Hopes of West Calder

History of the Hope Family - Tailors - of West Calder, Scotland.


The genealogical information contained in the following was mainly sourced from the Births/Deaths/Marriage records and Census records for Scotland. This is also a condensed version to what I have on file, particularly with regard to the various descendants of William Hope born in West Calder in 1821. Dates are shown in the format dd.mm.yyyy.

The ancestor of the Hopes of West Calder was a John Hope born in Traquair parish in Peeblesshire in 1739 the fourth child of Charles Hope. (For information on the Hopes of Traquair click on button on Navigation Bar on the right.).

John Hope was a labourer on the estates of Murray of Philiphaugh which is sited on the outskirts of Selkirk. John was married in November 1769 to Agnes Clark. The Marriage Banns were proclaimed in the parish church at Wilton in Roxburghshire - where Agnes came from - on 5th November 1769. It would appear that the Banns were read in Selkirk on November 4th with the marriage taking place in Selkirk parish church on 25th November 1769.

Record Extract Marriage Hope-Clark.jpg

The above entry in the Old Parish Records (778/4)reads as follows:-

"1769 11,5

Nov 4thJohn Hope Serv* to Mr Murray of Philiphaugh in this parish and Agnes Clark in the parish of Wilton gave up their names to be proclaimed in our church in order to marry. William Hope in Bold for the bridegroom and .... (Unreadable) for the bride. (Over written) - They were marriedNovr. 25."

The following map of the Ettrick Forest area of Selkirkshire dated 1732 shows Philiphaugh between the River Tweed in the north and the Yarrow Water to the east to the top right of the picture. Also can be seen Bold (Boll) - top left.  Also can be noted many locations with hope or hoop etc included in the names. 


John and Agnes had at least six children - Peggy Hope born 1771, Janet Hope born 1774, Joan Hope born 1776, Mary Hope born 1779, James Hope born 1778 and Agnes Hope born 1786.  Further information on the daughters is proving elusive.

James the only son moved to the town of West Calder south of Edinburgh in about 1800.  James married Grace Somerville of Carnwath (born 1781)and their descendants dispersed far and wide including Australia, New Zealand, United States, Canada, South Africa, India and in more recent times Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

The marriage of Grace to James Hope cannot be found in the records. We do not know when they arrived in West Calder but it was before 1807 when their first child John was born. The reason for choosing West Calder would appear to be because there were Somervilles already there that were presumably relations as Grace's father Cornelius Somerville was born in West Calder. James and Grace had at least seven children.

wcalder old kirkyard.jpg


Headstone of James Hope and Grace Somerville in West Calder Old Kirkyard

Inscription reads:- Erected by James and William Hope in Memory of their Mother Grace Somerville who died in February 1857 also of their Father James Hope, Tailor West Calder, who died 7th May 1867.

(James and William's brothers John and Cornelius were both dead by this time.) 






 James/Grace's seven children were:-


John (1807-Bef 1841). Married Flora McMurphy (McMurty) in 1829. He was a baker. They both died in their thirties and had one child - Grace Hope (1832-1873).   Their are descendants in Glasgow, Australia and probably in the USA.


Cornelius (1808-1864.) Married Marion Lang.  He was a Tailor in Kirkintilloch. One of his descendants - James Battison Hope - married the daughter of John Ferguson the Senator for Queensland.  There are descendants of Cornelius in Scotland, Australia and USA.


James (1810-1890).  Emigrated to Tasmania and married Emma Stone there.   Although Emma was born in Tasmania she was conceived in England.  James/Emma had thirteen children in Tasmania hence many descendants in Australia.


Margaret (1814-1869). Married John Rowan a baker.  They had two children - the younger James Hope Rowan b1834 would appear to have emigrated to Australia and possibly also NZ.


Grace (1820-1863) married William Mcneil a baker.  Some of their grandchildren a family of McNeils and possibly also Skinners emigrated to New Zealand via Australia c1860.   There are descendants in New Zealand.


William (1821-1893) married Elizabeth Cunningham - he was a tailor.  They had eleven children.   They are descendants in the USA,  Canada and South Africa.  More about William below.


Mary (1823-1883) married David Telfer. Descendants in Scotland.


More on Family Tree page 


William, the youngest son of James Hope and Grace Somerville married Elizabeth Gardiner Cunningham of Nether Longford in West Calder in 1844. By 1861 he was employing three men (one of them his father) in his tailoring and clothing business and in 1859 was a Master Tailor and the Grand Master of the West Calder, No 270 Thistle Lodge of Free Masons. The family have several mentions in the "Co-operative Society Book" (to be found in the reference section of the West Calder Public Library). The book mentions that there was a Hope family of 3 tailors who lived in Hope's Cottage in Union Street. Hope's Cottage was adjacent to the Co-op building at the junction of the High Street and Union Street and the Hope family had complained about the heat from the ovens in the Co-op bakery "melting the butter on the plates". The upshot of this was that the Co-op bought Hope's Cottage, demolished it and built an extension to the existing Co-Opbuilding for a new bakery. The Co-Op is no longer there but one can visualise exactly where Hope's Cottage used to stand.

There is a poem of many verses by a Minnie Anderson where she lists the population of West Calder parish. As the book says she had a haughty way of making verse. Verse 3 of this poem reads as follows:- There was John Clarkson at the head o' the town, and James Hope in the middle, There was David Robb, on the stairhead, And Mary and her dribble.

wcalder churchyard 02.jpg

Headstone for William Hope and Elizabeth Cunningham in West Calder Main Kirkyard.

Inscription on front reads:- Erected by William Hope In Memory of his Daughter Emma Stone who died 13th March 1869 aged 7 months. Also his Beloved Wife Elizabeth Cunningham who died 22nd March 1871 aged 47 years. The above William Hope died 2nd May 1893 aged 72 years.




 For the Hope family tailors in Falkirk descended from the above William Hope go to Hopes of Falkirk page. 



In 1996 I found the final resting place of James and Grace in the Old Kirkyard of West Calder. See photograph above. The ruined kirk in the background, built 1643 and abandoned in 1860,is probably where James and Grace were married and is where their first three children were baptised.  Research, January 2008, indicates that the Hopes may have joined the Burgher Church c1810.

When I first found the site the headstone was upside down with the head of the stone buried in the ground. I wrote to the local authority who cut the grass etc in the kirkyard and they arranged for the stone to be turned round. On my next visit I was able to read the full inscription and take the photograph. The stone must have been that way for a long time as indicated by the different weathering. During a visit in 2008 I found that the nice clean area shown in the photograph was covered in green moss.



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