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Worldbuilding: Background and Additional Material

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When I began my research for a fusion story based on "A Civil Contract" by Georgette Heyer, my first task was to make John Watson a member of the nobility. Naturally, I turned to his Scottish roots and began looking up Watsons in Scotland. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that there was a Clan Watson Chief until the mid-1800s, a James Watson of Saughton, outside of Edinburgh.

According to the Lord Lyon, King of Arms, Edinburgh (in both 1988 and 2000), the Armorial Bearings recorded in the books of the Lord Lyon, Vol. 2, Folio 178, 1818, describe "James Watson, Esquire, as direct male line from Richard Watson of Saughton, to be described as: Chief of the name in Scotland.  That record states that James Watson of Saughton is a Chief of the Name in Scotland, eldest son and heir of Charles Watson of Saughton who was descended in the direct male line from Richard Watson of Saughton, proprietor of those lands in 1537."

Although James Watson had a number of children, most of them died young.  His only surviving child, a daughter named Helen or Helena, married into the Douglas clan.  She had one son before she died, and the current Douglas clan chief is descended from him.  All of James's siblings died without heirs, even his sisters, and the same is true all the way up the tree to Richard, so the clan chief position of the Watsons has remained vacant to this day.

Historically, the Watsons were influential landowners in the area for about three centuries from 1537. They were related to the Watsons of Rockingham castle in Northamptonshire (the Earl of Rockingham) and to Charles Watson-Wentworth, Lord Rockingham, who was twice British Prime Minister in the late 1700's. In fact, the Watsons were related to nearly every prominent family in Scotland and many in England because of their strategic marriages, although they were never elevated to the peerage. Through marriages into the Stewart/Stuart family, they were also distantly related to the Royal Family of England, and James Watson would have been a very distant 9th cousin to Queen Victoria. The family was also prominent in both the Army and Navy, and closely related to many members of the admiralty. They were also related to many of the prominent merchants and bankers in Scotland, as well as several artists and writers through the 18th and 19th centuries.

This made the Watsons of Saughton an ideal family for me to insert our John Watson into, especially since "John" was one of the family names.  I have made John the younger brother of the last Watson chief, James, and used an earlier death date for James (there is some confusion over whether he died in 1821 or 1836, and it may be that another James  - a son or nephew - was the clan chief from 1821-1836).  Harriet - Harry - Watson has also been added, and fused into the Dalrymple family line, which died out at about the same time; their land was absorbed by the same Douglas clan that Helen Watson married into. 

The chapter entitled "The Watson Connection" will list our fictitious John Watson's connection to famous/infamous persons of his time period.