Margaret Livingstone, Countess of Orkney

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Margaret Livingstone, Countess of Orkney (died 1622) was a Scottish courtier and landowner


She was a daughter of the William Livingstone, 6th Lord Livingston and Agnes Fleming

She married Lewis Bellenden of Broughton and Auchnoull, Lord Justice Clerk, and was known as "Lady Justice Clerk" or "Lady Auchinoul." They had three sons and two daughters, of whom his son and heir was James Bellenden of Broughton. Two other sons went to Ulster. Mariota Bellenden married Patrick Murray of Falahill.

She was an attendant of Anne of Denmark at her coronation in Holyrood Abbey on 17 May 1590. [1]

Lewis Bellenden died on 27 August 1591, after 8 days of "deadly fever" according to a letter of his brother, James Bellenden. [2]

Lady in waiting

Margaret was then a gentlewoman in the households of Anna of Denmark at Dunfermline Palace and Prince Henry at Stirling Castle.

The other "dames of honour" at Stirling were; Annabell Murray, Countess of Mar, Marie Stewart, Countess of Mar, Agnes Leslie, Countess of Morton, her aunt Lady Dudhope, Lady Clackmannan, Lady Abercairny, and Lady Cambuskenneth. [3]

In May 1596 the Edinburgh money lender Janet Fockart died and Livingstone had borrowed at least £100 Scots and had pledged a diamond chain with 13 pieces and a diamond ring. The money lender's final inventory was compiled after Livingstone's marriage, and she was recorded as "Lady Orkney". [4]

Countess of Orkney

On 19 August 1596 she married Patrick Stewart, 2nd Earl of Orkney at Callendar House. James VI was present at the banquet until he was called away to see his new-born child at Dunfermline, Princess Elizabeth. [5] The couple had no children.

She subsequently raised money to help her husband. She disputed monies owed to Walter Cranstoun, the steward of the Bellenden lands she held as a widow in "conjunct fie". Her case included a claim that she could not contract new debts without her husband's permission and "advice and knowledge". [6] She also had debts for rent in Linlithgow, perhaps for attending Princess Elizabeth, [7] who was brought up by the Livingstone family at Linlithgow Palace. [8]

The exact date of her death is unknown. She signed a receipt in Edinburgh for her royal pension of 1,000 merks in January 1622. [9]

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  1. David Stevenson, Scotland's Last Royal Wedding (Edinburgh, 1997), pp. 104-105.
  2. Robert Vans Agnew, Correspondence of Sir Patrick Waus of Barnbarroch, vol. 2 (Edinburgh, 1887), p. 476.
  3. HMC Mar & Kellie, vol. 1 (Edinburgh, 1904), p. 41.
  4. Margaret H. B. Sanderson, Mary Stewart's People (Mercat Press; Edinburgh, 1987), pp. 100-102: Margaret Sanderson, 'Edinburgh Merchants in Society, 1570-1603', in Renaissance and Reformation in Scotland (Edinburgh, 1983), p. 188: 'Fokart, Jonet', Wills and testaments NRS CC8/8/29, pp. 798-802.
  5. Nadine Akkerman, Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Hearts (Oxford, 2021), p. 19: M. S. Giuseppi, ed., Calendar of State Papers Scotland, vol. 11 (Edinburgh, 1952), p. 306: David Moysie, Memoirs of the Affairs of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1830), p. 164.
  6. Winifred Coutts, The Business of the College of Justice in 1600 (Edinburgh: Stair Society, 2003), pp. 148-9, 494.
  7. Cathryn Spence, Women, Credit, and Debt in Early Modern Scotland (Manchester, 2016), pp. 138-9.
  8. Nadine Akkerman, Elizabeth Stuart: Queen of Hearts (Oxford, 2021), pp. 22-5.
  9. Calendar State Papers Domestic: SP 46/129/f.137.