Campbell, Willielma, Viscountess Glenorchy 1741-1786, was the younger daughter of William Maxwell of Preston in the stewartry of Kirkcudbright, and his wife, Elizabeth Hairstanes of Craig in the same county. Some years after the death of Mr. Maxwell, which took place in 1741, her mother married Lord Alva, a senator of the College of Justice, and afterwards lord justice clerk, under whose roof Willielma Campbell grew up. In the spring of 1761 her elder sister was married to William, seventeenth earl of Sutherland, and in the autumn of the same year she herself was married to John, lord viscount Glenorchy, eldest son of the third earl of Breadalbane. Both sisters were celebrated for their beauty and accomplishments, and their mother's ambition for high marriages was successful; but both her sons-in-law died early, Lord and Lady Sutherland dying at Bath at the same time, leaving but one child, a daughter, while Lady Glenorchy, who became a widow in 1771, was childless. About her twenty-third year Lady Glenorchy came under religious impressions of the deepest kind, in a large degree through the instrumentality of the family of Sir Rowland Hill of Hawkstone in Shropshire, in whose neighbourhood Lord Glenorchy's maternal estate of Sugnal was situated. She carried out her convictions with great consistency and earnestness. From her high rank Lady Glenorchy's name naturally became a household word and a centre of encouragement among all like-minded persons in Scotland, and was perpetuated by her building a chapel in Edinburgh, which was called after her, for religious worship such as she approved. Other chapels were built by her in Carlisle, Matlock, and at Strathfillan, on the Breadalbane property. By her will she left large sums to the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, chiefly for the maintenance of schools. Lady Glenorchy was so absorbed with the spiritual bearings of life that its more human aspects were somewhat overlooked. Her intense sincerity and consistency won the admiration, though hardly the sympathy, both of her husband, Lord Glenorchy, and her father-in-law, Lord Breadalbane.

     Life of Viscountess Glenorchy, by T. S. Jones, D.D., minister of her chapel, Edinburgh
     Gardner's Christian Females.

Contributor: W. G. B. [William Garden Blaikie]

Published: 1886