The Mystery of May Macwatt
All dressed up and nowhere to go. I came across this in an old album of family photographs. Problem is I haven't a clue what she is doing there? I am wondering if she is actually Mary Alice MacWatt born circa 1870 in Duns, sister to Major General Sir Charles MacWatt born Duns 1865 later of the Indian Army. Then again MacWatt could be her married name.
A Mystery Unravelled
May MacWatt was indeed born Mary Alice MacWatt on 29th August 1869 at Haymount, Duns to Dr Robert Charles MacWatt and his second wife Christian Pringle Rutherford. May married her cousin Hay MacWatt, fifteen years her senior at Haymount Duns on the 21st April 1897.
From Hay's will dated 12th July 1920 it is obvious that although there are no children from the match it was a happy marriage and he held her in the highest regard.
"No man ever had a more loving and devoted wife than I, no-one had a better pal, who has made the last twenty three years of my life, years of great happiness, and as my life is now precarious it is right and my sole aim to make my wife's future secure and comfortable. My wife's interest in my means is to be considered paramount and those of the ultimate beneficiaries , who are all well off only subsidiary"
Hay then goes on to instruct his trustees with regard to his investments
"......the making of a new investment. They had better take my wife along with them and pay special attention to her wishes about investments as I have every confidence in her good sense."
Quite touching I thought!
The reason for her picture in my family's album became clear when I looked at the statutory record of her marriage in 1897. On it as a witness is Isabella Smith. She is my gt gt Aunt on my father's side. Known as Auntie "Bea" she crops up all over the place, but she obviously made it to Haymount, Duns for the 21st April 1897!
12/2/2013 01:31:51 pm
What an interesting website. It looks like you give a really personal touch. I certainly can vouch for Susie Douglas as a researcher. She is thorough , reliable , and relentless in her searches! Good luck!
22/2/2013 12:30:24 pm
Love the website - it really shows off your passion for the subject. Looking forwards to more mysteries on your blog too!
14/6/2013 06:14:34 am
Excellent work Susie, Many Thanks
Penelope Helena jauss
13/1/2014 06:20:39 am
My great grandfather was major general sir Robert Charles MacWatt born 1865 died 1945 what is the relation of Susie Douglas and major general sir Robert Charles Macwatt?
13/1/2014 06:33:46 am
Sir Robert Charles McWatt is not a relative - hence the mystery of why there is a photograph of Mary Alice (May) in our old family album. The solution to the mystery was my great grand aunt Isabella Smith was a witness at May's wedding 21st April 1897.
Robert Angus Stuart MacWatt
1/4/2014 01:26:17 pm
Dear Penelope. You and I are cousins a few times removed it would seem. Sir Charles is also my great grandfather. Do look us up. My father Ian Stuart MacWatt is of course grandson to Charles.
22/1/2015 03:21:43 am
My mother, Elizabeth Farquharson nee MacWatt was born in Duns, and related to May. She has been doing a lot of work on the family tree but is now in her late 90s living in Edinburgh. She is keen to sort out information on Ian Stuart MacWatt, born around 1930,once of Turret House Bodmin. I think you may be a relation! It would be really helpful if you could replyeven if only to let me/us know that I have got the wrong MacWatt
30/11/2015 10:54:42 am
Penelope Helena jauss
13/1/2014 06:52:37 am
Thanks Susie Douglas
17/12/2014 07:56:43 am
I am Sir Robert Charles Macwatt's great granddaughter and I find your site interesting.
29/1/2015 02:35:25 pm
I was born 1934 in London, third son of Stuart MacWatt, (elder son of Gen. Sir Charles), by his second wife Christine, nee Keulemans. My elder half brothers Hay and Robert are both dead now. Sir Charles died in 1942, having married his housekeeper Mrs Wilson in 1940 when her husband Major Wilson died. Sir Charles had a brother Dr John, a GP in Duns who was a noted botanist. He used to exhibit at the Chelsea Flower Show in the 1930s. A primula is named after him. A MacWatt was killed on the front in France, 1917, during WW1. He was presumably Dr. John's son.
3/12/2015 11:04:39 am
In reply to Natasha Buchan re Mystery of May MacWatt , my elderly mother Elizabeth Farquharson (nee MacWatt,) has a huge mount of information both on Sir Charles and the extended family. At 100 years old, she would not manage blogs (not sure I can either!) but would like to get in touch with you. I am happy for my contact details to be passed to you and maybe you could get back to me.
3/12/2015 07:39:52 pm
I am contactable at any time on 07805441234 and would love to fill in some details of the MacWatt family in Duns. I know nothing of my grandmother Lady MacWatt other than that she was the daughter of a General Brown, presumably Indian Army.
3/12/2015 07:44:21 pm
Uncle Jack Buchanan, impresario, dancer and actor of the 1930s 40s and 50s, was also a MacWatt on his mother's side. Whether Jack Buchanan was a stage nme or not I do not know.
16/8/2017 11:22:25 am
As Penny, Natasha and Katharine know, I am Sir Charles MacWatt's great great (I think) nephew and I've visited Duns and Haymount. If this site is still active I would be happy to help with enquiries.
19/8/2017 12:30:41 pm
19/8/2017 08:04:52 pm
My elder half-brother Hay MacWatt, son of Stuart MacWatt, elder sone of General Sir Charles, was named after Hay.
Alexis Lambros David
3/1/2020 04:31:33 am
Fascinating. Her brother Robert was married to my Great-Grandma's 1st cousin - Marguerite Nungovich, A Cypriot from Cairo, Egypt.
3/1/2020 11:25:50 am
At 85, I continue to live in Ryde, Isle of Wight as the Hon. Secretary and Organiser of the UK Animal-free Research funding cancer charity Caring Cancer Trust. We focus on Childhood Cancers and fund research at University of Manchester
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