Lady Grisell Baillie (1822-1891)

Baptised 6 June 1822, died 20 December 1891

Grisell Baillie was the youngest daughter of Mary Pringle and George Baillie. She grew up in Mellerstain, the Georgian mansion near Kelso where her great-great-grandmother – also called Lady Grisell Baillie – lived before her. Her eldest brother became the 10th Earl of Haddington in 1858 when the 9th Earl died without a heir, and Grisell Baillie was given the courtesy title of 'Lady' by Queen Victoria.

Grisell and her brother Robert both chose to share a life of prayer and service, particularly caring for the sick and children of the parish, and raising funds for community improvements such as better water supplies to the village of St Boswells.

When Rev. Dr Archibald Charteris established the order of deaconesses in the Church of Scotland, Grisell trained to join and became the first deaconess. She also presided at the first conference of the Church of Scotland’s Woman’s Guild in 1891, urging members to launch a campaign for temperance.

The Deaconess Hospital, on which the memorial to Grisell Baillie appears, was opened in Edinburgh in 1894. It provided practical training in nursing for deaconesses, each of whom spent a year there as part of her training.

The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women
Based on an entry by Alison Twaddle
Mellerstain guides’ information book
Thanks to Margaret Jeary for providing the updated information re: Grisell Baillie's brother inheriting his title from his cousin.