Lady Grisell Baillie

1822 - 1891

First Deaconess of the Church of Scotland. Born at Mellerstain House in the Scottish Borders, the daughter of George Baillie of Jerviswood and youngest sister of George Baillie-Hamilton, who became 10th Earl of Haddington (1802-70). She was named after her much-admired ancestor Lady Grisel Baillie (1665 - 1746).

A pious and kindly lady, Baillie was noted for her philanthropic work, providing a water supply for Newtown St. Boswells, building the Baillie Hall in the same town in memory of her brother Major Robert Baillie, restoring a bridge over the River Tweed, and involved with the local Temperance movement. In 1888 she was ordained at the church in Bowden as the first Deaconess of the Church of Scotland. The Order of Deaconesses was a ministry for women introduced into the Church by The Very Rev. Professor Archibald Charteris (1835 - 1908) in the same year. Deaconesses were involved in missionary work and nursing the sick.

In the 1840s Baillie lived at Eildon Hall near St. Boswells, then later she lived at Dryburgh Abbey House. She dies from influenza and lies buried at Mellerstain. She was commemorated by the Lady Grisell Baillie Hospital in Edinburgh, later renamed the Deaconess Hospital, and now a student residence.

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