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Marion Ogilvy was the daughter of James Ogilvy, 1st Lord Ogilvy of Airlie, and born on the family estate in Angus. Her father died in 1504, leaving Marion to be brought up by her mother, Janet Lyle. Marion's mother died soon after 1520 and it was left to Marion to manage the estate. At about this time she met David Beaton, then the Abbot of Arbroath Abbey, and the two formed a close relationship. So close, in fact, that she lived with him at Ethie Castle and became the mother of his eight children. In 1524, Beaton granted her part of the estate of Arbroath Abbey and Marion was subsequently more than capable of defending her landholdings in court when challenged.
In 1543 Beaton, by now a Cardinal and Chancellor of Scotland, endowed on Marion the estate of Melgund Castle in Angus, which he had rebuilt as a family home. The redevelopment including the insertion over the doorway of their joint coats of arms: a recognition of the fact that they had been married in all but name for some 20 years. In the conflict which followed the death of James V, Cardinal Beaton's increasingly strongly anti-Protestant stance made him many enemies, and matters came to a head after he had George Wishart, a Protestant preacher and mentor of John Knox, burned at the stake in front of St Andrews Castle on 1 March 1546. On 29 May 1546 a group of Protestant lairds entered St Andrew's Castle at dawn, pretending to be stonemasons. According to one source, Marion Ogilvy was leaving the castle as they entered. They dragged Beaton out of his bedchamber, stabbed him to death, then hung him from a castle window, in full view of the town of St Andrews.
In early 1547, Marion Ogilvy married William Douglas, though it seems he was then killed at the Battle of Pinkie on 9 September the same year. Marion was by now living on her estate at Melgund, which under her strong influence became a focus for Catholic sympathisers and supporters of Mary Queen of Scots over the following two decades. Marion died in 1575 and was buried in the Ogilvy Aisle of Kinnell Church in Angus.
This biography draws on research first published in "The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women".