Margaret Scott was the daughter of Scottish gentleman and Lord of Session (law lord), Sir Alexander Hope of Rankeillor .She married Patrick Scott in 1693 and went to live with him at his family seat of Rossie and Craig near Montrose, Angus. Some years later, in 1739, Margaret, by then a widow, undertook an inventory of the furnishings, linens and properties of the house. This provides a fascinating record and includes details of her wedding trousseau and the colourful gowns in rich materials which she had made for her marriage.
The reason for the inventory appears to have been the marriage of her son; she may have been preparing to leave the house to make way for him and his new bride. The list appears to relate items of her personal ownership. Margaret’s inventory stretches to over thirty pages. It lists in particular detail “˜linen from the Craig’ and details of the beds and bedding as well details of “˜the Tea equipage’ – cups, saucers, teapots, and a tea press in which all of the attendant crockery was kept including glasses, plates and coffee pots and mills.
There was a great abundance of table and bed linen. Each piece of table linen was individually identified with initials and a date as well as being described by its “œknott” or pattern. These included “œthe heart knott” and “œthe star knott” as well as more local designs “œthe Rossie knott” and “œan old-fashioned knott that came from the Craig.” Other items on the inventory include family portraits, items of furniture and linen presses in the “œbig hall” where the linen lay in sweet-scented lavender. Margaret recounts that some of the linen and one of the linen presses had been received from her “œworthy mother, Lady Rankeillor”.
As well as listing her marriage clothes Margaret also lists her wedding gifts. These included much silver plate as well as fine jewellery including diamonds, emeralds and rubies as well as linen, pictures and other gifts such as wool and livestock. Her husband gave her several fine gifts on the occasion of their wedding including a gold watch, jewellery, a sable tippet and a dressing glass. She mentions that many of these gifts she has now passed on to her children and friends, suggesting that Margaret had a generous nature.
The trousseau that Margaret brought with her on her marriage to Patrick included “œa green and striped flowered with cherry and silver mantua” (the loose form of undress) and a petticoat with a silver fringe and edgings of silk ribbons that was lined with cherry tissue with silver. The use of gold and silver in clothing was a popular extravagance amongst the better off.
Margaret brought a lemon mantua and petticoat striped and flowered with silver and lemon, lined with lemon silk and with fashionable silver fringes. She also brought a cherry and green broad striped dress lined with a black and white damask with a petticoat trimmed with silver fringes. In addition she had “œother gowns in abundance conform to my age” as well riding clothes mounted with six dozen beaten silver buttons.
She also had plentiful stays, linens and petticoats. The items of silk and expensive materials were only worn for formal and special occasions. Her normal daywear would have been of local materials such as linen which may have been woven on her father’s estate or locally. Margaret Scott’s inventory offers a tantalising glimpse of her fashions and lifestyle as she began her life on the Rossie estate in 1693.