Alfred Bruce "Bosie" Douglas, Lord Douglas

A few notes on the ancestry of Oscar Wilde's lover Bosie.


Written by Will Johnson,, Professional Genealogist

Part of my series Artists descended from Royalty
Alfred Bruce "Bosie" Douglas was an author and poet, born 22 Oct 1870 at Ham Hill House, co Worc; third son of his father John Douglas (1844-1900), 9th Marquess of Queensberry, by his first wife (divorced in 1887) Sibyl Montgomery (1845-1935).

While in college, Bosie had been the editor of a magazine called the Spirit Lamp, in which he praised Oscar Wilde's play Salome.  When Bosie was 21, he met Oscar Wilde and they had a relationship for which Oscar was later to serve 2 years at hard labor.  Bosie did not serve any time.

Bosie published some poetry which is called Uranian by his Wikipedia article, which is generally taken to mean promoting or at least being sympathetic to homosexuality.  Bosie also later in life published several books including an autobiography.

Much of Bosie's ancestry is known and published, but I find a slightly obscure ascent which appears to have never been outlined.

60 Samuel Blunt
Bosie's female line great-grandmother was Mary Fanny Blunt (1791-1853), whose paternal grandfather was Samuel Blunt (d. 1796) who married Winifred Scawen.  Mary is number 15 in Bosie's ancestral table, Samuel is number 60.

Samuel Blunt was owner of lands called "The Crown" in Horsham, co Sussex which is where he had been baptised 6 Feb 1723, the son of William Blunt and his wife Sarah.  Samuel was his parent's second child, the first one Katherine must have died young, as a second Katherine was baptised to them in 1727.  Mary died as an infant, and Sarah died at age 7.  Many years later, in 1751, we get a document specifically naming Katherine (the second one) as the only daughter, and her brother Samuel as the only son, making a settlement between them.  And including that their mother was Sarah Sheppard and she had a brother Thomas Sheppard of Petworth, and a sister Walsingham (Sheppard) Goble wife of James Goble of Petworth and Burpham.

Knowing the names of the three siblings: Thomas, Sarah, and Walsingham Sheppard, I was able to find their baptisms, which just happen to occur in the same IGI extracted batch C070641 wj, which is for Horsham, co Sussex.  The baptisms tell us that the parents of these children were Thomas Sheppard and his wife Eleanor.  I wonder if Eleanor could be a Walsingham?

61 Winifred Scawen

Bosie's female line great-grandmother was Mary Fanny Blunt (1791-1853), whose paternal grandmother was that Winifred Scawen who married Samuel Blunt (d. 1796).  Mary is number 15 in Bosie's ancestral table, Winifred is number 61.

Winifred's marriage license is extant and published. Winifred was "age 17" in 1759 when she married Samuel Blunt then "age 30", and it describes her father in this way: "With consent of Robert Scawen, esq of Reigate, her father".

However when describing Winifred as "of Reigate" it adds "abode 1 year", indicating that they had just moved there, from somewhere or other.

Winifred is described elsewhere as "heiress" but then again as "co- heiress" of her father, and I did find a "Robert Scawen of Reigate" being buried at Horton 13 Nov 1778 "aged 69". 


This Robert evidently had an older brother Thomas who was living in 1740 when he granted something or other to his brother Robert. They were both the children of an older Sir Thomas Scawen "seventh son" by his wife Martha Wessell whom he married 8 Sep 1691. This Sir Thomas died 1730, while Martha survived him until 1766.

Martha's father is given as Abraham Wessell, Eastland merchant but nothing else about him.

Sir Thomas Scawen was the seventh son of his father Robert Scawen of Horton, co Buck by his wife Catherine Alsop, daughter of Cavendish Alsop of London, merchant.  Sir Thomas Scawen had an elder brother Sir William Scawen of Walbrook, London and of Carshalton, co Surrey "fifth son" who died 1722.


The Ancestral File has a Cavendish Alsop who I would say is probably this same person, being born about 1588 and married to some unknown person in 1608, and of Hognaston, co Derby. ("Cavendish Alsop", Ancestral File)  His elder brother George (d. 1623) evidently being the heir of their father Thomas.  I also find a reference to Cavendish being "of Woburn, co Bed", and then another reference to him being of "St Martin in the Fields, co Mdx".  He is called "Gent" at one point, "esq" at one point, and also "merchant".

"Cavendishe Alsoppe of Saint Martin in the Fields, Middlesex" has a will dated Apr 1632 PROB 11/161