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