Anna was the daughter of Francis Scott, 2nd Earl of Buccleuch. She and her sister Mary passed their early years in residence at Dalkeith. They then moved to Wemyss Castle on the marriage of her mother to the Earl of Wemyss. Anna was very much ignored until the death of her sister Mary Scott in 1661. Thereafter she became the heir to the Scott land and fortunes. She gained the titles 4th Countess of Buccleuch, 5th Baroness Scott of Buccleuch and 5th Baroness Scott of Whitchester and Eskdaill.
With such big titles, marriage became a hot topic. Anna became the focus of a lot of scheming, not least by her mother and stepfather, to ensure an advantageous match. After much to-ing and fro-ing, and with pressure exerted by Charles II, a contract was drawn up in 1663 whereby the 12-year-old Anne would marry the king’s illegitimate son James, who was two years her senior. It was an advantageous match for both of them.
Dukedom of Buccleuch
Charles II lavished money and gifts on his son and on their marriage, he created them 1st Duke and Duchess of Monmouth and Buccleuch. They lived almost entirely in England, in Whitehall and at Moor Park, just north of London.
The marriage immediately placed her in a prominent position in Charles II’s court. It seems, however, she did not fall foul of the temptations and excesses such a position offered, unlike her husband, with a contemporary commentator noting that; ‘Her person was full of charms and her mind possessed all those perfections in which the handsome Monmouth was so deficient’.
The couple had 7 children together, sadly she outlived them all, however it’s unclear whether the marriage was ever a happy one. Monmouth lived openly with his mistress, Henrietta Wentworth, towards the end of his life. And some sources say that Monmouth had already separated from his wife, Anne Scott, whom, at his death, he claimed “never to have much cared for”.
In 1685, after the death of Charles II, the Duke of Monmouth made an ill-fated attempt to overturn his uncle’s thrown. He was defeated at the battle of Sedgemoor and was eventually taken to the Tower of London. He was charged with treason and executed. Although imprisoned for a short time, Anna was skilful enough to have ensured the survival of the Buccleuch title and lands.
Return to Scotland
Anna returned to Scotland in 1700. She transformed her home, Dalkeith Palace, from a medieval residence into a splendid palace. Continuing undaunted, she married Lord Cornwallis, had more children and, though she had a dancing accident which left her lame, she outlived her sons and became a formidable influence on her grandson, Francis, who was to become the 2nd Duke of Buccleuch. She was regarded as a great employer across her lands, making financial provision for those in need, and providing housing for the miners at the coal mines of Cowden, Sherriffhall and Newbattle. She died in 1732, aged almost 82.