In Edinburgh on Monday, February 3, 1868, Edward Maitland, Lord Barcaple heard a case of a broken promise of marriage between Miss Fanny Pugh and the Hon. William Bruce Ogilvy of Cowden House near Muckhart.

Pugh was 27 years old, the same age as Ogilvy, who was the brother of the Earl of Airlie, when he proposed to her.

She was the daughter of late gentleman farmer Benjamin Pugh of Pembrokeshire and in 1865 was the manageress of the Crewe Arms Hotel in Crewe.

In August that year Ogilvy stayed at the hotel for a number of days and made the acquaintance of Miss Pugh. He returned the following October and stayed longer, paying her even more attention, making moves to ask her to marry him.

This he did formally on the 15th of the month. She took some time to consider the proposal, but he pestered her until she said yes.

At this point her told her about his property at Muckhart and promised to tell the estate trustees on her behalf to raise £5000, the interest of which was to go to his new wife.

If she predeceased him, it would go to him and when he died it would be shared between any children they had. If they had no children, the money would be split equally between their next of kin, or to whoever she left her share to in her will.

On October 22 Ogilvy wrote to Benjamin Halsey of the Crewe Arms Hotel, telling him that he was going to marry Miss Pugh and as such for him to dispense with her services as his manageress.

Around November 19 he visited his fiancée at Crewe and tried to organise the wedding for the following Thursday.

The next day he wrote to Mr Broughall, Miss Pugh's solicitor, asking about the deed of settlement, as it had been complied with on November 11.

On November 25 Broughall replied asking Ogilvy to return it revised. Just two days later Ogilvy wrote to him again, stating 'Wishing to be off my engagement to Miss Pugh, I have asked her what sum she will accept in compensation'.c He also stated he was going to keep the deeds. By this time, she had left her job at the hotel.

Since that time, Miss Pugh's solicitor tried to communicate with Ogilvy about the situation, but he persisted in his determination to break off the engagement. He never replied to her solicitor, even though Broughall tried many times to get answers.

During the case, Ogilvy admitted he had made the acquaintance of Miss Pugh in October 1865 and that he had made the marriage offer to her, which she had accepted.

However, he claimed it was on the third day after his arrival at the hotel, but told the court he did not know her before this.

He admitted most of the other allegations but denied that breaking off the engagement had caused any injury or damage to Miss Pugh, either her feeling or otherwise.

He stated that before October 24 he had made her aware of his unwillingness to marry her and that on the same date, he had written to her solicitor then on November 2, 1865, had written to her from Liverpool, advising her that she would not be happy with him.

He informed her he wished to be released from the agreement, but would rather marry her than face court action for a breach of promise.

He wrote again to her from Liverpool on November 8, asking her for clarification. On the 27th, he wrote to her solicitor, stating he wished to break off the engagement and asked her what sum she would accept as recompense.

In his witness statement, Halsey remembered Ogilvy coming to his hotel in 1864 for a few hours then returning in August 1865 and October the same year.

He was told Ogilvy was paying Miss Pugh some attention. They went to church together and a ball. To him they were acting like an engaged couple.

He also remembered Ogilvy had gone to London and brought back a 'handsome necklace' for Miss Pugh. He also attended the same ball and had watched them dance together then Ogilvy had asked him about her.

Catherine Head, wife of the landlord of the Raven Hotel in Shrewsbury also took the stand. She had known the young woman for a couple of years and told her of a better position than the one she had in Crewe, but she wrote back saying she was engaged to be married and would not be needing the work. Afterwards she went to the Raven Head and was described as being 'very depressed' that the engagement had been broken off.

The jury unanimously returned a verdict in favour of Miss Pugh. Lord Barcaple awarded her £1200 in damages, just under a quarter of the £5000 she had originally claimed.

Ogilvy, who had married Sarah Boyden in Birmingham on April 4, 1866, sold Cowden House and estate in late 1865.