were involved with orphanages in Angus and also at Biel, set up for children from Dundee.
Golf was perhaps bound to feature for the Nisbet Hamilton Ogilvys since the Archerfield Estate was home to Muirfield and the links courses at Gullane.
The East Lothian Golf Club met first at Archerfield and Henry was later president of the Archerfield Club with its 13 holes as well as the Gullane club. Local fuars in Gullane played for free and Muirfield was leased to the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers.
Together, they promoted the game to the best of their ability, sometimes with practical initiatives such as ensuring a public water supply for Gullane and the concessionary grant of the extension for North Berwick Golf Club.
Henry was on Councils and Committees concerning schools, churches, parishes, the ‘lunacy board’, railways and clean water for Gullane and Dirleton. He was a keen curler and was President of the Biel and Dirleton Clubs and Patron of the club at Winton. He was a Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant for the County.
Their homes were enjoyed by all walks of life, with dances for the tradesmen and their friends as well as balls for the gentry. They hosted concerts at Winton Castle and elsewhere, a practice that has continued at Winton now for over 100 years.
When Henry died in 1909, Constance came to live at Winton for her last 11 years. She apparently used to enter a tenant farmers cottage and sit down without a word on account of her shyness.
When she died, the Pencaitland Parish Minister said that “To outsiders she might seem stiff and proud, but under great shyness, there was a very humble and tender heart. No good object appealed to her in vain and she was ever ready to help where there was distress”.