Margaret Hope

When her sister-in-law died, Miss Margaret Hope raised her infant children in her brother's house in Charlotte Square. Thanks to the detailed accounts of expenses which this arrangement incurred, we can gain a very full picture of the lifestyle of an aunt and her little neice in Charlotte Square in 1811.

Charles Hope-Weir of Craigiehall, 2nd son of the first Earl of Hopetoun. His first wife was heir to the Weir Baronets of Blackwood, Lanarkshire. He was MP for Linlithgowshire and governor of Blackness Castle. He improved Craigiehall in 1757 with a grotto, bridge and temple designed by Robert Adam. The bridge survives, with its quotation from Horace 'Utili Dulci', 'the useful with the sweet', but the temple at the top of Lennie Hill was truncated in th 1970s due to its proximity to Edinburgh Airport.
Helen Dunbar (d.1794) daughter of George Dunbar.
1 Charlotte Square
Assessed taxes 1811
Her house had 30 windows and a rental value of £80. She had one male domestic servant, a four-wheeled carriage and paid armorial bearings duty.
Margaret's brother was Sir George Johnstone Hope of Carriden, which he bought in 1814. When in 1808 his wife died leaving a one-year-old girl and baby boy, Helen and James, Margaret their aunt took them in. Sir George remarried in 1814 and his new wife bore him a second daughter, but he died in 1818. It seems that Miss Margaret continued to bring up the children from his first marriage, however. Sir George's will, while hoping that his second wife would make a family at Carriden, hints that this has been the case:
'In case there should be any doubt of my wishes respecting my children James and Helen after my death I wish it to be clearly understood that they as well as any children I may leave by her are to be continued under charge of my wife Lady Hope and that if she chooses to live at Carriden she is to have the use of the house, garden and as much grass ... for her horses and cows so that she may have a home for my children until whatever child of mine succeeds to it in their coming of age... This I do from a form conviction that she will do the duty of a mother to them the same as if they were her own and from a wish that all my children should be brought up together as brothers and sisters under one roof and I beg my sister Margaret will not think it from any want of confidence in her to whom I have been so much obliged for the care she took of them when infants and who I know will ever continue the same affection for them she now does.'
In 1822 the trustees of Miss Helen Hope's account paid £100 for six months allowance to her stepmother Lady Hope, and also £150 to Miss Margaret for her board and expenses, and Helen appears to have divided her time between London and Edinburgh. Miss Helen's expenses, which were preserved by the trustees, provide an interesting picture of this New Town household.
The books bought on Miss Helen's account were mainly religious ones: Hannah More's Practical Piety, sermons, catechisms and tracts. At least there was a volume of Cotman's Etchings for light relief. The household supported the House of Industry, both by subscription and by regular purchases of lace (3).
Chapel connection
1811 (seat rent receipt amongst Helen Hope's accounts)


  1. Registers of Charlotte Chapel (NAS CH12/3)
  2. Edinburgh Post Office Directory 1818
  3. 'Accounts of Miss Helen Hope', National Archives of Scotland GD253/108
  4. Assessed taxes for the Burgh of Edinburgh year ending at Whitsunday 1811, National Archives of Scotland E327/51
  5. Account Current of Miss Helen Hope with James Hope WS, 31 Dec 1822, National Archives of Scotland GD253/107/6

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